Coronavirus Alert: All U.S. Adults Age 16 and Up Are Now Eligible for Vaccine, COVID-19 Deaths Worldwide Top 3 Million, Three People Dying Every Minute in Brazil
Here is the latest news, data, and expert insights on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center?maintains an ongoing count of the COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States and worldwide. As of 6:38 p.m. on April 19, 2021, the tally is:
Total cases worldwide: 141,716,848 (up from 139,488,232 Friday)
Total deaths worldwide: 3,024,529 (up from 2,991,956 Friday)
Total cases in the United States: 31,727,833 (up from 31,556,889 Friday)
Total deaths in the United States: 567,649 (up from 565,986 Friday)
Total recovered: 81,019,617 (up from 79,461,184 Friday)
All states have opened vaccination to adults ages 16 and up. All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, successfully met President Joe Biden’s deadline of April 19 and are now offering COVID-19 vaccines to all adults 16 and older, according to Axios. Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont were the last states to make the vaccine available to all adults on Monday. The New York Times said that the United States is on pace to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by mid-June.
President Biden put out a message on Twitter Monday urging all Americans to now get the vaccine.
As of today, every American is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For yourself, your neighbors, and your family — please, get your vaccine. pic.twitter.com/o75JYpGe6r— President Biden (@POTUS) April 19, 2021
Global COVID-19 deaths have surpassed three million. Latest data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows that deaths from COVID-19 around the world have now exceeded three million. The United States has experienced more deaths than any other nation in the world, with 566,000 fatalities. Brazil has the second highest tally, with more than 368,000 deaths.
The FDA has revoked emergency use of an antibody therapy. On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rescinded emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab, when administered alone, to be used for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and certain pediatric patients. Eli Lilly’s drug had been cleared for emergency use in November, but now that variants resistant to the treatment have become more common, the FDA determined that the known and potential benefits of bamlanivimab — when administered alone — no longer outweigh the known and potential risks.
The FDA notes, however, that bamlanivimab taken together with etesevimab remains a remains an appropriate and effective treatment for patients with COVID-19. The monoclonal antibody cocktail REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together) also continues to be a powerful therapy against COVID-19.
“We urge the American public to seek out these therapies when needed while we continue to use the best data available to provide patients with safe and effective treatments during this pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Fraudulent vaccination cards are on the rise. An investigation by the Washington Post published Sunday reveals how scams involving the sale of fake coronavirus vaccination cards have been increasing. The FBI warned that anyone who makes, buys, or sells fake vaccination cards is breaking the law, and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is leading an effort demanding that eBay and other e-commerce platforms crack down on this type of fraud. Stein told the Post that making false vaccination cards “will extend the pandemic, resulting in more people sick and more people dead.”
Dr. Fauci believes use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will continue.?Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that he believes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be taken out of circulation altogether, and that public health officials with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may offer guidance on its use by the end of this week.
On April 13, the CDC and the FDA?issued a joint statement recommending a pause on all distribution of the J&J vaccine after discovering six individuals out of 6.8 million suffered rare blood clots between one and three weeks after receiving the vaccine. The six people were all women between the ages of 18 and 48.
Fauci hopes America will “get back on track” with the J&J vaccine after the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee reconvenes on Friday.
Retailers expect a spending boom. With vaccinations speeding up and states lifting coronavirus restrictions, America is experiencing a “post-pandemic spending spree,” according to CNBC. Figures released by the Commerce Department indicate that retail sales rose 9.8 percent in March, fueled by a new round of stimulus checks issued by the federal government. CNBC noted increased sales of skirts, jumpsuits, dresses, jeans, swimsuits, shoes, shaving kits, and Champagne.
Chicago schools reopened Monday. Chicago public schools, which comprise the nation’s third largest school district, reopened on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time Chicago public schools have opened for in-person instruction since they were closed last year due to the pandemic.
Hospitalizations have increased in 38 states. Washington Post analysis of data provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 rose during the past week in 38 states. The article spotlighted Michigan, which recorded more than 10,000 new infections on April 13 alone, and an average of 46 deaths a day.
Some Michigan hospitals are now at critical capacity levels, according to CNN.
While Michigan officials have pleaded with the White House for more vaccine doses, the Biden administration is not increasing allocations but sending more resources to the state. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said on April 12, “What we need to do in those situations is shut things down."
Around the World
Three Brazilians are dying every minute. Analysis from CNN shows that coronavirus killed three people every minute in Brazil last week. In a study published in the journal Science?on April 14, researchers wrote, “In Brazil, the federal response has been a dangerous combination of inaction and wrongdoing, including the promotion of chloroquine as treatment despite a lack of evidence.” The Guardian reported Friday that intensive care units in Brazil are filling with younger patients.
India is facing lockdowns and oxygen shortages. Figures from The New York Times show that India had more than 272,000 cases and 1,619 deaths on Monday, as a second wave of the coronavirus continued to spread across the country. India has reported more than one million cases in the past five days. The country is facing new lockdowns along with oxygen and drug shortages.
Israel has lifted its outdoor mask mandate. According to Reuters, Israel lifted its outdoor mask mandate on Sunday as conditions have improved during the nation’s mass COVID-19 vaccination push. Still, Israel's health ministry continues to require masks to be worn indoors. Israeli kindergarteners, elementary, and high school students are already back in class, and middle school pupils are returning to pre-pandemic schedules.
France will lift restrictions for vaccinated travelers in May. USA Today reported on President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement Sunday revealing that France will lift restrictions on international travel with the United States and other non–European Union nations starting next month. Macron said, ideally, travel would be open “for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated, with a special pass,” suggesting a so-called vaccine certificate or passport would be necessary for travel in France.
Vaccine and Research News
A booster shot will likely be needed within a year, the Pfizer CEO has said. In a forum hosted by CVS Health posted Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that individuals will most likely need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated. “There are vaccines like polio where one dose is enough, and there are vaccines like flu that you need every year,” Bourla said. “The COVID virus looks more like the influenza virus than the polio virus.”
Pfizer released study data at the beginning of April that found the vaccine to be 91.3 percent effective for at least six months.
White House chief medical advisor Fauci also said on April 12 that people may need to get booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccines in a year, during an interview with MSNBC.
Blood clot risk from Pfizer and Moderna shots is on a par with AstraZeneca's. On April 14, Reuters reported?that Denmark became the first country to completely stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, following news of its possible link to very rare blood clot cases. Then on Thursday, Norway also discontinued using the vaccine, according to CNN.
A study from Oxford University, however, has found that Pfizer and Moderna shots may pose a similar level of risk as the AstraZeneca vaccine. According to MarketWatch, the research found that 4 in one million people experience cerebral venous thrombosis (a type of brain blood clot) after getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, versus 5 in one million people for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
COVID-19 is more likely to cause blood clots than vaccines, a study has found.?Researchers from Oxford University this week also reported?that the risk of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is about 10 times greater from COVID-19 than it is from mRNA vaccines from either Pfizer or Moderna. “The COVID-19 risk is higher than we see with the current vaccines, even for those under 30; something that should be taken into account when considering the balances between risks and benefits for vaccination,” said Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry and head of the translational neurobiology group at the University of Oxford in England.