Global COVID Case Count Nears 130 Million As Fauci Says US May Not Need AstraZeneca Vaccine

The global count of confirmed cases of coronavirus-borne COVID-19 disease edged closer to 130 million on Friday, with the United States accounting for about a quarter of that total at 30.5 million, as positive vaccine news they were compared with a continuous increase in the number of cases. . Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has been plagued with problems with its implementation, may not even be required in the U.S.

In an interview with Reuters, Fauci said that even if AstraZeneca’s AZN, -0.38% AZN, -1.03% vaccine wins US regulatory approval, the country may already have enough vaccine doses. insured to care for the entire US population, including potential boosters. The United States has already granted emergency use authorization for three vaccines; one developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE, + 0.19% and German partner BioNTech SE BNTX, + 4.29%, one developed by Moderna Inc. MRNA, + 1.22% and one from Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -0.92%, and has secured contracts for hundreds of millions of doses. Novavax NVAX, + 2.49%, which last year signed a $ 1.6 billion contract with the US government.As part of Operation Warp Speed, it hopes to obtain emergency use authorization for its vaccine from the Administration of Food and Drugs for May. “If you look at the number (of doses) that we are going to get, the amount that you can get from J&J, from Novavax from Moderna if we hire more, we can probably handle any impulse that ‘I need, but I can’t say for sure,’ he said. Fauci. Separately, the US Food and Drug Administration said it has authorized two changes to Moderna’s vaccine that will produce more doses from each vial, the Associated Press reported, further bolstering the US vaccine campaign. The agency approved new vials of Moderna that can hold up to 15 doses each, compared to the original vials designed to hold 10 doses. Additionally, regulators said providers can safely withdraw up to 11 doses from the original 10-dose vials. Those changes will be added to the instructions for healthcare workers. The FDA has also cleared Moderna vaccine to be kept at room temperature for 24 hours after removal from the refrigerator, compared to the previous 12 hours. A perforated vial can be used for up to 12 hours, an increase from the previous 6 hours. The new guidelines have been updated in the company’s emergency use authorization and Moderna plans to begin shipping the new 15-dose vials in the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker shows that as of 6:00 a.m. ET Thursday, 200.5 million doses had been delivered to states, 153.6 million doses and 99.6 million people had been administered. they had received at least one dose, equivalent to 30% of the population. A total of 56 million people are fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 16.9% of the population. In the age group 65 and over, 28.5 million people are fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 52% of that population. But the US case count continues to rise and to a much higher level than desired. The United States added at least 77,718 new cases Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker, and at least 955 people died. The seven-day average is 65,574, 20% more than the 14-day average. Experts say those numbers are rising because some states have relaxed public safety measures, such as face mask mandates, and Americans are showing clear signs of pandemic fatigue. Don’t Miss: How 6 Feet Became 3: Meet An ER Doctor Behind Research Showing Children Are Still Safe At School With New Social Distancing Standard CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky earlier this week made an emotional plea to Americans to be careful now that there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines. See now: Americans have grown tired of wearing masks and social distancing before; Here’s what happened next In other news: • The FDA is investigating what caused a lot of the active ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to be discarded for failing to meet quality standards at a manufacturing facility by contract, the Wall Street Journal reported: citing a person familiar with the matter. The FDA may send an inspection team to assess the situation at the Baltimore plant operated by contractor Emergent BioSolutions Inc. EBS, -13.40%, the person said. Regulatory scrutiny follows J & J’s disclosure on Wednesday that a batch of the main ingredient for its COVID-19 vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant did not meet standards. The batch did not reach the vial filling and finishing stage and no doses were distributed. • England has added four more countries to its travel ban ‘red list’ as of 4am on Friday. Travelers who have visited Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines in the past 10 days will be denied entry to the UK, The Guardian reported. British or Irish citizens and those with residency rights will be allowed in, but must be quarantined in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. See also: Vaccines are here. That is no reason to suspend the search for effective COVID-19 treatments.

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One year after the coronavirus pandemic, many schools are only partially open for fear that they could fuel the spread of the virus. Experts explain what the real risks are of spreading Covid-19 in schools and how proper controls can change that equation. Illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal

• Australia is investigating whether a blood clotting case recorded on Friday is related to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, Reuters reported, citing a health official. The news has raised concern as the AstraZeneca vaccine is the one most Australians are expected to receive and comes after several European countries temporarily halted use of that vaccine for the same reason. A 44-year-old man was admitted to a Melbourne hospital with clotting days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, suffering a severe thrombosis and a low platelet count, or blood cells that stop bleeding. • Virginia has become the latest state to open its vaccine program to people 16 and older since April 8, the Washington Post reported, citing Gov. Ralph Northam. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has said he hopes to open that state’s program at age 16 and up “in a few days.” Hogan, a Republican, had previously said that Maryland residents over the age of 16 would be eligible to begin receiving vaccinations on April 27. President Joe Biden promised to open vaccine eligibility to all Americans by May 1. • The French and German governments urge their citizens to stay home for the upcoming Easter holidays as they struggle to contain a new wave of COVID infections, according to media reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans not to mix with other people as Germany faces a third wave, CNBC reported. France, meanwhile, has been forced to cancel a series of summer festivals and events for the second year in a row, because its hospitals are rapidly filling up with patients, as reported by AFP. Don’t Miss: Don’t Laminate Your COVID Vaccination Card Before Doing These 5 Things Latest Figures The global death toll from COVID rose above 2.8 million on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. At least 73.5 million people have recovered from COVID, the data shows. The United States continues to lead the world in number of cases, with 30.5 million, and deaths, with 553,138. Brazil ranks second worldwide in cases with 12.8 million and also second with a death toll of 325,284. India ranks third in the world in cases with 12.3 million and fourth in deaths with 163,396. Mexico ranks third for deaths with 203,664 and 13th highest for cases with 2.2 million. The UK has 4.4 million cases and 127,006 deaths, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 101,772 confirmed cases and 4,841 deaths, according to its official figures. What does the economy say? Restaurants and other businesses hired the most workers in March in seven months, as the US added 916,000 new jobs, indicating the economy is poised for a period of rapid expansion again, Jeffry Bartash reported. from MarketWatch. Employment accelerated after the weather warmed and a decline in coronavirus cases allowed states to relax trade restrictions. Rising vaccination rates gave Americans more freedom to venture out to eat, attend a game, or engage in other activities that they would have avoided at the height of the pandemic. The massive federal stimulus, including checks for $ 1,400 for most households, also gave people more money to spend. The March job explosion easily beat Wall Street forecasts. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal have forecast an increase of 675,000. Hiring in February and January was also much stronger than previously reported. Read: US Adds 517,000 Private Sector Jobs, ADP Says, As Economy Speeds Up Economists predict even faster hiring in the coming months if most Americans get vaccinated and the coronavirus wears off, though it will take a while to know for sure. Covid-19 cases have increased slightly in recent weeks for the first time in several months. Read: Consumer Confidence Soars To Pandemic High The official unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell to 6% from 6.2%, the Labor Department said on Friday. However, the official rate does not capture more than 4 million people who lost their jobs last year and left the workforce. Economists set the true unemployment rate above 9%. “Job growth is now accelerating across the country, helped by massive fiscal stimulus and a now-swift vaccination program,” said senior economist Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets. “While we still have a long way to go to repair the damage that was done to the economy last year, we are making good progress,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at the Independent Advisor Alliance The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, + 0.52% and S&P 500 SPX, + 1.18% closed higher on Thursday to end a shortened week. Markets are closed on Fridays due to the Good Friday holiday.