FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, March 23, 2021
- New cases of Covid-19 are once again on the rise across more than half of the US and the recent drop in hospitalizations is slowing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Monday, adding that she's worried the country could see "another avoidable surge" of Covid-19 sparked by variants if mitigation measures – such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowds or travel – are not followed.
- The White House is encouraging governors, as well as the private sector, to maintain or reimpose coronavirus restrictions as new case rates remain high and some states are lifting guidelines, with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky saying Monday the administration is working to “slow down the relaxation” but some states have lifted restrictions on restaurant capacity and other retail businesses in recent weeks, with some states relaxing mask mandates.
- About 1 in 4 people in the US - nearly 83 million people - have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 1 in 8 - about 45 million people - have been fully vaccinated, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Monday shows.
- More than two-dozen travel-industry groups are urging the Biden administration to lift international travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals and other measures to revive demand for trips, and Airlines for America - which represents most large U.S. carriers, as well as the largest flight attendant union, hotel and airport associations and the US Chamber of Commerce - called on the White House to come up with a “roadmap” by May 1 toward rescinding travel bans that have devastated international air travel with Europe.
- DoorDash announced Monday it will begin same-day deliveries of US Food and Drug Administration authorized Covid-19 PCR tests across the US, and in a new release the online food and product delivery platform says it teamed up with digital health companies Vault Health and Everlywell, giving consumers access to “two COVID-19 home collection kits that received FDA Emergency Use Authorization.”
- Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for coronavirus response, said Monday that global cases of Covid-19 have risen for the fifth consecutive week, and that the agency is seeing worrying trends in Europe, as well as number of areas, with four of the five regions reporting an increase in transmission.
- Germany is extending its lockdown until April 18 and calling on citizens to stay at home for five days over the Easter holidays to try to break a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said early on Tuesday.
- Ontario, Canada’s largest province, declared it was at the beginning of a third wave of the pandemic Monday, pointing to increasing case counts, hospitalizations and variants of concern, sobering news for the majority of residents who have been in some state of lockdown since late last year.
- The second batch of Covid-19 stimulus checks will be issued this week, the Biden administration announced Monday, with many of the payments expected to come via paper check or prepaid debit card and additional batches will be made weekly going forward, according to a statement from the US Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
- Microsoft said that starting March 29 more employees can return to its Washington headquarters, with the company allowing employees who work at its Redmond sites and nearby campuses to choose between returning to work full-time, continuing to work remotely or implementing a hybrid model.
- Dealing with stress during the pandemic has caused physical changes for many Americans - some have gained undesired weight, and others have unintentionally lost weight, with a American Psychological Association's Stress in America pandemic survey that polled 3,013 adults in the US finding that the majority, 61%, experienced undesired weight changes, with forty-two percent of adults gaining more weight than they intended, of those, the amount they reported gaining averaged 29 pounds, and ten percent said they gained more than 50 pounds.
- Krispy Kreme launched a new program Monday to give a free doughnut to customers who present their coronavirus vaccine cards, a deal that started today and lasts through the rest of 2021, the North Carolina-based company announced in a release, with customers able to bring their valid coronavirus vaccination cards to any shop in the US every day for the rest of the year to get a free Original Glazed doughnut — one per day.
Vaccine Rollout - US
- More than 126.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the US, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 81% of the 156,734,555 doses delivered and about 2 million more doses reported administered since yesterday, for a seven-day average of about 2.5 million doses per day.
- Only about 1 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine were reported administered last week, accounting for only about 6% of the more than 17 million doses reported administered in the past seven days, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The White House would not confirm Monday whether Johnson & Johnson will deliver 20 million doses of its vaccine to states by the end of the month - which is a little more than a week away, but Andy Slavitt, White House Covid-19 senior adviser, said that he doesn't think the company will be far away from reaching the numbers it has projected.
- The Biden administration on Monday announced the creation of another federally-run community vaccination center, part of its continued efforts toward promoting vaccine equity, a drive-through site at the Central Washington State Fair Park in Yakima County, which will provide up to 1,200 shots per day and become the 22nd such federally-run site delivering a combined nearly 100,000 shots per day.
- Arizona residents aged 16 and above will be eligible to get a vaccine starting this Wednesday at state-operated sites in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services, with officials announcing the state has now administered 2,904,159 total doses and 1,136,413 residents are fully vaccinated, with 58,000 appointments available as of Monday morning.
- Ohio vaccine providers having trouble filling appointments can now open them up to anyone 16 and older, Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday.
- West Virginia will open vaccines eligibility to everyone in the state over the age of 16, Governor Jim Justice announced Monday.
- Wisconsin said Monday residents aged 16 and older with certain medical conditions can make an appointment to receive a vaccine, effective immediately, as the state is now reporting just over 2 million doses have been administered.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will allow individuals ages 50 and above to be eligible for a vaccine starting on Tuesday, lowering the current vaccine eligibility age from 65.
- Detroit’s chief public health officer Denise Fair announced this afternoon that anyone who is living or working in the city and has to report to a job site in person is now eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as Detroiters age 16 and older with disabilities or underlying medical conditions and their caretakers or guardians.
- New York City has administered 3,295,812 vaccines to date, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday, and added the city expects to see an increase in their supply beginning in April.
- Drug giant AstraZeneca hopes to be able to deliver 50 million doses of its vaccine within a month if it gains US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization, a top official said Monday.
- As of Sunday, the seven-day average of new cases in the US rose by 5% or more in 27 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with the total number of infections over the past week rising to more than 394,000, the first increase after declining for nine straight weeks, according to a Reuters analysis of state, county and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
- Newly reported cases in the US fell below 40,000, but the seven-day average edged higher for a second day in a row, signaling a rise in infections after a months long decline, with the Northeast logging some of the highest rates of infection per capita, led by New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
- The drop in US hospital admissions is stalling and has been relatively stable over the last two weeks, hovering around 4,500 to 5,000 admissions per day, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Monday, adding that “we are at a critical point in this pandemic, a fork in the road,” and after falling for 10 weeks nationally, the number of admitted patients is now rising in 18 states, up from four states the previous week.
- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice reported 276 new positive cases in the last 24 hours today, with 198 people hospitalized and 67 people in intensive care units, marking an increase to the numbers reported last Monday of 210 new positive cases, 151 people hospitalized, and 50 people in ICU.
- Detroit’s positivity rate in the last 10 days has jumped from about 2.8% to 6.3%, while hospitalizations have increased from 69 patients who tested positive a few weeks ago to 91 in the last 30 days, and the number of cases per million has been on the rise for the last seven days from 56 cases per day to more than double that at 123 cases - all of which could portend another spike in cases like the city saw last fall.
US Restrictions & Schools
- New Jersey will likely pause its reopening plans as cases begin to rise again in the state, Governor Phil Murphy said Monday, adding that he thinks things should improve as the weather gets warmer and more people in the state get vaccinated.
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced changes to health orders regarding visitations in nursing homes and assisted living facilities today that will allow visitation for residents, with vaccinated residents now allowed, when wearing a mask, to have physical touch with their visitors, residents can also have visitation in their private rooms and visitations must be allowed to be a minimum of 30 minutes long, the list of compassionate care visit examples has increased, vaccinated staff will be required to have regular Covid-19 testing once a week, and unvaccinated staff must be tested two times a week, but visitations will be limited if an outbreak occurs at a facility,
- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced Monday that all fairs and festivals in the state will be allowed to resume on May 1, but all mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing precautions will still be in place.
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said all 488 high schools under the Department of Education have now reopened for in-person learning across the city, with at least half of those schools providing in-person instruction five days per week, with city officials following the latest US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for a safe reopening.
- The Los Angeles Unified School District is launching a program to vaccinate family members of students early next month, an effort officials hope will convince more parents to allow their children to return to in-person learning, with Superintendent Austin Beutner saying the effort will initially be targeted at communities hardest hit by the virus and aims to address ongoing concerns among parents who are hesitant to send their children back to schools once they reopen.
Economy and Business
- The White House is reportedly considering splitting an estimated $3 trillion in economic recovery funds into one inequality bill and one infrastructure bill, one that would inject money into manufacturing, improving transportation systems and expanding broadband and reducing carbon emissions, and the other which would focus on reducing economic inequities through investments in paid leave, universal pre-K and community college.
- Despite being on the cusp of the historically busy spring housing market, homeowners are not listing their properties for sale at the pace they normally would this time of year, with the supply of homes for sale falling 29.5 percent year over year, the largest annual decline ever, to 1.03 million homes, according to the National Association of Realtors.
- The International Chamber of Shipping is warning that global supply chains are at risk if seafarers don’t have access to vaccines, according to a legal document expected to be published this week and which says that countries are requiring all crew member be vaccinated before allowing entry into their ports, with 200,000 seafarers currently stuck either at home or at sea waiting for a crew change