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FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, April 7, 2021
Following a dip in daily case numbers due to Easter Sunday, when many states did not report coronavirus data, a Johns Hopkins University tracker shows the US recorded about 79,000 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, with the seven-day average currently at 64,600, up from the nation’s low point of about 53,000 cases per day in late March but showing some signs of plateauing.
The only way to address the recent surge in cases in some US states like Michigan is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible while also not pulling back on Covid-19 mitigation strategies, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday, who warned that “It is premature to declare a victory,” and adding “We've got to continue and hang in there a bit longer by continuing with the public health measures.”
California, the first state to implement a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fully reopen the state’s activities and businesses beginning June 15, based on falling infection rates and low hospitalizations, Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday, but the mask mandate will remain in place, focused specifically on “high risk indoor settings.”
The Biden administration will provide guidance in the form of answers to frequently asked questions on vaccine credentials that are focused on concerns about privacy, security and discrimination soon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, adding that “As these tools are being considered by the private and nonprofit sectors, our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected and so the, so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”
Nearly 80% of teachers, school staff and child care workers have been given at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday, with Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky saying in a statement that “Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning.”
Fifty-five percent of Americans - a pandemic-era high - reported seeing family or friends in the last week, and half of parents say they are likely to get their children vaccinated, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that even though his job does not require it, he would feel comfortable flying right now if it was essential, but added people should, however, continue to avoid travel if they can, given the current level of infection in the US.
Moderna’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine shows robust antibody levels for at least six months, according to a research letter published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, with scientists finding that protective antibody activity remained high in all age groups of the 33 adults involved in the early-stage study, and younger adults seemed to have higher levels compared to the older groups.
The Covid-19 variant B.1.351, which originated in South Africa, shows increased resistance to both post-infection antibodies and two available vaccines, according to research published in a correspondence letter in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday.
A top vaccines official at the European Medicines Agency said on Tuesday that AstraZeneca’s vaccine was linked to blood clots in a small number of recipients while a clinical trial in Britain was halted, the first indications from a leading regulatory body and the vaccine’s developers that the clots may be a real, if extremely rare, side effect of the shot.
As many as one in three people infected with Covid-19 have longer term mental health or neurological symptoms, researchers reported Tuesday in a study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, with 34% of survivors receiving a diagnosis for a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their infection, and the most common diagnosis was anxiety, found in 17% of those treated, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients.
Global Covid-19 cases have risen for the sixth consecutive week, according to the World Health Organization’s Weekly Epidemiological Update today, and over the last week, more than four million new cases have been reported.
US stocks fell from record levels on Tuesday as the recent rally driven by signs of strong economic rebound took a pause, with the Dow dipping 96.95 points, or 0.3%, to 33,430.24, the S&P 500 fell 0.1% to 4,073.94, and the Nasdaq inched 0.1% lower to 13,698.38.
Nearly a quarter of all unemployed workers in the US – nearly 2.4 million Americans - have been out of work for at least a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a stretch of joblessness dating to the early days of the Covid pandemic, and a dynamic that speaks to persistent - and rising - long-term joblessness even as the national unemployment rate falls.
Vaccine Rollout - US
Nearly 169 million doses have been administered in the US, according to data published Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 77% of the 219,194,215 delivered and around 1.4 million more since yesterday, for a seven-day average of about 3 million shots per day.
Michigan public health officials say 246 people tested positive two weeks or more after becoming fully vaccinated and three have died, with two of the deaths occurring within three weeks of completing the vaccine and all three 65 or older.
Hawaii’s State Department of Health is currently determining when the state can open vaccine eligibility to people 16 and older, but has not yet committed to President Biden's new deadline of April 19.
Oregon residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to sign up for a vaccine starting on April 19, Governor Kate Brown announced Tuesday, with the state expecting to administer its two-millionth shot today.
California has administered over 7 million more vaccine doses than any other state, surpassing many other countries including France and Germany, about 70% of older residents have received at least one shot, and over 4 million doses have been administered in the state’s hardest hit communities.
New York City has administered more vaccinations than there are people in the entire state of Kentucky, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday, announcing a total of 4,601,756 doses given to date, and the city is now offering walk-up vaccination opportunities at 25 vaccine sites to anyone over the age of 75 with no prior appointments needed.
New York City announced the launch of mobile vaccination teams armed with one-shot, Johnson & Johnson vaccines that will target some of the hardest-to-reach residents, with vans and buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, bringing doses to communities most in need, including neighborhoods identified by the city’s Task Force for Racial Inclusion and Equity as being hardest-hit by the virus and histories of socio-economic disparity.
Contract manufacturer Catalent Inc said on Tuesday it had signed an agreement with Moderna Inc to increase the speed of vaccine production at its US facility.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday banning government-mandated “vaccine passports” in the state, saying vaccinations are voluntary and should not prevent residents from going about their daily lives.
California currently has no plan to impose or have a vaccine passport system, but certain businesses are already exploring the option of verifying that their customers are vaccinated.
Economy and Business
Nearly 2.4 million Americans were unemployed 52 weeks or more in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost double the number in February and about 1.6 million more people than in March 2020.
People are wishing they’d learned more about money in school - especially during the pandemic, and nearly half of respondents said that having more financial literacy education would have helped them manage their money better through the Covid outbreak, according to a study from D.A. Davidson that was done online and surveyed 1,047 US adults March 29 to 30.
Garment workers in factories producing clothes and shoes for companies like Nike, Walmart and Benetton have seen their jobs disappear in the past 12 months, as major brands in the US and Europe canceled or refused to pay for orders after the pandemic took hold and suppliers resorted to mass layoffs or closures, and while there are legally mandated severance benefits that are often owed upon termination, wherever the workers are in the world, according to a new report from the Worker Rights Consortium workers are being denied some or all of these wages.
Taco Bell plans to hire at least 5,000 workers in a single day later this month when the Mexican-inspired food chain temporarily converts restaurant parking lots into job fairs, with on-the-spot interviews that will take place at nearly 2,000 company and franchise-owned locations across the US on April 21, the company announced Tuesday, an annual hiring event that is being done differently for a second year in a row due to the ongoing pandemic.
Norwegian Cruise Line wants to start US cruises again on July 4, and it's willing to require all passengers and staff to be vaccinated before it sets sail, with the company, which despite its name is a US-based company, sending a letter Monday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notifying it of its proposal - the first major American cruise line to lay out plans for a resumption of US sailings.
Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Tuesday he expects the economy will be back on track in two to three months, as an accelerating nationwide vaccination program gets people back to work and revives activity.
Spain tourist arrivals plummeted 93.6% year-on-year in February as visitors stayed away from bars and beaches in what is usually the world's second most visited country.