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FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, April 20, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday that the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases is now at more than 67,443, up 1% from the prior seven-day average of 66,702, and four weeks ago, the seven-day average was 53,000 cases a day, with the agency’s Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky saying the US is in a “complicated stage” of the pandemic.
About 40% of the US population - more than 132 million people - have received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 26% of the population - more than 85 million people - is fully vaccinated, according to data updated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monday.
Federal health officials are investigating “a handful” of new, unconfirmed reports that have emerged after Johnson & Johnson injections were paused nationwide, to determine whether they might be cases of a rare, serious blood clotting disorder that caused the pause, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people who experience certain new symptoms after receiving Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine seek immediate medical treatment, including sudden, severe headache, backache, new neurological symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, tiny red spots on the skin, and new or easy bruising.
A Facebook group called "Survivor Corps" polled 962 COVID-19 long haulers and found 39% said they saw mild to full resolution of their lingering symptoms after they were vaccinated, 46% of people said they remained the same after their shot, and 14% said they felt worse.
The risk of surface transmission of Covid-19 is low, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, and far more important is airborne transmission.
Abbott Laboratories has started shipping its at-home, over-the-counter Covid-19 two-test pack to retailers across the US, the company said Monday, first available to buy at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart online and in some stores in the next few days for $23.99, and there should be broader availability in the next two weeks.
The State Department said Monday that it continues to urge Americans against traveling abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic and that it would begin to update its travel advisories to be more aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisories - an update that “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”
An analysis of the 3.8 million Russians who received both Sputnik V shots between December and March showed that the vaccine has 97.6% efficacy, the inoculation’s state-run developers said in a statement Monday, and the data, which compare the infection rate of people who received the shots with the incidence among the unvaccinated population, will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in May.
Global Covid-19 cases have increased for the eighth week in a row, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, and deaths also increased for the fifth straight week.
The second wave of Covid-19 cases in India has overwhelmed the health care system and resources are in severe shortage, with many Indians taking to social media sites like Twitter to request help for their coronavirus-positive relatives.
Airports in Australia and New Zealand were filled with emotional scenes on Monday as thousands of passengers were allowed to travel freely between the two countries for the first time in more than a year.
An NBA team has not celebrated a championship with a White House visit since 2016, and LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will not end that streak any time soon, with the White House saying today that “Due to covid restrictions and scheduling, we weren’t able to host them at the White House” for an upcoming game against the Washington Wizards at the end of April.
Vaccine Rollout - US
Nearly 212 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the US for an average of 3 million shots a day, despite a pause in delivering Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among US adults, 50.7% have received at least one shot and 33% are fully vaccinated, and among seniors, 80.1% have received at least one shot and about 65% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The fact that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received less than 6,000 reports of breakthrough Covid-19 cases among more than 84 million people fully vaccinated shows “these vaccines are working,” Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said today he anticipates that updated guidance on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could come in "days" and it may involve “restrictions around age or gender” depending on what the data shows.
Resuming the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine in the US will require clear guidelines for the medical community on how to best treat patients that develop a rare type of blood clot, as well as alerting vaccine recipients to be aware of the telltale symptoms, according to heart doctors and other medical experts.
New York City officials said that starting Friday the American Museum of Natural History will serve as a vaccination site, serving all residents but with appointments set aside for residents and staff of the New York City Housing Authority as well as members of District Council 37, the city’s largest public employee union that includes members who work in the city’s cultural institutions.
The US military will begin offering to vaccinate the detainees at Guantánamo Bay on Monday in an effort to protect troops stationed there and help restart the stalled war crimes hearings, an administration official with knowledge of the Pentagon plan said Monday.
New York state residents who say they don’t plan to get the vaccine dropped to 14% in April from 25% in January, according to a new Siena College poll out Monday.
As all Americans 16 years and older become eligible for the vaccine today, as the White House launched a media blitz to raise awareness about Americans' vaccine eligibility.
The White House is tracking reports of fake vaccination card schemes but remains focused on ramping up vaccinations, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.
The nation’s seven-day average has been above 60,000 every day since March 26, and the country is headed into critical weeks in the pandemic, public-health officials said Monday.
The seven-day average number of new infections eclipses the 14-day average in about half the country, with 40 states hitting that benchmark last Wednesday.
The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals rose 5% to more than 41,000 across the country, increasing for a third week in a row, according to a Reuters analysis, and deaths, which tend to lag infections by several weeks, fell 2.8% last week, excluding a backlog of deaths reported by Oklahoma.
President Biden’s top pandemic advisers indicated on Monday that preventive measures to keep the coronavirus at bay, including mask wearing, might need to continue while the threat of another virus surge looms.
Michigan continued to lead the states, with nearly twice as many new cases per 100,000 people last week as Rhode Island and New Jersey, the states with the next highest rates of infection based on population.
New York City’s positive test rate dipped below 5% for the first time in several months as of Friday, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday.
Baltimore officials said they are worried about a “deeply concerning” spike in new infections and deaths in the city, which have been steadily rising for several weeks, particularly among residents under 70.
The government’s confused effort to retrieve Americans overseas during the early weeks of the outbreak compromised the safety of the evacuees, federal employees and communities near where Americans returned to, according to a new report published on Monday by Congress’s nonpartisan watchdog.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo boosted the capacity at indoor venues starting April 26, with capacity at museums and zoos raised to 50%, and to 33% at movie theaters, and on May 19, capacity at large indoor arenas like Madison Square Garden will be increased to 25%.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont advised people to still be cautious and wear masks indoors, despite all restrictions ending in the state on May 19, and said that a mandate for guidance indoors will be determined closer to that date with the state legislature.
The District of Columbia will expand in-person learning when the fourth quarter of the academic year begins Monday, with the city’s wealthiest areas experiencing the biggest increase in seats.
Columbia and Yale on Monday joined a growing list of universities mandating that their students be inoculated before returning to campus in the fall.
Some colleges have offered incentives to be vaccinated, with Dickinson State University in North Dakota exempting vaccinated students from the campus mask mandate, and Davidson College in North Carolina giving employees who are vaccinated a $100 bonus.
Economy and Business
The most convulsively disruptive year in the history of the American performing arts did not deal knockout blows to the Washington region’s theater companies, and while a couple of fringe outfits closed, but to the exhausted consolation of theaters and the people who love them, the institutional casualties in the time of the coronavirus have been few.
A growing number of labor unions and companies are securing shots for their employees as eligibility widens, and some large companies such as Amazon are offering workplace vaccinations through licensed health care providers, while smaller outfits are booking appointments for workers at outside locations.
A number of New Yorkers who have received unemployment benefits during the pandemic were overpaid by mistake, and may have to return a portion of the money, the New York State Department of Labor said Monday, with the department alerting recipients with a text message and email late Friday afternoon.
Sales are steadily improving at Coca-Cola Co. as vaccinations allow for the opening of restaurants and offices in many regions globally, and as of March, case volumes had returned to 2019 levels, the beverage giant said Monday, with first-quarter volume growth particularly strong in China, which was locked down last year.
United Airlines will fly three new seasonal routes to Europe starting in July as the carrier tries to capitalize on business in destinations now open to Americans ready to fly internationally.