FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, May 5, 2021

May 05, 2021

Headlines

  • President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the next phase of his vaccination rollout and set a new goal of administering at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to 70% of the US adult population with 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4, saying "We're going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated.” 
  • The US needs to reach 80% herd or community immunity or the nation could be in store for another surge in the coronavirus pandemic this winter, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory committee, said Tuesday.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine in children and teens ages 12 to 15 by early next week according to government officials, and Pfizer said Tuesday it expects to submit for emergency use authorization for children ages 2 to 11 in September.
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that in addition to testing a third dose as a booster against variants, the company is also working on a version of the vaccine that specifically targets the B.1351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa, with efficacy data for both expected to be available in early July.
  • High-risk groups such as the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are expected to be the first in line to get booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer said Tuesday.
  • So far, about 145 million adults - about 56% of the adult population in the US - have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an average of about 882,000 adults being added to the total each day over the past week.
  • The Biden administration is still undecided on how to support or deploy a coronavirus “health passport," citing concerns about accessibility and equity, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday, explaining “We have concerns with respect to accessibility to such a passport,” but adding they are still “considering all options.”
  • COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and experts warn deaths could more than double from current levels and that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible,” with the official count of cases surpassing 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000, and as staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
  • Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said Tuesday that about 1 in 3 eligible Canadians have had at least one shot, more than 16.8 million doses have arrived in the country and more than 14 million have been administered to date, and they are on track to provide at least two million doses per week for each week in May and that number is expected to increase in June.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday it is experiencing a spike in reports of unruly airplane passengers and has received about 1,300 such reports since February, with the agency saying it has begun the process of fining passengers in about 20 cases.
  • Goldman Sachs told workers in the US and the United Kingdom on Tuesday that the bank wants them ready to return to the office by mid-June as Covid-19 cases in those nations decline, a move that makes the New York firm one of Wall Street’s first major banks to recall wide swaths of employees.
  • The US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland on Monday seized freevaccinecovax.org, which purported to be the website of an actual biotechnology company and used trademarked logos from Pfizer, the World Health Organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in order to allegedly steal user’s personal information "in order to use the information for nefarious purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.”

US Restrictions & Schools

  1. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who tested positive in July, lifted the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration effective Tuesday, citing data that shows declining new cases and hospitalizations.
  2. Florida local officials are voicing their outrage over Governor Ron DeSantis' suspension of all local COVID-19 emergency orders - with the St. Petersburg mayor warning his county may never hit herd immunity, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava saying “I’m deeply concerned by this decision.”
  3. San Francisco has largely beaten the coronavirus pandemic by avoiding it, while Los Angeles was nearly beaten by it during a deadly winter surge, but both emerged simultaneously Tuesday as the first urban areas in California to reach the least-restrictive tier for businesses to reopen, with the state’s signature cities meeting infection and vaccine thresholds to allow indoor bars to welcome people again, larger crowds to cheer on Major League Baseball’s Dodgers and Giants, and expanded capacity at restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks, gyms and other establishments.
  4. Brookline, Massachusetts is still implementing a more restrictive mask mandate even though the state is no longer requiring outdoor mask-wearing, with Dr. Swannie Jett, the town's director of Health and Human Services, saying the decision to keep the mandate is out of an abundance of caution.
  5. New York City Public Schools released its calendar for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, and with it came an announcement that instead of school being canceled for snow days, they will shift students to remote learning on those days.

Economy and Business

  1. Pfizer said Tuesday that it expects global sales of its coronavirus vaccine to reach $26 billion in 2021, a milestone that would make it the biggest-selling pharmaceutical product in the world and helps illustrate why Pfizer is planning to expand use of mRNA technology for other vaccines and therapies.
  2. India and the United Kingdom struck new commercial trade and investment deals worth £1 billion (nearly $1.4 billion) that will create more than 6,500 United Kingdom jobs and include a £240 million (nearly $334 million) investment in the country by the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.
  3. Hotels across the US were at 59% occupancy for April, up from 45% in February, according to STR.
  4. American Airlines plans to fly more than 90% of the number of flights it flew in 2019, and is adding service from its Austin hub to popular destinations including Orlando, Tampa and New Orleans.
  5. The gaming areas at Wynn and Encore are now open at 100% occupancy and plexiglass dividers are no longer needed, Wynn Resorts announced on Monday, after being granted permission by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to amend its occupancy and physical distancing rules because 88% of employees had been vaccinated as of May 1.
  6. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced Tuesday it is cleared to operate its casino at 100% capacity after meeting vaccination goals for its employees, with the company committing more than a million dollars in cash bonuses to its employees as an incentive to be vaccinated by May 8.