With the U.S. vaccination drive picking up speed and a third formula on the way, states eager to reopen for business are easing coronavirus restrictions despite warnings from health experts that the outbreak is far from over and that moving too quickly could prolong the misery.
The push to reopen comes as COVID-19 vaccine shipments to the states are ramping up. Nearly 20% of the nation’s adults — or over 50 million people — have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 10% have been fully inoculated 2 1/2 months into the campaign to snuff out the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Johnson & Johnson shipped out nearly 4 million doses of its newly authorized, one-shot COVID-19 vaccine Sunday night to be delivered to states for use starting on Tuesday. The company will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and a total of 100 million by the end of June.
That adds to the supply being distributed by Pfizer and Moderna and should help the nation amass enough doses by midsummer to vaccinate all adults. The White House is encouraging Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer.
In other developments:
- Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump received the COVID-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump adviser said Monday. It was not immediately clear which vaccine or how many doses each had received.
- Senate Democrats are considering reshaping parts of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the House. As they do, party leaders who are hoping to salvage a minimum wage increase have abandoned one proposal aimed at pressuring big companies to boost workers’ pay.
- According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. declined over the past two weeks, going from 90,946.7 on Feb. 14 to 67,364.9 on Sunday. In the U.S., 15.3% of the population had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 7.7% have completed their vaccination.
- The new head of the World Trade Organization is joining calls for pharmaceutical companies to share their coronavirus vaccine know-how and technology more broadly in the developing world, part of a growing demand for what many say is the only way to meet a huge global shortfall.
- Chinese health experts say China is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June.
- A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death.
- Milan Fashion Week of mostly womenswear previews for next fall and winter wrapped a nearly all-digital edition on Monday. And while the bustle of live shows with the parade of itinerant fashionistas decamping from New York to London, Milan and finally Paris was missed, designers also found new inspiration in the quiet.
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