“The continued relaxation of prevention measures while cases are still high and while concerning variants are spreading rapidly throughout the United States is a serious threat to the progress we have made as a nation,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a White House briefing.
It wasn’t the first time Walensky had brought up such concerns and a chorus of other health experts have made a similar point: While vaccination numbers continue to climb, safety measures will be critical in the coming weeks to help curb another possible surge as dangerous variants spread across the country.
“It’s really very much a race,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN’s Christina Maxouris. “It could go either way,” he said. Hotez added that a combination of relaxing measures, allowing people to travel and new variants circulating in the country all threatened success.
In Indiana, a face-covering mandate will become a state mask advisory in most public places from April 6, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Tuesday. Decisions about venue capacity will be in the hands of local officials, and customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs will no longer be required to be seated. In Virginia, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase and certain sports and entertainment venues will be able to operate with extra capacity.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: When will kids and teens be vaccinated against Covid-19?
A: Most countries are not yet looking at vaccinating children on a wide scale against Covid-19, prioritizing adults, who are at greater risk of developing disease from the virus, in general. But for Americans, at least, it’s a reasonable question, as more than 44 million people in the country are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
AstraZeneca defends data as questions swirl over its latest snafu
Could the EU block vaccine exports to the UK?
AstraZeneca had set delivery targets for both the UK and the EU, but has failed to make good on tens of millions of doses to the 27-country bloc, which is struggling to roll out vaccination programs that will help reopen its economies. The company has said it is prioritizing the UK with doses produced in that country, but Brussels is angry that doses made in the EU are being sent across the Channel.
German leader Merkel apologizes and backtracks on Easter lockdown
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was rescinding an order to label several days over Easter “quiet” days, essentially scrapping a five-day hard lockdown she announced in the early hours of Tuesday, following a marathon session with state leaders. The country is battling a surge in infections.
Her initial orders were based on good intentions, she said at a hastily organized press conference at the German chancellory Wednesday, acknowledging the changes needed weren’t possible with such little notice. Merkel asked the nation for forgiveness and said the confusion over Easter was “singularly and alone my mistake.”
ON OUR RADAR
- To shave or not to shave? Growing a beard may seem harmless, but for some, choosing to not to shave could reduce the effectiveness of mask-wearing.
- ‘Like juggling bowling pins and chainsaws’: Kaylah Dessausure talks about the challenges of life as a single parent during the pandemic.
- Pelotons and iPads: To keep employees happy amid the stress and exhaustion of the pandemic, some Wall Street banks are handing out toys, gifts and perks.
- After living in a camper for a year to keep her family safe, this doctor has finally moved back home.
- Hong Kong and Macao have suspended their BioNTech coronavirus vaccine rollouts due to a packaging defect, as a precaution after they received a letter from the company and its Chinese partner indicating an issue with the seal on individual vials in one batch.
“This pandemic has basically been about ethics. It’s ethics at the front. It’s ideas about liberty, ideas about sharing, ideas about who goes first.” — Arthur Caplan, Director of Bioethics at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine