But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that even though fully vaccinated individuals are at lower risk of infection, travel is still not recommended due to the rising number of cases in the United States and globally.
The long-awaited guidance from the CDC is welcome news for the growing number of vaccinated adults who want greater freedom to visit family members and take vacations for the first time in a year.It is also expected to help boost the travel and airline industries that have been seeking a relaxation of restrictions.
Here are some significant developments:
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca faced new challenges to its coronavirus vaccine as Britain’s medicines regulator said that it found 30 cases of rare blood clots after the shot’s use. The company’s vaccine also has a new name in Europe: Vaxzevria.
A new government report says the United States spent $162 million getting Gilead’s covid-19 drug remdesivir to market but opted against seeking government patents because Gilead invented the experimental medicine years earlier.
Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease specialist, on Friday shrugged off recent attacks by some members of Congress, responding with a mild zinger that compared progress against the coronavirus during the Biden and Trump administrations.
The U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March, as vaccine distribution improved, Congress approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, and states across the country lifted restrictions on businesses.
Six in 10 parents say loss of sports affected kids’ emotional well-being
As youth sports teams and leagues canceled competition because of the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, 6 in 10 parents of young athletes say the disruptions have had a negative impact on their children’s emotional well-being and nearly two-thirds say their children are less happy, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.
The March nationwide survey of 341 parents of young athletes finds a vast majority say their kids faced sports shutdowns during the pandemic, with 82 percent saying that their children’s sports teams or leagues canceled a season because of coronavirus concerns. Of all parents whose children played sports before the pandemic, 64 percent say that their children’s athletic development had been hurt.
But many parents also say the closures had adverse mental ramifications for their kids. About two-thirds, 65 percent, say their children’s happiness had been negatively affected, and another 60 percent say the disruptions had served as a blow to their kids’ emotional well-being, as they were no longer able to compete or socialize with their peers.
Texas GOP candidate bashes Chinese immigrants over coronavirus: ‘I don’t want them here at all’
At a political forum on Wednesday,GOP congressional candidate Sery Kim falsely suggested that Chinese immigrants bring the coronavirus to the United States — and suggested that she opposes their entry to the country.
“I don’t want them here at all,” Kim, who is Korean American, told attendees,speaking of Chinese immigrants and China in general, the Dallas Morning News reported. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.”
Kim, 42, also argued that a rising surge in violence and threats against Asian Americans has been trumped up by the media, saying that “Asians have always faced violence. It’s not worse than before.”
Giant holds off on ordering vaccine as D.C. residents cancel appointments
Giant pharmacies in D.C. now have more coronavirus vaccine doses stockpiled than arms to put them in, a spokesman for the company said Friday — and the company has temporarily stopped ordering more doses from the federal government while it waits for the District to increase the appointments the city schedules at its stores.
“We have more than we can give out at the moment,” Giant spokesman Daniel Wolk said.
While residents can schedule their own appointments at Giant stores in some states, the grocery chain does not offer that option in the District, instead scheduling patients exclusively through the city’s registration portal. Wolk praised the city’s centralized system as fair and efficient; D.C. aims to avoid the headaches that residents in other states have encountered, checking multiple providers’ websites at all hours of the day.
With infections rising, hope collides with dread
When Laura Forman arrived at work a few weeks ago, something was missing. The refrigerated truck for bodies that had overflowed Kent Hospital’s morgue during the covid-19 surge was gone.
“Coming up to the hospital and seeing that space where it had been, I cried,” said Forman, the physician who heads the Warwick, R.I., hospital’s emergency department. “It was the most powerful symbol of hope.”
But this week, hope gave way, yet again, to concern. The rate of coronavirus infections is rising again — in Rhode Island and across the nation. It is clouding the success of the U.S. vaccination program, at least for now.
You’re vaccinated and ready to travel. Here’s your pre-trip checklist.
After a year of bad news, travelers finally have something to look forward to again. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light that fully vaccinated people can travel again.
The long-awaited guidance is welcome news for travelers who want to visit family and take vacations for the first time in more than a year.
But even though nearly 100 million Americans have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, we are not out of the woods yet. Officials are still not recommending travel for everyone due to the rising number of cases in the United States and globally.
When we venture out again, travel will not look the same as it did in 2019.
AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine gets a new name
AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine has a new name in Europe: Vaxzevria.
Until now, recipients had to call it by the drug company’s name. If they were feeling wordier, they might add “Oxford,” since researchers from that university helped create it. But there was no catchy brand name to use either to praise it for helping bring Britain’s spiraling pandemic under control, or to worry about the rare blood clots that some people may have developed after being inoculated.
An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said the new brand name had been planned for months, suggesting that the change had nothing to do with the vaccine’s bumpy rollout. The European Union has complained that AstraZeneca delivered just a third of what it promised since the beginning of the year, and some countries have suspended its use as they investigate the blood clotting issues.
The spokeswoman, Kim Blomley, did not explain in an emailed response to a request for comment what the brand name was intended to evoke or whether the company intended to use the same name in the U.S. market if the vaccine wins U.S. approval, which is still in process. Oddly, the name “Zevria” was trademarked in the United States by AstraZeneca rival Pfizer in 2003, then abandoned the following year.
The brand name may not ultimately hold much significance. Pfizer’s vaccine is technically called Comirnaty in the E.U., but few people would recognize that name.
Fauci shrugs off criticism and suggestion his salary be lowered to zero
Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, said Friday he tries to ignore attacks by some members of Congress but responded with a mild zinger that compared progress against the coronavirus during the Biden and Trump administrations.
Answering a question during Friday’s media briefing, Fauci said efforts to tarnish him are “a reflection … I guess, of concern about what we’re doing now, compared to what was done before.” Fauci also served on the task force under Trump but was eventually sidelined by the president in favor of other advisers who more closely agreed with Trump’s positions on the pandemic.
Friday’s question, which noted that Fauci has recently “been vilified by certain members of Congress,” appeared to refer to a bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to lower Fauci’s salary to zero or fire him. Forbes has reported that Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, earned more than $417,000 in 2019, making him the highest-paid public official in the federal government. Greene pegged Fauci’s salary at more than $434,000.
In February, the House stripped Greene of her committee posts over extremist positions she has supported, including adherence to the violent and baseless assertions of the group QAnon.
The 80-year-old Fauci, who polls show is one of the nation’s most trusted officials on the pandemic, said he deals with attacks “by trying to the best of my ability to not pay attention to it. … If I start worrying about the slings and arrows that get thrown at me, it would be a distraction. And I tend to not want to be distracted. That’s how I deal with it.”
CDC says fully vaccinated U.S. citizens are low-risk to travel
Federal health officials gave the green light Friday for fully vaccinated people to resume travel as an estimated 100 million Americans have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and evidence mounts of the shots’ effectiveness.
The long-awaited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is welcome news for the growing number of vaccinated adults who want greater freedom to visit family members and take vacations for the first time in a year.It is also expected to help boost the travel and airline industries that have been seeking a relaxation of restrictions. Until Friday’s announcement, officials were still discouraging people who had been fully vaccinated from traveling.
The agency updated its guidance because of several newly released studies documenting the strong real-world effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines in protecting against infection and spread of the virus, and the rapid pace of vaccinations, now close to 3 million people a day.
Europe heads into locked-down Easter weekend amid contradictory messages from leaders
Europe headed into its second locked-down Easter weekend on Friday amid fears that family gatherings could fuel a growing new wave of coronavirus infections with vaccinations still lagging.
European societies tend to be more secular than the United States — but many countries still take Good Friday and Easter Monday as national holidays, giving citizens a four-day vacation and a chance to gather with families. This year, leaders are balancing fears of spiraling infections with demands from exhausted populations who are struggling after a year of on-and-off lockdowns.
The result has been a chaos of contradictions, with policymakers tightening restrictions but also suggesting that they will turn a blind eye to people who violate the rules to take a break.
In France, a new national lockdown will take effect Saturday, with hospitals filling anew with an ever-younger cohort of people suffering from covid-19. French residents will be banned from traveling more than six miles from their homes without sworn declarations that they meet a limited number of exceptions. But President Emmanuel Macron said that authorities would extend “tolerance” to people traveling farther during the holiday weekend.
In Germany and Italy, there are tight limits on who can gather, and Italians are not allowed to move around inside their country. But leaders of both countries have allowed citizens to travel abroad, prompting concern that people will spread infections abroad or bring them home afterward.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had an especially tortured lead-up to the Easter weekend, agreeing with regional leaders last week to impose a strict holiday-weekend lockdown before reversing course, apologizing but continuing to tell citizens to be careful.
“It should be a quiet Easter, with those closest to you,” Merkel said Thursday.
San Marino stokes envy with speedy Russian-supplied vaccine campaign
SAN MARINO — Just weeks ago, the nation of San Marino was in a panic. It stood as the lone country in Western Europe without a supply of coronavirus vaccines. Its hospital employees, still unprotected, were threatening to no longer enter covid wards. One parliamentarian called the situation “dangerous.” Another said the long wait for vaccines was costing “human lives every day.”
San Marino’s solution, the country’s leaders now say, was driven by that moment of alarm. Seeking emergency help, it turned to Russia — and Russia swiftly obliged. An initial batch of Sputnik V doses was soon on the way, escorted by police. Health-care workers received the first jabs. San Marino now expects to cover its entire adult population of 29,000 by the end of May.
“We simply made a choice out of necessity,” San Marino’s foreign minister, Luca Beccari, said in an interview.
Vaccine passports are here — but they need to be standardized to be useful
SAN FRANCISCO — Coming soon to your smartphone: Digital codes that afford you access to airplanes, concert venues and even restaurants.
Vaccine passports are new apps that will carry pieces of your health information — most critically your coronavirus vaccination status. They may soon be required to travel internationally or even to enter some buildings.
But a growing list of tech companies, governments and open-source software groups are all attempting to tackle the problem, prompting some concerns about a lack of a standard approach that would make it possible to carry around just one pass.
Plus, apps would need to pull and verify your vaccination records in an easy, safe and controlled format. And wide adoption would require the majority of countries, airlines and businesses to agree on one (or two or three) accepted standards.
With covid protocols, a Caribbean fly-fishing haven is back in business
By Chris Santella
For some, the notion of an isolated, utterly private Caribbean atoll may conjure up fantasies of tropical indolence — chaise longues on a white-sand beach, umbrella drinks and perhaps a paperback.
There are chaise longues and umbrella drinks available at Turneffe Flats. But most days the chairs are empty, as visitors come to explore the wonders of the most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere by fly-fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
Turneffe Flats sits on Turneffe Atoll, a 300-square-mile series of hundreds of palm-fringed islands, endless mangroves, clear lagoons and unbroken reefs — the very picture of pristine Caribbean beauty. It’s roughly 30 miles east of Belize City and is part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, the second-longest barrier reef in the world, stretching 600 miles from Mexico to Honduras. According to Oceanic Society, the habitat here is home to more than 500 fish species and 65 stony corals, as well as manatees, saltwater crocodiles and many other animals that may be encountered during a day’s adventures.
D.C.’s hospitality workforce bears brunt of economic losses due to lack of visitors
For a year, the coronavirus pandemic kept tourists and business travelers alike away from the nation’s capital. Their absence bankrupted hundreds if not thousands of businesses, sent unemployment soaring and zapped the vibrancy of a city known as a global destination.
And now, as the overall economy is slated for booming growth and visitors slowly return to the District, businesses that depend on travel may be some of the last to fully recover. For many of the District’s employees, leaders and experts warn, that may mean a frustratingly slow return to normal.
Before the pandemic, the District’s population swelled by around 500,000 people each workday, with about one-third of that growth attributed to tourists, conventioneers and business travelers, according to the city’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer. Over the past 10 years, an increasing share of the jobs in the Washington region have been in the hospitality sector.
HBO documentary shows hardship facing crew on pandemic-hit cruise ship
As the novel coronavirus tore through the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan early last year, passengers confined to their rooms grappled with boredom, inconsistent room service, uncertainty and fear.
But as the new HBO documentary “The Last Cruise” illustrates, the ship’s crew members had no time to be bored. They were hard at work, often close together, and sharing living quarters with shipmates who were falling ill.
“We felt like only the rich would be taken care of,” Maruja Daya, a pastry chef and single mother of two, says in the documentary. “It’s not only the passengers who are threatened by this virus, so why are we still working?”