- The United States currently has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the world.
- More than 3 million people have died from the disease globally.
- The CDC says people who are vaccinated can meet indoors without taking physical distancing measures.
- Globally, there have been more than 143.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 3 million associated deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- The United States has reported more than 31.8 million confirmed cases.
- More than 569,000 people in the United States have died from the disease.
- More than 134.4 million people in the United States have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. More than 87.5 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Healthline updates this page on weekdays. For up-to-date information about the virus, go here.
President Joe Biden said today that the United States would reach more than 200 million COVID-19 shots administered since the start of his administration.
Biden had doubled his original promise of 100 million shots in his first 100 days as vaccinations picked up.
Today, he said the administration had met its expanded goal a week before his 100 days were up.
Pfizer identifies fake COVID-19 vaccines abroad
Pfizer said the first confirmed instances of counterfeit versions of its COVID-19 vaccine have been identified in Mexico and Poland, reported The Wall Street Journal.
It’s the latest attempt by criminals exploiting the worldwide vaccination campaign.
According to the Journal, vials seized by authorities in separate investigations were tested by Pfizer and confirmed to contain bogus vaccine.
Additionally, the vials recovered in Mexico also had fraudulent labeling. A substance inside vials found in Poland was likely an anti-wrinkle treatment, Pfizer said.
“Everybody on the planet needs it. Many are desperate for it,” Lev Kubiak, Pfizer’s world head of security, told the Journal. “We have a very limited supply, a supply that will increase as we ramp up and other companies enter the vaccine space. In the interim, there is a perfect opportunity for criminals.”
Kubiak also said he expects counterfeiting to worsen as the rollout continues. “Right now, consumers are easily fooled,” he said. “They are desperate for the vaccine.”
So far, no counterfeit vaccines have been discovered in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security, reported the Journal.
However, the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines and high demand could prompt people to seek doses outside official channels, particularly in countries like Mexico and Brazil.
COVID-19 cases are high in these countries, and there’s a history of counterfeiting prescription drugs, industry and security experts told the Journal.
According to CNN, in the past 7 days the United States reported more than 67,000 new COVID-19 cases daily on average, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
This is an almost 25 percent increase from last month’s 7-day average.
Experts say COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States are being distributed at an impressive rate, with all Americans 16 and older able to get the shot.
But a leading health official said the country remains in a “complicated stage,” reported CNN.
“More people in the United States are being vaccinated every single day at an accelerated pace,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle WalenskyTrusted Source said during a White House COVID-19 briefing yesterday, reported CNN.
“On the other hand,” she added, “cases and hospitalizations are increasing in some areas of the country, and cases among younger people who have not yet been vaccinated are also increasing.”
Experts told CNN that there are several reasons behind the rise in cases, including coronavirus variants, like B.1.1.7, which has helped fuel the current surge in Michigan.
“Pandemic fatigue” and more people moving around likely also contributed to the rise.
Rapid, at-home COVID-19 test available this week
Rapid COVID-19 tests will be available to consumers this week without a prescription. They will be sold by CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Walmart, reported USA Today.
Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW coronavirus self-test kits will be shipped to the three national chain retailers and also available online.
The two-test kit, which received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization for serial screening, will cost $23.99, the company said, reported USA Today.
Another rapid test made by Australia-based Ellume will be available at CVS stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for $38.99, but it can also be purchased online or at most CVS stores in other states by the end of May.
According to USA Today, both tests show results in about 15 minutes without requiring lab analysis.
Dr. Anthony FauciTrusted Source, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a series of interviews yesterday that the nationwide “pause” in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will likely end by Friday, April 23.
“By Friday, we should have an answer as to where we’re going with it,” Fauci said. “I would think that we’re not going to go beyond Friday in the extension of this pause.”
Fauci’s prediction that the one-shot vaccination would resume comes as the United States reached the milestone of having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the arms of roughly half the adult population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All adults in all 50 states now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
All adults in the United States are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, something public health experts say is a major step toward ending the current pandemic, reported The Hill.
According to The Hill, people 16 and older in every state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are eligible to receive one of the available COVID-19 vaccines as of today.
“It’s truly historic that we have already reached this milestone,” Dr. Nandita Mani, the associate medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Washington Medical Center, told The New York Times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 5,800 people out of 77 million vaccinated people developed COVID-19, reported CNN.
That’s 0.008 percent of the fully vaccinated people who were included in the study. The agency plans to update these figures every Monday.
CDC officials said these “breakthrough cases” are expected because the vaccines are not 100 percent effective.
White House to track variant spread
The Biden administration announced today that it’s setting up a $1.7 billion network to track the spread of coronavirus variants.
The plan includes increased funding for the CDC and U.S. states to help track these new variants.
It will also create partnerships with six universities to conduct research and develop technologies to combat COVID-19.
The chief executive officer of Pfizer said Thursday that people may need to get a third COVID-19 vaccination within 12 months of being full vaccinated.
Albert Bourla added that annual inoculations may be needed to prevent future spread of the disease.
Researchers still haven’t determined how long protection against the disease lasts after someone is vaccinated.
Blood clots rare in Moderna, Pfzier vaccines
A new study reports that the number of blood clot cases is about the same for the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and AstraZeneca vaccines. The study has not yet been peer reviewed.
The researchers said about 4 in 1 million people who get the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will develop blood clots. The rate is about 5 in 1 million for the AstraZeneca shot.
They note that about 39 in 1 million people who develop COVID-19 get blood clots.
India reports 1-day record in COVID-19 cases
India reported a record 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 today, becoming only the second country after the United States to reach this sobering single-day toll, reported The Washington Post.
These new cases have pushed India’s total cases to more than 14 million and turned the nation into the pandemic’s global epicenter with little indication the outbreak will slow.
In an effort to contain the COVID-19 surge, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced curfew-like restrictions on the movement of people in the state from April 14 to May 1, reported The Indian Express.
Under these orders, no person is allowed to be in a public place without a valid reason.
All establishments, public spaces, activities, and services will remain closed, except for essential services that can remain open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on working days.
A U.K. “mix and match” clinical trial has been expanded to include the Moderna and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines.
The initial trial began in February using AstraZeneca and then Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in the two doses administered to participants.
The expanded trial will add Moderna and Novavax along with Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca.
The purpose of the trial is to determine the effectiveness of mixing vaccines and whether there are any side effects.
More than 1,000 people are now participating in the trials.
Regular exercise may reduce risk of COVID-19
A new study conducted by Kaiser Permanente reports that being consistently active is strongly associated with a reduced risk of experiencing severe COVID-19.
The research, published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at more than 40,000 adults who contracted the coronavirus.
Researchers found that people who got at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity — exercise guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human ServicesTrusted Source — showed significantly lower rates of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death due to COVID-19.
“It is well known that immune function improves with regular [physical activity] and those who are regularly active have a lower incidence, intensity of symptoms and mortality from various viral infections,” the study authors wrote.
Researchers pointed out that regular exercise also reduces the risk of systemic inflammation, a main contributor to the lung damage caused by COVID-19.
They also found that exercise benefits cardiovascular health, can increase lung capacity and muscle strength, and even improve mental health.
Leaving middle seats open on airplanes may reduce COVID-19 risk
Researchers report that keeping middle seats vacant on larger airplanes can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A studyTrusted Source published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that open middle seats can reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus by 23 to 57 percent.
The researchers say vacant middle seats increase the distance between passengers and provide more protection against airborne particles from the coronavirus.