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N.Y. Hospitalizations Fall; U.S. Shots Go Unused: Virus Update

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Many U.S. states and cities have a growing surplus of Covid-19 vaccines, a sign that in some places demand is slowing before a large percentage of the population has been inoculated, according to a Bloomberg analysis. New York state hospitalizations dropped below 4,000 for the first time since Dec. 1. New Hampshire became the latest state to lift its mask mandate.

The U.S. has found 5,800 “breakthrough” cases of Covid-19, in which a fully vaccinated person was infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The nation has fully vaccinated more than 75 million people.

France surpassed 100,000 virus deaths. India reported more than 200,000 new infections on Thursday -- its highest one-day surge since the pandemic broke out.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 138.6 million; deaths exceed 2.97 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 848 million shots given worldwide
  • Pfizer, BioNTech to boost EU vaccine supply this quarter: Chart
  • Blood clots, anaphylaxis and other vaccine fears: QuickTake
  • Covid is much deadlier in Brazil than India and no one knows why
  • Which vaccine is best, and other questions answered (Video)

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

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U.S. Reports 5,800 Infections Among Vaccinated (4:25 p.m. NY)

The U.S. has found 5,800 “breakthrough” cases of Covid-19, in which a fully vaccinated person was infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The nation has fully vaccinated more than 75 million people.

Breakthrough infections occurred among all ages but more than 40% were 60 years and older. A third of the cases were asymptomatic, and almost two thirds were female. Seven percent were hospitalized and 1% died.

“Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated,” the agency said. “CDC also continues to recommend people who have been fully vaccinated should keep taking precautions in public places, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often.”

New Hampshire Lifts Mask Mandate (4 p.m. NY)

Governor Chris Sununu said New Hampshire’s mask mandate will end on Saturday, citing declining fatalities and hospitalizations. He said that localities and private businesses could continue to require masks. “New Hampshire residents know how to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe without a state mandate,” the Republican governor tweeted on Friday.

New Hampshire’s new cases have ticked up recently, according to data from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University. Just over half of U.S. states have mask mandates in place.

Portugal to Ease More Curbs (2:59 p.m. NY)

Portugal will continue to gradually ease confinement measures as planned, with secondary schools and more stores allowed to reopen from Monday in most of the country. Controls on the land border with Spain remain in place for now, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

The number of daily coronavirus infections in Portugal eased in February and March after the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks in January. Nursery schools reopened on March 15 as the government started to lift restrictions.

Colorado Urges Testing as Cases Swell (1:36 p.m. NY)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment appealed to residents to test for Covid-19 as a fourth wave of the disease sweeps the state. “As we’ve seen vaccine rates go up, in some areas we’ve started to see testing numbers go down,” Scott Bookman, state incident commander, said during an online briefing Thursday. “Testing can help to slow the spread of this virus.” Colorado has allowed cities and counties to ease local health restrictions and Denver lifted its outdoor mask mandate Wednesday.

N.Y. Hospitalizations Fall (1:02 p.m. NY)

New York state hospitalizations for Covid-19 dropped below 4,000 for the first time since Dec. 1.

The seven-day average rate of positive test results dropped to 3.05%, the lowest since Nov. 25, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in a statement. New York City’s average positivity is 3.33% with Staten Island reporting the highest rate among the five boroughs, at 4.29%.

The state reported 6,884 new positive cases, in line with its seven-day average. At that pace, New York should top 2 million cases in the next week.

More than 50% of New Yorkers 18 years and older have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, Cuomo said in a separate statement. More than one in three in that age group have been fully vaccinated.

France Passes 100,000 Deaths (12:44 p.m. NY)

France on Thursday became the latest country to record more than 100,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

The threshold was reached after 300 fatalities were registered over the past 24 hours, bringing the official toll to 100,077, a spokeswoman for the French public health authority said by phone. The country now has the eighth-highest total number of coronavirus deaths in the world.

It’s a humbling moment for President Emmanuel Macron, who refused to lock down the country for a third time in January despite calls to do so from the medical community and the government’s own scientific advisory committee.

Disney Cruises Suspended Through June (11:51 a.m. NY)

Disney Cruise Line U.S. departures through June 2021 are suspended, the company said in a post on its website.

“We are carefully reviewing the most recently released guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working toward resuming operations. As we continue to refine our protocols for our eventual return to service, we are cancelling all Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder sailings departing through June 2021”

Maine Cases Jump (11:28 a.m. NY)

Maine reported 588 new cases, the highest number since January amid a surge in cases among younger unvaccinated people, state health data shows. People in their 20s now make up almost 19% of new cases, compared with 8% at the start of the year. Maine opened vaccinations to all people 16 years and older earlier this month, though relatively few people have taken them compared with older residents.

Norway Advised to Drop Astra (10:43 a.m. NY)

Norway has been told to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine, as the country’s top health authority judges the risk of blood clots unacceptable.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health “has recommended stopping further use of” Astra’s vaccine, it said in a statement on Thursday. The announcement came just a day after Denmark became the first European nation to cut Astra from its inoculation plan.

Google to Fund Vaccine Programs (10:42 a.m. NY)

Google announced a series of pledges on Thursday to fund and promote coronavirus vaccines across the globe, including $250 million in advertising grants for pro-vaccination groups.

Through its philanthropy arm, Google will pay for 250,000 shots in “low and middle-income countries,” as classified by Google’s partner Gavi, a charity focused on vaccine distribution. Google is also committing $2.5 million for pop-up vaccination sites and related efforts in Black, Latino and rural U.S. communities.

U.S. Vaccine Surplus Grows (10:15 a.m. NY)

Many U.S. states and cities have a growing surplus of Covid-19 vaccines, a sign that in some places demand is slowing before a large percentage of the population has been inoculated, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News.

The data indicate as many as one in three doses are unused in some states. Appointments for shots often go untaken, with few people signing up.

Bloomberg analyzed state and U.S. data from Monday, providing a snapshot of vaccine use before Johnson & Johnson shelved millions of shots pending federal health officials’ investigation into rare cases of blood clots. That pause will likely cause the number of unused shots to fluctuate, but will little change comparisons of states.

Shots Piling Up

More than 30% of Covid vaccine doses have yet to be used in some states

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data compiled by Bloomberg

Note: Supply data are moving averages calculated as of April 12. They represent the percentage of doses delivered to a state but not yet logged as used.

Vaccine Woes Threaten Africa (7:03 a.m. NY)

New waves of Covid-19 infections could derail the economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa, which is already forecast to lag the rest of the world this year amid limited access to vaccines, the International Monetary Fund warned.

In its regional economic outlook released on Thursday, the IMF said growth projections are subject to “greater-than-usual uncertainty” given the risks of further Covid-19 shocks in the continent, which relies on a World Health Organization-led initiative to provide vaccines, known as Covax.

Clot Risk Higher With Covid Than Vaccine (6:49 a.m. NY)

The risk of blood clots among those who’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19 is higher than among those who’ve received vaccines against the disease, according to a new study from the University of Oxford.

Covid patients saw a clot risk of 39 in a million. That compared with four in a million in mRNA vaccines like those developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SEor Moderna Inc., and five in a million people after AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine. Though the analyses for the three vaccines are based on different data sets, making comparisons difficult, the study suggests that the risk of a clot among those with the disease is about eight to 10 times higher than after vaccination.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel says the company’s Covid-19 vaccine booster, which is currently undergoing clinical trials, should be available by fall. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.”

Source: Bloomberg

Merck Setback Limits Study of Covid Pill (6:46 a.m. NY)

Merck & Co. halted development of two experimental drugs for patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and began a final trial of one of them, its highly anticipated antiviral pill, for people with milder disease after getting mixed results about the medicine’s benefits.

The pill known as molnupiravir reduced virus levels in patients during a mid-stage study but didn’t show a meaningful benefit in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, the Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company said in a statement. It decided to discontinue its development for the sickest patients, those hospitalized with the infection, after the trial showed it was unlikely to help them.

Vaccine Production Nears 2 Billion (6:37 a.m. NY)

After Covid-19 vaccine production surpassed 1 billion doses this week, the world could produce the next billion in a little more than a month, according to a forecast from Airfinity Ltd., the London-based research company.

At the same time, a delay to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could push European Union efforts to vaccinate three-quarters of its population back to December, from the end of September, Airfinity estimates. J&J’s vaccine is under scrutiny because of a rare clotting disorder arising in a small number of patients, similar to one seen with AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine.

German Hospitals Near Breaking Point (5:39 p.m. HK)

Germany’s health-care system is getting stretched to the brink, with many hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and rising case numbers pointing to tougher days ahead.

The occupancy rate in intensive-care units rose to 88% on Wednesday, the highest in more than a year. Some hospitals need to “significantly reduce” elective procedures and relocate stable patients to other parts of the country to cope, said Lothar Wieler, head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute public health agency.

“The situation is getting dramatically worse,” Wieler said at a press conference Thursday as Germany reported 31,117 new cases, the most since mid-January.

relates to N.Y. Hospitalizations Fall; U.S. Shots Go Unused: Virus Update

A healthcare worker checks a Covid-19 patient’s vital signs in the ICU ward at the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

Photographer: Andreas Gebert/Bloomberg

Greece to Lift Visitor Quarantine (4:09 p.m. HK)

Greece plans to lift a seven-day compulsory quarantine for visitors from the European Union and five other countries including the U.S. and U.K. as of next week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The April 19 move is part of a gradual re-opening of a tourism sector that’s one of the country’s most important, said the person, who asked not to be named as the decision hasn’t been announced. The industry accounts for about a fifth of the Greek economy and more than a quarter of jobs.

— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Kati Pohjanpalo, Misha Savic, Morten Buttler, James Paton, Iain Rogers, Vincent Del Giudice, and Stacie Sherman