Michigan cases fall 12.5% in the past week; half of Colorado adults vaccinated, governor says: Live COVID-19 updates

More than 40% of Americans have been at least partially vaccinated, ranking the U.S. near the top in vaccination rates, Our World In Data reports.

The world’s richest countries have collectively bought 1 billion more doses than their citizens need, according to a study by the global advocacy group ONE. The rest of the world has only been able to secure 2.5 billion doses — not enough to vaccinate their populations. 

Some are calling on the U.S. to share doses with other countries, like India, who reported a global one-day record of more than 314,000 new infections Thursday as a coronavirus surge in the world’s second-most populous country overwhelms a fragile health care system critically short of hospital beds and oxygen.

The Biden administration has said it will share surplus coronavirus vaccine doses with Canada and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s coronavirus case rate has begun to fall, dropping 12.5% over the last week, suggesting the state’s third surge — the worst in the U.S. — may be waning.

Also in the news:

►The California State University and University of California systems jointly announced Thursday that they will both require all students and staff returning for on-campus classes and activities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirement, however, will not take effect until one or more of the vaccines receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

►Data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association shows that the number of children hospitalized in the state with severe COVID-19 symptoms rose 70 this week. That’s twice as many as were hospitalized during the worst days of the wave that swept the state in November, NBC reported.

►Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says the state has administered first doses of coronavirus vaccines to at least half of the eligible population and now needs to target people who have been hesitant to get a shot or have just procrastinated.

►South Africa will resume the administration of Johnson & Johnson shots to health care workers next week.

►Las Vegas strip clubs that went dark when Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos, clubs and nonessential businesses closed more than a year ago can reopen May 1 at 80% and under strict social distancing guidelines.

►COVID-19 hospitalizations among older Americans have plunged more than 70% since the start of the year, and deaths among them appear to have tumbled as well, dramatic evidence the vaccination campaign is working.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31.92 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 570,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 144.3 million cases and 3 million deaths. Nearly 282.1 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and almost 218.9 million have been administered, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: As states expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to allow shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, teens in rural America may have trouble getting them. Read more here.

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CDC investigating woman’s death after J&J vaccine

Oregon health officials said Thursday that federal officials are investigating the death of a woman in her 50s who developed a rare blood clot and low platelets within two weeks of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19.

Federal officials already were examining six reports of the unusual clots, including a death, out of more 8 million Americans given the one-dose vaccination so far.

The woman developed a “rare but serious blood clot in combination with very low platelets,” the Oregon Health Authority said in a statement.

Texas health officials also say the U.S. government has reported that a Texas woman is hospitalized with possible blood clots associated with Johnson and Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine.

The announcement by Texas quotes the FDA and CDC as saying the adult woman has “symptoms that appear to be consistent with those few other reported cases” of a rare blood clotting disorder developed after receiving the J&J vaccine. No other information is being released, because of patient privacy and confidentiality.

COVID-19 hate crimes bill to fight Asian American discrimination passes Senate

The Senate passed with overwhelming bipartisan support a hate crimes bill to address a drastic increase in violence and discrimination directed at Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act cleared the chamber in a 94-1 vote Thursday. It would expedite the Justice Department’s review of hate crimes and would designate an official at DOJ the department to oversee the effort.

It also would task the department with coordinating with local law enforcement groups and community-based organizations to facilitate and raise awareness about hate crime reporting, including establishing an online hate crime reporting system in multiple languages.

The legislation, which now heads to the Democratic-led House, is one of the few bills to pass this Senate with support from both Republicans and Democrats. Many Democrats expected a legislative fight but Republicans signaled early their willingness to compromise on the legislation, and senators from both parties have been negotiating for weeks.

– Savannah Behrmann

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