Indian Navy deploys its medical personnel to Covid facilities

2 hr 51 min ago

Indian Navy deploys its medical personnel to Covid-19 facilities

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the chief of the Naval staff Monday to discuss initiatives taken by the Navy to help with the second wave of Covid-19.

The Navy has deployed its medical personnel to hospitals across the country.

“Naval Personnel are being provided Battle Field Nursing Assistant Training to augment medical personnel deployed in Covid hospitals,” read the statement.

The Navy is also assisting in the transport of “oxygen containers as well as other supplies from Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Singapore to India.”

India is struggling to contain the second wave that began in April and has left hospitals struggling with shortages of basic medical supplies like oxygen and ventilators.

2 hr 53 min ago

New York governor announces he’s lifting more Covid-19 restrictions. Here’s a look at the changes. 

From CNN’s Brian Vitagliano

Grand Central station in Manhattan, New York on April 27, 2021. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that MTA subway service will return to a 24/7 schedule beginning May 17, coinciding with a curfew lift.

“Subway trains have never been cleaner than they are now,” Cuomo said Monday.

Beginning May 19, most Covid-19 capacity restrictions will end across the tri-state area, including retail, food services and gyms, according to Cuomo.

Restaurants, museums, theaters, Broadway, retail and shops are all included in the lifting of capacity restrictions.

In New York State, outdoor food and beverage curfew lifted on May 17, Cuomo said.

Indoor food and beverage curfews will be lifted on May 31.

Outdoor large stadiums will go to 33% capacity on May 19, according to Cuomo.

Also in New York State, the governor said they will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement. “Our capacity is subject to the six feet guidelines,” Cuomo noted.

Gatherings of events in New York State may occur in excess of six-foot distance if all people present proof of full vaccination or a recent negative PCR test.

“This is a major reopening of economic and social activity and it is coordinated regionally, which is smart,” Cuomo said.

The governor thanked Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy for their continued efforts in reopening.

The statewide positivity rate for New York stands at 1.94%, with 37 deaths reported Monday according to the governor. At least 7 million New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, according to Cuomo.

“You follow the science and you follow the data and you disregard the politics, which drove the Covid response in this nation last year.” 

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

3 hr 31 min ago

More global Covid-19 cases reported in last 2 weeks than first 6 months of the pandemic, WHO says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment holds the hand of a patient at the Doctor Ernesto Che Guevara Public Hospital where patients infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, are being treated on April 30, 2021 in Maricá, Brazil.  Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Globally, there have been more cases of Covid-19 reported in the last two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic, the director-general of the World Health Organization said during a news briefing in Geneva on Monday. 

“More cases of Covid-19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic,” WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “India and Brazil account for more than half of last week’s cases. But there are many other countries all over the world that face a very fragile situation.” 

WHO is providing equipment and supplies, such as oxygen concentrators, to India as well as providing advice on how to provide care at home for people who are unable to find hospital beds for patients. 

The WHO Foundation is also raising funds to support the need for oxygen and related supplies globally, he said.  

Tedros called upon everyone to continue following WHO and national advice around public health safety measures. 

“What’s happening in India and Brazil could happen elsewhere unless we all take these public health precautions that WHO has been calling for since the beginning of the pandemic,” Tedros said. “Vaccines are part of the answer, but they are not the only answer.” 

3 hr 35 min ago

Pfizer is discussing expedited approval for Covid-19 vaccine with Indian government, CEO says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

People line up to get the Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in a school-turned-vaccination centre in New Delhi on May 3, 2021. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a letter Monday the company is discussing with the Indian government how to expedite approval of its Covid-19 vaccine.

“Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago,” Bourla wrote in a letter to Pfizer colleagues in India. “We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.” 

Bourla said that the company is “deeply concerned” by the critical Covid-19 situation in India and is committed to being a partner in India’s fight against the coronavirus, “quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company’s history.”

Bourla said Pfizer is rushing shipments of medicines from the company that the government of India has identified as part of their treatment protocol. These medicines, valued at over $70 million, are being donated to India and include steroid medications and anticoagulants.  

Pfizer Foundation funding is also supporting humanitarian organizations that provide equipment such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India. 

4 min ago

Nepal will ban all international flights starting May 6

From CNN’s Asha Thapa in Kathmandu

Nepal will ban all international flights starting at midnight on May 6 to May 14, Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

Domestic flights are also suspended starting at midnight Monday until May 14.

Oli said that 13 land border checkpoints between Nepal and India will operate to allow Nepali citizens to return home but they must obtain a negative Covid-19 test at the checkpoints. All arrivals of foreigners by land have been banned.

Every person coming via land or rescue flight will be tested for Covid, Oli added.

4 hr 14 min ago

Go There: CNN answers your questions from New Delhi about India’s worsening Covid-19 crisis 

India’s devastating Covid-19 outbreak broke new records last weekend, with authorities reporting more than 400,000 cases for the first time on Saturday and a record-high number of deaths on Sunday.

CNN’s Sam Kiley was live in New Delhi reporting on the latest and answering viewers’ questions:

4 hr 22 min ago

New York City has administered over 6.6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, mayor says

From CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with people who received the coronavirus vaccine as he tours a vaccination site at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, on April 23. Richard Drew/Pool/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated a “turning point moment” Monday for the city as 80,000 city workers returned to the office.

“City hall is abuzz today – it’s a great feeling,” he said.

Approximately 80% of the city’s workforce has been working in the field throughout the pandemic, he said, and he thanked them.

New York City has administered over 6.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, he said.

He also celebrated the downturn in Covid-19 metrics, saying “we got to keep earning it.”

Hospitalization rates are particularly “well well well below the threshold” with 95 patients admitted for suspected Covid-19, with a hospitalization rate of 1.76 per 100,000.

There were at least 1,202 new and suspected Covid-19 cases reported on a seven-day rolling average marking a 2.78% positivity which the mayor called “a great number.”

Note: These numbers were released by the City health dept and may not line up with JHU’s Covid Tracking project.

4 hr 58 min ago

Around 175 Indian journalists have lost their lives to Covid-19, according to national media network

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

About 175 journalists and media workers have died after contracting Covid-19 in the past 14 months in India, according to a tally by the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI). 

In a memorial page, NWMI has compiled a comprehensive list of retired and working reporters, editors, anchors, photographers, and photojournalists who have died. It is unknown how many contracted the virus while working. 

“We mourn the loss of what they knew, what they loved, what each of them did, one story at a time, one photo at a time, one dataset at a time. From within our community of those of us who go everywhere unasked, we mourn the loss of our comrades, friends, bosses and colleagues and bear witness to their final journeys,” read the statement issued by NWMI.

India is currently battling a second wave of Covid-19 cases and facing severe shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, medicines and vaccines. This has exacerbated the death toll across the country. 

Journalists in India were largely not included in the initial phase of the vaccination program when it was made available to frontline workers. Meanwhile, media houses have also failed to provide safe working conditions.

“Media houses need to actively ensure the safety and health of journalists who work for them and those who, as independent stringers or freelancers, supply vital information, photographs and videos to them. Media houses must stop forcing journalists to travel in dangerously unsafe conditions to work in offices instead of encouraging them to work from home,” stated the NWMI.

5 hr 7 min ago

US may not get to zero cases, but “we can probably live with that,” expert says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, said on CNN’s New Day Monday that while it would be unfortunate for the United States to not to reach herd immunity against Covid-19, most people will still be able to get back to their pre-pandemic lives if case numbers continue to fall.

Jha said it isn’t known whether the US will reach herd immunity. 

There is a chunk of people in the United States who have not yet been vaccinated, saying that many of them need time and better access. He remains “pretty optimistic” that a lot more Americans will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. 

Experience from Israel has shown that when about 50 to 55% of the population is vaccinated, “you really see case numbers plummet.”  

“We may not get to zero, we probably won’t,” Jha said. “But if we can get the infections at very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives in normal ways. I think we can probably live with that.”