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Minnesota officials announced it has confirmed the first U.S. case of a highly transmissible variant that has been spreading in Brazil in recent weeks. Health experts are concerned that vaccines could be less effective against the so-called Brazil variant.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the case involved “a Minnesota resident with recent travel history to Brazil."

President Biden on Monday extended a ban on travelers from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 other European countries that had been set to expire Tuesday. Biden also on Monday barred travelers from South Africa, where another virus variant emerged.

Here are some significant developments:
1:12 a.m.
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Mass vaccination sites in New York City delayed over lack of doses, mayor says

Mass coronavirus vaccination sites set to open in New York City are being delayed because of insufficient vaccine supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Monday.

“Look, we have mega-sites like Citi Field and Yankee Stadium ready to go,” he said during a news conference. “We want to get those to be full-blown, 24-hour operations. But we don’t have the vaccine.”

The city has so far administered about 628,000 doses, the mayor said, and has about 19,000 more first doses on hand. An additional 107,000 doses are expected in the next few days from a weekly resupply. But de Blasio said that’s not enough, arguing that the city has the capacity to give 500,000 vaccines per week.

He called for New York to be given more doses and more flexibility in how they are administered.

“We have a supply problem and we have a flexibility problem, because we can’t access second doses that are being held in reserve for the weeks ahead and use them now as first doses where there’s such intense demand,” de Blasio said.

Inoculation appointments will continue being canceled or rescheduled without additional supply and flexibility, he said, adding, “That’s not fair to anyone.”

Nationwide, about 18.5 million doses had been given as of Monday, according to Washington Post tracking. Biden announced a goal of maintaining a pace of 1 million people per day for the first 100 days in office, but some have argued that the goal should be higher.

12:47 a.m.
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Portland mayor says he pepper-sprayed maskless man who accosted him

The mayor of Portland, Ore., said he pepper-sprayed a man who followed him outside a restaurant Sunday evening and then approached without a mask, according to a police report.

The mayor, Ted Wheeler (D), told police he feared for his safety and worried about contracting the coronavirus after the man — who has yet to be identified — “got within a foot or two” of Wheeler’s face while filming with a cellphone. Wheeler said he was leaving a pub in southwest Portland when the man confronted him, indicating that he had been taking pictures of the mayor and accusing him of forgoing a mask inside.

The mayor said he replied that coronavirus rules allow people to remove their face coverings for eating and drinking. The man followed Wheeler to his car, the mayor said, adding that he believes he removed his own mask while trying to get into the vehicle.

“I became imminently concerned for my personal safety, as I had recently been physically accosted in a similar situation,” Wheeler wrote in an emailed statement to police, according to the report. “In addition, I was concerned about contracting Covid given that he was right in my face that he was not wearing a face mask.”

Wheeler said he told the man to back off, to no avail, even after he warned he would use his pepper spray.

“I can’t believe you just pepper sprayed me,” Wheeler recalled the man saying after he went through with the threat, according to the police report.

The man walked away, Wheeler said — and Wheeler tossed a water bottle after him “so that he could wash out his eyes.”

Timothy Becker, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said in a statement Monday that Wheeler is cooperating with police “and encourages others involved to do the same.”

11:57 p.m.
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Europe increases red tape for vaccine exports amid supply frustration

BERLIN — The European Union on Monday said that all companies exporting vaccines from the 27-member bloc must give advance notification, as frustrations boil after AstraZeneca joined Pfizer in delaying deliveries.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said she had written a letter to AstraZeneca demanding an explanation after the British-Swedish company’s announcement on Friday that it would supply “considerably fewer” doses to the European Union than planned.

“This schedule is not acceptable to the European Union,” she said. Her televised statement came after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held urgent talks with AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot. The company has blamed reduced production capacity at one of its European production sites.

For Europe, a lack in supply of vaccine is particularly galling: Supplies for third countries are often produced in the bloc, and the E.U. has spent $3.3 billion on funding the development and production of the vaccines.

“The European Union has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and its production and wants to see its return,” Kyriakides said of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The exact amount of funding the company received from the E.U. for its coronavirus vaccine has not been disclosed.

Germany last year provided $455 million in federal government funding for stage three trials and to boost production capacities for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, delivery of which to the E.U. has also faced delays.

“As the EU, we must be able to know whether and which vaccines are being exported from the EU,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a statement. “This is the only way we can understand whether our EU contracts with manufacturers are being served fairly.”

11:17 p.m.
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California lifts regional stay-at-home orders

California health officials have removed regional stay-at-home orders across the state, allowing a return to county-level restrictions.

The orders had remained in place for three areas comprising most of California’s population: Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. In a news conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that all five regions of the state are expected to meet ICU capacity requirements for the next four weeks, leaving counties free to return to a tiered system for reopening.

Most are in the strictest tier, which allows outdoor dining, nail and hair salons and youth sports competitions to resume immediately, with restrictions. The tier will be reassessed Tuesday, Newsom said.

“I want to remind folks we’re not out of the woods. We have seen some flattening of the curve,” Newsom said. “As we have battled our way through the most challenging surge, we are truly seeing the light at the end of that surge, the proverbial tunnel.”

Within the Southern California region, Los Angeles County — home to 10 million people — is also relaxing its restrictions, local officials said Monday. County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the jurisdiction “will essentially align with the state” by the end of the week, paving the way for outdoor dining to resume.

Los Angeles County saw record coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in December and this month. Ambulance crews were recently told to use oxygen only for worst-case patients, and some hospitals announced that they had adopted crisis care guidelines, used when resources are scarce and the focus turns to providing the best care possible under the circumstances.

New cases and deaths have dropped in recent weeks, though the Los Angeles Times reported that many hospitals remain overwhelmed.

Correction: A previous headline incorrectly said that California health officials have lifted stay-at-home orders in five counties, rather than five regions.

Hannah Knowles contributed to this report.

10:40 p.m.
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First U.S. case of Brazil coronavirus variant confirmed in Minnesota

Minnesota officials announced Monday that they have identified a person infected with a highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus that has been spreading at alarming rates in recent weeks in Brazil. This is the first report in the United States of the so-called P.1 variant.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the case involved “a Minnesota resident with recent travel history to Brazil” and was detected through random surveillance of blood samples.

“This isn’t surprising. It’s a very difficult development, but at the same time not unexpected,” Michael T. Osterholm said in an interview. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and an adviser to President Biden’s coronavirus response team.

10:04 p.m.
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Biden predicts significant progress toward herd immunity by summer

Biden said Monday that he believes the United States will have made significant progress toward achieving herd immunity to the coronavirus by summer and reiterated that his administration is aiming to have 100 million vaccinations administered within the first 100 days of his presidency.

“We’re trying to get out a minimum of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days and move in the direction where we are well beyond that and the next 100 days” Biden told reporters at the White House.

He added that any American who wants to receive a vaccination should be able to do so by this spring, although he cautioned that “it’s going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we’ve ever tried in this country.”

“I feel confident that by summer we’re going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity and increasing the access for people who aren’t first on the list, all the way going down to children and how we deal with that,” Biden said. “But I feel good about where we’re going, and I think we can get it done.”

Scientists are still determining the herd immunity threshold of the coronavirus, or the percentage of the population that needs to become immune in order for the spread of the virus to slow and eventually stop. Estimates currently range from about 40 percent to about 80 percent of the population.

Biden also noted that while progress is being made, “we’re still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall.” And he urged Americans to continue wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“If we wear masks between now and the end of April, the experts tell us we can save 50,000 lives,” he said.

Harry Stevens contributed to this report.

9:19 p.m.
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‘Heavy cross to bear’: Jerome Adams defends his and Birx’s decisions

Jerome Adams — who resigned last week as U.S. surgeon general at President Biden’s request — defended his and colleague Deborah Birx’s decisions to stay on during the Trump administration Monday on Twitter, wondering why they have been judged more harshly than Anthony S. Fauci for their roles in the government’s coronavirus response.

Adams noted that he and Birx, the coordinator of the Trump White House’s virus response, provided underrepresented perspectives as a Black man and a woman, respectively. Critics say Adams and Birx should have spoken out more against Trump as he spread misinformation and gave rosy assessments of the virus’s threat. Infectious-diseases expert Fauci, meanwhile, has drawn praise for his willingness to contradict the president.

“People so freely suggest they would have left, but hold the one woman in the room to a different standard,” Adams tweeted, referring to Birx. “If Dr. Birx or I weren’t there, many medical/public health conversations would’ve had no input whatsoever from a woman, or a person or color. That’s a heavy cross to bear.”

He called Birx and Fauci “great people who’ve expressed feeling conflicted,” sharing a quote in which Fauci explained his decision to keep working under Trump. “I always felt that if I did walk away, the skunk at the picnic would no longer be at the picnic,” Fauci told the New York Times. “

But Adams, a political independent, drew a contrast between Birx’s reception and that of Fauci, a White man.

“We all decided being at the table was better than having key issues go unheard,” he tweeted. “Why is the woman’s (or black man’s) perspective dismissed?”

“IDK what’s more perplexing,” Adams said in a last tweet, “the many women and people of color who criticize Birx and I for choosing to stay on as often their only representation at the table, or the many white men who seem so quick to judge our motives and actions- compared to another white man.”

8:35 p.m.
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Two days of total lockdown in a crowded Hong Kong neighborhood

Hong Kong on Monday lifted an unprecedented two-day lockdown on an area in Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei and Jordan, which restricted some 10,000 people to less than half a square mile over the weekend because of a surge of new coronavirus cases.

The crowded neighborhood is home to members of ethnic minority groups, many of whom live in cramped, subdivided apartments. To implement the lockdown, thousands of governments officials descended on the area, starting early Saturday to test more than 7,000 residents in two days.

7:34 p.m.
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Merck abandons two coronavirus vaccines that tested poorly

Merck is giving up on two potential coronavirus vaccines following poor results in early-stage studies.

The drugmaker said Monday that it will focus instead on studying two possible treatments for the virus that also have yet to be approved by regulators. The company said its potential vaccines were well tolerated by patients, but they generated an inferior immune system response compared with other vaccines.

Merck was developing one of the potential vaccines with France’s Pasteur Institute based on an existing measles vaccine. The French institute said it will keep working on two other vaccine projects using different methods.

Merck entered the race to fight covid-19 later than other top drugmakers.

7:03 p.m.
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Carnival Cruise Line cancels, postpones U.S. cruises scheduled for 2021

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corp.’s North American cruise brand, which operates 24 ships, has canceled a slew of voyages scheduled for 2021 — as the industry continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s return to operations for Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Valor will be delayed until November, according to a Monday news release. So voyages for these lines from Norfolk, Tampa and New Orleans, which were scheduled from June through October, have been canceled.

Carnival Miracle’s service out of San Diego has been suspended until further notice, and voyages out of the city that were available through April 2023 also have been canceled — except for the seven voyages to Hawaii, which will embark from Long Beach, Calif. The ship will take over Carnival Radiance’s three- and four-day itineraries from May 3 through Nov. 1, as well as begin a new program to Mexico for four- and five-day winter cruises, starting November 2021 and continuing through April 2023.

Carnival Radiance will plan to arrive in Long Beach in November, with its dry dock and transformation pushed to September.

“Like so much about this current global situation, we are adapting our plans as circumstances evolve and we are able to confirm alternatives,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said in the release. “The support of our guests, travel agents, ports and business partners has truly been overwhelming as we work through this situation.”

6:22 p.m.
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The pandemic destroyed 225 million jobs worldwide, but billionaires got richer, reports find

LONDON — At least 225 million full-time jobs disappeared worldwide last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published Monday by the International Labor Organization, losses four times worse than those of the global financial crisis in 2009. But the ultrarich have seen their wealth soar.

According to another report released Monday, by the anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam, the combined wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has risen by more than $500 billion since the crisis began — enough to vaccinate the entire planet and then some, according to the organization.

Both sets of findings identify inequality as one of the pandemic’s principal outcomes. “Job destruction has disproportionately affected low-paid and low‑skilled jobs,” which “points to the risk of an uneven recovery, leading to still greater inequality in the coming years,” the ILO found. That unevenness is already apparent: Global poverty could take 14 times as long to return to pre-pandemic levels as the recovery of the world’s wealthiest, according to Oxfam.

5:07 p.m.
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Google to invest millions in coronavirus vaccine education and access

Google will invest $155 million in supporting education and equitable access for the coronavirus vaccine, including using company locations as vaccination sites and expanding search information for users Googling “vaccines near me.”

Google and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai announced in a Monday blog post that the company will make Google buildings, parking lots and open spaces available as vaccine sites in New York City, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area in California, and Kirkland, Wash., in partnership with health-care provider One Medical. The company plans to expand the program nationally, depending on local vaccine availability, Pichai said.

“Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes,” Pichai said. “Google will continue to support in whatever way we can.”

Pichai said that $100 million of the funding will go toward ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization and other global nonprofits. The company will invest $50 million more to partner with public health agencies to provide vaccine-related content and information to underserved communities.

Pichai pointed to early U.S. data showing people of color and Americans living in rural areas are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and have less access to vaccines. Google will provide $5 million in grants to organizations, including the CDC Foundation and Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, that seek to address health disparity for these communities.

4:38 p.m.
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Violence erupts in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods over covid restrictions

JERUSALEM — Long-building tensions over pandemic restrictions within Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods erupted in violence Sunday night as rock-throwing crowds pushed back police attempts to clear yeshiva classes and religious gatherings being held in violation of lockdown rules.

Rioters burned trash and toppled street signs and light poles in several cities across Israel. In Bnei Brak, a bus driver was pulled from his seat and pepper sprayed before the vehicle was torched, according to news and social media reports, leading to several buildings being evacuated as the blaze damaged electric lines. At one point, a cornered police officer fired into the air to halt the advancing crowd.

The riots were eventually quelled in some neighborhoods by police wielding stun grenades and water cannons.

3:48 p.m.
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Deborah Birx said Trump was being given ‘parallel data’

As the previous administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx provided President Donald Trump with hard numbers to guide the fight against the pandemic. But all along, she said, Trump was receiving different statistics from someone else.

“Someone out there, or someone inside, was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president,” she said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I know what I sent up, and I know that what was in his hands was different.”

The 79-minute sit-down interview was Birx’s first since formally exiting her role advising the Trump administration. Birx told host Margaret Brennan that she “always” considered quitting her job, during which she alternately drew criticism from other scientists and Trump.