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More states are expanding the vaccine eligibility for younger people and those without underlying health conditions as the Biden administration promises that 200 million doses will be administered by April 30.

Biden initially pledged that 100 million shots would be delivered during his first 100 days in office, but doubled his commitment Thursday. The U.S. is already on track to meet his revised goal.

About 2.5 million Americans are vaccinated a day, a pace that needs to be maintained for the administration to reach the 200 million mark, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a Friday coronavirus briefing.

“This is an unprecedented pace. No country has ever vaccinated this many people this fast,” he said, adding that three new vaccination operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be set up in Boston, Norfolk and Newark.

At least 34 states plan to make coronavirus vaccines eligible to all adults by mid-April as others focus their attention to meeting Biden’s May 1 goal, according to a Washington Post review.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The United States is on pace to clear President Biden’s new goal of 200 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days. The revised target is twice the original but sets Biden up to declare victory on an issue that will help define his nascent presidency.
  • Backing a controversial theory without evidence, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield claimed in a CNN interview Friday that he believes the virus originated in a lab in China — an assertion disputed later in the day by the country’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci. After Redfield’s comments, Maryland lawmakers called for him to step down as a medical adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
  • The European Medicines Agency announced plans on Friday for new manufacturing sites that will scale up production and supply of the AstraZeneca, BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • The European Union released new figures showing it has exported more coronavirus vaccine doses than it has administered, but leaders meeting for a virtual summit played down the threat of blocking shipments leaving the bloc.
  • Brazil reported a record high of 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a day Thursday, just days after the country’s official death toll from the pandemic surpassed 300,000.
  • The NFL and the players’ union have no plans at this point to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for players, coaches or staff members.
  • More than 30 million people have been infected by the coronavirus in the United States since the pandemic began and more than 547,000 people have died. More than 87 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
1:40 a.m.
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Choosing who lives and who dies exacts a toll for Brazil’s doctors

RIO DE JANEIRO — The patient was dead, a rare bed was open, and the ambulance operator was on the phone. For Lara Kretzer, it was time again to choose.

“We have 15 patients ready to transfer,” the operator said.

Kretzer, a physician at the Florianópolis hospital, froze. The hospital in southern Brazil had only two openings. Thirteen people were about to be turned away — and probably die. And she would have to live with the weight of that decision.

“I don’t know how this will affect me in the future,” Kretzer would say.

In Brazil, where the coronavirus is still surging — daily deaths hit a record 3,251 Tuesday — this is now the life of a doctor: an unending succession of life-or-death decisions, and grappling with the associated mental trauma.

12:43 a.m.
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Why was D.C. excluded from a FEMA vaccine program?

The District of Columbia will not receive extra vaccine doses or assistance setting up a mass vaccination site from the federal government, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday, because the agency is targeting the most populous states in setting up clinics in high poverty neighborhoods.

FEMA acting administrator Robert J. Fenton Jr. acknowledged on a call with reporters Friday that the District has “high social vulnerability,” the measure of race and poverty that the agency has used to select sites that need mass vaccination clinics.

But Fenton said FEMA’s selection process for the 21 sites it has set up so far, and the additional 15 it plans to open, was based not just on its “social vulnerability index” but on population.

The agency started with the most populous states, opening sites in California, then Texas and Florida, and will continue to proceed by state size, Fenton said. That means the District — with a population smaller than all but two states — will not get this federal assistance.

11:45 p.m.
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Maryland has seen steady growth in virus cases, hospitalizations — but not deaths

Coronavirus cases in Maryland have ticked back upward in recent weeks, with the state on Friday reporting its highest seven-day average for new daily cases since Feb. 13.

The increase has prompted warnings from public health experts who say it is too soon for members of the public to let their guard down, despite a growing number of vaccinated residents and a recent loosening of capacity restrictions.

Hospitalizations and the statewide positivity rate are also trending upward in Maryland, with 4.64 percent of tests coming back positive as of Friday — up from a recent low of 3.28 on March 3.

A 5-percent positivity rate could signal that not enough testing is happening and that new cases are likely going undetected, said Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

10:43 p.m.
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Colleges and universities push to get vaccines to students

As states expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility to include younger adults, universities are planning to inoculate students to make it safer to reopen fully by the fall.

Some schools are opening vaccine sites, with the goal of giving shots to every student on campus. Others are waiting for guidance from local officials and, in the meantime, urging students to get their doses wherever they can.

The hope, college leaders say, is to open the door for more students to reconvene safely in classrooms, residence halls and cafeterias next school year.

“Fall 2021 is going to look much more like the fall of 2019 than it did 2020,” said David Lakey, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer at the University of Texas System. “I’m hoping that at that time all the students that want to be vaccinated and all the faculty that want to be vaccinated will have that opportunity.”

Texas on Monday will begin vaccinating people over the age of 16. Officials at the University of Texas in Austin told students who want to receive their vaccines through the school to register online so they can begin to schedule appointments.

9:46 p.m.
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Justice Dept. has charged 474 people with trying to steal more than $569 million in covid-related fraud schemes

The Justice Department has charged 474 people over the past year with trying to swipe more than $569 million by using criminal fraud schemes connected to the coronavirus pandemic and seized at least $580 million in civil proceedings, officials announced Friday, demonstrating how taxpayer-funded programs meant to ease the economic burden of the crisis have become susceptible to scammers.

The department said it has seen fraud attempts connected to several government aid programs. The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, for example, has charged at least 120 people in connection with fraud of the Paycheck Protection Program, a taxpayer-subsidized loan program regulated by the Small Business Administration, which has long been of concern because of how program funds were disbursed with relatively little oversight.

The department said it had also seen immense fraud in connection with the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, and, along with the Secret Service and U.S. attorney’s office in Colorado, had seized $580 million of possibly stolen money from that program through administrative procedures. That money, authorities said, is separate from the funds explicitly tied to criminal charges.

8:44 p.m.
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Former CDC chief Redfield urged to step aside as Hogan adviser after comments about Wuhan lab

Maryland lawmakers on Friday called on former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Robert Redfield to step down as a medical adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan, hours after an interview aired in which Redfield said he believed the coronavirus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Redfield said his “personal opinion” was that it’s unlikely one of the most infectious viruses for humans leaped from bats to people at a wet market, and it seemed more plausible to him the virus was developed in a Chinese laboratory.

While there is no scientific consensus on how the deadly virus originated, the World Health Organization has called the laboratory theory “highly unlikely.”

Redfield’s endorsement on CNN of the so-called “lab-leak” theory of the virus’s origin outraged several state lawmakers, who saw his comments as exacerbating anti-Asian sentiment that has been on the rise since the outbreak began.

8:10 p.m.
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Despite covid-19, economic pressures make it hard for Cancún to turn visitors away

American tourists — chafing at social distancing rules, impatient over the rollout of coronavirus vaccines — are surging back to Cancún.

William Cruz can’t decide whether to welcome them, or worry about a new wave of coronavirus cases.

“Should gringos come here?” asked the father of two, who waits tables in the city’s popular tourist district.

He knows he needs them, desperately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged Americans to avoid all travel to Mexico. More than 2 million coronavirus cases have been detected so far in the country, and Mexico has the third-highest covid-19 death toll in the world.

But with tourists who seem to want to keep partying, economic pressures make it hard for Cancún to contemplate turning visitors away.

7:03 p.m.
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15 states to give all adults vaccine access this month, with number rising to 34 by mid-April

People 16 and older will be eligible for immunization against the coronavirus in at least 15 states by the end of the month — a sign of rapidly expanding access to the shots as the nation confronts an uptick in infections.

More widespread availability is made possible by enlarged supply of the three authorized vaccines. The federal government is preparing to distribute as many as 35 million doses next week, according to a federal official. That includes 11 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine, which so far has been available to states and other jurisdictions in sharply limited quantities.

With ramped-up manufacturing, rationing is no longer required in many places. Kansas and Minnesota were two of the most recent states to unveil plans to open the floodgates, on Monday and Tuesday of next week respectively.

Six states have already removed eligibility requirements: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia. Those preparing to do so by the end of March also include Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

At least 34 states have announced plans to make everyone 16 and older eligible by mid-April, according to a Washington Post review. And Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus response, said 46 states and D.C. had already made clear they would prioritize all adults by May 1 — the deadline set by President Biden.

He said opportunities for more Americans to be immunized signaled the program’s success. More than 71 percent of people 65 and older have received at least one shot, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Zients acknowledged that some states were rapidly opening up eligibility because they have not been able to fill appointments among their most vulnerable populations, which includes elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions.

“If there are states that are lagging behind, we’re working with those states to ensure they continue to prioritize the most vulnerable populations,” he said during a Friday briefing.

Health officials stressed that the accelerating pace of inoculations may not be sufficient to ward off another wave of infections. The latest seven-day average of daily cases, which stands at about 57,000, represents an increase of 7 percent from last week, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. She warned of a “real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.”

6:48 p.m.
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Northern Virginia schools divided over CDC’s new three-feet guidance

Following new federal guidance, Arlington Public Schools will switch from six to three feet of distance between students in classrooms — allowing the school division to place more children in face-to-face learning before the end of the year.

The three-feet paradigm will also enable Arlington to offer five days a week of in-person summer instruction and to better plan for five days a week of in-person learning this fall, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the school board at a meeting Thursday.

But the Northern Virginia school system of 27,000 will not add more days of in-person schooling per week before the end of this academic year, Durán said, because it would be too complicated logistically and would disrupt education for many. The majority of the roughly 15,000 Arlington students who have returned to classrooms this semester are heading to campus two days a week, although special-needs children are coming into classrooms four days a week.

With Thursday’s announcement, Arlington is stepping out ahead of some other school districts in Northern Virginia. Neither Alexandria City Public Schools nor Fairfax County Public Schools, the state’s largest district with 180,000 students, have said how they will respond to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revisions.

Loudoun County Public Schools said it was switching to three feet of separation a few days before the CDC began recommending that distance.

5:56 p.m.
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A voter outreach group in Northern Virginia has turned its focus to getting people vaccinated

The Arlington Democrats outreach group has transformed its “get out the vote” efforts into a push to get neighbors vaccinated — regardless of how they might choose at the polls.

Recent surveys have found that Republicans are among the groups most resistant to getting vaccinated, and elected officials have clashed over how to persuade skeptics to sign up and how to distribute the shots to begin with.

But as those debates continue, the Arlington Dems have focused instead on calling and checking in with the most vulnerable residents of this liberal pocket of Northern Virginia.

Using its usual phone-banking software, the chapter generated lists of people likely to fall through the cracks: seniors, people with disabilities and those without reliable transportation, as well as the Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking immigrant communities that have disproportionately borne the brunt of the pandemic.

4:49 p.m.
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Vaccinated adults may have more freedom. But for kids, ‘The rules haven’t changed.’

As more Americans become vaccinated against the coronavirus, many parents who have received the shots are finding themselves in a quandary: While they may be protected, allowing for more freedom in socializing or engaging in other routine activities, their children are not.

This divide has prompted a slew of questions from concerned parents wondering what their kids can do as they await vaccines, which experts estimate could take anywhere from several months to a year depending on the age group. Can unvaccinated children play together with fewer safety measures if all the adults in their households are fully inoculated? What precautions are needed for birthday parties? Should kids be allowed to attend summer camps?

3:50 p.m.
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Here’s why you shouldn’t get more than one vaccine

The three available in the United States — Pfizer’s, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s — were authorized to be given as separate and complete immunizations, not in combination or sequence.

As we noted in January, swapping the Pfizer or Moderna second dose should be done only in “exceptional situations,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency also cautioned that those mRNA vaccines aren’t interchangeable. Two months later, that guidance remains.

Because demand continues to outstrip supply in most parts of the country, it’s also worth considering the many people who haven’t been vaccinated yet. If you’re aware of available doses nearby and would like to further decrease your chances of exposure to the coronavirus, even after full vaccination, consider reaching out to unvaccinated members of your community. The more people around you who have immunity, the harder it is for a virus to spread.

“It’s a bit too early to be getting greedy about taking multiple vaccines just yet,” University of Colorado immunologist Ross Kedl told Bloomberg News earlier this month. “Let’s all just be content with one for now until everyone gets a shot.”

Additionally, it is not clear how beneficial that extra vaccine would be. Here’s a rough analogy: If you have two bike helmets and you’re already wearing one, everyone is safer if you lend the spare to a bareheaded cyclist than if you try to stack a helmet on a helmet.

It’s not out of the question that we may need booster shots in the future should protection afforded by this round of vaccinations wane. If so, a recommendation will come after evaluation by medical researchers, statisticians, health regulators and others — not the result of “let’s try this at home” personal experiments.

Pfizer and Moderna, for instance, are testing additional boosters and potentially revised vaccines in response to variants. Vaccine combinations are also being studied in clinical trials: In February, the U.K. government announced a trial to give one shot of one vaccine, followed by a second shot of another (such as an AstraZeneca dose with a Pfizer dose 12 weeks later). Another clinical trial in Europe will test the AstraZeneca vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik vaccine given 29 days apart. Such studies are in the early stages. The first results from U.K.'s trial might come over the summer.

2:46 p.m.
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New FEMA-supported mass vaccination sites coming to Boston, Norfolk and Newark

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is setting up three new mass vaccination sites — in Boston, Norfolk and Newark.

Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, announced the plans during a Friday briefing. FEMA is already supporting at least 21 such sites across 10 states. The sites are capable of administering as many as 6,000 shots a day.

Biden has made enhanced federal deployments a cornerstone of his handling of the immunization campaign, stressing the need for improved infrastructure to bring doses to people throughout the country.

2:43 p.m.
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Germany warns third wave could be worse than first two

BERLIN — German health authorities warned Friday that the country’s current wave of infections may be worse than the first two, as the more contagious coronavirus mutation first detected in Britain takes hold.

Germany is in the midst of a “third wave” triggered by the “even more dangerous” and harder to contain B117 variant, warned Lothar Weiler, head of the Robert Koch Institute, the federal agency responsible for the control of infectious diseases. The variant now accounts for the majority of cases in the country.

“We have to be prepared for the fact that the number of cases will rise sharply, that more people get seriously ill again, that clinics will be overloaded and that many people will die, too,” he said at a joint news conference with German Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Germany has recently faced a spike in new infections despite ongoing restrictions, which include limiting contacts to two households. On Thursday the country recorded its highest number of new infections since January, with 22,657 new cases in a single day.

It comes against the backdrop of a sluggish vaccine rollout and plunging approval ratings for the government’s handling of the pandemic. Spahn said that vaccinations were reducing cases among those over 80, but the prevalence of B117 was reducing the overall impact of inoculation.

As of next week, airline travelers to and from Germany will be required to show a negative test before their flight, but Spahn said the measures wouldn’t be a “game changer” for the upcoming Easter holidays.

“At the moment, the numbers are rising too fast and the virus variants make the situation particularly dangerous,” he said. “If this continues unrestrained, we run the risk of our health-care system reaching its limits in the course of April.”