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Researchers at Oxford University paused a trial of the coronavirus vaccine they are developing with AstraZeneca in children as young as 6 years old, pending a safety review by regulators in the United Kingdom.

Regulators in the U.K. and other countries using the vaccine have been investigating rare cases of brain blood clots and very low levels of platelets in people who have been vaccinated, to discern whether there is a connection. The trial was not paused because of any safety concerns in the trial, but to allow the review to finish.

Here are some significant developments:

  • More than 4 million people in the United States received a coronavirus vaccine on Saturday — the nation’s highest one-day total since the shots began rolling out in December — amid a rising caseload and increase in hospitalizations.
  • Texas will ban government-mandated “vaccine passports” that would require someone to show proof of coronavirus immunization to enter a space or receive a service, the second state to do so.
  • A record low number of Americans are worried about contracting the coronavirus, a new Gallup poll found — 35 percent, down 14 percentage points from February.
  • New Zealand said Tuesday it was launching a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia later this month. Travelers would still be subject to restrictions, but the new program could help reunite families separated by the pandemic.
  • Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) has tested positive for the coronavirus and will quarantine for 10 days, his office said Monday. His wife, Susan Gianforte, has exhibited no symptoms and is awaiting her test results, the office said.
8:30 p.m.
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University of Oxford pauses trial of AstraZeneca vaccine in children

Researchers at Oxford University paused a trial of the coronavirus vaccine they are developing with AstraZeneca in children as young as 6 years old, pending a safety review by regulators in the United Kingdom.

Regulators in Britain and other countries using the vaccine have been investigating rare cases of brain blood clots and very low levels of platelets in people who have been vaccinated to discern whether there is a connection. Britain has continued to use the vaccines in all age groups, but other countries have restricted its use in younger people, and some have suspended the use of the vaccine while safety reviews continue. The trial was not paused because of any safety concerns in the trial, but to allow the review to finish.

“Participant safety in any clinical trial is our top priority, and no safety concerns have been reported with this trial,” June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said in a statement.

The MHRA found in an analysis of data from 18.1 million doses administered that seven people died of rare blood clots after vaccination, although it was not established whether the vaccinations caused the clots. There were 22 reports of the blood brain clots, called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, and eight reports of other clotting events with low platelets. The agency suggested that the benefits of the vaccines outweighed the risks.

“Whilst there are no safety concerns in the pediatric clinical trial, we await additional information” from the safety review, said a University of Oxford statement provided to British media. “Parents and children should continue to attend all scheduled visits and can contact the trial sites if they have any questions.”

Clinical trials are paused to protect the safety of participants if safety concerns emerge. Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trials were paused last year, as an independent safety committee investigated neurological symptoms that occurred in several participants. That trial continued when it was deemed that there was no evidence of a connection to the vaccine.

8:16 p.m.
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All adults now vaccine eligible in Maryland, D.C. to follow suit April 19

All Maryland residents 16 or older will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine at the state’s mass vaccination sites starting Tuesday, officials said, and every D.C. resident in that age range will be eligible for the shots by April 19.

In Maryland, people 16 and older will be eligible at pharmacies and doctors’ offices and through other providers starting April 12, more than two weeks earlier than the schedule Gov. Larry Hogan (R) outlined last month.

The changes were announced Monday, as public officials in the greater Washington region and across the country push to inoculate as many people as possible in hopes of stemming the rise in caseloads and variants of the deadly virus.

7:35 p.m.
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If we need vaccine boosters, do they need to be the same brand as our original shots?

It goes without saying that experts don’t know for sure whether coronavirus vaccine boosters will be necessary. It’s a topic of much debate, with some hypothesizing that protective immunity will last at least six to eight months and others suggesting that it could last much longer.

But vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna are running clinical trials to test the efficacy of a booster shot, as well as a third shot designed to target the B. 1.351 variant. Although no one knows if, when or how often boosters may be needed, these experiments will prepare companies and public health officials to rapidly deploy them in such an event.

Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of California at San Francisco, said that the protection we get from the vaccines is strong and that studies have shown they trigger our long-term immune response. But if boosters are needed, Gandhi said she does not think it will be very often, and she does not think the vaccine manufacturer will matter. With the flu shot, for example, switching among manufacturers from year to year is not considered a problem, she said.

Federal health authorities have said that coronavirus vaccines are “not interchangeable” except in “exceptional situations.” Gandhi said she think this is only for the initial rollout and would not apply to boosters down the road.

“I think it’s completely fair to do it that way, but in the future, I can tell you that as a clinician, I’ve never looked at the vial and said, 'Oh, this was made by Johnson & Johnson, and this was made by Merck,’ ” she said. “It’s likely not going to become an issue.”

6:34 p.m.
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Billionaires added $8 trillion to total net worth in the last year, report says

Billionaires have added $8 trillion to their net worth since last year, Forbes reported in its annual ranking, a staggering jump in the accumulation of individual wealth and a stark contrast to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on economies.

Forbes released its 35th annual list of the world’s billionaires Tuesday, reporting 2,755 billionaires — a 30-percent jump from a year ago — and 493 of them new additions. Eighty-six percent of those billionaires are richer than they were a year ago, in the beginning stages of the pandemic. Forbes calculates net worth by using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and worth $177 billion, is the world’s richest person for the fourth year in a row, Forbes said. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.) Tesla chief executive Elon Musk took the second spot at $151 billion. The shares of both companies, traded on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, soared in the last year, largely contributing to the two men’s net worth. Bezos and Musk have toggled between the first and second slot for most wealthy.

5:33 p.m.
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What the largest crowd at a pandemic-era U.S. sports event looked like

More than 38,000 baseball fans attended the Texas Rangers opening day on April 5 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex., despite coronavirus concerns. (MLB)

The scene — a packed ballpark in early April — looked and felt normal, but in a pandemic-marked year, it was anything but that as fans filled up Globe Life Field for the Texas Rangers’ opener, marking the largest American sports crowd since the coronavirus pandemic was declared last year.

There were nods to the pandemic, with fans required to wear face coverings and to practice social distancing at concession stands and on the concourses, when the Rangers announced plans to open their stadium after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted capacity limits last month.

On Monday, official attendance was listed as 38,232 in the 40,518-capacity stadium. Free tickets for health-care workers and others were not counted, so the game was considered a sellout. In February, the Daytona 500 took place before a crowd of just over 30,000 (capacity: 101,500) and the Super Bowl was played before 24,835 fans in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which can be arranged to hold 75,000.

4:36 p.m.
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WHO opposes mandatory ‘vaccine passports’ for international travel

The World Health Organization does not currently support the use of “vaccine passports” for travel because of concerns about fairness and lingering questions about whether coronavirus vaccines stop transmission, the agency said Tuesday.

Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, told reporters that certification of immunization should not be required until there is more equal access to vaccines across countries. Earlier Tuesday, Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the health agency, said at a United Nations briefing that proof of inoculation should not be mandatory until more is known about transmission.

“We as WHO are saying at this stage we would not like to see the vaccination passport as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not certain at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmission,” she said, according to Reuters. “There are all those other questions, apart from the question of discrimination against the people who are not able to have the vaccine for one reason or another.”

Making it easier to move across borders is seen as key to reviving the hard-hit travel sector. But the idea of a standardized document has divided officials and experts.

The WHO’s current position may not be the final word on the issue. Ryan said the agency will revisit its recommendations in the coming weeks and months.

4:17 p.m.
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Youth sports outbreaks prompt concern about transmission of B.1.1.7 variant

Dan Culhane, 62, took extraordinary precautions when he returned to the ice as a youth hockey referee in January. He triple-masked, wore a plexiglass face shield on his helmet and donned his gear at home to minimize time indoors.

It wasn’t enough.

Culhane, who died Feb. 28 of covid-19, is one of more than 189 people confirmed or suspected to be linked to an unusual youth sports outbreak of the coronavirus in Carver County, Minn., driven by the B.1.1.7 variant first seen in Britain. The interlinked cases span all levels of K-12 schools, from elementary to high school, and 18 hockey, four basketball, three lacrosse and one soccer teams.

3:16 p.m.
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Video shows gymnast stick his landing and then whip out his vaccine card

University of Illinois gymnast Evan Manivong held up his vaccine card to celebrate a career-high routine during a March 22 meet. (Big Ten Network)

It was a move that put other vaccine selfies to shame.

In a March meet against Minnesota, University of Illinois gymnast Evan Manivong sprinted toward the vault, launched into the air, spun and stuck the landing, nailing his routine and tying his career-high. As his teammates cheered, Manivong clapped and celebrated and then whipped out a coronavirus vaccination card that was tucked in his leotard and flashed it for the cameras.

For Manivong, a 20-year-old sophomore, it had started as a joke with his teammates. But the video of the athletic feat and vaccine enthusiasm struck a chord with others.

A clip has been viewed more than 1 million times since the Athletic’s Olivia Witherite resurfaced it Monday, calling Manivong’s stunt “the ultimate flex.” Some people joked that they planned to leap into bars, restaurants and airports with the same agility. Others said they would feel just as proud as Manivong to possess the small, white card given to those who have been vaccinated.

2:18 p.m.
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New Zealand opens up travel bubble with neighboring Australia

SYDNEY — New Zealand will reopen its skies to Australian travelers on April 19, reciprocating a half-bubble in place since October that allows people to fly from New Zealand to Australia without having to quarantine for two weeks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned people to prepare for their travel plans to be disrupted, however, if there is a coronavirus outbreak in either country.

“Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flier beware,” she said, using a colloquial term for the Tasman Sea that separates the two island nations. That could include an unexpected stint in mandatory hotel quarantine if conditions change midflight.

Passengers traveling to New Zealand in the bubble will be required to have spent the 14 days before the flight in Australia. Airline crews will be required to work only on routes considered low-risk.

1:53 p.m.
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Stress on the front lines: Health-care workers share the hardest parts of working during the pandemic

Worry, exhaustion, constantly changing safety rules and long hours of wearing PPE are just a few things America’s health-care workers cite as the hardest parts of going to work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Their work has saved countless lives but also taken a personal toll: 62 percent say worry or stress related to covid-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health. A 55 percent majority feels “burned out” going to work. Nearly half of all health-care workers say worry or stress has caused them to have trouble sleeping or to sleep too much.

A nationwide Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll asked more than 1,300 front-line health-care workers to describe the hardest part of working during the pandemic in their own words.

Topping the list were fears of infection for themselves, their family members or patients, mentioned by 21 percent of health-care workers.

12:55 p.m.
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Companies grapple with coronavirus vaccine mandates

The workers at 22 assisted-living communities run by a company called Silverado help people with receding memory — dementia or other waning. Even before coronavirus vaccines were available, company leaders last fall waged a wrenching internal debate: How could they ensure their staff would get shots to protect themselves and the exquisitely vulnerable residents in their care?

Silverado medical directors and nurses, human resource specialists and lawyers teased out the pros and cons of a mandate. Initially, they rejected that idea in favor of long, frequent webinars urging the shots and on-site vaccination clinics starting the first week of January at the company’s Austin, Dallas and Houston facilities.

Then, Silverado pivoted. When the first round of vaccination clinics companywide ended, no site had more than about 80 percent of the staff immunized, and a few were at barely half. The pandemic’s winter surge, meanwhile, brought frightening coronavirus variants into a half-dozen California facilities. On March 1, Silverado, with 1,340 memory-care workers and 1,100 cognitively impaired people in locations from Los Angeles to Alexandria, Va., became the nation’s first long-term care company to require that employees have at least an appointment for a shot as a condition of their job.

12:46 p.m.
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Biden to announce all adults will be eligible for vaccination April 19

President Biden plans to announce Tuesday that he is accelerating the timeline for all adults to be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, to April 19 from May 1, an administration official said.

The change, first reported by CNN, was made possible by greater availability of vaccines and announcements or plans in all states to make the vaccine available to all adults rather than select groups prioritized by age, vulnerability or occupation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a preview of the announcement, which will come in conjunction with Biden’s visit Tuesday to a vaccination site in a nearby Virginia suburb.

The administration’s previous goal was to make 90 percent of all adults eligible by April 19 and 100 percent by May 1, so the new marker is not a major change. Nor does it ensure that all eligible adults will in fact get the vaccine, only that they would be able to do so. But with waiting lists for the general public in parts of the country and a still-limited supply of vaccines, the development is a sign that the ambitious goal of mass vaccination in early 2021, once almost unimaginable, will be met.

The larger goal is sufficient immunity among Americans to end the spread of the virus and stop a pandemic that has raged for more than a year, claiming the lives of more than 556,000 Americans and disrupting daily life, businesses, schools and more.

Biden will also mark 150 million doses administered since he took office in January, the official said, a pace that will allow the administration to meet its goal of 200 million shots delivered by Biden’s 100th day in office.

12:09 p.m.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issues order banning ‘vaccine passports’ in the state

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has issued an executive order banning government-mandated “vaccine passports” in the state, saying vaccinations against covid-19 are voluntary and should not prevent residents from going about their daily lives.

“Every day, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott said in a statement released Tuesday. “But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced. Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”

The order prohibits state agencies from creating a vaccine passport requirement, “or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

It also bans organizations that receive public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of their coronavirus vaccine status “in order to receive any service or enter any place.”

Abbott last month lifted a statewide mask mandate and other public health restrictions, even as experts warned that reopening could result in a new surge in covid-19 cases.

Texas has fully vaccinated just 16 percent of its population, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. Some 28 percent of Texas residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In his statement, which was released Tuesday, Abbott said Texas would continue to vaccinate residents “and protect public health.”

“And we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms,” he said.

11:25 a.m.
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Global financial institutions should finance vaccinations in developing world, Rockefeller Foundation says

Institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund should be at the center of a “much more robust international response” to the pandemic, as well as helping finance a global recovery from the virus, the Rockefeller Foundation said in a report Tuesday.

The foundation outlined in a 22-page report what it said was a financing strategy first to stop the pandemic through widespread vaccinations in developing countries — and then to fund a worldwide rebuilding effort that is both equitable and climate friendly.

“Just as the entire world shared the spread and pain of covid-19, we must now share in orchestrating an end to the pandemic and a transition to a recovery that is just, equitable, sustainable and lasting,” the foundation said. “The pandemic cannot be contained, and the rebuilding fully begun, until the virus is halted in every country.”

The report includes contributors such as former British prime minister Gordon Brown and U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs, who heads the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

It proposes the IMF swiftly issue and approve $650 billion in additional reserve assets, known as Special Drawing Rights, to help developing nations immunize up to 70 percent of their populations by the end of 2022.

After that, the World Bank and other financial institutions should expand their lending power “to free up hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in a clean and equitable recovery in developing economies and emerging markets,” the report said.

The foundation said new virus variants spreading around the globe “could cause rolling outbreaks resulting in further economic shutdowns.”

“To turn the tide, we must first defeat the pandemic, not just within our own countries but everywhere,” the report said. “Failure to do so will mean an increase in the development of variants that could prolong the pandemic everywhere, squandering the trillions already spent to buttress developed world economies and beat back the pandemic at home. Therefore, the most urgent financing priority is to stop the virus in its tracks everywhere.”