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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that, to stem the rampant spread of coronavirus in Michigan, the state needs to “shut things down,” rather than hope the federal government will send the extra doses of vaccine that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has sought.

“If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we will be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work,” Walensky said during a White House briefing. Her comments were the Biden administration’s most forceful to date about how to remedy Michigan’s surge of infections.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The head of the China’s CDC has conceded that the efficacy of Chinese coronavirus vaccines is “not high” and that they may require improvements.
  • China’s refusal to cooperate with international experts at the start of the pandemic helped worsen the global spread of the virus, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.
  • The United States has stepped up its surveillance for coronavirus variants in recent weeks, but experts say there’s much further to go if the country wants to stay ahead of new and potentially dangerous versions of the virus.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to another worrisome jump in coronavirus cases, arguing that the pandemic continues to pose major risks to any recovery.
  • More than 20 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, and deaths are declining steadily even while new cases are on the rise. So far, 561,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the country.

Brits brave midnight snow as pubs open for outdoor drinking

9:28 p.m.
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LONDON — At the stroke of midnight, almost 100 days of coronavirus-inspired closure ended, and Britons were there to celebrate the moment, lined up in the street for a long-awaited pint with friends outdoors, undeterred by freshly fallen snow and frigid temperatures.

Some wore hats and scarves as they raised a glass in pub gardens — despite near blizzards (well, for Britain anyway) in parts of London and southeast England, while others set their alarms to be the first to enter nonessential stores bright and early on Monday morning.

Videos shared to social media captured the scene as shoppers flocked to Oxford Street, one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world, to visit their favorite stores. Groups of young people rushed to purchase sportswear and sneakers as early as 7:30 a.m., while others headed straight to the gym for socially distanced fitness classes.

The pandemic made these high school kids work full time, so now they go to (virtual) night school

8:36 p.m.
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In a routine familiar to millions, class began when the three high-schoolers shut the doors to their bedrooms, opened their computers and logged in to Zoom.

But it was almost dark outside, just after 7 p.m. The teacher waiting on the video call was donating his time, working without pay after hours. The students had just finished up full days of manual labor: one as an electrician, one as a painter and one in a restaurant.

The three students are one of two dozen in a virtual night high school that Alexandria City Public Schools developed this semester. Called Alternative Pathways to Achievement, or APA, the initiative is meant to accommodate students who are learning English and who must work during the day to support their families amid the pandemic. It is one of the first programs of its kind in Virginia, although some Maryland districts have offered night schooling for years. In D.C., a few charter schools and alternative public high schools target adult learners and struggling teenagers by offering more flexible academic schedules.

As pandemic-related deaths of Mexican migrants surge, someone has to send home the bodies

7:22 p.m.
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The calls keep coming. A farmworker from Oaxaca dead in Florida. A construction worker from Zacatecas in Los Angeles. A housekeeper from Puebla in New York.

For more than a year, Mexican consulates across the United States have catalogued the toll the coronavirus has taken on America’s migrant workforce, one desperate phone conversation at a time. Thousands of Mexicans in the United States, most of them undocumented immigrants deemed “essential workers” by state labor departments, have died of covid-19. By one measure, the community’s death rate soared by nearly 70 percent.

Even in death, their immigration status haunted them. That’s where the Mexican diplomats came in: It was their job to repatriate the bodies of the pandemic dead.

IDs prove to be a barrier to getting vaccinated for immigrants

6:31 p.m.
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BOSTON — The line started outside, on a street usually teeming with people waiting to enter college bars, and snaked up the stairs of an old firehouse to the Brazilian Worker Center, where shots of the coronavirus vaccine were being administered on this cold New England spring morning.

Finally, it was Maria Sousa’s turn. She had been waiting for more than an hour with her husband and daughter when a center volunteer greeted them in Portuguese and guided them to the registration desk, where they presented their identification — Brazilian passports.

Getting vaccinated here was the only option they considered.

Immigrants have been turned away from pharmacies and other places after being asked for driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers or health insurance cards — specific documentation not mandated by states or the federal government but often requested at vaccination sites across the country, including right down the road from here.

CDC director says Michigan needs to ‘shut things down’ to slow coronavirus outbreak

5:26 p.m.
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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that, to stem the rampant spread of coronavirus in Michigan, the state needs to “shut things down,” rather than hope the federal government will send the extra doses of vaccine that the governor has sought.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said “the answer” to Michigan’s serious outbreak “is to close things down, to go back to the basics, to go back to where we were last spring and summer” when many states imposed closing orders on restaurants, commerce and public spaces.

“If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we will be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work,” Walensky said during a White House briefing. She noted that, depending on which of the three vaccines allowed in the United States for emergency use they receive, someone getting a first shot needs two weeks to six weeks to develop immunity against the virus. “It will take so long for the vaccine to have an impact,” she said.

Walensky’s remarks were the Biden administration’s most forceful to date about how to remedy Michigan’s surge of coronavirus infections. They came nearly two weeks after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) appealed to the White House to rush more vaccine doses to parts of the country where the pandemic is causing the greatest number of new infections.

Last week, President Biden told Whitmer in a phone call that his administration would provide help to her state, including extra federal vaccinators and therapies such as monoclonal antibodies. But the administration has resisted moving away from a formula for allocating vaccine doses that is based strictly on states’ population.

Until now, administration officials have urged certain states where the coronavirus is making new inroads to pause reopening. Walensky’s comments Monday were the first in which senior Biden health officials have outright called for a state to shut down again.

“The answer is really to close things down, to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact,” Walensky said, adding that hard-hit places such as Michigan should intensify testing and contact tracing.

World Health Organization warns of weeks-long increase in cases, deaths

5:11 p.m.
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World Health Organization officials on Monday sounded the alarm about weeks-long increases in coronavirus transmission and deaths, warning that measures such as masking and social distancing remain crucial even as vaccines ramp up.

Speaking during a media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world saw six consecutive weeks of declining cases in January and February. But there have now been seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, along with four weeks of increasing deaths. Additionally, he said, last week marked the fourth-highest number of cases recorded in a single week.

Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging disease and zoonosis unit, said the world is “in a critical part of the pandemic right now,” adding that the pandemic’s trajectory “is growing.”

“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic where we have proven control measures,” she said. “It is the time right now where everyone has to take stock and have a reality check about what we need to be doing.”

WHO officials stressed that public health measures must be continued. Tedros noted nightclubs, restaurants and markets are crowded with few precautions in some countries, despite increased transmission. He said, “confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are driving transmission and costing lives.”

As vaccines reach more people, it is “exactly the time where we need to double down” on masking, hand-washing, distancing and other interventions used over the last year, said Kate O’Brien, director of the WHO’s immunization department. That, she said, will give the vaccines their best chance of providing protection, especially as new variants emerge.

“We have so much hope and desire to get on with a more regular life as people become vaccinated, but it’s actually the opposite,” O’Brien said. “It is the very time when we should be as diligent as ever.”

With end of pandemic in sight, some introverts are dreading the return to normal

4:10 p.m.
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Everybody can’t wait to return to normal. Except for half the population dreading the return to normal.

During a sad, tragic year, it was introverts who found a silver lining. There was more time alone, more peace and less of the personal and professional pressures they find so draining. The calendar was suddenly, blissfully empty. Life slowed down.

Now we’re returning to the pre-pandemic world, or as close as we can get. Like everyone else, introverts are excited about seeing family and close friends in person, dining in restaurants, traveling and all the other pleasures of a good life. But most are not interested in facing the forced small talk, the big parties, the noisy open offices and all the demands of extroverts who think more is more and introverts should try harder.

“People are saying, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to go back,’ ” says writer and introvert Jenn Granneman.

The first vaccinated vacationers find a quiet, cheaper, nearly open world

2:11 p.m.
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It’s hard to imagine a more emotionally taxing job than Sarah Hammerslag’s. As a child-life specialist at a hospital in Phoenix, Hammerslag, 27, explains medical procedures and diagnoses to kids. It is rewarding work, but it can be draining, even in a normal year; in a pandemic, it could just about break you.

“We were caring for sicker people than we ever have, dealing with more deaths than we’re equipped to deal with,” Hammerslag said. The whole experience was “supremely terrifying.”

So as soon as Hammerslag got her second coronavirus vaccine dose in January, she knew what she wanted to do. Along with her best friend and her best friend’s husband (two fellow hospital workers) and their kids, she booked a vacation. “We looked at Aspen, Vail and Park City,” she said. Park City, Utah, especially, “was much cheaper than normal.”

Texas’s governor says the state is close to herd immunity but the math doesn’t bear that out

1:15 p.m.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “simple math” is behind the recent decline of coronavirus cases in his state: Take the number of people who have been vaccinated and combine it with the number who have been infected. The result, he argued, is something “very close” to herd immunity — the point at which enough of the population is immune that the virus can no longer easily spread.

“We remain very vigilant and guarded and proactive in our response, but there is simple math behind the reason why we continue to have success,” Abbott, a Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.” The equation “means, very simply, it’s a whole lot more difficult for covid-19 to be spreading to other people in the state of Texas.”

Experts have said that immunity from vaccinations and prior infections may have partly contributed to declining cases nationwide after the virus’s winter surge. But in Texas, the numbers Abbott cited don’t add up to herd immunity, according to estimates of that threshold.

Fed chair Powell warns against reopening the economy too soon amid new coronavirus spike

12:28 p.m.
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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned in an interview broadcast Sunday that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to another worrisome jump in coronavirus cases, arguing that the country has not completely turned the corner and that the pandemic continues to pose major risks to any recovery.

Powell, speaking in a “60 Minutes” interview, also said that the coronavirus pandemic had exacerbated economic disparities in the United States and that this could take time to address during an uneven recovery.

In the interview, Powell described an economy that was at “an inflection point,” showing signs of acceleration but still facing numerous risks. By many measures, the economy is rebounding strongly, with the hopes that increased vaccinations and recent stimulus packages will chart a year of strong growth. The Dow Jones industrial average is at record levels and more than 900,000 jobs were added last month.

The state of covid infections in the D.C. school system

12:04 p.m.
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A new notification is posted nearly every day on the D.C. school system’s public website. They trickle in a few at a time.

The school system has posted about 100 notices since schools reopened for in-person learning in February, bringing back about 20 percent of the school system’s population. Each posting could mean that at least one classroom — up to 12 people — has to switch to remote learning and quarantine for two weeks.

The notices can be concerning, but city officials say they are more reflective of students bringing the virus into schools rather than the virus spreading in schools. School system officials say that when multiple people in the school test positive, they are usually siblings in different classrooms at the school.

Hong Kong makes plans for opening up — for those who have been vaccinated

12:04 p.m.
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HONG KONG — With eyes toward a return to normality, Hong Kong has outlined new rules for dining and going out that largely depend on using unpopular tracking apps and being vaccinated.

As the debate rages elsewhere around the world about whether so-called “vaccine passports” are the key to normal life or discriminatory tools of an invasive government, Hong Kong appears to have embraced the concept with new freedoms only open to those who have been inoculated.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced Monday “vaccine bubbles” for businesses and restaurants where establishments with vaccinated staff can be open longer to customers who have also begun the vaccination process. More people would also be allowed at tables — if vaccinated.

Places such as bars, party rooms, clubs and saunas would only be allowed to reopen if both staff and customers are in the process of getting vaccinated and using the government’s “Leave Home Safe” app.

There was also talk of relaxing some of the strict quarantining and testing requirements for those coming from the mainland as well as people traveling from abroad. Currently, anyone coming to the city outside of Australia, New Zealand and Singapore must quarantine for 21 days, which could be dropped to just 14.

For now, Lam said, social distancing and quarantining measures will remain in place for the next two weeks to check that there is no surge in infections following the Easter holiday period.

Regeneron says covid-19 antibody shot reduces symptomatic infection, will seek U.S. approval

11:31 a.m.
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U.S. drugmaker Regeneron said Monday that it would seek approval from federal authorities for its covid-19 antibody cocktail, after the drug was shown to reduce the risk of symptomatic infections in people living with someone ill with the coronavirus.

The drug gained prominence after it was used to treat President Donald Trump when he was sick last year and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use for mild and moderate covid-19 patients.

In the Phase 3 trial, which was jointly run with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the combination shot reduced the risk of developing symptomatic covid-19 by 81 percent, the company said. It also said that among those who did develop symptomatic infections, the ones who were treated with the drug, known as Regen-Cov, “cleared the virus faster and had much shorter symptom duration.”

On average, individuals who received the shot and still experienced symptomatic infection resolved their symptoms in one week, compared with three weeks with a placebo, the company said.

The data suggest that the cocktail “can complement widespread vaccination strategies, particularly those at high risk of infection,” Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in the company’s statement Monday.

Regeneron’s president and chief scientific officer, George D. Yancopoulos, said that the drug “may help provide immediate protection to unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus.”

“We are also working to understand its potential to provide ongoing protection for immunocompromised patients who may not respond well to vaccines,” he said.

Messenger-RNA vaccine technology is paving the way for a whole new approach to flu shots

11:05 a.m.
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The technology used in two of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration may enable scientists to develop flu shots in record time and make inoculations that could be more effective and protect against numerous flu strains for years at a time.

The messenger-RNA technology — used in the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines — would be a leap forward for flu shots, some of which still rely on a process developed in the 1950s involving chickens, petri dishes and dead viruses.

Researchers hope that the success of those coronavirus vaccines will grease the wheels for mRNA flu shots and help expedite what is typically a lengthy process involving years of research, clinical trials and regulatory review and approval.