U.S. Bans Travel From India; Mask Mandate Extended: Virus Update


President Joe Biden banned most travel to the U.S. from India beginning Tuesday as the country struggles to combat the worst surge of coronavirus cases in the world. Passengers on airplanes, buses and other forms mass transportation in the U.S. will have to keep wearing masks.

New York City restaurants can expand their indoor dining capacity to 75% on May 7. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 80,000 city employees are expected to return to their offices May 3, providing an “important indicator” to the private sector to follow suit. Oregon reimposed tighter restrictions on most of the state, as Connecticut eased curbs on bars and restaurants.

Los Angeles will close the mass vaccination site at Dodgers Stadium by the end of May as demand for shots falls across the region. Disneyland reopened after 13 months, though only to California residents for now.

Key Developments

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Brazil Reaches 1 Million Daily Doses (5:32 p.m. NY)

Brazil reached a self-imposed daily Covid-19 vaccination goal, but a shortage of shots poses a risk to the immunization plan going forward.

The seven-day moving average of shots given rose to 1 million for the first time since applications started in mid-January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A total of 47,111,974 million vaccines have now been administered in Brazil, mostly of China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shot. That’s enough to cover almost 15% of the population with one dose and fully inoculate 7.4%.

Oregon Clamps Down (5:08 p.m. NY)

Governor Kate Brown put 15 of Oregon’s counties, about 80% of the population, under more severe restrictions as a new viral surge sweeps through a partially vaccinated population. The Democratic governor said hospitalizations have doubled in the last week.

The restrictions prohibit indoor dining, put limits on religious gatherings and sharply curb capacity at gyms, movie theaters and other public venues.

Brown, under heavy criticism by businesses and opponents, said it was “not a decision we take lightly.” But, she said, “As your governor, I chose to save lives.”

Vaccinated Floridians Can Drop Masks Indoors (4:40 p.m. NY)

Florida’s surgeon general issued guidance saying that fully vaccinated people “should no longer be advised to wear face coverings or avoid social and recreational gatherings” except in undefined “limited circumstances.” The guidance appeared to allow vaccinated Floridians to drop mask wearing indoors. Earlier this week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people were freer to not wear masks outdoors.

Surgeon General Scott Rivkees noted the “tremendous steps” taken to vaccinate Floridians and that vaccines “dramatically diminish hospitalizations and deaths” from Covid-19 and curb its spread.

Mexico Seeks More Doses From U.S. (4:22 p.m. NY)

Mexico’s president said on Friday that he’s seeking another 5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the U.S., his latest appeal to countries including Russia and China to help the nation speed up its vaccination pace.

The U.S. already lent Mexico over 2.7 million vaccines in March and April, and declined to comment about whether it plans to share more shots with its southern neighbor.

TSA Extends Mask Requirement (3:42 p.m. NY)

Passengers on airplanes, buses and other forms mass transportation in the U.S. will have to keep wearing masks to guard against the spread of Covid-19 as federal officials extended a mandate that was set to expire within days through the busy summer travel season.

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday announced it was extending the mandate through Sept. 13. The move is in step with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still advises face coverings to limit the spread of coronavirus in crowded indoor spaces, even for those who have been vaccinated.

Connecticut Eases Restrictions (3:27 p.m. NY)

Governor Ned Lamont signed an order easing restrictions at bars and restaurants in Connecticut. The move means these outlets will be able to serve alcohol outdoors without food orders starting Saturday, and lifting the same limit for indoors on May 19.

Biden Bans Travel From India (2:28 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden banned most travel to the U.S. from India beginning Tuesday as the country struggles to combat the worst surge of coronavirus cases in the world, the White House said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the travel ban, which won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India,” her statement said.

India recorded 387,000 new infections on Thursday, a record high, and nearly 3,500 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

NYC Indoor Dining Moves to 75% (1:07 p.m. NY)

New York City restaurants can expand their indoor dining capacity to 75% on May 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. The announcement aligns New York City with the rest of the state, Cuomo said in a news release.

Hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services also can open at 75% capacity on May 7, and gyms and fitness centers in the city can open at 50% capacity on May 15, Cuomo said. The easing of restrictions comes as new cases continue to fall in the state.

NYC Sees Example in Worker Return (1 p.m. NY)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 80,000 city employees are expected to return to their offices May 3, providing an “important indicator” to the private sector to follow suit after the pandemic kept millions of people at home.

“People need to come back because we have work to do,” de Blasio said Friday on a WNYC radio interview.

Less than 16% of workers in the New York metropolitan area were back at their desks as of April 30, according to data from Kastle Systems.

Variants a Risk After One Pfizer Shot (12:42 p.m. NY)

People who haven’t fought off Covid-19 before are still vulnerable to infection from variants after getting the first dose of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s vaccine, underscoring the need for fast and full inoculation regimens, according to a U.K. study published Friday.

Among those who previously had mild or asymptomatic cases of Covid, the protection was “significantly enhanced” after a single dose against the variants first seen in the U.K. and South Africa, researchers said in the study, published Friday in the journal Science.

Disneyland Reopens (12:35 p.m. NY)

Walt Disney Co.’s Disneyland is opening its gates after being closed for 13 months due to the pandemic.

The theme park in Anaheim, along with the nearby Disney California Adventure, will initially be opened only to California residents with capacity limits and social distancing measures in place. Disney has laid off 32,000 employees over the past year, most of them in the theme-park unit. The company plans bring back more than 10,000 furloughed employees for the reopening.

The theme park is sold out for weekends through May, an indication of pent-up demand for leisure activities as the pandemic…



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