West Virgina Gov. Jim Justice on Friday announced he is allowing bars, restaurants, and small businesses to reopen fully by eliminating capacity restrictions.
Justice, a Republican, signed an order increasing the capacity limit for the stores to 100 percent, up from 75 percent.
The order contains caveats. Restaurants can only fully reopen if social distancing can be maintained between groups that arrive and sit together. Bars can only reopen if they have physical seating for every patron.
Missing Case of Brazilian Variant Found in England
The UK health authorities have located the person who tested positive for the Brazilian CCP virus variant but did not register their personal information, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed on Friday.
PHE said on Feb. 28 that six cases of the Brazilian P.1 variant had been detected in the UK, three in England, and three more in Scotland. But one of the cases in England could not be traced as they did not complete their test registration card.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on March 2 that the search for the missing case had narrowed down to just 379 households in southeast England.
Italy Extends Curbs in More Regions as New Cases Pile Up
Italy will further tighten CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions in three of its 20 regions, the government said on Friday, after health officials warned of the growing spread of new, highly contagious variants.
Earlier, the health ministry announced 24,036 new daily cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, up from 22,865 the day before. Over the last five days, new infections have increased by 23 percent by comparison with the same period last week.
Detroit Mayor Turned Down J&J Vaccine in Favor of Others
Detroit this week turned down 6,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson CCP virus vaccine, with Mayor Mike Duggan favoring shots from Pfizer and Moderna for now.
Duggan said the allotment of 29,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses “covered everyone who wanted a vaccination this week.” On Friday, he said the city will accept J&J vaccines in the state’s next allocation, calling them “a key part of our expansion of vaccine centers.”
Brazil Sees Record Deaths
The Health Ministry of Brazil registered 75,102 additional cases of the CCP virus on Thursday, the most in a single day since July and the second-highest on record. Brazil also recorded 1,699, decreasing slightly from the previous two days of record deaths.
Relief Bill Contains $10 Billion for Global Response
The $1.9 trillion relief bill under consideration by the Senate contains some $10 billion for the global response to the CCP virus outbreak, including several hundred million for pandemic-related efforts that have both a domestic and international scope.
The spending proposals are featured across five sections of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations portion of the bill, dubbed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (pdf).
Travel Industry Bets on Vaccine Passports to Draw Brits to the Mediterranean
The race to roll out vaccination passports is spurring competition among travel companies and tourist destinations for a large number of Britons set to receive COVID-19 shots before the summer.
Airlines such as EasyJet saw outbound bookings from Britain surge last week as the government raised the prospect of a return to quarantine-free summer travel, and the European Union agreed to develop vaccine passports under pressure from tourism-dependent southern countries.
NY Officials Altered Count of Nursing Home Deaths: Report
Some New York lawmakers are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s impeachment after reports late Thursday that his top aides altered a state Health Department report to omit the true number of people killed by COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes.
It’s the latest blow for Cuomo, who’s been besieged by a one-two punch of scandals involving his handling of nursing home deaths and accusations that he made lewd comments and inappropriately touched two former aides and a woman that he met at a wedding he officiated.
Prioritize Overweight People for Vaccinations: Study
People who are obese should be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new study.
Researchers with the World Obesity Federation found that 2.2 million of the 2.5 million COVID-19 deaths reported by the end of February occurred in countries where more than half of the population is classified as overweight.
Alexander Zhang, Tom Ozimek, Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.