COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 81,202,344 (81,101,687)
Total U.S. deaths: 992,798 (991,959)
Total global cases: 512,057,112 (511,107,390)
Total global deaths: 6,230,152 (6,225,901)
Fauci walks back comments on pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top health adviser, says comments he made Tuesday about the pandemic are being mischaracterized. Fauci told PBS on Tuesday that the U.S. is "certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase."
On Wednesday, he told CNN that he didn’t mean to say that the pandemic is over, making a distinction between “pandemic phase” and the pandemic itself. In his clarification, Fauci said the U.S. is in a “transition phase.”
"We're not over the pandemic,” Fauci said Wednesday. “Don't let anybody get the misinterpretation that the pandemic is over, but what we are in is a different phase of the pandemic."
Moderna seeks approval for pediatric vaccinations
Moderna has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of six months and five years. In its filing, the company said its vaccine was about 51% effective against the Omicron variant in children under two years old. It was less effective – 37% – in two- to five-year-olds.
Researchers say the Moderna vaccine protection is less effective now than it was when it was first released. The dominant strains now are subvariants of the Omicron variant, which more easily evades the body’s immune defense.
Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said children under six years old who receive two doses should have high levels of protection against severe illness.
Denmark shutters its COVID-19 vaccination program
Denmark has become the world’s first nation to suspend its vaccination program, at least for the time being. The country’s leaders cite high vaccination rates and a low number of new cases.
Denmark's chief physician, Bolette Soborg, said the shutdown is basically just for the summer months.
"We plan to reopen the vaccination program in the Autumn,” Soborg said. “This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines."
Around the nation
New York: New York may be once again turning into the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreaks. The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that only 40 of America’s more than 3,000 counties are considered high transmission areas, but 23 of those counties are in New York.
Louisiana: Mardi Gras is over, but the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in almost three years is coming up. Health officials say they plan to examine waste from the portable toilets to look for an early warning of a potential COVID-19 outbreak.
Michigan: In another sign that the state thinks COVID-19 is under control, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning the return of facilities and sites to pre-pandemic public hours. Starting May 1, most DNR customer service centers and field office locations will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New Hampshire: New Hampshire is a leader when it comes to bills in the state legislature aimed at COVID-19 restrictions. The Network for Public Health Law counts 16 measures aimed at limiting the authority of public health agencies. Officials say the real number is closer to 60.
Iowa: Iowa is one of the few states where hospitalizations are rising along with a rise in new coronavirus cases caused by Omicron subvariants. There were 84 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, up from 63 last week and the most since mid-March.