3 states will open vaccines to all adults this week; Florida reports single-digit deaths: Live COVID-19 updates – USA TODAY

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that a Phase 3 trial of its antibody cocktail offered strong protection against COVID-19 for people living with someone infected with the coronavirus.

The treatment lessens the likelihood of infection and improves outcomes for those who do become infected, Regeneron said in a statement. The treatment also appears to be potent against emerging variants, the company said. 

The data suggests the treatment “can complement widespread vaccination strategies, particularly for those at high risk of infection,” said Myron Cohen, M.D., who leads the monoclonal antibody efforts for the NIH-sponsored COVID Prevention Network.

Regeneron’s cocktail, a combination of two drugs, was given to former President Donald Trump when he became ill with the virus. The company said it will share data with the FDA and request emergency use authorization expansion to include COVID prevention for appropriate populations.

Also in the news:

►Illinois opened up vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older Monday, and on Thursday Washington state and California will join the more than 40 states providing vaccine access to all adults.

►For the first time in months, shops, hairdressers and pub “gardens” reopened Monday in England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to “behave responsibly.” Northern Ireland’s “stay-at-home” order is ending and some rules are being relaxed in Scotland and Wales.

►Travel is rising throughout the US: The country averaged more than 1.5 million travelers on Thursday and Friday and nearly 1.4 million travelers on Saturday, similar to the numbers from Easter weekend, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration. 

►Nearly 40% of United States Marines who have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine have declined it, according to the Pentagon. Of the 123,500 Marines who have had access to the vaccine, 75,500 are either fully vaccinated or have received one dose, while about 48,000 have declined it, Communication Strategy and Operations Officer Capt. Andrew Woods told USA TODAY.

►As Michigan grapples with the highest rate in new coronavirus infections in the country, a surge that’s straining hospitals and prompted a pause in some non-emergency procedures, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to press the White House to alter its vaccine-distribution plan.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 562,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 136.1 million cases and 2.93 million deaths. More than 237.79 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 187 million have been administered, according to the CDC

📘 What we’re reading: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying a maximum of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application in a program that launches Monday, April 12. Here’s what to know.

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These colleges were more likely to provide in-person learning

Colleges looking to enroll more students or those in Republican-controlled states were the most likely to reopen for in-person learning during the fall 2020 semester, according to a study by the College Crisis Initiative, a group at Davidson College that has been tracking how colleges responded to the pandemic. The researchers found that colleges that accept fewer applicants and whose students are more academically prepared were more likely to be online during the pandemic. And those that accepted more students and were in Republican-controlled states were more likely to be in-person compared to colleges in blue states.

What didn’t seem to influence a college’s plan to open in-person? Coronavirus cases. The researchers wrote they didn’t find an association between a state’s coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 residents and college’s plans to offer online or in-person courses.

Chris Quintana

Doctors said they had done all they could do. Then his wife spoke up

On the same day Debbie Lloyd’s father succumbed to COVID-19, doctors told her there was little more they could do for her husband. Kevin Lloyd’s lungs had been scarred by the virus, and only high-flow oxygen was keeping him alive. His doctors saw little long-term hope for him, given the damaged state of his lungs. Debbie Lloyd determined that she could not lose her father and husband on the same day to the same disease. So Debbie, an elementary school secretary, took a shot in the dark.

What about a lung transplant? she asked. Today Debbie and Kevin Lloyd are breathing easier. Read their story here.

Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star

Florida reports single-digit increase in COVID-19 deaths

For the first time in almost seven months, the state of Florida reported only a single-digit increase in new reported deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The state health department said Sunday that seven more Floridians and two additional non-residents have died from COVID-19. Over the past two weeks, daily reported COVID deaths across the state have ranged from 22 to 98, and the week-to-week reported deaths have been on a slow decline since January. Just five new coronavirus deaths in Florida were reported Sept. 28.

The state continues to lead the country in the number of U.K. variants of the coronavirus: 3,510 cases identified, as well as 126 Brazil variant cases and 27 cases with the variant first identified in South Africa.

– Hannah Morse, Palm Beach Post

US vows to be leader in global vaccinations

China’s failure to share information and provide access to international public health experts in the early stages of the pandemic fueled the global crisis, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. “I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do,” Blinken said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And one result of that failure is that the (virus) got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results than it might otherwise.”

The secretary pledged that the U.S. will be “the world leader on helping to make sure the entire world gets vaccinated.”

Blinken said the pandemic revealed the need for a “stronger global health security system to make sure that this doesn’t happen again” and to ensure the world can mitigate public health crises. Blinken said the World Health Organization must be strengthened and reformed, and that “China has to play a part in that.”

Contributing: The Associated Press