Thursday morning news – April 8, 2021

UK virus variant no dominant in United States » The coronavirus variant first discovered in the UK is now the dominant strain in the United States.

And since that B117 variant is more contagious, it’s giving the virus a leg up in the foot race against COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

WALENSKY: The virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way.

The rate of new daily cases has been stuck at around 65-to-70,000 since late February. And new hospital admissions are still ticking upward.

WALENSKY: Hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults, those in their 30s and 40s, admitted with severe disease. 

The GOOD news: deaths from COVID-19 continue to fall now just over 800 per day. That’s the lowest that number has been since October.

And President Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that a new study suggests that the vaccines provide long lasting protection.

FAUCI: Antibody activity remained high in all age groups out to 209 days. 

That’s more than six months after immunization. A group of immunologists conducted the test with the Moderana vaccine. And Fauci said it’s quite possible that protection lasts much longer.

Pfizer says studies show its shot provide similar long lasting results.

EU drug regular finds “possible link” between AstraZeneca and rare clots » Meantime, the European Union’s drug regulator now says it has found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots.

Director of the European Medicines Agency Emer Cooke:

COOKE: The reported cases of unusual blood clotting following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine should be listed as possible side effects of the vaccine. 

Experts reviewed several dozen cases in Europe where around 25 million people have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Cooke said Wednesday the benefits of the shot still far outweigh the risks, and the EMA declined to impose any new age restrictions.

But British authorities recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine not be given to adults under 30 where possible.

The EMA, the World Health Organization and numerous other health authorities have said repeatedly that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective.

World powers begin effort to revive Iran nuclear deal » Talks are underway in Vienna as members of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal work to revive the agreement. WORLD’s Leigh Jones reports.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Officials from five world powers began a new effort this week to bring both Iran and the United States back into compliance with the agreement.

The United States, of course, withdrew from the deal in 2018, and Iran is no longer abiding by its terms.

The meeting in Vienna includes envoys from Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain, and Iran. It began as U.S. officials started their own indirect talks with Tehran.

So far, Iran has insisted that Washington drop all sanctions against it before it will honor the terms of the agreement. President Biden says Tehran must first start complying.

Russia’s delegate to the nuclear deal tweeted that the initial talks were—quote—“successful.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

Texas, Louisiana leading lawsuit alleging release of migrant criminals » Texas and Louisiana are leading a lawsuit claiming the federal government is failing to deport migrants who have committed felony crimes.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday,

PAXTON: If Texas is holding a prisoner who has committed a felony, once they’re released, ICE is supposed to issue a detainer and then they’re supposed to deport these people. They’ve stopped issuing a lot of these detainers, so these people are being released after committing felonies and other crimes in our states. 

The federal government has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Customs and Border Protection released a report that claims the agency made over 171-thousand migrant apprehensions at the southern border last month. That is a 71 percent increase from February.

A U.S. envoy arrived in El Salvador on Wednesday for talks on immigration amid a surge of child migrants on the U.S. border.

Top officials in the Biden administration say they’re committed to addressing the root causes of emigration from Central American countries at the source.

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) In this Monday, March 22, 2021 file photo, a member of the the medical staff prepares a syringe with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, during preparations at the vaccine center in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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