While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 18

Biden to send US-authorised vaccines abroad for first time

US President Joe Biden plans to send an additional 20 million doses of US coronavirus vaccines abroad by the end of June – including, for the first time, shots authorised for domestic use, where supply is beginning to outstrip demand.

Biden will announce Monday (May 17) that he’ll export 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson, on top of 60 million Astraseneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries, according to a senior administration official familiar with the plan.

The official, who asked not to be identified ahead of planned remarks from the president, stressed that the measures are only a first step as the US pivots its attention to quelling the pandemic abroad. Biden has previously pledged that the US would soon become an “arsenal” of global vaccine supply.

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New York ends Covid-19 mask requirements for vaccinated people


New York state will no longer require people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to wear masks in many public spaces, adopting the new guidance issued last week by federal health officials, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday (May 17).

“Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask,” the governor said.

Masks will still be required on public transit, in schools and in some other communal settings, even among the vaccinated, the governor said. He also said private businesses could still impose their own masking rules on customers and other visitors.

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Pfizer, Moderna vaccines effective against variants first detected in India: Study


The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines should remain highly effective against two coronavirus variants first identified in India, according to new research carried out by US scientists.

The lab-based study was carried out by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU Langone Center and is considered preliminary because it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“What we found is that the vaccine’s antibodies are a little bit weaker against the variants, but not enough that we think it would have much of an effect on the protective ability of the vaccines,” senior author Nathaniel “Ned” Landau told AFP on Monday (May 17).

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Two-month-old Spanish baby saved by pioneering heart transplant


The life of a two-month-old Spanish girl was saved by pioneering surgery when doctors transplanted a small heart that had stopped beating from a donor with a different blood type, Hospital Gregorio Maranon said on Monday (May 17).

“It was twice the magic,” said Juan Miguel Gil Jaurena, head of children’s cardiac surgery at the Madrid hospital, explaining that such techniques did not exist for young children three years ago and had never before been used on a baby so small.

The case opens the way to saving more infants who need heart transplants and are too young to use ventricular support devices until they get a compatible donor.

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Football: Kroos tests positive for Covid-19, will miss Real title showdown


Title-chasing Real Madrid will be without midfielder Toni Kroos for their must-win match against Villarreal on the final day of the Liga season after the German tested positive for Covid-19.

The club announced that Kroos returned a positive test on Monday (May 17), having missed Sunday’s win at Athletic Club after coming into direct contact with someone who contracted the virus.

“Real Madrid C. F. announces that our player, Toni Kroos, tested positive in the Covid-19 test he underwent today,” read a club statement.

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