China ‘didn’t do what it needed to do’ to halt pandemic, US official says; 40% of Marines decline vaccine: Latest COVID-19 updates

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.”

Blinken said the pandemic revealed the need for a “stronger global health security system to make sure that this doesn’t happen again” to ensure that 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.”

Also in the news:

►Ashley Allen, of Brooklyn, turned some heads when she recently became ill with COVID-19 — three weeks after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Allen, 31, told the New York Post she suffered a persistent dry cough and relentless fatigue. Experts say vaccines are not completely effective but should ease symptoms for those who get infected.

►A mask mandate for the public in Tulsa is expected to end April 30, according to Mayor G.T. Bynum. Bynum said private businesses are allowed to require masks and restaurant and bar employees must also continue wearing a mask.

►New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu received his COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at the state’s mass vaccination site at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The Republican, driving an orange convertible, got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in his left arm. He never got out of the vehicle, and he gave a thumbs-up afterward.

►The Supreme Court on Friday shot down a California regulation limiting religious worship in a 5-4 vote. This is the latest in a series of rulings in which the justices have found pandemic regulations violate the First Amendment’s protections of religion.

►Iran began a 10-day lockdown Saturday amid a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Shops are closed and offices are restricted to one-third capacity in its capital, Tehran, and 250 other cities and towns with the highest positivity rates. 

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 31 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 561,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 135 million cases and more than 2.9 million deaths. More than 230 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 183 million have been administered, according to the CDC. 

📘 What we’re reading: Women report more side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men. Health experts explain why.

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