(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the pandemic right now:
U.S. will no longer enforce mask mandate on airplanes, trains
The Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida on Monday ruled that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Soon after the announcement, all major carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, as well as national train line Amtrak relaxed the restrictions effective immediately.
Uber Technologies has scrapped mandatory face masks for its riders and drivers in the United States, the ride-hailing company said on Tuesday, adding that riders have the option to cancel their trip if they feel uncomfortable with its move.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it had dropped its “Do Not Travel” recommendations for about 90 international destinations.
Shanghai urges cooperation with COVID tests
The Chinese city of Shanghai on Tuesday pleaded for public cooperation with a massive new push to test most of the population for COVID-19 as it tries to bring community transmission down to zero after nearly three weeks of lockdown.
The plea came as some people refused to join PCR testing queues out of weariness after weeks of such requirements, or fear it puts them at greater risk of infection.
Moderna says dual variant booster with Beta more effective vs Omicron than current shot
Moderna said on Tuesday said a COVID-19 booster designed to target the Beta variant as well as the original coronavirus generated a better immune response against a number of virus variants including Omicron.
Moderna said the results were a good sign for the company’s plans for future shots targeting two COVID-19 variants.
Poland declines to take or pay for more COVID vaccines for now
Poland will not take or pay for more doses of COVID-19 vaccine under the European Union’s supply contract, its health minister said on Tuesday, setting the stage for a legal battle with manufacturers.
Poland, along with other EU members, has been receiving COVID-19 vaccines under supply contracts agreed between the European Commission and vaccine makers.
J&J suspends sales forecast for COVID vaccine
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday suspended its sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine due to a global supply surplus and demand uncertainty and cut its adjusted profit expectation.
The company had earlier predicted as much as $3.5 billion in sales from the shot, which has fared poorly compared to rivals due to low demand in the United States and safety concerns.
Demand for Pfizer’s COVID pills lags around the world
Worldwide demand for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid has been unexpectedly light due to complicated eligibility requirements, reduced testing, and potential for drug interactions, a Reuters review of data and interviews with experts has found.
Demand also has been hampered by the perception that Omicron infections are not that severe.
Second global COVID summit scheduled for May 12
A second Global COVID-19 Summit will be held virtually next month for countries to discuss efforts to end the pandemic and prepare for future health threats, according to a joint statement on Monday.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)