Dr. Ashish Jha told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” Tuesday that U.S. states could start making decisions about opening up businesses and economies earlier than predicted if enough people get vaccinated.

“My relatively optimistic view is that we don’t have to wait until the end of the summer or even the beginning of the summer, that by late spring, if enough people have been vaccinated, you’re going to start seeing case numbers really come down a lot,” said Jha, who is dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, “That will allow us to start opening up the economy a lot more, so we don’t have to wait, and we just have to make sure that the infections — the high levels of infection we have right now, that that gets better.”

President Joe Biden set a critical benchmark in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. He promised to deliver states enough vaccine doses for nearly every American by the end of summer. Biden said he will have the government by 200 million more doses of the vaccine — half from  Pfizer and half from Moderna. The deal would boost the nation’s vaccine supply to 600 million

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Computer science teacher Suzy Lebo saw covid-19 dangers frequently in her Indiana high school: classes with about 30 students sitting less than 18 inches apart. Students crowding teachers in hallways. Students and staff members taking off their masks around others.

“I’m concerned,” said Lebo, who teaches at Avon High School in the Indianapolis suburbs. “We’re not controlling the virus in our county. We’re not controlling it in our state. And we’re not controlling it in our schools.”

President Joe Biden’s covid response proposes $130 billion to improve school safety, offers federal guidance for making schools safer and improves workplace protections to safeguard teachers and other workers from covid.

Susanne Michael, a fourth grade teacher in northeastern Arkansas, found it nearly impossible to keep her 20-plus students 6 feet apart amid the pandemic. She succumbed to the virus on Oct 1. “She tried the best she could,” says her husband, Keith. The family vacationed in Pensacola, Florida, in July 2020 (from left): Holly, Keith, Jessica, Hunter, Sara (holding Houston) and Susanne. (Keith Michael)

This comes after many school districts and states holding in-person classes have ignored recommendations from public health officials or written their own questionable safety rules — creating a

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Former Obama administration official Dr. Kavita Patel told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that the number of Covid vaccinations or booster shots people will need “depends on what we see with these strains and how much they escape the immune system.”

Moderna announced Monday that it’s working to update its Covid vaccine. The company’s researchers said that its current shot may be less effective against the South Africa strain, also known as the 501Y.V2 variant. The variant is 50% more infectious and has been detected in more than two dozen countries. 

Patel, who served in the Obama Administration as director of policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, told host Shepard Smith that Moderna’s vaccine announcement did not come as a surprise.

“We all suspected that this would not be our only set of shots, whatever we’re receiving this year,” said Patel. “I think it points to at least, potentially, something every several years or a booster.”

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that the state has one confirmed case of the highly transmissible P.1 variant, also known as B.1.1.248. It was first detected in northern Brazil in mid-December.

The mutated strains of Covid have

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Pedestrians walk pass a mural depicting Indonesia’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on August 16, 2020.

Feature China | Barcroft Media via Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Indonesia will take at least a year before a sufficient portion of its population becomes immune to Covid-19, the country’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told CNBC and stressed the need for the government to keep spending to support the economy.  

“We see that the pandemic is not declining, and we need to keep vigilant on that,” Sri Mulyani told CNBC on Monday as part of the coverage of World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda.

Indonesia launched its Covid-19 vaccination program earlier this month after approving for emergency use the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

Sri Mulyani said conservative estimates by experts showed Indonesia needs about 15 months to vaccinate around 180 million people in order to reach “herd immunity.” That occurs when enough people in a population develop protection against a disease such that it can no longer spread easily.

We see that the pandemic is not declining, and we need to keep vigilant on that.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Finance Minister, Indonesia

But President Joko Widodo wants to “accelerate” that process

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his administration’s plans to respond to the economic crisis during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response event in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, January 22, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Joe Biden has painted a bleak picture of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak in his first few days in office, warning that it will take months to turn around the pandemic’s trajectory and that fatalities are expected to dramatically rise over the next few weeks.

“A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead expected to reach well over 600,000,” Biden said on Friday before signing two executive orders designed to reduce hunger and bolster workers’ rights amid the pandemic.

The U.S. surpassed 400,000 total Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, with a quarter of those coming over the previous 36 days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Biden’s first full day as president on Thursday, he told reporters following a meeting with his Covid-19 advisors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, that the nation would likely top 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in February.

Biden warned on Friday that as the outbreak continues, “there’s nothing we can do

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Scientists work in a lab testing COVID-19 samples at New York City’s health department, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York, April 23, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

New York state is running about 1,000 genome tests per week to look for new, more infectious Covid variants, the state’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said at a press conference Friday.

“The new strains are frightening: the U.K. strain, Brazil strain, now the South Africa strain,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at the briefing. “The U.K. strain is here.”

Zucker said the state has run about 6,000 genome tests so far and has found only the strain that originated in the U.K. New York officials have identified 25 of those cases so far, including two new cases in Westchester County and one new case in Kings County, Cuomo said. There have been no deaths among those cases, according to Zucker.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Friday there is “some evidence” the mutated strain could also be more deadly than the original one, which originated in Wuhan, China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously said there’s no evidence that any of the new

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