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News Wrap: Fauci says U.S. may see COVID surge like Europe without public health measures

In our news wrap Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. risks seeing a surge similar to that in Europe if public health measures are rescinded too soon. The new wave of European infections forced Germany to extend its lockdown measures by a month. President Biden's new proposal to improve infrastructure, education and jobs may cost $3 trillion, and the USPS unveiled a 10-year overhaul plan.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news, AstraZeneca faced new questions about its COVID-19 vaccine. The company had said its U.S. study found the shots are 79 percent effective overall.

    But now federal regulators say the study may include outdated information.

    Meanwhile, Texas announced all adults will be eligible for vaccinations starting on Monday. It's the largest state to take that step.

    A new wave of infections is sweeping over much of Europe, and that's prompted Germany to extend its lockdown measures by a month. Today's announcement largely shut down the country through Easter and beyond. It also brought warnings from the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci:

    We generally are about three to four weeks behind the dynamics of the outbreak that we see in Europe. So, given that the Europeans are surging back up, that that is very clear that this is a risk that we will be doing the same thing if we don't pull back.

    And, in other words, we need to keep doing the public health measures that we talk about all the time.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    France and Italy are also seeing rising rates of infection. But Spain is lifting restrictions on flights ahead of Easter vacation.

    The Biden administration has extended a special enrollment period for subsidized health coverage under Obamacare. It was set to end on May 15, but will run through August 15.

    Also today, the U.S. Senate moved to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.

    The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a 10-year plan today to overhaul operations and cut costs. It calls for raising postage prices and slowing delivery for some first-class mail to five days, instead of three. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that it will help reduce $160 billion in projected losses over the next decade.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Congress will act to prevent any service cuts.

    In Israel, voters faced their fourth national election in two years, and exit polls indicated no clear winner. The voting marked another referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's also fighting corruption charges. Some people cast ballots in airports and drive-throughs due to COVID protocols. It could be several days before final results are known.

    Search teams in Bangladesh have recovered at least 15 bodies after fire roared through a camp for Rohingya Muslims. It broke out Monday and burned into the night, destroying thousands of shelters. U.N. officials said 560 people were injured, and 400 are still missing.

  • Tomson Phiri:

    Our front-line staff in the camp reported horrific scenes of devastation, destruction, and despair.

    I was just on the phone with one of them moments ago, and she just said, imagine losing everything when you were forced from your home just three years ago, only to lose it all over again.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Many of the Rohingya fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar.

    Back in this country, a jury is now in place in Minneapolis to consider murder charges in the killing of George Floyd. The last of three alternates was seated today, joining the 12 regular jurors. They will hear the case against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused in Floyd's death last May. Opening statements are set for Monday.

    The Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, will be first in the nation to offer reparations to Black citizens. The city council voted Monday to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years. Eligible households will receive $25,000 each. It's funded by a tax on recreational marijuana and by private donations.

    Top economic policy officials talked up the U.S. recovery today. At a congressional hearing, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the economy is coming back faster than expected. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was equally upbeat.

  • Janet Yellen:

    With passage of Rescue Plan, I am confident that people will reach other side of this pandemic with the foundations of their lives intact. And I believe they will be met there by a growing economy. In fact, I think we may see a return to full employment next year.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Republicans again raised concerns that the relief spending might ignite inflation, but Powell said the Fed can keep it under control.

    And Wall Street was broadly lower as oil prices and bank stocks fell. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 308 points to close at 32423. The Nasdaq fell 149 points. And the S&P 500 gave up 30.

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