News Headlines 5/6/21

U.S. COMES OUT IN SUPPORT OF WAIVING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RULES FOR COVID VACCINES: The U.S. came out in support yesterday (May 5th) of waiving intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, which would allow more manufacturers around the world to produce them for the global population and held speed up the end of the pandemic. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the administration’s stance during World Trade Organization talks about a possible temporary waiver of the protections. However, she said it would take time to get to the required global agreement to waive the protections, and U.S. officials said it wouldn’t have an immediate effect of the global supply of vaccines.

CDC: PROJECTIONS SHOW COVID CASES, HOSPITALIZATIONS, DEATHS TO PLUNGE BY END OF JULY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released projections yesterday (May 5th) from six research groups who predicted the course of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. under different scenarios, and they found that even in scenarios that had vaccination rates that were disappointing, Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are projected to fall dramatically by the end of July, and then continue to drop after that. However, they also say there could be a substantial increase in hospitalizations and deaths if unvaccinated people don’t continue to wear masks and social distance. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close.” The CDC reports that more than 56 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and almost 41 percent are fully vaccinated.

TWO AMERICANS CONVICTED IN ROME IN KILLING OF POLICE OFFICER, SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON: Two young American men were convicted in Italy yesterday (May 5th) in the 2019 killing of a police officer in Rome, and were sentenced to the maximum life in prison. The two former school friends from the San Francisco area, 21-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder and 20-year-old Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, were found guilty of murder and four other counts. Prosecutors charged that Elder stabbed Vice Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega 11 times with a knife and that Natale-Hjorth helped him hide it in their hotel room.  As an accomplice, he was also able to be charged with murder under Italian law. Cercielle Rega and his partner were following up on a reported extortion attempt in plainclothes. Prosecutors said the two Americans came up with plot involving a stolen bag and a cellphone after a failed attempt to buy cocaine. The two testified they paid for the cocaine but didn’t get it, and said they though Cerciello Rega and his partner were thugs or mobsters, saying they never showed police badges, which the partner said they did. They got into a scuffle and Cercielle Rega was stabbed by Elder. He testified that he was afraid he was going to be strangled, and that’s why he stabbed Cercielle Rega.

HARRIS TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO, GUATEMALA ON FIRST FOREIGN TRIP AS VP: Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Mexico and Guatemala early next month on her first foreign trip since taking office, she said yesterday (May 5th) in Rhode Island. President Biden in March put Harris in charge of leading the administration’s efforts to stem  the flow of people trying to enter the U.S. at the border with Mexico, as border apprehensions rose after Biden took office.