Arizona governor feuds with Phoenix over Easter park access; CDC updates travel guidance for vaccinated people. Latest COVID-19 updates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated travel guidelines for vaccinated Americans, advising “people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely” within the U.S. 

Travelers within the U.S. don’t need to quarantine and don’t need to get tested before or after their trips, unless destination requires it, according to the CDC’s new guidance. Still, the agency recommended travelers continue observing precautions like social distancing and masks. 

The CDC recommended avoiding travel until fully vaccinated “because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people.”

New CDC guidance comes as the nation has vaccinated more than 30% of its population against COVID-19, with more than 101.8 million Americans receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine tracker on Friday. 

Also in the news:

►Moderna can put 50% more vaccine dosage in each vial, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. The company has been manufacturing 10 dose vials, but the FDA’s decision allows the company to put up to 15 doses in each vial, a move that allows Moderna to speed up shipments and get more shots in arms. 

►California will allow indoor concerts, theater performances and other private gatherings starting April 15, state officials announced Friday.

►Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday, effectively immediately, that bans businesses from requiring customers to show proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to get service.

►Colorado will no longer require masks to be worn in most settings in the 31 counties that are on the lowest level of the state’s COVID-19 dial system, Gov. Jared Polis’ office announced Friday.

►Health officials in Nevada said Friday they expect a big first wave of people signing up get appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations when eligibility expands next week to everyone age 16 and older. Some will need to try more than once, they said.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has over 30.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 554,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 130.1 million cases and 2.8 million deaths. More than 204 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 158 million have been administered, according to the CDC. 

📘 What we’re reading: What if you had your choice of COVID-19 vaccine? The differences between the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are small, but they do exist. Read the full story.

USA TODAY is tracking COVID-19 news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Stickers are available for individuals that receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Community Vaccination Center in Atlanta on March 30. (Photo: Alyssa Pointer, AP)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey feuds with Phoenix over public park access

Gov. Doug Ducey has demanded that Phoenix open public park amenities for the Easter weekend after the Phoenix City Council voted last month to prohibit grilling and close parking lots to prevent crowding.

In a letter to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on Friday, Ducey criticized the city for attempting to limit park visitors, writing that the council’s decision is in violation of a statewide executive order and the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gallego responded to the governor with her own sharply worded letter, saying the city would continue with its plans and that Ducey had no legal standing to make such demands.

“This crisis has made clear to all of Arizona that you put partisan politics ahead of saving lives. It is also no surprise that you have expressed your opinion in a partisan, divisive way rather than in a genuine effort to keep our residents safe,” Gallego wrote.

– Nicole Sadek, Arizona Republic

CDC announces next steps to getting cruise ships back in US waters

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday issued the next phase of its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, the guidance that will lead to getting cruise ships sailing again in U.S. waters. 

The initial conditional sailing order came out in late October, and cruise operators have since been waiting for further guidance. In an announcement late Friday, the CDC said the second phase of the order will include trial voyages to practice new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with paying passengers. 

The CDC update, described in a news release as “technical guidance,” also includes a requirement to increase cruise COVID-19 reporting frequency to daily. There was no clarity in the guidance, however, about when cruise ships can start sailing again in U.S. waters. 

– Morgan Hines, Jayme Deerwester and Julia Thompson, USA TODAY

FDA authorizes 2 rapid coronavirus tests for home screening

Consumers will soon be able to buy rapid coronavirus tests at chain pharmacies and grocers without a prescription after the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized two home tests. 

The BinaxNOW  coronavirus self-test will include two tests per kit for serial screening. The no-prescription test will deliver results in 15 minutes and does not require a lab. The FDA also authorized the Quidel QuickVue coronavirus test, which delivers results in 10 minutes and also can be used without a prescription. 

The FDA has authorized more than 300 coronavirus tests and technologies in what’s becoming an increasingly crowded field of medical labs and tech firms touting different technologies.   

The federal agency authorized only two other no-prescription home tests, but the companies that make those tests are ramping up production, and the tests not yet available to purchase. Several more tests allow people to collect nasal or saliva samples at home, but people must send samples to a lab, which delays results for one to two days. 

– Ken Alltucker

Contributing: The Associated Press

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