While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for April 8


INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

B.1.1.7 strain. A more-transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus first identified in Britain is now the most common strain circulating in the United States, health officials said Wednesday.

During a regular COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rachelle Walensky said the strain, formally known as B.1.1.7, is “now the most common lineage circulating in United States.”

“‘Til masks do us part.” For those in the wedding industry expecting to see a major boost this summer after the pandemic forced cancellations, resulted in capacity restrictions, and postponements last year — the decision to wear a mask is one they will need to weigh if they are in a county under an advisory, not a mandate.

One of the counties that partially lifted its mandate is Hamilton County. People will be required to wear their masks in county buildings through the end of April, but local business owners have the right to choose whether people wear masks or not in their establishments.

At Mustard Seed Gardens in Noblesville, co-owner Mark Skipper said this is a conversation their staff has had extensively ahead of a busy wedding season they are anticipating.

Breastfeeding and antibodies. Breastfeeding mothers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 likely pass their antibodies on to their babies, a new study has found.

The research, out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis., believe the nursing mothers pass on antibodies through their breast milk, giving their children a “huge boost” against COVID-19.

The small study, involving just five mothers, provides “some of the first peer-reviewed evidence that breastfeeding confers a long-lasting immune response” in the nursing children of vaccinated mothers.

AstraZeneca recommendation. British authorities recommended Wednesday that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not be given to adults under 30 where possible because of strengthening evidence that the shot may be linked to rare blood clots.

The recommendation came as regulators in the United Kingdom and the European Union emphasized that the benefits of receiving the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people — even though the European Medicines Agency said it had found a “possible link” between the shot and the rare clots.

British authorities recommended that people under 30 be offered alternatives to AstraZeneca. But the EMA advised no such age restrictions, leaving it up to its member-countries to decide whether to limit its use.

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