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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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India's Covid cases top 24 million
The number of recorded Covid-19 infections in India climbed above 24 million on Friday amid reports that the highly transmissible coronavirus mutant first detected in the country was spreading across the globe.

The situation is particularly bad in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state with a population of over 240 million. Television pictures have shown families weeping over the dead in rural hospitals or camping in wards to tend the sick.

Singapore tightens curbs on social gatherings, dining
Singapore announced on Friday the strictest curbs on social gatherings and public activities since easing a Covid-19 lockdown last year, amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new coronavirus clusters forming in recent weeks.

The new measures announced by the health ministry, which will be effective from Sunday to mid-June, include limiting social gatherings to two people and ceasing dining in at restaurants. The authorities said they will review the measures after two weeks to assess if adjustments are needed.

Fully vaccinated people can begin shedding masks -U.S. CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places, updated guidance the agency said will allow life to begin to return to normal.

The CDC, which hopes the guidance will prod more Americans to get vaccinated, also said fully immunized people will not need to physically distance in most places. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the new guidance was based on a sharp reduction in cases, expansion of vaccines to younger people and vaccine efficacy against coronavirus variants.

Delayed 2nd Pfizer shot produces more antibodies, study says
Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine generates antibody responses three-and-a-half times larger in older people when a second dose is delayed to 12 weeks after the first, a British study said.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, looked at 175 people aged between 80 and 99, and found that extending the second dose interval to 12 weeks increased the peak antibody response 3.5-fold compared to those who had it at three weeks.

Top scientists question the need for Covid-19 booster shots
Covid-19 vaccine developers are making ever bolder assertions that the world will need yearly booster shots, or new vaccines to tackle worrying coronavirus variants, but some scientists question when, or whether, such shots will be needed.

In interviews with Reuters, more than a dozen influential infectious disease and vaccine development experts said there is growing evidence that a first round of global vaccinations may offer enduring protection against the coronavirus and its most worrisome variants discovered to date.
(Reuters)

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