First Thing: all US adults eligible for a Covid vaccine by 19 April, Biden says

Molly Blackall
·5-min read
<span>Photograph: Oliver Contreras/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Oliver Contreras/Rex/Shutterstock

Good morning.

All American adults will be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine by 19 April, Joe Biden announced yesterday. The president also said the US had passed the milestone of administering a record 4m doses in a single day, and had given more than 150m doses in total.

But it was not all good news: Biden warned that the US was still in a “life-and-death race” against coronavirus, as case numbers continued to rise in many states with new variants spreading. Despite this, some officials have been relaxing public health restrictions.

  • A third of people who were seriously ill with Covid developed a mental health problem within six months of infection, a study found. It used electronic health records of 236,379 patients, mainly within the US, and found 34% experienced mental health and neurological conditions afterwards.

  • Montana’s governor has tested positive for coronavirus and will self-isolate for 10 days. Greg Gianforte had his first shot of a vaccine last week. His wife has also been tested and is not showing any symptoms.

Derek Chauvin’s police trainer said his knee restraint was not authorised

Lt Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer, testifies in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin county courthouse.
Lt Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer, testifies in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin county courthouse. Photograph: AP

A Minneapolis police trainer said that putting a knee on a suspect’s neck when they were already subdued was “not authorised”, as he testified at the murder trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin.

Lt Johnny Mercil, who instructed Chauvin in the use of force, said the department allowed neck restraints using an arm or the side of a leg when the suspect was “assaultive”, but did not train officers to use their knee. Mercil said the use of a knee was “not unauthorised” but was not allowed when the suspect was already in handcuffs or subdued.

  • It comes after the Minneapolis police chief said there was no justification for Chauvin’s force against George Floyd, when he testified on Monday. Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin had breached force regulation and showed a “disregard for life”.

Chauvin is accused of killing Floyd, a black man who died after the then-officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest, despite Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe. He was already handcuffed. Chauvin denies the charges.

Arkansas banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans young people

Carmarion D Anderson-Harvey, the Human Rights Campaign Alabama state director, speaks on 30 March 2021 at the #LoveALTransYouth press conference in Montgomery, Alabama.
Carmarion D Anderson-Harvey, the Human Rights Campaign Alabama state director, speaks on 30 March 2021 at the #LoveALTransYouth press conference in Montgomery, Alabama. Photograph: Andrea Mabry/AP

Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments and surgery for young transgender people yesterday.

On Monday, the state’s governor had vetoed the bill after pleas from paediatricians, social workers and parents, who said the measure would do immeasurable harm to young people already at risk of higher rates of suicide and depression. However, Republican lawmakers in the state overrode his veto.

  • What does the ban do? The measure bans doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 – and from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

  • Opponents say this treatment can be critical for mental health, with Dr Robert Garofalo, the division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie children’s hospital in Chicago, saying: “This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth. They are not just anti-trans, they are anti-science. They are anti-public health.”

In other news…

A member of the Frederick police department special response team peers out of a minivan before the team entered Fort Detrick in a convoy of vans and sedans after a shooting in Riverside Tech Park, near the Royal Farms on Monocacy Boulevard.
A member of the Frederick police department special response team peers out of a minivan before the team entered Fort Detrick in a convoy of vans and sedans after a shooting in Riverside Tech Park, near the Royal Farms on Monocacy Boulevard. Photograph: Graham Cullen/AP
  • A shooting at a US army base has left the suspect dead and two injured, all navy personnel. The gunman, a navy hospital corpsman, shot two people at a Maryland business park before driving 10 minutes to Fort Detrick where he was shot and killed by an employee.

  • Alexei Navalny is “seriously ill” after reports that he has been moved to a prison sick ward and tested for coronavirus. The Kremlin critic said in a note published earlier this week that he was coughing and had a high temperature – several prisoners on his ward have been treated for tuberculosis recently.

  • The Florida congressman Alcee Hastings has died aged 84, two years after the fiercely liberal lawmaker announced he had pancreatic cancer. You can read more about his life and beliefs here.

Stat of the day: 77% of board members at large US banks have ties to ‘climate-conflicted’ firms

American banks might be outwardly committed to tackling the climate crisis, but their boards are still overwhelmingly dominated by people with potential conflicts of interest over the environment. Three in four board members at seven big US banks (77%) have current or past ties to “climate-conflicted” companies or organisations, from fossil fuel firms to lobbying groups against the reduction of pollution.

Don’t miss this: at least 157 people have died in floods in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Here’s what happened

At least 157 people have been killed, dozens are missing, and thousands left homeless after a tropical cyclone battered Timor-Leste and Indonesia this weekend. Locals share their stories.

Last thing: it’s a wrap for film censorship in Italy

All bar three copies of Bernardo Bertolucci&#x002019;s Oscar-nominated 1972 film Last Tango In Paris were destroyed. The remaining copies were left as &#39;proof of the crime&#x002019;.
All bar three copies of Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-nominated 1972 film Last Tango In Paris were destroyed. The remaining copies were left as ‘proof of the crime’. Photograph: AF archive/Alamy

In Italy, it will no longer be possible to block the release of a new film or demand edits for religious or moral reasons. Instead, film-makers will classify their own work based on the age of the audience. Over the past century, hundreds of films have been censored in the country – most famously Last Tango in Paris. Experts welcomed the ban as an “important and historic step for Italian cinema”.

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