A version of this story appeared in the April 29 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.

(CNN)The pandemic occupied a major part of US President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress on Wednesday, as he made a sweeping case for big government that would transform and vastly expand its role in Americans’ lives.

“Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation, America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity, setbacks to strength,” he said in a speech that outlined the multi-trillion-dollar solution that can end the pandemic, equalize the economy and make life better for millions of working people, Stephen Collinson writes. The pandemic is the greatest challenge Biden faces and the issue he and his advisers believe will make or break his presidency. Yet his message was one of distinct optimism about the trajectory of the outbreak, hoping to provide a high-profile boost in the national spirit after a year of lockdowns and tragedy, Kevin Liptak reports. He referenced scientific investments like developing Covid-19 vaccines as proof that big government is working. The vaccination effort he has largely overseen has, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seen about 43% of the population receive at least one dose of vaccine. His remarks also revealed the concern about Americans who aren’t rushing to get immunized. “Go get vaccinated,” he pleaded from the podium as administration health officials fret that the country won’t be able to achieve widespread immunity if too many people decide not to get a shot. “They’re available now,” he added. Read MoreBut the pandemic is not just an American problem, it is a global scourge, and has prompted an internal debate in the Biden administration over sharing excess US vaccines doses with other countries, according to sources familiar with the tensions, Kylie Atwood reports. In the meantime, some nations are getting despondent. Speaking to CNN, Thabo Makgabo, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, criticized COVAX, a program aimed at helping developing countries get vaccine access, saying it was unambitious in its goals and hindered by rich countries hoarding doses. “If one looks at the COVAX system and its intention, it’s supposed to help the global south and the poorest of the poor countries. To vaccinate only 3% — it is destined to fail,” he said. YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED. Q. Could the Covid-19 vaccines affect my fertility?A: This is pure nonsense, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, told CNN. There’s no evidence that people have lost any fertility because of the Covid-19 vaccines. The rumor apparently started with the myth that the coronavirus spike protein, which is mimicked when you get a vaccine, also mimics the protein on the surface of placental cells, Offit said. “So the false notion was that when you’re making an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, you also were inadvertently making a response to a placental protein — which would then make you less likely to be fertile,” Offit said. Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY India’s Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world India’s Covid-19 outbreak is a global problem that needs a coordinated response, Aditi Sangal reports as the country reported another global record of 379,257 new cases and 3,645 deaths as the humanitarian situation escalates amid dwindling oxygen supplies. Experts warn the more the virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate and create variants that could eventually resist current vaccines, threatening to undermine other countries’ progress in containing the pandemic. This is compounded by India having insufficient vaccines for its population, with no fast and simple way to make more. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines greatly reduce hospitalizations for elderly The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots were found in the real world to be 94% effective against Covid-19 hospitalization among fully vaccinated adults aged 65 and older in the US, according to a CDC report. The study also found that the vaccines were 64% effective among those older adults who only received one dose of vaccine so far. These findings are consistent with the vaccines’ clinical trial results, which showed an efficacy of about 94% to 95%, researchers from the CDC and several other institutions noted. One in four Covid-19 deaths last week was in the Americas, says regional health body The virus’s uncontrolled spread through the Americas accounted for a major part of all global Covid-19 deaths last week, according to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne, who added that one in four Covid-19 deaths reported worldwide last week “took place right here, in the Americas.” New coronavirus variants are helping drive the surge in infections across the region, while slow vaccination rollouts — due in part to lack of availability — pose additional setbacks for several countries in the Americas. The robust US vaccination campaign has been an exception. ON OUR RADARTwo YouTubers are facing deportation from Bali after they made a prank video that depicted one of them breaking local mask laws. The economic fallout of the pandemic has been disastrous for women, who lost $800 billion in income last year, according to Oxfam International. That’s more than the combined GDP of 98 countries. Los Angeles County, the first county in the US to have recorded more than 1 million coronavirus cases, is set to enter its least restrictive reopening phase as early as next week. Turkey is beginning its national three-week lockdown on Thursday in the midst of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as the health minister warns the country will experience difficulties in securing vaccines over the next two months. Germany’s intelligence service said Wednesday it would put some members of an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine movement, known as “Querdenker,” under surveillance as concerns grow over its ties to far-right extremists. TODAY’S TOP TIPAre you one of the growing numbers of Americans who are fully vaccinated? If so, here are 15 things the guidelines say you can do safely — sometimes without physical distancing or wearing a mask. TODAY’S PODCAST “I just want to be remembered as I really took really good care of my patients.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Health ServicesWhen we look back on this pandemic, who and what will we remember? Fauci is at the top of that list for many Americans. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to him about the past, and about what comes next. Listen now.

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https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/29/world/coronavirus-newsletter-intl-04-29-21/index.html

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