Covid-19: Moderna vaccine rollout to begin and Brazil daily deaths top 4,000

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. Moderna Covid vaccine rollout to begin

A third Covid-19 vaccine will be rolled out in the UK later. The Moderna vaccine follows the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs, which are already widely in use. Seventeen million doses were ordered by the government and Wales will become the first nation to administer the two-dose vaccine in Carmarthenshire later today. Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething says a third vaccine "significantly adds" to defences against Covid-19. "Every vaccine given to someone in Wales is a small victory against the virus," he says. Scotland has received its first Moderna batch but not confirmed a rollout date. Neither has England, but yesterday the UK government's vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Moderna vaccine would be deployed "around the third week of April".

Image source, Getty Images

2. Brazil daily Covid deaths top 4,000 for first time

Brazil has recorded more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time, as a more contagious variant fuels a surge in cases. Hospitals are overcrowded, with people dying as they wait for treatment in some cities, and the health system is on the brink of collapse in many areas. The country's total death toll is now almost 337,000, second only to the US. But President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose any lockdown measures to curb the outbreak. He argues that the damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself, and has tried to revert some of the restrictions imposed by local authorities in the courts.

Image source, Reuters

3. Covid-19 raises risk of depression and dementia, study suggests

Covid-19 raises the risk of depression, dementia, psychosis and stroke, a study finds. A third of those with a previous Covid infection went on to develop or have a relapse of a psychological or neurological condition but those admitted to hospital or in intensive care had an even higher risk. This is likely to be down to both the effects of stress, and the virus having a direct impact on the brain. UK scientists looked at the electronic medical records from the previous six months of more than half a million patients in the US, and their chances of developing one of 14 common psychological or neurological conditions.

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4. Schools 'a lifeline to many students' in past year'

School staff have been giving clothing, food and furnishings to families that have been struggling financially in the coronavirus pandemic, teachers say. Some pupils have gone to school without winter coats, while others have been worried about having enough to eat, a National Education Union poll suggests. The Department for Education says it has invested £2bn to help pupils in England in the wake of the pandemic.

Image source, Jane Barlow

5. US faces ketchup shortage amid pandemic

The US is facing shortages of tomato ketchup after the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in demand for sachets of the popular condiment. Heinz, the most widely sold brand of ketchup, says the rise in demand had been "driven by... accelerated delivery and take-out trends". The packs often accompany delivery orders and have effectively replaced the bottles kept on restaurant tables. The company says it has stepped up production.

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And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. What's happening with pools, gyms and hairdressers when lockdown restrictions ease in England on 12 April? Find out everything you need to know here.

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