Live news on Covid vaccines and cases. States are increasing distribution and lowering Covid vaccine eligibility guidelines following federal recommendations.

Pope Francis receives first Covid vaccine dose
ROME Pope Francis has been given a Covid-19 vaccine, the Vatican confirmed Thursday.
The director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, said in a statement that both the Pope and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received their first doses. It was not clear which of the approved vaccines was administered.
Pope Francis said he was due to get the jab and urged others to get vaccinated in a TV interview this week. I think that ethically we should all receive a vaccine, said the pope, 84. Its an ethical choice because you are playing with your health, your life, but also the lives of others.
Germany reports highest daily death toll
BERLIN Germanys disease control agency has reported the highest single-day death toll from Covid-19.
The Robert Koch Institute said Thursday that 1,244 deaths from coronavirus were confirmed in Germany until midnight, taking the total number to 43,881 since the start of the pandemic.
Data showed there were also 25,164 new cases confirmed in Germany by midnight.
German officials are considering tougher restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections in the country.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Germany has risen over the past two weeks from 23.36 new cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 30 to 26.03 new cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 13.
African Union purchases 270 million Covid vaccine doses
The African Union has purchased a provisional 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers for member states to bolster its efforts to combat the pandemic.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the continental union of 55 countries, vowed that at least 50 million vaccine shots will be available starting this April, in a statement released by his office after meeting with Africa’s vaccine task force. The vaccines will be supplied by Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
The news comes as African nations are battling a second wave of COVID-19. Cases have risen to at least 3.1 million and the death toll is at 74,600 across the continent.
China reports first Covid death since May
China has recorded its first Covid-19-related death in more than seven months, according to figures released by the country’s National Health Commission Thursday.
The death was recorded in Hebei province Wednesday, as China recorded its biggest jump in cases in over 10 months. The latest figures come as approximately 28 million people are in lockdown across China, the majority in Hebei province.
It took just 39 new coronavirus cases for health authorities in China to put almost 11 million people into lockdown in the city of Shijiazhuang last week. China has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, as much of the world struggled to keep infection rates low. 
Lebanon imposes all-day curfew as the coronavirus spins out of control
BEIRUT Lebanese authorities began enforcing an 11-day nationwide shutdown and round the clock curfew Thursday, hoping to limit the spread of coronavirus infections spinning out of control after the holiday period.
For the first time, residents were required to request a one-hour permit to be allowed to leave the house for emergencies, including going to the bakery, pharmacist, doctor, hospital or airport.
Authorities came under pressure to take a tougher approach after the country’s hospitals ran out of beds with daily infections reaching an all-time high of 5,440 cases last week in the country of nearly 6 million people.
He unknowingly had Covid-19. Now his blood contains rare antibodies.
With his roommate in dire health from the coronavirus last spring, it did not take much for John Hollis to believe he would also contract the highly infectious, deadly disease. He was so concerned about what could happen that he penned a letter to his teenage son, Davis, in case “things went downhill fast,” Hollis said.
It turned out that Hollis unknowingly already had Covid-19 and may have unwittingly infected his roommate.
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