US vaccine rollout envied in Canada; Italy enters three-day lockdown: Live COVID-19 updates:

The U.S. vaccine rollout may be bumpy, but it’s the envy of our neighbors to the north.

“Meanwhile in Canada” is trending on social media as Canadians lament their wobbly vaccination program. More than 30% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose compared to about 12% of Canadians, according to public health statistics from both nations.

“The good news for Americans has prompted a slew of jealousy, and criticism from Canadians asking why our provinces are so far behind,” the Toronto Star writes.

Conservative Canadian parliament member Michelle Rempel Garner took note on Twitter of the U.S. push to open up vaccination appointments to all adults. She also noted that the Oakland Zoo plans on vaccinating some of its most at-risk animals this summer.

“Most Americans aged 16 and over will have access to a vaccine in the next week or two,” she tweeted. “In Canada, that milestone is far away. In fact, these zoo animals in the United States might have access to a vaccine before many Canadian adults will.”

Social media users were quick to point out that on one recent day the U.S. administered about 4 millions shots while Canada performed about 72,000 jabs.

“Meanwhile in Canada we are pondering vaccine approval with same rigger as a paint color for your living room,” one frustrated Canadian tweeted. Another offered that “Meanwhile in Canada we’re stuck waiting for American vaccines because our integrated economies mean we don’t have the facilities to make them.”

Also in the news:

A Mississippi health care official encouraged people over 65 as well as those 16 and older with preexisting conditions to refrain from in-person Easter Sunday church services if they have not been vaccinated.

►On Easter 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses temporarily shuttered and others decided to close to give employees a day off. While more stores will be open than on Thanksgiving and Christmas, several major retailers will be closed, including Costco, Sam’s Club and Target.

►Italy entered a three-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown Saturday to deter Easter travel and get-togethers even as the country’s variant-fueled spike in new infections began to wane.

►COVID-19 vaccines may reduce transmission, experts say, but vaccinated Americans still need to wear masks in public. Here’s why.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 30.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 554,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 130 million cases and 2.8 million deaths. At least 204 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 158 million have been administered, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume travel at low risk to themselves, but the agency is still not recommending travel given rising case counts.

USA TODAY is tracking COVID-19 news. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Pope rips ‘scandalous’ armed conflicts despite pandemic

Pope Francis gave his Easter message at Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica before a gathering of about 200, rather than the traditional speech on the balcony overlooking a square packed with thousands. The pandemic was front and center in the pope’s streamed “Urbi et Orbi″ address (Latin for ”To the city and to the world”). Francis denounced armed conflicts in Africa, the Mideast, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe amid the global health crisis and pleaded for equity of care.

“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nevertheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended, and military arsenals are being strengthened,” Francis said.

Susan Miller

Reports of men’s NCAA tournament fan dying of COVID prompt probe

The Marion County health department is investigating whether anyone in Indianapolis was exposed by any Alabama residents after news reports of an NCAA fan dying of complications of COVID-19. Luke Ratliff, a 23-year-old student at the University of Alabama, died after a brief illness days after attending the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, his father has confirmed. Multiple people told The Tuscaloosa News that he had died of complications related to COVID-19.

Ratliff, a major fan of the school’s basketball team, was hospitalized shortly after returning to Tuscaloosa on March 29. He had attended the school’s game against UCLA at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis the night before. It is unclear whether he had contracted the virus before, during or after his visit to Indianapolis, or where he contracted the virus. It’s also unknown whether he was symptomatic while in Indianapolis.

– Emily Hopkins, Indianapolis Star

Arizona governor feuds with Phoenix over Easter park access

Gov. Doug Ducey has demanded that Phoenix open public park amenities for the Easter weekend after the Phoenix City Council voted last month to prohibit grilling and close parking lots to prevent crowding. In a letter to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on Friday, Ducey criticized the city for attempting to limit park visitors, writing that the council’s decision is in violation of a statewide executive order and the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gallego responded to the governor with her own sharply worded letter, saying the city would continue with its plans and that Ducey had no legal standing to make such demands.

“This crisis has made clear to all of Arizona that you put partisan politics ahead of saving lives. It is also no surprise that you have expressed your opinion in a partisan, divisive way rather than in a genuine effort to keep our residents safe,” Gallego wrote.

– Nicole Sadek, Arizona Republic

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