SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has lifted regional stay-at-home orders statewide in response to improving coronavirus conditions. Public health officials said Monday the state will return to a system of county-by-county restrictions intended to stem the spread of the virus. Local officials could choose to continue stricter rules. The state is also lifting a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The decision comes with improving trends in the rate of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care unit capacity as well as vaccinations. The lifting of the order is based on projections that the state says show improving ICU conditions, but officials have not disclosed the data behind the forecasts.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine protects against worrisome emerging variants of the coronavirus but it’s taking the precaution of testing a possible booster dose against the strain discovered in South Africa. Moderna says the move was out of “an abundance of caution” after preliminary lab tests suggested its shot produced a weaker immune response to that variant. Moderna says it has begun developing a booster vaccine targeted to that new strain. Moderna will also test if simply giving an extra dose of the original vaccine could be helpful.
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's executive body has proposed that EU nations impose more travel restrictions to counter the worrying spread of new coronavirus variants. But the European Commission also wants to make sure to keep goods and workers moving across EU borders. It wants EU nations to reinforce testing and quarantine measures for travelers as virus mutations that are more transmissible threaten to overwhelm European hospitals with new cases. Some nations, like Belgium, have already banned all nonessential travel for its residents. More than 400,000 EU citizens have already died from the virus since the pandemic first hit last year.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who led the former president’s efforts to spread baseless claims about the 2020 election. The lawsuit filed Monday seeks more than $1.3 billion in damages for the voting machine company, a target for conservatives who made up wild claims about the company, blaming it for Trump’s loss, alleging without evidence that its systems were easily manipulated. The suit is based on statements Giuliani made on Twitter, in conservative media and during legislative hearings where the former mayor of New York claimed the voting machine company conspired to flip votes to Democrat Joe Biden.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says he won't seek reelection and plans to end a career in federal government spanning more than three decades. Portman, who turned 65 last month, is among establishment Republicans who clearly struggled with supporting President Donald Trump. But after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Portman said Trump had to bear “some responsibility” for what happened. He has said he wants to hear both sides in the Trump impeachment trial before deciding how to vote.