January 4 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, January 5, 2021
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10:24 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

Someone has died of Covid-19 every 33 seconds in the US over the past week

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

The United States has seen an average of 1 death related to Covid-19 every 33 seconds over the past week, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

There were 18,462 deaths reported over the past week – from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 – an average of more than 2,600 deaths per day.

December was the country’s deadliest month of the pandemic: 77,572 deaths total, or just more than 2,500 deaths per day on average.

In comparison, the month of November saw about 36,964 deaths; April saw 60,738; May saw 41,703.

10:17 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

Most of Scotland will enter lockdown at midnight

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pictured at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 30.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pictured at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 30. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Most of mainland Scotland will be subject to stay-at-home orders starting at midnight Tuesday local time, according to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon announced the order to the Scottish Parliament Monday afternoon saying it will be "similar to the lockdown of March this year."

The stay-at-home order will apply to all parts of Scotland that are in Level 4, which includes most of the mainland. Most of the Scottish islands will remain in Level 3, she said.

The order will impose a "legal requirement" on Scottish residents "to stay at home except for essential purpose," including caring responsibilities, essential shopping, essential exercise and being part of an extended household. 

Unlike the previous spring lockdown, there will be no limit on the frequency of outdoor exercise.

From Tuesday, a maximum of two adults from two households may meet outdoors.

No one may travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose. Places of worship have also closed except for broadcasting purposes. 

Schools will remain closed until February 1 with Sturgeon calling this the "most difficult decision to take." Sturgeon stressed that the level of community transmission is "too high" for them to reopen. During this period Scottish students will continue with remote learning. Vulnerable children and the children of front-line workers will be excepted from this rule. 

All Scottish residents must work from home unless they are absolutely unable to do so. The order will come into law from Tuesday and will stay in place for the full of January with Sturgeon saying she could not rule out the measures being extended or altered. 

Sturgeon said that the stay-at-home order was prompted by a surge in the country's positivity and hospitalization rate.

"In the week from the 23rd to the 30th of December, the 7-day incidence of cases per 100,000 population increased by 65% from 136 per 100,225 per 100,000" she said.

Regarding hospitalizations she added that she expected the latest numbers "to show that nationally, the total number of COVID patients in hospital is now close to the April peak."

Experts "estimate that we are possibly about four weeks behind the position in London, and the southeast of England" Sturgeon said.

"We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating, to that extent, but we must act quickly."

Sturgeon concluded that "it is essential that we further limit interaction between different households to stem the spread and bring the situation back under control."

9:31 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

White House vaccine chief acknowledges the lag in vaccinations

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Residents wait in line to receive Covid-19 vaccinations at the King's Point retirement home in Delray Beach, Florida, on December 30.
Residents wait in line to receive Covid-19 vaccinations at the King's Point retirement home in Delray Beach, Florida, on December 30. Saul Martinez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

White House vaccine chief Moncef Slaoui told CNN he agrees there is a lag in vaccinations across the US.

“I wish we had vaccinated 20 million, obviously. We worked day and night to have these vaccines available and we will continue to work days and night to have them immunized,” he said Monday.

More than 4.2 million people had been given the first dose of coronavirus vaccines as of Monday morning and 13 million doses had been distributed, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid Data Tracker. But the US needs to go faster. The federal government had repeatedly promised 20 million people would have received their first shots by the end of the year.

Slaoui said he is optimistic that the vaccinations will ramp up and emphasized the role of states in accelerate these immunization efforts or ask the federal government for help.

“It's been two and a half weeks, almost three weeks, and indeed it has been slower than planned,” he said. “[States] will do better, and they will ask us for help. We are inviting them to ask them for help and we help them.”

“We have ambitious objectives and if we don't meet them, we take accountability and we'll work to find solutions rather than describe the problem,” he added.

Watch the interview:

9:17 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

European regulator moves meeting on Moderna vaccine up to today

From CNN's Schams Elwazer

The European regulator has moved up its meetings to discuss possible approval for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine from Wednesday to Monday, a European Medicines Agency (EMA) spokesperson told CNN.

The meeting of the agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) is currently underway and its meeting scheduled for Wednesday remains in the calendar in case a decision is not reached today.

8:32 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

New York surpasses 1 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York state surpassed 1 million Covid-19 infections over the weekend, according to state and Johns Hopkins University data, becoming the fourth state to do so.

Saturday the state hit the grim milestone, and as of Sunday, it reported 1,017,153 total infections to date since the pandemic began.

8:07 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

Mourning her dad and uncle, this Californian says Trump's claim that the virus is exaggerated is an insult

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Paul Vercammen

Most New Year's Days, Rosa Cerna would be celebrating the birthdays of her dad and uncle -- brothers born exactly one year apart. This year, she mourned them both at a cemetery in Simi Valley, California.

Visiting the graves of the brothers who died of Covid-19, Cerna said she is angry that her 73-year-old father had so much more life to live and that the death of two important men in her life could have been prevented if more people had taken it seriously, she told CNN.

"Every day I live knowing that my dad passed from Covid, that my uncle passed from Covid. And some people, I don't think, understand that it could impact them the same way," she said.
"They live so carelessly ... but whatever you do could affect somebody else, just like they did to them."

As Cerna grieved this weekend, President Donald Trump questioned the number of cases and deaths in the US in a tweet, using the term "Fake News."

"It's an insult," Cerna said. "If it was fake, then my dad would be alive. My uncle ... all the rest of the people that have died would be alive."

Read more:

7:56 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

"More complicated than buying a car": French politician criticizes speed of vaccine rollout

From CNN's Pierre Bairin and Gaelle Fournier in Paris

Jean Rottner is pictured in Mulhouse, France, in June 2020.
Jean Rottner is pictured in Mulhouse, France, in June 2020. Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

The head of France’s “Great East” region has described the perceived slow rate of the Covid-19 vaccinations in the country as "a state scandal."

Speaking to TV channel France 2 on Monday, Jean Rottner underlined the “big suffering” in his area, and said he wanted regions to “take over” the rollout from the national government.

According to the latest data made available by the French health agency on January 1, 516 people have been vaccinated in the country. The first shot was administered in France on December 27.

At the beginning of December, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that 1 million people would able vaccinated by the end of January.

The “Great East” region has been particularly hard hit by France's second wave of Covid-19. It is one of the 15 administrative areas in France where the government has imposed a 6 p.m. curfew in an effort to curb cases.

We are making fun of ourselves because today, being vaccinated has become more complicated than buying a car,” Rottner said. 

Regarding the speed of the rollout, Rottner added that this was “bulls**t."

“We need to accelerate, we are at war ... Today, we need to vaccinate everywhere we can, with the means that are at our disposal," he said.

The controversy over the vaccine rollout has prompted French government officials to try and improve the process.

In Emmanuel Macron's New Year’s Eve address the French President said he “would not let, for wrong reasons, an unjustified slowness settle." Health minister Olivier Véran has also announced an accelerated timetable for vaccinations.

7:42 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

We're now starting the pandemic's second year. So what happens next?

From CNN's Faith Karimi

Our global coronavirus nightmare is entering its second year, and we're hanging on the best we can.

Our lives have been turned upside down, the economy is sputtering and more than 1.8 million people have died -- 350,000 of them in the US, more than any other country in the world.

As a nation, the US is exhausted. American hospitals and health care workers are overwhelmed. The grief and trauma are piling up. The vaccine rollout is behind schedule, a new strain of the virus has emerged and experts fear a post-holiday explosion of new cases and hospitalizations.

The next few months will likely be dark and painful. But there's a promise of light on the horizon. With two vaccines approved in the US and more on the way, there's hope for a gradual return to normalcy -- whatever that looks like in a post-pandemic world.

Read more:

7:27 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021

"No question" that Britain will need tougher measures, says Boris Johnson

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to staff during a visit to London's Chase Farm Hospital on January 4, during the rollout of the newly approved AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to staff during a visit to London's Chase Farm Hospital on January 4, during the rollout of the newly approved AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that there was "no question" that his government will need to take tougher measures to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases.

With the British government facing increasing pressure to impose a national lockdown, Johnson told Sky News that "there's no question that we're going to have to take tougher measures."
Johnson called on British citizens to "do their bit now" during the "tough, tough weeks" that are to come. 
The British leader acknowledged that people are "understandably becoming frustrated, impatient," and are failing to following the guidance "in the way that they should."
Johnson said that "the basic things: hands, face, space, really matter now particularly with this new variant."

Earlier on Monday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4 that the UK's tier system is "no longer strong enough" to suppress the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

Hancock defended the UK government's delay in imposing further measures saying they "had shown [previously] we are prepared to move incredibly quickly, within 24 hours if we think that is necessary."

With three quarters of England's population currently under the strictest Tier 4 measures, Johnson said what the government had "been waiting for is to see the impact of the Tier 4 measures on the virus." 

Adding that this impact was "still unclear," Johnson said that based on recent numbers further measures would likely be taken.

The UK case numbers have surpassed 50,000 for six straight days over the course of the past week, with 54,990 new cases recorded Sunday.