January 9 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 0524 GMT (1324 HKT) January 10, 2021
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10:54 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

Queen and Duke of Edinburgh vaccinated - Buckingham Palace

From CNN's Max Foster

Queen Elizabeth II looks on during the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph at The Cenotaph on November 8, 2020 in London, England.
Queen Elizabeth II looks on during the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph at The Cenotaph on November 8, 2020 in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have received their Covid-19 vaccinations, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Saturday.

The inoculations were administered by a Household Doctor at Windsor Castle, a royal source said.

To prevent inaccuracies and further speculation, Her Majesty, who is aged 94, decided that she would let it be known she has had the vaccination, the source added. Her husband is aged 99.

The couple's son, Prince Charles, tested positive for coronavirus and went into isolation in March. The 72-year-old later said he had been lucky to only experience mild symptoms, adding he'd "got away with it quite lightly."

Meanwhile, their grandson Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year, UK media reported, though exactly when he contracted the virus is unclear.

UK sees record high deaths: The United Kingdom reported 1,325 deaths and 68,053 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest daily increases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data released by the UK Health Department.

There has been a surge of more than 15,000 cases since Thursday.

The figures present a rise in cases as the new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK, sweeps the nation.

The UK has recorded more than 2.9 million cases of Covid-19, and almost 80,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

10:52 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

CDC has reports of more than 60 US cases of variant first identified in UK

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

A man sits in his car as he is administered a coronavirus vaccine at a drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination centre at Hyde Leisure Centre on January 8, 2021 in Hyde, England.
A man sits in his car as he is administered a coronavirus vaccine at a drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination centre at Hyde Leisure Centre on January 8, 2021 in Hyde, England. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

At least 63 cases of a variant first identified in the UK have been identified in eight US states, according to data posted Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This includes at least 32 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, three cases in Colorado, two cases in Connecticut, and one case each in Georgia, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.

CDC says this does not represent the total number of cases circulating in the US, but rather just those that have been found by analyzing positive samples. The agency cautions that its numbers may not immediately match those of state and local health departments.

While the variant appears to spread more easily, there's no evidence that it's any more deadly or causes more severe disease, according to CDC. It has also been found in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Experts suspect there could be many more cases in the country and have criticized the US for not doing more genetic sequencing of virus samples to surveil for mutations. On Sunday, a CDC official told CNN the agency plans to more than double the number of samples it sequences over the following two weeks -- with a target of 6,500 per week.

The earliest-known US sample that carried the current version of the variant was taken on December 19 in Florida, according to the genomic database GISAID. However, collection dates are unavailable for all samples.

 

5:44 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

All staff working for Britain's health service will be offered coronavirus vaccine from mid-January

From CNN's Zahid Mahmood

All staff working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK will be offered a coronavirus vaccine from mid-January to protect against rising cases of the virus nationwide, a press statement from NHS England said on Friday.

Following Monday's rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, NHS England wrote to health trusts across the UK about their plans to vaccinate staff across all NHS services.

They include staff in general practices, pharmacies, dentists, ambulance trusts, volunteers and community-based mental health services.

Previously, only frontline NHS staff were being vaccinated. 

“We will be prioritising the nurses, doctors and other frontline staff who continue to work tirelessly, before administering the vaccine to almost all health and social care staff by mid-February,” Ruth May, NHS England's Chief Nursing Officer said.

Vaccinations among NHS staff will be subject to a risk assessment, prioritizing the most in need. It will take into account risk factors including underlying health conditions, face-to-face contact or staff from a Black, Asian or minority background. 

Ethnic minorities have a higher coronavirus death rate than their White peers, according to the UK government. People of Bangladeshi ethnicity have around twice the risk of dying from the virus than their White British counterparts, while those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Black Caribbean and other Black ethnicities have between a 10 and 50% higher risk of death.

The NHS announcement comes after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” in London on Friday due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus -- which is putting the NHS under pressure and adding to the risk of it being overwhelmed. 

On Thursday, Khan said the London hospitals may run out of beds in the “next few days."

“This virus is out of control. The NHS is on the cusp of being overwhelmed. There has been no time during this pandemic where I’ve been more concerned than I am today,” Khan said.

2:58 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

South Korea reports 641 new cases, with officials cautiously hopeful the country's peak has passed

A medical worker in a booth takes nasal samples from a police officer at a coronavirus testing site in Seoul, South Korea, on January 8.
A medical worker in a booth takes nasal samples from a police officer at a coronavirus testing site in Seoul, South Korea, on January 8. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea reported 641 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Of these cases, 596 were locally transmitted.

The country has been battling an outbreak in the capital's Dongbu Detention Center, with at least 1,118 cases detected so far, according to the Health Ministry. The cluster was detected in mid-December, and officials said prison facilities had been overcrowded at 116.7% capacity.

Since then, hundreds of prisoners have been transferred to different facilities, and the ministry has declared it will test every prisoner in all of the country's 52 detention facilities.

However, officials also said the country's social distancing measures were working, and the latest wave of infections seems to have passed the peak.

President Moon Jae-in also said the government will begin vaccinations as early as next month, when it will "take a more aggressive response (to Covid-19) using vaccines and treatments."

2:28 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

The US reported more than 283,000 coronavirus cases on Friday

People line up at the 360 COVID-19 Mobile Testing Kiosk to get their self-administer tests, in Buena Park, California, on January 8.
People line up at the 360 COVID-19 Mobile Testing Kiosk to get their self-administer tests, in Buena Park, California, on January 8. Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The United States reported 283,204 new Covid-19 cases and 3,456 related deaths on Friday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

That brings the country's total to at least 21,862,773 cases and 368,773 related deaths.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

It comes as health care workers and communities work to roll out vaccines nationwide. So far, at least 22,137,350 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 6,688,231 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

1:02 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

All public transport to be suspended in Hebei capital as city experiences new Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN’s Beijing bureau

A police patrol is seen walking in an empty railway station in Shijiazhaung, China, on January 7.
A police patrol is seen walking in an empty railway station in Shijiazhaung, China, on January 7. STR/CNS/AFP/Getty Images

All public transport will be suspended in the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang, in Hebei province, which is experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases not seen in the country for months.

China locked down the city of 11 million on Friday after detecting 117 cases, including 67 asymptomatic cases. As of Friday, Hebei province had identified a total of 334 locally transmitted cases since January 2, when the outbreak began.

Shijiazhuang Transportation Administration, Shijiazhuang Subway and Shijiazhuang Bus Company have all posted on their websites that taxi, subway and bus services will be suspended from midnight Saturday until further notice. 

Residents have been barred from leaving the city, as major highways were blocked, train and bus stations closed, and flights canceled. All residents have also been ordered to self-quarantine at home for seven days after taking a mandatory Covid-19 test.

12:58 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

China has administered 9 million doses of its homegrown vaccine to priority groups

From CNN’s Beijing bureau

People queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination center in Beijing, on January 8.
People queue to receive a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination center in Beijing, on January 8. STR/CNS/AFP/Getty Images

China has administered 9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to key groups of its population so far, according to the country's National Health Commission.

Since December 15, 7.5 million people around the country have received a dose, the NHC said at a press conference on Saturday. Prior to that, 1.6 million doses had been administered to high-risk populations.

The vaccines: The approved vaccine is developed and manufactured by state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm. The company said its vaccine is 79.34% effective, citing interim analysis of Phase 3 clinical trials.

The vaccine requires two doses per person. 

Aside from the approved Sinopharm vaccine, China has four vaccine candidates which have reached Phase 3 trials.

1:06 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

Japan reports record single-day number of new coronavirus cases for the fourth consecutive day 

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Pedestrians cross an intersection in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, on January 8.
Pedestrians cross an intersection in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, on January 8. Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Japan reported a record single-day number of new Covid-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, just as Tokyo and surrounding prefectures went into a state of emergency.

The country reported 7,851 new infections on Friday, according to the health ministry. Thursday had been the first time cases surpassed the 7,000 mark since the beginning of the pandemic. 

An additional 75 related deaths were also reported on Friday.

Japan's total now stands at 273,866 coronavirus cases and 3,945 deaths.

Tokyo spikes: Japan's capital is one of the country's major hotspots. The city reported 2,392 new cases on Friday, exceeding the 2,000 mark for the second consecutive day.

12:55 a.m. ET, January 9, 2021

US National Guard medic sent to help hospital says it's like putting a Band-Aid on an arterial wound

From CNN's Sara Sidner and Anna-Maja Rappard

Maj. Dwight Christensen remembers the sense of shock he felt first walking through the doors of St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California.

"I was seeing patients, just lining up in the hallway, in the emergency room ... ICU patients just throughout the hospital," he told CNN.

Christensen is part of a National Guard team of medics sent by California to help out hospitals struggling to deal with the pandemic. And while his help is needed and welcomed, Christensen is blunt about how much he's really able to do.

"When I first got in, it felt like maybe a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed," he said of his deployment to the hospital in a desert town 110 miles northeast of Los Angeles. "There's so much more that I want to do, but can I do more? I don't know."

The hospital lobby has been converted to a ward for coronavirus patients. Makeshift walls have been put up around the hospital to create care units in any available space. Behind curtains, patients moan and try to take a breath. Then there is the sound of uncontrolled coughing, then a moment of silence.

"In ICU we see death and dying on a daily basis, but never to this scale," said ICU manager Lindsay Packard. "The death toll has just been out of this world."