January 11 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Tara John, Florence Davey-Attlee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021
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4:46 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

University of California planning a return to in-person learning in the fall

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

A lone pedestrian walks by Sather Gate on the U.C. Berkeley campus on July 22, 2020 in Berkeley, California.
A lone pedestrian walks by Sather Gate on the U.C. Berkeley campus on July 22, 2020 in Berkeley, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The University of California is planning to return to primarily in-person instruction statewide beginning fall 2021 as access to Covid-19 vaccines becomes more widely accessible, UC officials announced in press release Monday. The University of California system encompasses 10 schools and five medical centers with 280,380 students.

"With robust research advancements and COVID-19 vaccines soon becoming available to students, staff and faculty, UC is preparing to welcome students back to all its campuses this fall, while remaining vigilant in all critical prevention efforts and continuing to prioritize the health and well-being of the University community," the press release said.

UC schools statewide have been primarily offering remote-only instruction for several months due to the increasing number of Covid-19 infections across the state, as well as various regional stay-at-home orders. On campus housing has also continued to operate at reduced capacity with additional safety protocols in place.

"As the University continues to monitor the evolution of the pandemic, we are also carefully planning a safe return to in-person classes," said President Michael V. Drake, M.D., who made the decision in consultation with the 10 UC chancellors. "Current forecasts give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experience," he added.

In Los Angeles, where Covid-19 deaths are now at its highest peak, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) announced it will continue to offer remote-only instruction through Spring 2021, with the exception of a limited number of in-person or hybrid courses necessary to train students for essential workforce positions.

Officials said more specific plans for the resumption of fall 2021 classes, including additional safety measures and starting dates, will be announced by individual UC campuses depending on local and state health guidelines.

5:00 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

At least two gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

From Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo
From Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

At least two gorillas at San Diego Zoo are infected with Covid-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

Three animals are currently showing symptoms and it is suspected that the primates were infected by an asymptomatic staff member, according to a news release from the zoo. 

This is the first known instance of coronavirus in great apes, though previous research has shown that some non-human primates are susceptible to the virus. The gorilla troop lives together as a family, so it is assumed that all members have been exposed to the virus, zoo officials say.

On Wednesday of last week, two San Diego Zoo gorillas began coughing. A preliminary test within the troop showed presence of the virus on Friday, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the positive results today. It is unknown if the gorillas will have any serious reaction, the zoo said, but they are being closely monitored.

"Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well," San Diego Zoo Safari Park Executive Director Lisa Peterson said. "The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery."

San Diego Zoo has been closed to the public since early December.

2:58 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Spain sees a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases over the weekend

From CNN's Tim Lister

Spain reported a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases since Friday, making it one of the biggest weekend increases in infections so far.

The Spanish Health Ministry reported 61,422 new infections since Friday, bringing the total to 2,111,782 total Covid-19 cases.

The ministry also reported a dramatic increase in the number of Spaniards infected in the last 14 days – reaching 204,586. 

The director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, said the evolution of the pandemic is in a "clearly ascending phase and is a consequence of the behavior of recent days." 

"We have had a better vacation than we should have done and now we are seeing the consequences," Simón said.

Social and family gatherings will be further restricted on the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza starting this Wednesday to try to curb the spread of the virus. 

The ministry reported a total of 52,275 deaths, and a total of 16,792 people have been admitted to hospital for Covid-19.

Just over a quarter of intensive care beds are now occupied by Covid-19 patients. 

2:30 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

West Virginia governor announces return to school for 8th grade and below

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice speaks during a press conference on January 11.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice speaks during a press conference on January 11. WV Governor's Office

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice just announced that schools can reopen for "in-person learning for eighth grade and below" starting on Jan. 19. Grades 9 to 12 will not be in-school. 

During a Monday news conference, Justice said,

"I am signing an executive order to officially allow counties to return to an in-person learning, additional guidance will be published by the State Board of Education later this week."

"Our medical experts believe with all in them, that the exposure for going back to school is extremely minimal. And from the standpoint of our eighth grade on down, it is very, very, very minimal," he said. "And so, they believe that it is absolutely safe."

School sports practices will not be allowed to start until mid-February, with an aim to return to games in March, Justice said. 

Justice said, "There's no playbook, and there's no perfect answer," on how to get back to normal during a pandemic. "But the reality is really simple, our kids are becoming devastated by not being in school."

2:28 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Biden receives second dose of Pfizer vaccine

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

President-elect Joe Biden, left receives the second dose of a COVID-19 Vaccination from Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming (R) at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital on January 11, 2021 in Newark, Delaware.
President-elect Joe Biden, left receives the second dose of a COVID-19 Vaccination from Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming (R) at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital on January 11, 2021 in Newark, Delaware. Alex Wong/Getty Images

After receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, pool asked President-elect Joe Biden if he has confidence in his coronavirus task force given reports that he is disappointed in their progress. Biden said he was and outlined his priorities.

"I do," he said, reiterating that he will be unveiling his Covid-19 plan on Thursday. Biden said that 3-4,000 people dying per day is "beyond the pale." 

The President-elect added that he will be meeting virtually with his Covid-19 team today as well.

"I'm confident we can get done what we have to get done," Biden said.

Watch Biden receive his second Covid-19 vaccine dose here:

2:02 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

BioNTech CEO cannot yet get the vaccine he helped develop

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Ugur Sahin, CEO of Biontech, is pictured on December 4, 2020 in Mainz, Germany.
Ugur Sahin, CEO of Biontech, is pictured on December 4, 2020 in Mainz, Germany. Florian Gaertner/Photothek/Getty Images

Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, the German company that partnered with Pfizer to make a Covid-19 vaccine, said on Monday that he has not yet received his Covid-19 vaccine.

But Sahin said he hopes to have his team members vaccinated in the coming weeks.

“We are not yet allowed to take our vaccine, but we found a way to make the vaccine available also to the manufacturing teams and we will hopefully get the team members — and maybe myself also — vaccinated in the coming weeks,” Sahin told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on Squawk Box.

1:48 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Covid-19 cases continue to rise in New Jersey, likely due to holiday gatherings

From CNN's Evan Simko-Bednarski

The spread of coronavirus is increasing, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, likely due to indoor, maskless gatherings around the December holidays.

Murphy announced 5,042 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, and 51 additional deaths.

"This is what we were afraid of – people letting their guard down over Christmas and New Years," he said.

Hospitalizations in the state are holding steady, with 3,653 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases. Of those hospitalized, 649 are in intensive care.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli reiterated on Monday that hospitalizations and deaths are so-called "lagging indicators," and may yet go up as a result of infections transmitted last month.

Persichilli added that the state has reported two new cases of Covid-related multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome in children.

According to the governor, there have been 214,443 doses of Covid-19 vaccine distributed statewide, and 14,984 of those were administered as a second dose. Nearly 15,000 people have received a full course of vaccine statewide.

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

1:59 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Nearly 9 million people vaccinated against coronavirus in the US, CDC says

From CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht

People line up for COVID-19 vaccinations at Nassau Community College on January 10 in Garden City, New York.
People line up for COVID-19 vaccinations at Nassau Community College on January 10 in Garden City, New York. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nearly 9 million people have received their first doses of vaccine against coronavirus in the United States and nearly 25.5 million doses of vaccine have now been distributed, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

As of Monday morning, 35.3% of doses distributed have been administered, compared with 30.2% on Friday.

The CDC said 25,480,725 doses of vaccine had been distributed as of 9 a.m. Monday and 8,987,322 people had received their first doses of vaccine.

The CDC also said Monday that 4,239,775 of the distributed doses had gone to the federal program for long-term care facilities, and 937,028 people in such facilities had received their first doses.

The US continues to struggle to catch up to the promised target of 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020. States have said they don’t have enough staff or money to administer coronavirus vaccines at the needed rate.

1:15 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

States increasingly dumping CDC recommendations in giving out coronavirus vaccines, analysis finds

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

A healthcare worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine to residents living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10 in Tampa, Florida.
A healthcare worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine to residents living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10 in Tampa, Florida. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

States are increasingly abandoning guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and taking their own approaches to giving people coronavirus vaccines, a new analysis finds.

“Overall, we find states are increasingly diverging from CDC guidance and from each other, suggesting that access to COVID-19 vaccines in these first months of the U.S. vaccine campaign may depend a great deal on where one lives,” the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health care policy, said in a report issued Monday.

“In addition, timelines vary significantly across states, regardless of priority group, resulting in a vaccine roll-out labyrinth across the country.” 

The report finds 40 states are still in Phase 1a either fully or partly. Ten states and Washington, DC, are in Phase 1b. Only Michigan has moved to at least part of Phase 1c.

While all states and Washington, DC, are giving priority to health care workers and long-term care residents and staff in Phase 1a of their plans as recommended, they are increasingly taking their own tacks in Phase 1b and 1c of the rollout. Ten states and Washington, DC, have moved to Phase 1b.

  • For Phase 1b, the CDC recommends vaccinating people ages 75 and older and frontline essential workers such as firefighters, postal workers, teachers and others.
  • For Phase 1c, the CDC recommends vaccinating people ages 65 and older, younger people with high risk conditions and other essential workers.

The Kaiser analysis found that 10 states have added first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters, the Phase 1a. These states are Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. Utah added K-12 teachers and child care workers, while Louisiana limited health care workers to hospital staff only.

Four states added seniors to the 1a group: people 65 and older in Georgia and Florida, 75 and up in Tennessee, and 80-plus in West Virginia.

Fourteen states follow CDC advice precisely on who should be in Phase 1b, while 30 add extra age groups and others including educators, prisoners and the homeless.