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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1:36 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

US reports more than 213,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells in Atlanta

The United States reported 213,905 new Covid-19 cases and 1,814 additional virus-related deaths on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The latest figures bring the nationwide total to 22,406,747 cases with at least 374,322 people dying from the virus in the US.

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

Vaccine rollout: So far, 22,137,350 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been distributed, with at least 6,688,231 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Track the US cases: 

1:29 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

China's Hebei province finishes mass testing of 17 million people

From Eric Cheung in Hong Kong and CNN's Beijing bureau

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community Covid-19 testing site in Shijiazhuang, China, on January 7.
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community Covid-19 testing site in Shijiazhuang, China, on January 7. Yang Shiyao/Xinhua/Getty Images

China's northern Hebei province Sunday completed a mass testing program in an effort to contain the country's worst coronavirus flare-up in months, according to the provincial deputy mayor, Xu Jianpei.

About 17 million people were tested in the drive -- more than 10.2 million of them in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang and 6.7 million in Xingtai city, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The mass testing began last Wednesday as both cities reported the biggest local outbreak in mainland China for months.

On Sunday, Hebei province reported 82 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, according to the country's National Health Commission. Among the new local cases, 77 were reported in Shijiazhuang, while five were confirmed in Xingtai.

Last week, China put Shijiazhuang into lockdown, imposing some of the strictest measures since the country largely contained the spread of the coronavirus in March.

Residents were barred from leaving the city and are required to self-quarantine at home for seven days after taking the compulsory Covid-19 test. All public transport has been suspended, major highways were blocked, and train and bus stations closed and flights canceled.

1:16 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Much of US data to catch newest coronavirus variants is several months old

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

Dr. Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine, speaks during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2020.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine, speaks during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2020. Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As part of the hunt for new coronavirus variants, an international database shows the United States ranks 61st in how quickly virus samples are collected from patients, analyzed and then posted online.

Countries with far fewer resources, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Suriname, process samples more quickly than the US does.

"It's pathetic," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine.

The median number of days from the time a sample is collected from a patient's nose until the time its genetic sequence is posted on GISAID, an independent data sharing initiative, is 85 days, according an analysis of GISAID data by the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"By the time you wait (85) days, a sequence can go from being a rare variant to being half of the circulating virus in a population," Hotez said.

Read the full story:

1:16 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

WHO team investigating origins of the pandemic will arrive in China Thursday, Chinese officials say

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, on July 3, 2020.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, on July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic will arrive in China later this week, China's National Health Commission announced on Monday.

"WHO expert group will visit China on January 14 to conduct joint scientific research with Chinese scientists on virus tracing," a statement from the NHC said.

Last week, WHO said that China blocked the arrival of the team of global experts as the necessary permissions to enter the country had not been approved.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "very disappointed," in a rare rebuke of China from the UN agency.

For months, WHO officials had been negotiating with Beijing to allow a team of global scientists access to key sites to investigate the origin of the virus -- first detected in Wuhan in December 2019 -- and its likely jump from an unidentified host species to humans.

In May, WHO agreed to hold an inquiry into the global response to the pandemic after more than 100 countries signed a resolution calling for an independent probe.

CNN has reached out to WHO for comment. 

12:08 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

What to know about California's Covid crisis

California has recorded more than 2.6 million Covid-19 cases and at least 29,701 Californians have died from the virus.

The state continues to see a surge that’s not slowing down.

Here's what's happening in the Golden State:

  • California set two new records Saturday -- the most deaths reported in one day -- 695 -- and the most Covid-19 patients in intensive care units -- 4,939. On Sunday, the state reported nearly 50,000 new cases and 468 deaths.
  • In Los Angeles County, the worst-hit part of California, there were 14,482 new cases and 166 new deaths Sunday. 
  • Some 7,964 patients with Covid-19 are being treated in Los Angeles hospitals, and 22% of those are in the ICU.
  • Statewide, there are 22,513 patients in the hospital being treated for Covid-19 as of Sunday.
  • Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer called for a pause on non-essential activities to stop the spread. "The speed with which we are reaching grim milestones of Covid-19 deaths and cases is a devastating reflection of the immense spread that is occurring across the county," she said.
  • The state health department is changing who is eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine, a move officials say will make it easier to distribute the almost 1.5 million doses they’ve received but have not yet administered. Starting Monday, anyone that falls under phase 1A of the state's vaccine distribution will be able to receive a shot. This includes health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, and those living in congregate settings such as assisted living or shelters. 
  • The vaccine rollout may also ramp up this week as CVS and Walgreens are expected to start giving shots, in addition to those happening at medical centers.
  • So far, only about a third of the doses received have made it into the arms of residents. As of Sunday, California has received 2,180,725 doses and has administered just 734,405 of them, the CDPH website shows. That equates to just 33.6%.
12:01 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Japan says travelers from Brazil carried mutations similar to Covid-19 variants seen in UK and South Africa 

From CNN’s Junko Ogura, Flora Charner and Philip Wang

Japan’s Health Ministry says passengers who traveled from Brazil, quarantined, and tested positive for Covid-19 in early January were later found to have been infected with virus-carrying mutations that appear similar to variants of the coronavirus first seen in Britain and South Africa.

The travelers had been in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and landed at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on January 2, the ministry said in a statement Sunday. They tested positive at the airport quarantine. 

The Brazilian Health Ministry said it was notified by its Japanese counterpart Saturday.

Health authorities have been concerned about new variants of the virus, like those first identified in the UK and South Africa, because they appear to be more easily transmitted.

There's no evidence that new variants of the virus are any more dangerous or can affect the efficacy of the vaccines. 

Japan’s Health Ministry is not yet able to say whether the variant found in passengers from Brazil is more transmissible.

9:03 p.m. ET, January 10, 2021

Mexico's presidential spokesperson tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Karen Smith

The spokesperson for Mexico’s President announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

In a Twitter post on Sunday, Jesús Ramírez Cuevas wrote, "Informing that I tested positive for Covid-19. I'm in good health and will be working from home following all sanitary protocols."

Mexico has reported more than 1.5 million Covid-19 cases, including at least 133,204 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

9:01 p.m. ET, January 10, 2021

US reports more than 100,000 daily Covid-19 hospitalizations for 40th straight day

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The United States reported 129,229 current Covid-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

This is the sixth highest number reported and the 40th consecutive day that the US has remained above 100,000 current hospitalizations.

 The highest hospitalization numbers according to CTP data are:

  1. Jan. 6, 2021: 132,464
  2. Jan. 7, 2021: 132,370
  3. Jan. 8, 2021: 131,889
  4. Jan. 5, 2021: 131,215
  5. Jan. 9, 2021: 130,777
  6. Jan. 10, 2021: 129,229
8:57 p.m. ET, January 10, 2021

Hospitals thought they'd see Covid-19 vaccine shortages. Sometimes, they have to throw away doses

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Jamie Gumbrecht

In some hospitals, health centers and pharmacies in the United States, there are vials of Covid-19 vaccines that aren't making it into arms.

Out of the more than 22 million doses of vaccine that have been distributed to hospitals and pharmacies so far in the US, only about 6.7 million people have received their first dose, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There's no one reason for the slow rollout or doses going unused; experts say it was never going to be easy to begin a mass vaccination campaign during a pandemic. It takes time to vaccinate and monitor large numbers of people, and some facilities are staggering staff vaccinations to avoid having too many health care workers out at once.

The supply and demand don't always line up. Some in the highest priority groups -- health care workers and and long-term care facility residents -- don't want the vaccine, or at least, not yet. At the same time, the American Medical Association on Friday said it was "concerned" that some health care workers not employed by hospitals or health care systems face difficulties accessing the vaccine.

To speed up the process, the federal government is urging states to offer the vaccine to people who are older or in higher-risk groups, but some areas are still focusing on the earliest priority groups -- even if that means doses brought out of cold storage go unused.

"We all thought that the real problem was going to be a shortage -- we would be having lines out the door -- and what we're finding is that, from what we hear nationally right now, there's still a lot of vaccine," Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, a nonprofit health organization that includes the Family Health Center of Harlem, told CNN on Friday.
"Every dose that's in somebody's arm is somebody that's not going to get sick with Covid," he said. "It's not doing any good trying to ration it out like this, week by week, because any dose that's sitting in a refrigerator is a life that's not being potentially saved."

Read the full story: