January 12 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Ivana Kottasová, Florence Davey-Attlee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021
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3:42 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Nearly 2.3 million children in US have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic

From CNN's Jessica Firger

Close to 2.3 million children in the US have tested positive for Covid-19 as of Jan. 7, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children represent 12.5% of all cases in the US, a rate of 3,055 cases per 100,000 children in the population, the academy said. 

The group said 171,000 new cases have been identified through testing in children just last week alone. 

The weekly report is based on data collected by the AAP and the Children's Hospital Association from 49 states, New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam. In most states, the definition of "child" age range was 0-19.

Only 10 states provided information on testing. In those states, children made up between 6%-17.8% of total state tests, and between 7.1%-25.9% of children tested positive for Covid-19. 

The good news is that data also reflects what public health experts have been saying for some time. Children are less likely than adults to be hospitalized for Covid-19 and die from the illness. Based on the information provided by 24 states and New York City, children represented 1.2%-2.8% of total reported hospitalizations for Covid-19. Only 0.2%-3.1% of all cases of Covid-19 in children required hospitalization. 

Among the 42 states providing data on Covid-19 mortality, 13 states reported zero deaths in children related to the virus. States that did report deaths saw no more than 0.2% of deaths in children among all confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects," the AAP wrote in a statement. 
3:24 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

CDC will require negative Covid-19 test for international passengers flying to US

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to sign an order today or tomorrow requiring all international airline passengers to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding flights to the US, a federal health official tells CNN.

The order will go into effect two weeks after it’s signed by the CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield. The new requirement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The rule is expected to be similar to one put in place last month for passengers from the UK to the US, which requires that passengers have a negative test within three days of boarding their flight.

For the UK requirement that went through last month, airlines can be subject to criminal penalties if they fail to comply, and passengers can be subject to criminal penalties if they willfully give false or misleading information. 

An airline industry group has expressed support for the new measure. 

“[We are] writing to express our support for a [CDC] proposal to control the spread of COVID-19, including variants of the virus, by implementing a global program to require testing for travelers to the United States,” the industry group Airlines for America wrote to Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 4. 

3:14 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

CVS expects to administer 20 to 25 million Covid-19 vaccines per month, company official says

From CNN’s Samira Said

Donna Ko, a pharmacist for CVS, prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Soldier's Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on December 29, 2020.
Donna Ko, a pharmacist for CVS, prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Soldier's Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on December 29, 2020. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

CVS expects to administer around 20 to 25 million coronavirus vaccines per month, a company official said Tuesday.

“When we get into the retail phase, we'll do almost a million vaccines a day,” outgoing CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo said at the JP Morgan 39th Annual Health Care Conference. 

It will be about 20 to 25 million coronavirus vaccines per month, said Karen Lynch, the incoming CEO of CVS Health. 

“We have over 90,000 clinicians, through our pharmacists, through our pharmacy techs, through our nurses and nurse practitioners, to be able to administer the vaccine, and we do expect that we can administer 20-25 million vaccines per month once the federal program opens up,” Lynch said. 

“We expect the federal program to open up shortly, and we are ready in our CVS pharmacies, to administer the vaccine.”

So far, CVS has held over 8,000 vaccine clinics in long-term care facilities, and has administered more than 700,000 vaccines, Lynch said. As of Monday, about 10% of total vaccines administered in the United States had been administered by CVS, she said.

Lynch takes over as CEO of CVS Health on Feb. 1.

2:54 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

UK variant found in 1% of Covid-19 positive tests in France, health minister says

From CNN's Barbara Wojazer

French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a session of questions to the government at the National Assembly in Paris on January 12.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a session of questions to the government at the National Assembly in Paris on January 12. Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

A preliminary study in France shows the UK variant has been found in around 1% of positive coronavirus tests, Health Minister Olivier Véran told senators during a hearing on Tuesday.

Véran was citing the preliminary results of a study carried out by epidemiologist Bruno Lina on thousands of PCR tests from Thursday and Friday.

He added that the cases were scattered across the country and there was no concentration of cases in any single region.

The study will be repeated regularly to allow the government to monitor the growth of the variant and potential clusters, Véran said.

France reported at least 19,753 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Tuesday. 

According to numbers from the health agency, at least 189,834 people have been vaccinated in France so far.

2:42 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Fauci blames "rigid" rules for slowing US vaccine rollout

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stands at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stands at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Rigid following of guidance on who should get coronavirus vaccines first has slowed the rollout, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.

Fauci echoed statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who also blamed states for slowing the rollout of vaccines by sticking too closely to guidelines. He urged states to open vaccination eligibility to people aged 65 and older and people with chronic medical conditions.

Guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been a bit too rigid, Fauci said during a webcast hosted by Schmidt Futures and Social Science Research Council. The CDC recommended giving the very first vaccines to frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

While the priorities won’t be abandoned, "when people are ready to get vaccinated, we’re going to move right on to the next level, so that there are not vaccine doses that are sitting in a freezer or refrigerator where they could be getting into people’s arms," Fauci said.

Fauci added that in the next few weeks he thinks "we’re going to be seeing much more efficient administration of the vaccine, namely getting it into people’s arms." 

2:03 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, issues stay-at-home order

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa.

A man sits on a bench at Riverdale Park East in Toronto, Ontario, on January 5.    
A man sits on a bench at Riverdale Park East in Toronto, Ontario, on January 5.     Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Canada’s most populous province of Ontario issued a stay-at-home order for anyone not doing essential work or seeking or giving medical care, as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.

The new order, which will take affect Thursday, will apply to two of every five Canadians including everyone in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, and the nation’s capital, Ottawa.

2:32 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine may be authorized in the US "towards the latter part" of March, official says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Nick Neville

Operation Warp Speed's chief adviser Moncef Slaoui speaks during a briefing on January 12.
Operation Warp Speed's chief adviser Moncef Slaoui speaks during a briefing on January 12. HHS DOD

The federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program is hoping for emergency use authorization of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine by the end of March, a top official said Tuesday.

Britain authorized the vaccine last month and has been using it, but the US Food and Drug Administration will likely want to use US data for any emergency use authorization of the vaccine, said Operation Warp Speed's chief adviser Moncef Slaoui.

"In terms of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the assumption we are working on is that the emergency use authorization will be submitted on the basis of the ongoing Phase 3 trial in the US," Slaoui said during a briefing on Tuesday.

"Hopefully the vaccine again is efficacious, as has been shown in the trials conducted in Brazil and in the UK," Slaoui said. "So maybe an approval somewhere towards the latter part of the month of March, and a significant number of doses available around that time."

Reminder: The FDA paused US trials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine last year after questions about adverse reactions in volunteers. Those questions were cleared up and trials of the vaccine, often called the Oxford vaccine because it was developed with Britain’s Oxford University, have resumed.

1:55 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine trial needs more teen volunteers

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Nick Neville

Biotechnology company Moderna has been testing its Covid-19 vaccine in children as young as 12 – but those trials need more volunteers, Operation Warp Speed's Moncef Slaoui said on Tuesday.

"We are running a clinical trial, a Phase 3 trial, in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age with the Moderna vaccine. It's a real challenge. It's been four weeks ongoing. We only recruited about 800 subjects in the trial," Slaoui said in a news briefing.

The vaccine cannot be cleared for use in children unless it’s tested in children, Slaoui said. Moderna’s vaccine is authorized for adults aged 18 and up.

"It's really very important for all of us – for all of the population in America – to realize that we can't have that indication unless adolescents aged 12 to 18 decide to participate, of course as a voluntary decision, into the clinical trial," Slaoui said. "We need to recruit about 3,000 subjects into the trial to complete them."

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has also been testing its vaccine in teenagers.

1:38 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Top Democrat says additional Covid-19 relief legislation will be top of new agenda

From CNN's Ryan Nobles and Manu Raju

Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, January 12.
Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, January 12. Pool

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the soon to be majority leader of the United States Senate, sent his colleagues a letter on Tuesday outlining his caucus’s agenda with a promise to focus on Covid-19 relief and support for the incoming Biden Administration.

Schumer made it clear that quickly passing another round of relief related to the Coronavirus pandemic would be a high priority for the Senate Democrats.

"As you know from our work at the end of the last Congress, the job of COVID emergency relief is far from complete. Democrats wanted to do much more in the last bill and promised to do more, if given the opportunity, to increase direct payments to a total of $2,000 – we will get that done," Schumer wrote.

He also promised to work to confirm the slate of cabinet officials appointed by President-Elect Biden as quickly as possible.

The entire letter from Schumer was against the backdrop of the violent insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday. Schumer said the incident showed the need to install qualified Senate approved members of the cabinet and promised that incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin will closely examine the rise of violent extremist and white supremacist groups in America.

Schumer also made clear that his Caucus would make sure that the events of Jan. 6th are fully investigated and those responsible are brought to justice.

He also promised that every security measure necessary will be in place for the upcoming inauguration.