January 14 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Florence Davey-Attlee, Ed Upright and Hira Humayun, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021
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5:39 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Past Covid infection gives 5 months of immunity, study suggests

From CNN's Zamira Rahim in London

People who have recovered from Covid-19 may have immunity to the virus for around five months, according to preliminary findings in a new study led by Public Health England (PHE).

The SIREN research examined the impact of infection on more than 20,000 health workers from across the UK and a pre-print of the study found only 44 cases among 6,614 people who were thought to have been previously infected.

The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- concluded that past infection reduces the chances of catching the virus again by 83% for at least five months.

"About 6,000 of the healthcare workers were people who had evidence of having had SARS-CoV-2 infection... and about 14,000 of the healthcare workers were people who had no evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection," Tom Wingfield, senior clinical lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told the UK's Science Media Centre.

"The findings suggest that re-infection rates in the positive cohort were 83% lower than the negative cohort during the follow-up period."

But researchers warned that the protection was not total and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. They also said it's possible people who have a degree of immunity against the virus will still be able to transmit it to others.

Read more on this story:

4:28 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

More than 90,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 in next three weeks, CDC forecast shows

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

More than 38,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 in the first two weeks of the new year.

Another 92,000 are projected to die from the virus over roughly the next three weeks, according to an ensemble forecast published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are scary and reflect what public health experts have repeatedly warned: While the end is in sight -- with the help of ongoing Covid-19 vaccinations -- the nation is still facing challenging times ahead.

Currently, more than 130,300 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

In Pennsylvania, officials said the number of hospitalizations are nearing double the peak experienced during spring. Louisiana's governor said earlier this week the state was seeing a "huge spike" in infections and hospitalizations. And in Arizona, officials reported Tuesday record-high Covid-19 hospitalization and ICU numbers.

Hundreds of thousands of infections are added to the country's tally every single day, with the US adding more than 3 million new reported infections since the start of the month.

In Los Angeles County, about one in three residents has been infected with the virus since the pandemic's start, according to data published by county officials. Outbreaks have increased across workplaces as well as schools and daycare settings, they said.

Echoing other leaders' warnings, the LA officials added they have "not yet fully seen the effect of transmission in the period from around Christmas to New Years."

And with all eyes now turned to the nation's capital ahead of Inauguration Day, cases in Washington DC have never been higher. Right now, it's averaging more than 320 new cases every day -- about a 38% jump from the previous week. DC has reported a total of more than 32,600 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic's start, about 10% of which have been added in 2021.

Read the full story:

4:01 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Pharmacy chains want to help as US struggles to vaccinate people against Covid

From CNN's Gregory Lemos and Samira Said

A "flu shot check-in" sign is displayed at a CVS Pharmacy in Miami, on September 30, 2020.
A "flu shot check-in" sign is displayed at a CVS Pharmacy in Miami, on September 30, 2020. Marco Bello/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The United States may be struggling to vaccinate citizens against coronavirus, but pharmacy chains say they can help speed up the balky rollout.

Pharmacists nationwide will have the capacity to administer 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine once supply is available, Steven Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said Wednesday.

"Based on conservative assumptions, pharmacies have the capacity to meet the demand for 100 million vaccine doses in one month when that level of the vaccine supply is available," Anderson told reporters on a phone call Wednesday.

So far, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has vaccinated only about 10 million people, and distributed just over 29 million doses of vaccine. States say they are struggling to vaccinate people, in part because of lack of public health infrastructure.

Pharmacy chains say they can help fill that gap.

NACDS represents 40,000 pharmacies and 155,000 pharmacists, according to Anderson. The group says 90% of Americans live within five miles of a retail drug store and the "dormant" Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program could open the door to harnessing the capacity of chain pharmacies.

"America's retail pharmacies can easily administer 100 million vaccine doses in 30 days," the group said in a statement. "This solution could easily be ramped up even further as stores deploy more vaccinators -- pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy interns, nurses, clinic physicians, EMTs and others."

Read more:

3:35 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Two WHO scientists blocked from entering China after testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu in Hong Kong and CNN's Beijing bureau

Two World Health Organization scientists en route to China to investigate the origins of the pandemic are stuck in Singapore after testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies, the UN agency said in a series of tweets Thursday.

The two members are part of the team of scientists traveling to the central Chinese city of Wuhan to conduct field research.

"Two scientists are still in Singapore completing tests for Covid-19. All team members had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests for Covid-19 in their home countries prior to traveling," the WHO said in a tweet Thursday.

The two scientists in Singapore will be retested for antibodies, WHO said. 

The other 13 scientists arrived in Wuhan Thursday, WHO said.

When asked about the two scientists in a briefing Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not directly comment but said, “China will strictly follow the relevant epidemic prevention regulations and requirements, and provide corresponding support and facilities for WHO experts who come to China to carry out international cooperation on tracing the origin of the virus."

CNN has reached out to China’s National Health Commission for comment.

3:18 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

African Union secures 270 million vaccine doses

From CNN’s Brent Swails in Johannesburg

A total of 270 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been secured for African countries, with at least 50 million shots available from April to June, a task force established by the African Union announced Wednesday.

The vaccines will be from Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson, according to a African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) news release. 

“From the onset of this pandemic, our focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort. We have held steadfastly to the principle that no country should be left behind," said Chair of the African Union and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

All 270 million vaccine doses will be made available this year, he added.

These vaccines have been secured alongside a vaccine program from COVAX, a World Health Organization and Gavi Vaccine Alliance initiative that aims to provide worldwide access to effective Covid-19 vaccines. 

Ramaphosa said that while the initiative was "vital" it may “not extend beyond the needs of frontline health care workers, and may thus not be enough to contain the ever-increasing toll of the pandemic in Africa.” 

6:06 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Germany reports highest single-day coronavirus death toll 

From CNN’s Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

An employee of Magdeburg University Hospital performs an antigen test for the coronavirus on a man in Magdeburg, Germany, on January 12.
An employee of Magdeburg University Hospital performs an antigen test for the coronavirus on a man in Magdeburg, Germany, on January 12. Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany has reported its highest single-day coronavirus death toll, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control agency. 

On Thursday, Germany reported 1,244 fatalities, bringing the nationwide death toll to 43,881. It was a record daily rise in Covid-19 deaths, higher than the 1,188 recorded on January 8.

The Robert Koch Institute reported 25,164 Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the national total to 1,978,590. 

On Wednesday, Germany's government signed off on a plan requiring travelers from high risk countries to get tested before entering the country. Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the curbs are needed to guard against the new, more contagious mutation of the virus. 

Spahn also said that the country's current lockdown will be extended into February. 

More than 750,000 people have been vaccinated in Germany under the country's inoculation program. 

2:22 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

California hospital fined over $40,000 after Santa Clara County says it delayed reporting Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN's Kelsie Smith

Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center in San Jose, California.
Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center in San Jose, California. KGO

A Northern California hospital was fined $43,000 after it delayed reporting a recent Covid-19 outbreak which resulted in the death of one employee.

Santa Clara County said it issued a violation notice to Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center on January 5 "as a result of Kaiser's failure to timely report 43 cases involving personnel who tested positive between December 27, 2020 and January 1, 2021." That number has since grown, according to CNN affiliate KGO.

As of Monday, a total of 92 cases of the virus have been linked to this outbreak, according to health officials. This includes 77 staff members and 15 patients.

"Kaiser is responsible for complying with all applicable public health orders and work safety regulations, including timely reporting of cases and all required follow-ups," the county said in an email statement to CNN.

The initial cause of the outbreak continues to be investigated by the public health department, officials said.

Read more:

1:47 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

US reports more than 224,000 Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton in Atlanta

The United States reported 224,258 new Covid-19 cases and 3,848 additional deaths on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The latest figures bring the nationwide total to 23,071,895 infections and at least 384,653 people have died 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. 

Vaccines: At least 29,380,125 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 10,278,462 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Track the US cases:

1:29 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Human Rights Watch accuses Brazil's President Bolsonaro of sabotaging efforts to slow spread of Covid-19

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro arrives for the opening ceremony of the forum "The Control in Combating Corruption" at Planalto Palace on December 9, 2020 in Brasilia. 
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro arrives for the opening ceremony of the forum "The Control in Combating Corruption" at Planalto Palace on December 9, 2020 in Brasilia.  Andre Borges/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has "tried to sabotage efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil and pursued other policies that undermine human rights,” according to a Human Rights Watch report.

In its World Report 2021 published Wednesday, the NGO said Bolsonaro repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus by calling it “a little flu” and by spreading misleading information about the pandemic.

Bolsonaro “refused to take measures to protect himself and the people around him; disseminated misleading information; and tried to block states from imposing social distancing rules. His administration attempted to withhold Covid-19 data from the public. He fired his health minister for defending World Health Organization recommendations, and the replacement health minister quit in opposition to the president’s advocacy of an unproven drug to treat Covid-19,” the report said.

Anna Livia Arida, Brazil associate director at Human Rights Watch, recognized the role of other government institutions such as Brazil's Supreme Court and Congress to help “block many, although not all, of Bolsonaro’s anti-rights policies.”

“The Supreme Court ruled against the Bolsonaro administration’s attempts to strip states of the authority to restrict people’s movements to contain the spread of Covid-19, to effectively suspend the access to information law, and to withhold Covid-19 data from the public," the report said.

"Congress passed a bill forcing the government to provide emergency health care to Indigenous people, and the Supreme Court ordered the Bolsonaro administration to draft a plan to fight the spread of Covid-19 in Indigenous territories,” it continued.

Government response: According to CNN Brasil, the country’s Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights issued a statement Wednesday arguing that the report "ignores measures taken by the government to protect human rights during the pandemic.” 

Numerous projects aimed to help children, adolescents, women and the elderly were mentioned in the statement, saying those were “a form of government aid to the socioeconomic developments that occurred in the pandemic,” CNN Brasil reported.

CNN has reached out to Bolsonaro's office for comment.

Brazil has the third highest count of Covid-19 cases worldwide, following the US and India. As of Wednesday, Brazil has reported 8,256,536 Covid-19 cases and 205,964 virus-related deaths.