January 17 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Jenni Marsh and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:49 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021
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8:35 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

More than 3.5 million in UK have been vaccinated

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau and Lindsay Isaac in London

A person receives the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 11 in Oldham, England.
A person receives the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 11 in Oldham, England. Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

More than 3.5 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, surpassing the number who have tested positive for the virus, according to British government data. A total of 3,559,179 people have been given their first dose as of last Friday, but just 447,261 of them have had a second dose.

The head of the National Health Service in England told the BBC on Sunday than more than half of those aged 80 and above have had the first dose, with the pace of vaccinations to accelerate in the upcoming weeks.

“We will start testing 24/7 in some hospitals over the course of the next 10 days, but we are at the moment vaccinating at the rate of about 140 jabs a minute,” Simon Stevens said.

Stevens said someone is being admitted to hospital with the virus every 30 seconds.

The UK has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with 81,800 dead.

“Since Christmas Day we’ve seen another 15,000 increase in the in-patients in hospitals across England, that’s the equivalent of filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients,” Stevens said.

On Monday, 10 more mass vaccination sites will open across England as the country’s vaccine rollout is sped up.

7:44 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

UK plumber has helped over 2,000 vulnerable families fix heating and plumbing during the pandemic for free

From CNN's Kelsie Smith

Photos of customers James Anderson has helped through his non-profit organization DEPHER (Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response).
Photos of customers James Anderson has helped through his non-profit organization DEPHER (Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response). James Anderson

Thousands of elderly and disabled individuals in the UK have received emergency heating and plumbing repairs at no cost during the pandemic thanks to a kind-hearted plumber.

James Anderson, 53, of Burnley, a town in northern England, has provided over 2,000 free emergency repair services for the disabled and elderly community during the pandemic, he told CNN.

"From the beginning of 2020 and through the pandemic we have worked seven days a week to deliver what the people need," Anderson wrote in a post to Facebook. "We have faced the fight with you and continue to do so until the end, we will never abandon you."

Anderson, a plumber with over 21 years of experience, set out to protect and care for vulnerable individuals in need of emergency repairs, after he witnessed a disabled and elderly man get cheated out of £5,500 (£7,400) for a repair job he didn't need, he told CNN.

In 2017, he founded the non-profit organization DEPHER (Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response) to provide free emergency repair services to disabled and elderly people in the community. Since its inception, the company has helped more than 10,279 families throughout the UK, according to Anderson.

"We basically deliver a lifeline to anybody who is elderly, disabled and vulnerable of any age," said Anderson.

Read the full story here:

7:44 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Iran reports more than 6,000 daily Covid-19 cases and 86 new deaths

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran.

Iran has reported 6,016 new daily coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the country's total number of cases to 1,330,411.

The numbers were announced by Iran’s Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadaat Lari in a news conference on state television.

The country also reported 86 new deaths from Covid-19 bringing the country's death toll to 56,803.

Iran is the Middle East country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in total cases and deaths, and the country continues to keep restrictions in place to try to avoid a larger outbreak of coronavirus cases.

The country’s Health Ministry said 4,374 patients are hospitalized in ICU.

7:06 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Russia says Sputnik V has not been rejected for emergency use authorization in Brazil

From CNN's Zahra Ullah in Moscow

A person holds a package of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Moscow, on January 14.
A person holds a package of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Moscow, on January 14. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS/Getty Images

Russian officials have brushed off claims that Brazilian regulators rejected the use of Russia’s vaccine Sputnik V, saying they had merely requested more information.

The news comes in response to earlier reports that regulators in Brazil had blocked its use.

"Such requests from regulators are standard procedure and do not mean that a registration bid was rejected," the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement. The RDIF has funded vaccine production and is responsible for selling it globally. 

In a statement published late Saturday, the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (Anvisa) said the request for emergency use by the pharmaceutical company Uniao Química was denied because they do not yet have data from Phase lll clinical trials.

Uniao Química, in partnership with the RDIF, filed a request for the emergency use of 10 million doses of the vaccine on Friday. Brazil is yet to approve any vaccine for use against Covid-19.

Anvisa explained it is yet to grant authorization for Phase III trials of Sputnik V to Uniao Química, which will run the trials, because it says the company has yet to respond to requests for the appropriate documentation.

The RDIF statement added, “the Sputnik V vaccine has already been registered in Serbia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Algeria, the State of Palestine, Venezuela and Paraguay. Registrations in two more countries are expected next week.”
5:59 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Some states are seeing higher numbers of Covid-19 cases as others ease restrictions

From CNN's Travis Caldwell

Inside the hot zone, medical staff monitor and treat sick patients infected with the Covid-19 virus at the UMASS Memorial DCU Center Field Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on January 13
Inside the hot zone, medical staff monitor and treat sick patients infected with the Covid-19 virus at the UMASS Memorial DCU Center Field Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on January 13 Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

While some states are seeing improving outlooks in their battle against Covid-19, other parts of the United States are hitting tragic records.

"Things will get worse before they get better," President-elect Joe Biden said, regarding the winter surge.

Biden spoke about his Covid-19 vaccination plan Friday and promised Americans, "We will manage the hell out of this operation."

He acknowledged that there will be stumbles and that the steps may take time, even many months, before the nation is in the place it needs to be. But as the Biden team and state governments plan and administer their vaccine rollouts, Covid-19 case numbers continue to rise each day.

On Saturday, Johns Hopkins University reported 198,218 new coronavirus cases and 3,286 new deaths in the US. More than 395,000 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were 126,139 Covid-19 hospitalizations reported in the US on Saturday -- a slight decrease from a record high 10 days ago. There have been more than 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US for the last 46 consecutive days.

A recent coronavirus projection from the University of Washington estimates more than 566,000 deaths by May 1 in the US. The university's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said the figure could be lowered by thousands with universal mask requirements.

Read the full story:

4:34 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

The pandemic in numbers

There have been 94.5 million cases of the novel coronavirus recorded worldwide, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The official global death toll has surpassed more than 2 million people, but experts warn the real death toll is likely higher. Only confirmed Covid-19 deaths are included in the tally, which means that people who die without a firm diagnosis may not be included.

It took eight months for the world to record 1 million Covid-19 deaths, but the second million came in less than four months.

The pandemic has reached every corner of the globe, and only a few tiny, isolated nations have reported no deaths.  

  • The US has recorded by far the highest total death toll in the world, with 395,851 dead, and more than 23.7 million cases.
  • In Brazil, more than 209,296 people have died. There have been more than 8.45 million cases recorded.
  • India has recorded 152,274 deaths, and more than 10.5 million cases.
  • Mexico has recorded 140,241 deaths and 1.63 million cases.
  • The United Kingdom, the worst hit country in Europe, has recorded 88,747 deaths and more than 3.36 million cases

4:33 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Australian Open records fourth coronavirus case as player warned for breaking quarantine rules

From CNN’s Sophie Jeong, Dan Kamal and Wayne Sterling

A fourth Covid-19 infection was recorded among passengers on two charter flights carrying players to Melbourne for the Australian Open, Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar announced on Sunday. 

A member of a broadcast team on the flight carrying 24 players from Los Angeles had tested positive, adding to a crew member and a coach on the same plane who tested positive earlier. The other case was a coach on a charter flight carrying 23 players from Abu Dhabi.

All 47 players affected are required to quarantine for two weeks. They will not be able to leave their hotel rooms for the 14-day period and until they are medically cleared.

The quarantine commissioner also said there had been a “small few” people within the tennis competition's quarantine hotels who were “testing our procedures.”

"A player who opened his door to try to have a conversation with his training mate down the hallway,” Cassar said. "The other was another gentleman who shouted some UberEats to some other people on the floor and was praising himself for his great efforts and opened his door to do so."

"It is really low-level but really dangerous acts which we just can't tolerate,” Cassar said. One of the two people mentioned was a player, and they have been warned, she added.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley confirmed on Sunday that the year’s first Grand Slam will go ahead.

“The Australian Open is going ahead and we will continue to do the best we possibly can do to ensure those players have what is not a great situation, one that is somewhat acceptable,” Tiley told Australia’s Nine Network on Sunday. “We are reviewing the schedule leading in to see what we can do to assist these players."

2:24 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

US records 198,218 new cases and 3,286 deaths Saturday

From CNN's Alta Spells and Maggie Fox

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 test at a site in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 13.
A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 test at a site in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 13. Micah Green/Bloomberg/Getty Images

According to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States, there have been at least 23,754,315 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 395,785 deaths.

On Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 198,218 new cases and 3,286 new deaths. 

At least 31,161,075 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 12,279,180 doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the CDC said new more contagious variants of the coronavirus will likely accelerate the spread of the virus and that means the US must double down on efforts to protect people.

A variant first identified in Britain known as B.1.1.7 is now being found in the US too, and modeling indicates it could worsen the already terrible spread of the virus across the country, the CDC researchers said.

That means people need to try harder to wear masks, avoid gatherings and stay socially distant from one another.

"It means that it is going to be harder and harder to control it. Any of those measures we are going to have to do to a higher degree, including vaccination," said Dr. Gregory Armstrong, who directs the Office of Advanced Molecular Detection at CDC's respiratory diseases division.
12:55 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

LA County records more than 1 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Paul Vercammen, Melissa Alonso and Susannah Cullinane

People wait in vehicles at a Covid-19 vaccination site in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in Los Angeles, on January 15.
People wait in vehicles at a Covid-19 vaccination site in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in Los Angeles, on January 15. Bing Guan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Los Angeles has become the first US county to report more than 1 million coronavirus cases, according to state officials.

Some 14,669 new cases were added Saturday taking the county's total to 1,003,923 cases and 13,741 confirmed virus-related deaths -- 253 reported on Saturday, Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health said in a news release.

The department also announced its first confirmed case of the UK Covid-19 B.1.1.7 variant Saturday, in a male who had traveled to L.A. County but is now isolating in Oregon.

The health department said it believed the more contagious UK variant was likely already spreading in the community and urged residents to "more diligently" follow safety measures.

"The presence of the UK variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized," said health department director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
"Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, five-times what we experienced over the summer."