January 18 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Sharon Braithwaite and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 19, 2021
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12:59 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021

"Stick with full dose, followed by full dose," Fauci says of Covid-19 vaccines

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that people should stick with two full doses of vaccine, given the appropriate number of days apart.

Speaking at the Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Conclave, Fauci maintained that the “proper, scientifically validated approach” for both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is to receive a full dose, followed 21 and 28 days later, respectively, by another full dose.

Fauci said an experiment evaluating different dosing regimens was recently carried out in people ages 18 to 55. The results showed that when a half dose was given followed by a booster half dose, the level of antibodies produced was comparable to if someone was given two full doses.

“However, that is not clinical proof that they are equally comparable in protecting you,” Fauci said. “So, even though this was something that was done in a combination of curiosity and to see if we may have to go there, we are not recommending a half dose followed by a half dose.”

“Even though that’s interesting and it’s laboratory data, it is not backed up by a correlate of protection, which we may be able to do some time, but not now,” he said. “Bottom line, stick with full dose, followed by full dose.”

12:27 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021

New York reports more than 12,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

New York State reports 12,185 new positive Covid-19 cases with 153 new deaths and a positivity rate of 6.54%, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Good news, we are seeing a decline in the Covid rates post-Christmas and New Year’s Eve surge,” Cuomo said during a news conference Monday.

“Hospital capacity is still, red zone, danger zone, shut down,” Cuomo said.

The governor said, “a stressor on this entire situation is the federal government increased eligibility dramatically but never increased the amount of the dosages.”

Cuomo said he sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar Monday demanding an explanation for what he said was a false claim that vaccine doses held in reserves would be shipped to states. “The federal government is in control of the supply, they must increase the supply,” Cuomo said. 

Cuomo said he also sent a letter to the President of Pfizer asking if New York can buy vaccine doses directly from the drug company, which Cuomo believes would be a first. “My job as governor of New York is to pursue every avenue and that’s what I am doing,” Cuomo said.

Note: These numbers were released by New York State Health Dept. and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.  

12:08 p.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Virginia posts highest two days of new Covid-19 cases since pandemic began

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Over the weekend, Virginia posted its highest two days of new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Saturday, Virginia added 6,757 new cases and on Sunday, a staggering 9,914 cases, according to JHU. The commonwealth is at its highest 7-day average of new cases, reporting roughly 5,778 new cases per day. And new cases are rising — up 15% from last week. 

The Virginia Department of Health told CNN, “The case counts for Sunday, January 17, 2020 are a complete and accurate picture of the daily numbers,” and not due to a backlog or change of testing as happens occasionally when states report a higher than usual numbers.

“This increase is likely due to exposures during the holidays, similar to after Thanksgiving,” the department said in the short statement.

Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted, “Virginia is seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.” He urged eligible residents to get vaccinated, “but until they are widely available, we ALL must continue to treat this virus like the dangerous threat that it is.”

10:24 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Austria's chancellor urges rapid approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

From CNN's Nina Avramova

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference on January 17.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference on January 17. Georg Hochmuth/APA/AFP/Getty Images

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has stressed that every week counts in terms of Covid-19 vaccinations and every day that the European regulator is able to decide faster on vaccine approval is a day "won" in Europe.

The approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine would offer Austria up to two million doses. 

"The EMA [European Medicines Agency] has all the data from AstraZeneca since January 12th. And what is now needed – based on all scientific facts, of course – is an immediate and quick decision, because AstraZeneca can deliver up to two million doses in the first quarter for Austria alone, and that of course makes an enormous difference to our success in vaccinating the population," Kurz told reporters on Monday.

Kurz added that there is no exact approval date yet.

"The British mutation of the virus is clearly more infectious, this poses us with enormous challenges," he said, citing the lockdowns across Europe. On Sunday, Austria’s lockdown measures were extended to last until Feb. 8. 

Austria has so far reported 389,106 Covid-19 cases and 7,122 deaths, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

9:55 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Pakistan approves use of China's Sinopharm vaccine following order of 1.2 million doses

From Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority has granted approval for the use of a vaccine developed by Sinopharm, a state-run Chinese firm.

In December last year Pakistan’s minister of science Fawad Chaudhry had announced that the country would be purchasing 1.2 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from China’s Sinopharm in early 2021.

China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine has a 79.34% efficacy, higher than its Chinese competitor Sinovac.

The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been regarded as potentially affordable and easily distributed vaccine candidates. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Chinese shots do not require expensive cold storage.

Head here to find out more about the latest on the rollout of Chinese vaccines.

9:31 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

India vaccinates more than 380,000 people in first 3 days of roll out

From CNN's Manveena Suri

A medical worker inoculates a doctor with a Covid-19 vaccine at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad, India, on January 18.
A medical worker inoculates a doctor with a Covid-19 vaccine at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad, India, on January 18. Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

India has vaccinated at least 381,305 people since its nationwide program started on Saturday, according to a press conference by the country’s Health Ministry on Monday.

On Monday alone, 148,266 people received injections. India has given emergency approval to vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and a local pharmaceutical company, Bharat Biotech. It is unclear the breakdown of drugs used in the vaccine program’s initial stage.

Health Ministry officials also reported 580 instances where people reported adverse events following immunization and that seven people were hospitalized. 

Two deaths have also been reported, but officials say evidence does not suggest it was caused by the vaccine. 

A 53-year-old man in northern Uttar Pradesh state died on Sunday morning, a day after receiving the vaccine. A post mortem report revealed the cause of death due to cardiopulmonary disease. In southern Karnataka state, a 43-year-old man passed away on Monday after receiving the vaccine on Saturday with the cause of death also linked to cardiopulmonary failure.

“These deaths are not related to the vaccination according to the post mortem report,” health ministry officials stressed at a press conference on Monday.

9:26 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

60% of all US Covid-19 cases have been reported since Election Day

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

A sworker distributes a COVID-19 testing kit at a testing site in Wilmington, Delaware on December 21, 2020.
A sworker distributes a COVID-19 testing kit at a testing site in Wilmington, Delaware on December 21, 2020. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

More than half – 60% – of all Covid-19 cases in the United states have been reported since Election Day, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

As of Monday morning, there are 23,937,331 Covid-19 cases in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Whereas, on the morning of Nov. 4 – the day after the US presidential election – there were a total of 9,573,836 cases.

8:34 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

Brazil to start its vaccination plan today

From Rodrigo Pedroso in São Paulo

A nurse prepares a shot of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, at a hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday.
A nurse prepares a shot of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, at a hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. Carla Carniel/AP

Brazil’s government has said its nationwide coronavirus vaccination plan will start Monday afternoon.

The announcement was made earlier in the day by Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello from a São Paulo health ministry facility during a ceremony to deliver the Chinese-made Coronavac shot to state governors.

Coronavac was approved Sunday -- along with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine -- by the country’s health regulator agency Anvisa. Pazuello had previously said on Sunday the national immunization plan would begin Wednesday. However, it was moved up at the request of state governors.

Brazil has currently recorded more than 8.4 million Covid-19 infections and almost 210,000 deaths. It trails only the United States and India in total coronavirus cases.

How the vaccine will be rolled out in Brazil:

  • The first batch of Coronavac vaccines is scheduled to be given to health professionals, people over the age of 60 and indigenous people. Brazil's health ministry has not yet released a detailed immunization distribution plan. 
  • The 6 million doses of Coronavac vaccine distributed to the state governors on Monday came from the Butantan Institute, a São Paulo state biomedical facility.
  • In São Paulo state, where over 100 people received the vaccine on Sunday, ahead of the health ministry immunization plan, the vaccination continues Monday for health professionals in public hospitals.
  • Brazil is waiting for the arrival of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The first of 256 million doses from a contract signed with local partner Oswaldo Cruz Foundation is scheduled to arrive in the country by the end of January following several delays.
8:25 a.m. ET, January 18, 2021

World is "on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" with vaccines, says WHO chief

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is pictured at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 2020.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is pictured at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

As countries across the world roll out millions of coronavirus vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) gave a frank warning about the fairness of the global situation.

"The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, adding that "the promise of equitable access is at serious risk."

"More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country. Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25," Tedros said at the opening the WHO Executive Board meeting.
"I need to be blunt... the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries," he added.

"Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering," Tedros

The WHO chief added that "vaccine equity is not just a moral imperative, it is a strategic and economic imperative," and called for a fairer vaccine distribution across the world.