January 21 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Sharon Braithwaite, Eliza Mackintosh, Ed Upright, Zamira Rahim and Caitlin Hu, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021
42 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:19 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

Eli Lilly's antibody treatment found to help prevent Covid-19, company says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Eli Lilly and Company's monoclonal antibody combination therapy was found to help prevent Covid-19 among nursing home residents and staff in a Phase 3 trial, the company announced on Thursday.

The trial included 965 participants who tested negative for the coronavirus and 132 participants who tested positive, according to the announcement.

All participants were randomly given either 4,200 milligrams of the therapy known as LY-CoV555 or a placebo.

The trial results showed that after eight weeks, the residents given LY-CoV555, also called bamlanivimab, had up to an 80% lower risk of contracting Covid-19 versus residents in the same facility who received a placebo.

During the entire trial, there were a total of 16 deaths reported, including deaths not related to Covid-19, and all deaths occurred [among] residents, according to the announcement.

Eleven of those deaths occurred among people given a placebo and five were among those given the therapy.

"We are exceptionally pleased with these positive results, which showed bamlanivimab was able to help prevent Covid-19, substantially reducing symptomatic disease among nursing home residents, some of the most vulnerable members of our society," Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, said in a news release on Thursday.
"These data provide important additional clinical evidence regarding the use of bamlanivimab to fight Covid-19 and strengthen our conviction that monoclonal antibodies such as bamlanivimab can play a critical role in turning the tide of this pandemic," Skovronsky said. 
"We're glad bamlanivimab is already available as a treatment for patients at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 illness or hospitalization, including those in nursing homes, and look forward to working with regulators to explore expanding the emergency use authorization to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities."

In November, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the therapy to treat mild to moderate coronavirus infections in adults and children.

The single antibody treatment is administered as an infusion in a hospital or other health care setting.

3:18 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

UK government toughens penalty for those breaking lockdown rules 

From CNN’s Nada Bashir in London

An electronic board warns people in Nottingham, England, on Monday.
An electronic board warns people in Nottingham, England, on Monday. Zac Goodwin/PA Images/Getty Images

The UK Government has introduced new, tougher penalties for people breaking the country's strict lockdown regulations.

From next week, people caught attending illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes will face an £800 (approximately $1,097) fine, Home Secretary Priti Patel said Thursday. 

“There is still a small minority who refuse to do the right thing, and to them my message is clear: if you don’t follow these rules, then the police will enforce them,” Patel said, warning that the penalty will “double for each repeated offense” to a maximum of £6,400 (approximately $8,775.)

Police officers are now moving more quickly to hand out fines,” she added. 

According to the chairman of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), Martin Hewitt, national police forces have seen a “significant increase” in the number of penalties issued to those breaking lockdown rules. 

Speaking alongside the Home Secretary and the NPCC chairman during a press briefing at Downing Street, London’s NHS medical director urged the public to adhere to government guidelines, stressing that the pandemic is the “biggest health emergency to face this country since the Second World War.”

“Breaking the rules in the way that has been described today is like switching on a light in the middle of a blackout in the Blitz — it doesn’t just put you at risk in your house, it puts your whole street and the whole of your community at risk,” Dr Vin Diwakar said. 

It is absolutely critical that, for now, based on the information we’ve got, please follow the rules, please stay at home, please help to save lives,” he said.

The NHS England regional medical director also warned that the situation in London’s hospitals “remains really precarious,” highlighting that more than half of all patients in the capital’s hospitals are being treated for coronavirus. 

2:38 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

At least 407,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

At least 407,111 people have died in the US from Covid-19 according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU.)

There have been at least 24,475,210 cases of the virus in the country, according to JHU's latest tally.

So far today, the university has recorded 36,487 new cases and 964 new deaths. 

On the vaccine front, at least 35,990,150 doses have been distributed across the country and at least 16,525,281 total doses have been administered, according to the US CDC.

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

CNN is tracking the spread of Covid-19 across the US here:

2:48 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

New CDC director doesn’t think Covid-19 vaccine will be in every US pharmacy by February

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Rochelle Walensky is the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky is the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says she doubts that a Covid-19 vaccine will be available in every pharmacy in the United States by late February.

Walensky was responding to predictions from former Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, who said that there could be widespread availability of the vaccine for the general population in pharmacies that month.

Speaking to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show Thursday, Walensky said:

"As I said early on, I’m going to tell you the truth here, I don’t think late February we’re going to have vaccine in every pharmacy in this country.
"We said 100 million doses in the first 100 days and we’re going to stick to that plan, but I also want to be very cognizant of the fact that after 100 days there are still a lot of Americans who need [a] vaccine.”  

The CDC head added that the US is hoping to have more data from the Johnson and Johnson vaccine candidate soon, and the more vaccines are granted FDA authorization, “the better shape we’ll be [in].” 

The US continues to be the worst-hit country by Covid-19 globally, with more than 24.4 million cases recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

2:15 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

Lebanon will receive World Bank’s first Covid-19 vaccine rollout

From CNN's Ghazi Balkiz and Tamara Qiblawi in Beirut

Medical staff test people for Covid-19 at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, on January 11.
Medical staff test people for Covid-19 at the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, on January 11. Bilal Hussein/AP

The World Bank has approved a re-allocation of $34 million to support vaccination efforts for Lebanon as it faces a surge in Covid-19 cases, the international financial institution said in a statement Thursday.

“This is the first World Bank-financed operation to fund the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines,” the statement said, adding that the financing will provide shots for over 2 million individuals.

The vaccines are expected to arrive in Lebanon by early February 2021.

In addition to the human toll, the pandemic is exacerbating the economic crisis in the aftermath of the Port of Beirut explosion last August,” the statement added.

High-risk health workers, people over 65 years old, epidemiological and surveillance staff, and those aged between 55 and 64 years old with comorbidities are target priority groups, the World Bank said. It added that, “by prioritizing these groups, the country’s vaccination program has the potential to reduce the consequences of the pandemic, even in conditions of supply constraints.”

The institution's decision comes as Lebanon's health sector continues to struggle with a sharp rise in cases. The government has extended the country's lockdown, which includes a 24-hour curfew, until February 8 at 5 am local time.

The World Bank said its decision to provide the funds follows an assessment and plan drawn up by the Lebanese government that “has all the key elements recommended by the World Health Organization and represents a central part of Lebanon’s vaccination readiness.”

"Fair, broad, and fast access to Covid-19 vaccines is critical to protecting lives and supporting economic recovery," said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
"This is an important first operation and I look forward to continuing our support to many more countries in their vaccination efforts."

On Thursday, Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health reported 67 Covid-19 related deaths, the fourth daily death record in a row.

The total number of deaths in Lebanon since the pandemic began is 2,151. A total of 269,241 cases have been reported.

2:16 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

Daily Covid-19 deaths and cases decline in the UK, but infection rates are still high in London

From CNN's Nada Bashir, Sarah Dean and Peter Taggart

A paramedic wheels a gurney outside the Royal London Hospital on Thursday, January 21.
A paramedic wheels a gurney outside the Royal London Hospital on Thursday, January 21. Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty Images

The UK has recorded a decline in daily Covid-19 deaths and cases, according to official data released Thursday.

While the country reported a further 1,290 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, data from Public Health England showed -- this is down from Wednesday’s death toll of 1,820.

The total number of people in the UK who have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test now stands at 94,580.

The country has the highest death toll in Europe, trailing only the US, Brazil, India and Mexico in total deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

On Thursday 37,892 new cases were confirmed in the country -- down from Wednesday’s daily increase of 38,905.

The total number of UK cases recorded since the pandemic began is now 3,543,646. 

According to Public Health England’s weekly Covid-19 surveillance report, hospital admission rates are still rising in several regions across England and remain highest in those aged 85 and over.

The report also highlights that “case rates have fallen in all regions,” but continue to be highest in London.

While case rates have also decreased in all age groups, they remain highest in those aged 20-29 years old, the report adds.

12:50 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

Spain’s Paula Badosa becomes first known Australian Open player to test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

Paula Badosa plays a match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on January 8.
Paula Badosa plays a match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on January 8. Francois Nel/Getty Images

Tennis star Paula Badosa announced Thursday that she has tested positive for Covid-19. Badosa, who is quarantining in Melbourne ahead of next month’s Australian Open, is the first known player set to compete at the Grand Slam to test positive for coronavirus. 

“I have some bad news. Today I received a positive Covid-19 test result. I’m feeling unwell and have some symptoms, but I’ll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors. I’ve been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored. Thanks for you support. We’ll be back stronger.” Badosa posted on Twitter.

Prior to testing positive, the 23-year-old rising star was isolating under a mandatory quarantine rule. 

Players arriving in the Australian state of Victoria have been placed into a 14-day quarantine ahead of their grand slam matches. Most have been allotted five hours each day to go out and train in strict bio-secure bubbles, but 72 players have been unable to leave their hotel rooms and cannot practice, under strict quarantine rules after passengers on their flights tested positive for Covid-19.

Some tennis stars have expressed anger and frustration at being kept cooped up ahead of the first grand slam of the tennis season. 

Badosa is ranked No. 67 in the world and competed in two Australian Open’s in her career. She most notably reached the round-of-16 at last year’s French Open. 

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on February 8, three weeks after its original start date.

Read more about the controversy at the Australian Open here:

12:26 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

How the pandemic is disrupting couples' sleep cycles, and their relationships

From CNN's Emmet Lyons

Couples are having to spend more time together under enormously stressful circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic, and it's affecting their ability to get enough sleep.

Being forced to share the same space during lockdown has led many couples across the world to struggle with bad sleep patterns, and arguments that can lead led to breakups.

Sleep specialists say they are currently treating quarantined couples struggling to sleep in the same bed, and it's creating and compounding problems in their relationships.

"Sleep amongst couples is completely interdependent," said Wendy Troxel, a senior behavioral and social scientist at the nonprofit RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. "When you share a bed with another human being, your sleep is affected and it affects the other person who shares the bed with you."

Research has backed this up. If a person's sleep is disrupted by their partner during the night, it can lead to an argument in the relationship the following day, according to a 2013 study from the University of California, Berkeley.

New York-based clinical psychologist Orna Guralnik, host of the Showtime series "Couples Therapy," agreed.

"There are petty little grudges that accumulate," she said.

"There is a hyper-focus on the other person, and not enough distance between people to feel their independent existence. You put that in the context of sleeping together all night -- it becomes too much, too symbiotic for people."

Dave Russell is a light sleeper, for example, but he never had any issues sharing a bed with his girlfriend, Izzy James, before the pandemic.

Things began to change in March. Lockdown significantly altered Russell's daily life. Like many people, he started working from home and limiting his contact with others, and he began to struggle to sleep through the night.

Before the coronavirus, Russell and James would spend most of their working days apart in separate offices outside their home. For the last nine months, the two have both been working from their studio apartment in London.

"We were literally sitting opposite each other for the whole day, and then when the workday was finished, we would just move to the sofa," he told CNN. "It felt like we were in the same room all of the time." Because they were.

Read more here:

12:09 p.m. ET, January 21, 2021

Portugal toughens lockdown restrictions and orders schools to close

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa speaks at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on January 20.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa speaks at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on January 20. Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Portuguese government decided to toughen its current lockdown measures on Thursday, ordering schools and universities to close for at least 15 days, due to a rapid surge of Covid-19 cases.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister António Costa after a cabinet meeting, who added that exceptions will be made for children aged 12 or younger, and whose parents work in essential services.

The decision was taken because of the rapidly rising number of cases, particularly due to the new strain of the virus that was first found in the UK. This variant, which now represents 30% of new cases, could reach 60% of new infections soon, according to a study by Portuguese health authorities.

Along with schools, some Portuguese public services will also be closed for the next 15 days and non-urgent court cases will have their deadlines suspended.

The move comes as Portugal reported another record daily increase in the number of fatalities attributed to Covid-19, with 221 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Authorities also reported an additional 13,544 new infections, the second-highest daily increase since the pandemic started.

Portugal currently has the worst infection rate in Europe, and one of the worst on the planet, with a seven-day rolling average of 1,043.71 cases per million, according to Covid-19 data tracking website Our World in Data, which is supported by Oxford University.

The United Kingdom currently has a seven day rolling average of 620.40 cases per million, while the United States is at 584.94 per million, also according to Our World in Data.