The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Sharon Braithwaite, Meg Wagner and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 12:08 a.m. ET, January 23, 2021
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10:47 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Portugal reports record daily death toll

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Portuguese health authorities have reported yet another record daily increase in deaths from Covid-19, with 234 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.

It is the fifth consecutive record-breaking day.

Health authorities also reported 13,987 new cases in the past 24 hours, the second-highest daily cases count since the pandemic started.

The government decided Thursday to toughen the current lockdown restrictions and ordered schools and universities to close for at least 15 days, due to the rapid increase of cases.

The country of ten million has been struggling with a spike in cases since the new year.

10:35 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Nearly 2,000 Covid-19 vaccines in Massachusetts "compromised" after freezer plug accidentally loosened

From CNN’s Joe Sutton and Carma Hassan

About 1,900 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine were compromised when a cleaning contractor accidentally loosened the freezer’s plug at the Jamaica Plain VA campus in Massachusetts, Kyle Toto, a spokesperson for the VA Boston Health Care System, told CNN.

The doses were designated for employees at the health care facility as well as inpatient and outpatient veterans, Toto added.

Toto said VA Boston Pharmacy staff discovered the issue Tuesday because the freezer was no longer cold.

“The freezer was in a secure location and had an alarm system installed. The plug was found loose after a contractor accidentally removed it while cleaning. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident and why the monitoring and alarm system did not work as expected. Replenishment doses are in process and we do not foresee disruption of our vaccination effort,” Toto said in an email.
11:44 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers will be among the 22,000 fans at this year's Super Bowl

From CNN's Homero De La Fuente

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced Friday the league will allow 22,000 fans at Super Bowl LV next month.

According to a press release, the NFL made the decision “following discussions with public health officials, including the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and area hospitals and health care systems".

“These officials reviewed and provided feedback on the NFL's comprehensive plans that will enable the league to host fans and the vaccinated health care workers in a safe and responsible way,” the statement added.

Among the 22,000 fans, the NFL is giving 7,500 vaccinated health care workers free tickets to the game. The league said health care workers will be recognized with planned tributes in the stadium and during the broadcast.

"These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude, we hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings," said Goodell.

Super Bowl LV is scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, Feb. 7.

9:31 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

"We got to go into the trenches" to figure out what's wrong with the vaccine rollout, says Fauci

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s John Berman that to make a difference in the vaccine rollout, they need to get into local areas to understand what’s going wrong and how to fix it.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Fauci said when asked one thing he would like to see today to make a difference on vaccinations.

“What I think we really need to do is we got to go into the trenches — and I’ve said this so many times — and figure out what is it that’s the cause of what we’re hearing,” like why some states say they have doses sitting on shelves and others say they don’t have enough.

“You got to get into the local area and find out what’s going on here, what’s wrong, let’s try and fix it,” he said.

“Back months ago, for example when you’re sitting in the situation room and you hear, OK, things look pretty good, you know this is happening, that’s happening. You go home, you get on the phone to the people who are actually doing it and they say it’s not working well.” 

Fauci said that they need to go the local areas and partner with people doing vaccinations to look at what went wrong there and how they can help them to fix things — or help them to help themselves fix it. 

“I think that’s what you’re going to be starting to see, in fact it’s happening right now,” he said. 

If you aren’t sure of what’s going wrong, “don’t guess, go and figure out what it is and help people fix it,” he said.

9:30 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

EU to seek clarification from Pfizer on Covid-19 vaccine delays

From CNN’s James Frater and Katharina Krebs in London

The European Union will seek clarification from Pfizer on reports of new delays in delivering Covid-19 vaccines, chief spokesperson for European Commission Eric Mamer said during a press briefing on Friday.

Mamer stressed that the Commission is constantly in contact with the manufacturers and are aware of recent developments.

Last week Pfizer said that shipments from its vaccine facility in Puurs, Belgium, would be temporarily reduced as it scales up to produce 2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2021.  

Eric Mamer explained that the deliveries are organised specifically between the Member States and the companies, while the Commission supports the relationship between the two. 

“We will of course continue our contact with BioNTech/Pfizer to ensure that we have always the latest information and see what are the next steps that need to be taken based on this,” he said. 

Some background: Italy announced Wednesday it will take legal actions against pharmaceutical company Pfizer over Covid-19 vaccine delays.

"Unfortunately this week we received 29% fewer vaccine jabs from Pfizer and we have been told that we will receive 20% fewer vaccine jabs next week," the country’s extraordinary coronavirus commissioner Domenico Arcuri said Thursday during a press conference. The vaccination rollout has been "significantly" slowed down due to this delay, Arcuri added.

"Until last Saturday we vaccinated an average of 80,000 people a day, with a peak of 92,618 in 24 hours. After Saturday, the people who were vaccinated are just over a third, 28,000 on average," he said.

Pfizer said last week that in order to increase capacity, changes were needed to the process and facility, and additional regulatory approvals would be required.

Pfizer's vaccine partner BioNTech later said that the original schedule for deliveries to the European Union would resume the week beginning Jan. 25.

BioNTech said it hoped to “increase delivery beginning the week of February 15," which would result in delivering “the fully committed quantity of vaccine doses in the first quarter and significantly more in the second quarter."

8:56 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

UK government denies plan to pay $683 to people who test positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

The British government has denied reports that suggest that it intends to pay everyone in England who test positive for Covid-19 and additional £500 (which is about $683), in an effort to increase the number of people respecting lockdown rules.

“We already offer a £500 payment to support those on low incomes who cannot work from home,” the British Prime Minister’s spokesperson told journalists during a briefing on Friday, according to PA Media. “That £500 is on top of any other benefits and statutory sick pay that people are eligible for.”

"We've given local authorities £70 million for the scheme and they are able to provide extra payments on top of those £500 if they think it necessary,” the spokesperson also said.

8:52 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

US can do better than Biden's goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, says Fauci

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a White House press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a White House press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s John Berman Friday that he thinks that the country will do better than the goal of 100 million vaccine doses administered in President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. 

“Obviously, you want to do as best as you possibly can, I’d like it to be a lot more,” Fauci said, when asked how satisfied he would really be if, by April 30, there were exactly 100 million Americans vaccinated. “The goal was set but you don’t want to get fixated on was that an undershoot or an overshoot.” 

Fauci said that you go for 100 million over 100 days, “if we do better than that, which I personally think we likely will, then great.”

“We’re just going to go for it for as much as you possibly can,” Fauci said. “When you set a goal, if you do better than the goal, that’s terrific, I hope we do.” 

Some background: US President Biden has pledged to provide 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in his first 100 days of office. 

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday he thinks the vaccine supply will be adequate to meet this goal.

8:35 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Kiev in talks to purchase 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko is pictured during an event on September 10, 2020, in Kiev, Ukraine.
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko is pictured during an event on September 10, 2020, in Kiev, Ukraine. Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is negotiating with several manufacturers to purchase one million vaccine doses, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said during a briefing on Friday.

I am using all my foreign contacts and connections to provide Kyiv with the vaccine,” Klitschko said.

“It is a question of buying 1 million doses for the vaccination of 500,000 Kyiv residents,” he added.

The mayor stressed that the capital is ready to buy the vaccine with the money from the city budget.

City authorities have preliminary agreements with some manufacturers and the capital has an infrastructure ready for vaccination: there is equipment for storing the vaccine, vaccination rooms, and specialists who will conduct centralized training, Klitschko said.

"We must prevent the spread of the disease. First of all, to protect the most vulnerable categories of the population,” he emphasized.

For background: Covid-19 vaccination has yet to begin in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week the European Union should pay increased attention to the Eastern Partnership countries in purchasing and supplying the Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine.

As of Friday, the country reported 5,348 new coronavirus cases and 163 new daily deaths, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on his official Facebook page.

The current death toll currently stands at 21,662, whilst the total number of cases recorded since the pandemic began is now 1,182,969, according to the government's dashboard.

8:21 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane is pictured during a match between Alcoyano and Real Madrid at the El Collao stadium in Alcoy, Spain, on January 20.
Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane is pictured during a match between Alcoyano and Real Madrid at the El Collao stadium in Alcoy, Spain, on January 20. Jose Breton/AP

Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid announced in a statement on Friday that manager Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for Covid-19.

The club did not provide any further details.

The Frenchman was present on the touchline as Real fell to a humiliating defeat to third-division club Alcoyano in the Spanish Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

Zidane guided Real to their first La Liga title in three years last season after having previously led them to three consecutive UEFA Champions League successes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and one league title in 2017, among others, in his first spell in charge.

Real currently sit second in the league, seven points behind local rivals Atletico Madrid, having played a game more.

The team is scheduled to play Alavés away in La Liga on Saturday.