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
21 Posts
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4:26 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Missouri state health department not reporting results of positive antigen tests in Covid-19 case counts

From CNN's Alta Spells

The Missouri state health department has not been including results from antigen tests (rapid tests) when reporting Covid-19 case totals, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday. 

State health department data requested by the Post-Dispatch showed "antigen tests caught an average of 648 positive cases a day in December and 644 positive cases a day in January — numbers that were not included in the state’s daily report of new COVID-19 cases," the newspaper reported. 

Data analysis conducted by the Post-Dispatch showed that, "in January, the numbers would be 20% to 40% higher on any given day," if the antigen test results had been included in the daily case counts, according to the newspaper. 

The Post-Dispatch noted that the CDC updated its probable cause definition in August to include positive antigen test results, even among asymptomatic people.

"Since August, the state has collected 52,683 positive results from antigen tests but not included them in the state’s tally of 443,838 cases," the newspaper reported.

When asked about the state's antigen test reporting, Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services told the Post-Dispatch, "This has been an active discussion lately about how and when we will report antigen/probables publicly as they have continued to become a much larger portion of testing overall." She said, “It’s likely this piece will become part of our standard public reporting within the next week or so.”

CNN has reached out to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and is reaching out to other states to determine if Missouri’s counting methods are unique. 

Note: These numbers were released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University.

4:15 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Denmark suspends flights from UAE for 5 days due to testing issues

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

Denmark has suspended all flights from the United Arab Emirates for five days due to suspicions that pre-flight Covid-19 tests in Dubai may not be trustworthy, the Danish Transport Ministry said in a statement on Friday. 

“We have seen in the past, mutations come in via Dubai, and we cannot ignore such a suspicion,” Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht said, according to the statement.

“Therefore, all passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates will be suspended for five days until it has been possible to investigate the matter thoroughly and ensure that the negative test that is required is in fact a real test that has been carried out properly.”

The flight ban goes into effect Friday night, the statement added.

4:16 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

The US "can and should" vaccinate up to 85% of adults by the end of summer, Fauci says

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Nurses transfer the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from a bottle into a syringe to ready for vaccination in Corona, California, on January 15.
Nurses transfer the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from a bottle into a syringe to ready for vaccination in Corona, California, on January 15. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Despite challenges with the distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines, the US "can and should" vaccinate 70-85% of US adults by the end of summer, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

If officials do hit that benchmark, it could means a semblance of normalcy by the fall, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.

"When you put .... the pedal to the floor, you can get it done," Fauci told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday.

At the current pace of vaccinations, that necessary threshold will not be reached until February 2022, but Fauci said officials must and will ramp up production and distribution by "getting community vaccine centers, getting the pharmacies fully involved, using mobile units to get into inaccessible places."

Fauci's assessment offers a glimmer of hope as forecasts predict the death toll from the virus will likely top 500,000 within the next month.

"The only way to solve a problem is to own it," he said. "Everybody wear a mask, everybody adhere to the public health measures, get the vaccine out as expeditiously as possible, do everything we can to get the doses available and to get them into people's arms."

Read the full story:

3:39 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

UK is considering full border closure to contain new Covid-19 variants, minister says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

The British government is considering a full closure of the country's borders in order to contain the spread of new variants of Covid-19, according to Environment Secretary George Eustice.

“We always keep these things under review,” Eustice told Sky News on Friday. “There is concern at the moment at the number of mutant strains ... concerns that there's a risk that one day there will be a strain that might be able to evade the vaccine.”

“We've already toughened it up, we think that's the right approach for now, but obviously everything is always kept under review,” he added. 

Eustice also did not deny reports that the government was considering giving £500 ($685) to people who test positive for Covid-19, as an incentive to self-isolate. 

3:29 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Germany tops 50,000 coronavirus deaths 

From CNN's Claudia Otto and Nadine Schmidt

A coffin labeled "Biohazard Covid-19" is seen at a crematorium in Dülman, Germany, on January 19.
A coffin labeled "Biohazard Covid-19" is seen at a crematorium in Dülman, Germany, on January 19. Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany has surpassed 50,000 Covid-19 deaths, according to data published Friday by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's disease control agency.

In the past 24 hours, Germany reported 859 new fatalities related to Covid-19, bringing the total to 50,642. The RKI also recorded 17,862 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 2,106,262 

To date, Germany has immunized 1,401,693 people -- about 1.7% of its population -- according to RKI data. Among those vaccinated were 341,768 residents of nursing homes and around 468,814 medical staff, according to data from the country's federal states. 

Tougher measures: On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to take the spread of the new, more contagious variant of coronavirus ''very seriously''. 

Earlier in the week, Germany extended a nationwide lockdown until February 14, implementing stricter rules, including making FFP2 masks mandatory in public spaces and forcing German companies to allow employees to work from home until mid-March, where possible.

3:05 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

France to require negative Covid test from EU travelers

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris

Starting Sunday, people entering France from other European Union countries must present a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours.

These new rules don’t apply to “essential trips” nor to people who cross the border daily to work in France, or those who work in transport.

The measure was announced in a news release from the office of the Elysée Palace on Friday.

The release also reiterated that France had already imposed stricter measure for travelers from countries outside of EU borders (including the UK), who not only have to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours but also quarantine for seven days. They must also take a second test at the end of the quarantine period.

3:05 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Sri Lanka reopens borders to international travelers

From CNN Travel's Lilit Marcus

A Sri Lankan airport worker walks inside a terminal at the Katunayake International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 20.
A Sri Lankan airport worker walks inside a terminal at the Katunayake International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 20. Eranga Jayawardena/AP

The island nation of Sri Lanka is now open to tourists from all countries.

Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga made the official announcement during a news conference on Thursday, confirming they would reopen the country's borders from January 21. Both of the country's international airports reopened on the same day.

"The livelihood of around 3 million people depends on tourism in Sri Lanka," Ranatunga told media. "It is our national responsibility to take into consideration the needs of our citizens that depend on this industry."

As part of efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Sri Lanka created a "bio bubble," which will give visitors a relative amount of freedom to travel within the country while still observing safety protocols.

Though there is no minimum time that a visitor must spend in the country, anyone coming from abroad must stay in a government-approved hotel or resort for up to two weeks upon arrival.

Read the full story:

2:15 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

US reports nearly 189,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Joe Sutton in Atlanta

The United States reported 188,952 new coronavirus infections and 3,955 virus-related fatalities on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

According to JHU's tally, the nationwide totals now stand at 24,627,882 cases, including 410,105 deaths.

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

Vaccine numbers: At least 37,960,000 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 17,546,374 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Track US cases: 

2:00 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

India vaccinates more than 1 million healthcare workers in less than a week

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A healthcare worker vaccinates a frontline health worker with the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine in Kolkata, on January 19.
A healthcare worker vaccinates a frontline health worker with the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine in Kolkata, on January 19. Sumit Sanyal/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

India has vaccinated a total of 1,043,534 health care workers so far during the first phase of a nationwide vaccination drive that began on January 16, the country's government announced Friday.

The country plans to vaccinate 10 million health care workers in the first phase of its vaccination program, followed by 20 million frontline workers, before moving onto its second phase of vaccinating 270 million people over the age of 50 or those under 50 with comorbidities. 

"2021 has brought new hope for India," Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said at a news conference Friday. 

Earlier this month, India approved two vaccines for emergency use -- Astra Zeneca's Covishield vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and the India-developed Covaxin vaccine made by Bharat Biotech. India has procured 11 million doses of Covishield and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin for the first phase.

Due to concerns around the use of Covaxin before its third phase trial data has been released, and the below target turnout of beneficiaries in many states, the Indian government on Thursday began an awareness campaign to assuage concerns.

"In such a context those who are spreading misinformation in society about the vaccines, please ignore them, we have to take the vaccine to protect ourselves and our society against Covid," Vardhan added.

India has reported 10,625,428 total cases of coronavirus, including 153,032 deaths, according to the country's Health Ministry.