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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3:57 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

19 Capitol Police officers test positive for Covid-19 after Jan. 6 riot

From CNN’s Nadia Kounang

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Nineteen police officers have tested positive for coronavirus two weeks after the Capitol riot, the union representing Capitol Police said Friday.

“The union was advised there are 19 confirmed positive cases since Jan 6th, ” Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in an email to CNN. 

The union could not confirm that all 19 were on duty the day of the attack.

Health officials have worried that the mass of largely unmasked people, many shouting and pushing, would result in the spread of the virus. Several police officers were directly assaulted.

“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,” former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a previous interview with the McClatchy newspaper group.

At least four members of Congress have also tested positive for coronavirus after the attack earlier this month.

3:37 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

France surpasses 3 million coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in France since the beginning of the pandemic surpassed the three million mark Friday, according to data from the National Health Agency.

There have been at least 3,011,257 coronavirus cases since the pandemic started.

On Friday, a further 23,292 cases were recorded, as well as at least 649 additional deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to at least at least 72,647. 

The French government has outlined its objective to bring the daily number of new cases down to 5,000 as a precondition to lifting coronavirus restrictions. Speaking on Tuesday, Health Minister Olivier Véran said the current infection rate is “both high and relatively stable,” with “around 20,000” cases a day.

3:12 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

UK infection rate still too high to consider lifting national lockdown, prime minister says

From CNN's Nada Bashir

The UK government cannot consider lifting national lockdown measures while rates of infection and hospital admissions remain “so very high,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday.

“We really can’t begin to consider unlocking until we’re confident that the vaccination program is working, until we’re confident that we don’t have new variants or changes in our understanding of the virus,” Johnson said.

“We think this is the right package of measures to deal with the new variant and we don’t want to change them. What we want to see is people enforcing them and people obeying them, that’s the crucial thing,” he added.

Speaking during a news briefing at Downing Street, the prime minister noted that “some signs of flattening in the data” have been observed, but warned that the number of infections is “still very high” across the country.

“If unlocking were to lead to another big rebound, I think that would be the wrong thing and the wrong way to approach it,” Johnson said.

“We’ve got to be in a position where the rate of infection is not still so high, and it’s very high right now,” he added.

On Friday, the UK reported 40,261 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the UK since the pandemic began to at least 3,583,907.

3:46 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Spain's health ministry reports highest weekly rise in Covid-19 deaths since pandemic's first wave

From CNN’s Tim Lister

The Spanish Health Ministry reported Friday that at least 1,411 people have died in the past week from coronavirus – the highest weekly death toll in the country since the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.

The ministry also reported at least 193,139 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week.

At least 2,499,560 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Spain since the beginning of the pandemic.

Much of Spain remains in strict lockdown, with overnight curfews and entertainment venues closed. 

The community of Madrid introduced new measures Friday, restricting movement overnight between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., closing commercial outlets from 9 p.m. and further restricting private gatherings, with no more than four people allowed to meet unless they live in the same home. The measures come into effect Monday.

The health ministry also reported a slight increase in the number of vaccine doses so far administered – to at least 1,165,825. However, the number of vaccination doses distributed to Spain's regions has not risen since Wednesday. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that this week's death toll was the highest on record. It's the highest since the pandemic's first wave.

2:12 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Louisiana governor asks residents to wear masks as more contagious variant is confirmed in state 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards implored residents to continue to wear a mask as the UK variant is confirmed in states across the nation. Last week the Louisiana State Department of Health identified at least one case of the UK variant in its state.  

“This variant spreads more easily from one person to another than other viral strains currently circulating in the United States, though It has not been shown to cause more severe disease,” their statement said.

Health officials warn there are likely many more cases in the state that they have not been able to identify.  

During a Friday briefing, Edwards said with the variant confirmed, it’s more important than ever to wear a mask – regardless of political party. 

“That virus doesn't know or care whether someone who wears a mask or doesn't wear a mask is a Republican or Democrat or independent, or who they voted for,” Edwards said.
1:35 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Severe allergic reactions to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are a "rare event," CDC says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Severe allergic reactions to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are a “rare event,” according to a report published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Jan. 10, among the more than 4 million people vaccinated with the first dose of the Moderna shot, only 10 people had severe allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That’s a rate of 2.5 cases per million doses administered. 

A previous report on the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine estimated an initial rate of 11.1 cases per million of the first doses administered.

The CDC has been monitoring for adverse reactions and collected 1,266 adverse event reports related to the Moderna vaccine. Among those reports, 108 involving allergic reactions were flagged for further review.

The CDC determined 47 of the reports were nonanaphylaxis allergic reactions, 47 were considered nonallergic reactions, four case reports didn’t have enough information.

All 10 of the anaphylaxis cases were women. Of the 10, nine had a documented history of allergies and more than half of those people had a previous history of anaphylaxis. Only one had a prior allergic reaction to a vaccine. The others had allergic reactions to a mix of things – drugs, contrast agents used in some medical imaging and one person had a food allergy.  

Symptoms began at a median of seven and a half minutes after the shot. Among those for whom CDC had follow up information, all had recovered and had been discharged from the hospital and sent home. 

The current CDC guidance is that people who have an immediate allergic reaction to a first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine shouldn’t get the second. The guidance also mandates health care workers monitor people for at least 15 minutes after vaccination. Anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment; the CDC says vaccination sites need trained staff and supplies on hand to manage it.

“Anaphylaxis after receipt of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears to be a rare event; however, comparisons of anaphylaxis risk with that associated with non–COVID-19 vaccines are constrained at this time by the limited data available this early in the COVID-19 vaccination program,” the report said. “CDC and FDA will continue enhanced monitoring for anaphylaxis among recipients of COVID-19 vaccines.”
12:19 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Indoor dining at Michigan restaurants can resume next month

From CNN’s Chris Boyette

A "closed" sign hangs on the door of a restaurant in Detroit in April.
A "closed" sign hangs on the door of a restaurant in Detroit in April. Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michiganders can once again dine indoors at restaurants starting Feb. 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced at a news conference Friday.

“The pause has worked," Whitmer said. "The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place.”

Before the Department of Health and Human Services’ three-week epidemic order limiting social gatherings launched on Nov. 15, Michigan had 734 cases of Coivd-19 per million residents, Whitmer said. The state has now seen a 70% reduction to 177 cases per million, according to the Governor.

“I know this pandemic has hurt our restaurant owners, our restaurant workers, and all of their families. I want to thank those that made incredible sacrifices, and did their part, on behalf of our protecting our communities from Covid,” said Whitmer.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun further clarified that restaurants will operate at 25% capacity and must observe a 10 p.m. curfew.

“I'm pleased that we can move forward in this way. We know that our restaurant owners want to protect their patrons and help to end this pandemic,” Khaldun said, but said she wanted to remind people that scientists and doctors have reiterated that being indoors, with no mask on, is one of the riskier activities people can do when it comes to the spread of Covid-19.

“So now people have a choice. The safest thing to do, especially if you are elderly, if you have underlying medical conditions, or if you live with someone who's elderly or has underlying medical conditions,” Khaldun said. “The safest thing to do is to not be inside a restaurant, but we still want you to order from them though, you can support them with takeout delivery, or dining out doors.”

11:18 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine trial for kids is now fully enrolled

From CNN’s Amanda Sealy

Pfizer told CNN that its Covid-19 vaccine trial in children ages 12 to 15 is now fully enrolled with 2,259 participants. 

Pfizer began to enroll participants for this trial in October, but the company says it does not know when the data from this trial will be available.

Currently, Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration for those who are age 16 and above. There is currently no FDA authorized Covid-19 vaccine for children. 

11:17 a.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Cuba reports first case of the Covid-19 variant found in South Africa 

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann

One case of the Covid-19 variant identified in South Africa has been detected in Cuba, Cuban health officials said during a daily briefing on Friday. 

The person found positive for the Covid-19 variant was tested at an airport upon entering the country and is now in isolation.

This is the first case of any Covid-19 variant found in Cuba. To date, Cuba has registered a total of 19,530 cases and 184 deaths.