January 25 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Zahid Mahmood, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 26, 2021
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5:01 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Covid-19 variant first found in the UK discovered in Nevada, state health official says

From CNN’s Keith Allen

The Covid-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom has been detected in Nevada, Dr. Mark Pandori, director of Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said on a conference call Monday afternoon.

The state’s first known case of the variant was found in a symptomatic Las Vegas woman in her 30s after genomic sequencing was conducted at the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno, Pandori said.

“It is very normal for viruses to be changing, but it really does add to the messaging and the importance that yet another problem with letting this virus circulate wildly in a community is that you will have more variation and opportunities to have variants of this nature,” Pandori continued. 

“Yes, it's here and yes there's reason to be concerned about its biological capacity, that's been shown, but the opportunity is here to prevent any further spread of it, or at least significant threat, or at least to stem its spread, because we believe we caught it pretty early,” Pandori said.

4:49 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Biden suggests US will get to 1.5 million vaccines a day

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Biden said he expects the US will soon be able to vaccinate 1.5 million people a day. That moves the goalposts to roughly 500,000 more vaccinations than his target of one million per day in his first 100 days in office. Biden suggested the US could surpass that initial target in about three weeks. 

“I'm quite confident that we will be in a position within the next three weeks or so to be vaccinating people at the range of 1 million a day or in excess of that,” he told reporters Monday, clarifying that he was referring to 100 million shots, not necessarily 100 million people, since some of the vaccines require more than one shot. 

“I think with the grace of God the goodwill of the neighbor and the creek not rising, as the old saying goes, I think we may be able to get that to 150 – 1.5 million a day, rather than 1 million a day. But we have to meet that goal of 1 million a day, and everything points that we're going to have a) enough vaccine b) enough syringes and all the paraphernalia needed to store, keep, inject move into your arm the vaccine. Three, a number of vaccinators people administering the vaccine, which is not an easy task of those who have those facilities like the nursing homes and hospitals,” Biden continued.

He said his administration is working to produce additional vaccinators and feels “confident” they can do so. He also referenced the importance of creating a forum where Americans “can show up, stand in line, and get their vaccine without having to stand in line for eight hours, being able to pick up the phone, call the pharmacy and get your name on the list, etc.”

5:02 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Despite dropping cases, January on track to be Covid-19's deadliest month in US

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A casket is loaded into a hearse at the Boyd Funeral Home, as burials at cemeteries are delayed to the surge of Covid-19 deaths on January 14, in Los Angeles, California.
A casket is loaded into a hearse at the Boyd Funeral Home, as burials at cemeteries are delayed to the surge of Covid-19 deaths on January 14, in Los Angeles, California. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

The number of new coronavirus cases reported over the past seven days is 22% lower than a week ago and the seven-day average has been trending down for 10 days, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Deaths were also lower than a week ago – by about 7% – but January is on track to be Covid-19’s deadliest month in the US. 

At least 73,259 people were reported to have died of Covid-19 in January, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University – more than one death every 30 seconds. More than two cases were reported every second.

Despite the improvements, the average number of new cases and deaths reported each day in January are higher than any other month. The seven-day average for new cases and deaths both hit a peak in the first half of the month.

Dr. Ronald Moolenaar, deputy chief medical officer for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 Emergency Response, gave similar statistics in a briefing Monday to faith leaders. “So these statistics provide us with some valuable information, and when the percentages are decreasing, it tells us that mitigation efforts are working, and that we need to keep up the good work to reduce the spread of Covid,” Moolenaar said during the call.

4:34 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

EU accuses AstraZeneca of "lack of clarity"

From CNN’s James Frater

The European Union has accused AstraZeneca of lack of clarity and said the company had provided “insufficient explanations” for delays in supplying its Covid-19 vaccine to member states.

“Discussions with @AstraZeneca today resulted in dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and insufficient explanations,” the European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, tweeted after a meeting with the pharmaceutical giant on Monday. “EU Member States are united: vaccine developers have societal and contractual responsibilities they need to uphold.”

“With our Member States, we have requested from AZ a detailed planning of vaccine deliveries and when distribution will take place to Member States,” Kyriakides also said, adding that another meeting with AstraZeneca would be held on Wednesday. 

Earlier on Monday, Kyriakides said the pharmaceutical giant’s delays were “not acceptable."

“The European Union has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and its production and wants to see the return,” she also said, adding that the bloc wants to know how many doses the company has produced, and who they’ve been sold to. 

4:30 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

US will be able to administer 1 million vaccine doses a day in about 3 weeks, Biden says

A screener registers residents of the William Reid Apartments at a Covid-19 pop-up vaccination site at the NYCHA housing complex on Saturday, January 23, in Brooklyn, New York.
A screener registers residents of the William Reid Apartments at a Covid-19 pop-up vaccination site at the NYCHA housing complex on Saturday, January 23, in Brooklyn, New York. Mary Altaffer/AP

President Joe Biden said he believes the US will be able to administer 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine each day in about the next three weeks

"I'm quite confident that we will be in a position within the next three weeks or so to be vaccinating people at the range of a million a day or in excess of that," he said on Monday.

Biden said manufacturers have said they are able to produce more vaccine "in a relatively short period of time and then continue that down the road."

"We have to meet that goal of a million a day," he said.

With that volume of vaccinations, Biden said there also needs to be enough infrastructure in place – which includes things like medical equipment to inject the vaccine into people's arms and freezing units to store the vials.

Biden also said there needs to be enough people to administer the doses and facilities were people can go to receive it, "which is not an easy task," he added.

"It's really important that we have the place, the facility, the circumstance where people can show up, stand in line and get their vaccine without having to stand in line for eight hours," he said. "All those mechanical things are really. They sound simple but they're all consequential when we're trying to get out a minimum of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days," he added.

"It's going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we've ever tried in this country. But I think we can do that," Biden said.

4:18 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Biden outlines steps to safely reopen US schools 

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Pre-kindergarten teacher Sarah McCarthy works with a student at Dawes Elementary in Chicago on Monday, January 11.
Pre-kindergarten teacher Sarah McCarthy works with a student at Dawes Elementary in Chicago on Monday, January 11. Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times/AP

President Biden was pressed Monday on school reopenings, in light of reports that the Chicago Teachers Union has voted to refuse in-person work, and outlined the steps that must be in place for safe reopening as the country continues to battle Covid-19.

“I believe we should make school classrooms safe and secure for the students, for the teachers, and for the help that’s in those schools maintaining the facilities,” Biden said, citing ventilation systems and testing for both teachers and students. 

“We need the capacity, capacity to know the circumstance in the school is safe and secure for everyone,” he said, adding that every school should be “thoroughly sanitized.”

Teachers, Biden said, want to work. 

“They just want to work in a safe environment... And we should be able to open up for every school, kindergarten through eighth grade,” he said. 

3:56 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine could have major implications for rollout, researcher says

From CNN’s Amanda Sealy

Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine for a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado.
Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigational pharmacy technician Sara Berech prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine for a clinical trial on December 15, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine could have a major effect on the rollout of vaccines because the company plans to make so many doses, one of the researchers who helped develop it said Monday.

“If this vaccine proves to be safe and effective, it could have major implications for the vaccine rollout because J&J has committed to producing and deploying at least a billion doses of vaccine during this calendar year, including at least 100 million doses for the US population,” Dr. Dan Barouch, a Harvard Medical School researcher who helped develop Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate, said.

“If it's a single-dose vaccine, then a billion vaccine doses would translate into a billion people vaccinated,” Barouch said during an episode of the podcast Coronavirus Fact vs Fiction.

“I'm optimistic that if we can have not just two vaccines, but potentially three to five vaccines rolled out, then we can get a substantial fraction of the population vaccinated during this calendar year,” Barouch added.

Barouch also serves as the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston which began collaborating with Johnson & Johnson on this vaccine in March. 

Last week, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Johnson & Johnson is "right around the corner" from seeking emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration.

3:25 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Michigan has at least 17 cases of the Covid-19 UK variant

From CNN’s Anna Sturla

Michigan now has at least 17 cases of the UK variant of Covid-19, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun announced during a news conference Monday.

These 17 cases are inclusive of the cases previously announced Sunday. 

Four of the B.1.1.7 variant cases were in Wayne County, which covers Detroit and Dearborn, and 13 in Washtenaw County, which includes Ann Arbor, according to Khaldun.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services had previously ordered the University of Michigan to pause its athletic activities after variant cases were linked to the program.

Khaldun urged Michiganders to take advantage of testing and to be vaccinated when able.

"We do not want to have to go backwards, to slow the great progress we've already made," Khaldun said. "We want to continue to reopen our economy, and get back to a sense of normalcy."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Hertel, while noting that all of the state's vaccines have either been administered or scheduled, according to Whitmer.

"The fact of the matter is we don't yet have the kind of supply that we nee – yet," Whitmer said. "We do have a plan for 50,000 shots in arms per day, once we have the vaccines that we need."

3:28 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

About 200 National Guard members have tested positive for Covid-19 in Washington, DC

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

A National Guard patrols a road block near the Capitol on January 19 in Washington, DC.
A National Guard patrols a road block near the Capitol on January 19 in Washington, DC. Matt Slocum/AP

Major Gen. William Walker, head of the DC National Guard, said that about 200 members have tested positive for Covid-19 and are being treated for the virus.

Walker said he was “deeply troubled” by the number of members who have tested positive and said they have been following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols to avoid spreading the virus to others while deployed in Washington.

Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Daniel Hokanson said that 200 out of 25,000 guards is “less than one percent” infected total.

Thousands of national guards were mobilized to the US capital following the deadly Capitol riot and in response to potential unrest around President Biden's inauguration.