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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2:14 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

A strict lockdown in northeast China has left residents short of food and medicine

From CNN's Beijing bureau

Volunteers check orders of daily necessity goods at a supermarket according to wish lists of residents in quarantine in Tonghua, China, on January 24.
Volunteers check orders of daily necessity goods at a supermarket according to wish lists of residents in quarantine in Tonghua, China, on January 24. Xu Chang/Xinhua/Sipa USA

Residents of a city in northeast China have taken to social media to complain that a stringent coronavirus lockdown has left them short of food and medicine, triggering an online uproar and an apology from local officials.

Tonghua, a city of about 2 million in Jilin province, has been locked down since January 18 amid rising Covid-19 infections. All flights, trains, buses and taxis have been suspended, and residents barred from leaving their homes.

Under the restrictions, people must order daily necessities online, and have them delivered to their residential compounds by volunteers, according to the municipal government.

However, Tonghua residents complained on Chinese social media last week that there had been a delay in deliveries, causing a shortage of food, medicine, and infant milk powder.

The backlash: The residents' posts ignited a wave of criticism against the Tonghua government, with some accusing local officials of disregard for people's livelihood in order to meet epidemic control targets.

Following the backlash, city officials admitted Sunday that the delivery of daily necessities is "untimely and unavailable" to some residents, citing a shortage of manpower.

"The municipal party committee and the municipal government express their sincere apologies," Deputy Mayor Jiang Haiyan said at a news conference.

On Sunday night, some residents posted photos online of vegetable packages they received, but many others said they were still waiting.

The Tonghua government said Monday that vegetables had been delivered to nearly 67,000 households, and more than 7,000 officials and volunteers would continue to distribute food to the rest of the residents.

Stark contrast: Some social media users pointed to the disparities between the harsh lockdown measures in Tonghua and the more humane quarantine policies in some major cities.

In Shanghai, the government was lauded for allowing residents of "medium-risk" neighborhoods to bring their pets to government-designated hotels for quarantine.

The Beijing municipal government said it would allow each household to leave one family member at home to take care of pets if they are ordered to go into quarantine.

2:12 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

US reports more than 130,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells in Atlanta

The United States reported 130,485 new coronavirus infections and 1,769 virus-related fatalities on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

According to JHU's tally, the nationwide totals now stand at 25,124,954 cases, including 419,209 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 41,411,550  vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 21,848,655 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CNN is tracking US cases here.

1:44 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

AstraZeneca responds to EU's concerns over lower vaccine deliveries

From CNN's Michael Nedelman in New York, Martin Goillandeau and James Frater in London

Boxes of vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine sit in a fridge at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, England, on January 9.
Boxes of vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine sit in a fridge at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, England, on January 9. Andrew Matthews/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Reduced yields in the European supply chain are the reason that lower volumes of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine will initially be delivered to EU member states, according to a spokesperson for the drugmaker.

The European Union expressed its “deep dissatisfaction” on Friday, after being informed by AstraZeneca that vaccine deliveries to member states -- pending authorization -- would not arrive before the end of the first quarter of 2021, as originally forecast.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told CNN that reduced yields at a manufacturing site in the European supply chain have caused the lower volumes of initial deliveries, but there is no schedule delay to the start of shipments once its vaccine receives approval in Europe.

"We will be supplying tens of millions of doses in February and March to the European Union, as we continue to ramp up production volumes," the spokesperson said, without offering details on how much lower the initial volume of vaccine supply would be.

EU's expectations: The EU was expecting 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first quarter of this year. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) received an application for conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on January 12. The decision on granting marketing authorization could be given by January 29.

“The European Commission will continue to insist with AstraZeneca on measures to increase predictability and stability of deliveries, and acceleration of the distribution of doses,” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides tweeted Friday.
1:28 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

China reports 80 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Beijing bureau

A medical worker collects a nucleic acid sample at a testing site in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on January 23.
A medical worker collects a nucleic acid sample at a testing site in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on January 23. Wang Jianwei/Xinhua/Getty Images

China's National Health Commission (NHC) detected 80 new coronavirus cases on Sunday -- 65 of them transmitted locally, according to a Monday statement.

Most of the cases were identified in the north of the country, where some provinces have in recent weeks been battling to contain localized outbreaks of the virus

Some 29 cases were found in China's northernmost province, Heilongjiang, while 19 were detected in Hebei province, which surrounds the capital, Beijing. The northern province of Jilin reported 12 cases.

Quarantine center: Nangong, a city in Hebei, has built 1,500 temporary quarantine treatment rooms following the emergence of coronavirus clusters in the northern province.

A further 6,500 rooms will be built in the coming days, according to the state-owned China News Service.

The single-occupancy rooms are equipped with their own heaters, toilets, showers, and other amenities, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Wuhan, one year on: On Saturday, China marked the anniversary of the start of a 76-day lockdown in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019.

The case numbers in Wuhan today are zero, which is a stark contrast to January 25, 2020, when the city reported 618 infections and 45 deaths.

12:57 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

A year from lockdown, Wuhan returns to normal life, but still haunted by emotional scars

From CNN's David Culver and Nectar Gan

People walk along a street near a market in Wuhan, China, on January 19.
People walk along a street near a market in Wuhan, China, on January 19. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

On the surface, Wuhan bustles like a city that has never known a paralyzing 76-day lockdown.

At dawn, market vendors busily unload fresh fruits and vegetables. Office workers fill popular eateries during lunch break. As dusk falls, elderly couples descend on the city's parks, practicing dance moves by the Yangtze River. Red lanterns have been erected around the city in anticipation of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

A year has passed since the central Chinese city of 11 million people was placed under the world's first coronavirus lockdown on January 23. At least 3,869 Wuhan residents eventually died from the virus, which went on to claim more than 2 million lives around the globe.

The world was stunned when flights, trains and buses leaving Wuhan were canceled, highways were blocked and people were ordered to stay in their homes, relying on officials and volunteers for daily necessities. Initially, it was difficult for patients, families and even some healthcare workers to get to the hospital.

But the Chinese government has since heralded those drastic steps as crucial to curbing the initial outbreak, and similar measures have now been enforced in countries around the world -- with some cities outside China undergoing multiple lockdowns.

In that context, Wuhan has become a success story in taming the virus. It has not reported a local coronavirus infection for months.

On December 31, as millions of people in other countries spent New Year's Eve in the confinement of another lockdown, Wuhan's residents packed glittering streets to celebrate the arrival of 2021 with a midnight countdown.

Today, residents speak proudly of the resilience and strength of their city, and the efforts they made to ward off Covid-19.

But the severe measures also came at a huge personal cost to residents, and despite the apparent return to normal life, deep emotional scars haunt the city.

Some residents who lost loved ones to the virus are still living in grief, angry at the government for its early missteps in preventing people from knowing facts that could have saved lives.

Read the full story:

12:34 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Fauci reveals Trump administration attempts to discredit him and threats on his life

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to President Donald Trump speak to reporters at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 7, 2020.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens to President Donald Trump speak to reporters at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 7, 2020. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci opened up about his experience working under the Trump administration, his relationship with the former president and threats to his personal safety, in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times published Sunday.

As cases rapidly escalated in the Northeast, the former president had “almost a reflex response” to try to minimize the situation, Fauci said.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he was concerned about who Trump was getting his information from. He said Trump based his assessment of coronavirus treatments on anecdotes rather than data from clinical trials.

“That’s when my anxiety started to escalate,” Fauci said. 

When leadership of the White House coronavirus task force changed last February, into the hands of the White House, the situation turned from “the standard kind of scientifically based, public-health-based meetings,” to “the anecdotally driven situations, the minimization, the President surrounding himself with people saying things that didn’t make any scientific sense,” Fauci said. 

When Fauci contradicted Trump’s misinformation, he said the White House response started to become “somewhat nefarious - namely, allowing Peter Navarro to write an editorial in USA Today saying I’m wrong on most of the things I say. Or to have the White House press office send out a detailed list of things I said that turned out to be not true.”

Fauci said that Trump even called him personally to ask why he wasn’t being more positive about the pandemic.

Fauci said he and his family received death threats, starting in the spring. He said the death threats to his family upset him more than anything else. He shared an experience where he received a letter containing white powder, which turned out to be nothing. He recalled the moment, saying:

“My wife and my children were more disturbed than I was. I looked at it somewhat fatalistically. It had to be one of three things: A hoax. Or anthrax, which meant I’d have to go on Cipro for a month. Or if it was ricin, I was dead, so bye-bye.”
12:01 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Australia approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19

From CNN's Hilary Whiteman in Brisbane and Sharif Paget in Atlanta  

Australia has granted "provisional approval" for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, making it the country's first coronavirus vaccine to receive regulatory approval, Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said in a statement Monday.

The TGA said the vaccine met "strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy" and the provisional approval is for individuals 16 years and older.

The Pfizer vaccine went through Australia’s normal regulatory process, which is why it has come later than some other countries that approved it for emergency use.

The first vaccines will be given in late February, starting with 80,000 doses a week, Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a news conference Monday. Australia has purchased 10 million Pfizer doses, enough for 5 million people in a country of 25 million.

Australia had hoped to start its vaccination program in mid-February but the Pfizer rollout was delayed by global supply issues.

The vaccine rollout is expected to begin across 30-50 hospital sites and those who need protection the most, such as frontline health workers and quarantine border workers, will be the first to receive the shots, according to a joint press release from the country's prime minister and health minister 

The vaccine will be rolled out in five phases over the coming months and will eventually involve more than 1,000 vaccination administration sites, the release said.

“I welcome the TGA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, with our own Australian experts finding it is safe, effective and of a high standard,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Despite the Pfizer vaccine being first to receive approval, most people in Australia will receive the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is still going through regulatory approval. Australia plans to make that vaccine in a domestic production facility, which is expected to produce approximately 1 million doses a week from late March.

8:39 p.m. ET, January 24, 2021

Mexico's President tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Tatiana Arias

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has tested positive for Covid-19, he said on Sunday evening.

The President, who tweeted from his official Twitter account, said his symptoms are mild and that he was receiving medical treatment.

"I regret to inform you that I have contracted Covid-19. The symptoms are mild, but I am already receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will move forward," Lopez Obrador wrote.

He added that Secretary of the Interior Dr. Olga Sanchez Cordero will represent him at the daily morning briefings.

Mexico is one of 17 countries in the world that has reported more than 1 million Covid-19 cases. Newly confirmed deaths and cases have risen steadily throughout the country since early October, with recent daily numbers some of the highest since the beginning the pandemic.

Lopez Obrador, who rarely wears a mask, has faced widespread criticism over his handling of the pandemic.

Read the full story:

8:01 p.m. ET, January 24, 2021

38 Capitol Police officers test positive for Covid-19 after Capitol riot

From CNN's Nadia Kounang and Whitney Wild

More than three dozen Capitol Police officers have tested positive for coronavirus since the Capitol riot on January 6, the union representing the Capitol Police told CNN Sunday.

It's unclear how many of the 38 officers may have been on duty during the attack or when they contracted the virus. But 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 during the insurrection.

Read the full story: