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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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.

3:03 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

California continues to see drop in new Covid-19 cases after holiday surge

From CNN's Stella Chan

Motorists wait in line for a rapid COVID-19 antibody and PCR test at the Southside Church of Christ in Los Angeles on January 18.
Motorists wait in line for a rapid COVID-19 antibody and PCR test at the Southside Church of Christ in Los Angeles on January 18. Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty Images

California on Monday reported another 27,007 cases to its Covid-19 count, bringing the state total to 3,136,158 cases, according to the state Department of Public Health (CDPH), marking the first full week of fewer than 30,000 cases each day since early December.

The CDPH announced 328 new deaths, well below the 14-day average of 504 deaths, for a total of 37,118 since the start of the pandemic. The deaths and case count each increased 0.9% from the prior day total.

The 14-day average positivity rate also continues to decline, falling to 9.4%, down more than 4% over the latest 14-day period.

Hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases are down by 291 patients for a total of 18,347.

Availability of intensive care unit beds statewide are also showing signs of improvement with 1,168 available beds, up 52 from the prior day after plunging to all-time lows last week.

Monday morning, health officials lifted regional stay-at-home orders for the state. The Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California regions, three of the state’s five groups of counties, show a four-week projected ICU capacity of above the 15% threshold. The state also lifted the overnight curfew for residents in the purple tier, the most dire of the four-level color coded system signifying the infections are widespread. 

NOTE: These numbers were released by the California Department of Public Health and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

2:35 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Double masking is likely more effective to stop spread of Covid-19, Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci arrives to the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21.
Dr. Anthony Fauci arrives to the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that wearing two masks is likely more effective to stop the spread of Covid-19.

When asked about whether double masking or using an N95 mask makes a difference, Fauci told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that it likely does. 

“Because, I mean, this is a physical covering to prevent droplets and virus to get in,” Fauci said. “So, if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective and that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95.” 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks in public settings and anywhere they will be around other people, and says people should wear masks that have two or more layers of fabric that fit snugly over the nose and mouth.

1:59 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

White House blames Trump administration for lack of current Covid-19 vaccine supply information

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House on January 25 in Washington, DC.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House on January 25 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not provide details on the US' current coronavirus vaccine supply, blaming problems inherited from the Trump administration for the Biden administration’s lack of information about current supply levels.

Asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins during Monday’s briefing whether there was a ballpark amount of the US’ vaccine supply, Psaki said, “Well, our team is working right now. We've been here for five days to evaluate the supply, so that we can release the maximum amount while also ensuring that everyone can get the second dose on the FDA recommended schedule.”

“The confusion around this issue, which we acknowledge there is some confusion, speaks to a larger problem — which is what we're inheriting from the prior administration, which is much worse than we could have imagined,” Psaki said. “So, we are assessing now what we have access to, and ensuring that we have more of a rapid engagement with states so that they have more of a heads up on what to expect in the weeks ahead.”

The comments come a day after the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told “Fox News Sunday,” “I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can’t tell it to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials.”

Walensky indicated during the interview that the lack of knowledge about the US’ vaccine supply was a result of “the challenges” the Biden administration has been left with by the Trump administration.

Psaki would not acknowledge Army Gen. Gus Perna’s role working on the supply issue, and whether Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, would have more answers. Asked whether Perna, who oversaw vaccine logistics under Trump, would have more information on the current supply, Psaki said, “Again, there is a new CDC director who is in charge, hence who spoke to this, and I think what we’re trying to do is fully assess what we have access to.”