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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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.”

1:41 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Biden will reinstate Covid-19-related travel restrictions today lifted by Trump

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21.
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden on Monday will sign a presidential proclamation on travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This move will reinstate the Covid-19 travel restrictions that former President Trump lifted last week, and includes non-US citizens who have been in Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, as well as the new addition of South Africa.

“The President will sign a presidential proclamation to reduce the spread of Covid-19 through travel, especially as we see faster spreading variants emerging across the world,” press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday’s briefing.

She continued, “On advice of our administration's medical and Covid team, President Biden has decided to maintain the restrictions previously in place for the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Brazil. With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variant contagious variants spreading, this isn't the time to be lifting the restrictions on international travel,” noting that in light of a and in light of the contagious variant, B1351, South Africa has been added to the restricted list.”

Psaki also announced that beginning Tuesday, international travelers to the United States “must provide proof of a negative test within three days of travel to airlines prior to departure.”

Asked later for clarification, Psaki said that the new negative testing requirement includes all people boarding planes, including US citizens, coming from overseas.

Hear more from the press briefing:

12:24 p.m. ET, January 25, 2021

AstraZeneca delays "not acceptable," says EU health commissioner

From CNN’s James Frater and Vasco Cotovio

European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides gives a statement at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on January 25.
European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides gives a statement at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on January 25. John Thys/Pool/AP

The European Union’s Health Commissioner says AstraZeneca’s delays in supplying its Covid-19 vaccine to member states are “not acceptable.” 

“There is a problem on the supply side. Last Friday the company, AstraZeneca, surprisingly informed the Commission and the European Union member states that it intends to supply considerably fewer doses in the coming weeks than agreed and announced,” the European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said during a news conference in Brussels on Monday. “This new schedule is not acceptable to the European Union.”

“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. 

Kyriakides went on to say she’d written to AstraZeneca over the weekend, seeking clarification, and that the issue was again discussed between member states and the company during a joint steering board. A second meeting is scheduled for later today because according to the EU Health Commissioner, AstraZeneca’s answers “have not been satisfactory.”

“The European Union wants the ordered and pre-financed doses to be delivered as soon as possible, and we want our contract to be fully fulfilled,” she said. 

The European Union purchased 400 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for its member states. The vaccine is in the final stages of approval with the European Medicines Agency and, according to Kyriakides, if all requirements are met, market authorisation could be granted by the end of this week.

11:58 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

Stocks sink on vaccine and stimulus concerns

From CNN's Richard Davis

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange at Wall Street on January 12 in New York City.
People walk by the New York Stock Exchange at Wall Street on January 12 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Stocks fell on Monday, with the Dow sinking 250 points, the S&P 500 down 0.5% and the Nasdaq about flat.

Investors are worried about vaccine availability after Merck pulled its Covid-19 vaccine plans.

Investors are also worried that President Biden’s stimulus plan won’t pass as easily or quickly as previously believed.

11:50 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

California lifts regional stay-at-home orders

From CNN's Stella Chan

A man walks through the downtown plaza area in Riverside, California, during the stay-at-home order on January 7.
A man walks through the downtown plaza area in Riverside, California, during the stay-at-home order on January 7. Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

“We are turning a critical corner,” California’s top health official said as he announced the state is lifting regional stay-at-home orders. 

The orders applied to Southern California, San Joaquin Valley, and Bay Area regions, encompassing over 90% of the state’s population. The four-week intensive care unit capacity projections for these regions are above 15%, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the threshold that allows regions to exit the order. 

“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director said in a news release. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.” 

Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions have been under the state order since Dec. 6 and the Bay area since Dec. 17. The mandate, aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, instructed residents to stay home as much as possible and not mix with other households. It closed hair salons, museums, movie theaters, and restricted restaurants to take-out only service. 

The other two areas, Northern California and Greater Sacramento, are not currently under the order. The mandate was triggered when intensive care unit capacity in a region falls below 15%. 

Counties not under the regional order will abide by the state’s four-color tiering system:

  • Purple tier signals widespread risk and closes many non-essential indoor businesses. 
  • Red is substantial risk and some non-essential indoor business operation are closed. 
  • Orange is moderate and closes some businesses with modifications.
  • Yellow is minimal risk and allows most indoor businesses to operate with modifications.

The CDPH said the majority of the counties of the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California regions are in the purple tier, the strictest. Outdoor dining and personal services may resume with modifications required by local jurisdictions.

11:55 a.m. ET, January 25, 2021

UK reports at least 592 new Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The United Kingdom reported 22,195 new Covid-19 cases and 592 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Monday, the government's dashboard showed.

The total number of people in the UK who have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test now stands at 98,531.

According to the government's data, 6,573,570 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, whilst 470,478 people have received the second dose.