January 26 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021
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5:08 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Biden announces purchase of 200 million more doses of Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden announced Tuesday that the US is buying 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, and hopes to have them by summer as part of a package of measures aimed at speeding up and increasing vaccine supply for the US.

The US plans to buy 100 million more doses from Pfizer/BioNTech and 100 million more from Moderna, he said.

That’s a 50% increase in the order for each vaccine, increasing the planned supply from 400 million to 600 million, Biden said.

Pfizer and Moderna are working to step up production.

Biden added the additional vaccine supply will be enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by end of the summer and beginning of the fall.

4:58 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Biden administration announces increase in coronavirus vaccine supply to states

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Aclinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board prepares to administer a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.
Aclinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board prepares to administer a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 21, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Karen Ducey/Getty Images/FILE

The Biden administration announced Tuesday an increase in vaccine supply to states.

"First, after review of the current vaccine supply and manufacturing plants, I can announce that we will increase overall weekly vaccination distributions of states, tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses," President Biden said in remarks Tuesday.

"Starting next week. That's an increase of 1.4 million doses per week... You all know that vaccines were distributed to states based on population, based on population. The smaller the state, the less vaccine. The bigger the state, the more they get. And so this is going to allow millions of more Americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated. We've got a long way to go, though," he added.

States have been saying they don’t have enough vaccine, and many have also said they have been getting confusing information about how much vaccine they are getting and when from the federal government.

The official said the government plans to try to fix this. “And to give state and local leaders the transparency of supply they’ve been asking for, HHS will provide allocation estimates three weeks in advance and the estimates will be updated on a running basis so every state has at least three weeks’ notice to help them plan for their vaccination distribution and administrations,” a senior administration official said.

This does not include any extra vaccines that might win emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has granted EUA to two vaccines – one made by Moderna and one by Pfizer with its partner BioNTech. Johnson & Johnson is working on a vaccine and expects to report its results from clinical trials within weeks.

“We are obviously hopeful that there will be an additional source of supply. If that is the case, you can be sure we will be taking advantage of that,” the official said.

4:55 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Ohio governor wants every kid back in school by March 1

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Ohio Channel
Ohio Channel

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants every kid to be back in school by March 1, he announced in a news conference today.

DeWine says his goal is to have anyone who works at a school receive their first dose of the vaccine in the month of February at the very least. School employees in Cincinnati will start receiving their vaccine next week.

Ohio is averaging 146,000 first doses of the vaccine being administered a week, DeWine added. Currently, people older than 75 and those with certain medical conditions are able to receive vaccines. On Feb. 1, those 70 and older and employees of K-12 schools will be eligible for the vaccine. Beginning Feb. 8, vaccines will be taken directly to affordable senior housing.

DeWine said the state will have an additional 77,000 doses to distribute over the next two weeks, because several nursing home residents and staff opted not to receive the vaccine. 

DeWine also said that in light of hospitalizations going down in the state, he is considering lessening the current curfew. If hospitalizations in Ohio stay below 3,500 for seven days straight, the curfew will move to 11p.m. – this could happen as early as this Thursday and will stay in place for at least two weeks. If hospitalizations go below 3,000 for seven days straight, the curfew will move to midnight for at least two weeks, and if hospitalizations go below 2,500 for 7 days straight, the curfew will be completely lifted.

Ohio is reporting 4,262 new cases of Covid-19, 88 deaths from Covid-19 and 295 additional hospitalization for a total of 2,964 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

Note: These numbers were released by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:45 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

California's regional stay-at-home order "lifted at the right time," says top health official

From CNN's Sarah Moon

As some elected officials continue to question the timing of the state lifting its stay-at-home order, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a news conference Tuesday that he believes it was lifted “at the right time.” 

“This was not a regional stay-at-home order based on community transmission rates only, it was really focused on what we would see in the hospitals a few weeks out,” Ghaly explained.

The state lifted its regional stay-at-home order for all five regions on Monday as health officials now expect the intensive care unit bed capacity to meet the 15% threshold in four weeks.

Since health officials look at a four-week projection, Ghaly said that he has previously mentioned that the stay-at-home order can be lifted when hospitals still have a high census of coronavirus patients.

“We know today’s cases become hospital cases in about two weeks, ICU cases three to four weeks later, so we want to really determine what the impact is of our current case numbers, our current transmission rates, our current test positivity on where we’re going to be in the hospitals,” Ghaly said. “We have to look about four weeks out.”

What the numbers show: The state continues to see a downward trend in its cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.

California on Tuesday reported 17,028 new cases of the virus and 409 additional deaths, both numbers well below the 14-day average of 28,993 cases and 501 deaths.

The 14-day test positivity rate has also dropped to 9%, a 33% decrease since the state reported its highest percentage earlier this month, according to Ghaly.

In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have decreased over 20%.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of when the first two cases of the virus were reported to the California Department of Public Health, one case in Los Angeles County and another in Orange County. In one year, over 37,500 Californians have lost their lives to the virus, which Ghaly called an “immeasurable loss.”

To date, California has a total of 3,153,186 coronavirus cases and 37,527 deaths.

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. 

4:36 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Biden administration promises to have enough coronavirus vaccine for all Americans by the end of summer

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

The Biden administration promised on Tuesday to have enough coronavirus vaccine for the entire US population by the end of summer.

“Today, the President is announcing bold steps that will help meet the goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days, and ramp up vaccine supply as fast as possible. As a result of these actions, the federal government will have enough vaccine supply for the entire US population by the end of the summer,” the administration said in a fact sheet. 

Among the promised actions: a 50% increase in purchased vaccines from makers Moderna and Pfizer, with 200 million extra doses to be delivered by the end of summer, plus an increase in deliveries to states now from 8.6 million doses a week to 10 million doses a week.

We wish we could say today that every American who wants a vaccine could get one. That’s clearly not the case,” a senior administration official told reporters.

“It’s not the level of supply we found when we arrived. It’s going to take a number of months before we can say to American it’s open season, as (Dr. Anthony) Fauci calls it. But with the announcement today, we’ve purchased enough today to vaccinate 300 million Americans.”


4:35 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

US working to get syringes for bonus coronavirus vaccine, official says

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Federal officials are working to get more supplies of the special syringes needed to obtain extra doses out of vials of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

Pfizer’s vaccine was originally shipped in five-dose vials, but with the right equipment, a sixth dose can be extracted from the vials. The company has now said it will count those bonus doses towards its obligation to the US. 

But not everyone has the right syringes to do it. A senior administration official told reporters the federal government has been in active talks about getting more. “This is a somewhat fragile supply chain,” the official said.

It is important, the official said, to not disrupt other health care supply needs. The administration will use the Defense Production Act as needed to get the supplies without disrupting other supply chains, the official said.

4:24 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

January becomes deadliest month from Covid-19 in the US

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Virginia Langmaid

More people were reported to have died from Covid-19 during the month of January 2021 than any other month during the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, 77,698 people have died from Covid-19 so far this month, surpassing the December 2020 total of 77,486 deaths.

Here's a month-by-month breakdown of Covid-19 deaths in the US during the pandemic: 

  • February 2020: 1 death 
  • March 2020: 5,277 deaths
  • April 2020: 60,750 deaths
  • May 2020: 41,727 deaths
  • June 2020: 20,138 deaths
  • July 2020: 26,585 deaths
  • August 2020: 29,525 deaths
  • September 2020: 23,433 deaths 
  • October 2020: 23,995 deaths
  • November 2020: 37,038 deaths
  • December 2020: 77,486 deaths
  • January 2021: 77,698 deaths so far 

Remember: This month’s data is an ongoing tally and only includes Johns Hopkins University data up until this point. 

4:27 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Biden's Covid-19 coordinator informs governors that vaccines will increase by around 16% starting next week

From CNN's MJ Lee

President Biden’s Covid coordinator Jeff Zients informed governors on a call this afternoon that Covid-19 vaccine allocations for states would increase by around 16% starting next week, according to a source with knowledge of the call.

Zients said on the call that the Moderna vaccine would be up to to 5.7 million doses, while Pfizer could go up by some 4.3 million doses, this source said. Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine shipments would include supplies to extract additional doses so the understanding was that the actual number of available Pfizer vaccine doses to be administered would ultimately be higher than the anticipated 4.3 million doses.

The source said that for some of the governors were thrilled because they did not expect to see an increase in vaccine supply for weeks or months – and view this announcement as an immediate increase.

4:09 p.m. ET, January 26, 2021

Vice President Harris receives second dose of Covid-19 vaccine and praises work of NIH

Vice President Kamala Harris receives her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Vice President Kamala Harris receives her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris just received her second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. 

"So I've had the vaccine, and it really was painless, relatively painless. But I want to thank everyone here at NIH for all you do," Harris said after she received the shot. Harris' husband Doug Emhoff will also receive a shot today.

Harris went on to deliver brief remarks and shared her personal connection to NIH. As NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins stood on stage with her, she said that her mother would travel to the NIH offices in Bethesda, and was a peer reviewer in the biochemical endocrinology study section.

"My mother had two goals in her life, to raise her two daughters and end breast cancer," Harris said.

The vice president praised the efforts of NIH and their scientists, saying that the work that they do to improve public health is an "essential part of government."

"The importance of NIH is that this is about an essential function of government, which is to provide for the public health. The work that happens here has one goal, to improve public health. And the importance of the pursuit of the work that happens at NIH, is that it's not about profit. It's about the people," Harris said.

"I want to say to everyone who works here, I know who you are. I know what you do," she added.