January 27 coronavirus news

By Zahid Mahmood, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Hannah Strange, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 28, 2021
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10:38 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

AstraZeneca has completed enrollment in its US Covid-19 vaccine trial

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

Vaccine maker AstraZeneca has completed enrollment in its Phase 3 clinical trial in the US, according to slides posted to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Wednesday ahead of a presentation by a company representative. 

The slides clarify the ongoing trial, which includes more than 32,000 participants, will serve as “the primary basis” for the company’s application to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, “with supporting data” from trials abroad.

Of the 32,459 participants enrolled, 26,327 received their second dose by Jan. 21, the slides say. About two-thirds of participants in the US trial receive the vaccine, and the remaining third receive placebo.

Some background: On Sept. 6, AstraZeneca’s US trial was put on pause in the US after a trial volunteer in the UK developed neurological symptoms. The trial resumed in the US on Oct. 28, after a review by the US Food and Drug Administration concluded it was safe to do so.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States, but it has in other countries, such as the UK and India.

Earlier this month, Operation Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui projected AstraZeneca’s vaccine could be authorized in the US by the end of March. The US has contracted to purchase 300 million doses of the company’s vaccine.

10:25 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Portugal reports another daily record in Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

A health care worker walks in the Covid-19 emergency room of Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on January 11.
A health care worker walks in the Covid-19 emergency room of Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on January 11. Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

Portugal has reported 293 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours on Wednesday, according to Portuguese health authorities, reaching another record in daily deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 11,305 people have died with Covid-19 in the country.

Deaths from Covid-19 have been rising steadily after a surge in the number of cases following Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with new daily fatalities records reported in 9 of the past 10 days.

Portugal also reported at least 15,073 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the second highest since the pandemic started.

A total of 668,951 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus since the pandemic reached Portugal, 484,753 of which have since recovered. 

Some background: Portugal has the worst Covid-19 infection rate with a seven-day rolling average of 1,217.76 cases per million, according to the Oxford University’s data crunching website, Our World in Data.

The southern European nation also has the highest death rate, with a seven-day rolling average of 24.74 deaths per million.

10:01 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Local policies halting evictions may have helped prevent US Covid-19 cases, according to new analysis

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

Local policies preventing evictions and utility shutoffs may have helped reduce the spread of Covid-19, according to a new analysis by Duke University researchers.

Moratoria on evictions and utility shutoffs reduced Covid-19 cases by 8%, the researchers found, suggesting that people who can stay home safely are better able to social distance.

If enacted nationally from the start of the pandemic, the analysis estimated that halting evictions could have cut Covid-19 cases by 14% and deaths by 40%, and preventing utility shutoffs could have cut cases by 9% and deaths by 15%.

The researchers assessed trends in Covid-19 cases and deaths in US counties from March 1 to Nov. 28, and how they changed when local policies were put in place preventing evictions or shutoffs of water or electricity. County demographics, as well as health and environmental factors that have been shown to contribute to spread or increased mortality, were also considered in the analysis. 

The analysis used case and death data from The COVID Tracking Project, which may differ from data from the Johns Hopkins University data that CNN uses.

9:08 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around Europe

From CNN's Sarah Dean

A medical staff member draws the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at NHS Nightingale North East hospital in Sunderland, England, on January 26.
A medical staff member draws the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at NHS Nightingale North East hospital in Sunderland, England, on January 26. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Europe continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic as the disagreement over vaccines continue. Here are some of the key lines from the continent today:

  • The row continues over vaccine supplies in the European Union where AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot defended their decision prioritize vaccine deliveries to the UK.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom would introduce government-provided accommodation (e.g. hotels) for 10 days for those who cannot be refused entry into the UK from high-risk countries. This comes as the country reached the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths – the first country in Europe to do so.
  • France's pharmaceutical giant Sanofi entered an agreement with German biotech company BioNTech to help produce its vaccine.
  • Today marks a grim year since coronavirus struck in Germany, where the first case was registered at a Bavarian company. The country shows no signs of reduced infections as two hospitals in a Bavarian town are now under self-quarantine as 11 people are potentially carrying the UK coronavirus variant.
  • Ireland has extended the national lockdown until March 5, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin who also announced new regulations to contain coronavirus, which include a 14-day mandatory quarantine for those traveling from South Africa and South America.
9:01 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

"Supply-demand imbalance" is biggest challenge with vaccinations, New Jersey governor says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on January 27.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on January 27. CNN

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state’s biggest challenge is “supply-demand imbalance” with vaccinations.

Murphy called the Biden administration's plans to increase states' Covid-19 vaccine allocations a "step in the right direction"

"It's not enough," Murphy said in an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota this morning, "but it is a big step in the right direction."

He said that there are more than two million New Jerseyans pre-registered for vaccines, and the state is set to receive about 130,000 vaccine doses per week right now. The state opened up a call center on Monday and got 17,000 calls in the first hour, he said.

“We’re still going to be chopping through that for some number of weeks to come,” he said. 

Murphy said teachers are in the “on-deck circle” for vaccinations. 

“I think [as] we get more supply, as soon as we can get there, I think educators are next up to bat,” he said. 

Murphy said that there are many schools with hybrid learning in the state, and recognized reopening schools fully as a “tough” decision to tackle. 

“There's an enormous amount of stress and anxiety, and I completely get it, on everyone's part — educators, parents, the kids themselves,” he said. 

“I think we're starting to see the light at the end of the horizon,” he added. “I think this is now going in the right direction. It's slow, admittedly. But it's beginning without question, and it's steady, slowly but surely going to the right place.”

Watch:

9:28 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Madrid suspends vaccination program due to lack of supply

From CNN’s Tim Lister

Doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are on a table at Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid on January 14.
Doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are on a table at Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid on January 14. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The regional government of Madrid has decided to stop administering first doses of Covid-19 vaccine for the next two weeks due to growing uncertainty over the supply situation.

Ignacio Aguado, regional vice-president, told a news conference Wednesday that priority would be given to providing a second dose to those who had received a first dose at the end of December and the beginning of January. 

"We need more doses urgently," Aguado said. 

Madrid has completed the vaccination of just 2% of those who received a first dose, far lower than most of Spain's regions. Severe weather earlier this month in the Spanish capital hampered the roll-out of the vaccination program.

Several Spanish regions have complained to the central government about uncertainty over supplies. 96% of the doses distributed – largely of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine – have already been administered. 

The daily Health Ministry figure for the number of doses distributed has been static for the last week at 1,346,000 doses.

9:31 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

UK prime minister announces 10-day quarantine in government accommodation

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London on January 27.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London on January 27. Leon Neal/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK government was introducing government-provided accommodations, for example hotels, for 10 days for those who cannot be refused entry into the UK from high-risk countries. 

“It is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes. And we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home. If they do not have a valid reason to travel. We have also banned all travels from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants, including South Africa, Portugal, and South American nations,” Johnson said. 

“And in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries. I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government provided accommodation, such as hotels for 10 days without exception, they will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The department for health and social care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible. And by right one roof in the Home Secretary will set out the details of our plans in her statement shortly.”

8:30 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Number of people flying in US hits six-month low, TSA data shows

From CNN's Pete Muntean

A TSA agent assists a traveler through a security checkpoint at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, on January 26.
A TSA agent assists a traveler through a security checkpoint at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, on January 26. Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images

The number of people flying on commercial airlines just hit a six-month low, with fewer than half a million passengers screened at US airports Tuesday. 

New figures, released by the Transportation Security Administration show 468,933 people were screened at TSA checkpoints nationwide. 

That number hasn’t dipped below 500,000 since July 4, 2020.

8:28 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Here's how to safely reopen schools, according to a vaccine expert

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

A closed public school is pictured in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 5.
A closed public school is pictured in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 5. Lan Wei/Xinhua/Getty Images

Dr. Paul Offit says he doesn’t think the US needs "to wait for vaccination” to get public schools back open.

“I think we have to be able to provide a mechanism whereby we can get those kids back into a public school setting where it can be done safely. It may require more money for those schools, but I definitely think we need to do it,” Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said on CNN’s “New Day.” 

Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that with the right mitigation measures, there is a path to low-risk, in-person learning. In a paper published Tuesday, researchers noted that the kind of spread seen in crowded offices and long-term care facilities has not been reported in schools.

Offit, a member of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, outlined strategies that school can implement.

“You try to have smaller classroom sizes, so-called pods. It's the teachers who move from one class to the other, not the students, so that you don't have these crowded hallways. You try to separate the desks as much as possible, you don't eat in a cafeteria … so you're not all sitting together with your masks off. There are a number of strategies that can be done,” he said. 

Offit added that he doesn’t think the Covid-19 variants play a role in reopening schools.