January 31 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh and Eoin McSweeney, CNN

Updated 0456 GMT (1256 HKT) February 1, 2021
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2:05 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

The US has administered nearly 30M doses of Covid-19 vaccine

A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, on January 30.
A healthcare worker administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, on January 30. Johnny Milano/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US has administered more than 29.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 29,577,902 doses have been administered -- about 59% of the 49,932,850 doses distributed.

That means 24 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 5.25 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data

States have 72 hours to report vaccine data, so data published by the CDC may be delayed. 


1:58 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

Australia reopens travel bubble for people traveling from New Zealand

Australia will once again allow quarantine-free travel for visitors from New Zealand on Sunday afternoon, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a news release.

"In making this recommendation, the Acting Chief Medical Officer noted there have been no further confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the community in New Zealand since the initial three cases originated from transmission within hotel quarantine," the release read.

"Green zone flights" will start on Sunday 2 p.m. local time, the release added.

The Australian government previously suspended quarantine-free travel for New Zealanders arriving in Australia on January 25, after a South African variant of Covid-19 was detected in a woman after 14 days of quarantine in New Zealand.

"The Acting CMO notes flights from New Zealand are sufficiently low risk given New Zealand’s strong public health response to Covid-19," the release said. Out of caution, pre and post-flight screening will be implemented, and people traveling to Australia must have been in New Zealand for 14 days prior to leaving.

The one-way travel bubble is only for people traveling from New Zealand to Australia. New Zealand still enforces a 14-day quarantine for foreign travelers.

1:34 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

US records more than 136,000 new cases on Saturday

The United States reported 136,252 new Covid-19 cases and 2,640 additional related deaths on Saturday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national total to at least 26,069,046 cases and 439,439 deaths since the pandemic began.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases.

At least 49,932,850 vaccine doses have been distributed so far, and at least 29,577,902 doses of vaccine have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See CNN's live tracker of cases here.

1:22 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

US hospitalizations fall below 100,000 for the first time in nearly two months

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Hollie Silverman

For the first time in nearly two months, current Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States have fallen below 100,000, according to data from The Covid Tracking Project. 

On Saturday, the US reported 97,561 Covid-19 hospitalizations, the data shows.

Before then, the last time the US had fewer than 100,000 current hospitalizations was December 1, 2020 -- 60 days ago.

On December 1, the United States had a 7-day average of roughly 163,000 new cases and 1,540 reported deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Right now, the US has roughly the same new case average, but sees more than double the average daily deaths, with over 3,000 a day.  

Hospitalizations have been dropping consistently since the start of the year, according to CTP. This past week was the first week since November 5 that no state has reached a new record high for current hospitalizations, according to CTP. 

12:40 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

Maryland reports case of Covid-19 South African variant

From CNN’s Chuck Johnston

Maryland state health officials have confirmed a case of a more contagious coronavirus strain first identified in South Africa, according to a press release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.

The announcement comes after South Carolina identified the first known case of the Covid-19 variant in the US earlier this week.

The Maryland case “involves an adult living in the Baltimore metro region," Hogan's office said.

"The individual has not traveled internationally, making community transmission likely. Comprehensive contact tracing efforts are underway to ensure that potential contacts are quickly identified, quarantined and tested,” Hogan’s office added in its statement.
11:40 p.m. ET, January 30, 2021

WHO team goes to wholesale market in Wuhan during investigation of Covid-19 origin

From CNN's Sandi Sidhu in Hong Kong

A team of World Health Organization (WHO) investigators examining the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited the Baishazhou Wholesale Market in Wuhan on Sunday, said Dr. Hung Nguyen-Viet, a member of the group.

The team of 13 WHO experts were released from their 14-day quarantine on Thursday and have begun their investigations into the virus origins. The team visited the cold storage area of the market Sunday, and talked with market management about how to treat and test imported food, said Nguyen-Viet.

"In the afternoon we will visit Huanan Seafood Market," he told CNN. "I hope we will talk with market management officials and ask questions about (the outbreak's) history. We are keenly interested to go there as this is likely where the first linked cases emerged. We know there were more varieties of food there."

The investigation comes a year after the Chinese city of Wuhan went into lockdown from the pandemic -- but some experts have expressed skepticism over just how much the team will be able to uncover.

An earlier report, published in February 2020 by a WHO team in China, found that "key knowledge gaps remain" about the virus. The report endorsed previous findings that the virus appeared to have originated in animals, with the likely first outbreak at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.

11:31 p.m. ET, January 30, 2021

Germany is already ordering Covid-19 vaccines for 2022

From CNN's AJ Davis in Atlanta

Germany is already ordering coronavirus vaccines for 2022, said German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Saturday.

“We’ll order vaccines as a precaution. If we don’t need them, good, but if we do need them then they will be available,” Spahn said, speaking at a town hall event.

At the event, Spahn acknowledged that Germany could be doing better in its distributing of the vaccine, but said the country is well on the way to immunizing the population. 

“Around 2.3 million people have been vaccinated, of which 450,000 have received their second dose. Almost 70% of care home residents, 60 to 70%, have been vaccinated," Spahn said. “Good news on a difficult start.”

Spahn also said that under the current response plan, some of Germany's lockdown restrictions could be lifted by summer, though it will depend on what experts say.

11:29 p.m. ET, January 30, 2021

US surpasses 26 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

There have been at least 26,012,880 total cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 438,239 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

From the first case of Covid-19 in the US in January 2020, it took the nation 311 days, until Nov. 27, 2020, to reach 13 million total Covid-19 cases.

The US took just 64 days to reach the second 13 million cases.