January 31 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh and Eoin McSweeney, CNN

Updated 0456 GMT (1256 HKT) February 1, 2021
28 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:28 p.m. ET, January 31, 2021

Nearly 19,000 new Covid-19 cases reported Sunday in California

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Nearly 19,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported by the California Department of Public Health in a news release issued Sunday. 

There were a total of 18,974 newly recorded confirmed cases Saturday, the release said, for a total of 3,243,348 cases in total statewide.

There were also 481 Covid-19 deaths reported, for a total of 40,697 deaths in California since the pandemic began.

2:26 p.m. ET, January 31, 2021

CDC: More than 31 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A pharmacist administers a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Boston on January 29.
A pharmacist administers a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Boston on January 29. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg/Getty Images

More than 31 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Sunday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 31,123,299 total doses have been administered, about 62.3% of the 49,933,250 doses distributed.

That’s about 1.5 million more administered doses reported since yesterday.

Just over 25 million people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 5.6 million people have been fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

To note: States have 72 hours to report vaccine data, so data published by the CDC may be delayed – and may not necessarily mean all doses were given on the day reported. 

 

2:20 p.m. ET, January 31, 2021

TSA workers authorized to enforce Biden’s mask mandate

From Pete Muntean

Transportation Security Administration workers check travelers' luggage at Denver International Airport in Colorado on November 20, 2020.
Transportation Security Administration workers check travelers' luggage at Denver International Airport in Colorado on November 20, 2020. Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security said Sunday that Transportation Security Administration workers now have the authority to enforce President Biden’s transportation mask mandate “at TSA screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation system.”

Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske signed a Determination of National Emergency on Sunday. Pekoske said the TSA can “take actions consistent with the authorities” of its federal jurisdiction so it can enforce the mask mandate order laid out by the Centers for Disease Control on Friday. 

“This includes supporting the CDC in the enforcement of any orders or other requirements necessary to protect the transportation system, including passengers and employees, from Covid-19 and to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 through the transportation system, to the extent appropriate and consistent with applicable law,” Pekoske wrote.

On Friday: The CDC issued an order that will require people to wear a mask while using any form of public transportation including on-board planes, trains, buses, boats, subways, taxis, and ride-shares as well as inside airports and other transportation hubs. It goes into effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m.

CNN has reached out to TSA to learn more details about how it will enforce the order.

 

2:32 p.m. ET, January 31, 2021

Moderate Senate Democrats talked yesterday about path forward on Covid-19 relief

From CNN's Lauren Fox

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 22.
The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 22. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A group of eight Senate Democrats talked on Saturday about how to handle Covid-19 relief negotiations with Republicans and how they should vote on a budget resolution this week that will unlock reconciliation and allow Democrats to eventually pass a Covid-relief bill with just 51 votes, a Democratic Senate aide told CNN.

The Democrats – who included the eight members who are in the so-called "sweet 16" – discussed whether voting on a budget resolution would spoil their ability to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion on a Covid relief bill. The budget vote is just the beginning of the process, but the source told CNN there is still concern that moving ahead will send a signal that Democrats are going ahead with a partisan process and potentially poisoning the well. 

The source said that most members on the call were comfortable with moving forward on at least the budget resolution, but there is still work to do to get every Democrat comfortable. There is a legitimate desire to give the new President a win on his first legislative push, but concerns about not giving bipartisan talks enough time to fully develop. 

The members also discussed how to handle the GOP Covid-19 relief plan expected to be unveiled on Monday. Moderate Democrats were given a heads up that Republicans were going to release their own plan, but were not given specifics of what was included. Ultimately, it will be up to President Biden as to whether he wants to give Republicans more time for negotiations.

What happens next: The expectation is that a procedural vote on the budget resolution could come as soon as Tuesday, but obviously that could change given GOP is asking Biden for more time to talk.

2:39 p.m. ET, January 31, 2021

UK first vaccination number inches towards 9 million

From CNN's Richard Greene

A pharmacist prepares a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine before doses are administered in Thornton-Cleveleys, England, on January 29.
A pharmacist prepares a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine before doses are administered in Thornton-Cleveleys, England, on January 29. Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 9 million people in the United Kingdom have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine, and nearly half a million have had both doses, government data showed Sunday.

Some 8,977,329 people had gotten the first dose as of Saturday, according to the data, and 491,053 had both doses.

With the population of the UK around 66.7 million, that means about 13% of residents have had a first dose and about 0.7% have had both.

The country recorded 587 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 106,158. 

10:22 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

The safest way to watch the Super Bowl is at home with people you live with, new CDC guidance says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

The safest way to watch the Super Bowl is at home with people you live with, according to guidance updated Thursday from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“Attending large gathers including the Super Bowl increases your risk of getting and spreading Covid-19,” the guidance said. “The safest way to watch the Super Bowl this year is at home with people you live with.”

The CDC offered recommendations for people who chose to attend the game or a large Super Bowl event, like a watch party.

The recommendations advise people not to chant or cheer, and instead stomp, clap or use hand-held noisemakers.

The recommendations also include calling the venue to ensure that they have steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus, following venue signage to allow for social distancing, arriving early to avoid crowds and congested areas, avoiding the use of public areas like restroom facilities or concession areas at high traffic times, wearing a mask at all time, using touchless payment methods when possible, limiting alcohol consumption and minimizing the time spent in restaurant, bar or concession areas.

11:31 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

Sen. Bernie Sanders says Democrats have the votes for reconciliation

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Sen. Bernie Sanders attends a confirmation hearing on January 27 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Bernie Sanders attends a confirmation hearing on January 27 in Washington, DC. Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images

Incoming Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders said in an interview Sunday morning that he believes there are enough Democratic votes for reconciliation if they chose to go that route to pass the coronavirus relief bill. 

 I believe that we do,” Sanders said when asked on ABC whether he thought there are enough Democrat votes.

“All of us will have differences of opinions, this is a $1.9 trillion bill, I have differences and concerns about this bill, but at the end of the day we are going to support the President of the United States,” Sanders added.

When asked about Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who said this weekend that they are going to look for a bipartisan way to address the relief bill, he said he is still “absolutely confident” that there are enough votes for the reconciliation process. 

Some context: Democrats have been criticized for ignoring bipartisanship so early on in the new Presidential administration. Sanders addressed this issue and said there are opportunities for bipartisanship in the future, including on infrastructure, but that the coronavirus crisis is too pressing.

“We are going to look forward to working with Republicans, but right now this country faces an unprecedented set of crises,” Sanders said.

He did not rule out working with Republicans, but said that he has not heard better ideas from them so far.

“If Republicans want to work with us, they have better ideas on how to address those crises? That’s great. but to be honest with you I have not yet heard that,” the chairman stated.

 

11:37 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

White House economic official says the administration is open to negotiating targeted Covid-19 relief checks

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Brian Deese, President Joe Biden's top economic official, on January 31.
Brian Deese, President Joe Biden's top economic official, on January 31. CNN

President Biden's top economic official, Brian Deese, told CNN that the White House is open to negotiating targeted direct payment checks to benefit Americans who would actually spend them.

It's been a point of contention for some moderate republicans and conservative democrats who criticized the proposed $1,400 direct payments portion of the administration's Coivd-19 relief bill for being too broad.

Today, 10 GOP senators released a counterproposal to Biden's $1.9 trillion dollar bill that would provide a new round of direct payments for "families who need assistance the most" and extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits at the current level.

When asked if he was willing to make the checks more targeted, Deese said, "we're open to that idea, we're open to ideas are across the board."

"What I want to reinforce is that if we're going to look at ways of targeting we need to look at how this plan is targeted overall," the director of the National Economic Council added.

Deese confirmed that the White House has received the Senate Republican counterproposal to the administration's Covid-19 relief bill, and will review it but would not specifically say that the White House is willing to come down from the price tag. 

Watch:

11:33 a.m. ET, January 31, 2021

10 GOP senators offer counterproposal for Covid-19 relief plan and request meeting with Biden

From CNN's Dana Bash, Devan Cole and Daniella Diaz

Getty Images/AP
Getty Images/AP

A group of 10 Republican senators on Sunday called on President Biden to throw his support behind their own Covid-19 relief package framework, asking the President to work with them on drafting the legislation.

In a letter sent to Biden, the lawmakers -- including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio -- told Biden they "welcome the opportunity to work with (him) in a bipartisan manner to combat the Covid-19 virus and provide continued support to families struggling during the pandemic."

"In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a Covid-19 relief framework that builds on prior Covid assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support," they wrote.

The senators said their framework includes a total of $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and treatment and supplies, including the production and deployment of personal protective equipment.

The framework also includes $4 billion to bolster behavioral health and substance abuse. It would also include a new round of direct payments for "families who need assistance the most" and extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits at the current level.

Brian Deese, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, confirmed on CNN later Sunday that the White House had received the letter.

"We've received the letter and we certainly will be reviewing it over the course of the day," Deese said. "What I will say is that the provisions of the President's plan, the American Rescue plan, were calibrated to the economic crisis that we face."