February 1 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, February 2, 2021
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10:58 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Moderna proposes increasing number of doses per vial to boost Covid-19 vaccine supplies

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

Biotechnology company Moderna is proposing to increase the number of doses per vial of its coronavirus vaccine by up to 50% to address a bottleneck in manufacturing. 

Moderna president Dr. Stephen Hoge announced that the firm seeks to fill each vial with up to 15 doses instead of the current 10, according to a statement provided to CNN on Monday.

But this would only be implemented after “further discussions with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to assure the agency’s comfort," Hoge said.

The move was first reported by CNBC. CNN has also reached out to the FDA for comment.

According to Hoge, it’s not just the amount of vaccine available that might put a ceiling on production -- it’s also the number of vials that can be filled in a certain amount of time.

This comes as the company has been expanding its manufacturing capacity to nearly 1 million doses per day, according to the statement. 

9:56 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

This woman got a Covid-19 vaccine shot on her 100th birthday

From CNN's Theresa Waldrop and Natalia Osipova

On her 100th birthday, Mildred Grassman got flowers, candy, money -- and her second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"It means everything to me," Grassman said just after getting the last shot at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville in Indiana. "At my age, I didn't want to get the disease."

It also means that eventually, Grassman will be able to get back to what she loves -- playing cards and bingo and being with her friends -- once most people are vaccinated.

"She's very social," her daughter, Mary Carl, said of Grassman. "She's never met a stranger," she said, so the pandemic has been rough for Grassman, who has her own home at an independent living facility for seniors in Evansville.

When Grassman arrived at the clinic Monday morning, sporting a T-shirt with a Rosie the Riveter-like image and a face mask that read "Fabulous since 1921," she was greeted with the "Happy Birthday" song over the sound system, and everyone wearing party hats.

Even without the party, Grassman said she was looking forward to getting that last shot.

"I thought it was a good birthday present," she said.

Read more:

9:01 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Democrats say a bipartisan plan is not their priority when it comes to Covid-19 relief package 

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Democrats on Capitol Hill are willing to allow President Joe Biden the opportunity to attempt to garner Republican support for his broad Covid-19 relief package -- but they aren't willing to wait long, or to shrink the size of the package as GOP leaders are suggesting.  

“Republicans want to climb out of a 13-foot hole with a 6-foot ladder,” said one senior aide to a Democratic senator. “We don’t have time to wait for them to get serious about the problem.”

The universal urgency felt by congressional Democrats was demonstrated by the decision to immediately introduce budget resolutions that begin the process of passing the relief package through reconciliation.

That process could take up to a month, which would give Republicans the chance to come to the table -- but also leaves open the option to get the job done without them. For Democrats, the timeline is the priority, not getting Republicans to support the plan. 

“My constituents don't call me on the phone and say, ‘I need bipartisanship’. They call me on the phone and they say ‘where can I get a vaccine?’,” said Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida.
8:55 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

North Carolina administers more than 1 million vaccine doses

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Giovanna VanLeeuwen

Martha Wilson, of Chapel Hill, gets a Covid-19 vaccine Thursday, January 28, in Pittsboro, North Carolina, at Piedmont Health Senior Care.
Martha Wilson, of Chapel Hill, gets a Covid-19 vaccine Thursday, January 28, in Pittsboro, North Carolina, at Piedmont Health Senior Care. Gerry Broome/AP

North Carolina has surpassed 1 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services. 

“I am so grateful to our vaccine partners across the state who continue working in innovative ways to make sure North Carolinians have a spot to take their shot. It is incumbent on all of us to use the limited supply of vaccine we have as quickly and equitably as possible, finding new ways to meet people where they are,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, in a news release.

So far, the state has administered 1,061,308 doses. North Carolina is currently vaccinating healthcare workers, long-term care staff and residents, and anyone aged 65 or older, regardless of health status or living condition.

Since the start of the pandemic, the state has reported 761,302 Covid-19 cases and 9,342 deaths, according to local authorities.

6:55 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

If you've been infected with Covid-19, there's a "very high rate of reinfection" with new variant, Fauci says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on February 1.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on February 1. CNN via Webex Cisco

Even if you've had coronavirus,  there's a "very high rate" of being reinfected with the new variants if they become dominant, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. 

"If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection, at least with the South African variant that's the one that we know the most about when it comes to reinfection," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday. 

Fauci emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent severe and potentially fatal illness that may require hospitalization.

"We need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can, and when vaccine becomes available to individuals please take the vaccine, even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there's enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and deaths. So, vaccination is critical," Fauci said. 

Read more about the new Covid-19 variants here.

Watch more:

5:49 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

National Hockey League postpones next 3 New Jersey Devils games

From CNN's David Close

A general view of the arena is seen at the Prudential Center on January 24 in Newark, New Jersey.
A general view of the arena is seen at the Prudential Center on January 24 in Newark, New Jersey. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The National Hockey League (NHL) has postponed the next three New Jersey Devils games after four additional players were added to the Covid-19 Protocol Absence list.

The Devils now have 10 players on the list – Mackenzie Blackwood, Connor Carrick, Aaron Dell, Andreas Johnsson, Janne Kuokkanen, Michael McLeod, Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen, Pavel Zacha, and Travis Zajac.

The team says its training facilities have been closed indefinitely to all players on the active roster. 

There have been 14 NHL games postponed this season due to Covid-19 related issues. 

The statement from the league reads as follows:

The National Hockey League announced today that as a result of four additional New Jersey Devils Players being added today to the NHL’s COVID Protocol Related Absence List, the team’s games will be postponed at least through Saturday, Feb. 6.
As an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed to all Players on the Club’s active roster, effective immediately, and will remain so until further notice. The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Devils’ regular season schedule. 
The Devils organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.
5:45 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Biden administration says it will not conduct immigration enforcement near Covid-19 vaccine sites

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Medical workers prepare the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Mecca, California, on January 21.
Medical workers prepare the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Mecca, California, on January 21. Jae C. Hong/AP

The Biden administration is encouraging all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to get the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that federal immigration agencies will not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics,” according to a Homeland Security statement. 

The statement is a significant departure from the department’s tone under the Trump administration, which sought to clamp down on illegal immigration. 

“DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the department said in a statement.  

US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – two immigration enforcement agencies under DHS – usually refrain from enforcement actions when faced with extraordinary circumstances, like a hurricane, and at sensitive locations, like hospitals.  

On Monday, the department said CBP and ICE will also not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.” 

5:33 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Animals unlikely to spread Covid-19 to humans, but precautions are important, CDC says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

There’s no evidence animals are playing a significant role in the spread of coronavirus to people, but precautions are important, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Monday.

“Based on limited information available to date, the risk of animals, including pets, spreading Covid-19 to people is considered to be low,” CDC official Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh said during a briefing Monday.

Evidence suggests that Covid-19 likely originated in animals before becoming widespread among humans.

“As of the middle of January, we're aware of 187 animals from 22 countries with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,” she added, noting those numbers do not include mink on mink farms. Behravesh said that companion animals, especially cats and dogs, are the leading group of animal species impacted by coronavirus.

While animal to human transmission risk is low, people can spread coronavirus to their pets, Behravesh said. Those who may have Covid-19 can protect their pets from transmission the same way they would with other humans. 

She said infected people should avoid contact with pets and wear a mask when contact can’t be avoided. 

People who suspect their pets may have coronavirus should consult with a veterinarian, Behravesh added. She noted that among 93 cases of Covid-19 in cat and dogs in the US, 53% showed no symptoms. The most common symptoms reported in animals have been respiratory sings, like coughing or sneezing. Other symptoms reported include fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.

Pets who have tested positive for coronavirus should be isolated away from humans and other animals, she said.

There’s no evidence that pets are carrying or spreading coronavirus on their skin or hair, and it’s important not to wipe or bathe pets with chemical disinfectants, Behravesh said.

“Pet poison controls have actually had an increase in calls due to these types of exposures among pets,” she said. 

The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 in animals, Behravesh noted.

5:03 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Michigan has administered over one million Covid-19 vaccines, governor says

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Beaumont Health Care workers receive their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at their service center in Southfield, Michigan, on December 15, 2020.
Beaumont Health Care workers receive their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at their service center in Southfield, Michigan, on December 15, 2020. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Michigan has administered over one million Covid-19 vaccines, according to a release from the governor’s office. 

“Reaching this milestone is good news for our families, frontline workers, and small business owners, but there is more work to do,” Whitmer said. “My administration is working closely with the federal government to help us get the supply we need to reach our goal and return to the normalcy we all crave. I ask for patience from Michiganders as our frontline workers work around the clock to administer vaccines.”

Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of Michigan's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, added that members of the Michigan National Guard continue working hard to administer vaccines across the state.

“One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it becomes available to you,” Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. “The state and our partners in health care and business will continue working day and night to reach our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day.”