February 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, February 3, 2021
39 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
2:33 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

US National Park Service implements mask requirements at parks

From CNN's Liz Stark

National Park Service rangers wear face masks as they interact with visitors at the reopening of the Washington Monument in October 2020.
National Park Service rangers wear face masks as they interact with visitors at the reopening of the Washington Monument in October 2020. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The National Park Service has begun implementing a mask requirement for all employees and visitors to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, the Department of Interior announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

The requirements require mask-wearing in NPS buildings and on park lands when visitors can’t maintain physical distance, ”including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes,” it said in a press release.

“To protect the health of those who live, work and visit our national parks and facilities, and in support of the President’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, the National Park Service (NPS) today implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners and contractors,” the press release reads.

This announcement comes after President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office requiring masks on federal property. 

2:22 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Canada will produce its own vaccines by the end of 2021

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Tuesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Tuesday. CTV

Canada says it has signed a tentative agreement with US vaccine firm Novavax to produce millions of doses of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate at a facility in Montreal.

The agreement, announced Tuesday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is the first of several being developed as Canada says it intends to repatriate vaccine production for decades to come.

“What we’re very clear on is Canada will be developing domestic manufacturing so regardless of what could happen in the future we will have domestic production on top of all our partnerships and contracts signed with companies around the world,” Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday.

He added that it was important for Canada to be "self-sufficient" in vaccine production.

Novavax is still doing clinical trials of its vaccine but submitted more data to Health Canada for review Friday. Canada has an agreement to buy 52 million doses from Novavax when and if its vaccine candidate receives Canadian approval.

Approval is not expected for weeks and any domestic production of vaccines won’t happen until fall, at the earliest.

That still leaves Canada with a significant shortage of vaccines in the short term. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are the only vaccines approved for use in the country so far.

Both of those vaccine suppliers have significantly slowed deliveries to Canada after a combination of manufacturing delays and demands from Europe, where Canada procures its doses, to restrict vaccine exports subject to EU approval.

Canada did not attempt to procure any vaccine doses from the US after the Trump administration indicated it would not allow any vaccines to be exported.

According to public health data from the provinces and the federal government, just over 2% of Canada’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Provinces in Canada, who are responsible for vaccine distribution, are growing frustrated as mass vaccination sites are ready, but in many cases sit empty awaiting vaccine doses.

“They have the capacity of several thousand each per day and the possibility to ramp up past that so all of us are a little disappointed, a little frustrated, and chomping at the bit to do more and get the vaccines to us,” said retired Gen. Rick Hillier, now leading Ontario’s vaccine task force.

He added that he has lost confidence in the Pfizer supply chain as doses that were promised to Canada were not delivered.

2:08 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

French health authority recommends AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for people under 65 

From CNN's Pierre Bairin

The French National Authority for Health on Tuesday recommended that France approve AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine. However, the agency recommended restricting its used for people under 65. 

“The data currently available in people aged 65 and over are limited by a small sample size and do not allow conclusions to be drawn on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in this population," the French health authority wrote in their recommendation summary. 

For people 65 and older, the drug regulator recommended giving a different type of Covid-19 vaccine, called a messenger RNA vaccine. This is the type of vaccine made by Pfizer and Moderna.

For people under 65, the AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses. The French health authority recommended the second dose be given nine to 12 weeks after the first dose.

A spokesperson for the health authority said the French government will be making the final decision on who gets the vaccine and the exact guidelines for its distribution.

1:06 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Extra vaccines for pharmacies will come from increased production, White House says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced the federal government would deliver an extra 10.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks – a 20% increase – plus an additional one million doses directly pharmacies.

Asked by CNN's Kaitlan Collins where the vaccines for pharmacies would come from, Zients said they would come from increased production by Moderna and Pfizer.

"The additional 1 million, on top of the 10.5, is consistent with Moderna and Pfizer scaling their operations," Zients said during a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

"We're doing all we can to monitor and help the manufacturers produce as much vaccine as possible," Zients said. "To the increase of over 20% – that's happened since the beginning of the administration. That's going directly to states, territories and tribes, plus this million to pharmacies, directly. It's all a result of the manufacturing scaling up, and we hope that we can do all we can, and we will do all we can, to continue that scale up and make more vaccines available."
12:53 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Biden administration will ship vaccines directly to pharmacies to speed rollout

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein

White House Covid response coordinator Jeffrey Zients speaks during a briefing on February 2.
White House Covid response coordinator Jeffrey Zients speaks during a briefing on February 2. The White House

The Biden administration announced it will soon begin direct shipments of coronavirus vaccines to retail pharmacies, expanding points of access for Americans to receive shots.

The effort is part of the administration’s attempt to speed up vaccinations by making them available in more locations.

White House Covid response coordinator Jeffrey Zients announced the administration's plan for direct distribution to pharmacies at a briefing Tuesday.

“Millions of Americans turn to their local pharmacies every day for their medicines, flu shots, and much more. And pharmacies are readily accessible in most communities, with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy. That’s why we’re pleased to announce our first phase of the federal retail pharmacy program for Covid-19 vaccinations,” Zients said.

He said that next week, 1 million doses will be allocated to 6,500 pharmacies. These shipments, Zients added, are in addition to the more than 10 million doses that are already set to be shipped to states, tribes, and territories around the US. "That's the first phase of the pharmacy program. We'll phase up ... as supply increases," he said.

The official said that as they're able to increase supply "up to 40,000 pharmacies nationwide could provide Covid-19 vaccinations." 

"These range from local independent pharmacies to national pharmacies and supermarkets. This is a critical step to provide the public with convenient, trusted places to get vaccinated in their communities," Zients said.
12:59 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

NYC prioritizing vaccinations for people whose appointments were canceled due to storm, health official says

From CNN's Laura Ly

A street is covered by snow in midtown during a winter storm on February 1 in New York City.
A street is covered by snow in midtown during a winter storm on February 1 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Tuesday press conference that about 823,760 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in New York City so far, but reiterated that the city’s capacity to administer vaccines far outstrips the current supply of vaccines it is receiving from the federal government.

“We need a truly national effort to radically increase vaccine supply in this country,” de Blasio said.

Due to severe winter weather, vaccine sites across the city were closed Monday and Tuesday, but most sites are expected to reopen on Wednesday, de Blasio said. 

New Yorkers who had their vaccine appointments canceled due to weather will be contacted individually for rescheduling, Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of the NYC Health + Hospitals system, said Tuesday. Katz said the city is committed to not making any new appointments for vaccinations until all of the people who had their original appointments cancelled are taken care of.

With the reopening of indoor dining at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, de Blasio also advocated for restaurant workers to be added to the state’s “Phase 1B” priority list for people eligible for vaccines – an idea that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down on Monday.

“Restaurant workers are going to be in enclosed places with people eating and drinking,” de Blasio said. “We have to protect the people working in our restaurants.”

Currently, New York state’s “Phase 1B” eligibility list includes people aged 65 and older, public-facing grocery store workers, first-responders, correctional facilities, education workers, public transit workers and people living and working in homeless shelters.

12:57 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

White House says states will be "fully repaid" for PPE and National Guard response to Covid-19

Washington National Guard personnel prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to patients at Town Toyota Center on January 26 in Wenatchee, Washington.
Washington National Guard personnel prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to patients at Town Toyota Center on January 26 in Wenatchee, Washington. David Ryder/Getty Images

President Biden's Covid czar Jeff Zients said states will be "fully repaid" for supplies they bought early in the pandemic to fight the spread of Covid-19.

"We will fully reimburse states for the eligible services they provided back to the beginning of the pandemic in January of 2020," he said.

He added that states will be "fully repaid" for "masks, gloves and the mobilization of the National Guard."

12:06 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

New York City has identified 13 cases of UK Covid-19 variant, health official says

New York City has identified 13 cases of the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant, also known as the UK variant, according to Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner.

No cases of other variants have yet been found in New York City, but Chokshi said Tuesday that city authorities are “monitoring the situation very closely and are carefully learning from public health colleagues around the world.”

On Tuesday, the city reported an 8.20% positivity rate, with 4,585 new cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

At least 206 new Covid-19 patients were admitted to the city’s hospitals, but de Blasio said hospitalizations were overall trending downward.

Note: These numbers were released by New York City authorities and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

12:16 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Pfizer says it expects to deliver 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to the US by end of May

From CNN's Amanda Sealy

Dr. Yomaris Pena extracts the last bit of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine out of a vial at a vaccination site in New York on January 15.
Dr. Yomaris Pena extracts the last bit of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine out of a vial at a vaccination site in New York on January 15. Mary Altaffer/AP

Pfizer said it expects to deliver 200 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the United States by the end of May, according to slides published for its fourth-quarter 2020 earnings teleconference on Tuesday. 

The company was originally slated to deliver the 200 million doses by July 31, but Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said last week he expected the company’s production to be ahead of schedule by two months.  

“In the US, we had promised to provide 100 million doses by the end of the first quarter and we will be able to provide 120 right now,” Bourla said last week. “The same is with second quarter. We were planning to provide them all the way to 200 million doses by the end of the second quarter, actually beginning of the third. Right now, we will be able to provide the 200 million doses two months earlier.” 

The Biden administration has also announced it will be purchasing an additional 100 million doses from the company. 

As of Jan. 31, Pfizer says it has supplied 20 million doses to the US.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 17,364,398 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered.