February 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, February 3, 2021
3 Posts
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9:43 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

More than 1 in 5 US Covid-19 deaths were reported in January

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Employees prepare to move a body into a refrigerated semi-truck at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner on January 14, in Tucson, Arizona.
Employees prepare to move a body into a refrigerated semi-truck at the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner on January 14, in Tucson, Arizona. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

More than 443,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began about a year ago. About 22% of those deaths -- more than 95,000 -- were reported in January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

December was the second deadliest month with more than 77,000 reported deaths, followed by April with nearly 61,000 reported deaths. 

More than half of all Covid-19 deaths were reported in those three months: January 2021, December 2020 and April 2020. 

The seven-day average of new cases has dropped nearly every day since reaching a peak on Jan. 8, but reported deaths remain high. In January, there were more than 3,000 deaths reported each day, on average. 

9:54 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Animals unlikely to spread Covid-19 to humans, but precautions can help keep us safe, says CDC

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

There's no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of coronavirus to humans, but precautions can help keep people and their pets safe, US 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," Behravesh said, noting those numbers do not include mink on mink farms. She added that no animal deaths have yet been linked to the virus.

The CDC is closely tracking research on coronavirus infections in animals and has categorized some animals based off their risk of infection. Animals that are highly susceptible to the virus include cats, hamsters, non-human primates, rabbits, mink and deer, Behravesh said.

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7:43 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Some people are finding ways around pandemic protocols to get their Covid-19 shots early

From CNN's Scottie Andrew and Alisha Ebrahimji

If she'd waited to get vaccinated until it was her "tier's" turn, Isabela Medina wouldn't have gotten the Covid-19 vaccine until late summer.

She wasn't willing to wait.

Medina, a healthy 25-year-old, moved across the country to live with her parents on the East Coast after her work in the film industry dried up. Anxious to return to work safely, Medina decided in mid-January to go "vaccine dumpster diving."

Though a dumpster, this was not. Rather than dig through a hospital's garbage for vials, Medina staked out a grocery store pharmacy. She wanted to score a leftover vaccine.

She and a friend arrived in the early afternoon, prepared to wait. A line formed behind them. Hours later, when the day's appointments were done, pharmacy staff offered up eight leftover vaccines. Medina and her friend gleefully claimed two of them.

"I felt good about it -- and better that it didn't go to waste," she told CNN.

Medina is what has been described by many on the internet as a "vaccine hunter," or someone who stalks a pharmacy or vaccination site for leftovers.

These vaccine seekers, spurred by reports of doses being dumped and feeling antsy for the country's vaccine rollout to pick up the pace, say they want to prevent waste -- by getting their shot early.

They see it as a win-win: They get vaccinated and a precious dose of the Covid-19 vaccine doesn't end up in the trash. But their gain is also a symptom of a lack of coordination in the US vaccination plan -- the initial rollout was much slower than expected, delaying President Joe Biden's plan for "100 million vaccinations in 100 days."

The lucky -- and privileged -- few who get vaccinated early assure what they're doing isn't wrong, although it certainly feels unfair to those who don't have the time or resources to "hunt" for their own.

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