February 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, February 3, 2021
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6:49 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Idaho relaxes some Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Gov. Brad Little
Gov. Brad Little Idaho Public Television

Idaho’s governor announced Tuesday that the state is moving into Phase 3 of its pandemic recovery plan, relaxing some of its economic restrictions.

“The gathering size limitation will increase from 10 to 50 people,” Gov. Brad Little said in an address to the state Tuesday.

Bars and restaurants can operate, but only with regular table seating. People interested in holding large events must first get permission from the local health department, unless they are political or religious in nature.

“We have seen a dramatic drop in cases in the state,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn. “People are wearing their masks. People are social distancing. I think people are really trying, and I think it’s paying off.”

Idaho reverted to Phase 2 of its restriction plan in November after new Covid-19 case numbers reached record levels.

6:43 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Oxford-AstraZeneca study supports spacing out doses and estimates good efficacy after one shot

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

Vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine
Vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine showed 66.7% efficacy against symptomatic disease starting two weeks after the second shot, according to a preprint posted Tuesday by researchers at the University of Oxford.

The new analysis adds new trial sites and a month of new data to the mix, building upon earlier results announced by AstraZeneca that its vaccine had showed an estimated 70.4% efficacy.

However, the latest analysis also suggests the vaccine may offer substantial protection after a single shot. 

The study estimates 76% efficacy up to three months following one dose. This is based on a subset of 88 symptomatic infections, split unevenly between the vaccine and placebo groups between 22 and 90 days after vaccination. The study also found relatively stable levels of antibodies during this time frame, “with minimal waning by day 90.”

Furthermore, the authors suggest there could be higher efficacy with more spaced-out doses. Among adults 18 to 55, vaccine efficacy appeared to rise when the time between shots was spaced out from less than six weeks to more than 12. However, more information is needed to know how statistically different that finding is.

Taken together, the findings may bolster the UK’s decision to recommend spacing out doses up to 12 weeks apart, according to a statement from the chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, Andrew Pollard.

Some context: AstraZeneca announced last month it had completed enrollment in its Phase 3 trial in the United States, which will serve as “the primary basis” for the company’s eventual application to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The vaccine has already been authorized in a number countries such as the UK and India, but authorization may not come in the US until late March at the earliest, according to Operation Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui.

6:21 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

California sees lowest Covid-19 case count since Thanksgiving

From CNN’s Jessica Myers and Cheri Mossburg

Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly
Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly CA Department of Public Health

California on Tuesday added slightly more than 12,000 new Covid-19 cases, the lowest daily case count in a state roiled by a dramatic holiday surge since Thanksgiving, according to data from the state health department. 

“We haven’t seen a number quite like this in some time,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said in a news conference. Just two weeks ago, the state reported an average daily count of about 40,000 new cases.

But while state health officials are seeing signs of optimism after the darkest months yet of the pandemic, they are renewing calls to avoid gatherings ahead of the Super Bowl and Lunar New Year, cautioning it could lead to another deadly surge of the virus that has claimed the lives of more than 41,000 Californians.

Looking ahead: Hospitalizations are projected to drop by more than half over the course of the next month, Ghaly said. In the past two weeks, there has been a 29% decrease in hospitalizations with more than 14,000 patients receiving treatment. About 3,800 of those people are in intensive care units. 

Those projections have led to the regional stay-at-home orders being dropped statewide. ICU capacity projections were a driving force in those restrictions, and now the entire state is expected to be well above the 15% threshold set by the state. In stark new projections, Southern California, which has been the state’s hardest hit region, is expected to have the most ICU capacity in the state by this time next month.

But more than 1,000 instances of Covid-19 variants have been detected in California to date – two different versions of the West Coast variants along with the UK variant.  

“Variants create another wildcard,” Ghaly said, adding that the new strains are cause of genuine concern that are being closely watched as the state continues to actively sequence mutations and build up capacity to do more.

“If you give Covid an inch, it will take a mile,” he cautioned.
5:19 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Pediatricians say they should help give Covid-19 vaccines

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is advocating for pediatricians to help give Covid-19 vaccines in the US.

In guidance released Tuesday, AAP said that pediatricians are experienced in safely vaccinating large numbers of children, teens and young adults and could play an important role in the expanded distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. 

“The AAP recognizes and supports the administration of vaccines to parents and other adults within the pediatric office and advocates for the inclusion of willing pediatric offices as vaccination sites for the general public,” AAP said in a statement. “Appropriate resources should be provided to those offices that assist in this process.”
5:09 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

100,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19 so far this year

From CNN’s Amanda Watts and Virginia Langmaid

More than 100,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States so far in 2021, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the US has reported a total of 100,317 deaths from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins. In total, since the pandemic began, the US has reported at least 446,272 total deaths. 

Johns Hopkins recorded the first US death from Covid-19 on Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington state. Later in the spring, two earlier deaths in California were posthumously confirmed to be from Covid-19.

It took the US until May 23, 2020 – 84 days later – to reach the first 100,000 deaths. 

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the United States has tallied the most recent 100,000 deaths in just 32 days.

The US has more deaths than any other country in the world, Johns Hopkins data shows. Brazil has tallied over 200,000 deaths. Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom have all reported over 100,000 deaths. 

4:42 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

You will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine at two major pharmacies in some states starting next week

From CNN’s Samira Said

A man waits for pharmacist Joe Borge at a Walgreens in Danvers, Massachusetts, on Monday. CVS and Walgreens have been providing vaccinations in some states using those states' supplies. Soon they will get sent vaccines directly from the federal government.
A man waits for pharmacist Joe Borge at a Walgreens in Danvers, Massachusetts, on Monday. CVS and Walgreens have been providing vaccinations in some states using those states' supplies. Soon they will get sent vaccines directly from the federal government. Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

CVS and Walgreens will begin vaccinations as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program starting next week, the pharmacy chains announced on Tuesday.  

CVS said the federal government will provide around 250,000 doses directly to the pharmacy chain and it will administer those doses in 11 states starting on Feb. 11.  

Walgreens said it will get around 170,000 doses, which it will administer in 15 jurisdictions starting on Feb. 12.

Here's where they will be available:

  • CVS: The 11 states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York (not including New York City), Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
  • Walgreens: The 15 jurisdictions are Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Eligibility requirements in each jurisdiction still apply for both pharmacies.

While CVS and Walgreens have been providing vaccinations in some states using supply from those states, this will be the first time the vaccine will be sent directly from the federal government.

While CVS has been providing vaccinations in some states using supply from those states, this will be the first time CVS will be sent the vaccine directly from the federal government.  

The Biden administration announced Tuesday it will begin direct shipments of coronavirus vaccines to retail pharmacies starting on Feb. 11, to about 6,500 stores that will receive a total of one million doses before eventually expanding.

4:31 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

French president says anyone who wants a vaccine will have it by end of summer 2021

From CNN’s Pierre Bairin

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a video-conference meeting in Paris on Tuesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron holds a video-conference meeting in Paris on Tuesday. Ian Langsdon/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Tuesday that all French people who want the vaccine will have it by the end of summer 2021.

“That is exactly the same pace, the same method, as our German neighbors and our other European neighbors," Macron said in a live interview with French TV channel TF1 on Tuesday. 

He added that all those in nursing homes who want a vaccine will be vaccinated by early March of this year – amounting to about 500,000 people.

Macron also announced that France would begin producing vaccines in country at four converted sites starting next month, following a meeting with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry on Tuesday.

He didn’t specify which vaccines would be produced at the new sites, but he cited as an example the impending conversion by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi of one of its facilities in Germany to produce the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in coming months.

“Our limitation today is in our capacity to produce more vaccines on a large-scale, first for ourselves, but also for the poorest countries. Because if we don't also vaccinate in these countries, the virus will mutate, it will unfairly hit the poorest, and then the virus will come back to our countries," he said.

But Macron did not rule out a third lockdown, saying, “Today, the virus is circulating at a great speed. We are on what is called a plateau, we have had between 20,000 and 25,000 new cases per day for several weeks. Every day, we look very closely at the contamination figures, hospitalization and ICU figures, I will try to take the most appropriate decisions at each stage to hold together all these objectives for our country.”

4:33 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

More people in the US have received one dose of vaccine than have been infected with Covid-19, CDC says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The number of people who have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the United States is now more than the number of Covid-19 cases in the US over the course of the entire pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Tuesday, the CDC reported 26,440,836 people have received one or more doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Johns Hopkins has reported 26,384,829 cumulative Covid-19 cases in the US as of now.

According to the CDC, 6,064,792 people have received both doses of a vaccine and are fully vaccinated. This is about 1.84% of the United States.

However, Covid-19 infections across the nation are estimated to be much higher than the actual number of cases reported, the CDC says. In mid-January CDC estimated the US has actually seen 83.1 million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Remember: This is an ongoing tally. Today’s final numbers will not be available until overnight tonight. 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.

4:18 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021

WHO reports 13% decline in new global coronavirus cases from last week

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The number of newly reported global coronavirus cases declined by 13% in the week leading up to Jan. 31, the World Health Organization reported in an update Tuesday.

WHO says 3.7 million new cases and 96,000 deaths were reported in the week leading up to Jan. 31 – the third consecutive week of declining cases.

That brings the total to more than 102.1 million reported cases and 2.2 million deaths around the world since the pandemic began. When WHO declared Covid-19 an international public health emergency one year ago, the global count was 9,826 cases in 20 countries and 213 deaths, all in China.

The US is currently reporting the highest number of new cases, by far, followed by Brazil, the UK and Northern Ireland, France, and Russia.

WHO also included an update on Covid-19 variants in the report, noting that the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK has now been identified in 80 countries, the B.1.351 variant first spotted in South Africa has been identified in 41, and the P.1 variant that spread in Brazil has been identified in 10.