February 7 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Brad Lendon, Amy Woodyatt, Melissa Mahtani and Michael Hayes, CNN

Updated 0155 GMT (0955 HKT) February 8, 2021
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1:28 a.m. ET, February 7, 2021

US reports more than 102,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Alta Spells in Atlanta

The United States reported 102,420 new Covid-19 infections and 2,618 additional virus-related fatalities on Saturday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

That raises the national tally to at least 26,916,192 coronavirus cases and 462,173 deaths.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

Vaccines: At least 59,304,600 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 39,037,964 shots administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See CNN's live tracker here.

1:18 a.m. ET, February 7, 2021

Disney World cancels Super Bowl Parade due to the pandemic

From CNN's Melissa Alonso and Alaa Elassar

Super Bowl LIII winning quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots celebrates with Mickey Mouse in the Super Bowl victory parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on February 4, 2019.
Super Bowl LIII winning quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots celebrates with Mickey Mouse in the Super Bowl victory parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on February 4, 2019. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

As fans prepare to watch Super Bowl LV on Sunday, Disney has some bad news: There will be no Super Bowl victory parade down the Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the cancellation of the parade, the traditional "I'm going to Disney World" commercial is scheduled to air following the big game, according to post on the Disney Parks Blog on Friday.

"Disney Parks hopes to be able to bring back our other Super Bowl traditions next year, including letting football and Disney fans see and cheer on their favorite player in the park," according to the blog post.

The tradition began in 1987 when New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms appeared in a commercial and said the now-famous phrase -- which he voiced as "I'm going to go to Disney World" -- after winning Super Bowl XXI.

The advertisements show clips of players and fans cheering and running around while the song "When You Wish Upon a Star" plays over the scenes. At the end, a narrator asks a player on the winning team, "What are you going to do next?" The player responds with "I'm going to Disney World!"

Read more:

12:41 a.m. ET, February 7, 2021

Canada extends cruise ship ban to 2022. That's bad news for Alaska tourism, too

From CNN's Forrest Brown

A Disney cruise liner leaves Vancouver Harbour in Canada, on September 14, 2019.
A Disney cruise liner leaves Vancouver Harbour in Canada, on September 14, 2019. Granville Davies/Loop Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

People who have been hoping to cruise the northern waters of North America this summer will have to place their travel dreams in dry dock for now.

Because of the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, Canada has extended its cruise ship ban until February 2022. That affects popular voyage destinations in Canada, including the St. Lawrence River and Maritime Provinces on the Atlantic side to British Columbia along the Pacific Coast.

But the ban extension is also going to hit Alaska and even Seattle, Washington, hard through a combination of geographical proximity and US maritime rules.

What Canada is doing -- and why: On Thursday, Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced the interim orders that ban pleasure craft in its Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.

The government said "passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters. ... Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures."

But the bigger vacation impact will be for folks who enjoy the big cruise ship experience. Cruise ships that ferry more than 100 passengers will still be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.

It's notable that there's no ban on "smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people."

"As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of Covid-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada's transportation system remains safe," Alghabra said in the government's statement. "Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities."

If the pandemic situation "sufficiently improves," Alghabra could rescind orders earlier than February 2022.

Read the full story:

12:01 a.m. ET, February 7, 2021

New York releases updated data on state's Covid-19 nursing home deaths

From CNN's Lauren del Valle and Dakin Andone

The New York State Department of Health has released updated data on Covid-19 deaths among the state's nursing home residents, several days after a state Supreme Court judge ordered the department to fulfill a watchdog group's Freedom of Information request.

The data released Saturday comes over a week after the state attorney general said in a report that the department had undercounted Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents by about 50%.

Data released on the department's website Saturday shows 13,197 confirmed and presumed-positive Covid-19 deaths of nursing home residents across the state from March 1, 2020 to February 5, 2021. Of those deaths, 4,080 occurred after a nursing home resident was transported outside the facility, the data shows.

The data reflect a slight uptick in the previously reported numbers. In a statement released last week in response to the attorney general's report, state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said that, at that time, the health department had recorded a total of 12,743 confirmed and presumed-positive Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents through January 19 -- 3,829 of which occurred outside nursing home facilities.

Read the full story:

8:25 p.m. ET, February 6, 2021

Officials plead against Super Bowl parties

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Officials and public health experts are pleading with people to avoid Super Bowl parties on Sunday, to cut down on chances for the virus to spread.

"Now is not the time for a Super Bowl party," Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday. "Now is not the time to fumble the ball, because you got careless by spending time with a bunch of people that are not in your household."

Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine at Grady Health System, said he worries these parties could send cases surging again.

"If there's a lot of Super Bowl parties and a lot of superspreader events, we will start (to see) cases start to come up again," del Rio said Saturday. "I sure hope that doesn't happen because we really need cases to come down ... so eventually mortality will also come down.

"I want to back down to less than 1,000 deaths per day."

The US has not averaged fewer than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths a day across a week since early November, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The country's current average across a week is 3,250 deaths a day -- not far from the peak average of 3,357 reached January 13, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Case and hospitalization levels, however, have been dropping recently after holiday surges.

The country has averaged more than 125,800 new Covid-19 cases a day over the last week -- down 49.6% since a pandemic-peak average of 249,836 on January 8, Johns Hopkins data shows.

11:10 p.m. ET, February 6, 2021

AstraZeneca says its Covid-19 vaccine shows limited protection against South Africa variant

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine provides limited protection against mild disease in cases caused by the variant first identified in South Africa, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca told CNN Saturday.

The Financial Times first reported Saturday that a study due to for release Monday showed the vaccine does not appear to provide protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the virus variant. CNN has not obtained a copy of the study.

“In this small phase I/II trial, early data has shown limited efficacy against mild disease primarily due to the B.1.351 South African variant,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement. “However, we have not been able to properly ascertain its effect against severe disease and hospitalization given that subjects were predominantly young healthy adults.” 

AstraZeneca said it does believe the vaccine could provide protection against severe disease.

“Oxford University and AstraZeneca have started adapting the vaccine against this variant and will advance rapidly through clinical development so that it is ready for Autumn delivery should it be needed.”

11:10 p.m. ET, February 6, 2021

Variant surges are possible but not inevitable, Fauci says

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Health experts have warned that the spread of new coronavirus variants, some of which appear to be more transmissible, could lead to them becoming predominant and spur more case surges.

But that is "not necessarily an inevitability," Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC's "The Beat" on Friday.

One of the best ways to keep variants from spreading and to prevent more mutations, he said, was "to double down on public health measures to prevent the virus from going from one person to another: the masking, the distancing, the avoiding congregate settings."

Another is for the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible, said Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"As soon as the vaccine becomes available, please go out and get vaccinated, because the combination of vaccination and public health measures will bring the level of virus down so low you won't give it a chance to mutate," Fauci said.

9:40 p.m. ET, February 6, 2021

2 football ex-internationals died from Covid-19 after they both appeared on a TV special

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Iran is mourning the death of two former national team football players who died from Covid-19 within a week of each other in Tehran.

Mehrdad Minavand, 45, and Ali Ansarian, 43, played professionally in Iran's Pro League for Persepolis Football Club and were cherished by fans across the country.

The former teammates are believed to have contracted the coronavirus when they co-hosted an online television special on the derby match between Persepolis FC and Esteghlal FC, according to Iran's state news agency, IRNA.

Read the full story here.

8:03 p.m. ET, February 6, 2021

States are looking to help their vulnerable communities as vaccine distribution ramps up

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

As officials make strides to improve accessibility to Covid-19 vaccines in the United States, some states are turning their focus to the underserved and vulnerable communities that have not yet been eligible for protection.

Though the country's vaccination rate is not at President Joe Biden's hoped-for level of 1.5 million shots per day, the US has recently gotten closer, having averaged 1.3 million new shots a day over the last week, according to federal data.

States initially raced to vaccinate their priority populations, often health care workers and people in long-term care facilities, followed by seniors and/or essential workers, with many states saying demand for vaccines was exceeding supply.

Now New York, with about 75% of hospital workers inoculated, may become the first state to offer vaccine access to people with the simultaneous presence of two or more medical conditions, no matter their age. The governor's office listed cancer, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease and heart conditions as some of the comorbidities and underlying conditions that the state will use to determine eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said Friday that the state is now vaccinating those in the prison system along the same guidelines as the general public.

And in Texas, the Houston Health Department said Friday that it will prioritize "vulnerable populations" and "underserved communities" as it receives additional vaccine allotments.

Houston leaders said Saturday that publicly run hospitals serving the uninsured were getting a smaller percentage of vaccine doses than private hospitals.

"If you want to address the disparity, you've got to send the doses to the venues that are reaching those regions," Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference.

Read the full story: