February 10 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Adam Renton, Kara Fox, Christopher Johnson and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 6:34 a.m. ET, February 15, 2021
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8:09 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

CDC releases new guidance on Covid-19 vaccine second doses

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Educational staff at Kettering City Schools receive the Covid-19 vaccine as a part of Ohios Phase 1B vaccine distribution in Dayton, Ohio, on February 10.
Educational staff at Kettering City Schools receive the Covid-19 vaccine as a part of Ohios Phase 1B vaccine distribution in Dayton, Ohio, on February 10. Megan Jelinger/AFP/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on Wednesday offering "best practices" for managing second doses of Covid-19 vaccine and making sure people get their second shots so that they are fully vaccinated.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States are administered as two doses, 21 and 28 days apart, respectively.

"If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose," according to the new guidance posted to the CDC's website.

The guidance notes that "jurisdictions and providers must carefully manage vaccine inventory to ensure completion of the vaccine series. At present, jurisdictions receive sufficient supply of doses to vaccinate all persons who receive a first dose."

Local health officials were told on Tuesday during a phone call with the White House that the guidance provided recommendations around what to do if patients miss their second-dose appointments, Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CNN on Wednesday.

"This guidance that is coming out is intended to share how health departments -- and others who are distributing the vaccine -- can deal with people who miss their second appointments and how long they should save that vaccine for that patient," Freeman said.

"This guidance is meant to provide some protocols that health departments can use so that they can address missed appointments."

8:13 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Canadian province of Newfoundland goes from Covid-free sanctuary to "circuit-breaker" type lockdown

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Newfoundland is facing its largest Covid-19 outbreak so far — a chilling discovery for a province that sacrificed large parts of its economy and prohibited most visitors from entering the past 10 months, in the hopes of containing any major outbreaks.

The province's chief medical officer, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, said Wednesday that "complacency" had allowed case numbers to spiral:

"I believe that going so long with low case counts of Covid led to complacency and we are now seeing the repercussions."

Canada’s easternmost province reported just 53 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday for a population of about a half million people. Still, the province is shell-shocked and has imposed a strict "circuit-breaker" lockdown.

Adding to the 53 new cases are 32 presumptive cases that have yet to be confirmed. The province now has 110 active cases of Covid-19 and that is enough for officials to shutdown parts of the province including widespread closures in the St. John’s metro area, Newfoundland’s capital.

New daily case numbers are expected to rise for days to come as the provincial officials warn residents of a ‘rough period’ ahead.'

New daily case numbers are expected to rise for days to come as the provincial officials warn residents of a ‘rough period’ ahead.

“This is what Covid does, it’s a bit disappointing to see the number of contacts that people have had. I think we really need to do better when it comes to reducing those contacts,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.

All schools in the St. John’s area are now closed for at least 2 weeks, non-essential businesses have been closed to in person shopping and dine-in restaurants must close. In addition, Newfoundland residents have been told to stay home when possible and avoid any private, social gatherings.

Upwards of 1,500 people have been told to self-isolate and officials say they are investigating hundreds of possible contacts.

The outbreak comes at a crucial time for the province, as residents go to the polls to elect a new premier in just a few days. But public health officials say the election will not be postponed and that they will ‘find a way’ to keep everyone safe during the vote.

6:09 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

South African variant of Covid-19 detected in California for first time

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Two cases of the South African Covid-19 variant have been detected in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. Both cases were identified in the Bay Area, one in Santa Clara and the other in Alameda County.

The discovery of the South African strain is in addition to 159 cases of the UK variant and 1203 incidents of the West Coast variants identified thus far in the Golden State.

Thirty labs across the state are working to sequence genomes and potentially uncover additional cases of variants, Newsom said.

The variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa could be resistant to vaccines and raise the bar for herd immunity, health officials have said. The first two confirmed cases of the variant in the US were detected last month in South Carolina.

4:54 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

New Mexico will end mandatory quarantine for travelers from high-risk states

From CNN’s Andy Rose

As the rate of new coronavirus cases drops in most of the state, New Mexico’s governor says it will be dropping its mandatory quarantine rule for most out-of-state travelers.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said in a press release Wednesday:

“New Mexicans have sacrificed to make this recent progress, and I encourage all New Mexicans and visitors to our state to maintain vigilance in the coming weeks.”  

The current quarantine rules will expire Thursday. They required that people coming to New Mexico from 48 other states isolate for 14 days after arriving.

Only travel from Hawaii was exempted from the rule, since that state has a positivity rate of lower than 80 cases per million residents.

4:27 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Double masking can significantly improve protection, CDC website now says

From CNN's Keri Enriquez

A man wears two masks as he walks in Times Square in New York on April 6.
A man wears two masks as he walks in Times Square in New York on April 6. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website now reflects the agency’s new mask data showing double masking can significantly improve protection. The data was published in a CDC report on Wednesday. 

The site uses colorful illustrations to outline different types of masks and educates the public on how to “Improve How Your Mask Protects You.”

It describes wearing two masks- a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask for better fit and extra protection. The CDC still encourages the use of a single cloth mask that is multi-layered.

Also suggested on the site: wearing masks with a nose wire and using a mask fitter or brace to prevent air leakage from gaps in loose masks. 

The website now instructs to the public to ensure the snug fit of a mask by cupping their hands outside the edges of a mask to make sure no air is flowing out of the sides or top.

The page tells consumers to avoid masks with gaps or exhalation valves or vents.

Beginning in January 2021, the CDC tested two simple methods, double masking and knotting, to evaluate mask performance protection. Researchers found the effectiveness of cloth and medical procedure masks can be improved by ensuring they are well fitted to the contours of the face to prevent air and particles from escaping from gaps around the mask’s edges.

Researchers found that layering a cloth mask over a medical procedural mask, such as a disposable blue surgical mask, can block 92.5% of potentially infectious particles from escaping by creating a tighter fit and eliminating leakage.

Researchers also found that overall performance of medical procedure masks alone can be improved by folding mask edges inward and knotting ear loop strings where they meet mask fabric to reduce gaps. A knotted medical mask can block 63% of aerosols that may contain coronavirus, a significant improvement from blocking only 42% of particles when unknotted.

4:01 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

New York arenas and stadiums can open this month with capacity limits and negative tests for spectators, Cuomo says

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2013.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2013. Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that large entertainment and sports venues will be able to re-open with a 10% capacity limit from from February 23.

Venues will need to get approval from the Department of Health and spectators will have to test negative for Covid-19 up to 72 hours before the event.

The department is already inspecting venues and the Barclays Center has been approved to re-open on February 23 for the Brooklyn Nets' home game against the Sacramento Kings, Cuomo's office said.

The decision builds on the pilot program in use at the Buffalo Bills' home games during the NFL playoffs, which saw a limited number of fans allowed.

"Live sports and entertainment have long been engrained in the fabric of New York and the inability to hold events has only added to the isolation we have all felt at the hands of this virus," Cuomo said in a statement.

"Thankfully, our pilot program to reopen Buffalo Bills games to fans was an unparalleled success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state to not only reinvigorate local economies, but also help bring some fun and joy back into people's lives as safely as possible," he said.

Socially distanced seating, mask-wearing and contact tracing information is required for venues wishing to re-open.

Elsewhere, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during his daily press briefing he will soon open a vaccination site at Empire Outlets for residents of Staten Island.

New York City is also hoping to partner with the state to open the Barclays Center as a Brooklyn-only vaccination site, de Blasio said. The city is also partnering with a number of organizations in an effort to vaccinate Holocaust survivors right away, he added.

3:40 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

CNN's Omar Jimenez answers your questions about schools and the Covid-19 pandemic

More schools across the US are returning to in-person learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is on the scene in Chicago, where teachers have voted to come back to classrooms. 

Watch:

3:08 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

All the coronavirus in the world would fit inside a cola can with room to spare, mathematician estimates

From CNN’s Chloe Adams

All the coronavirus particles in the world would easily fit inside a single can of cola, a British mathematician has estimated. 

Kit Yates, a co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath in the UK, set out to calculate the total volume of SARS-CoV-2 currently in circulation by estimating the number of people harboring the virus, how much of it they have, and how big the virus itself is. 

He was startled by his own finding, he told CNN.

"It's astonishing to think that all the trouble, the disruption, the hardship and the loss of life that has resulted over the last year could constitute just a few mouthfuls,” Yates told CNN Wednesday.

“It's supposed to be a bit of a light-hearted look at the situation. It’s been a nice outlet for me since I am largely preoccupied by reporting on the pandemic as part of my role on Independent SAGE here in the UK,” he said.

Independent SAGE – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies - is a group of scientists who provide independent advice to the UK government and public amid the crisis. 

Yates used statistical and epidemiological modelling by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington in Seattle, which estimates the number of people infected with the virus each day at around 3 million. 

Using data from a��pre-print study carried out by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the University of California at Berkeley in the USA, Yates calculated peak viral loads range from one billion to 100 billion virus particles per gram, with estimates of the diameter range of SARS-CoV-2 80 to 120 nanometres. One nanometre is a billionth of a meter. 

4:14 p.m. ET, February 10, 2021

Germany’s partial lockdown extended until March, but states will decide on school openings themselves 

From Claudia Otto in Berlin

A closed and empty salon is seen in Dortmund, Germany, on January 19.
A closed and empty salon is seen in Dortmund, Germany, on January 19. Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

Germany’s partial national lockdown will be extended till March 7, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state prime ministers of the 16 federal states agreed on Wednesday evening.

Officials made an exception over the opening of the schools and childcare centres, which has proven to be a controversial subject. The government will leave it up to federal the states to handle those issues themselves.

Merkel said at a press conference: "I have had certain ideas of my own leading up to March 1, but we live in a federal state, there are very important state sovereignties, so the states will decide the school openings.”

Merkel added that even though the number of new infection is low, at only 8,072, the decision to keep the current lockdown restrictions came because of concern over the spreading of the new coronavirus mutation, which she said could lead to a serious aggravation of the situation.

"With the uncertainty of the spread of viral mutations, the next loosening of restrictions can take place at a stable seven-day incidence of no more than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants," Merkel said.

"This next opening stage should include the opening of retail limited to one person per 20 square meters, in addition to museums and galleries and the opening of the still closed body services."

Hairdressers will be allowed to open from March 1 with hygiene measures in place.