February 11 coronavirus news

By Adam Renton, Brad Lendon, Cristiana Moisescu, Laura Smith-Spark and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 2:18 a.m. ET, February 12, 2021
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3:04 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Ohio curfew lifted due to sustained decrease in Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced he has officially let Ohio’s curfew expire at noon today, due to a sustained decrease in Covid-19 hospitalizations. 

The governor had indicated in the past two weeks that if Ohio’s hospitalization numbers dropped below 2,500 for seven days, the curfew would be lifted.

“Now we may, in the future, we don’t know, have to put a curfew back on. We certainly hope we do not,” Governor DeWine said, noting that if hospitalizations start to rise again, the Ohio Department of Health may reinstate the curfew. 

The Governor said it is crucial that Ohioans continue safety protocols to slow the spread of Covid-19 and prevent hospitalizations from going up.

1:47 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Irish PM admits easing lockdown around Christmas was not a wise move

From CNN’s Samantha Tapfumaneyi

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ireland’s Prime Minister expressed regret on Thursday over the decision to ease lockdown rules in the country around Christmas.

In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Micheal Martin said: “If we knew then what we knew now, now we certainly wouldn't have made that decision." 

Ireland is in lockdown again after loosening restrictions in December, which resulted in the country having one of the highest infection rates in the world by January.

Martin added that Ireland would remain in a lockdown “for quite some time” to reduce hospital numbers. 

The UK variant is now responsible for 70% of the Covid-19 cases in Ireland, Martin said.

“I think globally, we have to intensify vaccination efforts, because it's important that the entire globe gets vaccinated, not just countries who are wealthier and in a position to do it earlier,” he said.  

In addition to this, he also said the “new variants could undermine the vaccine effort” and reiterated that Ireland's goal remains to vaccinate 80% of people by September.

“It's been disrupted somewhat by issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine and its supply, and we're not getting the same level of supply that we had thought we would get at the commencement of the year and that's part of the wider EU procurement issue with AstraZeneca,” Martin conceded, but he said the country was getting higher volumes of other vaccines in the second quarter of the year.

1:07 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Serbia has one of Europe's highest vaccination rates

From CNN's Rob North

People receive the COVID-19 vaccine, at Belgrade Fair makeshift vaccination center in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
People receive the COVID-19 vaccine, at Belgrade Fair makeshift vaccination center in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.  Darko Vojinovic/AP

Serbia currently has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, despite not being a member of the European Union -- and the country's Prime Minister has said directly negotiating with manufacturers has helped his country. 

Rapid vaccine procurement and a government shift to digitization is behind the nation's early success in rolling out the jabs, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić told CNN.

“Very early on, we have in Serbia made the decision to treat the vaccine procurement as a key priority for our country… we decided to go directly into negotiations with producers. We were one of the first countries in the world to sign a contract with Pfizer and we were the second country in Europe to get Pfizer vaccines,” said Brnabić, speaking to CNN's Julia Chatterley on First Move.

The Prime Minister also praised Serbia’s decision to make its government more digital around four years ago, saying it “makes the whole process very easy for citizens, very transparent and for us easy to manage.”

Brnabić referenced the European Union’s struggle to secure vaccine supplies but declined to offer up any criticism. The Western Balkans nation is currently seeking to join the EU.

“There are many, many benefits that EU member countries have that we unfortunately don’t have, including the financial support for the recovery after Covid-19,” she said. “I think at the end of the day, the EU will do good and, you know, perhaps it was a late start but I’m sure that it will come out stronger.”

12:27 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

The safest way to celebrate Mardi Gras is virtually, CDC says

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on large gatherings to include celebrating Mardi Gras, underscoring that the safest way to celebrate is virtual or with those you live with. 

“Attending large gatherings like Mardi Gras increases your risk of getting and spreading Covid-19,” the CDC said. “The safest way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year is to gather virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet apart from others.”

For those who celebrate with others, the agency reiterated that outdoors is safer than indoors.

CDC suggested that those who host either an indoor or outdoor Mardi Gras party make sure that people have enough space to stay six feet apart from each other, and wear appropriate masks. 

“A costume mask is not a replacement for cloth and other masks that prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CDC said.

Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday 16 February this year.

12:02 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

CNN's Laura Jarrett is answering your questions as minorities face hurdles to vaccination

CNN's Go There is in New York as minorities face hurdles to vaccination.

For example, last month, a Covid-19 vaccination site in a Latino neighborhood in New York City hard hit by the pandemic saw an overwhelming number of White people from outside the community show up to get the shot this month, laying bare a national disparity that shows people of color are being vaccinated at dramatically lower rates.

Laura Jarrett is answering your questions.

Watch more:

12:07 p.m. ET, February 11, 2021

FC Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller to miss FIFA Club World Cup Final after positive Covid-19 test

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok

Thomas Müller reacts during the DFB Cup second round match between Holstein Kiel and FC Bayern Munich at Wunderino Arena on January 13, 2021 in Kiel, Germany.
Thomas Müller reacts during the DFB Cup second round match between Holstein Kiel and FC Bayern Munich at Wunderino Arena on January 13, 2021 in Kiel, Germany. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

FC Bayern Munich and Germany star Thomas Müller has been ruled out of Thursday’s FIFA Club World Cup Final after Bayern confirmed Müller had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Bavarian club said in a statement that Müller was promptly isolated following his positive test.

The club added that the entire team was tested again on Thursday and no further positive cases were recorded.

Bayern face Mexico’s Tigres in Doha, Qatar, with the game kicking off at 1pm ET on Thursday.

The German champions are looking to become just the second team since FC Barcelona in 2009 to win all six domestic and international titles in a calendar year.

They already hold the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, German Super Cup, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

11:35 a.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Anti-inflammatory drug shown to reduce risk of death for hospitalized Covid-19 patients 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Tocilizumab, an intravenous anti-inflammatory drug used for rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to reduce the risk of death for patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19, as well as reducing the risk of ventilation and the amount of time until discharged from hospital.

The preliminary results came from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing potential Covid-19 treatments since March 2020. 

Tocilizumab was added to the trial in April 2020. The results have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, but are expected to be made available in a preprint. 

For the trial, 2,022 patients were randomly allocated tocilizumab and compared with 2,094 patients who received standard care. 

“There were 596 deaths amongst the people in the tocilizumab group, 29%, and there were 694 deaths, 33%, in the usual care group. So that is a reduction in the risk of deaths of around about a sixth or a seventh,” Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, and deputy chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial, said during a briefing on Thursday. 

“An absolute difference of four in a hundred,” Landray said. “You need to treat about 25 patients in order to save one patient, one life.” 

Landray said that the benefits were consistent in every group of patients studied. 

The drug was also shown to have a benefit for people who were not on mechanical ventilation at the start of the trial, with the risk of progressing to mechanical ventilation or death reducing from 38% to 33%. 

On February 3, the US National Institutes of Health released treatment guidelines saying that for patients in the intensive care unit, “there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of tocilizumab or sarilumab for the treatment of Covid-19.” Sarilumab is a similar treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. For those not requiring ICU-level care, they recommended against the use of the drugs except for a clinical trial. 

Read more here:

11:25 a.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Austrian hotspot for South African variant deploys 1,200 troops to contain virus spread

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

A board with hygiene instructions is pictured at the valley station of the Hochzillertal cable car in Kaltenbach in Tyrol, Austria on February 4, 2021
A board with hygiene instructions is pictured at the valley station of the Hochzillertal cable car in Kaltenbach in Tyrol, Austria on February 4, 2021 EXPA/AFP/Getty Images

The Austrian Alpine province of Tyrol -- which has seen one of Europe’s worst outbreaks of the South African coronavirus variant -- is deploying 1,200 police officers and soldiers to try and contain the spread of the virus, local authorities told CNN Thursday. 

Starting Friday at midnight and lasting for 10 days, the reinforcements will be deployed to Tyrol’s border checkpoints to ensure that anyone trying to leave the province can prove they have a negative coronavirus test no more than 48 hours old, Tyrol police spokesman Stefan Eder told CNN.

Eder added that children, freight traffic and travellers transiting through Tyrol are exempt from this regulation.

The province has currently detected 438 cases of the South African coronavirus variant, according to Tyrol's local government on Thursday.

The South African variant has a mutation, called E484K, which could help the virus partly escape the effects of vaccines.

11:09 a.m. ET, February 11, 2021

Wear at least one mask, but double masking helps get a tighter fit, says Fauci

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

People should definitely wear one mask, but double masking improves fit, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the Today show on Thursday.

The CDC on Wednesday released new data that showed layering a cloth mask over a medical procedural mask could block 92.5% of potentially infectious particles by creating a tighter fit and eliminating leakage. 

“At a minimum, wear a mask,” Fauci said. “This is what [the CDC] are saying, make sure you wear a mask. So you wear a mask, then you want it to fit better. So, one of the ways you could do it, if you would like to, is put a cloth mask over.” 

He demonstrated how this works by putting two masks on himself and showing the places where two masks help better prevent leakage, and he told Guthrie that he, on occasion, has double masked.  

“One mask at least, but if you want to really be sure, get a tighter fit with a second mask.”