February 15 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brad Lendon, Kara Fox and Mary Ilyushina, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021
29 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:37 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Illinois surpasses 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths 

From CNN's Gregory Lemos and Brad Parks 

The Illinois Department of Public Health Monday reported 41 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the total number of lives lost in the state since the pandemic began to 20,002, according to a statement from the department.  

The department reported 1,420 new cases of Covid-19 and a 3.5% positivity rate. There are 1,789 people hospitalized with Covid-19, 389 patients in the ICU and 184 on ventilators.

Nearly 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the state of Illinois since health department began tracking data, according to the statement.  

12:41 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Novavax testing new version of its Covid-19 vaccine to specifically target variant

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

The biotechnology company Novavax told CNN on Monday that its scientists are testing a new version of its Covid-19 vaccine in the lab that specifically targets the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.

As part of this research, the scientists are hoping to determine whether the new vaccine would serve as a booster shot to the original vaccine that has already been developed, or as a bivalent vaccine administered on its own, meaning it would target two strains of the coronavirus, both the original and the variant first identified in South Africa. 

Once lab testing is complete, the new vaccine could move to clinical trials – but a timeline is still in the works and the research is still very early.

In a previous announcement in January, the company said, "Novavax initiated development of new constructs against the emerging strains in early January and expects to select ideal candidates for a booster and/or combination bivalent vaccine for the new strains in the coming days. The company plans to initiate clinical testing of these new vaccines in the second quarter of this year."

12:41 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Novavax expects full enrollment of Covid-19 vaccine trial this week

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Researchers at the UW Medicine Retrovirology Lab at Harborview Medical Center work on samples from the Novavax phase 3 Covid-19 clinical vaccine trials on February 12 in Seattle.
Researchers at the UW Medicine Retrovirology Lab at Harborview Medical Center work on samples from the Novavax phase 3 Covid-19 clinical vaccine trials on February 12 in Seattle. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

The biotechnology company Novavax told CNN on Monday that it expects to announce this week that its PREVENT-19 trial has reached full enrollment.

The trial will include about 30,000 adults across 115 locations in the US and Mexico to test whether the company's investigational vaccine prevents Covid-19 disease. 

Novavax announced in January that early results from a Phase 3 trial in the UK show its coronavirus vaccine has an efficacy of 89.3%. 

As the US trial for Novavax's coronavirus vaccine reaches full enrollment, the company told CNN on Monday that its vaccine is still on track to possibly receive authorization for emergency use in the US by summer. 

 

12:37 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

UK prime minister urges patience, says "threat from this virus remains very real"

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks during a Covid-19 media briefing in Downing Street on February 15 in London.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks during a Covid-19 media briefing in Downing Street on February 15 in London. Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for patience and warned the “threat from this virus remains very real” despite the UK reaching its target of giving 15 million people a first dose of the vaccine by Feb. 15. 

Speaking during a Downing Street news conference on Monday, Johnson said he would be setting out a roadmap out of lockdown next week but “we want this lockdown to be the last." He said he wants the progress to be “cautious and irreversible."

“We still don’t have enough exact data on the effectiveness of vaccines on reducing spread of infection,” Johnson warned, adding “we don’t have all the hard facts that we need." 

He said the level of infection remains very high and there are still more people in hospitals with Covid-19 than at the peak last April. “So this moment is a huge step forward but it’s only a first step,” Johnson cautioned.

The government’s next target is to offer vaccines to its top nine priority groups — including everyone over the age of 50 — by the end of April.

12:11 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

More than 485,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts

There have been at least 27,645,547 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 485,414 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far today, Johns Hopkins University has reported 5,265 new cases and 78 new deaths.  

At least 70,057,800 vaccine doses have been distributed and at least 52,884,356 total doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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

 

12:16 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your question from London about the UK variant and new hotel quarantine policy 

The UK's mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers arriving from some countries — including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations — went into effect today

Non-UK residents from these countries will be refused entry. British citizens and permanent residents will be picked up straight from the airport and transferred to government-provided accommodation where they will begin their mandatory stay.

CNN's Go There is in London, where international correspondent Scott McLean answered CNN viewers' questions about the UK variant and new quarantine policies.

Watch:

12:00 p.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Fauci was worried about contracting Covid-19 at Trump White House

From CNN's Ben Tinker

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview on February 14.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview on February 14. HBO/Axios

In an interview that aired on “Axios on HBO” Sunday, Axios Managing Editor Margaret Talev asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if he ever worried about contracting the coronavirus himself.

At age 80, Fauci is considered at high risk for serious disease and death if he were to get sick with Covid-19.

“I think you’d have to be oblivious not to consider the fact that if you get infected, that you are already in the category of someone who has a high-risk of having a serious outcome,” Fauci said. “I didn’t fixate on that, but it was in the back of my mind, because I had to be out there. I mean, particularly when I was going to the White House every day when the White House was sort of a super-spreader location. I mean, that made me a little bit nervous.”

11:14 a.m. ET, February 15, 2021

Iraq reports new cases of a “rapidly spreading” coronavirus variant

From CNN’s Aqeel Najim & Mostafa Salem

A medical worker tests blood samples for Covid-19 at a hospital in Najaf, Iraq, on February 15.
A medical worker tests blood samples for Covid-19 at a hospital in Najaf, Iraq, on February 15. Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters

Iraq has reported its first new cases of what it says is a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant, after several infections were recorded, including children, the Health Minister Hassan Al Tamimi said in a news conference on TV on Monday.

Al Tamimi did not specify which variant was detected, or how many cases had been identified, but warned of its danger amidst a “remarkable increase in infections”.

“The results of lab tests showed a remarkable increase in the number of infections with the new variant, including a number of cases in children,” he said.

On Monday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported at least 2,798 new confirmed coronavirus cases. It brings the total number of cases in Iraq to at last 646,650, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

Iraq on Saturday had announced a series of restrictive measures "in light of the increasing number of infections among citizens," to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a statement released by the Iraqi cabinet.

The statement said Iraq will impose a full curfew on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of each week between Feb. 18 through March 8.

 

9:33 a.m. ET, February 15, 2021

28 states plus DC are now allowing teachers to receive Covid-19 vaccines

From CNN's Yon Pomrenze, Evan Simko-Bednarski & Elizabeth Stuart

Two more states have started allowing all or some teachers and school staff to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting today, bringing the total to 28 states plus Washington, DC.

The additional states are Alaska, where all teachers are now eligible, and North Dakota, where some counties are now vaccinating group 1B, which includes K-12 teachers.

Though some states have announced they are prioritizing teachers, vaccine availability remains a concern across the country.

There are 22 states where teachers are still not eligible to receive the vaccine as a specific group — although some educators might fall into the current age group that state is vaccinating.

Here are the states where all or some teachers are eligible:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Delaware
  8. Hawaii
  9. Idaho
  10. Illinois
  11. Iowa
  12. Kansas
  13. Kentucky
  14. Maryland
  15. Michigan
  16. Minnesota
  17. Nebraska
  18. Nevada
  19. New York
  20. North Dakota
  21. Ohio
  22. Oregon
  23. Pennsylvania
  24. Tennessee
  25. Utah
  26. Virginia
  27. West Virginia
  28. Wyoming
  29. Washington, DC

Here are the states where teachers are not yet eligible:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Florida
  3. Georgia
  4. Indiana
  5. Louisiana
  6. Maine
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Mississippi
  9. Missouri
  10. Montana
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Jersey
  13. New Mexico
  14. North Carolina
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Rhode Island
  17. South Carolina
  18. South Dakota
  19. Texas
  20. Vermont
  21. Washington
  22. Wisconsin