February 22 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Eoin McSweeney and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0645 GMT (1445 HKT) February 23, 2021
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2:48 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Florida surpasses 30,000 resident deaths from Covid-19 since start of pandemic

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Florida has reported more than 30,000 residents deaths from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to state data.

The state has reported 1,872,923 cases and 30,065 deaths among residents since the start of the pandemic. An additional 530 non-residents have also died, state officials say.

Florida currently ranks fourth in the nation for cases and deaths behind California, New York and Texas, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, The Covid Tracking Project and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2:30 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Chain drug stores urge White House to "more fully supply" Covid-19 vaccine to pharmacies

From CNN's John Bonifield

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is urging the Biden administration to more fully supply pharmacies with Covid-19 vaccine, saying demand for vaccines is “stratospheric.”

In a letter sent to the White House and obtained by CNN, the association said only 1 million of 73 million total Covid-19 doses distributed throughout the nation to date were part of the soft launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program on Feb. 11.

The program was established as a collaboration between the federal government and 21 national pharmacy networks to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The Biden administration recently announced doses allocated to the program would double.

"We truly appreciate this week's announcement that the allocation for this program will double to 2 million doses per week but with only 6,500 pharmacies included in this soft launch, the increase in vaccine doses per store per week still falls short of community demand," Steven Anderson, the association's president and CEO, wrote to Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for Covid response, and Jeff Zients, White House Covid response coordinator.

Anderson said public demand for Covid-19 vaccine appointments at pharmacies has been "stratospheric," with reports of some pharmacies receiving 1,000 attempts at online appointments for every one appointment made available by a dose of vaccine.

"Acknowledging existing supply limitations, we urge a re-balancing of vaccine allocation to mitigate the situation and allow this critical program to be more fully jumpstarted as anticipated in the National Strategy," Anderson wrote.

In the letter, the association said many people who are most vulnerable and at-risk to Covid-19 use pharmacies as a primary point to access healthcare. The association said many pharmacies stand ready to launch mobile Covid-19 vaccination clinics into communities of targeted populations.

"We ask the Administration to fully leverage this program because it is designed to maximize the vaccination capacity of the nation's extensive pharmacy network while holding pharmacies accountable through program performance metrics," Anderson told the White House officials in his letter.

The nation's Covid-19 vaccine supply is still limited. States have also been requesting more doses of vaccine.

2:15 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

US health officials urge countries to share Covid-19 vaccine resources to ensure global accessibility

From CNN's Ashley Ahn

Top US public health officials backed the World Health Organization’s call for more attention to equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine during a WHO briefing Monday.  

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the United States should not only focus on equitable production and distribution of vaccines domestically, but should also prioritize global accessibility to vaccines. 

“We (must) realize that this is a global pandemic, requiring a global response,” Fauci said. “An outbreak in any part of the world is an outbreak for the entire world.” 

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, also urged countries to share resources to help ensure vaccine accessibility in developing countries.  

“It's encouraging to see how many vaccines are being used worldwide, and to know that more are on their way, but just like one player on a football team cannot win the game alone, we cannot beat this pandemic one country at a time,” she said. 

Some more context: President Biden on Friday unveiled a $4 billion US commitment to COVAX, the global effort to provide vaccines to poor countries. The plan includes a $2 billion contribution to the fund and a commitment to spending another $2 billion contingent on contributions from other countries.

Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, declined to comment on whether the Biden administration will follow other G7 leaders who committed to sharing vaccine doses with poorer countries. 

1:57 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

About 64 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US

From CNN'S Deidre McPhillips

Elizabeth Griffin receives a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Brooklyn, New York, on February 22. 
Elizabeth Griffin receives a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Brooklyn, New York, on February 22.  Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

More than 64 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 64,177,474 total doses have been administered – about 85% of the 75,205,940 doses delivered. That’s about 1.1 million more administered doses reported since yesterday.

About 13% of the US population — more than 44.1 million people — have now received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 6% of the population – about 19.4 million people —have been fully vaccinated with two doses, CDC data shows.

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

1:51 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

West Virginia reports 36 straight days of decreasing Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s LaCrisha McAllister

West Virginia has had 36 straight days of active Covid-19 cases dropping in the state, Gov. Jim Justice said during a briefing Monday.

New positive Covid-19 cases are down to 248 in the last 24 hours, marking the first time since Nov. 12 that confirmed active cases have been below 9,000, Justice said. There were 15 new Covid-19 deaths this week, bringing the state’s pandemic death toll to 2,263.

Three cases of a new Covid-19 variant have been confirmed in West Virginia, Justice said. The state’s chief health officer, Dr. Clay Marsh, said the variant cases originated in the UK.

Justice further stated that there has been a total of 435,972 administrations of the first and second doses of the vaccine. 

Justice also said Monday that he has called on the state’s Board of Education to require in-person instruction five days per week for students in K through 8 grades.

On Friday, the governor lessened social distancing restrictions — increasing bar and restaurant capacity to 75% of seating. He also raised the capacity on small businesses and retail stores from two to four people per 1,000 square feet. Grocery stores may now have up to six people per 1,000 square feet. Justice also raised the state’s social gathering limit from 25 to 75 people.

Note: These numbers were released by the state of Virginia, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

 

2:01 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions about the pandemic from an Atlanta mass vaccination site

Mass vaccination sites open today throughout Georgia. CNN’s Ryan Young is outside the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, where he answered viewers' questions about the vaccines and pandemic.

Watch:

1:09 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Biden will order flags flying over federal property to half-staff to mark 500,000 US Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that President Biden will order all flags flying over federal buildings to fly at half-staff for five days to mark the “solemn milestone” of 500,000 American deaths from Covid-19.

“Later today, the President, the first lady, the Vice President and the second gentlemen will mark the solemn milestone of 500,000 American lives lost to Covid-19. They will ask all Americans to join in a moment of silence during a candle lighting ceremony at sundown,” Psaki said at Monday’s White House press briefing. “President Biden will also deliver remarks and order all flags on federal property to be lowered at half-staff for the next five days.”

Psaki said Biden’s remarks will “will highlight the magnitude of loss that this milestone marks for the American people and so many families across the country."

The White House official also said Biden would "speak to the power of the American people to turn the tide on this pandemic by working together, following public health guidelines and getting in line to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.”

12:53 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Spain has administered more than 3 million vaccine doses, health officials say

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Spain has administered more than 3 million vaccine doses, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

According to the health ministry, at least 1,197,061 have received two doses of the vaccine.

Most of the doses administered are of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (2,837,196), followed by the Moderna (132,433) and the Oxford / AstraZeneca (120,722) vaccines.

12:14 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021

New York City has administered over 1.5 million vaccine doses, mayor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

A medical worker prepares the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in the Bronx, New York, on February 10.
A medical worker prepares the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in the Bronx, New York, on February 10. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City has administered over 1.5 million vaccine doses to date, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Monday.

Despite vaccine shipping delays due to winter weather last week, de Blasio said the city is still on track to achieve its goal of fully-vaccinating five million New York City residents by June 2021. 

On Monday, the city reported a 7.2% Covid-19 positivity rate. At least 252 new Covid-19 patients have been hospitalized, for a hospitalization rate of 4.09 per every 100,000 residents, de Blasio said. 

New York City is working on putting out a report “within the next few days” to discuss the new Covid-19 variants and their prevalence in the city, Dr. Jay Varma, the city’s Senior Advisor for Public Health, said Monday. Varma said city officials plan to update these reports periodically.