January 12 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Ivana Kottasová, Florence Davey-Attlee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021
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1:20 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on track to apply for emergency use authorization at end of the month

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Nick Neville

Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson could apply for emergency use authorization of its Janssen Covid-19 vaccine around the end of this month, Moncef Slaoui of Operation Warp Speed said during a briefing on Tuesday.

Slaoui said millions of doses should be available by the end of February.

"We are very clear – we, meaning Operation and Janssen Pharmaceuticals – that analysis will be completed before the end of the month, and EUA submission will take place at the end of this month," Slaoui said on Tuesday.

"In terms of vaccine dose availability, if submission is happening at the end of January, one could project that approval of the emergency use authorization may happen somewhere in the middle of the month of February," Slaoui added.

"We project to have single-digit million number of doses available in the second half of February," Slaoui said. "We're trying to make that number get as close to a double-digit number as possible and then a larger number in March and a much larger number in April. Remember, this is a one-shot vaccine so those are millions of individuals fully immunized."
1:25 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Nearly 45,000 coronavirus related fines issued across UK

From CNN's Duarte Mendonca

Police patrol Clapham Common for people not complying with coronavirus safety protocols on January 9 in London.
Police patrol Clapham Common for people not complying with coronavirus safety protocols on January 9 in London. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued across the United Kingdom due to coronavirus related breaches, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Tuesday.

During a daily press conference, Patel warned those who have not been complying with the safety protocols issued by the government that police are "moving more quickly to issuing the fines, where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations."

"If you do not play your part, our selfless police officers who are out there, risking their own lives every day to keep us safe they will enforce the regulations. And I will back them to do so. To protect our NHS and to save lives," Patel said.

Her warning comes as the UK reported 1,243 new coronavirus related deaths on Tuesday, marking the second deadliest day since the start of the pandemic.

The latest figures released by the government have brought the total death toll to 83,203.

The UK also reported 45,533 new cases, bringing the total case number to 3,117,882.

On Monday, England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty told the BBC that the UK is entering its most challenging weeks since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as hospitals face being overrun and morgues fill up.

1:18 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

HHS announced sweeping changes to US Covid-19 vaccine distribution. Here are the key things to know. 

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A health worker administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at South Bronx Educational Campus on January 10 in New York.
A health worker administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at South Bronx Educational Campus on January 10 in New York. Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the federal government will no longer hold back coronavirus vaccine doses it kept in reserve, and it is asking states to open vaccinations to people 65 and older and people with chronic conditions who are at higher risk of severe disease.

He said the federal government would no longer hold back doses of vaccine to ensure that people who got their first doses would get second doses, too.

“We can now shift all of the dose that have been held in physical reserve,” Azar said.

Plus, states should vaccinate more people.

“We are telling states they should open vaccinations to all people … 65 and over and all people under age 65 with a comorbidity with some form of medical documentation,” Azar said, stumbling slightly over the wording.

Azar framed the change, which matches an approach announced by the incoming Biden administration, as something that had been part of the plan all along.

A senior administration official told CNN on Tuesday the shift follows two Operation Warp Speed meetings Azar held over the past 48 hours on how to speed up the lagging process.

Azar defended the slow and often chaotic rollout of vaccines.

“Several triggers have brought us to that point – nearly 38 million total doses of vaccine to date, including about 25 million first doses, have been made available for states to order against,” he told a news briefing. 

Azar blamed states for the slow rollout. “In some states, heavy handed micromanagement of this process has stood in the way of vaccines reaching a broader swathe of the vulnerable population more quickly,” Azar said.

1:03 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

New York's governor suggests rapid testing is a way to re-open state

From CNN's Sonia Moghe 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address from the state Capitol on Monday, January 11 in Albany, New York.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address from the state Capitol on Monday, January 11 in Albany, New York. Hans Pennink/Pool/AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a pilot testing program used at this weekend’s Buffalo Bills football game will be used as a model to help open up other aspects of life and business across the state. 

"Why can’t we use rapid testing to open restaurants in orange zones, theaters, offices," Cuomo said. "There are so many options."

Cuomo was speaking at the second in a series of "state of the state" speeches this week. He pointed to the success of the Buffalo Bills game pilot program where about 7,000 fans were tested for Covid-19 in a drive through testing setup. New York state’s Department of Health is monitoring the contact tracing results. 

Cuomo said the state will open hundreds of pop-up, rapid testing sites to be able to re-open office buildings and accelerate the return of the arts. 

He also announced the "New York Arts Revival," a public-private partnership program that will host a series of pop up performances starting on Feb. 4, with performers including Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Hugh Jackman and others. 

Cuomo added that the state will assist commercial building owners with empty office space with the ability to convert their spaces to affordable housing. 

"The reality is not all businesses will reopen and not all jobs are coming back as they were," Cuomo said. "Some of the changes we’ve seen this year will be permanent."

12:42 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

National Guard is helping administer the Covid-19 vaccine in 12 US states 

From CNN's Keri Enriquez

Two more states have begun using the National Guard to help administer Covid-19 vaccinations, according to National Guard spokesperson Wayne Hall.

Oklahoma and North Dakota are the latest additions, bringing the total number of states to 12. The ten other states are New Hampshire, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, California, Nevada and Arizona.

The majority of states are not relying on the National Guard to administer vaccines.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has discussed with governors the use of the National Guard, and as part of the ongoing agency review process discussed with the Department of Defense the use of the military, for the incoming administration’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts, a transition official tells CNN.

Biden said recently that one way in which his Covid task force will look to speed up the national Covid vaccination process after he takes office would be to potentially utilize the National Guard at mass vaccination sites. As CNN reported today, the deployment of the National Guard as part of the vaccination efforts is one of the major details that the Biden’s Covid team is deliberating over days away from inauguration.

12:50 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

2021 Masters tournament to limit fan attendance

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The 2021 Masters will have a limited number of spectators in attendance, Fred Ridley, chair of Augusta National Golf Club, announced Tuesday in a statement.

The 85th Masters, scheduled for April 5 to 11 in Augusta, Georgia, will have similar health and safety standards to those instituted during last year's tournament in November.  

"While we are disappointed that we will be unable to accommodate a full complement of patrons this year, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all who purchased tickets from Augusta National will have access in 2022, provided conditions improve," Ridley said. 

The 2020 Masters, which was postponed from its usual April slot and played in November, took place with only essential personnel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

11:58 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Portugal marks a record number of Covid-19 related deaths

From CNN’s Duarte Mendonca

Portugal registered a record 155 coronavirus related deaths on Monday, the Health Ministry said. 

The latest death count is the highest since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number to 8,080 fatalities, according to the Health Ministry data. 

Portugal has also registered 7,259 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 496,552, the ministry said.

11:16 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Arizona sets new Covid-19 record with more than 1,000 patients in the ICU

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

The state of Arizona continues to set records for the number of Covid-19 patients currently hospitalized. The state set another record on Tuesday with 5,082 people hospitalized, according to the state's data dashboard.

The state is also reporting a record-setting 1,183 patients in ICU beds with the virus, according to the dashboard.

Arizona has been experiencing a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations for more than a month. Before the winter season, the state's record for number of inpatients hospitalized with Covid-19 was 3,517 set on July 13, 2020. The state surpassed that record on December 11 when it reported 3,534 patients. The tally of patients has, with a few exceptions, risen every day since.

 Arizona has reported a total of 636,100 cases of Covid-19 and 10,482 reported deaths to the disease since the pandemic began.

Note: Some of these numbers were released by the Arizona Department of Health Services and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN's database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

11:02 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Minnesota case is earliest known evidence of coronavirus variant in US

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

A Minnesota case of the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK nudges back the timeline of when the strain was known to be circulating in the United States.

The earliest known positive sample in the US was taken Dec. 18 from a person in Minnesota, according to data posted Monday to the genomic database GISAID. On Saturday, the state health department announced separately it had identified five cases in the Twin Cities metro area, the earliest of whom had symptoms starting Dec. 16. State health officials said they were not aware of any hospitalizations caused by the variant.

The first announcement of a case in the US came from Colorado officials on Dec. 29. Previously, a sample in Florida taken on December 19 was the earliest known evidence of the virus in the US, per GISAID. Collection dates were not available for all US samples.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports at least 72 cases of the variant in 10 US states, according to data posted Monday. The variant has also been identified in at least four dozen countries worldwide. While the variant appears to spread more easily, there's no evidence that it's any more deadly or causes more severe disease, CDC says.