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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10:56 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Moderna expects its vaccine will protect against coronavirus for at least a year

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is administered to a staff member at the Ararat Nursing Facility in the Mission Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 7.
A dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is administered to a staff member at the Ararat Nursing Facility in the Mission Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles on January 7. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Biotechnology company Moderna believes its vaccine should protect people against Covid-19 for at least a year, a top official told investors Monday.

“Our expectation is that the vaccination should last you at least a year,” Moderna’s chief medical officer Tal Zaks told the JP Morgan 39th Annual Healthcare conference.

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine is one of two vaccines issued emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer and partner BioNTech also have EUA.

The company will have to test people to see if adding a third dose -- a boost -- might extend protection, Zaks said.

Currently, the vaccine is given as two doses about a month apart. Because both vaccines were only invented within the past year, no one knows how long they’ll protect people.

“We’ll have to boost people to see how well the boost works,” Zaks said. “We think there is an opportunity to boost, especially the ones at high risk, should you need it.”

11:46 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Los Angeles is experiencing its "worst disaster" in decades, health official says

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

A nurse attends to a patient in a Covid-19 ICU at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital on January 6 in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles. 
A nurse attends to a patient in a Covid-19 ICU at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital on January 6 in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles public health officials are advising that all essential workers countywide should wear masks inside of their own homes to prevent spreading the coronavirus within the household, as hospitalizations and deaths continue at alarming rates.

Officials are calling it the "worst disaster" experienced in the county in decades.

"Right now, because there is so much spread, we're recommending that people wear their face coverings on while they're inside the home. It will add a layer of protection while we get through this surge," Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference Monday. 
"We strongly recommend you keep your face covering on if you're a worker who is leaving every day or in fact you're somebody who has to run the essential errands in your family," Ferrer added.

Surge in cases: Los Angeles reported 12,617 new cases Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the county to 932,697. An additional 137 deaths were reported, raising the total number of fatalities to 12,387. 

Deaths increasing by 1,000%: In the past seven days, the county has reported more than 1,500 Covid-related deaths, according to latest health data. Since the surge began in November, LA County has seen deaths increase by more than a staggering 1,000%. 

Hospital resources strained: Nearly 8,000 people are currently hospitalized as officials continue to troubleshoot infrastructure issues like low oxygen supply, limited staffing resources, and scarce bed availability. There are 650 hospital beds and 46 ICU beds available in the entire county as of Monday afternoon, officials said.

Ten people test positive every minute: Ferrer said that, every minute, 10 people in LA County on average are testing positive for Covid-19. "The damaging impact to our families and our local hospitals from this surge is the worst disaster our county has experienced for decades," she said.

Vaccines: Despite the tragic loss of life, vaccines are making their way throughout the community, Ferrer said. Hospitals in Los Angeles received 220,000 vaccine doses and about 160,000 frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated. Hospitals began providing their eligible staff second doses last week and more than 22,000 health care workers are now fully vaccinated.

Vaccine sites: There are more than 75 vaccination sites in Los Angeles that have been established to help facilitate the vaccine to individuals within the state's current phase 1A tier, where primarily non-hospital care workers and non-skilled nursing facility health care workers are being immunized. Some 20 vaccination sites are currently open to frontline health care workers and at least five more are expected to open in the near future.

7:38 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Nearly 9 million people vaccinated against coronavirus in the US, CDC says

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

Nearly 9 million people have received their first doses of vaccine against coronavirus in the United States and nearly 25.5 million doses of vaccine have now been distributed, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

As of Monday morning, 35.3% of doses distributed have been administered, compared with 30.2% on Friday.

The CDC said 25,480,725 doses of vaccine had been distributed as of 9 a.m. Monday and 8,987,322 people had received their first doses of vaccine.

The CDC also said Monday that 4,239,775 of the distributed doses had gone to the federal program for long-term care facilities, and 937,028 people in such facilities had received their first doses.

The US continues to struggle to catch up to the promised target of 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020. States have said they don’t have enough staff or money to administer coronavirus vaccines at the needed rate.

7:33 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

UK entering "worst point" of pandemic, top health official warns, as cases rise and bodies pile up

From CNN's Luke McGee

The United Kingdom is entering its most challenging weeks since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a top official said Monday, as hospitals face being overrun and morgues fill up.

"We're now at the worst point of this epidemic for the UK. In the future we will have the vaccine, but the numbers at the moment are higher than they were in the previous peak -- by some distance," England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty told the BBC, adding that he expects the next few weeks to be the "most dangerous time."

The country, which has already suffered more deaths as a result of the disease than any European nation and recently became the fifth country on earth to reach 3 million cases, is on the verge of seeing its hospitals overwhelmed.

Whitty told the BBC on Monday that there were currently more than 30,000 patients in hospital, compared to 18,000 during the first peak of the virus in the UK in April.

"We're now at a situation where in the UK as a whole, around one in 50 people is infected, and in London it's around 1 in 30," Whitty said. "There is a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily, they will have Covid."

His warning comes with the country barely a week into its third national lockdown. But fears are growing that Britons are increasingly giving up on complying with the rules, as case numbers continue to surge despite the extreme measures.

Whitty stressed that minimizing contact with others will stop the situation from getting worse.

"Every single unnecessary contact any of us have is a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead eventually to a vulnerable person," he told the BBC. "So, the absolute key is for all of us to think do we really need to have this contact?"

Read the full story:

7:47 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021

The UK has vaccinated around 2.3 million people

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Around 2.3 million people have already been vaccinated across the United Kingdom, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday.

“So far across the UK, we've given 2.6 million doses to 2.3 million people, and we’ve protected more people through vaccinations than all the countries in Europe put together,” Hancock said at a Downing Street briefing.

Hancock said the UK was on track to deliver a first dose of the vaccine to “everyone in the top four cohorts” -- which account for 88% of Covid-19-related deaths -- by February 15.

He said that two-fifths of people over 80 and almost a quarter of older care home residents have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccine drive: The UK plans to have "tens of millions" of people immunized by spring with over 2,700 vaccine sites established across the country, the Department of Health said on Monday. 

It has set out plans to "rapidly scale up" the vaccine program, pledging to have capacity to deliver "at least 2 million" vaccinations in England per week by the end of January.

Every adult in the country is to be offered a vaccine, according to a news release, and 10,000 care homes will have access to a vaccine by end of the month, it says. 

"The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against Covid – I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year," Hancock said.