January 14 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Florence Davey-Attlee, Ed Upright and Hira Humayun, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021
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7:08 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

A person dies of Covid-19 every six minutes in Los Angeles County

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg and Jessica Firger

Los Angeles County called upon the National Guard to assist with processing of Covid-19 deaths and placing them into temporary storage at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office. The temporary storage will relieve pressure from overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries who can’t accommodate the deceased.
Los Angeles County called upon the National Guard to assist with processing of Covid-19 deaths and placing them into temporary storage at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office. The temporary storage will relieve pressure from overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries who can’t accommodate the deceased. Los Angeles County

Over the past seven days, an average of 1,644 people in Los Angeles County have died of Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). 

 That’s an average of 235 Covid-19 deaths per day, or one every six minutes.

 Covid-19 deaths in Los Angeles increased about 30% this week compared to last.

Hospital systems in Los Angeles continue to struggle amid a surge in cases, as California is once again an epicenter of the pandemic. Most recent data show California has the second-highest number of new Covid-19 cases per capita, after Arizona.

Los Angeles officials are securing more places to store the bodies of those who died from the virus. About 900 bodies are currently being held at the Los Angeles Medical Examiner Coroner’s Office, which usually has a capacity of 500, according to spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. She estimates that about 150 of the bodies are overflow from local hospitals that have run out of room.

Since the initial surge last spring, a dozen refrigerated storage units have been on site at the downtown location. A dozen more trailers will be in place by next week, along with six refrigerated containers, Ardalani tells CNN.

8:01 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Pandemic drove overdose deaths up, federal health officials say

From CNNs Lauren Mascarenhas

A big jump in overdoses contributed to the deaths of up to 90,000 Americans over the past year, federal health officials said Thursday.

Early data shows a 21% increase in overdose deaths in 2020 and the number could grow, Admiral Brett Giroir, US Health and Human Services assistant secretary told reporters.

After a “flattening” of overdose mortality rates, overdose deaths have been rising since the fall of 2019, Giroir said.

We saw that overdose mortality was going up before the pandemic, but it has actually gone up significantly more since the pandemic,” he said.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 83,000 overdose deaths in the year ending in June 2020 – a 21% increase from the previous year. He said overdoses due to synthetics opioids, like fentanyl, are up 44.75%.

“If this rate continues, we could see the losses of between 85 and 90,000 Americans in 2020 due to overdoses,” he said.

7:58 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Older Hispanic adults have more vaccine confidence than younger ones, says Kaiser Family Foundation data

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

Most Hispanic adults in the United States want to receive a Covid-19 vaccine eventually, but Hispanic adults under 50 are twice as likely to say they will “definitely not get the vaccine,” according to an analysis of Kaiser Family Foundation’s Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor Survey.

Hispanic adults under 50 are also less likely to say that they will “get the vaccine as soon as possible” once one is approved and available. (The surveys were completed by December 8 when coronavirus vaccines were not yet available to the general public.) 

Only 20% of Hispanic adults under 50 reported that they would get the vaccine as soon as possible, compared to 38% of Hispanic adults over age 50.

Almost one-fifth of Hispanic essential workers reported that they would “definitely not” get a vaccine under the circumstances.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, these numbers suggest a need to increase vaccine trust in younger Hispanic Americans through public health outreach in these communities.

6:46 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

300 Pfizer vaccine doses are unusable after a vaccine storage unit malfunctioned in Colorado 

From CNN's Raja Razek 

Local public health officials in the Colorado city of Pueblo rendered 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine unusable after a portable vaccine storage unit malfunction, the Colorado State Joint Information Center tells CNN.

"The state’s goal is to use every single available vaccine, acknowledging that emergencies may occur infrequently in the distribution process."

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is about 50 degrees colder than any other vaccine currently used in the United Sta​tes.

6:31 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Brazil’s Amazonas state faces an oxygen shortage

From CNN’s Taylor Barnes

Amazonas Federal University's workers carry empty oxygen tanks at the Getulio Vargas Hospital amid the new coronavirus pandemic, Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, January 14.
Amazonas Federal University's workers carry empty oxygen tanks at the Getulio Vargas Hospital amid the new coronavirus pandemic, Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, January 14. Edmar Barros/AP

Severe oxygen shortages and pressure on hospitals in Brazil’s Amazonas state, an economic and population center in the country’s Amazon region, prompted the state government to announce emergency measures on Thursday, including a curfew and the airlifting of patients to other Brazilian states.

“Today we are in the most critical moment of the pandemic, one that has no precedent in the state of Amazonas. We are facing a lot of difficulty in getting medical supplies. And as everyone is following, our main difficulty now has been getting oxygen,” Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima said at a Thursday press conference.

 Demand for oxygen is up fivefold over the past 15 days, according to the state government.

Some 235 patients will be airlifted to five other Brazilian states, according to a tweet from the Amazonas state government, which wrote that the transfers are necessary due to the state’s oxygen shortages.

The state government also announced a curfew from 7pm to 6am and a ban on mass transit.

6:20 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

US airlines support Biden proposal for nationwide mask mandate

From CNN's Greg Wallace

A coalition of US airlines says it supports the incoming Biden administration’s proposal for a nationwide mask mandate, and wants to ensure it applies to require passengers wear face masks on airplanes and in airports.  

Airlines For America (A4A), which represents major air carriers in the U.S., wrote in a letter to Biden on Thursday that since airlines currently have policies requiring masks and ban noncompliant passengers, it believes a Biden action would be “a consequential enforcement backstop.”  

A4A said it supports a temporary requirement applying to all individuals two years and older that lasts “only for the duration of the pandemic.” 

6:04 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

National Guard is administering Covid-19 vaccines in 16 US states and territories

From CNN’s Keri Enriquez

Sixteen states and territories are utilizing the National Guard to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the civilian population, according to National Guard spokesman Wayne Hall.

Idaho, Illinois, Puerto Rico and Rhode island are the latest additions, bringing the total number of states and territories to 16. The other 12 states are Arizona, California, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The majority of states are not relying on the National Guard to administer vaccines, but rather for repackaging vaccines, PPE distribution, disinfecting and operating testing sites.

5:41 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Pandemic has created new opportunities for criminals, says Interpol Secretary General

From CNN's Richard Quest and Pamela Boykoff

CNN
CNN

The Covid-19 pandemic is providing new opportunities and vulnerabilities for criminals, such as "attacks" on vaccines, Interpol’s Secretary General warned in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest.

The international police organization has alerted governments and law enforcement to prepare for attacks on vaccines, including theft, warehouse break-ins and fake vaccines.

Two countries have already asked Interpol to assist combatting criminal efforts, Stock said, one involving the production of a fake vaccine and the other the distribution of one.

I have never seen in my long career such a dynamic situation where criminals are quickly shifting to new opportunities,” Jürgen Stock said.

Watch:

5:12 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Chain drug stores ask states to transfer unused Covid-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is asking states to transfer unused Covid-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies. 

"Any allocation that's out there right now that's sitting on shelves can be transferred to a community pharmacy," Kathleen Jaeger, a senior vice president for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said Wednesday. "A lot of that supply is out there, and it's not being used."

 On Thursday, New York is scheduled to start transferring vaccine doses to pharmacies in the state, Jaeger said. Ohio and Colorado are expected to start transferring vaccine doses to pharmacies very soon, she said.

In addition, the association wants states to soon start sending doses of vaccine directly from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies.

Nineteen pharmacy chains and associations have partnered with the federal government to carry out vaccinations in their stores. The federal pharmacy partnership program was announced by US Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar in November.  Jaeger said the program is expected to begin in early to mid-February with the exact start date dependent on vaccine supply.