January 19 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Sharon Braithwaite and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021
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8:03 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

CDC's vaccine advisers schedule emergency meeting for next week

From CNN Health's Maggie Fox

Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have scheduled an emergency meeting for next week to discuss coronavirus vaccines.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) plans a meeting for Wednesday, January 27, to discuss progress in administering vaccine doses, safety of the vaccines, testing of the vaccines in children and studies on the effectiveness of the vaccine.

There is also a time slot for a Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer to present, but the name of the manufacturer is to be determined. Johnson & Johnson is expected to report on Phase 3 clinical trials for its experimental coronavirus vaccine by the end of the month.

ACIP members are not expected to vote during the one-day meeting, a CDC spokeswoman said.

8:02 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Trump administration is leaving Biden with "confusing" Covid-19 vaccine numbers

From CNN's Sara Murray, Jacqueline Howard and Kristen Holmes

States across the country say they're running low on coronavirus vaccine supply, with many officials insisting the vaccine delivery numbers reported by the Trump administration don't align with what they are seeing on the ground.

From New York to Tennessee to West Virginia, officials are clamoring for more doses of coronavirus vaccine. And officials in those states said that federal tallies suggesting they have thousands of doses sitting on the shelves don't accurately reflect the supply of vaccine on hand.

The confusion around vaccine supply -- and the gap between what officials said is happening locally and the numbers the Trump administration is reporting -- presents an immediate challenge for the incoming Biden administration.

A source close to the Biden transition team said there is enormous concern among the incoming administration about the accuracy of the numbers that have been released by the federal government. It was only within the last few days that the transition team was given access to Tiberius, the system that shows states how many doses are available to them and allows states to determine delivery locations.

Until then, the team was working solely off numbers they received from manufacturers, unable to cross check and confirm, the source told CNN on Tuesday.

All of this means the Biden team still isn't sure what it will be confronted with when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday. Despite frustration, the source said Biden's team has been hesitant to broadcast just how they were left in the dark out of concern that the Trump administration would stop cooperating altogether.

Read the story here.

6:39 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Vermont Gov. will quarantine after possible coronavirus exposure at coronavirus briefing

By CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Artemis Moshtaghian

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott stands on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse during a ceremony where he took the Oath of Office on Thursday, January 7, in Montpelier, Vermont.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott stands on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse during a ceremony where he took the Oath of Office on Thursday, January 7, in Montpelier, Vermont. Wilson Ring/AP

Top Vermont officials will quarantine and be tested "out of an abundance of caution," after a contractor who provided services at state coronavirus briefings tested positive for Covid-19.

Governor Phil Scott and Health Department Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine are among the officials who could have been exposed at the Jan 15 and Jan 19 briefings, according to a release from Scott's office, which reads:

The briefings are conducted under state guidance, with safety protocols, including physical distancing, in place. 
However, out of an abundance of caution, because they speak at the podium for extended periods of time, Governor Scott, Dr. Levine, and other administration officials in attendance will quarantine and be tested based on guidance from the Vermont Department of Health. 

According to the release, state contact tracers have started their investigation and will provide guidance to all those who are identified as close contacts. The Governor’s Office has reached out to those in attendance at the briefings.

Scott will continue working remotely “until further notice,” the release said.

6:25 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

The US added 100k new Covid-19 deaths in less than half the time it took to reach the first 100k

From CNN Health’s Virginia Langmaid

The United States reported more than 400,000 total Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

This is the quickest the country has ever added 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 -- and it occurred in under half the time it took the U.S. to report its first 100,000 Covid-19 deaths. 

Per Johns Hopkins University:

  • May 23, 2020: 100K total Covid-19 deaths, 84 days after the first death
  • September 21, 2020: 200K total Covid-19 deaths, 121 days after hitting 100K
  • December 14, 2020: 300K total Covid-19 deaths, 84 days after hitting 200K
  • January 19, 2021: 400K total Covid-19 deaths, 36 days after hitting 300K

 

The US currently averages 3,237 new Covid-19 deaths per day.

6:06 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

BinaxNOW rapid antigen Covid-19 test not as sensitive among people with no symptoms, CDC report suggests

By CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

A COVID-19 test is performed using the Abbot BinaxNOW rapid test at the Fairgrounds on December 7, 2020 in Livingston, Montana.
A COVID-19 test is performed using the Abbot BinaxNOW rapid test at the Fairgrounds on December 7, 2020 in Livingston, Montana. William Campbell/Getty Images

Abbott’s BinaxNOW Rapid antigen Covid-19 test can miss positive cases, especially among people with no symptoms, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday.

The researchers compared results of Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test with gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests from 3,419 people tested at two Arizona community testing sites in November. All participants were given both tests.

The rapid antigen test was only able to detect infection in 64.2% of people with symptoms who tested positive by PCR. It only detected 35.8% of people with no symptoms who had tested positive on a PCR test, the researchers found.

Using PCR tests as the standard, researchers also found four false-positive rapid antigen test results among people with no symptoms. 

Among 299 people who tested positive with a PCR test, 47.5% got false negative results from the rapid antigen test.

Nevertheless, rapid antigen tests can still be a helpful screening tool to more quickly isolate people with the virus in community settings, the researchers wrote in the CDC’s weekly MMWR report.

They also noted that they studied the Abbott BinaxNow rapid antigen test, and cautioned against generalizing the results to other antigen tests.

7:36 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Vaccine shipments compromised by temperature issues in Michigan

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Michigan health authorities say several shipments of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine were compromised after their temperature was reported as going out of range, during shipment. 

Doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine shipped on Sunday had their temperature reported as getting too cold, according to a statement released by Michigan State Police.

Moderna vaccine distributor McKesson re-sent the majority of the 21 shipments on Monday night and expects to ship the rest by Tuesday.

The state did not indicate the exact number of doses that were in the shipments.

An additional six shipments slated for Michigan were held back to check that there were no issues with the vaccine.

“This is the first report of vaccine potentially being compromised during shipment in Michigan and we are working quickly with the distributor to have replacement vaccine shipped out,” Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a statement.

Consequently, a number of counties and vaccination centers across Michigan have been forced to cancel or reschedule vaccinations due to the shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines delivered to the state, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

7:35 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Existing Covid-19 vaccines will likely protect from new variants, says incoming CDC director

By CNN Health's Lauren Mascarenhas

A syringe is filled with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts on January 12.
A syringe is filled with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts on January 12. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

Because the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines in the US is very high, they are likely provide some protection even against emerging variants of the virus, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, incoming director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Tuesday.

“The efficacy of the vaccine is so good and so high, that we have a little bit of a cushion,” Walensky told JAMA editor-in-chief Howard Bauchner.

With a starting point of about 95% efficacy, Walensky said that even if the vaccines are slightly less effective against new variants, they will still be more effective than most vaccines.

"It's going to work against the variant," she said. "Will it be 95%? Maybe. Will it be 70%? Maybe. But our flu vaccines aren't 75% effective every year and we still get them."

7:35 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Effort to vaccinate in Arkansas' long-term care facilities is 'lagging,' says state governor

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaks during a press conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, on January 19.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaks during a press conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, on January 19. State of Arkansas

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said the state has administered 50% of the Covid-19 vaccine doses it has received, but the vaccination of residents and staff at long-term care facilities led by Walgreens and CVS is "lagging."

147,609 vaccine doses have been administered of the 293,600 received so far by hospitals, state long-term facilities, and other health care providers, according to state data.

But data on vaccination at long-term care facilities done by Walgreens and CVS through a federal partnership shows only 6,626 doses of the 80,700 doses allocated have been administered -- about 8%.

"If you look at our long-term care, that is the federal partnership that we don't have as much control over, that is lagging behind," Hutchinson said, adding the pharmacies have "assured" him they will complete vaccination at long-term care facilities by the end of the month.

5:28 p.m. ET, January 19, 2021

Fauci: We need 'all hands-on deck' to combat Covid-19 and Biden made clear that’s his 'top priority'

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on January 19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on January 19. CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who received his second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine today, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he believes President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to produce and distribute 100 million vaccines in 100 days is doable.

Biden “has made it very clear to the Covid-19 team that this is a very important goal and he’s going to do whatever it takes to get there and I feel pretty confident going to be able to do that,” Fauci said.

Fauci also addressed the US surpassing 400,000 Covid-19 deaths — a milestone he predicted months ago.

“I’m sorry that, that projection came about,” Fauci said.

“Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better. So, this is a situation where we need all hands-on deck and the President-elect has made it very clear that this is his top priority,” he explained.

Watch the moment: