The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Sharon Braithwaite, Meg Wagner and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 12:08 a.m. ET, January 23, 2021
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7:09 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Vaccinating all Los Angeles County residents could take a year, county health official says

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Staff and volunteers distribute the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 19, in Inglewood, California.
Staff and volunteers distribute the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 19, in Inglewood, California. Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

At the current rate Los Angeles County is receiving its doses of the coronavirus vaccine, it would take up to a year to vaccinate all of its adult residents, Dr. Paul Simon, L.A. County chief science officer for the Department of Public Health, said in a briefing Friday.

The county has an extremely limited supply of doses and is expected to receive only 150,000 doses next week, Simon said. At this rate, “the vaccination efforts will likely extend well into 2022.”

If allocations double, vaccinations for adults in Los Angeles County could be completed by the end of 2021, he added.

By the numbers: As of Thursday, at least 441,000 doses of the vaccines have been administered in the county.

With the lower number of doses arriving next week, Simon said he expects the county’s mass vaccination sites to be operating at less than max capacity and provide about 2,000 to 2,400 doses of the vaccine a day.

According to a news release from the public health department, the county “has only received enough vaccination supply to inoculate 1 in 4 people who are currently eligible.”

Simon said that two million people in the county are currently eligible for the vaccine, which includes about 800,000 health care workers and 1.3 million residents who are 65 years and older.

He repeatedly asked residents for their patience as the county continues to work hard to get more people vaccinated.

Los Angeles County on Friday reported 9,277 new cases of the virus and 256 additional deaths.

The public health department said the amount of new cases this week are “considerably lower,” with a 30% decrease in the seven-day average of daily cases from last week. The test positivity rate has also dropped to 12.7% from 20.8% on Jan. 1, a 39% drop in three weeks.

To date: Los Angeles has a total of 1,054,802 confirmed cases and 14,894 deaths. With over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the nation.

5:25 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Publix expands vaccinations to nearly 400 locations across three states

From CNN's Natasha Chen

Publix has expanded its Covid-19 vaccination efforts to nearly 400 locations across three states, according to statement from the grocery store and pharmacy chain.

Publix is currently offering Covid-19 vaccinations in three out of seven states where they operate stores. That includes 108 locations in Georgia, 42 locations in South Carolina and 242 locations in Florida.

“More demand than supply is the Achilles’ heel,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of communications. 

As an example of overwhelming demand, Brous said new appointments became available in Florida on Friday morning. The open 48,900 appointment slots were taken in less than three hours. At any given time, 300,000 users were in the online waiting room, attempting to schedule an appointment.

Brous said the Publix website has not crashed since appointments first became available.

Brous told CNN that there is uncertainty in the consistency and quantity of vaccine shipments they will receive. As a result, Publix does not add appointment availability until a new shipment has arrived and the doses have been verified. An announcement is then made one day ahead of any new appointments becoming available online.

Publix works with each state’s governor on which areas to serve, and eligibility and residency requirements.  

5:11 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

UK coronavirus variant may be linked to "higher degree of mortality," prime minister says

From CNN's Nada Bashir, Samira Said and Michael Nedelman

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a coronavirus press conference at 10 Downing Street on January 22, in London.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a coronavirus press conference at 10 Downing Street on January 22, in London. Leon Neal/Getty Images

The coronavirus variant first identified in the UK “may be associated with a higher degree of mortality” in infected patients, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday during a news briefing at Downing Street.

“I must tell you this afternoon that we’ve been informed today that, in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant – the variant that was first identified in London and the South East – may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Johnson said. 

Researchers are still looking at the data and there is still a lot of uncertainty.

Patrick Vallance, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, said it looks like the variant is more deadly when looking at the total population that becomes infected.

"If you took somebody in their 60s — a man in their 60s — the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to, unfortunately, die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die," he said.

Vallance said the increase in risk would affect all age groups.

This evidence comes from several groups in the UK that found an increased risk of death for people infected with the variant compared to people infected with other forms of the coronavirus. In four analyses cited by a government advisory group, these estimates ranged between roughly 1.3 and 1.9 times higher risk of death. At least one analysis among hospitalized patients did not.

The advisory group, known as NERVTAG, concluded there is a “realistic possibility” that variant is linked to a higher risk of death. However, the researchers said the absolute risk of death for an individual remains low, and more data will be needed to provide definitive proof. For example, in some cases the data came from less than 10% of all deaths reported.

Vallance stressed that "there's a lot of uncertainty around these numbers and we need more work to get a precise handle on it. But it obviously is of concern that this has an increase in mortality, as well as an increase in transmissibility, as it appears of today."

He noted that when it comes to patients who are hospitalized with Covid-19, there is not an increased risk of mortality.

“When we look at data from hospitals, so patients who are in hospital with the virus, the outcomes for those with the original virus or the new variant look the same,” he said.

UK Prime Minister Johnson said "both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant."

4:15 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

CDC reports nearly 1.6 million Covid-19 vaccines given on Friday

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images
Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that 1.6 million more vaccines have been given out, the biggest single-day increase yet reported. 

The CDC data showed how more than 19 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the US, about 48% of the nearly 40 million doses that have been distributed.

What you need to know: States have 72 hours to report vaccine data, so data published by the CDC may be delayed – and may not necessarily mean all doses were given on the day reported.

The number of administered doses reported this week was 22% higher than last week.

About 5% of the US population – about 16.2 million people – has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 2.8 million people are fully vaccinated.

3:57 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

19 Capitol Police officers test positive for Covid-19 after Jan. 6 riot

From CNN’s Nadia Kounang

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Nineteen police officers have tested positive for coronavirus two weeks after the Capitol riot, the union representing Capitol Police said Friday.

“The union was advised there are 19 confirmed positive cases since Jan 6th, ” Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in an email to CNN. 

The union could not confirm that all 19 were on duty the day of the attack.

Health officials have worried that the mass of largely unmasked people, many shouting and pushing, would result in the spread of the virus. Several police officers were directly assaulted.

“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,” former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a previous interview with the McClatchy newspaper group.

At least four members of Congress have also tested positive for coronavirus after the attack earlier this month.

3:37 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

France surpasses 3 million coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in France since the beginning of the pandemic surpassed the three million mark Friday, according to data from the National Health Agency.

There have been at least 3,011,257 coronavirus cases since the pandemic started.

On Friday, a further 23,292 cases were recorded, as well as at least 649 additional deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to at least at least 72,647. 

The French government has outlined its objective to bring the daily number of new cases down to 5,000 as a precondition to lifting coronavirus restrictions. Speaking on Tuesday, Health Minister Olivier Véran said the current infection rate is “both high and relatively stable,” with “around 20,000” cases a day.

3:12 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

UK infection rate still too high to consider lifting national lockdown, prime minister says

From CNN's Nada Bashir

The UK government cannot consider lifting national lockdown measures while rates of infection and hospital admissions remain “so very high,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday.

“We really can’t begin to consider unlocking until we’re confident that the vaccination program is working, until we’re confident that we don’t have new variants or changes in our understanding of the virus,” Johnson said.

“We think this is the right package of measures to deal with the new variant and we don’t want to change them. What we want to see is people enforcing them and people obeying them, that’s the crucial thing,” he added.

Speaking during a news briefing at Downing Street, the prime minister noted that “some signs of flattening in the data” have been observed, but warned that the number of infections is “still very high” across the country.

“If unlocking were to lead to another big rebound, I think that would be the wrong thing and the wrong way to approach it,” Johnson said.

“We’ve got to be in a position where the rate of infection is not still so high, and it’s very high right now,” he added.

On Friday, the UK reported 40,261 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the UK since the pandemic began to at least 3,583,907.

3:46 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Spain's health ministry reports highest weekly rise in Covid-19 deaths since pandemic's first wave

From CNN’s Tim Lister

The Spanish Health Ministry reported Friday that at least 1,411 people have died in the past week from coronavirus – the highest weekly death toll in the country since the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.

The ministry also reported at least 193,139 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week.

At least 2,499,560 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Spain since the beginning of the pandemic.

Much of Spain remains in strict lockdown, with overnight curfews and entertainment venues closed. 

The community of Madrid introduced new measures Friday, restricting movement overnight between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., closing commercial outlets from 9 p.m. and further restricting private gatherings, with no more than four people allowed to meet unless they live in the same home. The measures come into effect Monday.

The health ministry also reported a slight increase in the number of vaccine doses so far administered – to at least 1,165,825. However, the number of vaccination doses distributed to Spain's regions has not risen since Wednesday. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that this week's death toll was the highest on record. It's the highest since the pandemic's first wave.

2:12 p.m. ET, January 22, 2021

Louisiana governor asks residents to wear masks as more contagious variant is confirmed in state 

From CNN’s Amanda Watts 

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards implored residents to continue to wear a mask as the UK variant is confirmed in states across the nation. Last week the Louisiana State Department of Health identified at least one case of the UK variant in its state.  

“This variant spreads more easily from one person to another than other viral strains currently circulating in the United States, though It has not been shown to cause more severe disease,” their statement said.

Health officials warn there are likely many more cases in the state that they have not been able to identify.  

During a Friday briefing, Edwards said with the variant confirmed, it’s more important than ever to wear a mask – regardless of political party. 

“That virus doesn't know or care whether someone who wears a mask or doesn't wear a mask is a Republican or Democrat or independent, or who they voted for,” Edwards said.