January 27 coronavirus news

By Zahid Mahmood, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Hannah Strange, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 28, 2021
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11:26 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

CDC projects up to 514,000 US Covid-19 deaths by February 20

From CNN’s Ben Tinker

Embalmer and funeral director Kristy Oliver, right, and funeral attendant Sam Deras load the casket of someone said to have died after contracting Covid-19 into a hearse at East County Mortuary in El Cajon, California, on January 15.
Embalmer and funeral director Kristy Oliver, right, and funeral attendant Sam Deras load the casket of someone said to have died after contracting Covid-19 into a hearse at East County Mortuary in El Cajon, California, on January 15. Mario Tama/Getty Images

An ensemble forecast from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 479,000 to 514,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by February 20, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Walensky shared the updated forecast during a White House coronavirus response team briefing on Wednesday; the numbers have not yet updated on the CDC’s website. 

Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s ensemble forecast only offers projections a few weeks into the future. The previous ensemble forecast, published January 20, projected up to 508,000 coronavirus deaths by February 13.

The latest numbers: At least 425,406 people have already died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

11:35 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Happening now: Biden's Covid-19 team gives its first briefing

The White House Covid-19 Response Team during a briefing on January 27.
The White House Covid-19 Response Team during a briefing on January 27. White House

The White House Covid-19 Response Team and federal public health officials are giving an update on the government's pandemic response.

This will be the first of regular briefings from the team. The Biden Administration has said they will prioritize sharing information about Covid-19 on a regular basis.

Here's who is participating:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president
  • Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair
  • Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the White House Covid-19 Response Team
  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Jeff Zients, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator

This briefing comes as many states' governors are frustrated with vaccine roll out and supply delays. Biden has made clear that slowing down the spread of Covid-19 and getting 100 million vaccine shots into Americans' arms in his first 100 days in office are of utmost priority – goals that will shape whether Biden's first years in office are ultimately deemed successful.

While cases seem to be trending downward after the holiday surge, experts are saying don't let down your guard yet. January is already the deadliest month for the pandemic and health departments are discovering more cases of more contagious Covid-19 variants.

11:08 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Walmart says it has thousands of stores ready to administer Covid vaccines

From CNN’s Alison Kosik

Walmart says it has more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s Club locations “that are operationally and clinically ready to administer vaccines in our facilities and in communities through vaccination events.”

In a statement Wednesday, Walmart says it is preparing this week “to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines in Maryland, Texas, Delaware, Indiana and the District of Columbia to eligible populations as determined by each district and state.” 

The world’s biggest retailer has previously said that it has been preparing for a vaccine rollout for a year and that with 150 million people passing through its doors each week, “we’re in a unique position to reach people where they already shop.”

Walmart also said that “at full capacity, we expect we will be able to deliver 10-13 million doses per month when supply and allocations allow.”

11:14 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

British Home Secretary says people need to explain reasons for travel under new border regulations

From CNN's Lauren Kent

British Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a media briefing in London on January 21.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a media briefing in London on January 21. Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Under new UK border regulations, people exiting Britain must explain their reasons for travelling, British Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Wednesday.

Whilst announcing the new measures to reduce travel in Parliament, Patel said the "rules are clear" and people should stay at home unless they have a valid reason to leave.

"We will introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a declaration as to why they need to travel. This reason to travel will be checked by carriers prior to departure," Patel said.

She added that the government would heighten police enforcement of coronavirus travel restrictions and anyone found not to have a valid reason for travel would either be "directed home" or "face a fine."

Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was set to introduce accommodations (for example hotels) for a 10 day quarantine for those who cannot be refused entry into the UK from high-risk countries.

The Home Secretary reiterated that the travelers would be people who can't be turned away but added that they will be arriving from red list countries where the UK has already imposed international travel bans. 

"They will be required to isolate for ten days without exception," Patel said, adding that the Department for Health and Social Care will set out further details on the hotel quarantine process next week. 

"We will continue to refuse entry to non-UK residents from red list countries which are already subject to the UK travel ban," she said.

11:08 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

NYC to receive 30% more doses of Moderna vaccine as a result of Biden plan

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Queens, New York, on January 11.
A vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Queens, New York, on January 11. Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York City will be getting 30% more doses of the Moderna vaccine, starting next week, resulting in 17,000 more doses each week, as a result of the Biden administration's most recent vaccine announcement.

“We’re going to need a lot more than that, but I’m also really happy,” to get those doses, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

De Blasio lauded the decision citing “real efforts in Washington, DC, to help us,” and praising President Joe Biden for “owning the mission.”

The city has to date administered 673,405 doses, de Blasio said – more people than in the entire city of Detroit Michigan.

He continues to call for the use of the defense production act, and for other pharmaceutical companies to produce the vaccines in formulas already approved.

Last week, de Blasio said the city was set to run out of vaccines soon if the state doesn’t receive more doses.

10:38 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

AstraZeneca has completed enrollment in its US Covid-19 vaccine trial

From CNN’s Michael Nedelman

Vaccine maker AstraZeneca has completed enrollment in its Phase 3 clinical trial in the US, according to slides posted to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Wednesday ahead of a presentation by a company representative. 

The slides clarify the ongoing trial, which includes more than 32,000 participants, will serve as “the primary basis” for the company’s application to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, “with supporting data” from trials abroad.

Of the 32,459 participants enrolled, 26,327 received their second dose by Jan. 21, the slides say. About two-thirds of participants in the US trial receive the vaccine, and the remaining third receive placebo.

Some background: On Sept. 6, AstraZeneca’s US trial was put on pause in the US after a trial volunteer in the UK developed neurological symptoms. The trial resumed in the US on Oct. 28, after a review by the US Food and Drug Administration concluded it was safe to do so.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States, but it has in other countries, such as the UK and India.

Earlier this month, Operation Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui projected AstraZeneca’s vaccine could be authorized in the US by the end of March. The US has contracted to purchase 300 million doses of the company’s vaccine.

10:25 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Portugal reports another daily record in Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

A health care worker walks in the Covid-19 emergency room of Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on January 11.
A health care worker walks in the Covid-19 emergency room of Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on January 11. Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

Portugal has reported 293 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours on Wednesday, according to Portuguese health authorities, reaching another record in daily deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 11,305 people have died with Covid-19 in the country.

Deaths from Covid-19 have been rising steadily after a surge in the number of cases following Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with new daily fatalities records reported in 9 of the past 10 days.

Portugal also reported at least 15,073 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the second highest since the pandemic started.

A total of 668,951 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus since the pandemic reached Portugal, 484,753 of which have since recovered. 

Some background: Portugal has the worst Covid-19 infection rate with a seven-day rolling average of 1,217.76 cases per million, according to the Oxford University’s data crunching website, Our World in Data.

The southern European nation also has the highest death rate, with a seven-day rolling average of 24.74 deaths per million.

10:01 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Local policies halting evictions may have helped prevent US Covid-19 cases, according to new analysis

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

Local policies preventing evictions and utility shutoffs may have helped reduce the spread of Covid-19, according to a new analysis by Duke University researchers.

Moratoria on evictions and utility shutoffs reduced Covid-19 cases by 8%, the researchers found, suggesting that people who can stay home safely are better able to social distance.

If enacted nationally from the start of the pandemic, the analysis estimated that halting evictions could have cut Covid-19 cases by 14% and deaths by 40%, and preventing utility shutoffs could have cut cases by 9% and deaths by 15%.

The researchers assessed trends in Covid-19 cases and deaths in US counties from March 1 to Nov. 28, and how they changed when local policies were put in place preventing evictions or shutoffs of water or electricity. County demographics, as well as health and environmental factors that have been shown to contribute to spread or increased mortality, were also considered in the analysis. 

The analysis used case and death data from The COVID Tracking Project, which may differ from data from the Johns Hopkins University data that CNN uses.

9:08 a.m. ET, January 27, 2021

Catch up: Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around Europe

From CNN's Sarah Dean

A medical staff member draws the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at NHS Nightingale North East hospital in Sunderland, England, on January 26.
A medical staff member draws the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at NHS Nightingale North East hospital in Sunderland, England, on January 26. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Europe continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic as the disagreement over vaccines continue. Here are some of the key lines from the continent today:

  • The row continues over vaccine supplies in the European Union where AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot defended their decision prioritize vaccine deliveries to the UK.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom would introduce government-provided accommodation (e.g. hotels) for 10 days for those who cannot be refused entry into the UK from high-risk countries. This comes as the country reached the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths – the first country in Europe to do so.
  • France's pharmaceutical giant Sanofi entered an agreement with German biotech company BioNTech to help produce its vaccine.
  • Today marks a grim year since coronavirus struck in Germany, where the first case was registered at a Bavarian company. The country shows no signs of reduced infections as two hospitals in a Bavarian town are now under self-quarantine as 11 people are potentially carrying the UK coronavirus variant.
  • Ireland has extended the national lockdown until March 5, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin who also announced new regulations to contain coronavirus, which include a 14-day mandatory quarantine for those traveling from South Africa and South America.