February 1 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, February 2, 2021
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6:55 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

If you've been infected with Covid-19, there's a "very high rate of reinfection" with new variant, Fauci says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on February 1.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on February 1. CNN via Webex Cisco

Even if you've had coronavirus,  there's a "very high rate" of being reinfected with the new variants if they become dominant, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. 

"If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicate that even if you've been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection, at least with the South African variant that's the one that we know the most about when it comes to reinfection," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday. 

Fauci emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent severe and potentially fatal illness that may require hospitalization.

"We need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can, and when vaccine becomes available to individuals please take the vaccine, even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there's enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and deaths. So, vaccination is critical," Fauci said. 

Read more about the new Covid-19 variants here.

Watch more:

5:49 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

National Hockey League postpones next 3 New Jersey Devils games

From CNN's David Close

A general view of the arena is seen at the Prudential Center on January 24 in Newark, New Jersey.
A general view of the arena is seen at the Prudential Center on January 24 in Newark, New Jersey. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The National Hockey League (NHL) has postponed the next three New Jersey Devils games after four additional players were added to the Covid-19 Protocol Absence list.

The Devils now have 10 players on the list – Mackenzie Blackwood, Connor Carrick, Aaron Dell, Andreas Johnsson, Janne Kuokkanen, Michael McLeod, Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen, Pavel Zacha, and Travis Zajac.

The team says its training facilities have been closed indefinitely to all players on the active roster. 

There have been 14 NHL games postponed this season due to Covid-19 related issues. 

The statement from the league reads as follows:

The National Hockey League announced today that as a result of four additional New Jersey Devils Players being added today to the NHL’s COVID Protocol Related Absence List, the team’s games will be postponed at least through Saturday, Feb. 6.
As an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed to all Players on the Club’s active roster, effective immediately, and will remain so until further notice. The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Devils’ regular season schedule. 
The Devils organization has, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.
5:45 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Biden administration says it will not conduct immigration enforcement near Covid-19 vaccine sites

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Medical workers prepare the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Mecca, California, on January 21.
Medical workers prepare the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Mecca, California, on January 21. Jae C. Hong/AP

The Biden administration is encouraging all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to get the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that federal immigration agencies will not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics,” according to a Homeland Security statement. 

The statement is a significant departure from the department’s tone under the Trump administration, which sought to clamp down on illegal immigration. 

“DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the department said in a statement.  

US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – two immigration enforcement agencies under DHS – usually refrain from enforcement actions when faced with extraordinary circumstances, like a hurricane, and at sensitive locations, like hospitals.  

On Monday, the department said CBP and ICE will also not conduct enforcement operations “at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.” 

5:33 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Animals unlikely to spread Covid-19 to humans, but precautions are important, CDC says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

There’s no evidence animals are playing a significant role in the spread of coronavirus to people, but precautions are important, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Monday.

“Based on limited information available to date, the risk of animals, including pets, spreading Covid-19 to people is considered to be low,” CDC official Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh said during a briefing Monday.

Evidence suggests that Covid-19 likely originated in animals before becoming widespread among humans.

“As of the middle of January, we're aware of 187 animals from 22 countries with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,” she added, noting those numbers do not include mink on mink farms. Behravesh said that companion animals, especially cats and dogs, are the leading group of animal species impacted by coronavirus.

While animal to human transmission risk is low, people can spread coronavirus to their pets, Behravesh said. Those who may have Covid-19 can protect their pets from transmission the same way they would with other humans. 

She said infected people should avoid contact with pets and wear a mask when contact can’t be avoided. 

People who suspect their pets may have coronavirus should consult with a veterinarian, Behravesh added. She noted that among 93 cases of Covid-19 in cat and dogs in the US, 53% showed no symptoms. The most common symptoms reported in animals have been respiratory sings, like coughing or sneezing. Other symptoms reported include fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.

Pets who have tested positive for coronavirus should be isolated away from humans and other animals, she said.

There’s no evidence that pets are carrying or spreading coronavirus on their skin or hair, and it’s important not to wipe or bathe pets with chemical disinfectants, Behravesh said.

“Pet poison controls have actually had an increase in calls due to these types of exposures among pets,” she said. 

The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 in animals, Behravesh noted.

5:03 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Michigan has administered over one million Covid-19 vaccines, governor says

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Beaumont Health Care workers receive their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at their service center in Southfield, Michigan, on December 15, 2020.
Beaumont Health Care workers receive their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at their service center in Southfield, Michigan, on December 15, 2020. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Michigan has administered over one million Covid-19 vaccines, according to a release from the governor’s office. 

“Reaching this milestone is good news for our families, frontline workers, and small business owners, but there is more work to do,” Whitmer said. “My administration is working closely with the federal government to help us get the supply we need to reach our goal and return to the normalcy we all crave. I ask for patience from Michiganders as our frontline workers work around the clock to administer vaccines.”

Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of Michigan's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, added that members of the Michigan National Guard continue working hard to administer vaccines across the state.

“One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it becomes available to you,” Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. “The state and our partners in health care and business will continue working day and night to reach our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day.” 


4:34 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

First Covid-19 UK variant identified in South Carolina has history of international travel

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

The first case of the B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19 identified in South Carolina has a history of international travel, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The state's first known case of the variant was identified in an adult from the Lowcountry region who traveled internationally, the agency said in a statement dated Jan. 30. 

No further details will be released to protect the person's privacy, the agency added.

4:31 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

American Airlines updates mask policy to match Biden administration

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Travelers are seen at the American Airlines check-in counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on October 1, 2020.
Travelers are seen at the American Airlines check-in counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on October 1, 2020. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

American Airlines is updating its mask rules to match the Biden administration’s new transportation mask mandate.

American says passengers claiming a medical exemption must ask for airline approval and show proof of a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of their flight—a caveat laid out in a CDC order published last Friday.

American is also updating its rules on bandanas and gaiters, now more restricted under the new federal rules.

Starting Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration will begin enforcing masks in airports, at security checkpoints, and on-board flights. 

American Airlines COO David Seymour said “this federal mandate will provide additional support to our crew members who are working diligently to enforce our policy and further reinforce the safety of air travel during COVID-19.”

4:18 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

3 cases of UK variant discovered in Iowa, state health officials say

From CNN’s Keith Allen

The B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19, colloquially known as the UK variant, has been detected in Iowa, according to a news release from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Three cases of the variant have been discovered in the Hawkeye State, with two cases detected in Johnson County and the third case appearing in Bremer County, IDPH says. All three cases are adults, and the presence of the variant was identified by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL), according to IDPH.

“IDPH and local public health have already initiated contact with these cases to understand their exposures and initiate the health monitoring process. The process will include notifying anyone with whom these individuals have been in close contact. The individuals will be advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance,” IDPH notes in the news release obtained by CNN affiliate KWWL.

Regarding the three cases, “state and local public health officials are conducting additional epidemiological investigation to gather more details about illness, travel history, and potential exposures,” IDPH spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand tells CNN in an email Monday afternoon.

4:07 p.m. ET, February 1, 2021

Colorado sees Covid-19 variants as cases trend downward and vaccinations increase

From CNN’s Laurie Ure

A site tester administers a COVID test at Echo Park Stadium on December 30, 2020, in Parker, Colorado.
A site tester administers a COVID test at Echo Park Stadium on December 30, 2020, in Parker, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Colorado is seeing variants of Covid-19, just as the number of cases in the state ticks downward and the number of vaccinated residents increases, according to state health officials.  

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's epidemiologist, told reporters during a Zoom news conference that scientists have identified a total of 16 Covid-19 variants in the state, 13 of which are known as the United Kingdom's B117 variant. Three are the variant known as L4524 that's been causing infections in California.

Herlihy said that the number of Covid-19 cases in Colorado has been steadily declining after a "little bit of a holiday spike." Similarly, hospitalizations have declined over that same period, she said.

Brigadier Gen. Scott Sherman of Colorado's National Guard, who's honchoing the state's vaccine distribution said 90% of moderate risk, front-line healthcare workers have received both doses of the vaccine, 100% of skilled nursing facilities have received their first doses, he said, with 71% receiving a second.

Thirty-nine percent of Coloradans aged 70 and older have received their first vaccine dose, Sherman said, as they move towards a goal of 70% of those 70 and older getting vaccinated by the end of February. 

Sherman said he's hoping 75% or higher of educators can be fully vaccinated by March 5, ahead of spring break, depending on how many teachers are up for taking the vaccine. 

Sherman said state health officials are "working hard" on vaccine distribution equity across the state diverse population, and on better transparency regarding that issue.