February 5 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Jo Shelley, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 AM ET, Sat February 6, 2021
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3:20 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

NFL says it will use every team stadium as a Covid-19 vaccination site

From CNN's David Close

Medical staff inoculate the public and first responders against Covid-19 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on February 1.
Medical staff inoculate the public and first responders against Covid-19 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on February 1. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has written President Biden to commit the use of every team stadium as a mass vaccination site.

Goodell’s letter, addressed to Biden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. and obtained by CNN, pledges that the league will work with federal and regional health officials to ensure each of the 32 NFL teams’ participation in the effort. 

“The NFL and our 32 member clubs are committed to doing our part to ensure that vaccines are as widely accessible in our communities as possible," Goodell wrote. “To that end, each NFL team will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials."

Goodell added: “We can expand our efforts to stadiums across the nation more effectively because many of our clubs have offered their facilities previously as Covid testing centers as well as election sites over the past several months.”

Seven NFL clubs have already activated their stadiums or nearby sites as vaccination centers.

The teams are:

  • Arizona Cardinals (State Farm Stadium)
  • Atlanta Falcons (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
  • Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium)
  • Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium)
  • Houston Texans (NRG Park)
  • Miami Dolphins (Hard Rock Stadium)
  • New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium)
3:16 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

Congress passes key step to allow Democrats to pass Covid-19 relief without threat of GOP filibuster

From CNN's Ted Barrett, Paul LeBlanc and Clare Foran

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C., on February 5.
The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C., on February 5. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The House has passed the Senate-amended budget resolution by a final vote of 219-209. 

Rep. Jared Golden was the only Democrat to vote against the resolution. No Republicans voted for it.

Both chambers of Congress have now passed a budget resolution, a key procedural step that sets up the ability for Democrats to pass President Biden's sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package without the threat of a filibuster from Republicans who oppose it.

The Senate passed the budget resolution early Friday morning 51-50 on a party line vote after Vice President Kamala Harris showed up at the Capitol to break the tie.

The House passed the resolution later in the day Friday. The House had already passed the budget measure earlier in the week, but because it was amended in the Senate it needed to go back to the House for a final vote.

Passage in the Senate followed hours of voting on amendments in an exhausting ritual known as a "vote-a-rama," when senators can theoretically offer as many amendments to the budget resolution as they desire.

Those amendments largely serve as a way for each party to force the other side on the record about controversial issues, and most of the GOP amendments were defeated.

But the process also highlighted some bipartisan consensus. One of the more significant amendments came from a bipartisan group of senators, led by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, that would prevent "upper income taxpayers" from being eligible to receive $1,400 Covid relief checks.

While the amendment was adopted 99-1, it is not binding and does not mean that the eligibility requirements will be changed in the final Covid relief bill. But it expresses broad consensus to make the changes.

3:11 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

One million Moderna Covid-19 doses will be allocated to US pharmacies next week

From CNN's Samira Said

Vials of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine sit at a walk up vaccination site in San Francisco on February 3.
Vials of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine sit at a walk up vaccination site in San Francisco on February 3. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US government is expected to begin shipping Covid-19 directly to pharmacies next week, with one million doses of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine being allocated for the initial rollout.

"The program, for the first week, is going to get one million doses of the Moderna vaccine," Kathleen Jaeger, vice president of pharmacy care and patient advocacy for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said Friday at virtual press briefing.

The Biden administration announced this week that the vaccine rollout, called the federal retail pharmacy program, will launch on Feb. 11. The nation's pharmacies have the capacity to administer 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in 30 days, but will need enough doses to do so, according the NACDS.

"Ultimately NACDS member pharmacies can meet and exceed the 100 million vaccinations in a month threshold, yet it's important to understand that the supply of vaccines remains the rate limiting factor in the vaccination effort," Steven Anderson, the organization's president and CEO, said.

The critical issue right now is the limited supply of vaccine.

"It's not vaccination sites, and it's not vaccinators, it is the supply of the vaccine," Jaeger said.

Jeager said the doses provided to pharmacies as part of the program will come directly from the federal government, not from supply provided to states. She said the program will expand as more supply becomes available and additional coronavirus vaccines are authorized for emergency use.

Pharmacies will still be required to follow state-level eligibility requirements, which Jaeger said is a point of confusion in the nationwide rollout.

"As of the beginning of the week, we had about six states still in Phase 1A, we had about 42 in Phase 1B, and we had three in 1C," she said. "The big issue is that the administration is asking all states to move to 65 and above. Whether or not those states and local jurisdictions do so — that will be up to them."

2:20 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

Madrid detects first case of Brazilian coronavirus variant

From CNN’s Al Goodman in Spain and Duarte Mendonça in Portugal 

The first case of the Brazilian coronavirus variant has been detected in the Madrid region, Madrid's health officials confirmed in a statement on Friday.

“This is a 44-year-old man from Brazil, who has entered Spain through the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport,” the statement said.

“The man had a negative PCR at origin, but upon arrival at the airport from Madrid, an antigen test was performed with a positive result. Subsequently, he was transferred to the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital where he underwent a PCR with positive results,” the statement added.

The confirmed case comes two days after Spain introduced restrictions on flights from Brazil and South Africa, in an effort to control the spread of new variants of the virus.

1:55 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

House majority leader hopes to bring Covid relief bill for floor vote the week of Feb. 22

From CNN's Kristin Wilson, Ted Barrett and Paul LeBlanc

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer walks through the U.S. Capitol on January 12 in Washington, DC.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer walks through the U.S. Capitol on January 12 in Washington, DC. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer briefly spoke with reporters on his way to the House floor, and said that they hope to bring a Covid relief bill to the floor the week of Feb. 22.

Hoyer said there’s a chance they could call the House back early, but that it is unlikely. 

“There's a chance,” he said. “But the committee largely believe they're going to need the two weeks, not only the 12 committees, but also then the rules committee, I mean the budget committee that has to put it all together.”

Where things stand now: The Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday morning — a key procedural step that sets up the ability for Democrats to pass Biden's sweeping Covid-19 relief package without the threat of a filibuster from Republicans who oppose it.

The budget resolution that passed is not the Covid relief bill. It simply sets the stage for Democrats to be able to use a process known as "budget reconciliation" to pass the relief bill on a party-line vote, possibly in late February or March, after the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is complete in the Senate.

Embedded in the budget resolution are reconciliation instructions for multiple congressional committees to formally draft and approve legislation on things like funds for vaccine production and distribution, unemployment insurance, stimulus checks and more.

Biden has said he is willing to go forward without the support of Republicans, but he's also stressed that he's willing to make certain concessions if it will earn bipartisan support.

1:51 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

US manufacturers support Biden's use of the Defense Production Act to fight Covid-19

From CNN's Alison Kosik

President Joe Biden talks with House Democratic leaders and committee chairs in the Oval Office at the White House February 5 in Washington, DC. 
President Joe Biden talks with House Democratic leaders and committee chairs in the Oval Office at the White House February 5 in Washington, DC.  Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

The National Association of Manufacturers said Friday that “the Biden administration is demonstrating that they have listened to manufacturers and are seeking a true partnership in defeating COVID-19.” 

President Biden signed an executive order two weeks ago directing US agencies to use the Defense Production Act in the fight against coronavirus. On Friday, the administration announced it plans to use the law in three key areas: equipment and supplies for Pfizer vaccine production, an increase in at-home or point of care testing, and personal protective equipment, particularly gloves, for front-line workers.

In a statement, NAM’s CEO Jay Timmons said, “Manufacturers stand ready to continue doing our part.” 

“Manufacturers have consistently advised the federal government that the Defense Production Act is most productive if deployed in a way that fosters partnership and provides incentives—rather than imposing demands or punitive measures,” Timmons added.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the biggest manufacturing association in the US.

3:51 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

CNN's Go There is at Yankee Stadium where we answer your questions about the new mass vaccination site

Mass vaccinations are rolling out across the US. The mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium opened today, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news release that there would be 15,000 appointments available during the first week.

The site was targeted because of the Bronx’s positivity rate, which is the highest among all New York City boroughs, but also to “further the state’s and city’s mandate for fairness and social equity in the vaccine distribution process,” according to the release.

CNN's Athena Jones answers your questions from the vaccine site at Yankee Stadium in New York.

WATCH:

CNN's Rob Frehse contributed reporting to this post. 

1:45 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

White House outlines Biden's coronavirus-related events next week

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on February 5 in Washington, DC.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on February 5 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

President Biden will maintain a schedule of events focused on the pandemic and his Covid-19 relief bill while the Senate turns its attention to the impeachment trial of his predecessor next week.

“Next week, the President will be focused on engaging with bipartisan groups on the American Rescue Plan and other key priorities, including current vaccine distribution and national security,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Friday’s press briefing.

These are some of the events she outlined:

  • On Monday, he will virtually tour a vaccination center.
  • On Wednesday, Biden will visit the Pentagon to meet with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
  • On Thursday, he will visit the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
1:40 p.m. ET, February 5, 2021

WHO will release its recommendation for two AstraZeneca vaccines on Feb. 15 

From CNN’s Ashley Ahn

An assembly line for manufacturing vials of Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine is pictured at India's Serum Institute in Pune, India, on January 22.
An assembly line for manufacturing vials of Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine is pictured at India's Serum Institute in Pune, India, on January 22. Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization said it would release its recommendations for versions of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine made in India and South Korea on Feb. 15.

WHO Assistant Director-General Mariângela Simão said WHO received the information it needs from the Serum Institute of India on Jan. 15, and the last data from South Korea's SK Bioscience on Jan. 29, for assessment under WHO's Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

“This data only came to WHO a few weeks ago just to make this very clear. What we had was the AstraZeneca coordinator, because AstraZeneca has eight manufacturing sites,” Simão said Friday.

Simão also called on the vaccine manufactures that have more advanced vaccine candidates finalized in Phase 2b or Phase 3 trials to participate in WHO's Emergency Use Listing, so that countries lacking experience in assessing vaccines can rely on WHO’s assessment to issue an emergency use authorization. 

“WHO can only progress if it receives the information it needs from the companies,” Simão said. “That’s the call that we have.”