The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

By Sarah Faidell, Brad Lendon, Joshua Berlinger, Mary Ilyushina and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 8:38 a.m. ET, February 19, 2021
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11:39 p.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Covid-19 vaccines will be available for all Americans by July, but vaccination process will take longer, Fauci says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

Even though the United States will have enough Covid-19 vaccines for all Americans by at least the end of July, it may take an additional couple of months to get everyone vaccinated, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the US needs "about 600 million doses" to vaccinate the entire population. 

"How long it will take to vaccinate people will really depend upon the efficiency with which you get doses into people's arms," Fauci told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday.

Countdown to herd immunity: Fauci said he believes between 70% and 85% of the population may need to get immunized against coronavirus for herd immunity to take effect.

"I hope that by the time we get to that point, whereas the President said, we have enough available for anyone who wants it, that people come forward and we actually do vaccinate that 70 to 85% of the population, which hopefully will get us to the point of herd immunity," he said.

10:52 p.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Covid-19 infections have fallen by two-thirds in England, study finds

From CNN’s Sarah Dean and Meera Senthilingam in London

Patients wait after receiving their Covid-19 jabs at a vaccination centre at Salisbury Cathedral on February 11, in Salisbury, England.
Patients wait after receiving their Covid-19 jabs at a vaccination centre at Salisbury Cathedral on February 11, in Salisbury, England. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Covid-19 infections in England have fallen by more than two-thirds in recent weeks, initial findings from a survey on community prevalence show. 

The interim findings from the ninth report of REACT-1, a study into Covid-19 infections in England, were released Thursday by Imperial College London.

More than 85,400 volunteers were tested with throat and nose swabs in England between February 4 and 13 to examine the levels of infection in the general population.

The findings show national prevalence fell by two thirds — from 1.57% to 0.51%, or 51 per 10,000 infected. This is a significant decline in infections compared to the last report from January 6 to 22. England entered its third national lockdown of the pandemic on January. 6.

“These encouraging results show that lockdown measures are effectively bringing infections down. It’s reassuring that the reduction in numbers of infections occurred in all ages and in most regions across the country,” Paul Elliott, director of the program at Imperial, said in a statement. 

The decline in prevalence was larger in some regions, in particular in London where it fell from 2.83% to 0.54% since the last report.

“In London, South East and West Midlands, prevalence fell by around 80%, although declines were smaller in the northern regions,” the Imperial report says.

Prevalence fell substantially across all age groups with highest prevalence among 18- to 24-year-olds at 0.89% and those between the ages of 5 and 12 at 0.86%, the report adds. The report concludes that although there is a " strong decline" in prevalence of coronavirus in England among the general population five to six weeks into lockdown, it still remains high — "at levels similar to those observed in late September 2020."

There are also still more people hospitalized with Covid-19 than at the peak of the first wave in April 2020.

The UK began its mass vaccination campaign in December, offering nearly all people over 70 a vaccine during January and February. It has now given more than 15 million people a first dose.

“The fall in prevalence was similar among those aged 65 years and over compared with other age groups, suggesting that if vaccines are effective at reducing transmission as well as disease, this effect is not yet a major driver of prevalence trends. Therefore, the observed falls described here are most likely due to reduced social interactions during lockdown,” the report reads.

“We do not yet know whether being vaccinated stops someone from passing the virus on to others,” England’s Department of Health added.

However, on Tuesday the UK Office for National Statistics reported almost 41% of over-80s in England tested positive for antibodies "most likely due to the high vaccination rate in this group.”

12:20 a.m. ET, February 18, 2021

NBA sees an increase in players testing positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Jacob Lev 

An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020, in New York City. 
An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020, in New York City.  Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

A week after the league revealed just one player tested positive for Covid-19, the NBA announced on Wednesday that five new players have tested positive for the virus during the league's latest monitoring window. 

The league reports 454 players were tested since February 10. 

After going over a week with no NBA games postponed due to Covid-19 protocols, the league has now postponed six games in the past few days. The San Antonio Spurs have had their next four games postponed due to positive tests within the team. The Charlotte Hornets, who played the Spurs Sunday, have had their next two games postponed. 

According to the NBA, 30 NBA games have been postponed this season as a result of the league's health and safety protocols.