The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:16 PM ET, Tue January 25, 2022
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8:07 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

Alabama, Mississippi and Wyoming have still not fully vaccinated half of their population, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips and Jason Kurtz

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its latest report on vaccination efforts in the United States on Tuesday.

Here's a look at some key figures:

  • About 211 million people in the US are fully vaccinated. That figure represents 63.5% of the nation's total population.
  • All but three states have fully vaccinated at least half of their population. Those states are Wyoming, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • Six states have fully vaccinated at least 75% of their population: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Hawaii.
  • At least 61 million people — nearly 20% of the eligible (at least 5 years old) population — have not received any form of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Nearly 85 million people have received a Covid-19 booster dose.

Based upon a review of the last seven days, on average more than one million vaccine doses are being administered each day, with the large bulk of those doses — nearly 50% — coming in the form of the booster. By contrast, only about 270,000 people are beginning a vaccine regimen each day.

Note: CDC data on Covid-19 vaccinations are estimates. The agency notes that data on people who are fully vaccinated and those with a booster dose may be underestimated, while data on people with at least one dose may be overestimated. 

Here's a look at the pace of vaccine doses administered over time, according to CDC data:

8:05 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

Covid-19 testing sites in Colorado will close or have delayed start due to inclement weather

From CNN's Sharif Paget

Cold temperatures and icy roads expected for Wednesday will force multiple state-managed and partner community Covid-19 testing sites to be closed across Colorado or have a delayed start, according to the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (CSEOC). 

At least two testing sites — one in Denver and another in La Veta — are set to be closed, and more than 20 sites across the state will have a delayed start, the CSEOC statement read. 

Patients with Wednesday appointments are being provided information about rescheduling, CSEOC noted. 

Additional community testing sites may have to close depending on how weather conditions evolve throughout the day, according to CSEOC, which added that it will update its website with information as it comes in. 

8:08 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

Source: Downing Street prepared for report into lockdown parties to be in public domain on Wednesday

From CNN's Luke McGee

Downing Street is prepped for the Sue Gray report to be in the public domain on Wednesday, a source who is a cabinet minister told CNN. 

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry – at the prime minister's request – into reports of various parties at Johnson’s Downing Street office and garden in violation of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020.

If the report is officially published – rather than leaked ahead of publication – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a statement following Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

A full report will then be published at a later date when the opposition party has control of the business, likely Feb. 1, according to the cabinet minister who spoke to CNN. 

6:09 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

New York Covid-19 hospitalizations down by 18% compared to previous week, governor says

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Statewide Covid-19 cases are trending downward across the state with hospitalizations down 18% in New York compared to the previous week, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Tuesday. 

Last week there were about 12,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations across the state, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard, but as of Monday, hospitalizations across state are down to nearly 9,800. 

“Finally, our health care workers in some parts of the state can take a breath,” Hochul said.

The governor pointed toward the progress in bringing down the number of hospitals statewide that had to temporarily suspend elective surgeries in order to handle the overwhelming number of Covid-19 hospitalizations.

"At one time we had 47 hospitals that had to stop elective surgeries to give them more capacity and today we're down to 32,” she said.

While statewide positive Covid-19 cases fell to 12,484 Monday, the governor said it was still high, but much lower than when the state recorded an all-time peak of Covid-19 cases in the state on Jan. 7 when there were over 90,000 cases

“Testing has been a critical tool to keep schools open,” Hochul tweeted. “That's why we will have already distributed more than 14 million tests to schools by the end of this week. To continue those efforts, we're planning to send tests home with every K-12 student ahead of the Midwinter break.”

The winter surge isn’t over, Hochul said, but cases are headed in the right direction and the state is in a much better position to deal with Covid-19 cases.

"We have the tools and we know what works to keep our loved ones safe and our schools and economy open,” Hochul said. “Get vaccinated if you haven't yet, get boosted if you haven’t, and please wear your mask and exercise caution in indoor public spaces."
5:50 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

NY state mask mandate temporarily back in place after judge grants motion to stay

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

People walk through Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on January 21 in New York City.
People walk through Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan on January 21 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

An appellate court judge has granted New York State��s motion to stay, putting the state’s mask mandate back temporarily as the case makes its way through the appeals process, according to a copy of the judge’s decision.

The New York attorney general also tweeted the news.

“A judge has granted our motion to keep New York's mask mandate in place while our appeal process continues,” Attorney General Letitia James tweeted.

“Protecting the health of New Yorkers during the #COVID19 pandemic is our top priority," she continued.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul applauded the court for “siding with common sense and granting an interim stay,” and commended Attorney General Letitia James for defending the health of New Yorkers by challenging the mask mandate.

“These measures are critical tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make schools and businesses safe, and save lives,” Hochul said.

“We will not stop fighting to protect New Yorkers, and we are confident we will continue to prevail."

Some context: Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker ruled Monday that the state did not have the authority to enact a mask mandate without the sign off from lawmakers.  

4:42 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

Omicron now accounts for 99.9% of US Covid-19 infections, CDC estimates show

From CNN's Ben Tinker

The Omicron variant caused 99.9% of new coronavirus cases in the US last week – slightly higher than the previous week, according to estimates posted Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Delta variant makes up the remaining 0.1%.

Over the past month and a half, Omicron has risen rapidly in estimates, accounting for:

  • 0.6% of cases the week ending Dec. 4
  • 88.9% of cases the week ending Jan. 1
  • 99.4% of cases the week ending Jan. 15

Not every Covid-19 test is sent for the extra genetic sequencing needed to detect which variant has infected someone. The CDC works off samples and extrapolates its estimates based on that extra testing.

 

4:41 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

For the first time, Covid-19 cases among US children top 1 million, pediatricians' group reports

From CNN's Jen Christensen

New Covid-19 cases among children in the US topped 1 million last week for the first time since the American Academy of Pediatrics began tracking cases, the group said today. 

For the week ending Jan. 20, there were at least 1.15 million new cases, a rate that is nearly five times greater than the peak of last winter's surge, the group reported.

According to the group, children (who constitute 22% of the US population) now account for 25.5% of total reported weekly cases. Since the start of September, nearly 5.6 million new cases have been reported among children.

The group said it also marks the 24th consecutive week that more than 100,000 children have tested positive for the virus.

"As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, cases of Covid-19 among children and adolescents are the highest they have ever been," said Dr. Moira Szilagyi, the academy's president, in a statement. "These numbers are staggering."

Despite the sobering news, children are still statistically less likely than adults to be hospitalized with Covid-19, and data from states that report hospitalizations by age showed that rates of hospitalization were roughly the same last week as the week prior.

The group also reports that deaths continue to account for a small percentage of total cases among children, with 0.26% of cases resulting in death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 1,140 children have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

However, the number of infections continues to rise due to the high rate of transmission of the Omicron variant and because children remain the least vaccinated of any age group, despite the fact that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now eligible to those age 5 and older.

3:04 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

White House slams Florida governor's reaction over limits on use of monoclonal antibody treatments

From CNN's Steve Contorno, Betsy Klein, Chris Boyette and Carma Hassan

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The White House on Tuesday reacted to criticism from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after federal officials moved to curb the use of some versions of Covid-19 treatments found to be less effective against the now-dominant omicron variant. 

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration said it was revising its authorizations for monoclonal antibody treatments made by Eli Lilly (bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together) and Regeneron (REGEN-COV, or casirivimab and imdevimab), because data showed they are "highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant."

DeSantis, who has made the treatments the cornerstone of his state's Covid-19 response, assailed President Biden's administration for the decision. In response to the FDA's ruling, Florida will close all sites administering the treatments.

“Let me just take a step back here to say how crazy this is,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, comparing the administration’s efforts to treat Covid-19 cases to a “medicine cabinet.”
"We're not relying on one type, one brand or treatment. We invested in and continue to buy a variety across monoclonal antibodies, pre-exposure prevention therapies and oral antivirals," she continued.

“What the FDA is making clear is that these treatments, the ones that they are fighting over — that the governor's fighting over — do not work against Omicron, and they have side effects," Psaki said.

Some people who've received monoclonal antibody treatment reported rashes, diarrhea, nausea and dizziness after treatment, according to the National Institutes of Health. A small percentage of patients had severe allergic reactions.

Psaki noted that the federal government last week sent Florida 71,000 doses of treatments that are effective against the Omicron and Delta strains, including 34,000 that work on the Omicron variant.

On Tuesday, DeSantis vowed to “fight back” against a decision by federal regulators to limit the use of certain monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid-19 that have not been effective against the Omicron variant.  

“People have a right to access these treatments and to revoke it on this basis, it's just fundamentally wrong,” DeSantis said at a press conference in the Florida panhandle.

DeSantis did not say what actions his administration is considering. 

2:29 p.m. ET, January 25, 2022

Biden administration will withdraw Covid-19 vaccination and testing regulation aimed at large businesses

From CNN's Liz Stark 

The Biden administration is withdrawing its Covid-19 vaccination and testing regulation aimed at large businesses, following the Supreme Court’s decision to block the rule earlier this month.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday it will be withdrawing the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard for businesses with 100 or more employees, according to a statement on the agency’s website

“Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule. The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard,” OSHA’s statement reads. 

OSHA did not immediately return CNN’s request for additional comment.

It comes less than two weeks after the Supreme Court blocked the rule, dealing a major blow to President Biden’s attempts to use the power of the federal government to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. OSHA’s regulation required businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work. 

“OSHA strongly encourages vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace,” the agency noted in its statement Tuesday.

The withdrawal will be effective Wednesday, according to OSHA’s statement, with official publication in the Federal Register.