State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Feb. 9 that the “jury’s still out” on whether the Chinese regime gave full transparency to the World Health Organization (WHO) team currently in Wuhan to study the origin of the pandemic.
“I think the jury’s still out. I think clearly the Chinese, at least heretofore, have not offered the requisite transparency that we need,” Price said at a press briefing, when asked whether he believed the Chinese regime gave the WHO team full cooperation.
Experts said that based on their findings, it was “extremely unlikely” the virus could have accidentally escaped from a lab. Trump administration officials have hypothesized that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus may have leaked from a virology lab in Wuhan.
California Set to Top New York as State With Most Deaths
California was set to surpass New York as the U.S. state with the most CCP virus deaths on Tuesday.
Fatalities from COVID-19 reached 44,495 on Tuesday in California, the most populous U.S. state. In New York, which was particularly hard hit in the pandemic’s early days, the total death toll stood at 44,693 on Tuesday.
62.9 Million Doses of Vaccines Delivered, 43.2 Million Administered: CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 43,206,190 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Tuesday morning and delivered 62,898,775 doses.
The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the agency said. The agency said 32,867,213 people had received 1 or more doses while 9,840,429 people have got the second dose as of Tuesday.
Rank-and-File Chicago Teachers to Vote on Tentative Reopening Plan
The governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union agreed on Monday to allow its 28,000 rank-and-file members to vote on a tentative deal with the third-largest U.S. school district to gradually reopen classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the union’s 600-member House of Delegates also overwhelmingly passed a resolution of “no confidence” against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago School District leaders with whom the teachers have clashed over the CCP virus safety, the union announced on Twitter.
Unlikely Virus Leaked From China Lab
The CCP virus most likely first appeared in humans after jumping from an animal, a team of international and Chinese scientists looking for the origins of COVID-19 said Tuesday.
A closely watched visit by World Health Organization experts to Wuhan—the Chinese city where the first COVID-19 cases were discovered—did not dramatically change the current understanding of the early days of the pandemic, said Peter Ben Embarek, the leader of the WHO mission.
UK Threatens 10-Year Prison Terms for Quarantine Rule Breakers
Travelers who break Britain’s COVID-19 quarantine rules will face fines and jail terms of up to 10 years, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.
Under new rules that will come into force on Feb. 15, anyone traveling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for a period of 10 days, at the cost of £1,750 ($2,412) for an individual traveling alone, Hancock announced in Parliament.
Britain to Bring in Hotel Quarantine
Britain said it would bring in tighter border controls from Feb. 15 to help guard the country against new variants of COVID-19, requiring hotel quarantine in England for those arriving from the most high-risk countries.
Arrivals will have to quarantine in assigned hotels which they will book before departure and pay £1,750 ($2,412) per traveler. Security would be present at the hotels. More details will be published on Thursday, added Hancock. The government said it had contracted 16 hotels for an initial 4,600 rooms and it would secure more as they are needed.
Fauci Predicts Mask Mandates Could End in Late Fall
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that he would not support lifting mask mandates until the threat infection hazard posed by the CCP virus is “so low it’s not a threat at all,” adding that it’s possible this could come in late fall.
Fauci was responding to a question by Fox News’ Brett Baier, who asked about the dynamics of the outbreak and, specifically, when Americans might expect to be able to attend sporting events, theaters, or concerts without a mask.
Mexico Reports 3,868 New Cases, 531 Deaths
Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 3,868 new confirmed CCP virus cases and 531 more confirmed fatalities from COVID-19, bringing the total to 1,936,013 cases and 166,731 deaths.
The government says the real number of infected people and the death toll in Mexico are both likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Eva Fu, Alexander Zhang, Tom Ozimek, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.