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Covid updates: Virginia reports 1st case of South African variant; NY broadens vaccine eligibility

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Johnson & Johnson has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. If approved, J&J's shot would be the third vaccine available for emergency use in the U.S., joining those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. J&J has said its vaccine was 66% effective overall in protecting against Covid. The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on Feb. 26 to discuss the application, and authorization could happen as early as this month.

Here are some of the biggest developments Friday:

The U.S. is recording at least 130,400 new Covid-19 cases and at least 3,200 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 105.29 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 2.29 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 26.76 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 458,105

Iowa rolls back all public health measures starting Sunday

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation on Friday that effectively rolls back all public health measures enacted to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Starting Sunday, there will be no limit on the number of people attending public gatherings within the state, masks will not be required and bars can reopen. The proclamation will stay in effect until March 7 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

To be sure, Reynolds also encouraged the state's residents and businesses to take "reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Fred Imbert

Kroger will pay employees $100 plus other bonuses to get vaccinated

Kroger announced Friday it will give employees a one-time payment of $100 if they get the "full manufacturer-recommended doses" of the coronavirus vaccine. The company will also give its workers $100 in store credit and 1,000 points towards its fuel rewards program.

"Through the unknowns of this pandemic, our associates have risen to the challenge," Tim Massa, a company executive, said in a statement. "As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, we're increasing our investment to not only recognize our associates' contributions, but also encourage them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available to them."

The rapid coronavirus vaccine development has led to skepticism about how effective the drugs are, even among workers in the health-care industry. In the U.S., vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna have been approved for emergency use. Johnson & Johnson applied this week for emergency use approval of its vaccine.

Fred Imbert

Virginia health officials find Covid case with variant first identified in South Africa

Health officials at the Virginia Department of Health said they've found a Covid-19 case with the new, highly contagious variant first identified in South Africa, known as B.1.351.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first identified the case at a commercial laboratory as part of its efforts to expand the nation's surveillance for the mutated strains, Virginia health officials said in a statement. The department said the person testing positive for the new strain was an adult resident in the eastern part of Virginia.

Only two other states — South Carolina and Maryland — have found Covid-19 cases with the B.1.351 strain. However, the CDC has found more than 600 cases of the similar B.1.1.7 strain that first emerged in the U.K., according to recent data from the agency.

"With the combined state and national surveillance efforts, it is likely that additional cases with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern will be identified," the Virginia Department of Health said in a statement.

— Noah Higgins-Dunn

Black restaurant workers are receiving less in tips than others during pandemic, according to a report

A New York City waiter wears a face mask at a restaurant on Manhattan's Upper West Side on Nov. 10, 2020.
Noam Galai | Getty Images

Since the start of the pandemic, the restaurant industry has been struggling to support its businesses and employees, many of whom rely on tips.

According to a report by labor advocacy group One Fair Wage, Black restaurant workers have been disproportionately affected with nearly 90% of them saying their tips have decreased by half or more, while 78% of all workers reported the same.

More Black than White employees report knowing someone who contracted or died of Covid-19 complications, putting them at even more risk for the disease at work and home.

Many employees feel that working in a restaurant during the pandemic is dangerous, with eight in 10 workers experiencing harassment for enforcing health protocols. Black employees report receiving racial attacks as well.

—Katie Tsai

NFL offers Biden administration all 30 football stadiums for Covid vaccine rollout

An aerial view of Raymond James Stadium ahead of Super Bowl LV on January 31, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

The National Football League is preparing to make all 30 of its football stadiums available to the Biden administration as mass vaccination sites for the general public, CNBC's Dan Mangan reports.

Seven NFL teams currently host vaccinations at or near their stadiums.

"The NFL and our 32 member clubs are committed to doing our part to ensure that vaccines are as widely available in our communities as possible," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter Thursday to Biden.

Rich Mendez

Correction: The NFL has 30 stadiums. A previous version of this post misstated the number.

Weak January jobs report shows how strong Covid's grip is on the economy

January's jobs report, with an increase of just 49,000 payrolls, highlights just how severe the impact of Covid has been on some sectors of the economy.

The leisure and hospitality industry lost another 61,000 jobs last month, after losing a staggering 536,000 positions in December. That sector includes industries most hurt by social distancing, like restaurants, bars, hotels and casinos.

Economists had expected the U.S. to add 50,000 jobs for January in a consensus survey by Dow Jones, but some firms expected much more. NatWest, for example, expected 300,000 nonfarm payrolls, and Citigroup forecast 250,000.

—Patti Domm

New York will start offering vaccines to people with underlying health conditions in mid-February

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state plans to move some unused Covid-19 vaccine doses from hospitals and will distribute them to local health departments to be offered to people with underlying health conditions beginning Feb. 15.

So far, New York has focused on vaccinating its health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as well as people age 65 and older and workers in certain essential industries.

The governor didn't specify which health conditions would qualify residents for a vaccine, though he said New York officials are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a "comorbidities list." The federal agency lists a number of conditions, like cancer, heart failure, obesity and pregnancy, that place people at higher risk of serious illness.

"Hospitals, you have one more week to get your hospital staff to accept the vaccine, and then we'll focus on the comorbidities," Cuomo said at a press briefing.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Levi’s Stadium to open as California's largest vaccination site, 49ers say

People stand in line at the mass vaccination site at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center that opened today for healthcare workers and people over 65 on February 5, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
Amy Osborne | AFP | Getty Images

Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, will open as California's largest Covid vaccination site next week, according to Santa Clara County officials and the 49ers.

The stadium will initially have the capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people per day, officials said, with plans to ramp it up to 15,000 people per day when there is an increase in vaccination supplies.

"We recognize the urgent need for an effective and equitable vaccination effort for our community and are proud to partner with the County of Santa Clara to bring this vaccination site online as quickly and efficiently as possible," 49ers President Al Guido said in a statement.

San Francisco's Moscone Center opened as a mass vaccination site last week and Oakland city officials announced plans to turn the Oakland Coliseu