Latest news on coronavirus cases and vaccines

Educators could play role in virus spread at schools without precautions, CDC study finds

An instructional assistant helps a student with his computer as in-person learning resumes with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Wilson Primary School in Phoenix, Arizona, August 17, 2020.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that educators may play a « central role » in transmitting Covid-19 within schools where social distancing and face covering precautions aren’t followed.

The study, which looked at eight elementary schools in Georgia between Dec. 1 and Jan. 22, found nine Covid-19 « clusters » involving 13 educators and 32 students at six of the schools. All but one of the clusters involved « at least one educator and probable educator-to-student transmission, » the study found.

While vaccinating educators isn’t required for schools to return for in-person learning, researchers said it could be important for protecting the most at-risk populations while reducing interruptions to in-person learning.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Former FDA chief Gottlieb on when the U.S. will achieve herd immunity

Dr. Scott Gottlieb joined CNBC’s « Squawk Box » to give his reaction to one physician’s assessment that the U.S. can achieve herd immunity from coronavirus by the spring.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion Inc. and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ and Royal Caribbean’s « Healthy Sail Panel. »

GSK, Sanofi launch new Covid-19 vaccine trial after last year’s setback

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi started a new clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate and expect to reach the final testing stage in the second quarter, Reuters reported.

The drugmakers hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeting the first half of this year, Reuters reports.

The drugmakers said in December they would launch a new study after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older adults.

The vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, which acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK, according to the Reuters report.

The study will test two injections given 21 days apart.

—Melodie Warner 

UK set to announce how it will exit lockdown

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London, Britain December 9, 2020.

Peter Nicholls | Reuters

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce how and when England will start to lift lockdown restrictions, reports CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt

Government ministers are expected to discuss the details Monday morning and the prime minister will then outline the proposals to parliament later this afternoon.

Johnson is also expected to confirm that schools in England will reopen on March 8.

The lifting of the country’s third lockdown, in place since early January, « will seek to balance health, economic and social factors with the very latest epidemiological data and advice, » the government said in a statement.

—Melodie Warner 

Biden administration to revise PPP small business loans to reach smaller, minority firms

U.S. President Joe Biden will enact changes to the U.S. coronavirus small business aid program in an effort to reach much smaller companies, minority-owned firms and sole proprietors, Reuters reports.

For two weeks beginning on Feb. 24, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from companies with fewer than 20 employees, a government official told Reuters.

The SBA plans to revise the PPP rules to match the approach it used to get small farmers and ranchers access to financial aid. The program also plans to set aside $1 billion for business owners with no employees in low- and moderate-income areas, which are majority owned by women and people of color, according to Reuters.

Terri Cullen

Easing UK lockdown measures could take a couple of months, economist says

Florian Hense, senior economist at Berenberg, discusses Covid-19 vaccination and lockdown easing trends across various countries.

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Latest news on coronavirus cases and vaccines
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