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Jan. 11 Coronavirus updates: San Diego Zoo gorillas test positive for the coronavirus

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. near 375,000 with close to 22.5 million total cases.
Image: President-Elect Biden And Vice President-Elect Harris Receive Second Round Of COVID-19 Vaccination
President-elect Joe Biden receives the second dose of a Covid-19 Vaccination from Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital on Jan. 11, 2021 in Newark, Del.Alex Wong / Getty Images

Live coverage on this blog has ended, please click here for NBC News' latest coverage of Covid-19.

House members may have been exposed to Covid-19 when they went into hiding during the riots at the U.S. Capitol, Congress' attending physician wrote in a letter to members and staffers Sunday.

Meanwhile, experts are warning that the much-criticized rollout of the vaccine has laid the groundwork for a scenario in which the rich and the politically connected use their money and power to cut in line and get vaccinated before everyone else.



India starts shipping Covid-19 vaccine around country

A vehicle carrying the coronavirus vaccine and decorated with marigold flower garlands is waved away by politicians after arriving at the Ahmedabad, India airport on Tuesday. India will start vaccinating an estimated 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers this weekend.Ajit Solanki / AP

Rep. Jayapal tests positive for Covid after Capitol lockdown

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., has tested positive for Covid-19 after being locked down during last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Jayapal in a statement Monday night strongly criticized several Republicans she said "not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one." 

Jayapal is at least the second U.S. representative to test positive after sheltering in place as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress was counting the electoral votes.

Congress' attending physician has said in a letter that House members may have been exposed to Covid-19 when they went into hiding Wednesday. "During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection," Dr. Brian Monahan wrote.

Earlier Monday, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said she tested positive for Covid-19 and referenced sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks.

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Disneyland to become a mass vaccination site

Disneyland will become a mass vaccination site as California tries to get a handle on its surging coronavirus infections, officials said Monday.

The announcement came hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom said that three other large sites — Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Petco Park in San Diego and the state fairgrounds in Sacramento — would also be used to administer mass vaccinations.

Disneyland Resorts is in Anaheim, about 26 miles south of Los Angeles. In a news release, Orange County said the Disneyland site and others will have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people each day.

The site is expected to open later this week. Earlier Monday, Newsom said that nearly 800,000 people have been vaccinated in California, which has recorded the largest surge in cases in the country in recent months. The state is aiming to vaccinate another 1 million people by the end of this week, he said.

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CDC says 9 million Americans now vaccinated as U.S. states scramble

Nearly 9 million Americans had been given their first COVID-19 vaccination dose as of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, as states scrambled to step up inoculations that have yet to slow the roaring pandemic.

The 8,987,322 people who have been jabbed with the first of two shots, according to the CDC, represent less than one-third of the 25 million total doses distributed to states by the U.S. government.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday sought permission from the Trump administration to directly purchase 100,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE, which was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.

The FDA has also approved a vaccine made by Moderna Inc .

"We remain ready to accelerate distribution to get doses into arms," Whitmer, a first-term Democrat, said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that the city could run out of vaccine doses if the federal government does not send more. He has pledged to inoculate 1 million New Yorkers by the end of January.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is considering releasing to states more vaccine doses that the federal government had stockpiled in an effort to ensure enough supply for a required second dose. Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

States in recent days have been adding vaccination capacity with the ad hoc conversion of sports venues, convention halls and empty schools into vaccine centers.

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California to carry out mass vaccinations at Dodger Stadium, other sites

Hard-hit California will carry out mass coronavirus vaccinations at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and other sites as officials look to ramp up the distribution of doses this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The sites also include Petco Park in San Diego, where the Padres play, and the state fairgrounds in Sacramento. Vaccinations could begin this week, Newsom said, and more mass vaccination sites are expected in the future.

“We recognize the current strategy isn’t going to get us where we need to go as quickly as we need to go,” he told reporters.

Less than 800,000 vaccinations have been administered so far, though the state is aiming to vaccinate another 1 million people by the end of this weekend, he said.

The sites are being opened as California continues to record more new coronavirus cases than any other state, according to data from Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Newsom said the surge appeared to be easing slightly, as the state last week saw the smallest increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations that it’s seen weeks.

Still, most intensive care units across the state remained at or close to capacity, he said.  

Gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park test positive for Covid-19

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park said Monday that some of its gorillas have tested positive for Covid-19.

Two of the gorillas started coughing last Wednesday, so the zoo began testing fecal samples for the coronavirus, the zoo said in a statement. The preliminary tests detected the coronavirus on Friday, and the positive results were confirmed Monday.

“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery.”

The zoo said it suspected the gorillas got the infections from an asymptomatic staff member, despite following all recommended precautions — including COVID-19 safety protocols from the CDC and San Diego County Public Health, as well as wearing PPE when they were near the gorillas.

Biden receives second dose of Covid-19 vaccine

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, setting an example as part of his incoming administration's message that eligible Americans should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"My No. 1 priority is getting vaccine into peoples' arms like we just did today as rapidly as we can," Biden told reporters after getting a shot in Newark, Delaware.

Biden, who at 78 will become the oldest president in the nation's history, received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last month live on national television.

Biden has vowed to meet a goal of 100 million vaccine doses administered in his first 100 days in office, a target that has grown increasingly complicated as states struggle to adequately distribute their doses and gain public trust in a fast enough clip.

"It's not gonna be easy," he added, "but we can get it done."

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