December 1 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020
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11:25 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Bipartisan group of senators announces $908 billion Covid-19 relief framework

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

US Senator Joe Manchin, center, speaks alongside a bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on December 1.
US Senator Joe Manchin, center, speaks alongside a bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on December 1. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Sens. Joe Manchin, Susan Collins, Mark Warner, Bill Cassidy, Jeanne Shaheen, Lisa Murkowski, Angus King, Mitt Romney and Maggie Hassan announced what they called a bipartisan and bicameral Covid-19 emergency relief framework aimed at helping Americans affected by the pandemic. 

Manchin called the $908 billion dollar “framework” relief that would go through April 1 “a labor of intense effort” that came together in about 30 days.  

“It’s inexcusable for us to leave town and not have an agreement,” Manchin said. “This is going to get us through the most difficult times.” 

Warner also said he hopes they pass something before Christmas. 

“It’s not going make everybody happy but there's been an enormous amount of work done,” Warner said. “It would be stupidity on steroids if Congress left for Christmas without doing an interim package as a bridge." 

Romney said the group has spoken with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the framework but he hasn’t weighed in. He also said they’ve spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well. 

“I happened to be a deficit hawk, I don’t like borrowing money, I don’t like spending money we don’t have,” Romney said, but he supports this proposal because $560 billion dollars is money repurposed from the CARES Act so the amount of new money is actually $348 billion dollars.

When asked when there will be a bill, Manchin said the group can put one together. 

“We can put one together,” Manchin said. “We have not had assurances .. for a vote, but I think the American people will put the pressure showing there’s a group of us coming together that this needs to be done.” 

Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Dean Phillips, Dusty Johnson, Tom Reed, Josh Gottheimer, Anthony Gonzalez and Fred Upton of the Problem Solvers Caucus were present as well. 

11:20 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Senate leader reiterates push for stimulus this year

From CNN's Ali Main

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks on the Senate floor on December 1.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks on the Senate floor on December 1. Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his call for Congress to pass further coronavirus relief before the end of the year and slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for pushing a more expensive and comprehensive proposal than Republicans will agree to.

"Let's hope our Democratic colleagues will finally let us make law in all the enormously important areas where we do not even disagree," he said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

Moments before McConnell's speech, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill that he will speak to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time this month.

11:01 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

More than 268,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

Workers in El Paso, Texas, move coronavirus victims from refrigerated trailers into the main morgue on November 23.
Workers in El Paso, Texas, move coronavirus victims from refrigerated trailers into the main morgue on November 23. Ivan Pierre Aguirre/Reuters

There have been at least 13,554,038 cases of coronavirus in the US, and at least 268,434 people have died since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

So far today, Johns Hopkins has reported 12,817 new cases and 389 reported deaths.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

11:20 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

US House speaker and Treasury secretary will speak about stimulus this afternoon

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Getty Images
Getty Images

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters while entering a hearing this morning on the CARES Act that he is speaking to Nancy Pelosi this afternoon.

Mnuchin said they're "going to talk about where we are with the appropriations issue, keep the government running, that is the first priority."

On what the White House wants for funding, Mnuchin said, "We would like to see funding, especially for small businesses."

Pelosi and Mnuchin are speaking at 1 p.m. ET by phone today, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. 

10:12 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Former CDC director cautions that Covid-19 vaccination program may have "bumps in the road"

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

From ABC
From ABC

While vaccine authorization is expected “pretty soon,” the coronavirus vaccination program itself may not go completely smoothly, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“We do expect approval to come pretty soon,” he told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. "But I would also expect there to be bumps in the road in the vaccination program.” 

Frieden said that when millions of people are vaccinated, some people feel sick after vaccination, “and you don’t know whether that was the vaccine, or that was just coincidence.”

He said that this has to be studied carefully “or you’re going to get all sorts of wilds rumors flying around, that’s another place where you really need transparency — this is how many cases of severe adverse effects we may have or may expect, is it higher? Is it related?”   

There could also be production problems, or people who don’t want the vaccine, even if it’s available to them, he added.

“This is probably, George, the single most complicated vaccination program in American history, and I would expect that there are going to be some bumps in the road,” Frieden said.

10:23 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

The US hit a record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations. Here's a look at the latest figures. 

From CNN's Amanda Watts and Christina Maxouris

A healthcare professional prepares to enter a Covid-19 patient's room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert, Ohio on November 20.
A healthcare professional prepares to enter a Covid-19 patient's room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert, Ohio on November 20. Megan Jelinger/AFP/Getty Images

As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to hold an emergency meeting today to vote on who will get a Covid-19 vaccine first, the US continues to report record-high hospitalizations, and experts worry about hospital capacity as cases surge.

Hospitalizations more than doubled since the beginning of November, and the US saw more Covid-19 deaths last month than the pandemic's combined death toll in Australia, Canada, China, Japan and Germany, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here's a look at the latest figures in the US:

  • There were a record-setting 96,039 hospitalizations reported on Monday, according to the Covid Tracking Project data.
  • The US is now averaging 91,326 hospitalizations over the last 7 days. This is up 9.63% since last week. These metrics have never been higher.   
  • 18 states reported record-high hospitalizations on Monday.
  • The Covid Tracking Project data warned in a tweet that “Hospitalizations have doubled since November 1 and tripled since October 1. We should see 100k hospitalizations in the next couple of days.” 
  • On the final day of November, the US added 157,901 new Covid-19 cases and 1,172 reported deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • The US now averages 160,428 Covid-19 cases per day, which is down slightly from last week due to the holiday.   
  • Going back to Nov. 1, the nation was averaging 82,057 new cases per day. That is a 95.51% increase over just 30 days.    

And the numbers will likely get much worse before a possible vaccine begins to offer some relief in the spring.

Experts say the daily death toll will double in the coming days, while infections will likely see another surge in a few weeks, fueled by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

11:50 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Key dates to watch in the coronavirus vaccine approval process

Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, New York, on July 27.
Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, New York, on July 27. Hans Pennink/AP

Federal government officials are promising coronavirus vaccines soon — some even before Christmas — and states are gearing up to begin vaccinating some Americans sometime in December.

Here's a look at some of the key dates to watch in the vaccine approval process:

  • Today: A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee will meet to vote on who will get the first coronavirus vaccine.
  • Dec. 10: The US Food and Drug Administration has meeting scheduled to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorization for it's Covid-19 candidate.
  • Dec. 17: The FDA has a second meeting to discuss Moderna's application for emergency use authorization.
  • Days to weeks after the meetings: FDA officials say their decisions on the vaccines could come days to weeks after the meetings — it depends on what questions come up.
9:39 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Coronavirus could have been spreading in US as early as mid-December 2019, study suggests

From CNN Health’s Amanda Sealy

The novel coronavirus may have infected people in the United States as early as Dec. 13, 2019, according to a study published Monday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study, which was conducted by scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed blood donations collected by the American Red Cross from Dec. 13, 2019 through Jan. 17, 2020. 

The 7,389 samples, collected from nine states, were tested for SARS-CoV-2 reactive antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Of the samples tested, at least 106 were found to have antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, including ones collected from California, Oregon and Washington from Dec. 13 through Dec. 16, 2019.

“SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized,” the authors wrote.

Previously, the first known case of Covid-19 in the US was reported on Jan. 21.

CNN has reached out to the World Health Organization for comment.

11:53 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Head of CDC advisory committee on vaccines says decision on who gets one first is "weighty"

Dr. Jose Romero, the chair US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee, speaks during an interview on December 1.
Dr. Jose Romero, the chair US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee, speaks during an interview on December 1. CNN

Dr. Jose Romero, the chair of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee meeting today to vote on who will get the first coronavirus vaccine, said the decision is a "weighty" one, but one that is guided by science and facts.

Romero, the chair of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, spoke to CNN this morning ahead of the committee's afternoon meeting and vote.

"These are weighty decisions," he said. "So our decisions for deciding which of the priority groups are based on current knowledge and current information about the pandemic, the epidemiology, the persons most affected by this pandemic."

The CDC has already recommended that the first group — designated as 1a — should include frontline health providers and support personnel. 

The 1a group likely should also include residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, who have been badly hit by the pandemic, the CDC has said.

Romero said each state will decide within the recommended groups, who will get the vaccine first.

"It's not the same to be a health care provider that is not having direct patient contact as it is a health care provider that's in the intensive care unit caring for individuals with Covid or emergency room physicians or nurses that are caring for Covid," he said.

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