December 1 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020
29 Posts
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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.

Watch:

10:06 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your coronavirus vaccine questions

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

While the USA Food and Drug administration reviews the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine candidates' data for emergency use authorization, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta outlines key things you should know about how the process will work.

How does the vaccine approval process work?

So far, all of the data about the effectiveness of the vaccine has come from the companies manufacturing them. Now, the FDA scientists will review that data to consider the finer points on the protections these vaccines provide.

“Are there certain groups of people who did better with this vaccine or worse? Do we have any insights into durability? We know that maybe it prevents disease but does it also prevent infection? Does it prevent transmission? These are all open-ended questions and… that's what they're focused on,” Gupta explains.

A vaccine can prevent me from getting sick but can it also prevent me from being a carrier?

Moderna and Pfizer vaccine candidates have shown high effectiveness in preventing people from getting Covid-19. But the data has not shown yet if the vaccines prevent people from getting infected or from transmitting the disease. “So far, we can’t say for sure,” Gupta says.

If someone already had Covid-19, should they still take the vaccine?

Scientists are saying that a vaccinated immunity should last longer than a naturally acquired immunity, Gupta reports. The immunity you get from contracting Covid-19 does last for a certain amount of time but the nature of the vaccine should provide longer immunity. It’s unclear how long that might be. Pfizer and Moderna have two doses. One primes the immune system, then the second shot sort of boosts it. This makes it a better option for obtaining immunity, Gupta adds.

Could the new technology used to create these vaccines cause healthy cells to mutate or cause cancer down the road?

It is not entering the nucleus of the human cell where it would interfere with DNA so there is no evidence that it would cause mutations nor is there any evidence that it would actually cause an infection, Gupta says.

“You are not giving the virus, you're giving the genetic sequence for a portion of the virus. So someone cannot become infected with this either,” he added. “They're still going to need the long-term studies but at least the two months' worth of data seem to show that it was safe.”

Can people decide which vaccine to take?

Initially, there won’t be a much of a choice. Pfizer’s vaccine needs very specific cold storage so it may be the only one you can take if you live in a community where that storage facility is available. Moderna may be able to go to smaller cities and smaller facilities like even nursing homes.

“The expectation is that by January you may have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, AstraZeneca vaccine applying for [Emergency Use Authorization,]” Gupta said. If this becomes a yearly shot, then people may have the option to choose.

Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta answer your coronavirus vaccine questions:

You can read more of the answers to all of your coronavirus questions at cnn.com/coronavirusanswers. If you have specific vaccine related questions, submit them here and we will try to find you some answers.

9:03 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

CDC advisers will vote today on who will get the first coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Maggie Fox and John Bonifield

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting for today to vote on who they recommend should be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine once one is authorized.

What officials have said so far: 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.

"Long term care facility residents and staff accounted for 6% of cases and 39% of deaths in the US, despite the fact that long term care facility residents account for less than 1% of the US population," the CDC's Dr. Kathleen Dooling told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Monday.

Remember: There are not going to be enough vaccines for everyone at first, so choices have to be made.

The CDC estimates there are 21 million healthcare personnel, 87 million essential workers, 100 million adults with high-risk medical conditions and 53 million others 65 and older.

The federal government has said 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses could be available by the end of December.

8:26 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Virus cases grew in 47 US states during November, JHU data shows

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Health care workers administer Covid-19 tests at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky on November 13.
Health care workers administer Covid-19 tests at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky on November 13. Alex Slitz/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

In November, 47 US states saw growth in new Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Looking at the seven-day average of new cases for each state on November 1 and comparing that to November 30, only three states saw a decline in average cases over the last month:

  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

The other 47 states and Washington, DC all saw an increase in their seven-day average of new cases over the month, according to JHU.

November cases: The US added a total of 4,408,176 new coronavirus infections -- or nearly 33% of all Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, the JHU data shows.

Hospitalizations: Thirty-four states and one US territory reported at least one record-high day of Covid-19 hospitalizations last month, according to The Covid Tracking Project. They were: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.  

8:18 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Incoming US administration urged to devote extra $20 billion to global Covid-19 fight

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

A aerial view of the burial site reserved for victims of the pandemic at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on November 21.
A aerial view of the burial site reserved for victims of the pandemic at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on November 21. Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty Images

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has urged the new Biden-Harris administration "to devote an additional $20 billion to the fight against COVID-19 globally" in its first 100 days.

This money will help "stem the immediate impact of the virus on lives and livelihoods amongst the world's most vulnerable," according to Elinor Raikes, regional vice president and head of program delivery at ICR, in a statement released Tuesday.

"The number of people in need has increased by 40 percent to 235 million in the last year, almost entirely due to COVID-19 and the burden it is placing on economies, healthcare, education, and basic infrastructure," Raikes said in the statement. 

"President-Elect Biden must take urgent and expansive action to reverse these devastating trends, returning the US to global humanitarian leadership and galvanizing the international community into much-needed humanitarian action," Raikes added.

8:09 a.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Ventilator use in Miami-Dade County is up 46% in two weeks

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Denise Royal 

Vehicles line up at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday, November 22.
Vehicles line up at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday, November 22. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Ventilator use is up by almost 50% in Miami-Dade County in Florida and the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care has risen by 35% in the last two weeks, according to the county’s Covid-19 dashboard.

County records show 795 patients are currently hospitalized in Miami-Dade County, a 37% increase.

Florida is reporting that 4,162 patients are hospitalized state-wide, according to its Agency for Health Care Administration -- a 28% increase in the past two weeks, per data compiled by The Covid Tracking Project. 

A record-high 96,039 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized in the US as of Monday evening, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday told reporters that the intensive care unit bed capacity in the state might reach 112% by Christmas Eve, if the trend of surging infections continues.

In Rhode Island, officials prepared to use field hospitals after telling residents their systems were already at capacity.