December 3 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 0508 GMT (1308 HKT) December 4, 2020
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3:07 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

US reports more than 200,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

At least 200,070 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 3,157 virus-related fatalities -- the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began -- were also reported Wednesday.

A total of 13,924,956 Covid-19 infections, including 273,835 deaths, have now been confirmed nationwide, according to JHU's tally.

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

See CNN's tracker:

2:55 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Germany extends coronavirus restrictions until Jan. 10 

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following her virtual meeting with the leaders of Germany's 16 states in Berlin, on Dec. 2.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media following her virtual meeting with the leaders of Germany's 16 states in Berlin, on Dec. 2. Pool/Getty Images

Germany has extended restrictive measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus until Jan. 10, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced late Wednesday following a meeting with the country's state leaders.  

"The states will extend their measures from Dec. 20 until Jan. 10," Merkel told reporters at a news conference, adding that another round of consultations would be held on Jan. 4.  

"In principle things will remain as they are," she said.  

Merkel said that infection rates throughout the country remain too high to allow reopening of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities. The nationwide partial lockdown also includes private gatherings to be kept to a minimum of only five people from two households. 

Last week Merkel announced that restrictions will be eased over the Christmas period in most parts of Germany to allow for people to meet in groups of up to 10 people, not counting children. 

Germany is struggling to contain an ongoing surge in Covid-19 infections. On Wednesday, the country's infectious disease agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reported 487 deaths due to the virus --- the highest daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic. 

According to data published by the RKI Thursday morning, 22,046 new coronavirus infections were recorded in the past 24 hours. A total of 479 coronavirus fatalities also occurred in the past day -- the second-highest count since the pandemic began, bringing the total number of deaths to 17,602.

2:24 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Japan reports highest increase of Covid-19 deaths since early May

From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

Japan recorded 41 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, its highest daily increase of new deaths since May 8, the country’s Health Ministry announced today.

The country's death toll now stands at 2,226. 

The Health Ministry also reported 2,434 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing Japan's nationwide total to 153,539.

Japan reported there were 488 people in intensive care and on respirators on Wednesday, down five from the previous day when it had the highest such number since the pandemic began. 

Tokyo reported 500 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the capital's total number of infections to 41,811. 

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga described the next three weeks as an extremely crucial period and asked the public to cooperate with anti-virus measures.  

1:54 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

US reports highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

The United States reported 3,157 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

The days with the highest number of new deaths according to JHU data are: 

  1. Dec. 2: 3,157
  2. April 15: 2,603
  3. Dec. 1: 2,597
  4. April 7: 2,570 
  5. April 21: 2,542
1:30 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Hawaii couple arrested for allegedly traveling to island with child after positive Covid-19 test

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Wesley Moribe (left) and Courtney Peterson (right).
Wesley Moribe (left) and Courtney Peterson (right). Kauai Police Department

A couple returning home to Hawaii was arrested over the weekend after they allegedly flew on a commercial plane with a child despite testing positive for Covid-19.

According to the Kauai Police Department, Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, of Wailua were charged with second-degree reckless endangering.

Police spokesperson Coco Zickos said Moribe and Peterson boarded a United Airlines flight out of San Francisco on Sunday despite knowing they both had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A 4-year-old child traveled with them. Zickos said the child was released to the care of a family member following the adults’ arrests. The police department is not saying how the child is related to the suspects.

Following their arrests at the Lihue Airport, Moribe and Peterson were each released on $1,000 bail, said Zickos. 

“We continue to request visitors and residents alike to follow the Governor’s Emergency Rules and take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in a news release.

CNN was not able to find contact information nor an attorney listed for the couple Wednesday evening.

12:44 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Former US presidents volunteer to take coronavirus vaccine publicly to prove it's safe

From CNN’s Jamie Gangel

From left to right, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, on April 25, 2013.
From left to right, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, on April 25, 2013. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three former United States presidents -- Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- are volunteering to receive their Covid-19 vaccines on camera in order to promote public confidence in the medication's safety.

The three former presidents hope an awareness campaign to promote confidence in the vaccine's safety and effectiveness would be a powerful message as American public health officials try to convince the public to get vaccinated once the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes one. 

Freddy Ford, Bush's chief of staff, told CNN that the 43rd president had reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci -- the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, to see how he could help promote the vaccine.

"A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated," Ford told CNN. "First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations. Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera."

Clinton's press secretary told CNN on Wednesday that he too would be willing to take the vaccine in a public setting in order to promote it.

"President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials. And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same," Angel Urena said.

It has been previously reported that Obama said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, scheduled to air Thursday, that if Fauci said a coronavirus vaccine is safe, he believes him.

12:13 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Half a million South Korean students sit a college entrance exam despite rising Covid cases

From CNN's Jake Kwon, Paula Hancocks and Yoonjung Seo

Half a million students will sit South Korea's notoriously difficult National College Entrance Exam on Thursday, a marathon day of tests that is the country's answer to the SATs and can determine a teenager's future.

The tests are so significant that, in normal years, the country rolls out extreme measures to support students -- office hours are changed to clear roads to avoid students getting stuck in traffic and flights are rescheduled to prevent the sound of plane engines disrupting the English listening test.

But this year, even greater planning has been required, as South Korea attempts to hold the exams while keeping teenagers safe from coronavirus. Students will have their temperature checked before entering the testing facilities and will need to wear masks throughout the exam.

Arrangements were even made for 3,775 students to take the tests from quarantine, and for the 35 students who tested positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday to sit the exam from a hospital bed.

The exams help decide whether students will make it into the most prestigious colleges and what career path they can take -- some options, such as medicine, will be shut off to students who don't get a high-enough score.

"Every citizen understands the exam to be a major national event," Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae told CNN in an exclusive interview ahead of the test.

Read the full story:

12:01 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020

LA is on track to run out of hospital beds by Christmas. The mayor has urged residents to "cancel everything"

From CNN's Sarah Moon

A nurse looks at his computer while working in a Covid-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 19.
A nurse looks at his computer while working in a Covid-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 19. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Los Angeles will run out of hospital beds by Christmas if the coronavirus continues to spread at its current, unprecedented rate, Mayor Eric Garcetti warned in a news conference Wednesday, calling on residents to “hunker down” and “cancel everything” to help stop the spread of the virus.

“The public health condition of our city is as dire as it was in March in the earliest days of this pandemic,” he said.

The number of daily coronavirus infections in Los Angeles have tripled since early November. Hospitalizations have more than tripled as well and are at a new peak, according to Garcetti.

On Tuesday, the county reported its highest number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. The average daily cases have increased by 225% since early November, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

Garcetti urged residents to stay home as much as possible as the “choices between us are stark, between health and sickness, care and apathy, life and death.”

“It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything. If it isn’t essential, don’t do it,” Garcetti said. “Don’t meet up with others outside your household, don’t host that gathering, don’t attend a gathering.”

To date, Los Angeles County has confirmed a total of 414,185 coronavirus cases and 7,740 deaths. 

10:03 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

UK didn't scrutinize Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial data as carefully as US FDA is, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

British health regulators who authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday did not scrutinize the trial data as carefully as the US Food and Drug Administration is doing in its review, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claimed.

“The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way,” Fauci said in an interview on Fox News.
“We really scrutinize the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine,” he said.
“I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they're concerned about safety or they're concerned that we went too quickly."

Fauci said it’s important that Americans feel good about a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

“So, it's almost a damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, because if you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated,” he said. 

“We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the FDA. The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead,” he said. “I don't think that makes much difference. We'll be there. We'll be there very soon.”