December 4 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Emma Reynolds, Hannah Strange, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, December 5, 2020
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10:12 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial participant recounts her experience

The Froelichs.
The Froelichs. Source: CNN

A Moderna Covid-19 vaccine participant discussed her experience after taking two shots of the experimental drug in August and September.

Susan Froelich recounted the illness she experienced after taking the second shot, which she said could have been a placebo and not the vaccine.

"I woke up with a horrible stomach ache and headache, and it was like I was at the beginning stages of a bad flu," Froelich told CNN during its global coronavirus town hall. "And so, I didn't have anything to take for it at the time so I was in a lot of pain until about four hours later, when my husband woke up and I had him go get me some Naproxen."

Froelich said she took 440 milligrams of Naproxen, which cleared her symptoms but "it was like every part of my body was hurting for about four hours."

"If I hadn't Naproxen right away, I think those symptoms would've abated more quickly. But my muscles hurt, my joints hurt, my bones hurt, my jaw hurt. But it was for such a short time," she said.

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10:03 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Will a vaccine stop you from spreading the virus?

Health experts do not yet know if the promising Covid-19 vaccines will protect people against infection and make it less likely that they can infect others, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN.

Here's how Fauci explained it:

"We know that the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing if you are getting sick. We don't know if it's protecting you against infection. If it doesn't protect you against infection, it's likely that the degree of immunity that you have is going to diminish the level of virus in your nasal pharynx. And even though you might be infected, it is likely -- but not proven yet -- but likely that it would be very less likely that you are going to transmit it. "

Fauci said experts don't have exact data to definitively answer the question, but "as we get more and more information from the trial, we will get that information for you."

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9:52 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Fauci describes the path the Covid-19 vaccine must take before it can be given to children

Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Source: CNN

When it comes to administering a new vaccine to children, "safety is really important," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, told CNN during its global coronavirus town hall.

Fauci plotted the course a new vaccine must take before children can receive it.

"With any new vaccine, you show that it is safe and effective in a population of normal adults," he said. "And then you do a phase 1A, or a phase 2A trial in children. You don't need a 30- or 40,000-person trial. You can do it with a couple of thousand children. You want to show A, that it is safe and B, that in induces a kind of response that's comparable to the same response that you know it is protective in the adults. Once you show that, you can do what's called a bridging study, you can bridge the data of safety and immunogenicity from your phase 1 and 2A trial, to the adult trial and then make the decision that you can give it to the children, and it almost certainly will be effective after you've proven that it is safe. Just remember, safety is really important when it comes to children."

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9:45 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

When can the average American get a Covid-19 vaccine?

Lisa Taylor receives a Covid-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 7, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.
Lisa Taylor receives a Covid-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 7, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Most average, healthy Americans who are not elderly and have no underlying conditions will likely be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the end of March or start of April, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci said it's important for everyone to get vaccinated because the quicker that's done, the quicker the US can establish "an umbrella of herd immunity" so the pandemic stops spreading at its current rapid rate.

Herd immunity, Fauci said, "is so, so important in bringing the level of virus to way, way down to below the threatening level. The sooner we get there, the better we are."

A powerful vaccine: Fauci said he did not expect the vaccines awaiting FDA approval to be as effective as they are.

"We had technological advances that allowed us to do things in weeks to months that normally would have taken several years," he said. "That didn't compromise any safety, it didn't compromise any scientific integrity. We invested an extraordinary amount of money to get the doses ready as soon as the vaccine was ready to be administered."

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9:37 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Parts of the US medical system are under strain and may cause temporary lockdowns, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Source: CNN

The sharp rise in Covid-19 cases across the US has placed the health care system under strain -- which may cause temporary lockdowns, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told CNN.

Fauci specifically referenced conversations he's had with medical colleagues in Los Angeles, California, where the health care system "is really strained."

"There are some situations where they will be doing temporary lockdowns because they cannot strain the health care system any more," Fauci said. "The unimaginable thing, that no one wants to see happen, that when you have such a strain on the beds, and on the personnel, the health care personnel, that you are going to deprive people from the kind of care they need."

Fauci added: "If it requires doing more drastic things, or draconian things, like maybe a temporary shutdown some areas, I think some of the areas of the country are thinking about that, I know as a fact. In California, in some places, they are thinking about that."

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9:38 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Authorities are worried a Thanksgiving and Christmas surge in Covid-19 cases could be dire

Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Source: CNN

Another 500,000-plus people in the US could die of Covid-19 between now and April, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Speaking to CNN during its global coronavirus town hall, Fauci said the number of US fatalities could get as bad as that predicted by a reliable model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

That model predicts another 539,000 people could be killed by the virus.

"We have a number of conflating events occurring," Fauci said. "We have the surge that we know has gone on before the Thanksgiving holiday -- that very steep inflection of cases that has led to the record numbers."

Fauci said the US was yet to see the effects of any Thanksgiving holiday-related surge.

"That may peak two to three weeks from now, and they will cusp at the Christmas holiday," Fauci told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We are really very concerned if you take the Thanksgiving surge, the Christmas surge -- by the time you get to December and the beginning of January, we very well could see the numbers you just mentioned."

However, Fauci said the country could stem the tide if the public wears masks, practices social distancing and avoids crowds.

"Those simple things alone, despite the enormity of the problem, can make a difference. Because it has been proven it does make a difference," he said. "So we all need to pull together to do that because as I've said so many times, help is on the way. Vaccines are imminent. We will be starting to get vaccine doses in people's arms by the middle and end of December, and then more in January."

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9:28 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

There's a plan to overcome Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in communities of color, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Source: CNN

There is a plan to help address Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in communities of color across the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, told CNN during its global coronavirus town hall.

Aside from public service announcements, he said the plan involves "engaging through our community groups that are associated with our clinical trial apparatus, and we do it by engaging leaders in the community."

"There already is a plan to get people who are respected by the community -- athletes, faith-based organizations, personalities, celebrities -- to go out there and get people to be vaccinated," Fauci said. "And you know what would be a really terrible shame, if we had the African American and Latino community, who are disproportionately suffering more from this outbreak, if they did not take a vaccine which we know to be extraordinarily efficacious and preventing clinical Covid-19 disease. It would be paradoxical and very much of a shame."

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9:19 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Here's how airlines will help deliver the Covid-19 vaccine around the US

CNN's Pete Muntean.
CNN's Pete Muntean. Source: CNN

CNN's Pete Muntean today visited a cold storage facility in Philadelphia which will be one of many used to temporarily store the Covid-19 vaccine before it is placed on planes.

"Out here on the floor is a specialized refrigerated, battery-powered shipping container," Muntean said. "Airlines say they already have the infrastructure in place for a mission of a lifetime. American Airlines says that it has a plan in place that once the vaccine is FDA approved, they can begin shipping it within 24 hours."

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9:23 p.m. ET, December 4, 2020

Fauci: States will play a big role in coronavirus vaccine distribution

Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Source: CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the preeminent infectious disease expert in the United States, said states will have the most responsibility when it comes to distributing vaccines for Covid-19.

Fauci was asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper about President-elect Joe Biden's assertion today that the federal government has "no detailed plan" to distribute vaccines.

While the federal government will be responsible for sending vaccines nationwide, states and individual localities will play a major role in distribution.

"It is really going to be at the level of the state," Fauci said. "The individual states and localities will make their decisions and (handle) the distribution the way they normally would distribute something like influenza vaccine. That's really going to be the way ... very much locally mandated from the bottle to the arm of the person."

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