December 8 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Nada Bashir, Luke McGee, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 9, 2020
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2:01 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Connecticut governor says state has reached highest test positivity rate since it began broad testing

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty


Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday afternoon that the state’s percent positivity rate has reached 8.6%, which is “by far the highest number that we have had since we’ve done broad-based testing.”

“This is the holiday season, and Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah, and Christmas, and Kwanzaa, and the times we get together as a family should be a source of joy. It’s also a time when people get together, sometimes without a mask,” Lamont said at a behavioral health roundtable Tuesday.

“We knew that Thanksgiving may result in a bit of a spike up in our infections, and here we are two weeks later.” 

Lamont said 40 more Connecticut residents are hospitalized and 18 more people died from coronavirus-related illness since Monday.

The state’s full daily Covid-19 metrics report is slated to be released by 4 p.m. ET later Tuesday, according to the state’s data tracker site

1:52 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

US surpasses 15 million confirmed Covid-19 cases

There have been at least 15,019,092 coronavirus cases confirmed in the United States and at least 284,887 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on Jan. 21.  

  • 98 days later, on April 28, the US hit 1 million cases 
  • 44 days later, on June 11, the US hit 2 million cases 
  • 27 days later, on July 8, the US hit 3 million cases 
  • 15 days later, on July 23, the US hit 4 million cases 
  • 17 days later, on August 9, the US hit 5 million cases 
  • 22 days later, on August 31, the US hit 6 million cases 
  • 25 days later, on September 25, the US hit 7 million cases 
  • 21 days later on October 16, the US hit 8 million cases 
  • 14 days later, on October 30, the US hit 9 million cases 
  • 9 days later, on November 8, the US hit 10 million cases 
  • 7 days later, on November 15, the US hit 11 million cases
  • 6 days later on November 21, the US hit 12 million cases
  • 6 days later, on November 27, the US hit 13 million cases
  • 6 days later, on December 3, the US hit 14 million cases
  • 5 days later, on December 8, the US hit 15 million cases 

Thirteen other countries in the world have reported more than 1 million total Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins: 

  • India has more than 9 million total cases.
  • Brazil has more than 6 million total cases 
  • France and Russia each have more than 2 million total cases.
  • Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Iran all have more than 1 million total cases each.
4:21 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Famed football showdown between Michigan and Ohio State canceled due to Covid-19

From CNN's David Close

Saturday’s scheduled football game between rivals Michigan and Ohio State has been canceled due to ongoing coronavirus issues within the Wolverines program.

The two programs have played “The Game” every season without disruption since 1918. Saturday’s showdown would have marked the 117th meeting between the two teams.

Michigan said in a statement that increasing coronavirus cases and multiple players in quarantine forced the team to make the decision to cancel the game scheduled to be played in Columbus, Ohio.

“The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days," Michigan’s Athletics Director Warde Manuel said.

“…Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team due to COVID-19 positives and the associated quarantining required of close contact individuals.” 

Last week, the Wolverines halted all football activities due to Covid-19 cases among players and canceled last Saturday’s game versus Maryland.

Asked about Ohio State’s eligibility for the Big Ten title game, a spokesperson for the Big Ten referred to a conference statement which reads in part, “The conference is committed to transparency and will continue to collaborate with its member institution stakeholders to determine Big Ten Football Championship Game participation requirements as well as tiebreakers.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong name for Michigan’s athletics director. He is Warde Manuel.

1:50 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Rhode Island reports 9.4% daily positivity rate

From CNN's Sahar Akbarzai

The first patients walk onto the floor of the Dunkin' Donuts Center as a new COVID-19 rapid testing site operated by the Rhode Island Army National Guard opens in Providence, Rhode Island, on Tuesday, December 1.
The first patients walk onto the floor of the Dunkin' Donuts Center as a new COVID-19 rapid testing site operated by the Rhode Island Army National Guard opens in Providence, Rhode Island, on Tuesday, December 1. David Goldman/AP

Rhode Island is reporting 982 new positive cases of Covid-19 and a 9.4% daily positivity rate, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard. The state is averaging a positivity rate of 8.9% this week — up 2 percentage points from last week, when it was 6.9%. 

The state currently has 444 people hospitalized, with 43 patients in the ICU and 25 patients on ventilators. The state is also reporting 22 new deaths, the dashboard shows. 

The total positive cases in the state to date is at least 67,067, and the death toll is at least 14,70, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard. 

1:44 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Monoclonal antibody therapy "should be available" to most high-risk individuals, FDA commissioner says

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

When asked what are the chances that an individual, who is sick and in their 60s, could get monoclonal antibody therapy, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that this therapy should be available to them, and they should contact their health care provider about obtaining the therapy.

"The monoclonal antibodies we've authorized seem to work best for preventing hospitalization in outpatients early in their disease – typically within 10 days of the onset of symptoms, if you are a high-risk individual. So, over the age of 65, or over the age of 55 with a comorbidity, or, you know, some preexisting illness to put you at risk – these antibodies, for the last month since authorization, have been distributed around the country. So, they should be available locally, and it's under state jurisdiction," Hahn said.

"So, I would encourage anyone who might be in the categories I described to talk to their provider about this, because as an outpatient, these can be infused to those folks who are in high-risk populations. We know that the clinical endpoint is prevention of hospitalization. ... God knows the health care systems are significantly overstressed at this point, so I would encourage your viewers to ask the providers about this."

Additionally, Hahn underscored that they shouldn't be given to people who are inpatients because there's a suggestion that they may not actually help, but instead be harmful to those who are sicker with Covid-19 and, confirmed to CNN that the FDA is working hard with the manufacturers to make more available.

1:05 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Bernie Sanders rallies Democrats to fight for stimulus checks in Covid-19 relief bill

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a protest at the U.S. Capitol on October 22 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a protest at the U.S. Capitol on October 22 in Washington, DC. Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Care In Action

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he’s organizing a letter to try and rally Democrats to “stand tall” and fight for another round of stimulus checks to be included in a coronavirus relief bill.

"Right now what I am working on is making sure that the working families of this country get the $1,200 direct payments they desperately need. We’re working really hard,” he said Tuesday, adding, “To my mind, it will be an outrage for Congress to go home for the holidays when tens of millions of working families are living in desperation.” 

Asked if any Republicans will be signing onto the letter, the senator said he hopes Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who he’s spoken to and has also said he supports direct checks, will help rally other Republicans. 

“I think Trump supporters out there like everybody else are hurting right now,” Sanders told reporters. “Many have lost their jobs … They want that $1,200, and I hope that the Republican leadership and members of the Republican caucus understand that.”

12:53 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

North Carolina reports record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Tina Burnside 

The number of people hospitalized in North Carolina has set another record with 2,373 total hospitalizations recorded on Monday, according to data released by the state's health department. This marks the highest number of hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. 

In the last 24 hours, 277 people have been admitted into hospitals across the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

On Tuesday, the state recorded 4,670 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 404,032, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard

North Carolina currently has 5,605 deaths due to coronavirus pandemic. 

Note: These numbers were released by North Carolina’s public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

12:22 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

US FDA chief says he'll be "first one in line" to get a vaccine when it's his turn

From CNN's Andrea Diaz



Asked by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta if he would get a Covid-19 vaccine once it's available, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said on Tuesday that he plans on doing so.

"If our career scientists review this application and we issue an authorization – and we'll do it based upon the science and the data – if that were to occur, I have 100% confidence. I will be the first one in line when it's appropriate for me to get that vaccine, and I'll ask my family to do the same," Hahn said.

He added that one of the issues the FDA is working to overcome is vaccine mistrust in this country.

"One of the reasons we've been very transparent about our process and putting public documents out – and having the Vaccine Advisory Committee – is, in fact, to try to overcome as much as possible any mistrust there might be," Hahn said.

1:34 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Aides have been told Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis has coronavirus, per source

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins

Jenna Ellis, a member of President Donald Trump's legal team, listens to a Detroit poll worker during a Michigan House Oversight Committee on December 2 in Lansing, Michigan.
Jenna Ellis, a member of President Donald Trump's legal team, listens to a Detroit poll worker during a Michigan House Oversight Committee on December 2 in Lansing, Michigan. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Aides have been informed that Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis has contracted the coronavirus, according to one source familiar with the situation.

But the source added that Ellis has not been forthright with White House officials about it.

A senior official confirms Ellis was at a Christmas party designated for senior staff Friday. She regularly does not wear a mask when she is at the White House.

This news follows another development that hit the Trump campaign. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, has been hospitalized after testing positive for Covid-19.

The 76-year-old former New York mayor was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN. 

Kaitlan Collins reports: