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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3:09 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

California sends regional text alerts asking residents to stay home

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

More than two thirds of California residents will soon receive emergency text alerts from the state’s Emergency Operations Services asking them to stay at home and abide by the newly enacted health orders, according to a tweet from CalOES.

Those living in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley – about 27 million people – will be asked to stay home with the exception of seeking essential services.

The alerts will be sent starting today at noon local time.

Both regions found themselves under the new health order Sunday night as intensive care unit capacity in each fell under the 15% threshold set by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

3:06 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

US has to overcome Covid-19 denial and pull together, Fauci says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

WSJ CEO Council Summit
WSJ CEO Council Summit

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council summit on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that uniform wearing of masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds and congregate settings can prevent or turn around surges in Covid-19 cases – and people need to pull together to implement those measures.

The fact that they aren’t being done uniformly is “really extraordinarily frustrating, because we feel strongly that we will be able to have a significant impact,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

With the country coming out of Thanksgiving and entering Christmas season, “we’re in for a very challenging period,” he said. 

“The only way we’re going to counter that is by a consistent, uniform implementation and adherence to public health measures.”

However, “trouble is, you go to different parts of the country, and even when the outbreak is clear and hospitals are on the verge of being overrun, there are a substantial proportion of the people who still think that this is not real, that it’s fake news or that it’s a hoax.” 

Fauci said that this was extraordinary, and he had never really seen anything like it. 

“We’ve got to overcome that and pull together as a nation uniformly with adhering to these public health measures,” he said. 

2:49 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

McConnell proposes dropping two key issues to help pass stimulus deal

From CNN's Manu Raju and Clare Foran 


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed dropping two of the issues that have been the hardest for Democrats and Republicans to agree upon in a new Covid relief deal – state and local money and liability protections – to pass a deal now that both sides can agree on.

The remarks from McConnell create a new opening to potentially pass relief during the lame duck session and come after the Senate majority leader has previously made clear how much of a priority liability protections are for him and Senate Republicans.

“We can’t leave without doing a Covid bill, the country needs it,” McConnell said Tuesday.

He went on to say, “What’s the way forward? We know the new administration is going to be asking for another package. What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local and pass those things that we can agree on knowing full well we’ll be back at this after the first of the year.”  

It's notable that McConnell referenced a new administration given that he has not yet referred to Joe Biden as President-elect.

2:05 p.m. ET, December 8, 2020

Health care workers in Mexico will receive top priority in vaccination program

From CNN’s Matt Rivers and journalist Karol Suarez

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard Cepropie

Mexican officials announced Tuesday that health care workers will receive top priority when the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign begins this month, with other vulnerable populations following in the coming months.  

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters the country will receive 250,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in December, the majority of which will be given to health care workers in Mexico City, the center of the country’s outbreak. 

In January, February, and March an additional 1 million doses of that same vaccine will arrive each month. Ebrard added an additional 12 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in April. That will be enough to vaccinate roughly 7.6 million Mexicans, given the Pfizer vaccine’s two-dose requirement.

In the first phase of the program, from December through February, health care workers will exclusively receive vaccinations. In the second phase, from February through April, remaining health care workers and adults aged 60 and over will receive priority.

The next phases will see those 50-59 years of age vaccinated, followed by those 40-49 years of age, with the rest of the country getting vaccinated after that. The country hopes to vaccinate 75% of citizens over age 16 by the first quarter of 2022. The main goal of the campaign is to reduce Covid-19 deaths, officials said at Tuesday’s briefing. 

Mexico says it has purchases agreements for tens of millions more doses from other vaccine suppliers and hopes to finalize those agreements in the coming weeks and months. Health officials added that Mexico’s military will assist the country’s health ministry with the logistics of vaccine distribution.

Mexico has the fourth highest number of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

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.