December 11 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan, Nada Bashir, Eoin McSweeney, Hannah Strange and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0438 GMT (1238 HKT) December 14, 2020
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11:59 p.m. ET, December 10, 2020

Canada will start vaccinations early next week as lockdowns fail to get infections under control

From CNN's Paula Newton

Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on December 10.
Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on December 10. David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There was sobering news for Canadians Thursday as public health officials in several provinces said they were coping with an increase in infections despite new restrictions and lockdowns. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored the need to keep up with public health protocols as he announced that vaccines would arrive in Canada by Monday.

“The first 30,000 doses are expected to arrive on Canadian soil in just a few days. To all Canadians, if you’re feeling relieved and hopeful, you’re not alone, this is the good news we all need but remember this is only the first step in what will be a massive project over a long winter,” said Trudeau during a news conference in Ottawa Thursday evening. 

Canada is not disclosing logistics or tracking information on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as it enters the country because of what officials say are "credible" security concerns.  

But Trudeau stressed he does not believe there will be any disruptions as the vaccines make their way from Belgium to Canada. 

The timeline on vaccines in Canada comes as several provinces -- including Canada’s two largest, Quebec and Ontario -- logged record cases of Covid-19 in recent days, with officials saying lockdowns in both Toronto and Montreal are having little effect.  

Ontario released new modeling Thursday and confirmed that according to mobility data throughout the province, people are traveling outside their homes at close to normal levels and likely not limiting contacts as much as needed to stop the spread of the virus.  

Montreal broke a single-day record Thursday with 648 new cases of Covid-19, a growth rate the city’s public health director called "alarming."

“I know we’re all tired, but we need to make an effort,” said Dr. Mylène Drouin, Montreal’s public health director, during a news conference Thursday.

11:55 p.m. ET, December 10, 2020

Coronavirus model predicts 502,000 deaths in the US by April

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The influential coronavirus model at the University of Washington has projected 502,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 by April 1, down from its prediction of 539,000 deaths last week.

The model from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts a new coronavirus vaccine can save 25,000 or more lives. And if 95% of Americans wore masks, the death count would drop by 56,000 by April 1 compared to the “most likely” scenario.

On the other hand, if states ease coronavirus mandates, the model projects 598,000 cumulative deaths by April 1.

“Moreover, the impact of vaccinations is greater as well because of the detailed information in the Pfizer FDA filing, showing approximately 50% protection after the first dose, and data on a larger number of doses available sooner in the US,” IHME said.

The model projects 25,200 lives will be saved by the vaccine rollout and if the distribution occurs rapidly, 44,500 lives could be saved compared to a no-vaccine scenario.

The Covid-19 epidemic in the Midwest is leveling off but is increasing on the West Coast and in the Northeast, IHME said. 

8:18 a.m. ET, December 11, 2020

US FDA committee vote to recommend EUA for Pfizer’s vaccine is "important," Fauci says

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

The vote by the US Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to recommend emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is important, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

It shows the process in the US is based on decisions and recommendations made by independent bodies, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN.

“The reason I think this is so important is that we want to make sure that we impress the American public that decisions that involve their health and safety are made outside of the realm of politics, outside of the realm of self-aggrandizement and are made in essence by independent groups,” Fauci said. “So it was a very important step."

The next step is FDA consideration and decision about an EUA. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will decide whether to recommend the vaccine for use. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has meetings scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

11:54 p.m. ET, December 10, 2020

Japan reports record number of Covid-19 infections for second day in a row

From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo

Japan has reported a record number of new Covid-19 infections for the second straight day.

Japan’s Ministry of Health announced it recorded 2,955 new Covid-19 cases and 37 related deaths for Thursday.

That brings Japan’s total reported Covid-19 infections to 172,255 -- including 2,515 dead.

The Ministry's data shows 543 patients are in intensive care, while a further 22,272 are receiving treatment in hospitals.

The capital Tokyo posted its highest number of daily infections yet with an additional 602 cases. At least 59 patients remain in critical condition, with 1,826 more in hospital.  

Osaka counted 415 new cases. Osaka Gov. Yoshifumi Yoshimura said Thursday he was expecting the Self-Defense Forces' medical support team to be dispatched to local hospitals. 

Japan's medical expert advisory board was critical about the effectiveness of the government's prevention measures to fight the recent surge in cases. 

"It's hard to say that the measures taken so far have been effective," the chairman of the advisory board, Takaji Wakita, said in a press conference late Thursday. 
"Overall, the measures were not successful to curb the new infection cases."