January 3 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Steve George, Amy Woodyatt and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, January 4, 2021
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12:09 p.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Not taking precautions against Covid-19 can impact everyone “in so many other ways,” US surgeon general says  

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, talked to CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday about the personal impact of Covid-19 on his family, saying that he wants people to understand that it has impacts in so many other ways.

On Thursday, Adams tweeted that his wife, Lacey, had been admitted to hospital due to complications from her cancer treatment and that he was not able to see her because of Covid-19.

Adams started by saying “I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that people have sent to us because it really does matter,” adding that Oprah Winfrey called and wished his wife well yesterday.

“I want people to understand that if you don’t take precautions against Covid because you don’t feel at risk, it can impact you, your family, your community in so many other ways,” he continued. “I, as the Surgeon General of the United States, had to drop my wife off at the front door and couldn’t see her go in to the hospital, hadn’t been able to visit her, didn’t know if she was going to have a hospital bed because of all of the Covid precautions and because of the capacity issues that are present because of the virus.”

Adams said people going in to hospital for reasons like going into labor, a heart attack or being in a car crash may not have the bed that they need because ICU’s are full. 

“I want your viewers to know that we need everyone to pull together, take these precautions even if you don’t feel at risk from Covid because it has implications in so many other ways,” Adams said.

10:55 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

“We have the tools, regardless of the strain, to be able to defeat this virus,” says US surgeon general 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3. CNN

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that while it’s hard to say if the new coronavirus strain is widespread across the country, the US has the tools regardless of the strain to defeat it.

The new strain, first identified in the United Kingdom, has now been reported in Colorado, California and Florida. 

“It’s hard to say if it’s widespread or not, but it is here,” Adams said, adding that it was in many other countries.

The most important thing to know, he said, is “we do not, so far, feel that this new strain or these new strains will be resistant to the vaccines or to the therapeutics that we have available. So, that’s good news.” 

Adams said that if someone feels that a new strain is more contagious, “and it looks like these new strains may be more contagious, even if they’re not more deadly,” it means that following public health measures and getting people vaccinated as quickly as possible is even more important.

 “The bottom line is, we have the tools, regardless of the strain, to be able to defeat this virus, we just need the will to actually follow through and do the things that we know will help us,” said Adams.

10:54 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Ohio governor won't mandate healthcare workers in the state to get vaccine

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks with CNN on Sunday.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks with CNN on Sunday. CNN

As of Sunday morning, Ohio has completed 161,000 Covid-19 vaccinations, Gov. Mike DeWine told CNN’s Jake Taper on “State of the Union.” 

At least 61% of the nursing homes across the state have administered their first round of the vaccine, and the state projects that all nursing homes in the state will have received their first round of shots within two weeks, he added.

Earlier in the program, the US surgeon general told Tapper he’s concerned that 60% of Ohio’s nursing home workers have elected not to get vaccinated. 

Responding to the alarming statistic, DeWine said he would not mandate nursing homes and other health institutions to require their employees to be vaccinated, saying “that’s up to them” and that education is the key component of vaccination confidence.

Those nursing home staff who refused the first round of vaccinations will have another opportunity to be inoculated when the second round of vaccines go through the nursing homes across Ohio. 

“And I urge them and I'll make this plea right now to anybody who works in a nursing home: you know, you are there working very hard. You have a risk, but you also the people in that nursing home have a risk. And this shot does work, and it is in fact very, very safe," DeWine said.

“Nursing homes that have come up with a good education plan before the person had to make the decision do they get a shot or not, they're seeing their compliance rate go up significantly from that 40%, so this is a work in progress. I just wanted to put that 40% number out there because it's what we're seeing, and it is, as you say, alarming. And as the surgeon general said, we've got to improve it,” the governor continued.

10:39 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

UK registers over 50,000 new Covid-19 cases 6 days in a row

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad

The United Kingdom has registered over 50,000 new Covid-19 cases for six days in a row, with at least 54,990 new confirmed cases reported on Sunday.

The UK reported 53,135 cases on Tuesday, 50,023 on Wednesday, 55,892 on Thursday, 53,285 on Friday, and the highest number of confirmed cases seen since the start of the pandemic on Saturday with 57,725.

On Sunday, the UK also reported 454 new deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test, bringing the total number of deaths to 75,024 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on the BBC that coronavirus restrictions in England are “alas, probably about to get tougher.”

“I am fully reconciled with that,” he added.

9:45 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

France aims to vaccinate 26 million "by the summer" amid criticism of slow rollout

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad in London

A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on December 30, 2020 in Paris.
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on December 30, 2020 in Paris. Stephanie de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

The French government aims to vaccinate 26 million French people against Covid-19 “by the summer,” France's Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Sunday, speaking to CNN’s affiliate BFMTV.

His comments come amid criticism that France is lagging behind countries like the United Kingdom and Germany in the numbers of people having received a first dose of the vaccine.

“Right now we have 500,000 doses [of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine] arriving each week and we have already secured the contract for hundreds of thousands of doses per week for other vaccines whose use will be rapidly approved,” he said.

The official added that the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines will be also approved by the European Medicines Agency “in the coming days.”

French Health Minister Olivier Veran announced on Twitter on Thursday an acceleration of the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in France.

“We have decided, at the same time, to accelerate the protection [against Covid-19] of priority groups. As of Monday, healthcare workers aged 50 and more, on a voluntary basis, will be able to get vaccinated in centers that already have the vaccine,” he announced.

 “We know how to do mass vaccination,” Veran added, citing 1.5 million flu vaccines delivered in the country on the first day of the vaccination campaign last year.

9:38 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Pope criticizes people going on holiday to avoid Covid-19 lockdowns

From Livia Borghese in Rome and Sharon Braithwaite in Pisa

Angelo Carconi/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Angelo Carconi/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis said Sunday that he was “pained” and “saddened” by news reports claiming that in some countries, people were going on holiday to avoid Covid-19 lockdown measures.

“They are good people, but they didn't think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people. [They thought] only about going on holiday and having fun. This pained me a lot," the Pope said at the end of his Sunday Angelus prayer.

Renewing his best wishes for the New Year, Pope Francis said: “what each of us — and all of us together — can do is commit ourselves a little more to take care of each other and of what was created, our common home.”

In order to follow the tight coronavirus measures that limit people's movement, Pope Francis is holding his Sunday prayers from the Apostolic Palace library, rather than from the usual window overlooking St. Peter’s square where the faithful usually gather. 

10:25 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

US surgeon general contradicts Trump on Covid-19 death toll: "I have no reason to doubt those numbers"

From CNN's Brian Rokus

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3. CNN

Earlier this morning, President Trump claimed in a tweet that the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths of the "China Virus is far exaggerated" because of the CDC's "ridiculous method of determination" compared to other countries which "report, purposely, very inaccurately and low."

In September, CNN reported that the CDC had debunked the claim that its reporting methodology was inaccurate.

CNN's Jake Tapper pressed US General Jerome Adams this morning on the President's claims, asking the official if he believes the death toll is real. Adams said he has "no reason to doubt" the Covid-19 death toll number despite Trump's continued baseless claims that the number of deaths has been "exaggerated."

Tapper: "350,000 Americans have died from coronavirus. Can you tell the American people, including the families and friends of those who have died from coronavirus that that is the real death toll? And what is it like as a surgeon general when the president of the United States spreads these lies about the pandemic? 
Adams: Jake, you and I have talked about this and one of the most challenging things about this entire pandemic from all sides has been trying to get health information to the American people in the midst of the politics. I don't speak for the President. I speak for the office of the surgeon general and the public health service and I'm focused on making sure people get the information they need and wash your hands and stay your distance and get the vaccine when it's available. 
Tapper: Is the death toll real? Is the death toll real? 350,000 dead Americans is that real, is that an actual number or does the CDC have a bogus way that when in doubt call it bogus the the President claims? 
Adams: From a health perspective I have no reason to doubt those numbers and I think people need to be very aware it's not about the deaths as we talked about earlier but the hospitalizations and the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there is a finish line in sight but we have to keep running towards it."
10:25 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

US surgeon general defends Trump administration's vaccine rollout

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams this morning defended the Trump administration's failure to deliver on its goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020.

Adams told CNN's Jake Tapper that the federal government did deliver 20 million doses to the states as promised.

"I want people to understand that the projections we were putting out were based on what we could control at the federal level. And we did deliver on 20 million doses delivered, but you're always going to have more doses allocated versus delivered. Delivered versus shots in arms. I just want to be frank," he said.

On what went wrong, Adams said that because of the surge of cases over the past month "the local capacity to be able to vaccinate was being used for testing and responding to surges." 

"We have to understand that it occurred over the holidays and people in health departments and in hospitals take holiday breaks too," he added.

Adams said that there is "good news" to report as vaccinations ramp up.

"The last 72 hours, we saw 1.5 million first shots reported. If you extrapolate that out and many people are extrapolating numbers, that is 500,000 a day," he said.

The US Surgeon General said he wanted the American people to "have hope" that the vaccines are "being delivered are translated more and more into shots."

Some more context: The CDC says the US has administered more than 4 million vaccine doses, but is lagging behind some other countries as the number of cases continue to surge.

10:25 a.m. ET, January 3, 2021

US surgeon general says Covid-19 projections are "scary," but urges Americans to keep following precautions

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks with CNN on Sunday, January 3. CNN

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on the American people to continue to take Covid-19 precautions as cases surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, and the impacts of travel over the Christmas holiday continue to unfold.

"I want people to know the projections are pretty scary, but they are projections. What we do now matters. If you gathered over the holidays outside of your household without a mask, there are still measures you can take right now," Adams told CNN's Jake Tapper.

"You still can self-quarantine. You can still get tested knowing that greater than 50% of the spread now among people who are asymptomatic. You can still wear a mask and wash your hands and watch your distance. If we do that we will be able to temper this surge," he continued.

At least 123,639 people nationwide were in the hospital with coronavirus on Saturday, marking 32 consecutive days that the number of hospitalizations has exceeded 100,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

"I want people to understand that if we get over this current surge, then things will start to get better but it depends on the actions that we all take right now," Adams said.

The official said that he's still optimistic amid the tragedy.

"Less than a year after getting this virus sequenced, we are going to have 20 million doses delivered within a month after actually getting the EUA (emergency use authorization)," he said.

The interview comes as the CDC says the US has administered more than 4 million vaccine doses, but is lagging behind some other countries as the number of cases continue to surge. The administered doses include both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.