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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12:36 p.m. ET, January 3, 2021

"There’s no running away" from the Covid-19 numbers, Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

The death toll from Covid-19 has been a terrible surprise, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday.

Fauci told ABC he had not expected the death toll from Covid-19 would be so high. He said there is no running away from the numbers and that there needs to be very intensive adherence to public health measures across the country. 

“There’s no running away from the numbers,” Fauci said. “It’s something that we have absolutely got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures, uniformly throughout the country, with no exceptions.” 

When asked by ABC’s Martha Raddatz whether he ever expected the Covid-19 death toll to be as high as it is, he said, “No, Martha, I did not.”

“That’s what happens when you’re in a situation where you have surges related to so many factors,” Fauci said. These factors include inconsistent adherence to public health measures, winter weather forcing people indoors and travel associated with the holidays.

These are “all of the ingredients that, unfortunately, make for a situation that is really terrible,” Fauci said. “I mean, to have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible.”

3:35 p.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Los Angeles mayor says one person contracts Covid-19 every six seconds in LA County

From CNN's Kay Jones

Doctors and nurses treat a Covid-19 patient at Harbor UCLA Medical Center on December 29, 2020 in Torrence, California.
Doctors and nurses treat a Covid-19 patient at Harbor UCLA Medical Center on December 29, 2020 in Torrence, California. Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CBS's Face the Nation that one person contracts Covid-19 every six seconds in Los Angeles County.

He attributed the spread to the density of the population as well as household spread.  

He said that while there is high compliance in Los Angeles, there are going to be tough months ahead. He said that the vaccine has made everyone "so hopeful", and they have relaxed their behavior. 

Garcetti also told CBS that although 95% of the people in the county are doing the right thing, it's still a dangerous disease. If only 80% are doing the right thing, he said that it can be disastrous. 

Los Angeles has not received the promised number of vaccines from the federal government, Garcetti said, and they are on pace to receive the vaccines over five years instead of a six-month timespan. 

"The federal government can't tell the local governments and state governments to do something and not give us aid," he said. 

Garcetti said that they have brought in additional medical personnel to distribute the vaccine through walk-up vaccine sites for people who work at places like community sites and Skid Row.  

What the numbers look like: Los Angeles County reported 15,701 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing total number of cases to 806,210.

The latest numbers released by the county's health department shows that 357,420 vaccine doses have been distributed as of December 29, with just 82,886 total doses administered.  

12:30 p.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Dr. Fauci contradicts Trump's tweet on coronavirus deaths, saying "the deaths are real deaths"

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted a tweet from President Trump about the Covid-19 death toll Sunday, telling ABC’s Martha Raddatz, “the deaths are real deaths.”

Trump hit Twitter Sunday morning with his often-repeated and incorrect claim that the US has a higher coronavirus toll than any other country because of better testing.  

There’s no basis for the false claim and Fauci said so.

“All you need to do is go out into the trenches, go to the hospitals, see what the health care workers are dealing with,” Fauci said. “They are under very stressed situations in many areas of the country. The hospital beds are stretched, people are running out of beds, running out of trained personnel who are exhausted right now,” added Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading White House coronavirus adviser.

“That’s real. That’s not fake. That’s real," Fauci said.

12:09 p.m. ET, January 3, 2021

Italy coronavirus deaths surpass 75,000

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Italy's coronavirus death toll reached 75,332 on Sunday after a rise of 347 daily Covid-19 related deaths, the government's dashboard shows.

The country recorded new 14,245 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases recorded to 2,155,446.

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.