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December 12 coronavirus news
By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Amy Woodyatt, Fernando Alfonso III and Alaa Elassar, CNN
Japan records its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 infections
From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo
Japan has recorded 3,030 new Covid-19 cases from Saturday, its highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic began, the country's Ministry of Health said Sunday.
Among the new cases, 621 were in the capital Tokyo, the highest number ever recorded in the city, the ministry said
Japan has now recorded 177,999 cases and 2,575 deaths, including 28 from Saturday.
The ministry said that 23,990 Covid-19 patients are currently receiving medical care in hospitals, while 578 of them are in critical condition.
South Korea records its highest number of daily Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began
From Gawon Bae in Seoul
South Korea reported 1,030 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, its highest number since the pandemic began, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Over 1,000 of the cases were locally transmitted and 28 were imported. More than 780 cases were in the Seoul Metropolitan area.
South Korea has now reported 42,766 cases in total and 580 deaths, including two from Saturday. There are 10,372 people in quarantine in the country, according to KDCA.
Rhode Island governor is in quarantine after Department of Health director tests positive for Covid-19
From CNN’s Alec Snyder
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
Gov. Gina Raimondo is now among those quarantining due to possible exposure to the virus, according to Josh Block, Raimondo's director of communications.
In a statement, Block -- who is also quarantining due to possible Covid-19 exposure -- confirmed that Alexander-Scott is asymptomatic and will work from home while she recovers.
Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor and Dr. Philip Chan with RIDOH are also quarantining as a precaution, Block said.
Los Angeles County hospitals are "stressed and filling up," says official
From CNN’s Raja Razek
Hospitals in Los Angeles are under huge pressure to deal with hundreds of new coronavirus patients a day, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news release Saturday.
"This is an extraordinarily challenging time. Hospitals are stressed and filling up with hundreds of new Covid-19 positive patients each day, our healthcare workers are exhausted, and deaths are reaching an all-time high," Ferrer said.
A month ago, the 5-day average of cases was 2,134. On Saturday, the 5-day average was 10,034. According to the release, this is an increase of 370% in one month.
"Our daily case numbers are unlike any we have ever seen in our county and reflect extraordinarily high rates of community transmission; activities we were able to do just a few weeks back, now present far too much risk for virus transmission," read the release.
Navajo Nation to receive its first vaccine doses this week
From CNN's Claudia Dominguez
The Navajo Nation Indian Health Service (IHS) is expected to receive its first shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Monday and Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the Navajo Nation on Saturday.
“The shipment will be transported to Gallup Indian Medical Center, Chinle HIS, and Northern Navajo Medical Center,” where the vaccines will be stored at “deep freeze temperature” the statement said.
The vaccine distribution will be overseen by the Navajo Area IHS, according to the statement.
“IHS has had extensive planning in the works for quite some time and has also been doing practice runs at their hospital facilities,” Navajo Area Indian Health Service Chief Medical Officer Dr. Loretta Christensen said in the statement.
The Navajo Nation is currently under a 57-hour lockdown that started on Friday at 8 p.m. MST and runs through Monday at 5 a.m. MST.
"We have to remain united in the fight against Covid-19 and we have to do more to help our healthcare workers," Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in the release. “Our hospitals and health care workers are overwhelmed due to the high level of new Covid-19 cases."
The Navajo Nation has struggled to control the virus in their community CNN previously reported. A recent surge in cases forced the Navajo Nation to go into lockdown until December 6, according to the report.
The Navajo Department of Health reported 203 new Covid-19 cases and 7 new deaths on Saturday, bringing its total confirmed coronavirus cases to 19,420 and total deaths to 718, according to the nation’s department of health.
US hits record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations again
From CNN’s Chuck Johnston
The US reported 108,487 current Covid-19 hospitalizations on Saturday, setting a new record high, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP). This is the 11th consecutive day that hospitalizations in the US has remained above 100,000.
Here are the hospitalization numbers for the past five days, according to the CTP:
- December 12: 108,487
- December 11: 108,044
- December 10: 107,258
- December 9: 106,705
- December 8: 104,590
About 31,000 doses of vaccine to be distributed to hospitals around Washington state
From CNN's Hollie Silverman and Leslie Perrot
About 31,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be shipped to Washington and distributed to nearly 20 hospitals around the state early next week, the Washington State Hospital Association said in a press release Saturday.
Each hospital will receive an allotment of 975, 1,950, or 3,700 doses per location, the release said.
“We expect these staff will be offered vaccine mid to late next week,” said Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. “The speed of the Washington State Department of Health’s planning for vaccine deployment has been unprecedented. We appreciate the department and Governor Inslee’s efforts to ensuring vaccine will quickly reach health care workers from our largest cities to most rural hospitals.”
Healthcare professionals working in the intensive care unit and emergency department will receive priority for vaccination, according to the release.
Vaccine hesitancy is now the biggest challenge in the fight against Covid-19, AMA president says
From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas
Vaccine hesitancy is now the biggest challenge remaining in the fight against Covid-19, Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement Saturday.
CDC advisers voted to recommend the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the US Saturday. While the AMA looks forward to the CDC director reviewing and approving the recommendation, Bailey said that the hard work is far from over.
“Manufacturing, distribution, and administration still pose challenges, but the biggest threat remaining may be people’s willingness to get vaccinated,” she said. “To be clear, these vaccines will reduce death and severe illness. They have been rigorously evaluated, and if enough of us roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated, we can eventually reclaim normalcy.”
Dr. Megan Ranney, a CNN medical analyst and Brown University emergency physician, is scheduled to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine next Thursday. The potential side effects of the vaccination are not a deterrent, according to Ranney.
“I have really zero reservations about being one of the first people,” Ranney told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Saturday.
“I'm willing to take those minor side effects to avoid having Covid, which I've seen at this point in thousands of people. It is a horrible disease,” she said. “I will take a little low-grade fever over having Covid.”
The authorization of the vaccine is cause for optimism, Ranney added.
“Throughout this pandemic, we've heard a lot of claims of magical cures, whether it was hydroxychloroquine or bleach or just, ‘This virus is going to magically disappear,’ ” she said. “Well, the vaccine is the real deal.”