December 14 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 4:06 p.m. ET, December 15, 2020
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6:48 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

All 50 US states have gotten their first Pfizer vaccine shipments

HN Milan Torres prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on December 14, in Bethesda, Maryland.
HN Milan Torres prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on December 14, in Bethesda, Maryland. Manuel Balce Ceneta-Pool/Getty Images

All 50 states — as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico — have received their first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, according to statements from the state departments of health, governor’s offices, and local hospitals.   

Remember: Not all of these states have begun administering the vaccine, but they have received it.  

6:39 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Hawaii receives initial shipment of the Covid-19 Vaccine

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Hawaii’s largest private hospital confirmed it received the state’s first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine Monday, meaning that all 50 states had doses available only one day after shipping began.

The Queen’s Medical Center took delivery just before 8 a.m. local time.

“This is indeed a momentous day,” The Queen’s Health System’s CEO Dr. Jill Hoggard Green said in a written statement. “We have been looking forward to this day for a long time.”

The hospital said vaccinations will begin Tuesday, with priority given to health care workers who are caring directly for Covid-19 patients and other at-risk populations.

The Hawaii Department of Health has not confirmed how many total doses the state received Monday, but The Queen’s Medical Center said they will work to acquire more shipments.

6:28 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden will talk about the vaccine tonight, but he's not expected to detail his own vaccination plans

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President-elect Joe Biden will herald the scientific success of the Covid-19 vaccine tonight in a speech to the nation following the Electoral College vote that affirmed his election win — but he is not expected to shed any more light on when he will be vaccinated. 

Biden, 78, has repeatedly said he will get the vaccination whenever Dr. Anthony Fauci declares it safe to do so. Of course, that has happened, along with the Food and Drug Administration and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But advisers to Biden say the timing of the vaccination is still being worked out. He is expected to receive the vaccine in a public way, as part of his effort to persuade Americans of its safety, but the details are still being discussed in conversations with Fauci, his doctor and other officials.

He also intends to focus his message tonight on the grim American death toll, rather than his own vaccination plans. While no one suggests Biden shouldn’t receive it, one aide said optics were at play, and they wanted frontline workers to get it in the first few days. 

He is not expected to mention his own plans for a vaccination tonight, but look for that to come into sharper focus in the coming days. It is the expectation that he will get it soon, an adviser says, but likely not imminently.

With the two-shot requirement, aides say, time is an issue here if Biden wants to be fully vaccinated before taking office in five weeks.

6:14 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Delaware receives doses of Pfizer vaccine

From CNN's Dave Alsup

Delaware received doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. John Carney announced on Facebook.

“The Pfizer vaccine’s arrival is the first step in a process of getting back to our pre-pandemic normal,” Carney said. “We are all looking forward to that. The vaccine will provide our front-line health care workers with the protection they need while caring for Delawareans who have contracted the virus.”

The governor went to say that the "the vaccine’s arrival does not mean we are in the clear."

“In fact, now more than ever, we need to step up our efforts to keep each other safe. That means wear a mask, wash your hands, and do not gather with your friends and family outside of your household. We know that’s hard, particularly at this time of year, but we are almost through this. We just need to stand firm in our resolve to beat the virus," Carney said.

5:33 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Bipartisan group formally unveils legislative text for coronavirus relief plan

From CNN's Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav and Daniella Diaz

Sen. Joe Manchin speaks alongside a bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill on December 14 in Washington.
Sen. Joe Manchin speaks alongside a bipartisan group of Democrat and Republican members of Congress as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill on December 14 in Washington. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing a package with a $908 billion price tag held a news conference Monday afternoon to formally release their legislative text.

The group decided to split the plan into two bills with one of the bills dealing with the thorny issues of state and local aid and liability protections, while the other bill deals with provisions expected to win more widespread bipartisan support.

Congressional leaders have not yet signed off on any deal – a point that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia gave a nod to when he said, “Now it’s up to the leadership and make this happen on a timely basis.” But Manchin struck an optimistic tone, saying at the end of the news conference as he pointed to the bill text sitting on a podium, “help is on the way.”

It’s also not yet clear whether Democrats will broadly embrace the bill dealing with state and local aid and liability protections. Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine addressed that point, saying, “the other piece involving state and local aid and liability, we couldn’t come to a uniform consensus although there is still work going on in that area.” 

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine praised the bipartisan effort, saying, “I think we’ve had a Christmas miracle occur in Washington."

Echoing Manchin’s point on next steps, she said, “My hope is that our hard work will spur our leadership on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and in the House and in the administration to take our products and use them as the basis for a Covid relief package that is urgently needed.”

GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska referred to the stack of legislative text as “hope.”

“I think it’s important that you’re hearing and seeing that there is a unity in purpose here,” she said.

“It would be scrooge-like if we went away and left folks the day after Christmas to lose their unemployment, or the day after New Years to lose their apartment,” Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said at the news conference, describing the stakes.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio shared that he has lost multiple friends to coronavirus.

"I just lost my third friend to Covid," Portman said. "He died in a hospital after a painful process of being in the ICU and going through with his family the grief and the pain."

5:24 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

California governor warns "we’re still in the tunnel" as state hospitals get first vaccine shipments

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Source: Pool

Four hospitals in California received a total of 33,150 Covid-19 vaccine doses today, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced, just minutes after some of the first health care workers in the state were vaccinated at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.

Strikingly, the number of doses received in the state were equal to the number of new infections recorded today. 

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel,” Newsom cautioned, as the state continues to battle its worst rise in infections and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.

Today’s shipments were sent to hospitals in Los Angeles, San Diego and Northern California. On Tuesday, 24 additional sites are expected to receive vaccine shipments, and five more sites will receive the doses on Wednesday, Newsom elaborated.

“We are very close within the next week or so anticipating that to be replicated in other parts of this state,” Newsom said. “We are in the midst of the worst moment of this pandemic so today is hopeful and reason to be optimistic, but let's be mindful of where we really are, in terms of this pandemic and forgive me for saying that.”  

Both Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed awe at the moment the scientific milestone brings.

“The hope of this moment to witness the vaccines that we just saw, brought a tear to my eye, because it shows human ingenuity. It shows the stubbornness, that human beings have, we want to survive. We want to thrive. And we will make it through this,” Garcetti gushed.

Newsom plans to be vaccinated, but said he will wait until it is available to him, “I will not be cutting in line” in front of critical workers, he said. 

Garcetti also intends to get vaccinated when appropriate, and assured residents of the safety of the vaccine. “I just also wanted to spell out for any communities, because at the federal level, and with a double check at the state, these vaccines have not been infected by power. You can trust them. You should trust them. I trust them.”

5:04 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Health secretary says he wants to get vaccinated "as soon as possible"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday that he wants to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as he can.

"I want to get vaccinated as soon as possible and I want to do it on TV, because I want the American people to see my complete confidence in the integrity of the system. I want them to see that I wouldn't ask them to do something that I wouldn't do myself," Azar told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Azar added that he would be "delighted" for any public official to get vaccinated on TV. Tapper said that President-elect Joe Biden announced he would do so when his time comes to get vaccinated.

"If President-elect Biden comes to you, would you inoculate him, would you vaccinate him? Or perhaps have somebody do so?" Tapper asked Azar.

"Of course we would," Azar said. "Any of those types of efforts that signal to the American people the importance of getting vaccinated and that we as leaders are willing to put our money where our mouth is — of course we'd be very supportive of that and make sure that would happen."

Watch the moment:

5:16 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Health authorities will alert people once it's their time to get Covid-19 vaccine, HHS secretary says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard)

People across the United States should learn from their local public health authorities and providers when they may be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine — especially older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Monday.

"We're going to have enough for 20 million people to get vaccinated by the end of December and then, as I think I mentioned, enough for up to 50 million total by the end of January. As we move into February, we hope to have not only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, AstraZeneca, potentially, that will increase supply even more," Azar said. 

"So we could be seeing in the end of February, into March, more general vaccination programs," he said.

Azar added that his "personal hope" is that the individuals who are elderly and particularly vulnerable will be in some of those next groups in February, "but they're going to learn that from their governor and local health authorities."


4:51 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

HHS secretary calls rising US Covid-19 death toll a "terrible tragedy"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury


Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the rising death from Covid-19 in the United States a "terrible tragedy."

"Any death from Covid is a terrible tragedy," he told CNN's Jake Tapper as Covid-19 deaths surpassed 300,000 in the US.

"Any death in this context and not just directly from Covid," said Azar, who lost his father earlier this year.

"I wasn't able to see him for the month and a half before. I've gotten to experience the pain that individuals who can't be with their relatives who are in a nursing home, be with the relatives who are dying in intensive care units, what they experience. The pain and the anguish in our health care system and our country is real, and that is why I wake up every day with a fervid commitment to deliver vaccines like we're doing ... Because we want these deaths to stop, we want to turn around these hospitalizations, we want cases to go down, " Azar explained.

Azar also pushed back against claims that the rush to approve the vaccine was politically motivated.

"I'm assuring the American people. I led this process. I am the secretary, I am the one who approved this vaccine and will approve others. These are the product of an independent, safe system. Some of the largest vaccine clinical trials in history. Independent data safety monitoring boards. Independent FDA, FDA advisory committees, FDA guidelines that are transparent and clear, decided ultimately by FDA career scientists to authorize this vaccine and they will do the same with others. The best thing that we can do is ensure the rigor and integrity of the process and then the transparency of the data," he said.

Watch the moment: