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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11:09 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

US sets new record for Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

A medical staff member checks an IV pump for a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, on Dec. 10.
A medical staff member checks an IV pump for a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, on Dec. 10. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The United States reported 109,331 current Covid-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, setting a new record high since the pandemic began, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

This is the 12th consecutive day that the US has remained above 100,000 current hospitalizations.

 The US has seen record hospitalizations for eight days in a row.

 The highest hospitalization numbers according to CTP data are:

  1. December 13: 109,331
  2. December 12: 108,487
  3. December 11: 108,044
  4. December 10: 107,258
  5. December 9: 106,705
9:39 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

The coronavirus vaccine rollout will be messy. People will have to deal with that

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A vaccine kit sent to the wrong state. A hospital system in California expecting to get powdered vaccines instead of frozen vials. And tens of thousands of people expect to get vaccinated in the coming weeks, when in reality they are going to have to wait for months.

The rollout of the first coronavirus vaccine is already messy, and it has only been authorized since late Friday night.

The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine Friday, and it's widely expected to grant EUA to Moderna's similar vaccine next week. Vaccinations are expected to begin Monday.

The federal government's Operation Warp Speed has been gearing up and holding news conferences headlined by generals promising a military-style rollout. But jokes about military precision aside, experts are already expecting a lot of confusion, a fair amount of fear and more than a little outrage.

"The public has to be cognizant that there is going to be unfairness or error or sometimes just stupidity," said Juliette Kayyem, a security specialist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and former assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

Read about some of the problems the US public can expect to see with any mass vaccination effort:

11:42 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Covid-19 vaccine en route to every state as health officials say they hope immunizations begin Monday

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe and Eric Levenson

Thousands of vials of the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine are slated to arrive in all 50 states Monday, as top US health officials express hope that health care workers can begin administering the injections immediately.

The news comes after the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine cleared its final hurdle: Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accepted an advisory committee's recommendation Saturday that the vaccine may be given to people 16 and older, meaning it can now be administered in the United States.

In a statement issued Sunday, Redfield announced he had accepted the recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The first vaccinations are "set to start as early as Monday," he said.

"This is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country," he said in a statement.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, too, said his "greatest hope and desire" is that the vaccinations begin Monday.

"My hope, again, is that this happens very expeditiously, hopefully tomorrow," Hahn told CNN on Sunday. "We've seen the vaccines go out. We've seen the press reports of hospitals waiting to vaccinate health care workers and those most vulnerable."

Vaccines roll out: The decision comes the same day that the first batch of vaccines was loaded onto trucks at a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, and shipped out across the country.

Freight trucks carrying about 184,275 vials of vaccine departed the plant, and the combined 189 boxes of vaccine vials are expected to arrive in all 50 states Monday.

Read the full story:

11:42 p.m. ET, December 13, 2020

Germany to go into national lockdown over Christmas to stem surge in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Claudia Otto

Germany will go into a "hard" national lockdown, starting next week and continuing through the Christmas period, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday, after agreeing to stricter measures with state governments to stem a wave of coronavirus cases.

As of next Wednesday, all non-essential shops, services and schools will close until January 10, and Christmas Day gatherings will be reduced from 10 people to only five from two different households.

This week, Merkel made an impassioned plea for Germans to limit their social contacts ahead of the holidays: despite the country's respected health system and early success in containing the virus, a recent partial lockdown has failed to stop the second-wave surge. Germany reported record daily deaths on Friday, with 598 fatalities tallied in a span of 24 hours.

The new measures take aim at traditional festivities: Christmas church services will be subject to prior registration with no singing allowed, alcohol is to be banned from all public spaces and an annual New Year's Eve fireworks display will be canceled. Some states are also implementing additional measures, such as Bavaria, which will have a 9 p.m. curfew.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has pledged economic help for all businesses affected by the lockdown.

Case numbers: On Sunday, Germany recorded 20,200 new coronavirus infections -- 2,000 more than Sunday last week -- according to the Robert Koch Institute, the country's agency for disease control. The overall infection number stands at 1,320,716. The death toll rose by 321 to 21,787, data showed.