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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7:51 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

US hits record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The United States reported 110,549 Covid-19 hospitalizations on Monday, setting a new record high since the pandemic began, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

This is the thirteenth consecutive day that the US has remained above 100,000 hospitalizations. 

According to CTP data, these are the highest hospitalization numbers:

  • Dec 14: 110,549 people hospitalized
  • Dec. 13: 109,298 people hospitalized
  • Dec. 12: 108,461 people hospitalized
  • Dec. 11: 108,108 people hospitalized
  • Dec. 10: 107,276 people hospitalized
7:48 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Perna tells governors another 4.3 million Pfizer doses authorized for release this Friday

From CNN's Sara Murray

Operation Warp Speed’s Gen. Gustave Perna told governors today that another 4.3 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be authorized for release this Friday, according to a source familiar with the call.  

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also suggested that there would be additional recommendations coming no later than Saturday on how to determine who should be in group 1b for vaccinations.

As far as the spread in the US, Dr. Deborah Birx said there was “evidence of improvement” in the middle of the country, but warned that caseloads are rising on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

Administration officials also appear to be grappling with how best to capitalize on monoclonal antibody treatments.

Birx, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar all encouraged governors to push the use of monoclonal antibodies early in treatment for coronavirus.

Azar said it’s “almost too late” to use monoclonal antibodies once a patient is already admitted to the hospital.

7:38 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

The finish line is in sight, but US is not there yet, US surgeon general says

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

As the first Covid-19 vaccines were administered in the United States Monday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned there’s a still a long way to go.

The US death toll from the coronavirus just surpassed 300,000 and hospitals are nearing capacity in cities across the country.

“The finish line is in sight and the last couple of miles are the hardest, but we've got to keep running,” Adams told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Because even if you weren't worried about Covid, your loved one who's in labor may not have a hospital bed, your loved one who's having a heart attack or who gets in a car accident may not have a bed,” Adams said.

“I was in Montana over the last several days and I talked to hospitals around the state. They're over capacity in those hospitals. You've got hundreds of health care workers who are either in isolation or quarantine.”

Adams said Americans need to continue wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands frequently.

He also urged people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate plasma.

Adams encouraged anyone with questions about the new vaccine to talk to their health care provider. 

“It's okay to have those questions. It's not okay to let misinformation cause you to make decisions that are going to hurt you or hurt your community,” he said.

Watch the moment:


8:11 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

US surgeon general calls first Covid-19 vaccinations "a shot of hope"

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks at George Washington University Hospital on Monday, December 14, in Washington.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks at George Washington University Hospital on Monday, December 14, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AP

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams called the rollout Monday of the nation’s first Covid-19 vaccine “tremendous.”

“This is just tremendous and I’m smiling bigger than I’ve smiled in a long time because it has been a hard year for so many people out there, including me personally,” Adams told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Today we really did get a shot of hope,” he added.

Adams was at George Washington University Medical Center Monday as frontline health care workers got the vaccination.

“We’re not talking about development. We're not talking about the approval process -- actual vaccines going into arms,” Adams said.

But he cautioned that there’s still a long road ahead: “We've got a long way to go, make no mistake about it, and we still need to be appropriately cautious,” Adams said.

“We still need to understand how severe this virus is and the surge that is going in the wrong direction, but we've got some hope finally,” he added.

All 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico have now received their first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, according to statements from the state departments of health, governor’s offices and local hospitals.   

Watch the moment:

6:43 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

FedEx and UPS say they've completed first-day Covid-19 vaccine shipments

From CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace

Shipping companies FedEx and UPS tell CNN they completed all first-day coronavirus vaccine deliveries as scheduled Monday.

FedEx said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was delivered to 70 to 80 sites on Monday.

UPS spokesperson Matt O’Connor told CNN that it “delivered 100% of its Covid vaccines on-time today.”

Operation Warp Speed, the federal government operation overseeing the vaccine program, said roughly 145 sites would receive the vaccine on Monday with another 425 on Tuesday and the remaining 66 deliveries on Wednesday.

Vaccine shipments began on Sunday morning when trucks departed Pfizer’s massive manufacturing facility near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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.