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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11:21 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

South Korea reports nearly 900 new Covid-19 cases as government considers tightening restrictions

From CNN's Gawon Bae in Seoul and Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

A medical worker takes samples from a man during a Covid-19 test at a makeshift clinic in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Dec. 14.
A medical worker takes samples from a man during a Covid-19 test at a makeshift clinic in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Dec. 14. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea recorded 880 new coronavirus cases on Monday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Of the new cases, 32 were imported. The country also recorded 13 additional virus-related deaths.

The new figures raise the country's total to 44,364 confirmed cases and 600 fatalities.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the government was now weighing up whether to introduce the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

“The government is listening to different opinions and carefully considering whether to raise the social distancing measures to level 3. We shouldn’t miss the timing, but we also cannot make a hasty decision," he said.

Alert levels in South Korea range from 1 -- the least concerning situation -- to 3, signifying the toughest measures necessary. Levels rise in increments of 0.5.

Currently, the country is at Level 2 national alert, but the greater Seoul area and the southeastern port city of Busan are at Level 2.5 -- the second-highest level.

If the government raises the alert to the highest level, that means a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, work from home for all non-essential employees, and a shift to online for all schools and church services. 

“Considering the gravity and impact of Level 3 measures, there is a need to calmly check on ourselves first -- if we’re abiding by the current measures properly," Chung said, adding that raising the alert to Level 3 would "come with irreversible pain."

10:57 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Nevada halts evictions for residents who can't pay rent because of the virus

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak reinstated an order Monday to prevent people who can’t afford their rent from being evicted from their homes.

The eviction moratorium only applies when a resident cannot afford to pay due to financial hardship caused by Covid-19. It does not apply to tenants who are being evicted for non-financial reasons.

“When people are evicted, it is impossible to stay home,” Gov. Sisolak said in a written statement. “They are out looking for jobs and housing to desperately save their families. They will spread Covid-19 unintentionally because they have no options.”

The order does not forgive past-due rent nor prevent landlords from adding late fees when the moratorium ends on March 31.

Additionally, property owners can get an exception to the moratorium if they can prove that failure to get rental payments would result in the property going into foreclosure.

10:26 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

One of first Americans to get vaccine says she wanted to "lead by example"

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester on Monday, Dec. 14, in New York.
Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester on Monday, Dec. 14, in New York. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, Pool

Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was one of the first Americans to receive the new Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.

She wanted to "lead by example," she told CNN.  

“I understand the mistrust among the minority community, so, yes it was on my mind, but mostly I want to be a part of the solution, to put an end to this pandemic once and for all,” she said. 

“I have seen tremendous pain, suffering, fear in the eyes of my colleagues every day that we come to work courageously to save lives,” Lindsay said. “I don't ask people to do anything that I would not do myself and so I was happy to, to volunteer to be among the first,” she added.

She said she felt "great," and that it didn't feel any different from the annual flu shot.

“I have no fear. I trust my profession is deeply rooted in science … What I don't trust is getting Covid-19 because I don't know how it will affect me and the people around me that I could potentially transfer the virus to," she said.

Vaccine distribution: The first coronavirus vaccine was shipped to all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico Monday after a weeks-long authorization process and a massive distribution plan.

9:59 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Got questions and concerns about the Covid vaccine? Ask them at CNN's town hall

The Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in the United States, but it has been greeted with unusually high public skepticism. Although the percentage of Americans willing to take the vaccine is rising, health officials are still struggling to combat distrust -- especially among the Black community.

Do you have questions about the vaccine? International correspondents and experts will join CNN's town hall on Friday to discuss the vaccine and why some in the Black community are reluctant to receive it. Submit your questions and concerns below:

11:52 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

US Surgeon General says he is worried about vaccine skepticism among minority groups

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Monday he is worried about vaccine skepticism among minority communities, but is working to help overcome it.

“Nothing has been in my heart more than this issue over the past several weeks to months,” Adams told CNN. “I’ve been working with Pfizer, with Moderna, with AstraZeneca, with Johnson & Johnson to make sure we have appropriate numbers of minorities enrolled in these vaccine trials so that people can understand that they are safe.”

Adams said he’s working with leaders in the minority community, including faith leaders and fraternities and sororities.

“There are tens of thousands of Black and brown people dying every year because they are distrustful of the system, in many cases rightly so, but also because they’re not getting the facts to help restore their trust in the system,” he said.

Adams said he’s heartened to see the numbers increasing among Americans who say they’ll get the vaccine when it becomes available. That figure is close to 80% today, a sharp rise from just 30% four weeks ago.

History behind mistrust: Adams emphasized that there are now independent review boards and regulations to protect against incidents like the Tuskegee experiment.

Between 1932 and 1972, Black men in the Tuskegee syphilis study were deliberately left untreated so doctors could study the “natural course” of the disease, which can damage the organs as it progresses, including the brain, other nerves, eyes and heart.

4:06 p.m. ET, December 15, 2020

More than 193,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in the US on Monday

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

On Monday, Johns Hopkins University reported 193,454 new cases of coronavirus in the US.

Monday also marked the day that the US gave out the the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Health experts are warning it's likely the US won't see any meaningful, widespread impacts from vaccinations until well into 2021.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misreported the number of new Covid-19 cases in the US on Monday. There were 193,454 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

10:01 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

California will receive nearly 400,000 more doses of Pfizer vaccine next week, governor says

From CNN's Sarah Moon

California is expected to receive an additional 393,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine early next week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a short video posted on his Twitter account Monday.

California received its first vaccine shipment of 33,150 doses on Monday, and expects a total of 327,000 doses this week.

The first vaccines were distributed to four locations in the state, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Eureka, and San Francisco, Newsom said.

He added that 24 additional locations will have received vaccines by Tuesday, and five more locations on Wednesday. 

Surging infections: This comes as California recorded more than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fourth straight day on Monday, continuing an unprecedented surge of infections and hospitalizations that is stretching health care facilities to the brink.

7:59 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

Biden addresses Covid-19 deaths: "My heart goes out to each of you in this dark winter of the pandemic"

In remarks following today's Electoral College vote that affirmed his election victory, President-elect Joe Biden took a moment to acknowledge the US' latest solemn coronavirus milestone.

Earlier today, the US surpassed 300,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

"Today our nation passed a grim milestone: 300,000 deaths due to this Covid virus. My heart goes out to each of you in this dark winter of the pandemic, about to spend the holidays and the new year with a black hole in your hearts, without the ones you love at your side," Biden said.

He continued: "My heart goes out to all of you who have fallen on hard times through no fault of your own. Unable to sleep at night, staring at the ceiling, weighed down by the worry of what tomorrow will bring for you and equally important for your family."

Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, said the US will get through the pandemic together.

"We've faced difficult times before in our history. I know we'll get through this one — but together. That's how we get through it: together," he said.

Watch Biden speak here:

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