December 18 coronavirus news

By Emma Reynolds, Hannah Strange, Helen Regan, Adam Renton and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0421 GMT (1221 HKT) December 22, 2020
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11:42 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

India surpasses 10 million coronavirus cases

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker collects a swab sample from a man for Covid-19 test, at a dispensary in New Delhi, India, on December 5.
A health worker collects a swab sample from a man for Covid-19 test, at a dispensary in New Delhi, India, on December 5. Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

India surpassed 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday after adding 25,152 new infections from the past 24 hours, according to the country's Health Ministry.

India is the second country to hit 10 million cases, after the United States, which has reported more than 17.4 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

India's total number of cases stands at 10,004,599 and the death toll at 145,136 after adding 347 new virus-related fatalities from Friday, the Health Ministry said.

11:15 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta get his Covid-19 vaccine

Dr. Sanjay Gupta receives a Covid-19 vaccine shot.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta receives a Covid-19 vaccine shot. CNN

Dr. Sanjay Gupta showed the world how easy it is to get the Covid-19 vaccine during CNN's coronavirus town hall this evening.

It's such an amazing feat and yet such a mundane act," Gupta said. " I'm a little bit of afraid of needles."

Watch Dr. Sanjay get the vaccine below:

11:10 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

US adds record number of new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Haley Brink

Registered nurse Carmen Verano wipes her CAPR helmet after attending to a Covid-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California on December 18.
Registered nurse Carmen Verano wipes her CAPR helmet after attending to a Covid-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California on December 18. Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

The United States reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). 

So far today, 249,709 new Covid-19 cases have been reported, according to JHU, totaling at least 17,459,296 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

These are the days with the highest number of new cases, according to JHU data:

  1. Dec. 18: 249,709
  2. Dec. 16: 247,403
  3. Dec. 17: 236,211
  4. Dec. 11: 234,103
  5. Dec. 4: 229,606

Note: This is not a final number for Friday and cases numbers could rise higher.

11:41 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

US surgeon general "pumped" after getting Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Jerome Adams.
Dr. Jerome Adams. CNN

Dr. Jerome Adams said he’s “pumped” after getting the Covid-19 vaccine on Friday morning.

“I'm really pumped because this is, again, the light at the end of the tunnel we've been waiting for,” Adams told Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Don Lemon on CNN’s town hall Friday night. 
“This is the beginning of the end and make no mistake about it. It's going to be a hard couple of weeks,” he said. “We still have work to do to get over this surge, but I want people to be encouraged.”

Adams said it’s OK to ask questions and wonder if the shot is right for an individual, but he said it’s not alright for misinformation on the vaccine to cause a person to “make a decision that is bad for your health.”

“I looked at the data, I made a decision that I thought was appropriate for my health, and that's all I'm asking your viewers to do.”

The US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for Moderna’s vaccine Friday night, the second vaccine to receive an EUA in the United States after Pfizer’s last weekend.

10:59 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

Reverend in Massachusetts says "people are still very resistant" to getting the Covid-19 vaccine

Rev. Liz Walker.
Rev. Liz Walker. CNN

Rev. Liz Walker, of Roxbury Presbyterian Church near Boston, said "people are still very resistant in our community" to getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

"They're listening and asking questions, as your viewers have��been asking tonight. But it's going to take a lot. It's going to take a lot," Walker told CNN during its coronavirus town hall Friday evening. "I think minds are slowly changing just a little bit, at least in the anecdotal kinds of polls I've been taking, but people still have a great deal of resistance."
10:56 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

US surgeon general urges Americans to get flu shot now

Dr. Jerome Adams
Dr. Jerome Adams CNN

Americans who haven't had their flu shot should get vaccinated against the flu now, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN's town hall Friday evening.

"Healthcare workers and older people will get the (Covid-19) vaccine first, so if you haven't had your flu vaccine, get it now," said Adams, in response to a question on whether both could be taken at the same time.

The FDA advises an interval of 14 days between the flu shot and the coronavirus vaccine. In the event of an adverse reaction, doctors won't know its cause if the two are taken too close together.

The CDC estimates that the seasonal flu has resulted in between 12,000 -- 61,000 deaths annually in the US since 2010.

10:57 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

The Covid-19 vaccine trials included people of color, US surgeon general says

Left to right: Don Lemon, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN's town hall.
Left to right: Don Lemon, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Jerome Adams and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN's town hall. CNN

Americans of color should take solace in knowing that people like them were part of the Covid-19 vaccine trials conducted over the course of months, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during CNN's coronavirus town hall Friday evening.

"We spent every single Saturday for the last several months working with these vaccine manufacturers, all of them, to make sure they had adequate enrollment in their trials, older people, younger people, Black people, White people, Hispanic people. There is a very good representation in these trials, including older people," Adams said alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Watch the moment:

10:48 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

Fauci says it is "essential" for communities of color to get the Covid-19 vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. CNN

In an effort to convince communities of color in the United States that it is important for them to get the Covid-19 vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he may join US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in pounding the pavement around the country.

"You may see Jerome and I out there talking to Black churches, talking to individuals of various minority groups, essentially pleading with them to ask us the questions of what is it that might make them hesitant and if they are hesitant, how can we explain to them, based on the data, why it's essential for them to get vaccinated," Fauci said Friday evening during CNN's coronavirus town hall.

Hear more from Dr. Fauci:

10:38 p.m. ET, December 18, 2020

US surgeon general says "historical wrongs" factor into Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among people of color

Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams. CNN

Surgeon General Jerome Adams has spoken with people of color in the US and said they become emotional when discussing their hesitancy in getting the Covid-19 vaccine over government mistrust.

"We talk about historical wrongs, but one of the things we need to talk about are wrongs that are still going on today. When you look at Covid-19, the fact that you are three to five times more likely to end up in a hospital and/or die if you're African-American, Hispanic, or Native American, those are wrongs that are going on right now," Adams said during CNN's coronavirus town hall Friday evening.

Adams added: "We talk about pre-existing medical conditions, but we've got to start talking about pre-existing social conditions, transportation, safe, affordable housing, a good-paying jobs."

More context: Institutional racism in the United States contributes to the disproportional impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the Black community, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Tuesday.

When asked about the racial disparities emerging amid the pandemic during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the "Oversight of the Trump Administration's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic," Fauci responded that the Black community has been facing a "double whammy."

Fauci noted that some Black adults may not be able to social distance if they are essential workers, and there is a disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions within the Black community, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease and kidney disease.

"So unfortunately we have a situation where it's sort of a double whammy," Fauci said.

Watch the moment: