December 21 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Steve George, Meg Wagner and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 22, 2020
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7:05 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

CDC: More than 600,000 people have received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine so far in the US

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Walgreens pharmacist Jessica Sahni prepares a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at The New Jewish Home long-term care facility on Manhattans Upper West Side in New York on December 21.
Walgreens pharmacist Jessica Sahni prepares a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at The New Jewish Home long-term care facility on Manhattans Upper West Side in New York on December 21. Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

Operation Warp Speed has delivered more than 4.6 million vaccines to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, and 614,117 people have received the shot as of 9 a.m. Monday morning, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker.

The total doses distributed are cumulative counts of Covid-19 vaccine doses that have been recorded as “shipped” in the CDC’s Vaccine Tracking System since Dec. 13, the agency reported Monday.

The total number of administered doses are reported to the CDC from state, territorial and local public health agencies and five federal agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, the Department of State and Indian Health Services.

The numbers of vaccines shipped account for both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, but the number of doses administered includes only Pfizer’s vaccine at this time, the CDC said.

Pfizer’s vaccine started rolling out on Dec. 14 and Moderna’s, which just received an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration Friday, started shipping out Monday.

 

6:49 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

Massachusetts reports more than 3,700 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

A nurse cares for a Covid-19 positive patient at UMass Memorial Hospital on December 4, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
A nurse cares for a Covid-19 positive patient at UMass Memorial Hospital on December 4, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images

Massachusetts reported 3,760 new Covid-19 cases and 41 deaths on Monday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The state currently has a seven-day average positivity of 5.94%, according to the health department's Covid-19 dashboard.

Note: These numbers were released by Massachusetts' public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

6:14 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

Hospitalizations and Covid-19 positivity rate in Connecticut moving downward, governor says

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

A woman gets a Covid-19 rapid test at a drive through testing facility in Greenwich, Connecticut, on November 13.
A woman gets a Covid-19 rapid test at a drive through testing facility in Greenwich, Connecticut, on November 13. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Connecticut's hospitalizations and positivity rate are moving downward, according to Gov. Ned Lamont at a news conference on Monday.

Hospitalizations are continuing to trend downward and are currently at 1,143, which is 24 less than what they were on Friday. The positivity rate is 5.18% and was at 6.85% on Friday. 

"It's about the same number we were a month ago before Thanksgiving," Lamont said about the positivity rate. "That's a trend that, we're not out of the woods, but perhaps things are stabilizing." 

Lamont also reported 4,595 new Covid-19 cases and 95 new deaths. 

A total of 7,761 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the state so far, Lamont said.

Moderna vaccine deliveries will begin in the state starting today, he said. 

Note: These numbers were released by the state Connecticut and may not line up exactly in real-time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

8:25 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

British Airways and Delta agree to test all passengers before entering New York

 Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
 Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

British Airways and Delta Airlines have agreed to test all passengers before they enter New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday afternoon.

Cuomo also asked Virgin Atlantic to join those airlines in voluntary testing passengers before boarding flights to New York.

The news comes after a new Covid-19 variant was reported in England, prompting some countries to ban travel from the United Kingdom.

Remember: There is no evidence the new coronavirus variants are any more virulent, meaning they do not cause more severe disease. They do not appear to impact the effects of treatments or the protection offered by vaccines.

4:48 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

Joe Biden has received the Covid-19 vaccine

President-elect Joe Biden receives a Covid-19 vaccination at the Christiana Care campus in Newark, Delaware, on December 21.
President-elect Joe Biden receives a Covid-19 vaccination at the Christiana Care campus in Newark, Delaware, on December 21. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden received the first dose of his Covid-19 vaccine in Newark, Delaware, Monday afternoon during a live televised event.

Biden's wife, Jill, was by his side.

The President-elect received the vaccine at ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital and it was administered by Tabe Mase, nurse practitioner and head of Employee Health Services.

When Biden was asked by Mase if she wanted him to count to three before administering the shot, he said, "No, you just go ahead any time you're ready."

"What I want to say is we owe these folks an awful lot," Biden said after getting the shot. "The scientists and the people who put this together, the front line workers, the people who were the ones who actually did the clinical work, it's just amazing. I wish we had time to take you through the whole hospital to see how busy and incredible you all are. And we owe you big. We really do."

Watch here:

Correction: The name of the facility where Biden received the vaccine was ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware. The shot was administered by Tabe Mase.

3:20 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

CVS Health launching vaccination program for long-term care facilities

From CNN’s Cristina Alesci

CVS Health is launching its vaccination program for residents and staff of long-term care facilities across 12 states this week, expecting to eventually vaccinate four million people in 40,000 facilities through the program, according to a company press release.

“CVS Health expects to complete its long-term care facility vaccination effort in approximately 12 weeks,” the company said in the Monday release. 

CVS Health will administer Covid-19 vaccinations starting this week in the following states: 

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

Vaccinations will begin in 36 more states, as well as the District of Columbia, on Dec. 28. Puerto Rico will activate on Jan. 4, said the company. 

CVS noted its long-term care facility vaccination effort is a precursor to the Covid-19 vaccines being available at “all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states,” said CVS in the statement. 

3:14 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

American Airlines CEO says furloughed workers will be brought back by stimulus

From CNN’s Pete Muntean

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker joins fellow airline executives, union heads and politicians for a news conference on September 22 in Washington, DC.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker joins fellow airline executives, union heads and politicians for a news conference on September 22 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says if a new stimulus deal is passed into law, the carrier will recall the thousands of employees it furloughed because of the pandemic’s impact on air travel.

In a new video posted on his verified Instagram account, Parker says furloughed employees will be re-hired with benefits and pay retroactive to Dec. 1.

American Airlines furloughed roughly 19,000 flight attendants, pilots, gate agents, mechanics, and other workers when initial CARES Act payroll support for airlines ended on Oct. 1.  

3:04 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

Ecuador announces 30-day state of emergency and restrictions to control Covid-19 variant

From Stefano Pozzebon and Jaide Garcia

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno attends a trade agreement signing on December 8 in Quito, Ecuador.
Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno attends a trade agreement signing on December 8 in Quito, Ecuador. Cristina Vega Rhor/AFP/Getty Images

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno declared the start of a 30-day state of emergency and 15-day nationwide curfew during a video address to the nation on Monday. 

Bars and clubs will shut down in Ecuador during the holiday season, while hotels and restaurants will only be allowed to operate at 30% capacity, Moreno said. 

Following the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, Moreno announced that visitors coming from the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the European Union need to show negative PCR test results taken 10 days prior to arriving in the country, they must also take an antibody test that will be provided at international airports.

More details: Travelers who test negative for antibodies must quarantine in a hotel for five days, and travelers who test positive must quarantine for 10 days. 

1:43 p.m. ET, December 21, 2020

The new coronavirus variant "doesn't change what we need to do," US surgeon general says 

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks at George Washington University Hospital on December 14.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams speaks at George Washington University Hospital on December 14. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

During an interview with Fox News, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the new coronavirus variant found in the United Kingdom "doesn't change what we need to do" in regards to staying protected. 

"It's important for your viewers to know viruses mutate, that's what they do. We've had dozens of mutations of this SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19, this year alone," Adams said. "What's important for people to understand as this doesn't change what we need to do. We need to wear masks, wash hands, watch our distances and wait on gatherings, and we need to get vaccines, get vaccinated when those become available to us."

Additionally, Adams said that this new variant in the UK could be one "that was at a super spreader event" but they will have further discussion about this at a taskforce meeting later today.