December 27 coronavirus news

By Jenni Marsh, James Griffiths, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020
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12:51 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

US surpasses 19 million Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Haley Brink

A nurse administers a Covid-19 swab test at a drive-thru testing site in Shirley, New York, on December 19.
A nurse administers a Covid-19 swab test at a drive-thru testing site in Shirley, New York, on December 19. Newsday via Getty Images

There have been at least 19,000,572 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 332,145 people have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

12:33 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Virginia reports almost 4,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Virginia is reporting 3,998 new cases of Covid-19 Sunday, according to its Covid-19 dashboard.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate increased slightly to 12.2%, the dashboard shows. 

The Virginia Hospital Covid-19 Dashboard reports 2,495 people in its hospitals with Covid-19, with 514 in the ICU and 318 on a ventilator. Thirty-three percent of the state’s ventilators are currently in use, the dashboard shows.

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

12:00 p.m. ET, December 27, 2020

"We're very concerned" about possible post-holiday surge, US Surgeon General says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

from ABC
from ABC

“We’re very concerned and we always see a little bit of a bump after holidays, and sometimes a large bump,” US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, when asked about concerns about a post-holiday surge of Covid-19 and the number of people who traveled. 

“The important thing for people to understand is that even if you traveled, it doesn’t mean you just throw your hands up in the air and say ‘oh well,’” Adams said. “There are measures that you can take.” 

Adams noted the CDC recommendations that people get tested three to five days after travel or after being around people without masks being worn. 

“Getting that test now means that if you were exposed to asymptomatic spread from someone else, we can find out and we can limit your ability to spread to others,” Adams said. 

He also said that “you should definitely stay away from vulnerable people,” over the next fourteen days if you traveled, “so you don’t give them coronavirus from your holiday gathering.” 

11:29 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Covid-19 variant detected in Norway

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad in London

The new Covid-19 variant — first identified in England — has been detected in two people in Norway, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) on Sunday.

In a press release, the Institute said the variant had been detected in two people who had traveled from the United Kingdom in December.

NIPH Department Director Line Vold said additional testing and closer follow-up of close contacts would be carried out to reduce the risk of possible further spread. She also said that while there is “reason to be cautious, it is still uncertain how important a role the variant plays in spreading the virus.”

Usual measures to fight the pandemic, such as staying home if sick, testing, social distancing, quarantine measures and limited gatherings, are important to control this variant as well, she added.

On Saturday, the Public Health Agency of neighboring Sweden announced the variant had been diagnosed in the region of Sörmland, on the outskirts of Stockholm.

11:08 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

GOP senator: Trump will be remembered for "chaos and misery" if he doesn't sign stimulus bill

From CNN's Rebecca Grandahl

from Fox News
from Fox News

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, says President Trump will be remembered for “chaos and misery and erratic behavior” if he allows the relief bill to expire, Toomey told Mike Emanuel on Fox News Sunday.

“As he leaves office, I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire. So I think the best thing to do as I say is sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation,” Sen. Toomey said of the President.

Toomey explained his own opposition to more coronavirus relief being “because it’s terribly untargeted,” continuing on that the money “should be targeted to people that actually lost their job.”

10:57 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Sen. Sanders to Trump: Sign the stimulus bill, then push for $2,000 checks

From CNN's Aaron Pellish

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders called on President Trump to sign the Covid-19 relief bill passed by Congress “right now” and implored the President to push for additional $2,000 payments to individuals after signing the bill.  

“My view is, given the terrible economic crisis facing this country, yes, we need $2,000 out to every working class individual in this country, 500 bucks for their kid,” Sanders told ABC in an interview Sunday. “But you can't diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then immediately, Monday, Tuesday, we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the working families of this country.” 

Sanders had been among the loudest voices pushing for $2,000 payments to people to be included in the $900 billion bill that only included $600 payments, which Sanders called “simply not enough.” Sanders also criticized President Trump for being absent during negotiations for the bill that now sits on his desk. 

“Not a word,” Sanders said when asked if he’d heard from Trump during the negotiations of the bill. “Everybody assumed that Mnuchin was representing the White House.”

Sanders also commented that he suspects President-elect Joe Biden will make it a priority to provide further assistance to people once he takes office.

10:59 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Move to put some form of restriction on travel is "prudent," Fauci says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday that he wasn’t “going to say it was a mistake or not,” to not implement travel policies for travelers from the United Kingdom before the Christmas travel boom, but that the move to put some form of restriction on travel is “prudent.”

Fauci said he thinks it’s “a good idea to do some form of testing and not let somebody on the plane from the UK unless they have a documented negative Covid-19 test.” 

“So, I agree with that,” he said. “I mean you could argue about the timing, whether it should have been done a few days before.” 

Dozens of countries have banned travel from the UK to contain a new Covid-19 variant first reported in England.

11:02 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci on Trump: "I would get him vaccinated"

Asked about his position on President Trump taking the Covid-19 vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated his recommendation that the President get the vaccine.

"The decision whether he gets vaccinated is up to him and the White House physician ... My recommendation — I've said this before — I would get him vaccinated," Fauci told CNN's Dana Bash. 

Fauci continued: "He is still the President of the United States. A critical person ... So my recommendation for the President remains the same."

He added that the final decision is up to Trump.

Some more context: Trump had coronavirus this year and his doctor's are recommending that he wait to get the vaccine citing the monoclonal antibody treatment that he received to fight the virus.

9:23 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci says UK variant "doesn't appear" to make people more ill

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that while news of new coronavirus variants may seem concerning, viruses mutate "all the time" — plus, the new UK variant does not appear to make people more ill.

"Obviously, this is something we always take seriously and it's concerning whenever you get a mutation, but I think the American public needs to remember and realize that these are RNA viruses and continually mutating all the time. Most of the time the mutations don't have a functional significance," Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Fauci said UK and US officials are studying if the strain makes people more ill: "And the answer is It doesn't appear to be that way," he said.

Fauci continued: "The other issue does it escape the protection that's induced by the vaccines that we're currently using? And according to our British colleagues, that does not seem to be the case."

He added that US officials will do their own studies to see if the vaccines work on the mutant variant.

"Having said that, you take something like this very seriously, you follow it very carefully, and you make whatever adjustments you need to do based on the data as it evolves," Fauci said.