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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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.

9:10 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci said he feels fine after getting Covid-19 vaccine dose

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the US, said he feels fine after getting his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"The only thing I had was about maybe six to 10 hours following the vaccine, I felt a little bit of an ache in my arm. That lasted maybe 24 hours, a little bit more. Then it went away and completely other than that, I felt no other deleterious type of effects."

Fauci said his body's reaction to the vaccine was "really quite good — even as good or better than an influenza vaccine."

He said he expects when he receives the second dose that he might feel the aches again "because the immune system will be revving up more." He said he'll be getting his next dose about three weeks.

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

Fauci says he believes worst is still to come in the pandemic following holiday season

Asked if he thinks that the "worst is still yet to come" in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said "I do."

"We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge," Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union."

He continued:

"We're really at a very critical point. If you put more pressure on the system by what might be a post-seasonal surge because of the traveling and the likely congregating of people for, you know, the good warm purposes of being together for the holidays, it's very tough for people to not do that. 

8:48 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

SOON: Dr. Fauci discusses the pandemic on CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning to discuss the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci turned 80 earlier this week. Ahead of his birthday, he said he would be be heeding his own advice for it and for Christmas.

"I really feel strongly that I need to practice what I preach to the country," he said. "Although I would love very much to have my children, who live in different parts of the country, [to] come in together and have a celebration for my birthday and Christmas, I don't think that's the prudent thing to do, so I'll be having a quiet dinner with my wife, and we'll Zoom in the children."

8:38 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

TSA says it screened more than 1.1 million people at airports yesterday

From CNN's Pete Muntean

The Transportation Security Administration says it screened 1,128,773 people at airports nationwide on Saturday, the latest sign traveling public is not staying home for the holidays despite warnings from health officials.

The new number is close to Wednesday’s pandemic record when nearly 1.2 million people flew — and represents the third busiest day for US air travel since it cratered in March. 

While Saturday TSA traffic was 45% of the day after Christmas a year ago, it means many people are still traveling — something Dr. Anthony Fauci called “concerning” when speaking to Wolf Blitzer last week. Earlier this month, the CDC ratcheted up language urging people to not travel. 

11:05 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Czech Prime Minister is first in country to receive coronavirus vaccine

From Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images
Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images

The Czech Republic's Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, was the first person in the country to receive the coronavirus vaccine, according to CNN affiliate CNN Prima.

Babiš was given the injection on Sunday.

The country's second dose was administered to war veteran Emilia Řepíková.

The EU launched its mass vaccination program this weekend, after approving the vaccine on December 21. France, Spain and Italy also began their first round of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations on Sunday.

Babiš said a total of 355,000 doses would be administered in December and January, according to CNN Prima.

The Czech leader has come under fire in recent months, after coronavirus cases spiked in the country.

Babiš refused to impose stricter rules on the population, citing the need to protect the country's economy. But the decision -- which in some instances contradicted expert opinion -- led to the virus spreading widely.

Eventually strict restrictions were enforced.

In October Babiš admitted he and his government had made mistakes in handling the outbreak and pleaded with people to follow the rules.

7:04 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Italy administers first vaccine doses

From CNN’s Barbie Nadeau and Nicola Ruotolo in Rome 

Italy, the former European epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, has administered its first doses of a vaccine.

Professor Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, a virologist at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases, was among the first people to receive the vaccine on Sunday morning.

Capobianchi is part of the team that first isolated the virus in Italy.

Nurse Claudia Alivernini, health care worker Omar Altobelli and doctor Alessandra D’Abramo also received doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. 

D'Abramo was working at the institute when Italy’s first two coronavirus patients – a Chinese couple -- were hospitalized there on January 30. 

"This is a great day because after a long time of great work in the ward, now is a day of hope and I'm so proud of this," D'Abramo told CNN shortly after she was given the injection.
"The vaccine is approved by the FDA, the EMA and AIFA – the Italian [regulator] – so I think it’s safe and effective," she added.

Earlier on Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted: "Today Italy wakes up. It's the #VaccineDay. This date will remain with us forever."

"We start with health workers and the most vulnerable groups and then extend the possibility of achieving immunity and defeating this virus to the entire population," he said.

Italy has recorded more than 70,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, according to John Hopkins University Data.