December 27 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020
18 Posts
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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.

6:55 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Nursing home resident, 96, is first person to be vaccinated in Spain

From CNN's Atika Shubert in Madrid

A 96-year-old nursing home resident became the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Spain on Sunday.

Araceli Rosario Hidalgo received a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a care home in Guadalajara, near Madrid. 

According to the country's Ministry of Health, Hidalgo was born in 1924 and has lived in the Los Olmos home since 2013.

The second person in Spain to receive a vaccine was a staff member at the same home, nursing assistant Mónica Tapias.

Almost 50,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Spain since the pandemic began, according to John Hopkins University data.

The vaccination program is part of the EU's effort to roll out mass vaccinations across the 27 member states in the bloc.

6:35 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

A 78-year-old woman was the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in France

From CNN’s Ya Chun Wang in Paris and Arnaud Siad in London

A 78-year-old woman has become the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in France, according to a tweet by Aurélien Rousseau, director-general of the Ile-de-France region's health agency.

Rousseau posted a picture of the vaccination on Twitter Sunday and described it as "an intense moment ... carrying so much hope."

The first person to be vaccinated is a former housekeeper named Mauricette. She received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Sunday morning in a public hospital in the greater Paris area. 

"I am moved," she said.

A 65-year-old cardiologist, Dr. Jean-Jacques Monsuez, was given the vaccine shortly afterwards.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that:

“Following the green light from health authorities, the vaccination campaign starts today, in France as in Europe.”

He added that the vaccine would be entirely free and voluntary.

A dozen elderly people and caregivers are scheduled to be vaccinated on Sunday at the symbolic launch of the French vaccination campaign, in the greater Paris area and in Dijon, in northeastern France. 

The European Union launched the first phase of its mass vaccination program on Sunday. As well as France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Spain are among the member states that began giving vaccinations this weekend. 

The French government says it is aiming to vaccinate one million people by the end of February, with a focus on the oldest, the most vulnerable and caregivers.

6:28 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

A US Boy Scout troop created a "hug booth" for nursing home residents who couldn't touch their loved ones

From CNN's Alaa Elassar

Sometimes, all you need is a hug.

But for thousands of nursing home residents across the United States who've been quarantining for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, hugs are a luxury they can't afford.

Luckily for residents of Heartis Clear Lake, an assisted living facility in Webster, Texas (about 25 miles southeast of Houston), an employee's idea came to life with the help of a teenage Boy Scout, who designed three "hug booths" that allow people to embrace without touching at all.

"In March, when things shut down, one of my residents told me the only thing she missed was human touch," Becky Hudson, the lifestyle director at the facility who came up with the idea, told CNN.
"When she said that, I put my gloves on and held her hands and she was just crying. That's when I started thinking of ways for our seniors to be able to hug their loved ones without risking their lives."

To protect vulnerable seniors, many nursing homes and assisted living centers closed to visitors early in the pandemic. Some residents were even barred from leaving their rooms to interact with others who live in the same facility.

Read more:

6:08 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Queen Elizabeth had a rough 2020. But the pandemic gave her renewed relevance.

 From CNN's Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

2020 was a tumultuous year for most people, and that's no less true for Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain's monarch has long occupied two roles -- one as the head of the state and nation, the other as the head of her own family -- and over the past 12 months she has been forced to confront crises on both fronts.

As Covid-19 spread through the UK, she was prevented from doing what she does best when her busy diary of public engagements was suddenly curtailed. 

Instead she was presented with one the biggest crises she's ever faced as head of nation -- keeping everyone united as the the country went into an uncomfortable lockdown.

She made the decision to relocate from Buckingham Palace in London to form a bubble in Windsor with Prince Philip and key staff "as a sensible precaution."

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