December 28 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 29, 2020
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1:29 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

New York City's key Covid-19 metrics exceed desired thresholds, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

All Covid-19 indicators for New York City continue to be above the desired thresholds, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today.

New York City added nearly 2,500 new Covid-19 cases, reported 224 new hospitalizations, and reported a percent positivity of 7.24% on a seven-day average, according to a tweet from the mayor.

“The end of this battle is in sight — we can't let up the fight now,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

See the mayor's tweet:

1:16 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

New York governor will sign an executive order to combat potential vaccine fraud

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference on Monday, December 28.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference on Monday, December 28. NY Governor's Office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will be signing an executive order Monday that would fine up to a million dollars as well as a revocation of licenses for those who knowingly break the law when it comes to fraud and the Covid-19 vaccine.

The order would include doctors, nurses, pharmacists or any licensed health care professional.

The news comes as the New York Health Department is reviewing the actions of health care provider ParCare.

“The vaccine is a valuable commodity and you have many people that want the vaccine and you will have fraud in the vaccine process,” Cuomo said. 

He later said, “The vaccines are a priority, no politics at play at who gets a vaccine, we will not tolerate any fraud in the vaccination process.”

Cuomo said his office is looking at one health care provider who might have committed fraud. The governor, who did not mention the name of the company, said the New York State Police has reviewed the facts and referred it to New York Attorney General’s office. 

Asked specifically during the question and answer portion of the briefing about ParCare, Cuomo said, “the state police believe there’s enough evidence to commence a criminal investigation and hence the referral to the office of the Attorney General.”

CNN is reaching out to the Office of the Attorney General who earlier Monday issued a general warning alerting New Yorkers to potential scams offering early access to Covid-19 vaccines. She did not name a company in particular.

The New York Department of Health this weekend said that an Orange County provider may have transferred the Covid-19 vaccine to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and administered it to members of the public "contrary to the state's plan to administer it first to frontline health care workers, as well as nursing home residents and staffers.” CNN reported that ParCare was the provider.

1:43 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

New York is experiencing a "big increase" in positive Covid-19 tests, governor says

A nurse practitioner administers a Covid-19 swab test at Smith Point Park in Shirley, New York, on December 19.
A nurse practitioner administers a Covid-19 swab test at Smith Point Park in Shirley, New York, on December 19. Newsday/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday reported a statewide positivity rate of 8.3%, which he called a “big increase” from the 5.9% seven-day average. 

“For it to go up in two days is dramatic and very, very fast, so we are studying what that uptick actually means,” Cuomo said. 

At least 114 people have died from Covid-19 in New York. There has also been an increase of 376 hospitalizations, bringing the total to 7,559. The number of patients in intensive care units is up 35 for a total of 1,222. 

“Hope New Yorkers took our caution and celebrated smart, celebrate smart avoid shutdowns," Cuomo said. “What will happen will be the consequence of our actions."

Cuomo said 140,000 New Yorkers have already received one vaccine, with 259,000 vaccines expected this week. At least 139,000 doses will be coming from Pfizer and 119,000 will come from Moderna, Cuomo said. 

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

12:20 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Top Democrat urges Trump to convince Republicans to act on $2,000 stimulus checks

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference in Brooklyn, New York, on December 28.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference in Brooklyn, New York, on December 28. Pool/WNYW

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on President Trump to not "just talk" but to "act" and to urge Senate Republicans to "support $2,000 in relief (checks)."

Speaking at a news conference in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday, he said:

"Today, I am telling Donald Trump, don't just talk about it, act. These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin. Get them now to act and support the $2,000 checks."

Schumer added that he "will be on the floor of the Senate tomorrow urging that to happen, asking for what's called a unanimous consent request, and if Republicans go along, it will happen. We need that money. People are desperate. They need the help."

The New York Democrat noted that right now, there are "not enough" Senate Republicans for it to pass.

On Trump signing the relief bill late Sunday, he said, "We’re glad the President finally signed the Covid relief bill yesterday. New Yorkers can breathe a momentary sigh of relief."

12:02 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Military personnel being deployed to California to combat coronavirus

From CNN's Ryan Browne

At least 75 US Army and Air Force medical personnel have been deployed to California to assist in the pandemic response.

“At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approximately 75 U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force military medical personnel deployed to California as part of a Department of Defense COVID-19 response operation,” a statement from the Army said on Monday.

The latest situation: Since the Thanksgiving holiday, California has faced a surge of Covid-19 infections unparalleled across the United States, leading to continued daily record highs in hospitalizations and deaths.

Most of the state remains under stay at home orders triggered by a region's intensive care unit capacity falling below 15%. According to the state Department of Public Health, intensive care unit bed capacity in both the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions are at 0%, and it's likely the stay home orders will be extended for most of the state.

12:03 p.m. ET, December 28, 2020

US House may pass $2,000 stimulus check provision on Monday

From CNN's Lauren Fox

The sun rises over the US Capitol on December 28 in Washington, DC.
The sun rises over the US Capitol on December 28 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The US House of Representatives could pass a provision Monday night that would increase the amount of money individuals and families receive in stimulus checks.

A Republican leadership aide tells CNN that while the Republican side is not whipping the bill, "there’s a good chance it can pass." It’s far from certain, but aides are warning it’s possible. 

The bill, which would require a 2/3 majority to pass because it is going to occur under suspension, would increase the amount of the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per individual.

Eligibility for the checks is determined by a person’s most recent tax returns. Anyone who made under $75,000 as an individual, or $150,000 as a couple, would receive the full amount. The amount individuals receive decreases by $5 for every $100 a person makes over $75,000. In short, that means that individuals who make over $99,000 would not be eligible, nor would couples making more than $198,000.

If the bill actually passes the House with a strong Republican vote, it will put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a tough position of having to decide whether to bring the provision to the floor in the Senate as a standalone bill. 

While the President has been urging Republicans to up the payments, many Republicans in McConnell’s ranks have made it clear they don’t think an increase is warranted, given how much it would increase the price tag of the stimulus bill.

A vote on the checks would likely divide the GOP conference and force some members to endure President Trump’s ire in his final days in office.

Reminder: The Covid-19 relief legislation was passed by Congress last Monday and was flown to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday to await Trump's signature. But after sitting on the sidelines during the negotiations, Trump emerged with an eleventh-hour complaint that a separate provision in the deal, which the President's own White House helped broker, would only provide up to $600 in direct payments.

Trump wanted to send out $2,000 checks. 

Trump signaled in a statement Sunday night that he signed the coronavirus relief bill only after securing a commitment for the Senate to consider legislation to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, did not reference that commitment in his own statement Sunday night praising the President for signing the relief bill.

11:44 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

UK reports highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases since start of pandemic

From CNN’s Samantha Tapfumaneyi

The United Kingdom is reporting at least 41,385 coronavirus cases on Monday, breaking its daily record since the pandemic began.

A further 357 people have died from the virus.

A new coronavirus variant, that experts say can spread easier than others, has prompted the UK to lock down as other countries impose travel restrictions.

11:45 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Premier League match postponed between due to Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN's David Close

A big screen graphic announces the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City is postponed at Goodison Park on December 28 in Liverpool, England.
A big screen graphic announces the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City is postponed at Goodison Park on December 28 in Liverpool, England. Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Images

Monday night's English Premier League fixture between Everton and Manchester City has been postponed following positive Covid-19 test results within the City squad. The game was slated to kickoff at 8 p.m. local time at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England.

Manchester City did not disclose how many cases the team has in total but in a Monday statement, the team said the additional positive tests are in addition to four cases previously announced on Christmas Day. 

"With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond," the statement read.

A make-up date for the match has not been decided.

The Premier League says further testing will be conducted on Tuesday.

11:16 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020

Five cases of UK Covid-19 variant detected in southern Spain

From CNN's Al Goodman in Madrid and Amy Cassidy in Glasgow

Five cases of the new coronavirus variant, first detected in England, have been found in southern Spain among travelers who returned to the region of Andalusia from the UK in recent days, according to local authorities.  

A statement released by the Andalusia regional government on Monday said these are the first known cases with the variant to be detected in the region. Three of these cases are patients in Malaga province and the other two are in Granada province. Four other cases are under study, it said.

This comes after Madrid’s health advisor Antonio Zapatero said Saturday that the city had detected four cases of the variant. One of the cases is a person who arrived from the UK, and the three others are family members, he said. 

Cases have also been detected in Finland and Sweden.

Here's what we know and don't know about the UK coronavirus variant.