December 1 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Emma Reynolds and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020
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7:06 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

CDC will decrease coronavirus quarantine time

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, informed Vice President Mike Pence and coronavirus task force members on Tuesday that the CDC will soon issue new guidelines reducing the number of days close contacts should quarantine following a suspected exposure, two senior administration officials told CNN.

The new guidelines will recommend close contacts of those infected with coronavirus should quarantine for seven to 10 days after exposure, down from the 14 days currently recommended, the official said. Individuals can end their quarantine after seven days if they receive a negative test, or 10 days without getting tested.

Redfield announced the forthcoming guidelines during a coronavirus task force meeting on Tuesday, the officials said, describing the change as a data-driven decision that has been under review for weeks.

One official said Pence has been pushing the CDC for months to review the guidelines. 

The CDC did not immediately return CNN's request for comment. 

Health experts continued to stress the importance of communicating and implementing mitigation measures to decrease the alarming number of coronavirus cases across the country, the official said. There was no discussion of President Trump getting involved in public messaging around those mitigation measures.

 

7:03 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

San Francisco plans new restrictions amid Covid-19 surge

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

A health care worker administers a test at a Covid-19 testing tent outside a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, on Monday, Nov. 30.
A health care worker administers a test at a Covid-19 testing tent outside a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, on Monday, Nov. 30. David Odisho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Health officials will implement additional rollbacks and restrictions this week to temper the spread of the virus, Public Health Director Grant Colfax said at a news conference Tuesday, warning there is "little time to spare.

"We are going to further reduce the number of people who can gather, especially from multiple households and we will be analyzing the capacity restrictions for indoor shopping and other indoor services," Colfax said. "We are looking at potential travel quarantine orders and some of these orders can be issued as early as tomorrow."

In the past two weeks, San Francisco health officials have taken numerous actions to try and slow the spread by halting indoor dining, closing nonessential businesses, and limiting the capacity at some essential businesses. However, none of these actions have slowed the rate of spread, Colfax said.

As a result, Mayor London Breed said officials are weighing the possibility of closing outdoor dining entirely, a measure that would follow a similar outdoor dining ban that took effect in Los Angeles County last week.

"I want to be clear that unfortunately we can't rule it out," Breed said about halting all outdoor dining. "As soon as we know when or if it happens, we will make sure that we provide as much notification as we can."

In the last three weeks, positive cases in San Francisco have tripled to a higher point than all previous surges in the city, according to latest public health data. On Oct. 22, San Francisco was reporting an average of 34 new cases per day. It is now averaging 140 new cases per day, or about four times more new cases than a month ago.

To date, San Francisco has reported 15,639 total cases and 160 deaths. Covid-19 hospitalizations in the city have doubled over the past 10 days. If this trend continues, the city will experience a hospital bed shortage around Christmas, Colfax warned.

"We are now in the most dangerous periods of this pandemic," Breed added. "We need to do everything we can to stay ahead of our hospitals not being overrun."
7:01 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

US adds more than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The United States has reported more than 2,000 deaths from Covid-19 today, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Currently the country has reported 2,324 new deaths today.

This is the 22nd day that the US has ever added more than 2,000 new deaths. The US added more than 2,000 deaths on Nov. 24 and 25. Prior to last week, the country had not seen numbers this high since May 6.

One thing to note: Many states did not report cases and deaths on or around Thanksgiving Day. In the days following, more than half of those states reported their highest single day of new cases – simply because they reported at least two full days of new cases and deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.     

As the week progresses, the data should smooth out before the anticipated Thanksgiving wave occurs.    

According to Johns Hopkins data, the United States has also added 154,839 cases today, for a total of 13,696,060 cases.

7:23 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Democratic senator blasts McConnell for rejecting bipartisan relief package

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin today criticized Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for rejecting a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus stimulus bill, warning that 12 million Americans face a financial cliff when they fall off unemployment the day after Christmas. 

"Senator McConnell will not accept this," said Durbin of the proposal which was hammered out by a bipartisan group of centrist senators including Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

"He wants something else. It's unfortunate," added the Illinois Democrat.

McConnell earlier on Tuesday summarily dismissed the bipartisan proposal, telling reporters "we just don't have time to waste time." He added that he knows what kind of relief package would garner a signature from President Trump.

McConnell and some Republicans have proposed a slimmed down $500 billion "targeted relief" plan." He added he believes it is critical to have a package signed into law before lawmakers depart for the holidays.

Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer today, Durbin agreed, saying it is critical that lawmakers provide relief to suffering Americans before the holidays.

"It is important for us, if we want to go home and celebrate with our families with a clear conscience, to do something," he said.

“This is a middle ground," Durbin added of the bipartisan proposal. "This is a compromise. It’s a good bill."

6:52 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

L.A. County shatters Covid-19 case and hospitalization records

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Cars are lined up at Dodger Stadium for Covid-19 testing on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend on November 30,  in Los Angeles.
Cars are lined up at Dodger Stadium for Covid-19 testing on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend on November 30, in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Los Angeles County reported its highest number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, with 7,593 new cases and 2,316 hospitalizations, according to a news release from the L.A. County Department of Public Health on Tuesday.

"Today, Tuesday, December 1, 2020, is the worst day thus far of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County,” the county's Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in the release. “However, it will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County. That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase.” 

The number of new Covid-19 cases reported Tuesday easily surpassed the previous high of 6,124 new cases seen last week, signaling “that the virus is infecting more people at a faster rate than ever seen in L.A. County before,” the health department said.

The daily test positivity rate has nearly doubled to 12% from 7% one week ago and the number of hospitalizations has increased nearly every day since November when the number of hospitalizations was about 799, the release adds. With 2,316 hospitalizations, “this exceeds the peak of 2,232 people hospitalized with Covid-19 during the July surge.”

“Every resident and every business needs to take immediate action if we are to dampen this alarming surge. We are in the middle of an accelerating surge in a pandemic of huge magnitude,” said Ferrer. “This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives.”

The public health department is urging all residents to stay home as much as possible. The county also issued a modified stay at home order that went into effect on Monday. Outdoor dining and gatherings with people outside a single household are prohibited under the new order. 

Since the end of August, the public health department issued a total of 352 citations to non-compliant businesses, according to the release.

To date, Los Angeles County has reported a total of 408,396 coronavirus cases and 7,700 deaths.

6:03 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

CDC vaccine advisers to meet again after FDA committee decides on a coronavirus vaccine

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet again after their counterparts at the US Food and Drug Administration decide whether to recommend authorizing a coronavirus vaccine, likely next week.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted Tuesday to recommend that if and when a vaccine gets emergency use authorization from the FDA, it should go first to both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

The next meeting will come after the FDA’s advisers, known as the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee or VRBPAC, meet on Dec. 10 to decide on Pfizer’s application for an EUA, said ACIP’s executive secretary, Dr. Amanda Cohn.

“We anticipate that the next ACIP meeting will occur sometime after the VRPBAC meeting,” Cohn said. ACIP will vote to recommend whether any vaccine the FDA authorizes should actually be given to anyone in the US.

5:54 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

Texas reports more than 15,000 new Covid-19 cases   

From CNN's Raja Razek

Volunteer Daisy Valdivia, left, of Forth Worth, Texas, takes down information from a person waiting in line to receive food items during a Tarrant Area Food Bank mobile pantry distribution event in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Thanksgiving holiday food items were distributed to over 5,000 families during the event that took place in a parking lot outside AT&T Stadium. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Volunteer Daisy Valdivia, left, of Forth Worth, Texas, takes down information from a person waiting in line to receive food items during a Tarrant Area Food Bank mobile pantry distribution event in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Thanksgiving holiday food items were distributed to over 5,000 families during the event that took place in a parking lot outside AT&T Stadium. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Texas reported Tuesday a record 15,182 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 1,184,250, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard. 

The state also reported 170 new Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 21,549.

There are currently 9,047 Covid-19 patients in Texas hospitals. 

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

5:38 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

CDC advisers vote to recommend that health care staff and long-term care facility residents get vaccine first

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 13-1 on Tuesday to recommend that both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted to include both groups in what they’re calling Phase 1a of the CDC’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. 

“Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently,” the CDC said.

“Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure or infectious materials."

The CDC says long-term care facility residents account for 6% of coronavirus cases and 40% of coronavirus deaths in the US. More than 240,000 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus and 858 have died, the CDC says.

The single vote against the recommendation came from Dr. Helen Talbot of Vanderbilt University, who said she was worried that the vaccine had not been studied in residents of long-term care facilities. 

“We hope it works and we hope it’s safe. That concerns me on many levels,” Talbot told the meeting. 

But Dr. Jose Romero, who chairs ACIP, said he believed these residents are at exceptional risk.

“I believe my vote represents maximum benefit, minimum harm, promoting justice and mitigating … health inequalities,” Romero said after the vote.
5:28 p.m. ET, December 1, 2020

CDC committee starts voting on who gets coronavirus vaccines first

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US Center for Disease Control And Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is about to begin voting on recommendations about who should get a coronavirus vaccine first.