December 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 3, 2020
24 Posts
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10:28 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

The US hit a record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations yesterday. Here's where things stand.

From CNN's Amanda Watts

A medical staff member takes a blood sample from a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. 
A medical staff member takes a blood sample from a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas.  Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Although there has been good news this week as vaccines get closer to rolling out, Covid-19 figures in the US continue to show a dire situation.

The country set a record for the number of people currently hospitalized due to coronavirus on Tuesday, and cases continue to surge across the country.

Here's a looks at where things stand in the US:


  • At least 98,691 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized yesterday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations the nation has ever experienced.
  • This is more than double the number of hospitalizations reported on Nov. 1, and more than triple the number of hospitalizations reported on Oct. 1.
  • Tuesday's hospitalizations is a more than 60% increase from peaks in the spring and summer.


  • The US reported at least 2,597 new deaths on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • That's the second highest single day of deaths so far.
  • The US now averages about 1,531 reported deaths per day and has averaged more than 1,000 deaths for 21 consecutive days.

New cases

  • The United States reported at least 180,083 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, according to JHU data – the fifth highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.
  • This means 39 of the top 40 single highest days of the pandemic have all occurred in October, November and December

Here's a look at how Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased over time:

10:10 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

Stocks open lower

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

US stocks kicked off the day lower on Wednesday, pulling back after both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to record highs on Tuesday. 

The ADP employment report missed expectations before the open, saying 307,000 jobs were added to the US economy in November. The government’s official report is due on Friday at 8:30 am ET.

Here's where things opened:

  • The Dow opened down 0.6%, or 172 points
  • The S&P slipped 0.3%
  • The Nasdaq opened 0.6% lower

10:47 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

Fauci says it will likely be "well into the end of the summer" before you see full sports stadiums

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Yahoo Sports on Monday that unrestricted sports stadium capacities will be one of “the last things that you’re gonna see” as the pandemic moves into 2021.

“We're gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people [from] the end of December through January, February, March,” Fauci said in the interview. “By the time you get to the general public, the people who'll be going to the basketball games, who don't have any underlying conditions, that's gonna be starting the end of April, May, June. So, it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable [with full sports stadiums] – if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don't think we're going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”

Fauci said he thinks the possibility of full NBA arenas in July will be “cutting it close." When asked about full NFL stadiums in September, he said “oh, that’s possible. I think that’s possible.”  

In the interview, Fauci also said that just having an efficacious vaccine doesn’t lead to the end of the pandemic, “but an efficacious vaccine that’s widely utilized could get us to a point where we’re really approaching normality.” 

“We could get there by the end of the summer, and as we get into the fall of next year,” Fauci continued. But “if 50% of the people say, ‘You know, I don't want to get vaccinated,’ then it's gonna take considerably longer than that.”

In the Yahoo interview, Fauci pegged the percentage of the population that need to be vaccinated at “somewhere between 75 and 85 percent,” to return to normalcy. Not hitting that threshold didn’t mean normalcy would never return, “it would just take longer,” Fauci told Yahoo Sports.

9:15 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

First vaccinations could begin next week, BioNTech CEO says after UK approves vaccine

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

“If everything goes well, I expect that first people could get the first vaccinations beginning next week," BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin says after the UK approved its Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Pfizer.

The US Food and Drug Administration is still reviewing the vaccine but Sahin says if and when the vaccine gets approved, the roll out could be “very fast.”

“We will deliver up to 50 million doses to the different regions in 2020. So that means a significant proportion of those doses would also go to the United States,” he told CNN. “Technically, we are prepared to start the rollout. It depends, of course, on the regulatory approval.”

A big logistical challenge for the vaccine is its storage requirements that also make its transportation complicated. Sahin says the team is working on a “second generation formula” which could allow its transportation at room temperature and it “will be available most likely in the second half of 2021.”

To ensure that the vaccine actually stops the coronavirus pandemic, the vaccination rate needs to be at least 60% to 70%, Sahin says.

“I personally believe there is a number of companies now reaching the approval [stage] in the next few months. We might be able to deliver sufficient number of doses until end of summer 2021 to reach the 60% to 70% coverage which could give us the relief to have a normal winter in 2021.”

Watch more:

9:09 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

The 3 separate attempts happening right now on US Covid-19 relief

From CNN's Lauren Fox

It's almost like everyone woke up Tuesday and realized that there was a massive cliff coming at the end of December if lawmakers couldn't find agreement on a stimulus bill.

The flurry of activity from the unveiling of a bipartisan framework to an announcement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he was going to present another targeted relief bill to his members might have left folks who aren't at the US Capitol every day with the impression that something was going to come together soon.

Reality check: it's not.

There are basically three separate attempts happening right now on Covid relief and all of them — at least at this point — are a long shot. Here's a look at what they are:

  • The bipartisan framework: These talks between Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney alongside Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, Mark Warner and Jeanne Shaheen and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, have been going on for weeks and were born out of a frustration that nothing was getting done. The inaugural in-person meeting — a dinner hosted by Warner and Collins at Murkowski's house — morphed into what became almost daily meetings, constant calls and weekend Zooms, according to a person familiar. Eventually, a group of House members from the Problem Solver's Caucus got engaged making the effort bicameral. But, the $908 billion framework released Tuesday is just a starting point.
  • McConnell's plan: McConnell released his own new economic relief proposal Tuesday, a bill he has been working on closely with the White House, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The bill includes many of the same provisions from the earlier, targeted $500 billion proposal that failed along party lines. It's not expected to win support of Democrats now. But, it is intended to be an alternative for GOP members who might be feeling some pressure from constituents back home and need something to point to as progress.
  • The Democratic leadership offer to McConnell: While substantive discussions between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, McConnell and McCarthy haven't occurred still, Democrats did quietly send an offer to Republican leaders Monday evening. The proposal was a non-starter in part because it didn't include the language on liability protections, a red line for McConnell. The existence of the offer became public after McConnell alluded to it during his news conference.

Lawmakers are slated to head home after the spending bill passes as soon as next week, but that could get complicated. There are a growing number of Democrats and Republicans who believe it would be unconscionable to leave without doing something on stimulus.

Read the full story here.

8:57 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

There's a lot of news about coronavirus vaccines today. Here's what you need to know.

Researchers across the world have been working throughout the pandemic to develop, approve and distribute a coronavirus vaccine.

There's a lot of news about vaccines in Europe and in the US to catch up on this morning. If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know:

  • The UK has approved a vaccine: The United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, a landmark moment in the coronavirus pandemic that paves the way for the first doses to be rolled out across the country next week. Elderly people in care homes, along with health workers and other vulnerable people, will be top of the priority list for those who get the vaccine first.
  • The US lays out a plan on who to vaccinate first: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers recommended yesterday that health care staff and long-term care facility residents be first in line for any Covid-19 vaccines that get emergency authorization in the country. Remember: The US Food and Drug Administration has not yet authorized any coronavirus vaccine candidate.
  • The vaccine timeline in the US: The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a panel of independent experts, will meet on Dec. 10 to review Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate and make a recommendation about whether to authorize the vaccine. FDA officials say their decisions on the vaccines could come days to weeks after the meetings — it depends on what questions come up. A similar FDA committee meeting for Moderna's vaccine candidate is set for Dec. 17. The first shipments of Pfizer's vaccine in the US will be delivered on Dec. 15, according to an Operation Warp Speed document.
10:41 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

Boris Johnson expects 400,000 people will get first Covid-19 shots

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons, in London, on Wednesday, December 2.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons, in London, on Wednesday, December 2. House of Commons/

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the news of the authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine as “fantastic" and said he expects 400,000 people to be inoculated with the first batch.

The UK today became the first country to allow the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine after it was granted temporary authorization for emergency use.

“It is the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get our economy moving again,” Johnson said in Parliament.

Johnson acknowledged the logistical challenges of transporting the vaccine at -70 degrees and said that is why it is important to get a second vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca candidate approved as well.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated how many people Johnson expects to be inoculated with the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines. About 400,000 people will be inoculated.

See Prime Minister Boris Johnson discuss vaccine approval:

8:16 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

BioNTech explains how the vaccine will be shipped to the UK

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine vials.
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine vials. Handout/Pfizer

Sean Marett, chief business and commercial officer at BioNTech, has explained how the company will get the vaccine to the UK:

  • The doses are currently being packed in a Pfizer facility in Belgium, very quickly.
  • Thermoboxes are being packed that allow between 1000-5000 doses, which they will ship either by truck or by plane.
  • The boxes are temperature controlled with a tracker to provide minute by minute updates before being delivered to a site for distribution.

“The UK is first approval today, of course we are absolutely delighted by that,” Marett said at a BioNTech press conference in Mainz, Germany. 

He said the company and Pfizer were committed to shipping the vaccine to the UK, even with the possibility of hold-ups due to a no-deal Brexit: “If there is disruption, then we will find another route.”

BioNTech Chief Medical Officer Ozlem Tureci said the company was expecting a US FDA decision about emergency use of its vaccine mid-December, as well as a decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) around the same date. 

8:04 a.m. ET, December 2, 2020

EU lawmaker calls UK’s vaccine approval "problematic"

From CNN's Amy Cassidy in Glasgow and James Frater in London

A European Union lawmaker and physician has called the UK’s decision to authorize the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine “hasty," and is recommending other European countries do not follow suit.

In a statement published on the official’s website on Wednesday, Peter Liese, health policy spokesman of the European People's Party -- the largest political group in the EU Parliament -- said:

“I consider this decision to be problematic and recommend that EU Member States do not repeat the process in the same way. A few weeks of thorough examination by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is better than a hasty emergency marketing authorisation of a vaccine.”

Liese stressed his criticism of the UK’s decision has “nothing to do with Brexit” according to the statement. However, he accuses it of being “an attempt to distract attention from the failure of Boris Johnson's government in the Corona crisis,” it reads. 

EU member states cannot distribute a Covid-19 vaccine until it has been approved by the EMA and signed off by the European Commission, according to the EMA’s rules. The EMA will conclude its decision on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on December 29, and Moderna on January 12. 

The European Commission would then need a few days to prepare the legal paperwork and discuss its decision to authorize the vaccine with member states, a spokesperson told CNN. 

“If the European Medicines Agency concludes in the course of this month that the vaccination is safe, I will recommend that everyone will be vaccinated. As long as this is not the case, one should be careful," Liese said. 

“I have confidence in Biontech, but ‘Confidence is good, control is better’. Emergency authorisation is a tool normally intended for patients who suffer from a serious and incurable disease and where there is no other means of saving life or physical integrity. This is not the case with corona,” the statement read.