December 3 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:08 AM ET, Fri December 4, 2020
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10:03 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

UK didn't scrutinize Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial data as carefully as US FDA is, Fauci says

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

British health regulators who authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday did not scrutinize the trial data as carefully as the US Food and Drug Administration is doing in its review, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claimed.

“The way the FDA is, our FDA is doing it, is the correct way,” Fauci said in an interview on Fox News.
“We really scrutinize the data very carefully to guarantee to the American public that this is a safe and efficacious vaccine,” he said.
“I think if we did any less, we would add to the already existing hesitancy on the part of many people to take the vaccine because they're concerned about safety or they're concerned that we went too quickly."

Fauci said it’s important that Americans feel good about a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

“So, it's almost a damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, because if you go quickly and you do it superficially, people are not going to want to get vaccinated,” he said. 

“We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the FDA. The UK did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead,” he said. “I don't think that makes much difference. We'll be there. We'll be there very soon.”

9:30 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

US reports highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day

From CNN’s Haley Brink

The United States has reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

So far on Wednesday, 2,658 Covid-19 deaths have been reported, according to JHU. The US is currently averaging 1,531 new deaths per day, the university's data shows.

According to JHU data, the days with the highest number of new deaths are: 

  1. Dec. 2: 2,658
  2. April 15: 2,603
  3. Dec. 1: 2,597
  4. April 7: 2,570 
  5. April 21: 2,542 

Note: This is an ongoing tally and today's final numbers will not be available until overnight tonight.

9:34 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

Hospitals stretched beyond "reasonable limit" as number of Covid-19 patients reaches 100,000

From CNN's Steve Almasy, Jason Hanna and Madeline Holcombe

While Americans are eagerly awaiting coronavirus vaccines to be authorized, doctors and nurses across the US are facing a difficult truth as hospitals try to find creative ways to handle the surging number of patients that exceeds 100,000 nationwide.

One county official in Wisconsin told CNN, "Our hospital ICUs and emergency rooms remain stretched beyond any reasonable limit and our healthcare workers as well as our patients need our help."

And the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that these next three months will be "the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

More than 100,200 patients were in US hospitals Wednesday -- the most counted during the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

And there was more sad news as more than 2,650 deaths were reported Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, another national high during the health crisis.

After they are authorized by the federal government, coronavirus vaccines should help blunt the pandemic, but experts think it won't be until spring before a lot of Americans can get them.

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8:51 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

US surpasses 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Haley Brink

The United States has surpassed 100,000 current Covid-19 hospitalizations, setting a new record high since the pandemic began, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP). 

On Wednesday, at least 100,226 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to CTP. 

8:43 p.m. ET, December 2, 2020

Why was the UK first to authorize a coronavirus vaccine?

From CNN's Zamira Rahim

The UK became the first Western country to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, marking a pivotal moment in the global fight against coronavirus.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been granted emergency authorization by British regulators, and the first doses are expected to be rolled out from early next week.

Britain has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with the highest death toll in Europe, and its government has been heavily criticized for its handling of the crisis.

But it has now leapfrogged both the European Union and the United States with this announcement.

Why was the UK first? The vaccine was granted emergency authorization in the UK by its independent regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which has played a crucial part in the process.

The MHRA began a rolling review of Pfizer and BioNTech data from October, with each "package" of data reviewed as soon as it became available. This allowed regulators to examine the data in detail before a final authorization application was submitted.

According to the MHRA, a rolling review "can be used to complete the assessment of a promising medicine or vaccine during a public health emergency in the shortest time possible."

This approach helped accelerate the authorization process and a formal review of all the necessary information began in the UK on November 23, leading to Wednesday's announcement.

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