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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7:55 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

US sets new record for Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Haley Brink

Medical staff members work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, in Houston, Texas.
Medical staff members work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The United States set a record for the number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP).

On Thursday, 100,667 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to CTP. This is the second consecutive day that the US has surpassed 100,000 current hospitalizations.

According to CTP data, the highest hospitalization numbers are:

  1. Dec .3: 100,667
  2. Dec. 2: 100,226
  3. Dec. 1: 98,691
  4. Nov. 30: 96,053
  5. Nov. 29: 93,265
6:21 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Moderna expects to have 100-125 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine globally in early 2021

From CNN’s Samira Said and Maggie Fox

In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y.
In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Vaccine maker Moderna said Thursday it expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine available by the first quarter of 2021, with most of those designated for the US market.

The company has applied for emergency use authorization for its vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration and FDA advisers are scheduled to discuss the application Dec. 17. Moderna has also applied to European drug regulators for conditional approval.

“Today, Moderna re-affirmed its expectation of having approximately 20 million doses available in the U.S. by the end of 2020,” the company said in a statement.

“Additionally, the Company expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85-100 million of those available in the U.S. and 15-25 million of those available outside of the U.S. These expected first quarter doses are inclusive within the 500 million to up to 1 billion doses that the Company expects to manufacture globally in 2021.”

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses per person, with the shots spaced four weeks apart. 

6:04 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Pfizer says it still doesn't know if someone can transmit Covid-19 after receiving vaccine

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

It’s still unclear whether a person who receives Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can still transmit the virus, company CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday.

“I think this is something that needs to be examined,” Bourla said in an interview with NBC News scheduled to air Thursday night. “We are not certain about that right now with what we know.”

Bourla also told host Lester Holt he believes vaccine trial participants who received a placebo rather that the actual shot should get the vaccine.

“It is a moral and ethical dilemma and obligation,” Bourla said. “I believe that in discussion with regulators, we should find a way, so sooner rather than later, give to all the placebo participants the vaccine.” 

If that happens, it would mean unblinding the vaccine trial – something that could impact the longer term results, health experts have said. 

Pfizer has asked the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its vaccine. The FDA’s advisers meet Dec. 10 to discuss the application.

But Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, told Holt there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“We sort of have a million questions to make sure that we understand exactly what the safety issues are and exactly what the efficacy issues are,” Offit said. “Is it effective in people over 65? Is it equally effective among racial groups, ethnic groups? Is it effective in people who have various medical conditions?”

But there’s one question that he does have an answer for, Offit said.

“The standard we're going to hold this too is, would I give this vaccine to myself or my own family? And if the answer to that question is, ‘I'm not sure,’ then we're not going to move forward.”

5:59 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Arkansas reports highest daily Covid-19 case count since the start of the pandemic

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

A nearly empty downtown street stands in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Thursday, May 28, 2020.
A nearly empty downtown street stands in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Terra Fondriest/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arkansas has reported 2,789 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during a news conference.

Hutchinson said this is the highest daily count the state has reported since the pandemic began.

The state has 32 counties that have reported over 20 new cases in the last 24 hours. They usually report 10 counties having reached that distinction, Hutchinson said noting the increase.  

“This is a message to everyone that wherever you are in the state of Arkansas, there are increased number of Covid cases, increased level of spread. And you have to protect yourself, you have to wear your mask and keep the social distance,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, the state has reported 164,310 cases and 2,555 deaths. 

To note: These numbers were released by the state’s health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

5:58 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

More than 12,000 health workers in Kentucky will receive the vaccine first, governor says

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the press in Frankfort, Kentucky on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the press in Frankfort, Kentucky on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that 12,675 of the 38,000 doses in the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines to reach the state will be going to frontline health care workers, those dealing with or exposed to Covid-19, and those working in the emergency room or in Covid-wings. 

According to the governor, the shipments will arrive as early as Dec. 15 and the remaining two thirds of the doses will be going to long-term care facilities, where CVS and Walgreens will handle distribution and administration, Beshear said.

The governor announced that the first 11 health care sites that will be receiving doses, were chosen because they were large enough to handle the minimum pallet size Pfizer ships, and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention required that they have ultra-low cold storage to receive them.

“We're allowing each of these facilities to make their own allocations, based on tearing that they have done with their staff, they know who is most at risk and have done that analysis,” Beshear said.
5:54 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Wyoming's first lady tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and his wife, first lady Jennie Gordon, arrive for the 65th Wyoming Legislature's 40-day general session on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and his wife, first lady Jennie Gordon, arrive for the 65th Wyoming Legislature's 40-day general session on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, in Cheyenne, Wyoming Jacob Byk/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle via AP

 

Eight days after Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon tested positive for Covid-19, his wife received the same diagnosis Thursday.

First lady Jennie Gordon has been in quarantine at home with the governor since he first tested positive, but spokesperson Michael Pearlman tells CNN they have stayed in separate rooms. Pearlman does not believe the first lady’s infection will affect the governor’s timetable for returning to the office.

“The First Lady is only experiencing minor symptoms at this time. Governor Gordon has recovered and is nearly symptom free,” the governor’s office said in a written statement.

5:14 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

Houston nears 100,000 total Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Kay Jones

Medical staff members communicate each other in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 2, in Houston, Texas.
Medical staff members communicate each other in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 2, in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Houston is nearing 100,000 total Covid-19 cases, according to the latest information provided by the mayor's office.

The city has 1,137 new positive cases being reported today, bringing the total to 99,396, the city's health department says. So far, 97% of the cases reported today were from tests over the past two weeks. 

There were three new deaths being reported for a total of 1,444 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Houston Health Department. 

Note: These numbers were released by the city's health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project. 

5:07 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

CDC director accepts advisory committee's recommendations for who gets Covid-19 vaccine first

From CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Commissioner Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House on November 19, in Washington, DC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Commissioner Robert Redfield speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House on November 19, in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield has accepted the Covid-19 vaccine recommendations voted on this week by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The CDC’s vaccine advisers voted 13-1 on Tuesday to recommend that 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.

“Dr. Redfield supports their recommendations and has signed the memo and accepted these interim recommendations,” the CDC said in a statement on Thursday.

In the statement, Redfield thanked the advisory committee members for their work and suggested future Covid-19 vaccine recommendations prioritize older people living in multi-generational households.

“Dr. Redfield looks forward to future recommendations that, based on vaccine availability, demonstrate that we as a Nation also prioritize the elderly (>70 yo) who reside in multi-generation households,” the statement said. “Often our Hispanic, Black and Tribal Nations families care for their elderly in multigenerational households and they are also at significant risk. This framework, in addition to the ACIP guidance, will ensure a more equitable distribution to those most at risk for hospitalizations and fatalities.”

4:48 p.m. ET, December 3, 2020

California's governor announces new regional stay-at-home order based on ICU capacity 

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Pool
Pool

Millions of Californians may soon find themselves under stay home orders once again due to new restrictions announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

The new order comes as the state sees a record surge of new cases and hospitalizations that are projected to overwhelm hospitals by Christmas.

The governor’s new stay-at-home order will take hold in regions where hospitals are feeling the squeeze on capacity to treat the incoming surge of Covid-19 patients.

The strict stay-at-home order will go into effect when intensive care unit capacity drops to 15%. Under the new plan, California will be divided into five regions — Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

None of the five regions are currently under the new order, but projections show four regions will reach that threshold in the next day or two, with only the San Francisco Bay Area expected to remain open until mid-December, Newsom said at a news conference.

Newsom acknowledged that the new restrictions, which shutters many nonessential businesses and operations and prohibits most travel, will not be well-received by some, specifically small businesses, outlining several state programs designed to help. 

“It’s never enough,” he said. “I’m mindful that we must do more.”

Essential businesses can remain open, but may only allow 20% capacity. Areas that must be closed include hair salons and barbershops, bars and breweries, playgrounds, amusement parks, and indoor recreation facilities.

California’s Covid-19 crisis shows no signs of slowing as the state added 18,591 more cases Thursday, bringing the total to 1,264,539.

Surge facilities are being prepped to be brought online in 11 locations from Sacramento to San Diego, Newsom said. The state’s stockpile of personal protective equipment is full.

“We do not anticipate having to do this once again,” Newsom said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are few months away from truly seeing real progress with the vaccine. We have distribution, we have accessibility, we have availability.”

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

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