December 7 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, December 8, 2020
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2:11 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Fauci says US still hasn't seen the "full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday" Covid-19 trends

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Milken Institute
Milken Institute

The United States still hasn't seen the full impact that Thanksgiving gatherings likely will have on rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday.

"The blip from Thanksgiving isn't even here yet," Fauci told CBS' Norah O'Donnell during the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit.

"So we're getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even feel the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday," Fauci said, adding that the US could see a rise in cases and hospitalizations due to the holiday — and the nation needs to be mindful of following guidelines during the upcoming winter holidays.

"For the first time in more than 30 years I’m not spending the Christmas holidays with my daughters,” Fauci said.

He said political leaders who call for the public to stay home but don't follow those guidelines themselves are setting "a bad example."

"That's a bad example," Fauci said. "Several of them, as we know from the news – I was watching the news last night – unfortunately, some of them did but they were caught."

2:17 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

DC suspends organized sports for high school-aged athletes

From CNN’s Ali Main and Aileen Graef

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at a press conference in November.
Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at a press conference in November. Susan Walsh/AP

As coronavirus cases continue to rise Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday further rollbacks on reopening guidance for organized athletic activities for high-school aged athletes and older. 

In a new Phase 2 "adjustment," high-contact sports, including basketball, football and hockey, are now prohibited in the District beginning Monday.

Universities and professional sports leagues are excluded from the mayor's order and may continue to practice and compete, so long as they have approved health and safety plans, Bowser said. 

As for other organized sports, high school extracurricular sports activities and competitions will be suspended for DC public and private schools. Recreation centers and sports clubs in the District must also suspend all sports and organized athletic activities for high school-aged athletes. 

Children who are middle school-aged and younger may continue to participate in organized drills for high-contact sports in groups of no more than 12 (precluding the ability to hold competitions). The activities must not involve actual physical contact, per the mayor's order.

Physical education classes for all students must not involve activities in which children might come within six feet of one another. 

The Department of Parks and Recreation will also stop issuing field permits for organized sports. DC residents may continue to use public fields for individual exercise or non-high contact activities. 

Washington, DC reported 183 new coronavirus cases and four deaths Monday, pushing the death toll to at least 701.

1:55 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Covid-19 deaths in Minnesota top 4,000

From CNN's Kay Jones

Minnesota has eclipsed 4,000 total deaths due to Covid-19.

In the state's latest update, the Department of Health recorded 21 new deaths Monday, bringing the total to 4,005.  

At least 5,296 new cases were reported Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 356,152.  

Hospitalizations are decreasing statewide, the dashboard shows. Of the 1,205 Covid-19 patients hospitalized, 362 are in intensive care. 

At least 95% of the staffed beds in 33 hospitals are currently occupied.  

Note: These numbers were released by the state's public 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.

1:37 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

Trump says Giuliani is "doing very well" following Covid-19 diagnosis

From CNN's Allie Malloy

Rudy Giuliani participates in an election hearing at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta on December 3.
Rudy Giuliani participates in an election hearing at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta on December 3. Nathan Posner/Shutterstock

President Trump told reporters Monday that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is "doing very well" after testing positive for Covid-19

"Rudy's doing well. I just spoke to him. He's doing very well. No temperature and he actually called me early this morning, He was the first call I got. He's doing very well. He's another champion," Trump said of his attorney. 

Giuliani, who repeatedly disregarded public health guidelines, announced he tested positive for Covid and was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital on Sunday. He has appeared maskless in state Capitols, hotel ballrooms and at indoor news conferences.

Giuliani tweeted Sunday that he was "getting great care and feeling good."

Trump also referred to Giuliani as a "champion" adding he is the "greatest mayor in the history of New York. What he's doing now is more important and he will admit that."

1:28 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

FAA will evaluate coronavirus vaccine for pilots

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Pilots will need to wait for a coronavirus vaccine go through an extra layer of approval before they can get vaccinated.

In a new statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said it is "prepared to evaluate the use of each vaccine” for pilots, which will add a step beyond what the potential emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Medications with certain side effects can ground a pilot, preventing them from passing a medical exam that proves they are healthy enough to fly. The FAA did not say if any immunization has ever made a pilot unfit to fly.

The FAA said it is “closely monitoring the active vaccine trials” and the outcome of the FDA’s meeting this week to evaluate the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

“While the agency has made no final decisions, we are prepared to evaluate the use of each vaccine by medical certificate holders as soon as an emergency-use authorization is issued,” the FAA said in a statement to CNN.

In October, the Air Line Pilots Association urged its members to not to participate in vaccine trials, saying that “the FAA considers participation in COVID-19 vaccine trials medically disqualifying for pilots for an indefinite period.”

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

People who have tested positive for Covid-19 should still get the vaccine, doctor says

From CNN's Leanna Faulk

Dr. William Moss, an infectious disease pediatrician at Johns Hopkins University, encouraged anyone who has already tested positive for Covid-19 to get vaccinated once a vaccine becomes available.

“This too is a very important question, and it also is sometimes framed as, you know, if someone had Covid-19, should they get the vaccine, and the general recommendations now are yes,” Moss said during a John Hopkins webinar on Covid-19 vaccine distribution on Monday.

Moss said there have been different levels of immune responses, depending on the severity of the disease in the individual.

“People who have asymptomatic or very mild infections tend not to have as strong an antibody response as people who have been sicker. We certainly don't want that,” he said.

Moss added there is some potential that someone who has already tested positive for Covid-19 can produce a stronger antibody response once vaccinated. However, this is not the case for all vaccines, he said.

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

Fauci says coronavirus test positivity in schools is really low

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo
Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo

Dr. Anthony Fauci made the argument to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday that coronavirus does not seem to be spreading in schools.

It’s one of the issues where governors and local leaders have strongly differed with federal leaders. Local leaders in many areas, including New York City, have opted to close schools to in-person classes while Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House have all pushed hard to reopen schools.

Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Cuomo that high percentages of schoolchildren are not testing positive for coronavirus.

“You know, it originally did surprise me,” Fauci said, because there was always a concern looking at what’s known to happen with influenza, that kids would be in school, get infected and come home and infect their parents and relatives. 

“We’re not finding that with this coronavirus,” Fauci argued. “I think real positive spinoff of this is the realization that schools appear to be a place where the positivity, just like you all are seeing it in New York, the whole state including New York City, you’re not alone. We’re seeing that in other parts of the country, that the test positivity in schools is actually really low, which is really a good thing.” 

This is why it’s better to close bars and keep the schools open, Fauci said. 

“So long as you subsidize and help the restaurateurs and the bar owners so that they don't go down and essentially crash because of the economic strain. But if we can keep those things under control, subsidize those people, as well as keep the schools open, we'd be in good shape,” Fauci said. 

1:02 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

The pandemic is bad now, but "the middle of January could be a really dark time for us," Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo
Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo

The coronavirus pandemic is as bad as it’s ever been across the country, but it’s going to get even worse, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a briefing on Monday. 

“The middle of January could be a really dark time for us,” Fauci said during Cuomo’s regular coronavirus briefing.

Holiday travel and gatherings have amplified the already expected effect of cooler weather driving people indoors more. 

“You’d expect that the effect of the Thanksgiving surge would be probably another week and week and a half from now, because it’s usually two and a half weeks from the time of the event,” Fauci said. “The problem is, that’s going to come right up to the beginning of the Christmas, Hannukah potential surge.”  

There’s a surge upon a surge, Fauci said. And before anyone can even try to cope with that, people will travel over the winter holiday period and there will be more of the gatherings of family and friends that have been fueling the pandemic.

“We could start to see things really get bad in the middle of January,” Fauci predicted.

Fauci also reminded Americans that they can mitigate the spread.

“It’s such a natural thing to think, when I have family and friends over for the holidays, Christmas and Hanukkah, you get indoors you take your mask off because you're eating and drinking. And you don't realize that there may be somebody that you know, that you love, that's a friend, that's a family member, who is perfectly well with no symptoms, and yet they got infected in the community, and brought it into that small gathering that you're now having in your home,” he said.

He urged people to take the same precautions at small family gatherings that they do when they are around strangers: wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and meet either outdoors in well-ventilated spaces

12:12 p.m. ET, December 7, 2020

New York governor orders hospitals to increase capacity by 25%

From CNN's Julian Cummings

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference in New York on October 5.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference in New York on October 5. Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide positivity rate of 4.79% and ordered hospitals in the state to increase capacity by 25%. 

The positivity rate in micro-cluster areas is 6.57%, and without that portion of testing, the statewide rate is 4.27%.

There are currently 4,620 people hospitalized due to Covid-19 in New York state.

As a part of the state’s new “Surge and Flex” strategy Cuomo announced that hospitals must increase bed capacity by 25%.

When laying out the surge portion of the strategy Cuomo said that the state currently has a capacity of 54,000 beds available and that the health commissioner has the ability to increase capacity up to 50% and close elective surgeries if needed. 

If those actions are taken the state would have an estimated 75,000 hospital beds available with roughly 58,000 of them for Covid-19 patients. 

Cuomo also said that the health commissioner can open field hospitals to add beds If needed. 

“That would be from my point of view that last resource. We did that, the Jacob Javits center for example, we did 2000 beds” Cuomo added. 

The flex portion of the plan relates to balancing patient loads within hospital systems both public and private. 

“Every night we get an inventory form hospital doctor. How many patients do you have, how many ICU beds do you have. What capacity do you have?”

New York state currently has 872 patients in the ICU, and increase of 22 people. At least 477 of those patients are on ventilators, an increase of 13 people. 

Cuomo announced that an additional 80 people died due to Covid-19. 

Note: These numbers were released by the New York Governor’s office public 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.