December 15 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Kara Fox, Ed Upright, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 16, 2020
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11:53 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

US Surgeon General says he is worried about vaccine skepticism among minority groups

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Monday he is worried about vaccine skepticism among minority communities, but is working to help overcome it.

“Nothing has been in my heart more than this issue over the past several weeks to months,” Adams told CNN. “I’ve been working with Pfizer, with Moderna, with AstraZeneca, with Johnson & Johnson to make sure we have appropriate numbers of minorities enrolled in these vaccine trials so that people can understand that they are safe.”

Adams said he’s working with leaders in the minority community, including faith leaders and fraternities and sororities.

“There are tens of thousands of Black and brown people dying every year because they are distrustful of the system, in many cases rightly so, but also because they’re not getting the facts to help restore their trust in the system,” he said.

Adams said he’s heartened to see the numbers increasing among Americans who say they’ll get the vaccine when it becomes available. That figure is close to 80% today, a sharp rise from just 30% four weeks ago.

History behind mistrust: Adams emphasized that there are now independent review boards and regulations to protect against incidents like the Tuskegee experiment.

Between 1932 and 1972, Black men in the Tuskegee syphilis study were deliberately left untreated so doctors could study the “natural course” of the disease, which can damage the organs as it progresses, including the brain, other nerves, eyes and heart.

10:03 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

California will receive nearly 400,000 more doses of Pfizer vaccine next week, governor says

From CNN's Sarah Moon

California is expected to receive an additional 393,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine early next week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a short video posted on his Twitter account Monday.

California received its first vaccine shipment of 33,150 doses on Monday, and expects a total of 327,000 doses this week.

The first vaccines were distributed to four locations in the state, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Eureka, and San Francisco, Newsom said.

He added that 24 additional locations will have received vaccines by Tuesday, and five more locations on Wednesday. 

Surging infections: This comes as California recorded more than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fourth straight day on Monday, continuing an unprecedented surge of infections and hospitalizations that is stretching health care facilities to the brink.

4:08 p.m. ET, December 15, 2020

More than 193,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in the US on Monday

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Lane County's Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Lisandra Guzman uses a swab to collect a sample for a Covid-19 test at a site on Dec. 10, at Centro de Fe Church in Eugene, Oregon.
Lane County's Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Lisandra Guzman uses a swab to collect a sample for a Covid-19 test at a site on Dec. 10, at Centro de Fe Church in Eugene, Oregon. Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard/USA Today Network

On Monday, Johns Hopkins University reported 193,454 new cases of coronavirus in the US.

Monday also marked the day that the US gave out the the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Health experts are warning it's likely the US won't see any meaningful, widespread impacts from vaccinations until well into 2021. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misreported the number of new Covid-19 cases in the US on Monday. There were 193,454 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

10:09 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

HHS secretary calls rising US Covid-19 death toll a "terrible tragedy"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the United States surpassing 300,000 Covid-19 deaths on Monday was a "terrible tragedy."

"Any death from Covid is a terrible tragedy," Azar, speaking from George Washington University Hospital, told CNN's Jake Tapper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

"I lost my father in April. I wasn't able to see him for the month and a half before," Azar said. "I've gotten to experience the pain of individuals who can't be with their relatives, who are in a nursing home, be with their relatives who are dying in intensive care units, what they experience. The pain and the anguish in our health care system in our country is real."

10:08 p.m. ET, December 14, 2020

The first doses of FDA-authorized Covid-19 vaccine were administered in the US. Here's what we know

From CNN's Susannah Cullinane, Holly Yan and Ralph Ellis

The first doses of a FDA-authorized Covid-19 vaccine were injected into those at the frontlines of the pandemic on Monday, less than a year after the disease was first detected in the United States.

All 50 states — as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico — received their first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, according to statements from the state departments of health, governor’s offices, and local hospitals.   

Operation Warp Speed, a public-private effort, developed the Pfizer vaccine in less than a year, an astonishing feat since most vaccines take years to develop. Now, the challenge is getting the vaccine to the hospitals and clinics for inoculations.

"We're going to have enough for 20 million people to get vaccinated by the end of December and then, as I think I mentioned, enough for up to 50 million total by the end of January," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN's Jake Tapper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Monday.

"As we move into February, we hope to have not only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, but Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, AstraZeneca, potentially, that will increase supply even more."

But it will be several months before most Americans can get a Covid-19 vaccine.

Operation Warp Speed said roughly 145 sites would receive the vaccine on Monday with another 425 on Tuesday and the remaining 66 deliveries on Wednesday.

Vaccine shipments began on Sunday morning when trucks departed Pfizer’s massive manufacturing facility near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.