December 27 coronavirus news

By Jenni Marsh, James Griffiths, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, December 28, 2020
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11:29 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Covid-19 variant detected in Norway

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad in London

The new Covid-19 variant — first identified in England — has been detected in two people in Norway, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) on Sunday.

In a press release, the Institute said the variant had been detected in two people who had traveled from the United Kingdom in December.

NIPH Department Director Line Vold said additional testing and closer follow-up of close contacts would be carried out to reduce the risk of possible further spread. She also said that while there is “reason to be cautious, it is still uncertain how important a role the variant plays in spreading the virus.”

Usual measures to fight the pandemic, such as staying home if sick, testing, social distancing, quarantine measures and limited gatherings, are important to control this variant as well, she added.

On Saturday, the Public Health Agency of neighboring Sweden announced the variant had been diagnosed in the region of Sörmland, on the outskirts of Stockholm.

11:08 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

GOP senator: Trump will be remembered for "chaos and misery" if he doesn't sign stimulus bill

From CNN's Rebecca Grandahl

from Fox News
from Fox News

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, says President Trump will be remembered for “chaos and misery and erratic behavior” if he allows the relief bill to expire, Toomey told Mike Emanuel on Fox News Sunday.

“As he leaves office, I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire. So I think the best thing to do as I say is sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation,” Sen. Toomey said of the President.

Toomey explained his own opposition to more coronavirus relief being “because it’s terribly untargeted,” continuing on that the money “should be targeted to people that actually lost their job.”

10:57 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Sen. Sanders to Trump: Sign the stimulus bill, then push for $2,000 checks

From CNN's Aaron Pellish

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders called on President Trump to sign the Covid-19 relief bill passed by Congress “right now” and implored the President to push for additional $2,000 payments to individuals after signing the bill.  

“My view is, given the terrible economic crisis facing this country, yes, we need $2,000 out to every working class individual in this country, 500 bucks for their kid,” Sanders told ABC in an interview Sunday. “But you can't diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then immediately, Monday, Tuesday, we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the working families of this country.” 

Sanders had been among the loudest voices pushing for $2,000 payments to people to be included in the $900 billion bill that only included $600 payments, which Sanders called “simply not enough.” Sanders also criticized President Trump for being absent during negotiations for the bill that now sits on his desk. 

“Not a word,” Sanders said when asked if he’d heard from Trump during the negotiations of the bill. “Everybody assumed that Mnuchin was representing the White House.”

Sanders also commented that he suspects President-elect Joe Biden will make it a priority to provide further assistance to people once he takes office.

10:59 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Move to put some form of restriction on travel is "prudent," Fauci says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday that he wasn’t “going to say it was a mistake or not,” to not implement travel policies for travelers from the United Kingdom before the Christmas travel boom, but that the move to put some form of restriction on travel is “prudent.”

Fauci said he thinks it’s “a good idea to do some form of testing and not let somebody on the plane from the UK unless they have a documented negative Covid-19 test.” 

“So, I agree with that,” he said. “I mean you could argue about the timing, whether it should have been done a few days before.” 

Dozens of countries have banned travel from the UK to contain a new Covid-19 variant first reported in England.

11:02 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci on Trump: "I would get him vaccinated"

Asked about his position on President Trump taking the Covid-19 vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated his recommendation that the President get the vaccine.

"The decision whether he gets vaccinated is up to him and the White House physician ... My recommendation — I've said this before — I would get him vaccinated," Fauci told CNN's Dana Bash. 

Fauci continued: "He is still the President of the United States. A critical person ... So my recommendation for the President remains the same."

He added that the final decision is up to Trump.

Some more context: Trump had coronavirus this year and his doctor's are recommending that he wait to get the vaccine citing the monoclonal antibody treatment that he received to fight the virus.

9:23 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci says UK variant "doesn't appear" to make people more ill

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that while news of new coronavirus variants may seem concerning, viruses mutate "all the time" — plus, the new UK variant does not appear to make people more ill.

"Obviously, this is something we always take seriously and it's concerning whenever you get a mutation, but I think the American public needs to remember and realize that these are RNA viruses and continually mutating all the time. Most of the time the mutations don't have a functional significance," Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Fauci said UK and US officials are studying if the strain makes people more ill: "And the answer is It doesn't appear to be that way," he said.

Fauci continued: "The other issue does it escape the protection that's induced by the vaccines that we're currently using? And according to our British colleagues, that does not seem to be the case."

He added that US officials will do their own studies to see if the vaccines work on the mutant variant.

"Having said that, you take something like this very seriously, you follow it very carefully, and you make whatever adjustments you need to do based on the data as it evolves," Fauci said.

9:10 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci said he feels fine after getting Covid-19 vaccine dose

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the US, said he feels fine after getting his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"The only thing I had was about maybe six to 10 hours following the vaccine, I felt a little bit of an ache in my arm. That lasted maybe 24 hours, a little bit more. Then it went away and completely other than that, I felt no other deleterious type of effects."

Fauci said his body's reaction to the vaccine was "really quite good — even as good or better than an influenza vaccine."

He said he expects when he receives the second dose that he might feel the aches again "because the immune system will be revving up more." He said he'll be getting his next dose about three weeks.

11:02 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

Fauci says he believes worst is still to come in the pandemic following holiday season

Asked if he thinks that the "worst is still yet to come" in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said "I do."

"We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge," Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union."

He continued:

"We're really at a very critical point. If you put more pressure on the system by what might be a post-seasonal surge because of the traveling and the likely congregating of people for, you know, the good warm purposes of being together for the holidays, it's very tough for people to not do that. 

8:48 a.m. ET, December 27, 2020

SOON: Dr. Fauci discusses the pandemic on CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning to discuss the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci turned 80 earlier this week. Ahead of his birthday, he said he would be be heeding his own advice for it and for Christmas.

"I really feel strongly that I need to practice what I preach to the country," he said. "Although I would love very much to have my children, who live in different parts of the country, [to] come in together and have a celebration for my birthday and Christmas, I don't think that's the prudent thing to do, so I'll be having a quiet dinner with my wife, and we'll Zoom in the children."