December 29 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Amy Woodyatt, Harry Clarke-Ezzidio and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 30, 2020
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4:33 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

More than 2 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 in the US

From CNN's Andrea Diaz

A boy receives a free Covid-19 test at a St. John’s Well Child & Family Center mobile clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15, in Los Angeles.
A boy receives a free Covid-19 test at a St. John’s Well Child & Family Center mobile clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15, in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Getty Images

There were 178,935 new cases of Covid-19 reported among children in the week ending Dec. 24, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Tuesday. 

According to the AAP, this number of cases brings the cumulative total to 2,000,681 positive Covid-19 cases among children since the start of the pandemic. As of Dec. 24, children represented 12.4% of all cases of Covid-19 in the US.

The AAP also noted, that since Nov. 12, there has been an increase of 1 million Covid-19 cases in children, and over the last two weeks, from Dec. 10 - Dec. 24, there was a 22% increase in child cases. 

This puts the overall rate at "2,658 cases per 100,000 children in the population," the AAP said.

"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to Covid-19 is rare among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects," the AAP's data report said. 

3:36 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

HHS says it has allocated more than 19 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and John Bonifield

 

Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is pictured at Rady Children's Hospital before it's placed back in the refrigerator in San Diego, California on December 15.
Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is pictured at Rady Children's Hospital before it's placed back in the refrigerator in San Diego, California on December 15. Ariana Drehsler/AFP/Getty Images

As of Tuesday, 19.88 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been allocated to states, according to a tweet from the Health and Human Services Public Affairs Office.

HHS said it reached that number by allocating 4.2 million doses that will be delivered in the first week of 2021.

Last week, Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said the US planned to allocate 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. An allocation of vaccine is not a confirmed shipment. Instead, it is vaccine that has been allocated for states to be able to order, according to a senior administration official. 

Despite the allocations, the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that just over 11 million doses have been distributed, and only 2.1 million have actually been administered to people.

3:28 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

There is currently no evidence UK coronavirus variant is linked to a higher risk of hospitalization

From CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Nada Bashir and Michael Nedelman

Ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital, in London on Tuesday, December 29.
Ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital, in London on Tuesday, December 29. Dominic Lipinski/PA/AP

Preliminary analysis from Public Health England (PHE) on the new variant of coronavirus first detected in the UK has revealed that, while the variant appears to be more transmissible, there is no evidence it’s linked to a higher risk of hospital admission or death.

“Preliminary results from the cohort study found no statistically significant difference in hospitalization and 28-day case fatality” between people infected with the new variant versus a different strain of the virus, according to the report released Dec. 28. 

The report supports statements from health authorities around the world who have said there is no reason to believe the variant causes more severe disease.

The British health authority notes that “there was also no significant difference in the likelihood of reinfection” between both groups. However, this was based on a relatively small number of suspected reinfections.

Some context: The report comes as coronavirus cases in the UK continue to surge, with further confirmed cases of the new variant in more than two dozen countries across the globe.

3:12 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

Chile records first case of Covid-19 variant  

From CNN’s Cristopher Ulloa and Claudia Dominguez

Chile has recorded its first case of the new Covid-19 variant — first detected in England — in a passenger who returned to the country recently after visiting London, a senior Chilean health ministry official announced on Tuesday.  

The country's Undersecretary of Public Health Paula Daza said a Chilean woman who arrived on a flight from Madrid on Dec. 22 tested positive for the variant. The woman spent a week in London visiting relatives before flying to Chile from Madrid.  

“All emergency measures have been taken and the person has already been transferred to a local hospital to be monitored by health personnel,” Daza said.  

Daza assured that the woman is in good health and that contract tracing is being carried out.  

Health authorities have since announced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all people arriving in Chile from abroad, beginning Thursday.   

2:50 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

New York reports more than 11,000 new Covid-19 cases

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Tuesday Covid-19 hospitalizations in the state are at 7,814.

The statewide positivity rate stands at 7.14% with 11,438 new cases.

There were 124 new deaths reported, according to Cuomo.

 

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

2:18 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

Latest NFL Covid-19 testing window reveals uptick in cases

From CNN's David Close

Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Naomi Baker/Getty Images

The National Football League and NFL Players Association's latest Covid-19 testing results revealed 58 players and team personnel tested positive for the virus between Dec. 20 and Dec. 26.

The combined total is up from 45 positive tests, which were reported during the week of Dec. 13-19.

The NFL says there were 21 players and 37 personnel who tested positive for coronavirus. 

Overall, the league says it has administered approximately 881,510 tests to players and personnel during the period from Aug. 1 to Dec. 26. During this time, 222 players and 396 personnel tested positive for Covid-19, according to the league and the players’ union.

 

4:36 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

Chicago couple who died of Covid-19 after family visit did everything right to avoid the virus, son says

From CNN's Simret Aklilu

Mike and Carol Bruno did everything right to avoid Covid-19. They refrained from hosting the big, traditional family gatherings they were used to. They stuck to phone calls and video conferences with family even though they didn't live far away.

But a simple family visit to get a haircut claimed both of their lives.

The Brunos were married nearly six decades before they passed away from the virus, their son Joseph Bruno told CNN. The Chicago couple, who died 10 days apart, are now among the more than 1.7 million people who have died from coronavirus in the US.

Bruno hopes his family's grief serves as an important reminder of how easy it can be to contract Covid-19, no matter how safe you are.

"Even when we thought we did everything right, we still got it," Bruno told CNN. 

Keep reading here.

1:47 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders says the US must help "struggling working families"

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks on the Senate floor in Washington, DC, on December 29.
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks on the Senate floor in Washington, DC, on December 29. Senate TV

During an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders implored lawmakers to increase the size of direct stimulus checks to individuals from $600 to $2,000 as the weight of the coronavirus pandemic continues to crush families in need.

"The working class of this country today faces more economic desperation than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s ....Do we turn our backs on struggling working families? Or do we respond to their pain?" Sanders said today.

Sanders, who said Monday he would move to delay a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act unless Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican, brings $2,000 stimulus checks to a vote on the floor, continues to push for larger checks. 

McConnell blocked Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s request today for the chamber to pass by unanimous consent the House-passed bill which increased the amount of the stimulus checks.

Schumer said $600 is “not enough” for Americans who need the extra money to pay for groceries and rent, and dismissed concerns that the proposal would add too much money to the deficit. He said that Republicans had previously passed nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts and recently fought to include a tax break for corporate meal expenses.

More on Sanders: According to a new Gallup poll, Sanders and Bill Gates were among the most admired men on a new list released Tuesday.

Barack Obama came in second among men at 15%. President-elect Joe Biden came in third with 6% of and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, came in fourth with 3%.

President Trump and former first lady Michelle Obama were the most admired man and woman of 2020, according to the poll.

CNN's Ali Zaslav, Alex Rogers and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

WATCH:

1:42 p.m. ET, December 29, 2020

McConnell blocks bill for $2,000 Covid-19 relief checks

From CNN's Ali Zaslav, Alex Rogers and Ted Barrett

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to open up the senate on Capitol Hill on December 20 in Washington, DC.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to open up the senate on Capitol Hill on December 20 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s request for the chamber to pass by unanimous consent the House-passed bill increasing the size of direct stimulus checks to individuals from $600 to $2,000. 

McConnell said on Tuesday that the Senate would consider three of President Trump’s priorities—further direct financial support for Americans, reexamining Section 230’s protections for technology firms and ballot integrity efforts—this week.

“Those are the three important subjects the President has linked together,” said McConnell. “This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.” 

McConnell’s remark about bringing Trump’s priorities “into focus,” was not a commitment to bringing votes on the issues. 

Schumer urged the Senate to join Trump and the House to increase the size of the checks, arguing that “working Americans have taken it on the chin” during the pandemic. 

“Right now, they're facing their hardest and their darkest days,” said Schumer. “Tens of millions have lost their jobs. Tens of millions are struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads. In the wealthiest nation on Earth, modern day bread lines stretch for miles down American highways.” 

“The fastest way to get money into Americans pockets, is to send some of their tax dollars right back from where they came,” he added. 

Watch Sen. McConnell object: