By MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 67.8 million people and killed over 1.5 million worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s how the news developed Tuesday. All times Eastern:
Dec 08, 8:36 pm
Ravens receiver tests positive before gametime
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant tweeted he would not be playing Tuesday after he tested positive for the coronavirus minutes before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant said he was warming up with the team on the field — with a mask on — when he was pulled off by team officials for further testing.
Fox Sports reported an earlier COVID-19 test came back inconclusive and had to be retested.
Bryant reacted angrily on social media, as the former long-time Cowboys player had been looking forward to facing his former team. He tweeted he had the same routine and the positive test made no sense to him, before saying he was going to call it quits for the rest of the season.
Two weeks ago, the Ravens experienced a coronavirus outbreak among players and staff. Twenty-three players and staff were put on the COVID-19 list, including reigning MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The team had to postpone its Thanksgiving Day against the Pittsburgh Steelers three times. It also prompted this week’s game to be pushed back to Tuesday.
Dec 08, 8:04 pm
Record hospitalizations, deaths continue to rise
The U.S. has over 104,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, setting a new daily record, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day average of hospitalizations is also at a record high of 101,659, according to the health data.
The country reported 213,498 new cases and 2,622 new deaths Tuesday.
The seven-day averages for new cases and deaths hit records Tuesday, at 202,158 and 2,225, respectively, according to the health data.
Dec 08, 6:42 pm
Vaccine won’t help curb cases until spring: White House report
The coronavirus vaccine will not substantially reduce the spread of the virus until the spring, according to the White House coronavirus task force’s weekly briefing for governors. The report was obtained by ABC News.
The briefing said it will take at least 100 million Americans to be immunized before viral spread, hospitalizations or fatalities can go down.
“Behavioral change and aggressive mitigation policies are the only widespread prevention tools that we have to address this winter surge,” the task force report said.
The task force noted that state and local governments aren’t implementing the same mitigation policies that curbed cases back in the summer.
It also said 2,000 counties are in COVID-19 red zones.
“This current fall to winter surge continues to spread to every corner of the U.S., from small towns to large cities, from farms to beach communities,” the report said.
-ABC News’ Brian Hartman and Josh Margolin
Dec 08, 5:47 pm
Maryland could begin vaccine distribution next week
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced coronavirus vaccine distribution could begin as early as next week for critical health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff and first responders.
Hogan said the state will initially receive 155,000 first doses of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine could begin distribution starting Dec. 14, while the Moderna vaccine could begin distribution a week later, according to the governor.
“The state has signed up all of the state’s 227 nursing homes and 1,668 assisted living facilities for the federal distribution partnership through CVS and Walgreens,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Maryland will also roll out a campaign educating residents on the vaccine and encouraging residents to get the shots.
Dec 08, 4:17 pm
California hospitalizations up 70%
Hospitalizations in California have jumped 70% in the last two weeks and intensive care unit hospitalizations have increased by 68.7%, California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
In Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, ICU availability has fallen to 10.1% and 5.6% respectively, he said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered any region with less than 15% ICU capacity to follow a three-week stay-at-home order. In those regions, restaurants, bars and personal care services are closed.
When it comes to the holidays, Ghaly said, “We ask you to cancel travel plans.”
Travel is explicitly restricted in areas under regional stay-at-home orders.
Dec 08, 4:00 pm
North Carolina to begin modified stay-at-home order
North Carolina will begin a “modified stay-at-home order” on Friday requiring residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Restaurants, bars, and most retail stores and more must close by 10 p.m. and alcohol sales must end by 9 p.m., said Gov. Roy Cooper
“Our trends are alarming,” Cooper tweeted.
“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place — including a statewide mask mandate,” Cooper said. “With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down.”
The order lasts until Jan. 8.
Dec 08, 3:27 pm
Biden lays out top COVID-19 priorities for 1st 100 days in office
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined his top three COVID-19 priorities for his first 100 days in office: a 100-day mask-wearing program, 100 million doses of the vaccine into Americans arms in the first 100 days, and getting schools reopened permanently.
“We didn’t get into this mess quickly. We’re not going to get out of it quickly,” Biden said. “But I’m absolutely convinced that, in 100 days, we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better.”
Biden warned that distributing the vaccine would be one of the hardest and costliest challenges the country will face and will require the cooperation of Congress.
“We’re gonna need Congress to fully fund vaccine distribution to all corners of the country, to everyone,” Biden said. “I’m encouraged by the bipartisan efforts in Congress around a $900 billion economic relief package which I’ve said is critical, but this package is only a start for more action early next year.”
“We’ll also need the Trump administration to act now,” Biden added, “to purchase the doses it has negotiated with Pfizer and Moderna, and to work swiftly to scale manufacturing to U.S. populations and the world.”
ABC News’ Molly Nagle contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 3:09 pm
Washington state extends restrictions through holidays
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state’s restriction on social gatherings, restaurants, bars, gyms and religious services will be extended to Jan. 4, 2021.
“We need to buckle down through the holidays,” Inslee tweeted.
“The hospitalization projections are scary. We’re already at 80% ICU capacity,” Inslee said, adding, “our hospitals are still on the brink.”
Washington state has over 184,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases and at least 2,941 fatalities.
Dec 08, 2:30 pm
Over 150 arrested at ‘super spreader’ party in LA County
Thirty-five juveniles and 116 adults were arrested at a “super spreader” underground party this weekend in Palmdale, California, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The sheriff said the party was in clear violation of the governor’s stay-at-home order, adding that the party would have been targeted without the pandemic due to allegations of drugs, weapons, prostitution and underage trafficking.
ABC News’ Alex Stone contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 2:05 pm
Massachusetts enacts new restrictions as cases, hospitalizations rise
Massachusetts will roll back its reopening plans on Sunday as cases and hospitalizations rise in the aftermath of Thanksgiving, Gov. Charlie Baker said.
Capacity will be reduced from 50% to 40% in facilities including offices, gyms, places of worship and retail stores, Baker said.
In offices, people must wear masks when they’re not alone, and at gyms, customers must wear masks at all times.
Changes are also coming to Massachusetts restaurants. Customers must wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking, and their time at tables will be capped at 90 minutes.
Dec 08, 1:52 pm
Fauci: ‘We have not yet seen the full blunt’ of Thanksgiving
Dr. Anthony Fauci and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned Tuesday that the U.S. hasn’t yet seen the full impact of Thanksgiving gatherings.
“We have not yet seen the full blunt and the effect of the traveling and the congregating,” Fauci said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit .“That should be sometime probably next week, or a week and a half.”
“Then we’re going to enter into the Christmas season, again, with more traveling and with more congregating at family and social gatherings. So we’re in for a very challenging period,” Fauci continued. “And the only way we’re going to counter that is by a consistent uniform implementation and adherence to public health measures.”
Fauci also said he’s accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s offer to become his chief medical adviser.
“I’ve already told the president-elect that I would gladly accept that responsibility. It really is very similar to what I’m doing now,” Fauci said.
ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 1:41 pm
Michigan-Ohio State football game canceled due to increased cases
The University of Michigan said this Saturday’s football game against Ohio State is now canceled due to “an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and student-athletes in quarantine over the past week.”
“The number of positive tests has continued to trend in an upward direction over the last seven days,” said Michigan’s Athletic Director, Warde Manuel. “We have not been cleared to participate in practice at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to field a team due to COVID-19 positives and the associated quarantining required of close-contact individuals.”
“This decision is disappointing for our team and coaches but their health and safety is paramount, and it will always come first in our decision-making.” pic.twitter.com/IHXOD6lXyj
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) December 8, 2020
ABC News’ Josh Hoyos contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 1:31 pm
Nearly 1.5 million US children have had COVID-19
Nearly 1.5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said in its weekly report.
During the week ending Dec. 3, there were 123,688 new cases of children with COVID-19, bringing the total number of U.S. children diagnosed to 1,460,905.
ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 11:34 am
FDA scientists to report Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine safe and effective
Scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday appeared set to confirm that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective against the virus, according to documents released ahead of a crucial meeting on the vaccine this week.
According to a document prepared by FDA staff, government scientists plan to tell the advisory committee that the data is adequate to determine the vaccine is both safe and effective.
While that doesn’t mean the FDA is prepared to authorize it just yet, the briefing materials suggest agency staff aren’t warning of any last-minute issues.
“Safety data from approximately 38,000 participants [greater than or equal to] 16 years of age randomized 1:1 to vaccine or placebo with a median of 2 months of follow up after the second dose suggest a favorable safety profile, with no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an EUA,” the FDA wrote.
The report notes the most common reaction was a skin reaction at the injection site, followed by fatigue or headaches.
The FDA released data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trials and the agency’s scientific analysis ahead of an advisory committee meeting on Thursday, when independent experts are set to discuss and vote on whether to recommend the vaccine be authorized for emergency use.
ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.
Dec 08, 8:15 am
Operation Warp Speed chief says he doesn’t know what executive order Trump is signing
The chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government’s initiative to expedite vaccine development, said he doesn’t know what vaccine-related executive order President Donald Trump is expected to sign on Tuesday.
“Frankly, I don’t know and, frankly, I’m staying out of this. I can’t comment,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday on Good Morning America.
When pressed on the matter, Slaoui added: “Our work is, you know, rolling. We have plans. We feel that we can deliver the vaccines as needed, so I don’t exactly [know] what this order is about.”
Trump is expected to discuss the order at a COVID-19 vaccine summit to be held at the White House later Tuesday, multiple White House officials told reporters during a background briefing on Monday evening. While it’s not entirely clear on how exactly the order would work, the move is designed to prevent the U.S. government from shipping any vaccine doses it has purchased to aid foreign countries until all the needs within the United States are met.
White House officials also denied reports that the Trump administration turned down an offer last summer to purchase an additional 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and that the companies now may not be able to provide more of their vaccine to the United States until June 2021 because they have committed those doses to other countries.
When asked about the matter, Slaoui explained Operation Warp Speed’s strategy in securing vaccine doses.
“We selected six different vaccines to build a portfolio to manage the risk that some may work and some may not work, but also to ensure that as more than one would work that we would accumulate vaccine doses from this portfolio of vaccines,” he said. “If somebody came to us and said, let’s buy more of this vaccine or that vaccine, no one reasonably would buy more from any one of those vaccines because we didn’t know which one would work and which one may be better than the other. Once the vaccine’s performance becomes known is the right time, given the strategy we’ve taken, to go and order more vaccine doses, which we may be doing. And frankly, the constructive thing to do if one of the suppliers has challenges producing enough vaccine doses is to roll our sleeves and help ensure that capacity can be increased.”
Slaoui said he’s confident the U.S. government will be getting vaccines to Americans who need them “as soon as possible” and that plans are “still on track.”
“We will work with Pfizer to try and increase capacity and have those vaccines available,” he said. “We have two more vaccines from J&J and AstraZeneca that will be completing their Phase 3 trials in January and most likely, I hope, be approved for use in February. We have tens of millions of doses from those vaccines, you know, participating to the volume of vaccines we need to immunize the U.S. population as we promised, all of it by the middle of the year 2021 and that’s still on track.”
Slaoui said Operation Warp Speed has a meeting with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team scheduled for Thursday.
“We look forward to, you know, sharing all the information and working together,” he said. “Our objective has always been outside of politics and making sure we make available these vaccines for the U.S. people, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Dec 08, 7:04 am
UK ‘can’t afford to relax now,’ prime minister warns
As COVID-19 vaccinations were administered to high-risk groups of people across the United Kingdom on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the nation “can’t afford to relax now.”
“It is important for people to understand that the virus is alas still rising in some parts of the country,” Johnson said while visiting a newly-opened vaccination center in London.
When asked whether he would be receiving the shot, Johnson told reporters he is “not in the priority group” outlined by the government but that those who are eligible should get it.
“I would just say to all those who are scared, don’t be,” he said. “You see people take the vaccine this morning, in large numbers, people are going to be taking it in the next few days and weeks and there is nothing to be nervous about.”
The United Kingdom — made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — has the seventh-highest tally of COVID-19 infections in the world, with more than 1.7 million confirmed cases, including over 61,000 deaths, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The European island nation launched a mass immunization program on Tuesday, after authorizing emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Dec 08, 6:36 am
US reports over 192,000 new cases
There were 192,299 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Monday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
It’s the 35th straight day that the U.S. has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Monday’s tally is less than the country’s all-time high of 227,885 new cases confirmed on Dec. 4, according to Johns Hopkins data.
An additional 1,404 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Monday, down from a peak of 2,879 fatalities on Dec. 3, according to Johns Hopkins data.
COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over Thanksgiving followed by a potentially very large backlog from the holiday.
A total of 14,954,331 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 283,746 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.
Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.
The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.
Dec 08, 5:52 am
Russia extends ban on mass gatherings at schools until 2022
Russia has banned schools and extracurricular clubs from holding mass gatherings until Jan. 1, 2022.
A ban on mass gatherings at Russian schools was first imposed in June to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and was set to expire on Jan. 1, 2021. But a new decree published Monday and signed by Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Anna Popova, extends the ban and now also applies to sports organizations and other social infrastructure for children and youth.
Universities and colleges are exempt from the ban.
Russia’s coronavirus response headquarters said Tuesday it had confirmed 26,097 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 562 deaths from the disease in the past 24 hours. The country’s cumulative total currently stands at 2,515,009 confirmed cases with 44,159 deaths.
Despite the growing number of infections and deaths, Russian authorities have repeatedly said they have no plans to impose another nationwide lockdown.
The Eastern European country of 145 million people has the fourth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India and Brazil, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Dec 08, 4:16 am
90-year-old grandmother becomes first to receive Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside clinical trial
A 90-year-old grandmother became Patient A on Tuesday morning as she was the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, received the shot — the first of 800,000 doses — at University Hospital Coventry in central England at 6:31 a.m., as part of a mass immunization program rolled out across the United Kingdom, according to a press release from the National Health Service (NHS), the country’s publicly-funded health care system.
Keenan, a former jewelry shop assistant who only retired four years ago, said she feels “so privileged to be the first person.” She will receive a booster injection — re-exposure to the immunizing antigen after initial vaccination — in 21 days “to ensure she has the best chance of being protected against the virus,” according to the press release.
“It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year,” Keenan, who has two children and four grandchildren, said in a statement released by the NHS.
Last week, the U.K. became the first country in the world to authorize emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The potentially life-saving vaccine was shown in late-stage clinical trials to be more than 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.
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