The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

Arizona is reporting over 17,000 new Covid-19 cases today, the highest daily total reported since the start of the pandemic.

There are 556,384 total cases in the state, up 17,234 from Saturday’s report. The previous daily high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s dashboard, was on Dec. 8 with 12,314.

There are 1,081 patients in the intensive care unit with Covid-19, while there are 4,557 total patients hospitalized.

The state did not report any deaths on Sunday. CNN reached out to the Arizona Department of Health for an explanation on why no deaths were reported.

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

7 hr 28 min ago

California reports more than 45,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Kay Jones

California reported more than 45,000 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday as the state’s hospitalization rate is at its highest since the start of the pandemic.

The 45,352 new cases bring the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 2,391,261. The state’s health department also reports 26,538 deaths, up 181 from the latest report.

There are 21,510 patients currently hospitalized, the highest total since the start of the pandemic, the dashboard shows. There are 4,613 patients in the intensive care units statewide.

At least 54 of the state’s 58 counties are reporting widespread risk, accounting for 99.6% of the state’s population, the dashboard shows.

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

7 hr 38 min ago

Ireland surpasses 100,000 coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Karen Smith

Ireland reported Sunday a total of 101,887 cases of Covid-19 with a record daily high of 4,962 confirmed cases.

There has been a total of at least 2,259 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland as of Sunday, the government’s Department of Health reported.

8 hr 41 min ago

Fauci hopes US will pick up coronavirus vaccine momentum

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday the US has fallen behind on administering coronavirus vaccines, but he hopes momentum will pick up in the first few weeks of January.

“There are multiple stages of this: there’s the allocation, there’s the shipping, there’s the distribution and there’s finally getting in people’s arms,” Fauci said.

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Fauci said he spoke with Army General Gustave Perna, Operation Warp Speed’s head of vaccine distribution, who explained that 20 million doses have been allocated, about 14 million doses have been shipped and about 13 million have been distributed to the individual clinics and hospitals where people will be vaccinated.

“They had promised it was going to be 20. I asked why we’re not at 20, and there was certainly a bit of a glitch, which he explained. But as we get into the first couple of days and first week of January, very likely we’re going to hit that 20. So we’re going to be somewhat behind by a few days,” Fauci said.

The real issue, according to Fauci, is getting doses into people’s arms.

“We now have about 4 million, which is obviously below where we want to be,” he said. “But if you look at the last 72 hours, there’s been about 1.5 million administered into people’s arms, which is an average of about 500,000 a day,” he added. That “is better than what that 4 million over 20 million proportion tells you.”

Fauci said that the US is not where it wants to be. “We’ve got to do much better,” he said. In a week or two, things may pick up after a holiday slowdown.

“No excuses — we’re not where we want to be, but hopefully we’ll pick up some momentum and get back to where we want to be with regard to getting it into people’s arms,” Fauci said.

9 hr 24 min ago

Four South Carolina counties are at 100% hospital capacity, health officials say

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

Four of South Carolina’s 46 counties are at 100% capacity, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

York County in the North, Jasper County in the South, and Dillon and Marion Counties in the East have 0% capacity for new patients.

The state reported Sunday it is running a 29.6% Covid-19 positivity rate.

The department reported nearly 80% of both regular hospital and intensive care unit beds statewide are currently occupied. Patients with Covid-19 make up 24% of regular hospital bed occupants and nearly 20% of patients in ICU beds.

The state reported 3,952 new cases of Covid-19, 28 new deaths, and 3 probably deaths Sunday. More than 5,000 people have lost their life to the virus since the state began reporting out data.

NOTE: These numbers were released by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

9 hr 27 min ago

UK prepares to roll out Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

From CNN’s Schams Elwazer

The United Kingdom will become the first country in the world to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday as its National Health Service (NHS) “rapidly scales us the biggest immunization program in its history,” NHS England said in a statement.

The vaccines will initially be delivered at “a small number of hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes” before the bulk is rolled out to medical practices late in the week, the statement said.

In addition to the 700 vaccination sites already in operation, an additional 100 hospital sites and 180 “GP-led services” are also expected to come on line this week. Tens of thousands of current and former NHS workers are being trained as vaccinators to support the program.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to transport and to store than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — which was approved for use in the UK last month and has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius — making it easier to deliver to care homes.

According to the statement, NHS England expects most care home residents to have received the shot by the end of the month.

On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Twitter the NHS had administered one million Pfizer/BioNTech doses.

British health officials said last week that the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be extended beyond the recommended 21 days in order to allow more people to be vaccinated.

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Haroldllover

Chris Hingston, 45, is an ICU doctor at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, Wales.