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Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Vaccine Chief Sets Immunization Timeline as Hospitals Prep for Distribution

Source: BioNTech

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Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising around the country, in some cases reaching dangerous capacity levels and squeezing hospital systems. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state would be implementing emergency hospital measures, including identifying retired doctors and nurses and mandating "load balancing" between hospitals in the same region.

Here are some of the biggest developments Tuesday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 63.63 million 
  • Global deaths: At least 1.47 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 13.66 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 269,948

Dr. Fauci warns the U.S. will see a 'surge upon a surge' of cases

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. is likely to see a "surge upon a surge" of Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks given the number of people who traveled for Thanksgiving and shared meals with family and friends.

The nation is not out of the woods. The next 30 or more days will be a period of "precarious risk" as some people begin shopping for Christmas gifts in stores and host parties for New Year's Eve, Fauci warned.

"If you look across the United States, we are really in a public health crisis right now," Fauci told Colorado Gov. Jared Polis during a livestream session. "Now that we're in the mid to late-fall, merging on into the winter, we've seen, because a variety of circumstances, a surge that has really surpassed the others."

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

CDC panel says health workers, nursing homes will get vaccine first

Health-care workers and long-term care facility residents will get the first Covid-19 vaccine doses once authorized by U.S. regulators, a CDC panel voted.

The vote from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advises the CDC, comes as states prepare to distribute a vaccine in as little as two weeks. There are roughly 21 million health-care workers and 3 million long-term care facility residents in the United States, according to the CDC.

During the meeting, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said states and local jurisdictions expect it to take three weeks to vaccinate all of their health-care workers. Medical experts have previously advocated for health-care workers to get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with preexisting conditions and essential workers. 

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

McConnell rejects bipartisan stimulus bill, pushes for 'targeted relief'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a proposed bipartisan virus relief package, pushing instead for what he calls a "targeted relief bill," CNBC's Jacob Pramuk reports. The $908 billion plan was put together by members of the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House.

McConnell said he earlier spoke to White House officials about what President Donald Trump would sign into law and plans to offer potential solutions to GOP senators in an effort to get their feedback.

"We just don't have time to waste time," McConnell told reporters, adding that a must-pass spending and pandemic relief bill will "all likely come in one package." Congress must approve funding legislation by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown.

—Sara Salinas

Hospital CEOs say they are ready for Covid vaccine distribution

Hospital CEOs from Ohio and North Carolina expressed confidence about their preparations to distribute coronavirus vaccines following regulatory approval.

"We are ready. We are anxious for the vaccine," OhioHealth CEO Dr. Stephen Markovich told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "We're working on the protocols, working through the triaging of people, and it's going to be an exciting time. It's really, hopefully, going to be the beginning of the end" of the pandemic, he added.

Likewise, Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods said the Charlotte-based health network is "locked and loaded" as it awaits clearance from the government to begin distribution. "We have refrigeration units that can store up on Day One 300,000 vials," Woods also said on "Squawk on the Street." "We also are training staff as we speak."

Kevin Stankiewicz

Bipartisan proposal calls for $908 billion in coronavirus relief

The pressure on congressional leaders to pass a new coronavirus stimulus bill is rising.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers released a $908 billion pandemic relief framework. The biggest chunk of $288 billion would go to small business aid. The measure would send $160 billion to state and local governments.

It includes a $300 per week enhanced unemployment benefit, $16 billion for Covid-19 testing, tracing and vaccine distribution and $17 billion for airlines. It would not send a second direct payment to Americans.

Congressional leaders, who have clashed over another relief bill for months, have not committed to holding a vote on the plan. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly called for legislation that costs at least $2.2 trillion, while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has backed a roughly $500 billion proposal.

Provisions supporting jobless Americans, renters and student loan borrowers will expire at the end of the year.

—Jacob Pramuk

Trump vaccine chief Slaoui says everyone in U.S. could be immunized by June

Moncef Slaoui, chief science advisor for the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed, said that the entire U.S. population could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by June, and there could be enough doses to immunize the rest of the nearly 8 billion people in the world by early to mid-2022.

Slaoui said Moderna and Pfizer will likely supply between 60 million and 70 million doses by January, which would be enough for at least 30 million people since each one takes two rounds of doses. He said "very quickly" the U.S. could begin supplying more than 150 million doses a month by March once other vaccines are authorized.

If enough people get immunized, he told the Washington Post during a livestream interview that the U.S. "should have this pandemic under control in the second half of 2021."

"While we're all very excited to have these vaccines coming out, it's going to take a while before the whole population gets immunized," Slaoui said.

—Noah Higgins-Dunn

Vaccine side effects 'significantly noticeable' in up to 15% of recipients, says Slaoui

Pfizer and Moderna's Covid-19 vaccines are safe, with only 10% to 15% of volunteers reporting side effects that were "significantly noticeable," President Donald Trump's coronavirus vaccine czar, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, told the Washington Post.

People have reported redness and pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches, he said, adding most people have no noticeable side effects. His comments came as states prepare to distribute a Covid-19 vaccine in as little as two weeks.

Last month, doctors told a CDC advisory group that U.S. officials should talk more about the potential side effects of the vaccines so the public knows what to expect and aren't scared away from getting a second dose. Both companies' vaccines require two doses about a month apart to achieve maximum effectiveness.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Airlines launch safety tours to win back business travelers

With corporate travel down 85% from last year, CNBC's Phil LeBeau reports on the airlines' efforts to convince businesses it's safe for their employees to fly on planes again.

—Melodie Warner 

Starbucks to give free coffee in December to front-line responders

As new Covid-19 cases surge in the United States, Starbucks is giving away its brewed coffee to front-line responders.

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, dentists, police officers, hospital staff and active-duty military are among those that qualify for a free tall brewed coffee — either hot or iced — from Starbucks throughout December. The coffee chain said it has given away more than 2 million cups of coffee to front-line responders since the start of the crisis.

—Amelia Lucas

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton tests positive for Covid, will miss Sunday's race

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain.
Clive Mason | Formula 1 | Getty Images
Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday, the racing league announced.

Hamilton's Mercedes team said he was tested three times last week, returning a negative result each time, but woke up Monday with mild symptoms and was informed that a contact prior to arriving in Bahrain had tested positive. Two subsequent tests showed Hamilton as positive for the virus.

Hamilton is isolating in accordance with health protocols in Bahrain.

"I'm gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others," Hamilton said in a statement. "I'm really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy."

Hamilton has already clinched the championship this season, his seventh F1 title. The Mercedes team will announce a replacement driver ahead of the racing weekend.

—Sara Salinas

CDC panel to vote Tuesday on who gets vaccine first

A CDC panel is set to vote Tuesday on who will be first in line to get a Covid-19 vaccine once one is authorized by U.S. regulators.

The meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advises the CDC, comes after Moderna and Pfizer requested emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccines. Vaccine doses could be distributed in the U.S. in as little as two weeks.

Medical experts have said health-care workers should get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with preexisting conditions and essential workers. The CDC will follow ACIP's guidance, but states are not obligated to do so.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Pfizer and BioNTech apply for European Covid vaccine approval

Vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 are sorted at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium in an undated still image from video.
Pfizer | Reuters
Vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 are sorted at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium in an undated still image from video.

U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech have applied to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the conditional marketing authorization of their coronavirus vaccine.

If the authorization is granted, it could potentially enable use of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine in Europe before the end of 2020, BioNTech said in a press release.

Such authorization, known as a CMA, is granted to medicines "that address unmet medical needs of patients on the basis of less comprehensive data than normally required," the EMA says on its website.

Rival vaccine maker Moderna said that it would apply for emergency clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and its European equivalent the EMA, on Monday.

The EMA said on Tuesday that if its experts have received enough data from Pfizer and Moderna about their candidate vaccines, it would complete its reviews by Dec. 29 and Jan. 12, respectively, at the latest, Reuters reported.

Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Coronavirus updates: NY sets emergency hospital measures; U.S. air travel reaches 1.2 million

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