ABC News Live Update: New COVID-19 variant leads to lockdowns in UK

Plus, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine received emergency authorization over the weekend and is being shipped to hospitals nationwide, and Congress reached a deal on a COVID-19 relief package.
25:45 | 12/21/20

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Transcript for ABC News Live Update: New COVID-19 variant leads to lockdowns in UK
Good morning I'm Diana say no thanks for streaming with us in today's update the UK is returning to its harshest restrictions of the pandemic. Citing concerns over a new strain of called the nineteen the impending lockdown triggered a mass exodus has countries around the world moved to close their borders to Britain's. The US hasn't taken that step yet the New York's governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for immediate action. Right now there's a variant in the UK is getting on a plane. And flying through JFK. Today. This is reprehensible. I just how dangerous is this mutation. And this case a surge across the US a second vaccine is on the move but their received emergency authorization over the weekend in doses are already making their way to hospitals around the country. Now the CDC is saying who should be next in line to get vaccinated. And we have a deal lawmakers finally reached an agreement on a 900 billion dollars stimulus package to help struggling Americans. We have all the details on the final votes and when you'll receive that 600 dollar check. But we begin overseas where London is back in lockdown as a UK fights a new strain of the virus. Over the weekend train station and airports in the United Kingdom were packed with people trying to get out before travel bans to the fact. Now more than a dozen countries have banned travel to and from the UK James Longman is in London with more. Britain is sounding the alarm this morning over a new variant of coded nineteen prime minister Boris Johnson with an emergency addressed to the nation that is prime minister it's my duty to take. Difficult decisions to do what is right to protect. The people of this country he had promised the UK would be back to normal in time for Christmas but now much of Britain including London is looking down for the holidays. For 21 million people only essential businesses remain open scientists say the new variant spreads up to 70% fall stood than the original virus. Importantly health experts warn mutations of any virus are expected. It has nothing to suggest this is more deadly but an increase in spread tells threaten health services. Scientists have been aware of the new variant for some time. But Johnson's announcement triggered a rush out of the capital jamming train stations and highways. Britain is slowly being sealed off. Belgium Italy and the Netherlands among those banning travel. Overnight Canada restricted inbound flights from the UK the French suspension and even shut down the Eurotunnel and the UK's main port threatening food supplies. Now New York governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for similar action in the United States. Right now this very entered in the UK he is getting on a plane. And flying to JFK. Today 120 countries demand that before you get on a flight in the UK. To come to their country. You have to have tested negative. United States does not require. This is reprehensible. Because this is what happened in this spring. You'll get both have on average six flights coming from London every day. The epicenter of the new variant. Now this new variant has been detected in a number of other countries as well which is. Consenting but I think it's really important to point out that there is no evidence to suggest that any of the new vaccines that are being developed and rolled out. Wouldn't work against this new variant Diane. And James prime minister Boris Johnson is holding an emergency meeting in the UK what do we know. About that meeting and how concerned are people there. Dead Diane I think basically. The prime minister that. Probably didn't expect this kind of fallout from. His announcement people all concerned I think we soar up a kind of a rush to get out of London as soon as this announcement was meant as was made. Originally the prime minister in the government had promised people that they would be able to spend Christmas together it was going to be a full eight day period between 23 the 27. During which Rea restrictions would be relaxed say this kind of you time meant that. Its premiere in London anyway there was a mass exodus so people kind of lining up at train stations packed almost to waste finding out of the country's of the husband a degree of panic. I think that comic has spreads around the world I'm full scene I think by this government and that's what. Boris Johnson and his eight will be discussing and not meeting today just how you're. Relationship without isn't. He will gonna go what's gonna happen with this I'm going forward of the most significant bounds of course is with prawns this is a country which we all. Overseas are probably very close David economically tied with in in such an important way 20% of a trade. Comes out of fronds and ahead of the Christmas period there's concern about food shortages sec what with a government do to try to mend that relationship. But what we know currently about the virus this new variant is an exists here in London in certain parts of the southeast. It tells spreads much quicker outs what and sciences is saying so many more deadly. But it does spread much more quickly so the idea is of course trying to make so people stay behind but if they lose trust in the government and its messaging. Then it's very unfair weather channel people are gonna continue to want to do that we don't know how much longer we're going to have to do not important need health secretary. Mentioned even Huntington's of stay home until the vaccine is property rolled out says an extraordinarily uncertain time for Britain of the moment Diane. And James received a fair amount of skepticism about everything to do with this pandemic here in the US and other UK has had that as well they teams even with this. There seems real large amount of skepticism among the British public. I think it doesn't set amount of skepticism from a certain portion of people on tee boxes we've got them here in Britain and eagle inherit over that. In the United States there was skepticism about vaccine because of them some speed in which it was rolled out. And not now is basically seeping into everything as you say I think that's because of the kind of level of trust. In the government's. I'm cut of its strategy because it does seem to change a loss of the time when one minute the government says that that adamant that Christmas will go ahead. Forests of such as that it would be inhuman. To console Christmas and then days late. So because ahead and essentially council's aid from the months of the country thought sends a confusing message to people particularly because it's unclear. How long the government she known. That this strain was circulating in the population Diana and still a lot of questions there James Bond when we appreciate it thank you. And back here in the US six million doses of the now authorized in the Daryn a vaccine are set to be shipped this week in addition to two million more doses. Of the Pfizer vaccine now the big question is who should be next in line to get those shots in a pilgrim is at a hospital on Long Island with more on that vaccine rollout. This morning at new hope in the fight against the pandemic as coroner virus cases continue to surge to new highs. The FDA granting emergency use authorization for the Bjorn a vaccine. The new during a vaccine already in route to hospitals UPS and FedEx begin shipping the vaccine Sunday. Utilizing both trucks and planes to get those first doses to more than 3700. Locations in all fifty states. For Todd LB UPS driver of 37 years. This call was bittersweet. His father died from cope it just last month. This hasn't been the most important loaded alcohol to. And to bring this back upfield dad was in the truck with me today. The move adds a second vaccine to the arsenal in the fight against cope in nineteen. 95% effective. Aren't as much as a 100% effective at preventing severe disease in this is the way we and the pandemic. By getting seventy or 80% of the American people vaccinated this CDC advisory committee now spelling out who will be next in line for that vaccine. Phase one has been Frontline health care workers. Phase one beat will be people over 75 and Frontline essential workers including police. Firefighters teachers grocery store workers and postal workers. Next in mind people sixteen to 64 with high risk medical conditions. And essential workers in industries like food service construction and public safety. But the CDC leaving the final call to each state on who gets the vaccines. Today there have been at least three million doses of the Pfizer vaccine distributed and just over 500000. Doses administered. Then the journal authorization. Paving the way for more widespread vaccinations. We're very confident that by June anyone in America who wants to have a vaccine we'll have that opportunity to have a vaccine. And the CDC giving those states the flexibility. To prioritize. Their distribution so they can look at their. Individual different circumstances. With this fire is prioritizing. Those people most at risk of getting this virus and giving them the vaccine Diane. I even pilgrim Forrest thanks Siva. An ABC news chief medical correspondent doctor Jennifer Ashton is getting her first dose of the Coleman vaccine. This morning a some doctors at the hospital where she perform surgeries already received a doctor Ashton is in the second group. And she is sharing that experience with us good morning doctor Dan. Hey Diana. Here it is proof of MIA vaccine dose number one. I'm here at Englewood health. In Englewood New Jersey this is the hospital that I've been on staff that for sixteen years and I was. Lee and anxiously awaiting might turn out I am in grooved to. So. I got the notification last week. That might group was up and I immediately took the first available spot that was offered. And I just feel incredibly fortunate. I didn't realize until that. Neil was in my arm how much fear and concern I had suppressed all year. As I continued to take care patients and watch a lot of my friends and family. Take care of ICU co vacations. But it was incredible. Interesting angle for me Diana I do they had. Three of severe allergic reaction I have I'm required emergency room care for an allergy to foods. I spoke with my allergist last night aide because yes doctors also have doctor is we don't take care of ourselves and he recommended that I pre medicate with their tech which is a non sedating antihistamine about an hour before. Obviously I have my happy and he error. I put my A history down on the questionnaire so everyone here was aware there's paramedics here. Not just for me but for every one and were monitored. Fifteen minutes for every one the first someone with a severe history of an allergic reaction thirty minutes I feel totally fine. But I really want to explain how I made the decision for myself to get vaccinated. It's risk vs risk the risk of an allergic reaction rate now according to the CDC and the cases they attract is about one in 45000 doses. My risk of poll data is way higher than that. And if I were to get coal bed. Bomb not particularly. Scared of dying of coded. Because I don't have any of the big risk factors. I am concerned about being in the ten to 30% of people who have residual long term effects of coal bed. And so that to me made it an easy decision the rare chance of an allergic reaction verses a much higher chance of getting coded. So I feel fine and I encourage anyone who has a history of an allergic reaction speak with they're Allard says there health care provider. But so far so good and back to you dance. Tonight doctor Ashton thank you know so many people are are toying with that decision themselves right now in so many more will be. In the future so thank you for sharing now and us thanks for all the work you do with your patients. And all the work you do to keep us informed. And well let's check in with infectious disease specialist an ABC news contributor doctor Todd Eller and actor Todd. This morning I wanna get to the vaccine at first I want to start with this new virus strain in the UK is one of those things it has so many people so worried. Experts are saying that it is more contagious. But not more deadly but as we heard from James there's some skepticism that they UK government use this as an excuse. To strengthen christening of Christmas restrictions that should never have been relaxed so. Separate fact from fiction forest here when we know about the strain so far and how worried should we be. Good morning Diana you'll remember this is a new strain we're hearing about what we're hearing that spreads more efficiently which is a problem I mean opting we're definitely but remember if we have a good spreads more and give more cases. And likely hospitalizations. And deaths will follow that they'll sometimes viruses that. Step mutate and spread more efficiently actually caused less doubt so I think we really have to see how this plays out this Barr's house be watched very closely. Right and now let's talk. Vaccines we just saw a doctor Jan getting her vaccine I know you've got yours on Friday so first off are you feeling. I feel great I view this is you don't. Almost no painless injection want to pay the one out of ten pain pain later in the day in the following day to a ten soreness and then 48 hours later. Zero and no other symptoms there was there was really he's an. All right well that's that's very good to hear on all fronts and how important do you think it is for medical leaders like you like doctor Jan. To share your experiences with the vaccine. Well I have to say there's no one better than darker dashed into inoculate us with hope. This is really the type of messenger. And she's the type of message that we want to deliver the public and around the world remember what I said on Friday we have to demonstrate trust worthiness before we can expect trust. From the people that we want to want to vaccinated. And I think actions speak louder than words and that's what we saw. But Diana 200 take less than a minute and just I know you're sucker for doctors whose homes have rethought its human dedicated. Dedicated to the people around the world we're waiting for the Kobe nineteen vaccine has called the waiting room all right a virus being called is circling the globe. My teacher tells me it spreads more when it's cold most people don't get it but some people do I see it in person it's worse than the flu. I thought it was random but that isn't true a mask in some distance will protect you. I'm told there's no cue more from cold in nineteen but kindness and caring are therapeutic I've seen. I bet she has been developed by brilliant minds in safe and effective for protecting all kind. It's on the horizon but not really here. Patience in waiting is necessary I fear. Careers my shot will be a major question of next year. The pandemic is raging but do not give up hope you have all that it takes to keep climbing the slow. Along the way you'll be tested I'm sure this is true the most challenging games are when played against you. Can you move mountains you will indeed. Your vaccine is coming 99%. Guaranteed. He would need actor he is an infectious disease specialist he ended television commentator and now ladies and gentlemen I'm. I up. A it is common. That's awesome and not I have more questions for human I kind of wish I do think of that kind of one and done on that note but I bet that's a really hopeful message and I feel like you got all the information there into one. One slot. Dr. Seuss you know. Fell doctor and I do want to ask you about the next phase of all this because a CDC says people over 74. And Frontline workers at grocery store workers teachers emergency responders they should be next in line. Do you agree with that recommendation and if so when you think those people will start getting it. I really do Diane when you look at the triangle I think they've hit the three key points science. Compassion. And equity. And that brings you remember in the first duration he essential workers were one. What they've done as they try to meld. The most vulnerable groups and keep it equitable so I really think that that's important when bully get it when one. You know that remains to be seen we're I'm we're hearing were about a week behind remember there are lot of hurdles to getting this vaccine to everyone but now we know it will be sooner than later with those groups. And we know you in so many others predicted a surge after Thanksgiving. How did that pan out when you look at where the numbers are there and what does that do for how your looking at Christmas. Right well that's exactly what we've seen right we've seen you don't. Historic numbers of deaths and today over 3600 were averaging over 2500. Deaths and David good number of cases are you know 250000. A day where we're. An unacceptable. Point that level we -- we have to try this down and he gets back to what you said in the UK with is with his mutant virus that more than we have under control virus around the globe the more likely this could mutate into something that is more efficient and engines spread more we have to really steer it down when we get its low levels and it's less likely to change to something else that you know we won't be able to prevent. And right now we think the vaccine will still work. And I just want to squeeze in I'm glad you added that last play because it is a very important one but I artist squeezing one of your question and that's a viewer asking if if my relative gets vaccinated. Can they come visit me. So I think remember. They need not just one dose one dose can solve protection but you really need two doses to really get that full protection so it is it depends on -- vulnerable group you know and they still have to Wear match remember immunization is not a license to take ought to ask really I think one of the major principles that I. I want it and you before the pre Christmas holiday is their travel we have to limit mobility as much as possible. I don't wanna be like to Scrooge but it's really important that we handle this in a way that drives down the virus. Aren't doctor Todd Eller and always great to have you and thank you for your Poland today based and will not expecting when every day. I'm not a good thing. I thank factory. And after months of negotiations congress has finally reached a deal on a new cove in nineteen relief package the 900 billion dollar bill has money for small businesses extends funding for unemployment benefits. And has direct payments of 600 dollars for people who qualify. While this bill will help month many Americans in need critics say it may be too little too late chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl has more. When more than twenty million Americans on unemployment. Another 885000. Filing for jobless benefits just last week. And winds growing Longar at food banks across the country. This morning congress is finally ready to do something about it with him bottom report or notion of new today here for a very long. More help. There's all know what leaders in both parties sealed a deal only 900 billion dollar bill. Would be the first step congress has taken to boost the economy since April the agreement includes direct payments for qualifying Americans. Of up to 600 dollars. Half the amount the government sent out in the spring. As wells a 300 dollar boost in the weekly federal unemployment benefit through march. Almost 300 billion dollars in support for small businesses and billions more in funding for vaccine distribution in schools make. No mistake about it this agreement is far from perfect but it will deliver emergency relief. To a nation in the throes of a genuine wine emergency. The talks went down to the wire bringing the government to the brink of yet another shot down Democrats have been pushing for a much bigger bill. Initially demanding three times the total dollar amount they're calling this package a down payment would consider this a first step. And that again more needs to be done are struggling single mom Rooney to Carlo who was forced to temporarily shut down her business. Helped didn't come a moment too soon. Every dollar matters me Marty let me. Ask you my life actually overturn. A little bit at a time is out there is not we're soccer. President trump had virtually no involvement and hammering out this agreement but the White House welcomed the development saying overnight quote. We look forward to congress sending a bill to his desk immediately. For his signature Joseph Biden also welcomed the development saying he was heartened but that there is much more work to be Don giant. My chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl thanks John. And we have new details on that major cyber attack targeting the federal government. As officials race to figure out the scope of the attack we're getting mixed messages from the White House and the National Security Council about who was responsible. Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has the latest on that. This morning president shrubs splitting with his own secretary of state. And the Senate Intelligence Committee on who may be behind the massive unprecedented cyber attack. Of the US government and private industry. If the case that now we can say pretty clearly. There was the Russian cities in the secondly. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and leaders from both parties. Officially pointing the finger at the Kremlin blaming Russia for infiltrating computers as scores of US government agencies including. Treasury homeland security and the Energy Department which is responsible for our nuclear weapons stockpile this is as broad and as deep. As anything we've ever seen president shrubs downplaying the breach tweeting. Everything is well under control. And instead suggesting China could be behind it the president has a blind spot when it comes to Russia also targeted in the attack. Potentially dozens of fortune 500 companies. Which used a compromise software from solar winds and ID management company US officials believe the Russians hack the software. Installing the so called back door. Which allowed them to secretly spy on communications. Of US officials for months undetected. Russia came away with a big big haul and we're still determining how extensive this attack will be it will take us literally. Weeks to continue their to ferret this out and then potentially months for a mediate. D'affaires at this hacked is ongoing and there's deep concern that the Russians have retained the capacity. To manipulate and damage those computer networks Diane. I'm very concerning Pierre Thomas thank you. And a few things to know before you go it could be a white Christmas for some another major storm across the country this week snow forecasted for Wednesday night. Could mean the midwest we'll slippery roads and travel delays and on the East Coast flooding rain and damaging winds are expected on Christmas Eve. Behind the storm a blast of cold air will move in with the below zero wind chills. Justice holiday travel is expected to rise be careful out there. And Hawaii's kilauea volcano has erupted leaders there are urging residents to stay home. The National Weather Service warns excessive exposure to ash can irritate the eyes and respiratory system. And Liz Cho gave her mom some Christmas joy weave ain't paying surprise gift check it out. Okay great things about me. Kobe yeah. The singer posted this video surprising her mom would of the car her mom refunding and Britain and there's enjoy. Lindell writes an answer Graham I remember crying in my car when my daddy passed no job no money no where to live wishing I could one day provide for my family are now that she can live those says quote. I'm and make sure I spoil mama shouldn't we all hope we all finally the spoiler mom whose business. And that doesn't that is ABC news live update I'm Diane Maceda thanks for joining us and remember ABC news live is here for you all day with the latest news context and analysis. We'll see right back at 11 AM eastern. With a new update.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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