VIRUS TODAY: 2nd vaccine approved; Pence receives shot on TV

Here’s what’s happening Friday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


— The U.S. added a second COVID-19 vaccine to its arsenal, boosting efforts to beat back an outbreak so dire that the nation is regularly recording more than 3,000 deaths a day. The Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of the vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. The move marks the world’s first authorization for Moderna’s shots.

— One in every five state and federal prisoners in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times as high as the general population. In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected, according to data collected by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project.

— U.S. health officials are seeing an astonishing lack of demand for COVID-19 medicines that may help keep infected people out of the hospital, drugs they rushed out to states over the past few weeks as deaths set new records.

THE NUMBERS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from 1,834 on Dec. 3 to 2,633 on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

DEATH TOLL: The U.S. death toll stands at almost 312,000 people, up from about 300,000 when the week began.

QUOTABLE: “I think we know this isn’t going to be perfect. We don’t have vaccine for everyone right away, so we’re going to have to make difficult decisions.” — Claire Hannan, executive director of an organization that represents managers of state vaccination programs.

ICYMI: Vice President Mike Pence became the highest-ranking U.S. official to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday in a live-television event aimed at reassuring Americans the shot is safe. He celebrated the milestone as “a medical miracle” that could eventually contain the pandemic.

ON THE HORIZON: Doses of the Moderna vaccine are set to arrive Monday. The vaccine is similar to one from Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech that’s now being dispensed to millions of health care workers and nursing home residents.


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Categories: National & International News