US plans to greenlight 2nd COVID-19 vaccine; US experts debate: Who should be next in line for vaccine? California hot spot has more than 1,000 deaths in last 5 days
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is moving quickly to authorize a second COVID-19 vaccine to battle the raging pandemic after a key advisory panel endorsed the vaccine from Moderna, paving the way for it to be added to the nationwide campaign.
The vaccination effort kicked off this week with a vaccine from Pfizer and and BioNTech.
But a second vaccine is urgently needed as coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. climb to alarming new record highs ahead of the holidays, Lauran Neergaard and Matthew Perrone report.
Shots for now are being earmarked for health care workers and nursing home residents.
Who's Next in Line? U.S. experts are debating who should be next in line for COVID-19 vaccines when more doses become available. So far, the limited number of doses are mostly going into the arms of health-care workers and nursing home residents. But 80 million more people should be able to start receiving vaccinations in the first three months of 2021. A federal advisory panel is expected to take up a proposal this weekend to place essential workers next in line. Others say seniors should get the next spot. State-to-state variations are likely to increase as more doses become available, Mike Stobbe reports.
Trump on Sidelines: Although the Trump administration helped bring about vaccinations earlier than even some of his own officials had hoped, the president has been largely absent from the effort to sell the American public on what aides hope will be a key part of his legacy. Five days into the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history, Trump has held no public events about the rollout. He hasn’t been inoculated himself. And he's tweeted only twice about the shot. Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, has taken center stage, touring a vaccine production facility this week. He is set to receive a dose himself on live television this morning. Zeke Miller and Jill Colvin report.
States Vaccine: Several states say they have been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in its second week of distribution. That's leading to worries about potential delays in shots for health care workers and long-term care residents. But senior Trump administration officials have downplayed the risk of delays.
California Crisis: The nation’s most populous state emerges as the latest epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. Health authorities in the state have reported a one-day record of 379 virus deaths and more than 52,000 new confirmed cases. The staggering new figures mean California has seen more than 1,000 deaths in the past five days and nearly 106,000 cases in just two days. Many of the state's hospitals are now running out of capacity to treat the severest cases. California’s pandemic death toll now stands at 21,860. The state has also seen the most cases in the nation with more than 1.7 million confirmed, John Antczak and Amy Taxin report.
Hospitals across California have all but run out of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients, ambulances are backing up outside emergency rooms, and tents for triaging the sick are going up.
Wisconsin Nuns: Eight nuns living at a retirement home for sisters in suburban Milwaukee have died of the virus in the past week, according to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province. The congregation says there are other confirmed cases of the coronavirus among roughly 100 sisters living there.
France Macron: President Emmanuel Macron is riding out the virus in a presidential retreat at Versailles. Meanwhile French doctors have warned families ahead of the holidays to remain cautious because of a rise in infections, especially at the dinner table. While Macron routinely wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, he hosted or took part in multiple group meals in the days before testing positive. Critics say that’s a bad example for compatriots advised to keep their gatherings to six people. Macron is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, but officials say he is continuing to work.
South Korea Spike: The country has reported 1,062 new cases of the virus, its third straight day of over 1,000, as authorities in Seoul warn that hospital beds are in short supply. The city says an explosive growth in patients this month has resulted in an overload in administrative and medical systems.
Germany Homeless: Berlin's biggest restaurant, forced to close due to the pandemic, has opened its doors to homeless people. Starting this week, the Hofbraeu Berlin offers free meals, a place to warm up and counseling for up to 150 homeless people per day. Several thousand homeless people live in the German capital and they are struggling even more now. There are fewer places in shelters because of distancing and hygiene measures, and less money to be made panhandling or collecting bottles for recycling because there are simply fewer people outside, Kirsten Grieshaber reports from Berlin.
PHOTOS: ICU nurse couple in Italy bring family love to ward. Juggling work in the pandemic and family life is tricky but parents Maurizio Di Giacobbe and Glenda Grossi will celebrate Christmas together — this year they both managed to get Dec. 25 off work. But they won’t have the grandparents, aunts and uncles around their holiday table. They want to protect them. Alessandra Tarantino and Maria Grazia Murru report from Rome.