A coronavirus vaccine may not be widely available until several months until 2021
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are seeking emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, possibly as early as Friday, two days after announcing that the COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective.
“Our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine has never been more urgent as we continue to see an alarming increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 globally,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, President and CEO of Pfizer, in a statement.
This comes as coronavirus continues to ravage the United States before the Thanksgiving holiday. The U.S. death toll from coronavirus has exceeded 252,000, including more than 2,000 reported Thursday alone. Admissions across the nation have exploded, with nearly 80,000 Americans now receiving hospitalization.
On Thursday, the California government imposed a month-long curfew on Gavin Newsom at 6 p.m. 22, beginning Saturday, for almost all residents of the country’s most populous state. Here’s a look at restrictions in each state.
📈 Today’s figures: The United States has reported more than 11.7 million cases and more than 252,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Total number: 57 million cases and 1.36 million deaths.
🗺️ Coronavirus mapping: Track the US outbreak in your state.
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Pfizer is taking candidate vaccine to FDA for emergency approval
Pfizer said Friday that it is asking for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, the next step toward bringing its master’s vaccine to market. Health and other frontline workers could get the vaccine as quickly as December, but it could take up to a year to reach everyone.
The move follows an announcement from Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech that the vaccine appears to be 95% effective against coronavirus. Also this week, the pharmaceutical company Moderna released positive news, where the vaccine also shows a high degree of efficacy. Both candidates, each requiring two shots, protect more than 90% of the immunized, self-reported results indicate.
The FDA and an independent advisory committee will review Pfizer’s application before it is able to get into people’s arms.
“If we get people vaccinated to a great extent, then you can start talking about this umbrella or a blanket of protection on society that will dramatically reduce the risk of a person being exposed to or even becoming infected,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious isease expert, told the United States earlier this week.
– Richardson’s way
Fauci says Santa is not spreading COVID-19 to anyone this Christmas
The CDC recommends against holiday travel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends traveling to Thanksgiving. Dr. Henry Walke, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said “the tragedy that could happen” is that family members could end up becoming seriously ill, hospitalized or dying. The CDC’s warning is the latest and highest profile on the risk of travel as coronavirus cases rise nationwide. Officials in California, Illinois and other states have urged residents to avoid unimportant travel, even though airlines are announcing vacation deals.
“These times are tough, it’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months, and we understand people are tired,” Walke said. “But this year we are asking them to limit their travel.”
– Sara M. Moniuszko
Long test lines across the United States ahead of scheduled Thanksgiving gatherings
With coronavirus cases rising and families hoping to gather safely for Thanksgiving, long queues to be tested have resurfaced across the United States – a reminder that the country’s testing system is still unable to keep up with viruses.
The delays occur as the country supports winter weather, flu season and holiday travel, all of which are expected to amplify a U.S. outbreak that has already swelled over 11.6 million cases and 252,000 deaths.
Laboratories warned that persistent shortages of key supplies are likely to create more bottlenecks and delays, especially as cases rise across the country and people rush to be tested before being reunited with relatives.
“As these cases increase, demand increases and treatment times may increase,” said Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “So it’s like a dog chasing the tail.”
Lines stretched across several city blocks at test sites throughout New York City this week, leaving people waiting three or more hours before they could even enter health clinics. In Los Angeles, thousands lined up outside Dodger Stadium for drive-thru testing.
Texas County is asking workers to move more than 200 corpses
El Paso County, one of the hardest-hit areas in Texas amid the COVID-19 pandemic, called Thursday night for an immediate hiring of morgues to help move corpses.
“Not only does this task tax physically, but it can also be emotional taxation,” a county statement said.
The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office had 247 bodies at the morgue and inside nine refrigerated trailers that served as mobile mornings, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said in a press release and got county commissioners to approve hiring additional workers.
– Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times
Mexico becomes 4th country to top 100K deaths
Mexico passed the 100,000 mark in the COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, joining the United States, Brazil and India as the only countries to reach the grim milestone.
José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said there were 100,104 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday. It comes less than a week after Mexico said it had topped 1 million registered coronavirus cases, though officials agree the number is likely to be much higher due to low test levels.
Lack of testing – Mexico only tests people with severe symptoms and has only performed about 2.5 million tests in a country of 130 million – the lack of hospitals in many areas and fear of those that exist has created a fertile breeding ground for ignorance, suspicion and fear.
Legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is testing positive
Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz has confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Holtz, 83, told ABC Columbia on Thursday that he is recovering from the virus. “I do not have much energy right now,” said Holtz, best known for his 11-year stint at Notre Dame, which included a Fiesta Bowl victory and a national championship in the 1988 season.
During the summer, when the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced they were postponing their college football plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, Holtz protested loudly, comparing players to U.S. soldiers in World War II.
Since retiring from coaching in 2004, Holtz has worked as an analyst for ESPN and has been several public appearances supporting President Donald Trump.
– Steve Gardner
California adopts stricter COVID workplace safety rules
California officials on Thursday approved new rules requiring employers to implement safety measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, the latest state to adopt stricter rules.
The Statens Arbejdsmiljøstandard Board heard evidence of a temporary emergency that requires companies to train employees on how to prevent infection, provide free personal protective equipment and offer free COVID-19 testing to all employees if three or more employees are infected with coronavirus before for a 14-day period, among other measures.
California joins Oregon, Michigan and Virginia to implement similar standards. Virginia became the first state in the country to approve temporary new rules on workplace safety after lawmakers passed the measures in July, citing inaction from federal officials.
Smithsonian’s DC area plans plan to close again
Following the reopening of seven museums in the Washington area and the National Zoo over the summer, the Smithsonian announced Thursday that they would close again from Monday and not provide a reopening date.
The sites were shut down in March during the first wave of coronavirus. They reopened in July, August and September with limited hours, lower capacity, social distance and mandatory face masks.
Nearly 30% of U.S. museums remain closed since the initial shutdown in March, according to a study by the American Alliance of Museums. (Most of the Smithsonian’s sites in Washington and New York have not reopened.) Those that have reopened operate with 35% of their regular attendance, which Laura Lott, the group’s president and CEO, called “unsustainable long-term.”
– Curtis Tate
COVID-19 resources from the USA TODAY
Contribution: Associated Press
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