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COVID-19 Update: December 14, 2020: The Big Rollout Begins

And we're off: The Pfizer vaccines are being delivered around the country and the first vaccinations begin. It might be irrational exuberance but HHS' Alex Azar thinks healthy Americans will be start getting vaccinated by late February; it helps that plenty of the Moderna vaccine, which is soon to be approved, is also on order. But hang on tight: We're about to reach 300,000 US deaths from COVID-19. Businesses in New York and California are on the ropes. New questions are raised daily about Governor Ron DeSantis' handling of the pandemic. Europe is struggling with surging new numbers, even in Sweden, and in the UK, the West End, which was starting to reopen, is shut down again.

The latest:

It's official: The FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine: tinyurl.com/yxpbg4r5. The US vaccine rollout begins, despite considerable logistical challenges: tinyurl.com/y6g5kj2k. The challenges are many: tinyurl.com/y4p3beeh. Could it be true? Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar predicts that healthy Americans will start getting vaccinated by late February or early March: tinyurl.com/ybyfdeu4.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the US increased from 200,000 to 250,000 between September and mid-November. The number is poised to hit 300,000 in less than half that time: tinyurl.com/yxan7tf4.

The Trump Administration buys an additional 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine: tinyurl.com/y62pmg89.

The AstraZeneca and Sputnik labs will share data in an effort to further defeat the coronavirus: tinyurl.com/y3lbhcae.

New cases and deaths continue to rise in New York's tri-state area: tinyurl.com/y5wbh55d.

At least 6,000 college athletes in the US have tested positive for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/yxqcla7c.

A new South Korean study suggests that the coronavirus can travel faster and farther in indoor restaurants than previously believed: tinyurl.com/y3sqgtb7.

Longshoremen, a population especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, want to be on the front lines of receiving vaccines: tinyurl.com/y5jfk79d.

The singer Ashanti tests positive for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/y5egz9vr.

Food for thought:

The journalist and novelist Carl Hiaasen renders a damning verdict on Governor Ron DeSantis' handling of the pandemic in Florida: tinyurl.com/y6665g4d.

In college towns where students returned for classes, COVID-19 deaths went up, but not among the students. A story that lays bare the need for more testing and tracing: tinyurl.com/y48a667f.

More and more, obituaries written for those who succumb to COVID-19 come with warnings about denial or going maskless: tinyurl.com/y6mm543q.

Wisconsin offers a case study of how the cancelation of sports events is harming local economies: tinyurl.com/yyl74nvy.

Around the country:

In California:

On Friday, 82% of ICU beds in San Diego Country were filled: tinyurl.com/y3cl2e8s.

Small businesses are hit hard by the second state shutdown: tinyurl.com/y2qhxl8e.

In the San Joaquin Valley, ICUs are jammed and small business owners are demanding the right to reopen: tinyurl.com/y7x9qz4o.

University of California San Diego preps for in-person classes starting January 4: tinyurl.com/yylwxjmp.

In Florida:

The state reports 11,699 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the biggest number since July: tinyurl.com/yycdcm6m. The number on Sunday is 8,958: tinyurl.com/y27q5dcn.

The Orlando Sentinel sues the governor for failing to provide White House Coronavirus Task Force Reports in a timely manner: tinyurl.com/y6hugr4k. The report, with its stark depiction of the pandemic in the state and its strong recommendation of social restrictions, contrasts with the governor's approach: tinyurl.com/yxzoy48y.

The Atlantic Coast Conference cancels University of Miami's home game against Georgia Tech, because of COVID-19 related issues with the Georgia team: tinyurl.com/y23qzyhl.

The president of the Florida Senate tests positive for COVID-19, which means he can't cast his electoral vote today: tinyurl.com/y79k6h9k.

In Illinois:

The state passes 14,000 COVID-19 deaths, one week after hitting the 13,000 mark: tinyurl.com/yyhh5ysj.

United Airlines gears up for its role in delivering the vaccine: tinyurl.com/y23xgo29.

Illinois State University cancels its spring break over coronavirus concerns: tinyurl.com/y2ng546w.

In Maryland:

Monday marks another record-breaking day of hospitalizations for the state: tinyurl.com/y32tnou9.

In Missouri:

The state reports 3,743 new cases on Saturday: tinyurl.com/y42v9avy.

St. Louis' MUNY, the famous outdoor summer theatre, announces a 2021 season, with performances: tinyurl.com/y4524c8l.

In Nevada:

The state now has the second-highest positivity rate in the nation: tinyurl.com/y3p3otu6.

The governor extends the state's pause through January: tinyurl.com/y3xdz7ql.

How cancelations of sporting and gaming events are affecting Las Vegas' economy: tinyurl.com/y65d2nv8.

In New York:

An ICU nurse in Queens is the first New Yorker to get the vaccine: tinyurl.com/ybzdg5pw.

How did New York City fail to stop an Orthodox Jewish funeral attended by 5,000 mourners, most of them now wearing masks? tinyurl.com/y2dukrk8.

The city's restaurants reel from the announcement of the second closure: tinyurl.com/y3dvywhn. Some jazz clubs and piano bars had already reopened, passing off their musical components as "incidental" accompaniments to drinks and food; that's all over now: tinyurl.com/y7evfue9.

A Brooklyn principal is under investigation for having 150 students and adults lunch together in the school's cafeteria, in contravention of social distancing rules: tinyurl.com/y9amp2kw.

In Ohio:

The state reports 11,252 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the fifth day in a row with cases over 10,000: tinyurl.com/y3j23vcz. Cases in the state surge 41.7% in a single week: tinyurl.com/y6owggus.

In Texas:

An evangelical pastor in Houston learns to keep his distance from his congregation; he has comorbidities, and they don't believe in masks or vaccines: tinyurl.com/y6b4uh5f.

Around the world:

In Germany:

The country to go under a hard lockdown from December 16 through January 10: tinyurl.com/yy96c3oy.

In less than a week, the country builds a string of mass vaccination centers: tinyurl.com/y5j5kzqr.

In Italy:

The country once again currently has the most COVID-19 deaths in Europe: tinyurl.com/yc4hwphd.

In the Netherlands:

The country is set to announce lockdown through mid-January: tinyurl.com/yagrv54r.

In New Zealand:

The government announces plans to create a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia in early 2021: tinyurl.com/y8buk5ug.

In Sweden:

A crisis looms as healthcare workers quit their jobs in droves: tinyurl.com/y4u4df9d.

In the UK:

London and other parts of the country's southeast are entering tier three, with the toughest social distancing restrictions; this scotches the West End's attempted reopening: tinyurl.com/y322nypw.


Country singer Charley Pride: tinyurl.com/y43yd7df.

Film/television actress and "queen of New Orleans theatre" Carol Sutton: tinyurl.com/y5znvvrh.

For your pleasure:

Broadway's Norm Lewis offers "No One is Alone," by Stephen Sondheim, from the musical Into the Woods: tinyurl.com/yas6c4rk.

That's all for today. Stay safe. -- DB

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Previous LSA COVID-19 Updates: plasa.me/lsacovid19resources.

(14 December 2020)

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