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COVID-19 Update, December 21, 2020: Turning Point

At last, Congress pulls it together and passes a pandemic relief bill. No, it is not perfect: It includes the Save Our Stages Act, which is important, but not the RESTART Act, which is crucial. But the work will continue in the new year when additional stimulus will be revisited. Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine is on the way, and plans in are place for whom will be inoculated in the second round of vaccinations. At the same time, the UK is in a bad way, contending with a rapidly spreading mutation of the virus that may be 70% more transmissible than the original. The government's plan to lock down the southeastern part of the country in advance of Christmas has boomeranged: Londoners have fled the city, leaving behind a ghost town and creating a possible super-spreader event. And, of course, there's a little thing called Brexit about to happen, one way or another...

The latest:

We have a pandemic relief bill: tinyurl.com/y8xvtvvm.

The FDA authorizes the Moderna vaccine, freeing up millions of more doses for Americans: tinyurl.com/yb3v4gh6. The vaccine begins shipping: tinyurl.com/y8l6nxcz. The European Union authorizes the Pfizer vaccine: tinyurl.com/y78b748b.

Next up for inoculation as per the CDC: Frontline essential workers and people over 75: tinyurl.com/y6wj5lod.

More than a dozen states report a shortfall in their vaccine allocations: tinyurl.com/yce8cdtw. A Pentagon system, known as Tiberius, may be the reason: tinyurl.com/y9myazvt. The chief of Operation Warp Speed accepts responsibility for delays in vaccine delivery, although some questions remain: tinyurl.com/y898l55x.

Different interest groups jostle be at the front of the vaccination line, forcing authorities to face difficult decisions: tinyurl.com/ybwn957y.

Vivek Murthy, Joe Biden's pick for surgeon general, strikes a more cautious note about vaccine distribution, suggesting that late summer or early fall is more likely for inoculation of the general population: tinyurl.com/yddh2hfb.

Could the mutated version of the coronavirus found in the UK be resistant to vaccines? Scientists at Walter Reed Hospital are on the case: tinyurl.com/ybj6kosc.

Dr. Deborah Birx is under fire for traveling with her family at Thanksgiving, in contravention of her own recommendations: tinyurl.com/y7wy8s48.

A man dies of COVID-19 on a United flight; now the CDC is scrambling to track down those who were exposed: tinyurl.com/yarn26os.

The National Hockey League will return January 13, with a 56-game season: tinyurl.com/yasvrk4x.

Food for thought:

As Christmas draws near, health experts look for lessons from Thanksgiving: tinyurl.com/y7zwhxzs.

How do the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines stack up against each other? tinyurl.com/y8lne35e.

Around the country:

In California:

What's behind the state's catastrophic rise in COVID-19 cases? tinyurl.com/y782xyv7.

The governor goes back into quarantine after being exposed to a staff member with COVID-19: tinyurl.com/ybe2dth2.

In Florida:

The state reports 13,148 new COVID-19 cases on Friday: tinyurl.com/y6uuhv6x. The number on Saturday, is 11,682: tinyurl.com/y7z952fw.

In Minnesota:

State Senator Jerry Relph dies of COVID-19 after attending a dinner where several of his colleagues were also infected: tinyurl.com/y7xhc974.

In Tennessee:

His wife is infected. The state has a 30% positivity rate. But the governor still opposes a mask mandate: tinyurl.com/yaw3jt6l. The state's health commissioner warns that another surge over the holidays "will break our hospitals:" tinyurl.com/yapawknw.

Around the world:

In France:

In response to the new strain of COVID-19 appearing in the UK, France issues a 48-hour ban on truck travel, threatening to cause havoc with supply chains: tinyurl.com/yb9fh7m7.

In Malaysia:

Top Glove, which has cornered 25% of the rubber glove market, has been in manufacturing overdrive during the pandemic. Nearly half of its employees have been infected with COVID-19 since November: tinyurl.com/y7l4mscq.

In Mexico:

As an overwhelmed Mexico City goes on lockdown, evidence emerges that the government misled citizens about the severity of the most recent outbreak: tinyurl.com/y7r6nxk5.

In Pakistan:

The country, roiled by conspiracy theories and afflicted with pandemic fatigue, faces a second wave of infections: tinyurl.com/ybswnsty.

In Thailand:

A surge in COVID-19 cases leads to a massive new testing effort: tinyurl.com/ydyol8xl.

In the UK:

London and most of the country's southeast are put on super-lockdown to combat a variant of the coronavirus that is as much as 70% more transmissible: tinyurl.com/y9tjnvzn. The decision causes Londoners to flee the city in large numbers, leaving a ghost town behind: tinyurl.com/yc8jopbl. Boris Johnson's decision to take stronger measures evokes fury in both parties; especially upsetting is the news that the lockdown may last several months: tinyurl.com/y8sqrcro.

Worried about the mutated virus that has shown up in the UK, European countries install air travel bans: tinyurl.com/yc9h5g2r.


Mint Theater Company announces the lineup for Mint's popular Streaming Series for 2021, featuring HD recordings of past productions: Days To Come by Lillian Hellman, directed by J.R. Sullivan (will begin airing January 4 and continue through February 21); Katie Roche by Teresa Deevy, directed by Jonathan Bank (February 1 - March 28); Women Without Men by Hazel Ellis, directed by Jenn Thompson (February 22 - March 21); Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson, directed by Jonathan Bank (March 22 - May 16); A Picture of Autumn by N.C Hunter, directed by Gus Kaikkonen (March 29 - May 23); and The Fatal Weakness by George Kelly, directed by Jesse Marchese (May 17 - June 13), all at Mint's virtual theater, MintTheater.org. The price of admission is free To receive a password, visit www.MintTheater.org.

Moonlight Theatre Productions will present award-winning writer, director, producer Israela Margalit's acclaimed newest work Crossroads in an encore streaming presentation between December 24 - 31, 2020. The show is free. To sign up for your link, please visit tinyurl.com/ychfq4zs. The cast includes Matthew Boston, Christian Conn, Tracey Conyer Lee, Jennifer Dorr White, Lynda Gravatt, Renata Hinrichs, PJ Johnnie, Rita Rehn, Sturgis Warner, and Keona Welch.

For your pleasure:

In honor of the winter solstice, Jack Cassidy offers Rodgers and Hart's "The Shortest Day of the Year:" tinyurl.com/ydy7oefe.

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

To receive your LSA copies at home (no charge), please email LSA@plasa.org or go to www.ezsubscription.com/lsa/mysubscription.

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

(21 December 2020)

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