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COVID-19 Update: December 16, 2020: In the Tunnel

As Governor Gavin Newsom has remarked, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but we're still in the tunnel. The good news is, real movement finally appears to be happening on the pandemic relief front, in part because of the Congressional testimony by Bandit Lites' Michael Strickland and other industry representatives; still, the passage of any bill is going to go down to the wire. Meanwhile, as governments scramble to get more vaccine -- and poorer countries get elbowed aside -- the world continues to struggle. Even Sweden, once seen as a leader with its "light touch" approach to the pandemic, is contending with rising numbers of infections.

The latest:

Representatives of the concert touring industry -- including Michael Strickland of Bandit Lites -- address a Congressional subcommittee, making a passionate, powerful argument for federal pandemic aid: tinyurl.com/y7b2dju6. Here's a link to a video of the hearing: tinyurl.com/y8adolcx.

Congressional leaders say they're making progress on relief bill talks: tinyurl.com/yb46ps3b. A new round of stimulus checks has been added to the relief bill: tinyurl.com/yd2xuozy. They'd better hurry. Retail sales fell 1.1% in November, much more than expected: tinyurl.com/ya6sfgsh.

The US Government pushes to get additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the first half of next year: tinyurl.com/y768kovo. The COVAX scheme, sponsored by the World Health Organization, is in danger of failing, meaning poorer countries might not get vaccines until 2024, new documents claim: tinyurl.com/yawmc7do.

British scientists identify a mutation in the coronavirus, the implications of which are not entirely clearly, although it may make COVID-19 more transmissible: tinyurl.com/y7ya4hgy.

The FDA okays the first over-the-counter home test for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/y9w2tb8t.

Former CDC officials, appointed by the president, describe their conflicts with the White House over the handling of the pandemic: tinyurl.com/y8foposs.

Food for thought:

Senators Mitt Romney and Joe Manchin on the work that led to the two stimulus bills now on the table: tinyurl.com/yaqjfuvl.

How have Thailand and Cambodia managed the coronavirus relatively well? Universal mask-wearing and intensive medical care have a lot to do with it; also a lack of comorbidities like obesity and diabetes: tinyurl.com/y9jrj6dr.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern discusses the country's successful coronavirus elimination strategy: tinyurl.com/yb3bdtlw.

Around the country:

In California:

The hard-hit state orders 5,000 body bags and 60 morgue trucks: tinyurl.com/y8kpg52c.

The crush of patients in San Diego County ERs is causing major procedural changes: tinyurl.com/yb5zsyqv.

In Florida:

The state adds 9,422 new COVID-19 cases: tinyurl.com/y8vx42pz.

Why did the state's COVID-19 death count plunge in the days just before the November 3 election, only to spike up against afterward? tinyurl.com/yalkoa3x.

That lawyer who shows up on the beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper is suing the governor over his pandemic response: tinyurl.com/ybpkmqe2.

Key West's airport gambles on a UV light-emitting robot for disinfection: tinyurl.com/yb7rd4k6.

An underground fight club in Orlando fans the flames of anxiety over rising coronavirus spread: tinyurl.com/y8ezouh9.

In Kansas:

The mayor of Dodge City quits after receiving violent threats for backing the city commission's mask mandate: tinyurl.com/y8tbufed.

In Massachusetts:

The governor implores the state's residents to spend the holidays with members of their households only: tinyurl.com/y93w65je.

In Nevada:

The state's positivity rate remains above 21%: tinyurl.com/y99f5jxv.

The UNLV men's basketball team cancels two games when the coach tests positive: tinyurl.com/ybcde3zh.

In New York:

The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs hands out $47.1 million in grants to cultural organizations: tinyurl.com/ydgo8c69.

Around the world:

In Germany:

Going into holiday lockdown, the country records 952 daily deaths, an awful new record: tinyurl.com/y78oxywg.

In India:

How a government program transporting migrant workers back to their home villages, a plan designed to help contain the coronavirus, proved to be a super-spreader event: tinyurl.com/ydfeo5hx.

In Japan:

Support for the new prime minister plunges as the country faces its third waves of COVID-19 infections: tinyurl.com/y8xelugv.

In Sweden:

The country, once thought to have achieved an ideal balance between social restrictions and protecting the economy, is slipping badly, with ICUs filling up: tinyurl.com/y7vznkot.

In the UK:

The cancelation of panto season is a bitter pill for the country's beleaguered theatres: tinyurl.com/ybhjbl63.

Tom Cruise savages his Mission Impossible crew for not following COVID safety procedures: tinyurl.com/y9plxnuc.


The LEVL UP Fest will stream from Ryman Auditorium in Nashville tonight at 8:30pm ET. It's a benefit for the entertainment and events industry by the entertainment and events industry. The lineup includes Blake Shelton, Dave Matthews, Jimmie Allen, Jason Mraz, Michael Ray, Shy Carter, The War And Treaty, John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, Dispatch, Keala Settle, Mt. Joy, Augustana, Indigo Girls, Lucie Silvas, Annie Bosko, Bre Kennedy, CJ Hammond & Sloane, and Veridia. Also added this week to the performance line up is Public, Michael Cerveris, the McCrary Sisters, and singer/songwriter, Sam Wade. Along with the McCrary Sisters, Wade will deliver the debut performance of an original song that he co-wrote with LEVL UP music supervisor and long-time composer/conductor for The Who, Keith Levenson. The anthemic song, aptly titled "12 Million" was written by the pair for LEVL UP Fest as a tribute to all those that the event seeks to represent. Making special appearances will be rock legend, Roger Daltrey, actor/comic and poet, Steve Connell, Michael McDonald, Kenny G, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, All-American Rejects' Nick Wheeler, Greta Van Fleet, Adam Gardner from Guster, Ray Parker Jr., Jerry Dipizzo from OAR, Taye Diggs, The Fray's Ben Wysoki, the Irish rock band The Harleys accompanied by Dublin Gospel Choir, Jim Sheridan of Ireland's The Late Late Show, and co-host of Sirius XM The Highway, and Storme Warren. LEVL UP Fest will be a free virtual event and featured on NoCap Shows and Twitch. www.liveeventsliftup.org.

York Theatre Company continues its "Broadway's Greatest American Songbook" series, hosted by Michael Feinstein, with a concert by the great Lillias White. It streams tonight through Saturday. For tickets: web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1033141.

For your pleasure:

A song that channels the feelings of just about everyone in the industry, "Shine a Light," written by Manuel Hahn and George Masek and sponsored by Claypaky: tinyurl.com/ycw9guqr.

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

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

(16 December 2020)

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