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COVID-19 Update, December 17, 2020: Going Down to the Wire

It's going to be a squeaker, but it appears that both sides are coming together to provide pandemic relief. Meanwhile, hospitals everywhere are hard-hit, no more so than in California, which things are rapidly turning chaotic. The big storm on the East Coast has fouled up vaccine delivery, but we may have more vaccine available than previously thought. Still, the effect of pandemic on young people is becoming increasingly clear, and world leaders remain at risk, including the president of France.

The latest:

Taking it down to the wire, Congress makes real progress on a pandemic relief bill. They only have until Friday to get the job done: tinyurl.com/yaksyxwt. Underlining the urgency, 885,000 new unemployment claims came in last week, significantly worse than expected, and the highest number since September: tinyurl.com/yd88cgvw.

As COVID-19 cases surge around the country, hospitals are being pushed to the limit: tinyurl.com/yaj2otkg.

The Nor'easter pummeling the East Coast of the US is delaying the delivery of some vaccines; tinyurl.com/y9772s2y.

The push to vaccinate in nursing homes begins and the obstacles are numerous: tinyurl.com/y7nrsdrr.

Contradicting Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, officials from Operation Warp Speed say that vaccines won't be widely available until late spring or summer: tinyurl.com/yaeb55du. But Pfizer says that its possible to get six or seven doses out of a single vial of vaccine, rather than five, which should help in inoculating more people: tinyurl.com/y95xsxht.

Joe Biden and Mike Pence are getting the vaccine; the president has no plans at the moment: tinyurl.com/yd5nuuvk.

The CDC is working on developing filtration standards for masks: tinyurl.com/y9qm3s2u.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancels his final holiday party of the year after being exposed to someone with COVID-19: tinyurl.com/yc7epsdl. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tests positive for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/ybbv8vee.

Paul Alexander, a Trump Health and Human Services appointee, pushed last summer for widespread exposure of the coronavirus to "infants, kids, teens," to establish herd immunity: tinyurl.com/y7m759v7.

Food for thought:

Thanks to COVID-19, the month of July was the deadliest for young adults in modern American history: tinyurl.com/yakz5d9d.

A rash of teen suicides is linked to the pandemic, especially the loss of activities like school sports: tinyurl.com/yczfgj62.

Around the country:

In Alaska:

Two healthcare workers have severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine: tinyurl.com/y9qtcpmt.

In California:

The new epicenter: The state reports 41,000 new cases on Wednesday, more than most countries: tinyurl.com/y8rebalt. The results are burned-out staff, long wait times in the ER, and patients in beds lining hallways: tinyurl.com/y966yvdm.

In Florida:

The state records 11,541 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday: tinyurl.com/yazk93df.

In Illinois:

Three weeks after Thanksgiving, the state has not seen a post-holiday surge in new COVID-19 infections: tinyurl.com/y9jluyeq.

In New York:

The state tries to claw back some of the money it paid for coronavirus medical supplies, purchased during the first terrible days of the pandemic: tinyurl.com/ybn3xtuo.

Around the world:

In Denmark:

It's a lockdown Christmas, as practically everything but food shops and pharmacies shutter until sometime in January: tinyurl.com/y85v6vu9.

In France:

President Emmanuel Macron, who met with 24 EU leaders last week at a summit meeting, has tested positive for COVID-19: tinyurl.com/ybu6mddp.

In Germany:

The Berlin Film Festival, held in February, will be virtual: tinyurl.com/ya2anmlx.

In Haiti:

Scientists puzzle over the relatively low incidence of COVID-19 in the country: tinyurl.com/y8ss4v3z.

In Israel:

A major vaccination rollout begins next week; Palestinians will have to wait: tinyurl.com/y9p8hwja.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University report that UV LEDs can efficiently kill the coronavirus: tinyurl.com/ybhvfdv2.

In Sweden:

As the country's COVID-19 strategy looks less and less efficacious, the king has some sharp words for his own government's pandemic response: tinyurl.com/y8tqgs85.

In the UK:

The pandemic turned out to be a financial bonanza for medical supply companies connected to the Conservative Party, a new report finds: tinyurl.com/ybl68jov.

A number of West End shows plot their 2021 reopening dates: tinyurl.com/ycf4zd7j.


The filmed version of the West End production of the musical Kinky Boots will stream for free this weekend. Details at tinyurl.com/y9e9kxu6.

For your pleasure:

Jennifer Hudson, crushing it, with "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls, by Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen. That's Danny Glover in the scene with her: tinyurl.com/yc834l8w.

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.

(17 December 2020)

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