US coronavirus news summary for 11 December

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US coronavirus live updates: cases, deaths, vaccine latest and stimulus checks news

US coronavirus live updates: 11 December

News Summary:

Coronavirus confirmed cases / deaths (source JHU

United States: 15,667,526 / 292,856

World: 69,874,432 / 1,587,991 

Headlines

- The FDA approves Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, making the US 6th country in world to do so 

US Supreme Court swiftly denies Texas election lawsuit backed by 126 GOP members of Congress

-  President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris named TIME Person of the Year for 2020

- NYC to ban indoor dining from Monday amid rising infection rate

- Trump adds John Eastman to his legal team

- Mnuchin tables new $916bn coronavirus package to include a round of $600 stimulus checks

- RKI warns of "serious situation" in Germany as cases rise

- Rudy Guliani given Remdesivir and Dexamethasone after testing positive for coronavirus

Browse some of our latest related stories:

An historic moment for America

Today is the day that the greatest vaccine campaign the nation has ever seen is given the green light.

What did Steven Mnuchin say about WH Stimulus proposal?

On Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin released a statement detailing his new stimulus bill proposal in negotiations with Nancy Pelosi on a stimulus relief bill.

F.D.A. Clears Pfizer Vaccine, and Millions of Doses Will Be Shipped Right Away

BREAKING: New York Times

An initial shipment of about 2.9 million doses of the vaccine will be sent around the United States over the next week.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday, according to three people with knowledge of the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. The action means millions of highly vulnerable people will begin receiving the vaccine within days.

The authorization is a historic turning point in a pandemic that has taken more than 290,000 lives in the United States. With the decision, the United States becomes the sixth country — in addition to Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico — to clear the vaccine. Other authorizations, including by the European Union, are expected within weeks.

Texas election fraud suit rejected by SCOTUS

The President's attempts to overturn the election result received a major setback on Friday as the Court voted without dissension to dismiss Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's baseless claims.


Will Gittins has the full story:

Succinct response to Trump lawsuit from Supreme Court

Having received a single-sentence response to a lawsuit dismissed on Tuesday, another Trump lawsuit has been rejected today. Despite receiving public support from 126 Republican lawmakers (over half the GOP members of the House) the Supreme Court voted without dissention to refuse the President a hearing, citing a lack of "judicially cognizable interest" in Texas interfering in another state's election process. 

Supreme Court rejects Texas' Trump lawsuit 

The Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General for Texas to overturn the election results in four key states that voted for President-elect Biden. Ken Paxton was attempting to sue Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin, while 127 Republican lawmakers gave their support to the ill-fated attempt. 

Most crushingly for the President all three of his Supreme Court nominees, who he had previously said he hoped would rule favourably for him in any election lawsuits, all voted against the suit. Having suffered another Supreme Court rejection on Tuesday, Trump's chances of having any success with his legal campaign are close to zero. 

US secures 100m doses of Moderna covid vaccine

Moderna Inc said on Friday the U.S. government will get an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2021 if authorized.

The government has ordered a total of 200 million doses to date, the vaccine developer said, adding that of first order lot, about 20 million doses will be delivered by December end and the remaining in the first quarter of 2021.

The United States in August entered an agreement with Moderna to acquire 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for around $1.5 billion, with an option to secure an additional 400 million doses.

A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to hold a meeting on Dec. 17 to discuss Moderna's request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccine.

[Reuters]

Rep Devin Nunes tests positive for covid-19

Another Republican lawmaker has contracted the coronavirus, as Rep Devin Nunes becomes the 36th to test positive (11 senators and 35 House members). Nunes had previously insisted that others in the House should "stop looking at the death counters" and "talk about how we can keep as many people employed as possible."

 

Trump to go ahead with Morocco arms sale

President Donald Trump's administration moved forward with $1 billion in sales of drones and precision-guided weapons to Morocco on Friday, sending a notice to Congress about the potential deals, according to sources familiar with the agreement.

Products in the sales include four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by privately-held General Atomics, and Hellfire, Paveway and JDAM precision-guided munitions made by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, the sources said.

[Reuters]

126 House Republicans support overturning election results in four states

Trump's baseless election claims are being furthered by 126 Republican House Representatives who have supported the President's Texas lawsuit. The caseis calling for all results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to be thrown out. 

This shocking and undemocratic action has been met with stiff response from members of both parties. Republican Senator Mitt Romney said of the Texas lawsuit: "It's just simply madness. The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is ... simply mad."

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell has called on Speaker Pelosi to refuse to seat the 126 Republican Members of Congress who have signed their support. 

Senate Democrats propose new stimulus package

As lawmakers become increasingly desperate to get some form of covid-19 economic relief signed off before breaking for Christmas next week, another proposal has been made. Senators Josh Hawley and Bernie Sanders have tabled an ammendment which would see another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. 

Currently the bipartisan $908bn relief bill and the recently publicised $916bn White House proposal are looking like the two most likely options. However the former does not include any direct payments to Americans, and the latter offers just $40 billion in unemployment support. 

Senate returns "veto-proof majority" on defence bill

Senate has voting in favour of the new $740 billion bill, despite Trump threatening to veto it. However the resounding 84-13 majority ensures that the President can not use his powers to block the bill, which he wanted to include the repeal of Section 230. This piece of legislation protects social media companies from being prosecuted for third-party posts. 

The bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, includes pay raises for America's soldiers, modernizations for equipment and provision for troop withdrawal scrutiny.

The President had repeatedly urged Republican lawmakers to oppose the legislation, saying, "I hope House Republicans will vote against the very weak National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which I will VETO."

On the front lines 

In this pandemic the hospitals have been the main battle field for keeping patients breathing, but they wouldn’t be able to operate without all the staff that keep the normal functioning going. Nor should the countless people that have jobs that keep society functioning but can’t be done from the safety of home be forgotten. 

When hospital cleaner Evelia De La Cruz was assigned to the COVID-19 ward in March, she was afraid. Now, she's on the front lines of the pandemic, stripping sheets and sanitizing beds as first a handful, and then a deluge, of patients arrived.

No more dining indoors for NYC 

Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that indoor will be suspended in New York City as of Monday.

Trump’s new lawyer 

John Eastman, a Chapman University law professor, is the newest attorney representing Trump in his bid to overturn the election results at the Supreme Court filed by Texas AG Ken Paxton. Eastman authored a widely criticized Newsweek op-ed that engaged in groundless birtherism around Harris. Eastman claimed that the Democratic senator wasn’t a natural born citizen, even though she was clearly born in Oakland, California, but because she was born to non-permanent residents of the country. He reasoned that she was not eligible to run for Vice-President of the US. 

Covid-19 on Capitol Hill 

Since the start of the pandemic, 11 senators and 34 members of the House have tested positive for covid-19 or for its antibodies. CNN has been tracking the total cases, as well as new cases since November 1, and will continue to update if more members test positive.

Lambeau field will open but only if 

The Packers have announced that the stadium's doors will remain closed to fans for the rest of the regular season but could open for the playoffs in mid-January. That is if people behave during Christmas and New Year's and whether they participate in super-spreader gatherings. Green Bay has one of the highest rates of new positive covid-19 cases among NFL host cities. 

Packer fans are disappointed but understanding and support the decision. The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, the Packers remaining road opponents, have not allowed fans this year, either. At one point this season, 19 NFL teams were allowing fans at home games. That number is down to 13 now, according to the Packers.

Neighbors send Pence a message

Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, shared this photo via tweet of how residents along Mike Pence's commute are shaming him with messages about the severity of the covid-19 crisis. Pence is the head of the coronavirus task force for the White House which has come under criticism for how it has handled it.

Biden and Harris win again

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been chosen Time's Person of the Year from a shortlist of four contenders, among them President Trump, "frontline health care workers and Dr. Anthony Fauci" and the "movement for racial justice."

Read more:

texas

Medical staff member Gabriel Cervera Rodriguez watches a screen showing a patient's MRI images at nursing station in the covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 1,390,000 cases, including over 23,700 deaths. Go Nakamura/Getty Images/AFP

Americans told: "No Christmas parties"

A top coronavirus adviser to President-elect Joe Biden delivered a stern holiday message to Americans on Thursday - "no Christmas parties" - and warned they face a covid-19 siege for weeks to come despite the latest moves toward US government approval of a vaccine.

"The next three to six weeks at minimum ... are our covid weeks," Dr. Michael Osterholm told CNN. "It won't end after that, but that is the period right now where we could have a surge upon a surge upon a surge."

Osterholm stressed that it would be several months before the US sees widespread availability of vaccines

Sanofi and GSK delay vaccine

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline said clinical trials of their covid-19 vaccine showed an insufficient immune response in older people, delaying its launch to late next year.

The announcement on Friday, which highlighted the challenges of developing shots at record speed, hinders efforts to develop the multiple options that experts say the world needs.

The news, which came on the same day as Australia axed a domestic vaccine project, is also a blow for many governments that have booked hundreds of millions of doses of the shot, including the European Union, United States and Britain.

NY

Social distancing bubble tents for dining are seen amid the coronavirus pandemic in New York City. An expert committee convened by the US Food and Drug Administration on 10 December voted heavily in favor of recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use approval. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

Merkel and German states to discuss new COVID-19 measures

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of the 16 federal states will discuss new anti-pandemic measures on Sunday, the government of the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

It added that a "hard lockdown" until at least 10 January was necessary in the state to bring down the number of infections. Germany reported record numbers of daily new coronavirus infections and deaths on Friday.

The European Union's most populous nation went into a partial lockdown early last month, closing restaurants and bars and limiting the number of people allowed to meet. But schools and shops have remained open.

Merkel has urged German states, which are responsible for most disease-control measures, to introduce tougher measures before Christmas, but has met resistance.

However most state governments agree on introducing tougher measures after Christmas.

wuhan

One year on, Wuhan market at epicentre of virus outbreak remains barricaded and empty

For over six years, 38-year-old Wuhan restaurant owner Lai Yun started most days the same way - with a trip to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, just ten minutes walk from his house.

"I'd send the kids to school, have breakfast and then walk over to the market. It was very convenient," he said. That changed on 31 December, 2019, after four cases of a mystery pneumonia were linked to the market and it was shuttered overnight. By the end of the month, the city had begun a gruelling 76-day lockdown that came with just hours notice and barred people from leaving their homes.

Almost a year since the outbreak began, covid-19 has claimed more than 1.5 million lives, and the Wuhan wet market where it was initially detected stands empty even as the city around it has come back to life.

It's become a symbol of the fierce political and scientific battle raging around the origin of the virus with Beijing continuing to spar with the United States and other countries, accusing them of bias.

A team of World Health Organization experts has yet to visit Wuhan, let alone the market. Health authorities in China and abroad have warned that origin tracing efforts could take years and yield inconclusive results.

Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song

Death of NH Speaker of the House confirmed as covid-19

Yesterday it was announced that Dick Hinch had died at the age of 71. Just a week earlier Mr Hinch was sworn in as New Hampshire Speaker of the House after the Republicans had taken control of the state's legislature. An autoposy report has confirmed that Mr Hinch died after contracting the coronavirus. 

Governor Chris Sununu (R) has released a statement calling Speaker Hinch "a fierce defender of the New Hampshire Advantage, a close friend, and a respected public servant."

Airline workers push to be among first groups to get covid-19 vaccine

As a covid-19 vaccine is on the cusp of rolling out in the United States, frontline airline workers are campaigning to move up in the vaccine priority line

More than a dozen airline and aviation unions asked the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in a Thursday letter to prioritize "frontline aviation workers in the next phase of vaccine allocation (Phase 1b) after health workers and residents in long term facilities in your upcoming recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

The ACIP is an independent group convened by the CDC to offer advice on who should get specific vaccines and when. Via USA Today

WATCH: pandemic advisor on vaccine popularity

A member of Joe Biden's covid-19 team says “I think once people see more people getting vaccinated with this vaccine, they [will] see that it's safe.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech shot was the first covid-19 vaccination to be approved for use but two recipients in the UK have reported symptoms of anaphylaxis after taking it.

US coronavirus live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus crisis as it unfolds in the United States and across the world on Friday 10 December. 

We'll endeavour to keep you up to date with all the latest developments surrounding the pandemic as vaccine programs continue to be rolled out globally as the world battles covid-19.  

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