US vaccinations reach nursing homes as California faces crisis; Snowstorm hits Northeast at key moment in pandemic fight

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Media – The first COVID-19 vaccinations have gotten underway at U.S. nursing homes, where the virus has been especially devastating, as in other countries, killing upward of 110,000 people.


The elderly and infirm in long-term care have been among the most vulnerable to the virus and, together with health workers, are first in line to get the limited, initial supplies of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, Adam Geller and Terry Spencer report.

The U.S. appears to be days away from adding a second vaccine to its medical arsenal, but the nation is struggling to contain a surge so alarming that California is dispensing thousands of body bags and lining up refrigerated morgue trailers.


Two people are dying every hour in California’s most populous county as hospitals struggle to to keep up with the surge of coronavirus patients. The state set daily records for newly reported cases and deaths, John Antczak and Amy Taxin report.


Most of California’s 40 million residents are under stay-at-home orders because of dwindling intensive care unit capacity. The massive rise in infections began in October and is being blamed largely on people ignoring safety measures and socializing with others.



Snowstorm: Added to the nationwide virus mix, snow continues to fall heavily on the Northeast at a key moment in the pandemic, days after the start of the vaccination campaign and in the thick of a surge that has throngs of people seeking tests each day. Snow fell from northern Virginia to parts of New England. It carried on north into the night, sustaining a storm that was poised to drop as much as 2 feet of snow in some places by today. The winter blast isn’t expected to disrupt vaccine distribution, Jennifer Peltz reports.


US Vaccine: Officials say they’re actively negotiating for additional purchases of Pfizer’s vaccine after passing up a chance to lock in a contract this summer because it was still unclear how well the shots would work. Meanwhile, the FDA says some Pfizer vaccine vials may contain more than the standard five doses, and it is advising health professionals to use every full dose possible, Ricardo-Alonso Zaldivar reports.


Evictions: States and cities that passed eviction moratoriums amid the virus-battered economy are wrestling with what comes next. The plight of renters who can’t pay and face eviction foreshadows a national crisis that’s expected to grow next year. Oregon is one of 15 states that have an eviction moratorium through the end of the year. In a special legislative session next week, lawmakers there will consider extending protections through July 1 and creating a $200 million fund mainly to compensate landlords. It would go further than a one-month extension of a federal eviction moratorium that’s expected in the relief package nearing consensus in Congress, Sara Cline reports.


Vaccine Misinformation: Twitter has said that it will begin removing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations from its site. It listed among posts that will be removed those including false claims that the virus is not real, debunked claims about the effects of receiving the vaccine and baseless claims that suggest that immunizations are used to harm or control people, Barbara Ortutay reports.(News Sources: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS).

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