COVID Live Updates: CA copes with strict lockdowns, FDA considers Pfizer's vaccine

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020
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Sandra Bookman gets you caught up on the latest details surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Much of California is entering a virtual lockdown Monday as the coronavirus spreads out of control.

The FDA meets this week to discuss approving Pfizer's vaccine.

The Trump administration says by mid-January, up to 24 million Americans will get vaccinated including health workers and nursing home residents.

In the meantime, more than 1,000 lives are being lost every day.

What to know about coronavirus:

Where to get tested in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Coronavirus by zip code - New York City

How coronavirus changed the New York region

Do you have coronavirus symptoms?

Here are more of today's headlines:

Can companies force employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

The race to a COVID-19 vaccine is both part solution and potential dilemma for those opposed to immunizations because according to the law, employers can require it. "Unless you have a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, the employer can force you to take it," says Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. "And if you don't take it, they can fire you." Dunn told station KTVT in Dallas that the law is clear, and yet acknowledges that the controversy surrounding vaccinations will create a challenge for employers.

Trump administration passed up chance to buy millions of additional Pfizer vaccine doses

The Trump administration opted last summer not to lock in a chance to buy millions of additional doses of one of the leading coronavirus vaccine contenders, a decision that could delay the delivery of a second batch of doses until manufacturer Pfizer fulfills other international contracts. The revelation, confirmed Monday by people familiar with the matter, came a day before President Donald Trump aimed to take credit for the speedy development of forthcoming coronavirus vaccines at a White House summit Tuesday.

Vandals destroy holiday decorations, local businesses in hard-hit COVID community

A NYC community that has been hit hard by the pandemic in is looking for the vandals responsible for destroying holiday decorations and local businesses.

Sugar Plum Fairies will still shine bright as 'Nutcracker' performances go on in NYC

This holiday season looks very different this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but one tradition has found a clever way to live on in Brooklyn.

Governor Lamont signs executive order authorizing use of COVID-19 vaccine

The executive order signed by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont authorizes pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The order also requires reporting on the administration of flu vaccines to patients under 18 and caps the amount providers may charge for COVID-19 vaccines.

Canada to receive early delivery of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to ensure that Canadians have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. The Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced Monday that following successful negotiations, Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine. These doses are part of the up to 76 million doses Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Pfizer. As with all COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the Pfizer vaccine must be authorized by Health Canada before being administered to Canadians.

UK readies for 'V-Day' vaccine rollout in war on COVID-19

It's been dubbed "V-Day" in Britain -- recalling the D-Day landings in France that marked the start of the final push in World War II to defeat Nazi Germany.

A week after the U.K. became the first Western country to authorize widespread use of a vaccine against COVID-19, it is preparing to administer its first shots on Tuesday in its war on the virus. Those 800,000 doses will first go to people over 80 who are either hospitalized or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers.

Suffolk County warns against indoor gatherings

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the infection rate remains above 6% once again and there have been four straight days of new cases over 1,000.

"I cannot stress enough the dangers posed by small indoor gatherings. Just because you are in your home with people you trust does not mean you are safe. If we don't change our behaviors quickly our hospital system will be at risk of being overwhelmed and we will lose more lives," Bellone said. "We did it once, we can do it again. While I know we are all tired, we have to do what we know works. Face coverings and social distance are our best tools in defeating this virus."

New Jersey residents uncooperative with contact tracing

Gov. Phil Murphy said 74% of people contacted by contract tracers were unwilling to cooperate.

"Quite frankly, this is unacceptable... it is extremely important for contact tracers to get in touch with the close contacts to help us stop the spread," Murphy said Monday. "Remember, our contact tracers are not on a witch hunt. They are only concerned with stopping the spread of this virus."

NY plans more restrictions amid rising hospitalizations

Governor Cuomo said that if the regional hospitalization rate does not stabilize in five days, indoor dining in New York City will close. In the rest of the state, indoor dining will go to 25% if it doesn't improve. The New York State Health Department ordered hospitals to increase bed capacity by 25%. Gov Cuomo revealed the metric that will close regions down: "If after a surge and flex region's 7-day average hospitalization growth rate shows that within three weeks the region will hit critical hospital capacity, we enact NY Pause." Critical is considered 90% of the hospital capacity.

Shipping crunch drives shoppers into stores -- putting them at a higher COVID-19 risk, experts say

As we close in on Christmas, many are facing a holiday shopping dilemma -- can they safely go to a store if online gifts can't get shipped in time?

"Make the switch to doing your retail shopping, by home delivery, or by curbside pickup," says Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh. "Every trip that you take outside of your bubble and is a risk."

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge at the busiest time of year for travel and retail, the CDC warns of high-level transmission, calling shopping in person a higher risk.

New Jersey hits record number of cases as new restrictions start for outdoor gatherings

A new outdoor gathering limit went into effect in New Jersey on Monday as the state reported more than 6,000 new cases on Sunday. That's the highest number of cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

The new gathering limit that went into effect Monday morning drops the number of those who can gather from 150 people to 25 people.

Protest planned at Staten Island bar after general manager's arrest, officer injured

A protest is planned for Monday in support of a Staten Island bar that has continued to defy shutdown orders. The general manager was arrested again after allegedly driving off and injuring an officer.

The arrest happened just after midnight Sunday when Mac's Public House in Grant City welcomed customers once again. The attorney for Danny Presti, the general manager of the bar, says his client was arrested for the second time in less than a week and spent the night in jail.

NYC Schools reopen for young students

After being shut down due to rising rates throughout the city, New York City Schools reopen Monday for 3K, Pre-K, and K-5 students. Special education students return on Thursday. The city is now scrapping the previous trigger point of 3% city positivity, but every parent must sign a testing consent form for their child.

MLB, teams sue insurance providers citing billions in COVID-19 losses without fans

Major League Baseball and all 30 of its teams are suing their insurance providers, citing billions of dollars in losses during the 2020 season played almost entirely without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, filed in October in California Superior Court in Alameda County, was obtained Friday by The Associated Press. It says providers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB despite the league's "all-risk" policy purchases.

Survey: More than half of FDNY firefighters say they will refuse COVID vaccine

First responders on the front lines will have access to a COVID vaccine in just a few weeks, but a recent survey revealed that more than half of FDNY firefighters will refuse a COVID vaccine.

The survey polled over 2,000 members and around 55 percent of them said they would not get vaccinated. On Sunday, union representatives spoke about their findings.

NJ police shut down 2 after-hours clubs

Police in New Jersey's largest city shut down two illegal clubs. Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said one of the clubs operated inside Akimekedo Restaurant on Main Street in Paterson. The restaurant would turn into an after-hours club selling alcohol without a license and with a DJ playing loud music, Speziale said.

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