COVID Live Updates: FDA approves first OTC test for coronavirus

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The FDA has now granted an emergency use authorization for the first non-prescription, over-the-counter COVID-19 test kit for home use.

The agency says anyone over the age of 18 can buy the kit and collect nasal swab samples.

Positive or invalid results are delivered by phone or through a health care provider.

Users will be notified by email or through an online portal if results are negative.

The new kit is currently available at Pixel by LabCorp's website.

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Here are more of today's headlines:

Pennsylvania announces new COVID restrictions
Starting Saturday, indoor dining will be suspended statewide in Pennsylvania. Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales may continue. Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 people are prohibited and outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 people are also prohibited. In addition, in-person businesses that serve the public will be able to operate at 50% of maximum capacity - except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit. Indoor activities at gyms and fitness facilities will be suspended and indoor entertainment businesses like casinos, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, and more will close. The state is also pausing sports for K-12 students.

New Hampshire House Speaker dies
New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch has died from COVID-19, a medical examiner ruled Thursday following his unexpected death.

The 71-year-old Hinch, who was only sworn in as leader of the state's newly Republican-led Legislature a week ago, died Wednesday.

He was starting his seventh, two-year term in the state House. He previously served as majority leader for the 2016-17 session and as minority leader when Democrats were in control the last two years.

'Dancing With the Stars' judge Carrie Ann Inaba tests positive for COVID-19
"Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she tested positive for COVID-19. The television personality posted the news to Instagram Thursday, telling her followers that she has a fever, cough, aches and pains.

Ellen DeGeneres says she tested positive for COVID-19
Ellen DeGeneres said Thursday she has tested positive for COVID-19. The 62-year-old talk show host shared a photo to social media featuring a statement written on the Notes app.

As more students return to school, New York City unveils '2021 Student Achievement Plan'
Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza presented a 2021 Student Achievement Plan.

The plan aims to provide support for the city's children and their academic and emotional issues caused by the pandemic. It also sets out to give extra support to teachers.

How Pfizer plans to distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines to all 50 states in 2 days
Even though U.S. health officials are likely to authorize the emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, getting the pandemic under control will take time and effort. One of the biggest steps in that process is getting millions of vaccines distributed.

Pfizer said once the Food and Drug Administration gives its coronavirus shot the greenlight, it will immediately prepare a portion of its 6.4 million doses for shipping.

This batch will be broken up: First, 2.9 million doses will be distributed to 64 jurisdictions in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Twenty-one days later, another 2.9 million doses will arrive at those same locations so those who received the first shot can get their second and final dose.

COVID daily death toll reaches record high Wednesday, exceeding American lives from 9/11
The United States should be celebrating a day of great hope today, as a Covid-19 vaccine could get authorized for emergency use very soon.

Instead, it's a day of devastating loss. The daily death toll from Covid-19 reached a record high of 3,124 Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's more deaths than those suffered in the 9/11 attacks. And experts say the death toll will get worse.

See how 1 major hospital is preparing for COVID vaccine as feds meet
Hospitals are getting ready for the pending emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

At Mount Sinai in New York City, they are doing vaccine rehearsals. That's because the vials have to be stored in special ultra-cold freezers or encased in dry ice.

Eyewitness News spoke with Anthony Priolo of Armato Ice in the Bronx, whose dry ice will play a huge part in keeping the super sensitive vaccines cold, as low as 94 degrees below zero.

FDA panel holds hearing on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine faces one final hurdle as it races to become the first shot greenlighted in the U.S.: a panel of experts who will scrutinize the company's data for any red flags.

Thursday's meeting of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel is likely the last step before a U.S. decision to begin shipping millions of doses of the shot, which has shown strong protection against the coronavirus.

US unemployment claims jump to 853,000 amid resurgence of COVID
The number of people applying for unemployment aid jumped last week to 853,000, the most since September, evidence that companies are cutting more jobs as new virus cases spiral higher.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of applications increased from 716,000 the previous week. Before the coronavirus paralyzed the economy in March, weekly jobless claims typically numbered only about 225,000.

Stimulus update: Congress sets Dec. 18 deadline to wrap up COVID-19 relief measure
Still spinning their wheels on COVID-19 relief, lawmakers have grabbed a one-week government funding extension that buys time for more talks - though there is considerable disagreement over who is supposed to be taking the lead from there.

Amid the uncertainty, the House easily passed a one-week government-wide funding bill Wednesday that sets a new Dec. 18 deadline for Congress to wrap up both the COVID-19 relief measure and a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill that is also overdue. The 343-67 vote sent the one-week bill to the Senate, where it's expected to easily pass before a deadline of midnight Friday to avert a partial government shutdown.

The measure would give lawmakers more time to sort through the hot mess they have created for themselves after months of futile negotiations and posturing and recent rounds of flip-flopping.

District 75 schools reopen
District 75 schools for students with special needs reopen for in-person learning in New York City. The district includes more than 20,000 students.
Grades K through 5, Pre-K and 3-K reopened on Monday with strict COVID testing policies.

US reports highest single-day COVID death total
According to the COVID Tracking Project, the US reported 3,054 COVID deaths, the highest single-day total of the pandemic. States also reported 1.8 million tests, 210,000 cases, and a record 106,688 COVID patients in hospitals.

Book industry seeing boom in sales amid COVID-19 pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic hasn't hurt the sale of books. In fact, "Publishers Weekly" reported in October that sales of books for the first three quarters of this year were up by more than 6% compared to 2019. A run of summer bestsellers, demand for parents for more children's books and a surge in interest in books about social justice are just some of the reasons for the surge.

Nassau County awaits COVID vaccine as cases rise to highest levels in months
Nassau County will soon receive 26,500 doses of the COVID vaccine which is the first batch expected to be approved by the FDA Thursday.

Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is in quarantine after testing positive Tuesday for COVID-19.

The governor released a statement Wednesday confirming his diagnosis. He said he received a positive result during a routine test and is not exhibiting any symptoms.

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