COVID Live Updates: Firefighters forced to drive ambulances in UK as coronavirus cases rise

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The coronavirus continues to rage out of control in London, with the mayor declaring a "major incident."

That designation is usually reserved for the most severe crisis such as a terrorist attack.

In some districts, the virus is infecting 1 in 20 people.

Firefighters have been enlisted to help drive ambulances.

Elective surgeries are being postponed, however, some admissions can't be put on hold.

Britain has vaccinated more people and authorized more vaccines than any of its European neighbors, but the country's vaccine rollout will take months.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



California family ravaged by COVID-19 loses 3 loved ones in span of 3 weeks
A tight-knit Southern California family is in mourning after COVID-19 struck them with the unimaginable. In the span of three weeks, they lost three family members.

NYC teachers' union announces vaccination program
The NYC teachers' union announced a program to speed up access for teachers to the COVID vaccine. UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced Sunday that the union had reached an agreement with major healthcare systems to expand the access of eligible UFT members to the coronavirus vaccine.

Under the agreement, the UFT will survey all its members to develop a list of those who want the vaccine immediately and will prioritize teachers currently teaching in-school.

Nancy Bush Ellis, sister of former President George H.W. Bush, dies at 94
Nancy Bush Ellis, the only sister of former President George H.W. Bush, has died at 94, according to the George & Barbara Bush Foundation.

"We are sad to share that President Bush's beloved sister, Nancy Bush Ellis, has passed away," the foundation tweeted. "Our condolences and prayers are with the Ellis and Bush families as we remember a remarkable woman who brought joy and light to the world."

Ellis died Sunday at an assisted living facility in Concord, Massachusetts due to complications related to COVID-19, her son told the New York Times.

Lawmakers sheltering during Capitol riot possibly exposed to COVID-19
House lawmakers may have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19 while they sheltered at an undisclosed location during the Capitol siege by a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump.

The Capitol's attending physician notified all lawmakers Sunday of the virus exposure and urged them to be tested. The infected individual was not named.

Dr. Brian Moynihan wrote that "many members of the House community were in protective isolation in the large room - some for several hours" on Wednesday. He said "individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection."

New York numbers
New York reported 15,355 new COVID-19 coronavirus cases, 151 additional deaths and 8,484 total hospitalizations for a statewide positivity rate of 6.22%.

In New York City, 3,731 new cases were reported with 251 new hospitalizations. The city's 7-day average positivity rate is 8.77%.

New Jersey numbers
New Jersey reported 5,032 new positive cases Sunday with 32 new COVID-related deaths, for a total of 17,827 deaths statewide.

COVID case causes delays in airspace
A person has tested positive for coronavirus Sunday at the FAA control center in Leesburg, Virginia.

The facility handles some of the most complex airspace in the country. On Sunday afternoon, there were some associated delays for flights between South Carolina and New Jersey.

Study suggests Pfizer vaccine works against coronavirus variant
New research suggests Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in the two more-contagious variants of the coronavirus that have erupted in Britain and South Africa.

The study was preliminary and did not look at the two other major vaccines being used in the West - Moderna's and AstraZeneca's. But it was reassuring, given questions of whether the virus could mutate to defeat the shots on which the world has pinned its hopes.

5 NYC vaccination sites to open Sunday, including two 24-hour locations
In the push to end the coronavirus pandemic, New York City is opening five new vaccination centers Sunday, and not a moment too soon. The latest positivity rate across the city is over 6.5%.

England invites over 80s to get virus vaccine
Thousands of people 80 and older have started receiving invitations to get the coronavirus vaccine in England, officials said Sunday, as Britain ramps up its national vaccination program in a bid to meet its target of inoculating about 15 million people by the middle of February.

More than 600,000 invitations are due to arrive at doorsteps across England this week, asking the elderly to sign up for jabs at new mass vaccination centers near them. The government has given a first dose of the vaccine to more than 1.2 million people so far.

RI Lt. Gov. quarantining
Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee is quarantining at home after coming into close contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday.

The lieutenant governor learned of the close contact Saturday morning, has since tested negative and is showing no symptoms, officials said. He will continue to be tested and will remained quarantined until midnight on Jan. 12, officials said.

McKee is poised to serve the remaining two years of Gov. Gina Raimondo's term after Raimondo was named Democrat Joe Biden's Biden's pick for commerce secretary.

Stony Brook University finishes administering 100% of initial COVID-19 vaccine allotment
SUNY's chancellor says the three hospitals run by Stony Brook University finished administering 100% of their initial COVID-19 vaccine allotment on Friday. Frontline healthcare personnel at Downstate Medical, Upstate Medical, and Stony Brook University Hospital have now started receiving their second dose of the vaccine. The chancellor is congratulating the Stony Brook University team for its good work.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip receive COVID-19 vaccinations
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, have received their COVID-19 vaccinations, royal officials said Saturday.

Buckingham Palace officials said in a statement that the 94-year-old monarch and Philip, 99, received their jabs Saturday, joining some 1.5 million people in Britain who have been given a first dose of a vaccine.

The injections were administered at Windsor Castle, where the queen and her husband have been spending their time during the lockdown in England.

National coronavirus update

The latest national coronavirus numbers continue to paint a grim picture. More than 371,000 deaths, with nearly 2 million cases. California reported its deadliest day with a staggering death toll of nearly 700. Temporary morgues are quickly filling up.
One Southern California hospital is at capacity with COVID patients - unable to make space for just one more person. Wait times to bring in some of the sickest in Southern California is up to 17 hours. More than six million vaccine doses have been administered -- just 30% of the doses distributed.

Cardinals home stadium being used as mega testing and vaccination site
The home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals football team will be a mega testing and vaccination site capable of administering up to 12,000 doses daily. The move comes as Maricopa County begins offering the vaccine to those in group 1b next week. A group that includes law enforcement, teachers, child care workers and those age 75 and older. Volunteers with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will provide the required staffing. State health officials believe they're well prepared to meet demand.

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