COVID-19 News — 11/30/2020
The United States’ top health officials are bracing for another surge of cases, superimposed on the one the country is already experiencing, after a week of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings. “It looked like things were starting to improve … and now with Thanksgiving, we’re worried that all of that will be reversed,” Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, told CBS News.
Looking toward December, top federal infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci implored Americans to restrict their holiday activities, speaking in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He also stressed the importance of complying with mask mandates and social distancing. If your state doesn’t have restrictions, Birx said, you need to “take it upon yourself to be restrictive” so the country can get the pandemic under control.
Biotech company Moderna announced this morning that it would file for regulatory clearance for its vaccine candidate, which was 94 percent effective in a 30,000-person trial. Pfizer also has submitted an FDA request for emergency approval of its candidate.
With two candidates pending authorization, vaccine planning is heading into overdrive. An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss which groups should be eligible to receive the first doses of an approved vaccine. Around 21 million health-care workers are likely to be at the top of the list, with nursing home residents and staff coming soon after.
Immunization program managers are already concerned about the logistics of a two-dose regimen, which the Pfizer and Moderna candidates require. Getting two or even three shots is routine for immunizations, but it is unprecedented in a pandemic. (You can dive into more details in the Q&A below.) Those challenges are even more intense in poor, rural states like Alabama, where distrust of the medical establishment permeates the Black community.
Caddo Lake to host annual Floating Christmas Parade — 11/29/2020
UNCERTAIN — The annual Uncertain Floating Christmas Parade will return to the waters of Caddo Lake this holiday season.
Parade Organizer Shirley Moore, who brought back the floating parade in 2017 after a decade hiatus, said this year’s parade is set for 2 p.m. on Dec. 19.
The town’s Christmas parade, which puts a literal meaning to the word parade “float,” has hosted the festive floating parade each Christmas season since its triumphant return in 2017.
Moore, a long-time Uncertain resident, moved back to the town in 2017 and immediately went to work bringing the popular floating Christmas parade back.
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Murder in Harrison County — 11/27/2020
Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Investigators are compiling information regarding a fatal shooting on Whitehurst Drive in Harrison County. At approximately 12:05 AM on November 27, 2020, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call that a shooting had occurred at a party event location on Whitehurst Dr. in Longview, Texas near the intersection of Loop 281 and I-20. The victim of the shooting was taken by private conveyance to Longview Christus Good Shepherd hospital. Deputies also proceeded to the hospital where it was confirmed that a Black male had been brought to the Emergency Room with a gunshot wound and pronounced deceased. The name of the victim is not being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation. A Longview police officer responded to this location, as well. During a separate fight, not related to the shooting at the location, the officer sustained a broken ankle while assisting Harrison County Deputies in making an arrest. The suspect charged in this incident, is Devin Loyd. He is charged with Resisting Arrest and Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant. His bond is set at $103,000.
If anyone has information regarding this incident, they may anonymously contact Harrison County Investigators at 903-923-4000.
Michael Flynn — 11/27/2020
President Trump announced on Twitter that he has issued a “full pardon” to his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. The retired lieutenant general was a major figure in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he admitted under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI while serving as national security adviser. However, Flynn has since claimed his innocence, and Trump has touted him as a political symbol at rallies. Trump previously pardoned Roger Stone, another ally involved in the investigation, and these acts of clemency will likely color the President’s legacy in the waning days of his administration. Still, this pardon doesn’t necessarily mean Flynn’s legal obligations are over. Flynn admitted to lying about his lobbying for Turkey but was not charged with that crime, and the Justice Department in the Biden administration could have more questions for him.
Election 2020 — 11/26/2020
President Trump said for the first time that he will leave office if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden on December 14, bolstering confidence in a peaceful transition of power — something that, in a democracy, should be a foregone conclusion. The President also said he will travel to Georgia to support the state’s Republican Senate candidates ahead of the January 5 runoff elections. The two races could tip the Senate majority. Meanwhile, Biden faces the test of whether to keep Trump-era security edicts in place. He and his team will soon have to decide whether they want to maintain the Trump administration’s lockdown on highly sensitive information, like transcripts of presidential calls with foreign leaders. These calls were previously shared with a broad, security clearance-holding audience, but the Trump administration claimed it was concerned they might be leaked.
mLife Diagnostics of Marshall receives FDA authorization for COVID saliva test — 11/22/2020
mLife Diagnostics LLC of Marshall announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, for the mLife True saliva COVID-19 collection kit for testing at Express Gene Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory of Miami, Florida.
mLife CEO Alan Loudermilk said that this authorization allows any clinic in the country to utilize the new, and less invasive COVID-19 test created by the company.
“Basically, when the EUA is granted for one location, as long as you are doing the exact same thing as they are at the clinic with the EUA, it is counted under the EUA,” Loudermilk explained.
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Federal Reserve Rebukes Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin
In an extremely rare rebuke, the Federal Reserve condemned Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision this week to end most of the central bank’s emergency lending facilities, including those that assisted small businesses and local governments. Mnuchin fired back at the bank Friday, signaling a split between two government entities responsible for restoring economic stability during the pandemic.
Pfizer Applies for Emergency Authorization — 11/20/2020
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech became the first companies to apply for emergency authorization of their coronavirus vaccine in the United States, a landmark moment in the scientific race against the pandemic.
The application will set off a weeks-long process in which Food and Drug Administration scientists will review data from Pfizer’s safety trials and determine whether the vaccine is safe and effective. If so, government officials expect to have enough doses by December to inoculate 20 million people, and more later as production ramps up.
We wrote yesterday that the country’s covid-19 death toll has surpassed 250,000 victims. A quarter of a million is not an easy number to visualize, so The Post has published some comparisons to help comprehend the loss. In less than a year, the outbreak has killed:
- Four times as many Americans as have died in the decade-long Vietnam War.
- Twice as many Americans as were killed over two years in World War I.
- Nearly two thirds as many Americans as have died during four years of fighting in World War II.
- More than one-third of an estimated 675,000 Americans who died in the 1918-19 flu pandemic, which was the worst in modern history.
Here’s another way to think about it, from our Graphics team: If all 250,000 victims had come from the U.S. heartland, a region roughly the size of South Dakota would now be devoid of human life.
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