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First U.S. vaccines, Electoral College affirms Biden win and Barr is out

Health care workers describe the "emotional power" of taking the vaccine.
Image: President-elect Joe Biden pauses as he delivers a televised address to the nation at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del.
"We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal," President-elect Joe Biden said during a speech Monday after the Electoral College affirmed his victory. Mike Segar / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The U.S. turned a corner in the fight against Covid-19 as health care workers received the first vaccines, the Electoral College vote officially confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's victory and Attorney General William Barr is out.

Here is what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

Health care workers get first vaccines as Covid death toll tops 300,000

With the prick of a needle, the battle against Covid-19 took what could be a decisive turn Monday as the first federally approved coronavirus vaccines were injected into the arms of American health care workers.

"I feel hopeful today, relieved," said Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care unit nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the Queens borough of New York City, moments after she received the first dose.

By the end of the week, the drug company Pfizer expects to deliver 2.9 million doses to 636 locations across all 50 states with health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic being prioritized for the first doses of the vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top disease expert, predicted that after vaccines are more widely deployed the country could achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by "the end of the second quarter 2021."

But with the death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. surpassing 300,000 Monday and more than 16.5 million confirmed cases, we are not out of the woods yet.

Already the pandemic has taken such an extreme toll on the social, emotional and academic welfare of children that experts warn of repercussions rivaling a hurricane.

"We’re going to almost need a New Deal for an entire generation of kids to give them the opportunity to catch up," one advocate said.

Follow our live blog for all the latest Covid-19 developments.

After Electoral College cements win, Biden unleashes scathing attack on Trump's refusal to concede

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday gave his most scathing indictment yet of the attempts by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn November's election, hours after the Electoral College officially sealed Biden's victory.

Biden called the election, which Trump and his supporters have tried to overturn with scores of failed legal challenges, "honest, free and fair." He called attacks on the election and election officials "simply unconscionable" and Trump's attempts to overturn the election an "abuse of power."

"In America, politicians don't take power — the people grant it to them," Biden said.

Meantime, Trump announced Monday that Attorney General William Barr is stepping down from his position next week.

The news ends Barr's complicated tenure at the Justice Department and comes on the heels of him saying there was no widespread fraud in the election, openly defying Trump's baseless claims.

Barr "resigned on his own accord" and "wasn't pushed out or forced to resign," a White House official said.

They found love in Hong Kong. Now, its fate may force their family to leave — or break apart.

Like love stories the world over, Ying and Chung's began with a chance meeting.

Now, 10 years later, they share an apartment with Sum, their 9-year-old daughter, a gray parrot, a white cat and a palm-size hamster.

But despite the memories, creatures and commitments binding Dorothy Leung them, their marriage is being torn apart by the same forces that are dividing Hong Kong.

Image: Despite the memories, creatures and commitments binding them, Ying and Chung's marriage is being torn apart by the same forces that are dividing Hong Kong.
"Our mindsets and political stances are immensely different, causing lots of fights," said Ying. Dorothy Leung / for NBC News

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THINK about it

What's standing between America and Covid relief? McConnell’s blind corporate loyalty, Rep. Katie Porter writes in an opinion piece.


Starting to get the winter blues? Here are nine energy-boosting foods to keep you going all winter long.


A gorgeous hammock from Nicaragua, coffee from the mountains of Puerto Rico and Mexican-made embroidered face masks: We've got the best gift ideas from Latino-owned businesses.

Quote of the day

"The emotional power of this moment is something that we have been anticipating, striving to reach for about 10 months."

Dr. Gregory Schmidt, an intensive care physician with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, who was one of the first Americans to get the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.

One fun thing

For students at the Prairie Hill school in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, learning has no boundaries.

Fourth-grade teacher Lindsey Earle wanted her students to stay safe during the pandemic, so she built a makeshift classroom for them and inspired the rest of the school to do the same.

"It's more fun because we get to be outside," says fourth grader Adella Spiropoulos.

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Thanks, Petra