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Path cleared for a second vaccine, McConnell congratulates Biden and Northeast braces for major snowstorm

The FDA authorized the first at-home, over-the-counter Covid-19 test on Tuesday.
Image: Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg endorses Joe Biden at Chicken Scratch in Dallas
President-elect Joe Biden will introduce his onetime political rival Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday as his nominee for transportation secretary.Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Another Covid-19 vaccine is on the horizon, the top Senate Republican finally acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden's victory and a major winter storm is headed straight for the East Coast.

Here is what we're watching this Wednesday morning.


Americans could have 2 Covid-19 vaccines soon, but still in grips of the deadly pandemic

There was more good news from the frontlines in the battle against Covid-19 Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration said that Moderna's vaccine is also highly effective, clearing the way for its emergency use authorization by the end of this week.

That means Americans could soon have two highly effective Covid-19 vaccines, after the first shots of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine were given to health care workers on Monday.

The FDA also authorized the first at-home, over the counter Covid-19 test Tuesday.

The positive developments can't come soon enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection predicted that up to 60,000 more Americans could die by the start of January.

In a particularly grim sign, California has purchased thousands of body bags and has dozens of refrigerated storage units on standby as it prepares to deal with a growing death toll.

And while the recent vaccine rollouts are good news for places like the United States, some advocates fear the life-saving drugs are being hoarded by rich countries, while the world's poorest will have to wait months and possibly years to see any doses at all.

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


Splitting with Trump, McConnell congratulates Biden on his victory

After weeks of delay, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on Tuesday that Joe Biden will be the next president, following the Electoral College vote that officially certified his win on Monday.

"The Electoral College has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden," McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor in a speech that heralded President Donald Trump's achievements.

It was the sharpest break McConnell has made yet from President Donald Trump, who has still refused to publicly admit defeat.

Trump and his allies have filed more than 50 lawsuits in an attempt to contest the election results, but they have faced one rejection after another, including at the Supreme Court.

In other news, Biden went to Georgia on Tuesday to campaign on behalf of Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the critical runoff elections there that will determine control of the Senate.

Biden also announced that he will nominate his onetime political rival former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to lead the Transportation Department and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to lead the Department of Energy.


'Serious storm' roaring toward East Coast threatening to dump up to 2 feet of snow

People from North Carolina to Massachusetts are being warned to be ready to be slammed by a major winter storm starting Wednesday.

"This is going to be a serious storm — and people need to take it seriously," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned at a briefing Tuesday.

Meteorologists are predicting that parts of the Northeast could be buried in up to 2 feet of snow.


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump's "America First" presidency was terrible for America — and a gift to China and Russia, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

Ditch the kit: How to make a gingerbread house from scratch.


Quote of the day

"There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we're still in the tunnel. And that means we're going through perhaps the most intense and urgent moment since the beginning of this pandemic."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference Tuesday.


One dedicated thing

Stephany Hume’s 5th grade students were on her mind during her 11-day hospital stay, so she decided to continue teaching.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra