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The United States on Thursday again broke single-day Covid-19 records for both reported deaths and cases, according to an NBC News' count.
The country saw 229,928 new cases and 3,110 deaths. The previous single-day record was just on Wednesday. The rise in cases in large parts of the country has prompted dire warnings about hospital capacity and whether colder weather and the holiday season will help the virus spread.
On Thursday, Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine got the recommendation from an independent panel of experts that the FDA authorize it for emergency use. The FDA is not obligated to go along with the panel's recommendation, but it is widely expected to authorize the vaccine for emergency use promptly.
And in a grim statistic about the toll that the pandemic has taken in the country, NBC News data shows that more people in the United States have died this year from Covid-19 than were killed in four years of fighting on the battlefields during World War II.
- Map of U.S. hot spots and worldwide Covid-19 cases.
- Tracking surges in states across the country this winter.
- Map of travel restrictions and which states have a mask mandate.
- Click here for more of NBC News' Covid-19 coverage.
Farmworkers, firefighters and flight attendants jockey for vaccine priority
With front-line health workers and nursing home residents and staff members expected to get the initial doses of Covid-19 vaccines, the thornier question is figuring out who goes next.
The answer will likely depend on where you live.
While an influential federal advisory board is expected to make its recommendations this month, state health departments and governors will make the calls on who gets access to a limited number of vaccines this winter.
As a result, it has been a free-for-all in recent weeks as manufacturers, grocers, bank tellers, dentists and drive-share companies all jostle to get spots near the front of the line.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 this month to give first vaccination priority to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities after one or more Covid-19 vaccines are approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The advisory committee is expected to provide further details of its list of prioritized recipients before year's end.
Its next recommendations are likely to focus on prioritizing people who keep society functioning, like workers in food and agriculture, public safety and education. Older people and those with chronic diseases are also considered to be high on the list.
Sanofi and GSK delay Covid-19 vaccine, marking setback for global fight
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline said clinical trials of their Covid-19 vaccine showed an insufficient immune response in older people, delaying its launch to late next year and marking a setback in the global fight against the pandemic.
The announcement on Friday, which highlighted the challenges of developing shots at record speed, hinders efforts to develop the multiple options that experts say the world needs to counter a disease that has killed over 1.5 million people.
The news, which came on the same day as Australia axed a domestic vaccine project, is also a blow for many governments that have booked hundreds of millions of doses of the shot, including the European Union, United States and Britain.
The two companies said they planned to start another study next February, hoping to come up with a more effective vaccine by the end of 2021.
The setback affects one of the most established technologies in vaccines — used against the human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and pertussis among other pathogens — which aims to introduce lab-made proteins into the body to prod the immune system into developing a targeted defense against the novel coronavirus.
It cements the lead of more novel approaches used by vaccines from the likes of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which use mRNA genetic technology to trick the body into producing those proteins. Both of those shots were found to be about 95 percent effective in successful large-scale trials.
Pope's Christmas midnight Mass to shift earlier because of curfew
ROME — Pope Francis will celebrate Midnight Mass at 7:30 p.m. this year to comply with Italy’s anti-coronavirus curfew.
He’ll also deliver his Christmas Day blessing indoors to prevent crowds from forming in St. Peter’s Square.
The Dec. 24 Mass has for years been celebrated not at midnight but at 9:30 p.m. to spare pontiffs from the late hour. But this year it will be bumped up two hours earlier, according to the pope's Christmas liturgical schedule released Thursday by the Vatican.
Italy has imposed a 10 p.m. nationwide curfew, restaurant closures and other restrictions to cut down on crowds forming after a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths this fall.
Francis will celebrate New Year’s Eve vespers and New Year’s Day Mass in the basilica. None of the services will be open to the public.
Marvel comic book honors superhero nurses saving lives
3,110 Covid deaths reported across the U.S. on Thursday
The United States on Thursday broke another single-day record for Covid-19 cases and deaths, according to NBC News' count.
Nearly 230,000 new infections and 3,110 deaths were reported.
It was the eighth day in December that saw more than 200,000 new cases; the first was Dec. 2. There have been only two days so far this month in which daily reported cases did not break that threshold.
The new record for deaths came just one day after the previous was set. On Wednesday, 3,102 deaths were reported, according to NBC News' count.
Overall, the U.S. has seen more than 15.6 million cases of Covid-19, and more than 292,900 people have died.
Delaware adopts new rules as cases surge
Miami to enforce nightly curfew
Miami's city commission on Thursday voted to enforce a county curfew that lasts from midnight to 6 a.m., starting this weekend.
"The Miami Police Department will be enforcing the curfew and violators — whether individuals or business establishments — are subject to fines and other enforcement actions," the city said in a statement.
City Commissioner Joe Carollo introduced the resolution to resume enforcement after a personal warning from a health system CEO that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases, NBC Miami reported. In October, the city commission had voted to stop enforcing the county’s curfew, so Thursday's vote means it will again begin doing so.
Texas county gets trucks to hold bodies amid surge
FORT WORTH, Texas — A North Texas medical examiner’s office has brought in two refrigerated trucks to store dead bodies in response to low capacity amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Many of the hospitals and larger funeral homes in the Fort Worth area have reached their storage capacity or will soon, said Nizam Peerwani, Tarrant County’s chief medical examiner.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, which has a capacity normally of 100 bodies, said each truck can store 50 bodies.
Officials expect to start using the trucks in the next few days.
Duke men's basketball cancels remaining nonconference games
World carbon dioxide emissions drop 7% in pandemic-hit 2020
A locked-down, pandemic-struck world cut its carbon dioxide emissions this year by 7 percent, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures show.
The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions, calculated that the world will have put 37 billion U.S. tons of carbon dioxide in the air in 2020. That’s down from 40.1 billion tons in 2019, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Earth System Science Data.
Scientists say this drop is chiefly because people are staying home, traveling less by car and plane, and that emissions are expected to jump back up after the pandemic ends. Ground transportation makes up about one-fifth of emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief man-made heat-trapping gas.
Emissions dropped 12 percent in the United States and 11 percent in Europe but only 1.7 percent in China.