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Delivery of first Covid-19 vaccines expected Monday

An estimated 2.9 million doses will be distributed within the first week.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading Covid-19 from December 14, 2020

Hospital systems nationwide should expect the first shipments of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to arrive Monday, Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Saturday.

Within the next 24 hours those boxes will move from Pfizer's manufacturing facility to UPS and FedEx hubs, where they will be delivered to 636 predetermined locations nationwide, he told a media briefing.

An estimated 2.9 million doses will be distributed within the first week. That number is expected to ramp up significantly in the coming weeks, to as much as 40 million doses by the end of 2020.

New Zealand to allow quarantine-free travel with Australia

New Zealand on Monday agreed to allow quarantine-free travel with Australia in the first quarter of 2021, nearly a year after it locked down its borders to protect its population from the global coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the cabinet had agreed in principle for the Tasman, quarantine free travel bubble pending confirmation from the Australian cabinet, and no significant changes in circumstances of either countries.

"It is our intention to name a date ... in the New Year once remaining details are locked down," Ardern said at a news conference in the capital city of Wellington.

New Zealand has virtually eliminated Covid-19 by enforcing a tough lockdown and keeping its borders shut to all foreigners for most of the year.

Nonprofits across the country face soaring costs, demands for help

SEATTLE — The American spirit of generosity this holiday season may be no match for nonprofits dealing with the coronavirus.

Despite record amounts of charitable donations this year, nonprofits across the country are being suffocated by the effects of the pandemic as organizations face soaring costs and demands for help, yet are largely without their own support systems, including volunteers and in-person fundraising events.

December is generally the most important month for nonprofit revenues, as Christmas and end-of-year tax deductions typically drive a flood of charitable giving. All that might not be enough.

There have been efforts to encourage more giving since the coronavirus took hold of modern life in March.

The IRS is urging the public to utilize a special $300 tax deduction that can be claimed next year for cash donations in 2020 to tax-exempted nonprofits. The initiative allows non-itemized filers to get the tax break only for 2020, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress last spring.

Vaccine begins arriving in Canada

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the first of many freezer-packed Covid-19 vaccine vials have arrived in Canada.

Trudeau tweeted a picture of them being taken off a plane. Canada’s health regulator approved the vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech last Wednesday.

The Canadian government recently amended its contract with Pfizer so that it would deliver up to 249,000 doses this month. Trudeau says it is good news, but he is urging Canadians to continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and to download a government app that lets users know if they’ve come in contact with those who have tested positive.

Los Angeles County breaks record for hospitalizations again

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County has again broken a record for coronavirus hospitalizations, fulfilling the county public health director’s dire predictions in just days.

Figures released Sunday afternoon show that more than 4,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the nation’s most populous county.

That breaks the previous record set only the day before, with 3,850 patients in a hospital, and follows the trend of hospitalizations increasing nearly every day since Nov. 1.

The L.A. County health director warned on Monday, when hospitalizations were near 3,000, that the county could see the statistic to climb to 4,000 within two weeks.

More than 325,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to California.

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Italy surpasses U.K. for highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe

Italy on Sunday eclipsed Britain to become the nation with the worst official coronavirus death toll in Europe.

Italy, where the continent's pandemic began, registered 484 COVID-19 deaths in one day, one of its lowest one-day death counts in about a month.

Still, those latest deaths pushed Italy's official toll up to 64,520, while Britain's stood at 64,267, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Both numbers understate the true toll of the pandemic. Counting criteria differ in the two countries, and many coronavirus deaths, especially early in the pandemic, are believed to have gone undetected, including those of elderly people in nursing homes who were not tested for COVID-19.

Among the reasons cited for Italy's high death toll was it that was the first country in Europe to be slammed in the pandemic, leaving health workers to grapple with a largely unknown virus. Italy also has a lower ratio of medical staff to patients compared to other European nations.

Germany, a nation much bigger than Italy, has a death toll one-third of Italy's or Britain's. A little more than half of Italy's known COVID-19 deaths were registered in the first surge. On Sunday, Italy reported another 17,938 coronavirus infections to raise its official tally to 1.84 million.

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