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Dec. 6 Covid news and updates on latest with vaccines

Millions of people in the U.S. and across the world could be vaccinated this month.
Image: Backstage at San Diego Ballet's performance of \"The Nutcracker\" in a parking lot in San Diego
San Diego Ballet School students wear protective masks backstage during a performance of "The Nutcracker" on Saturday.BING GUAN / Reuters

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Countries across the world are preparing to begin giving citizens Covid-19 vaccines, as cases continue to rise across the United States amid social restrictions.

Southern California came under stricter pandemic safety measures Saturday after its intensive care unit capacity dropped to dangerous levels because of the national spike in coronavirus cases, state health officials said.

A CDC panel this week agreed how Covid-19 vaccines should be distributed but it is unclear when they will be available in the U.S. There are expected to be enough doses to immunize 20 million people by the end of the month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday at a briefing for Operation Warp Speed, the government's effort to fast-track a vaccine.

789d ago / 12:24 AM UTC

California sheriff says he won't enforce new stay-at-home rules

The sheriff in Orange County, California, said Saturday that his deputies would not enforce stricter stay-at-home rules scheduled to go into effect across Southern California Sunday night.

Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement that his pandemic policy has been "consistent."

"Compliance with health orders is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement," he said. "Orange County Sheriff's deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only."

On Saturday. California health officials announced that stricter stay-at-home measures for regions including the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California would be imposed at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The measures include the closure of hair and nail salons, a ban on eatery dining, even outdoors, and 20 percent capacity for essential retailers.

Barnes isn't the only sheriff who has bristled at the new rules. Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a video address Friday that while his deputies would "expect" residents to follow the regulations, "These closures and stay-at-home orders are flat out ridiculous."

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has assigned four teams, each composed of two deputies, to accompany health inspectors as they deliver cease-and-desist orders to noncompliant businesses.