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January 22: Biden Covid plan pledges 100 million vaccine shots in 100 days

President Joe Biden will sign two more executive orders Friday, designed to alleviate economic pressures across the U.S.
Image: A member of medical staff reacts as a health worker inoculates her with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a government hospital in Hyderabad
A member of medical staff reacts as a health worker inoculates her with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India on Friday.Noah Seelam / AFP - Getty Images

Live coverage on this blog has ended, click here for NBC News' latest coverage of Covid-19.

President Joe Biden will again step up his response to the pandemic with two more executive orders Friday morning, both designed to alleviate economic pressures across the nation.

Elsewhere, countries across the world have welcomed the United States' intention to rejoin global efforts to support vaccine rollouts, as plans to supercharge vaccine delivery nationally get underway.

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Michigan to allow indoor dining starting Feb. 1 at 25 percent capacity

Michigan will allow indoor dining at restaurants and bars to resume on Feb. 1, state officials announced Friday. 

Indoor dining will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity, with up to 100 people, and tables must be spaced six feet apart, health officials said in a news release.

“The pause has worked," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, referring to the pause on indoor dining that has been in effect since Nov. 18, around the time the state saw a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases.

"The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting February 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” Whitmer said.

The state will also permit concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums starting Feb. 1, health officials said.

Internet services company Cloudflare offers help for vaccination registration websites

Vaccination registration websites have struggled to keep up with the demand of people trying to make appointments. Internet services company Cloudflare is offering help.

"There are challenges around communicating who is eligible to be vaccinated, registering those who are eligible for appointments, ensuring they show up for their appointments, transporting the vaccine under the required handling conditions, ensuring that there are trained personnel to administer the vaccine, and then doing it all over again as most of the vaccines require two doses," Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post on Friday.

"Cloudflare can't help with most of that problem, but there is one key part that we realized we could help facilitate: ensuring that registration websites don't crash under load when they first begin scheduling vaccine appointments," he continued.

Cloudflare usually offers websites protection from attacks that flood websites with fake traffic. But real web traffic can also cause problems. The company's offering will be "free for any government, municipality, hospital, pharmacy, or other organization responsible for distributing COVID-19 vaccines" and include a "Virtual Waiting Room" to keep people in order as they wait to sign up.

Biden's Covid advisory board that helped create pandemic response plan has been disbanded

The Covid advisory board that President Joe Biden set up during the transition to help him develop a plan to respond to the pandemic has been disbanded as of Wednesday, said people involved with the group.

The panel of outside experts was designed to give Biden advice about how to respond to the pandemic during the transition when he couldn’t communicate with federal health experts at the CDC and NIH. Now that he has the full resources of the federal government, the outside group isn’t needed, one of the people said.

Only the co-chairs of the panel, David Kessler, Vivek Murthy, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, have taken on administration positions. Former advisory board member Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he is still advising the Biden administration informally.

Biden released a 198-page pandemic response plan on Thursday that the group helped develop.

Texas doctor accused of stealing vial of Covid-19 vaccine

A Texas doctor was charged Thursday with stealing a vial of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to prosecutors.

Dr. Hasan Gokal faces a charge of theft by a public servant after authorities said he stole a vial containing nine doses, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The alleged incident occurred Dec. 29, when he worked at a vaccination site in Humble, about 20 miles north of Houston.

Gokal was fired after a coworker he confided in reported him to supervisors, according to the office.

Prosecutors said Gokal “disregarded county protocols in place to ensure vaccine is not wasted but administered to vulnerable populations and front-line workers on a waiting list.”

Click here to read the full story.

Hoda Kotb and Al Roker share why they're getting the Covid vaccination

The decision by Hoda Kotb and Al Roker to get the Covid-19 vaccination is about much more than just their own health.

The "TODAY" co-anchor and weatherman share their reasons for getting vaccinated in the upcoming issue of People magazine.

Roker, 66, already received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccination live on "TODAY" on Tuesday because he is in the eligible age group of over 65 in New York. Hoda, 56, is awaiting her chance once she is eligible.

"Why am I getting vaccinated? Well, I want to make sure I stay healthy, because I want to make sure I protect my family and my friends and my co-workers," he told People. "Because we're all in this together. If we don't take care of each other, there's no point in going on." 

Kotb's immediate motivation for getting the vaccination is to protect her family, but it's also about more than just them.

"This is who I'm getting vaccinated for when it's my turn: First, for my mother, who's in her 80s; for my fiancé, Joel; for my two children," she told People. "And for every single person who I pass by, who I walk by and who I see. So I am getting vaccinated not only for my family, but for yours too."

Click here to read the full story.

Health care workers among 22,000 fans to attend Super Bowl

Health care workers will be among the 22,000 fans in attendance next month when Super Bowl 55 is played in Tampa, Florida, the NFL announced Friday. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell surprised staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital that they are part of the 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who will be able to witness the nation's biggest sporting event. 

"We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings," Goodell said in a statement. 

There will be an additional 14,500 fans in attendance, the league said.

More than 4,000 reported dead for second day in a row, California counts a record 753 deaths

The country counted 4,104 Covid-19 deaths and 199,907 new cases Thursday, the second day in a row where more than 4,000 people were reported dead of the disease, according to NBC News' tally.

California accounted for nearly one out of every five of those deaths, reporting a record 753 dead. Utah reported a record 30 deaths.

This is the fourth day in a row of case counts lower than 200,000, the first time the country has had a streak like that since November.

Japan denies as 'categorically untrue' report Tokyo Olympics could be canceled

TOKYO — Japanese officials on Friday vehemently denied a newspaper report suggesting that the Olympic Games, due to be held in the country this summer, could be canceled.

The Tokyo Olympics originally planned for 2020 were delayed 10 months ago following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The local Olympics organizing committee said in a statement that the games would go forward as planned and had the support of Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Another statement from the Cabinet Secretariat on behalf of Japan's government also dismissed the report.

"Some news reports circulating today are claiming that the Government of Japan has privately concluded that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will have to be canceled. This is categorically untrue," the statement said.

Click here to read the full story.

British health secretary welcomes U.S. rejoining WHO's global vaccine effort

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock was happy to learn that the United States rejoined the World Health Organization and their global vaccination effort, in a tweet he shared Friday. 

"This is how we beat Covid, by working together towards our common goal," the tweet read. 

President Joe Biden's top medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke to Geneva's WHO executive board via video conference on Thursday, saying he was "honored" to remain working with United Nations agency to fight the pandemic and confirmed the U.S. would fulfill its financial obligations. Fauci's comments come after former President Donald Trump had begun the process of withdrawing from the organization. 

He added that the U.S would sign up to the WHO's program to “advance multilateral efforts” to curb the spread of the virus The program's aim is to provide 1 billion vaccine shots to low-income countries next year. In December, the program had already raised $2 billion from dozens of developed countries and international organizations.