Sign in

Covid live updates: Biden to get vaccinated on Monday; the latest on second stimulus checks

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine won a key vote on Thursday, clearing the path to an emergency use authorization and potential rollout in the coming days. A panel of FDA experts overwhelmingly recommended the drug for agency authorization. An official approval would make Moderna’s the second vaccine to ship out across the country. Moderna’s drug, like Pfizer’s, is a two-dose vaccine and was found in clinical trials to be more than 94% effective.

The U.S. is recording at least 216,600 new Covid-19 cases and at least 2,600 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 75.33 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.66 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 17.32 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 312,219

HHS claims states mixed up numbers on Pfizer vaccine allocations

HHS provided states with vaccine numbers for planning and training purposes in mid-November, according to a spokesperson for the department. However, those initial numbers differ from the actual allocation figures which were locked in a week before distribution began, according to HHS.

“We are working on clearing up any misunderstanding up with the governors and jurisdictions,” the spokesperson said. “Operation Warp Speed allocation numbers locked in with states have not been changed or adjusted.”

New Jersey is one of the latest states to report a reduction. Gov. Phil Murphy said vaccine shipments for both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have been reduced by about 20%. Several other states, including Iowa, Florida and Washington state, have reported similar issues.

Moderna’s vaccine is still pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

After states started to report issues, Pfizer said it has millions of doses in its warehouse waiting shipping instructions from the U.S. government. The Trump administration, however, said this is not the case. Admiral Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary of health, said some doses need to be reserved to assure there is enough supply for the required second dose.

GM and Ford won’t require employees to get Covid vaccinations

The Detroit automakers have each said they are making preparations for employee distribution but have declined to release specific plans.

Fiat Chrysler has not announced whether being vaccinated will be mandatory for employees. The Italian-American automaker said it has “assembled a cross-functional team, including medical professionals, that is studying the most effective approach to distributing vaccines.”

United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble said Friday that he doesn’t believe any of the union’s 400,000 members should be forced to receive Covid-19 vaccinations, but he encourages them to do so.

— Michael Wayland

President-elect Joe Biden to receive vaccine on Monday

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will receive their first doses of the vaccine a week after the Bidens do, Psaki told reporters during a briefing Friday. The timeline is consistent with national security protocols designed to avoid a scenario in which both the president-elect and the vice president-elect experience side effects at the same time.

On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence became the highest-ranking U.S. officials to receive the vaccine so far.

Outgoing President Donald Trump has not yet indicated when he plans to be vaccinated, and has remained largely out of sight during the first week of the vaccine’s nationwide rollout. Trump tested positive for the virus in October and would have natural antibodies as a result, but health experts have encouraged those previously infected to nonetheless get the vaccine because we don’t yet know how long antibodies offer protection.

— Christina Wilkie

Washington Monument temporarily closed after Interior secretary tests positive

“The Secretary was recently at the Washington Monument. In working with our public officials and out of an abundance of caution, a couple of employees have quarantined resulting in a temporary workforce reduction at the monument and its temporary closure,” spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said.

The Washington Monument will reopen on Dec. 21, according to Goodwin.

— Spencer Kimball

Dependents included in second round of stimulus checks

Although the checks were not part of the original bipartisan proposal released on Monday, several lawmakers, including Senators Bernie Sander (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) pushed to include them.

As of now, the pandemic rescue package includes provisions that would give Americans stimulus checks of up to $600-$700 per individual, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Wednesday.

And while that’s about half the amount of the $1,200 maximum stimulus included in the initial Covid relief package earlier in the year, the second round of stimulus payments are set to also be available for dependents, including adult dependents, according to the Washington Post.

Lawmakers are reportedly using the same income standards established in the earlier CARES Act to determine who will receive a check. That legislative package, passed at the end of March, provided full $1,200 payments to individuals earning less than $75,000 and up to $2,400 to married couples making less than $150,000.

— Megan Leonhardt