Friday, December 11, 2020

The Morning Rundown: FDA Back Pfizer's Vaccine

An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration yesterday endorsed the use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine in a 17-4 vote with one abstention, concluding that the vaccine appears to be safe and effective in adults and teenagers age 16 and older to allow allow emergency use. The FDA doesn't have to accept the panel's recommendation, but it usually does, and if it does so in this case, vaccinations could begin in the U.S. within days. The panel gave its support despite a couple of cases of allergic reactions that have happened in the U.K., which began giving shots of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week. Several of the members who voted against authorization objected to authorizing the shot for those ages 16 and 17, since people that age were in small numbers in the study, and also because they face low risk from Covid-19.

That came as another 3,067 people died from the coronavirus yesterday, according to the The Covid Project, the second day in a row with more than 3,000 deaths, the first time that's happened in the U.S. since the pandemic began. Also yesterday, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations that the next two to three months will be grim, saying, "We are in the timeframe now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days we're going to have more deaths per day than we had at 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor."

: A Texas lawsuit that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the result of the presidential election and invalidate President-elect Joe Biden's victory was signed on to yesterday  by 106 Republican members of the House, and is supported by 17 Republican state attorneys general. That comes even as election law experts say the unprecedented, last gasp effort, which is taking place ahead of the presidential electors casting their votes on Monday (December 14th) to officially make Biden the president-elect, has little chance to succeed. The suit claims, quote, "unconstitutional irregularities" in voting in four swing states, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. However, in dozens of cases that President Trump's legal team have brought since the election, there has been no evidence of voter fraud or other wrongdoing related to the election, and they've been rejected by the courts. Officials in the four targeted states say the suit is a publicity stunt. 

➤MCCONNELL SAYS GOP SENATORS WON'T SUPPORT EMERGING BIPARTISAN CORONAVIRUS AID BILL: As a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers were working on a emerging $900 billion coronavirus aid package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dealt the effort a major blow yesterday when he said Republican senators won’t support a provision for $160 billion in state and local funds as part of a potential trade-off for the liability protection from coronavirus-related lawsuit he wants for businesses and organizations. McConnell described the state and local aid, for places that have been hard-hit economically due to the pandemic, as, quote, "controversial state bailouts." Before the statement from McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had reported headway on reaching a deal.

➤FEDERAL EXECUTION CARRIED OUT, RARE DURING TRANSITION: The administration carried out the execution of a federal prisoner yesterday, its ninth of the year and part of several taking place during the transition, the first time that's happened in 130 years. Brandon Bernard was put to death by lethal injection in a U.S. prison in Indiana, despite appeals to President Trump for a pardon from several high-profile figures, including Kim Kardashian. The 40-year-old Bernard had been convicted in the murder of a religious couple more than two decades ago when he was 18. Bernard and four other teenagers abducted and robbed Todd and Stacie Bagley on their way from a Sunday service in Texas. Bernard didn't shoot the couple, but he poured lighter fluid on the car and set it on fire with their bodies in the trunk.

Time magazine has named President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris its "Person of the Year," unveiling the choice in a first-ever show on NBC last night. 

Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsentha wrote that Biden and Harris were the choice, quote, "for changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division" and "for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world." The other finalists they beat out were President Trump, frontline health care workers and Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the movement for racial justice. 

Time also named honorees in four other categories, something it began last year:
  • Zoom CEO Eric Yuan as Businessperson of the Year.
  • Activists Assa Traore, Porche Bennett-Bey and racial-justice organizers; frontline health workers; and Fauci as Guardians of the Year.
  • NBA superstar LeBron James of the L.A. Lakers as Athlete of the Year.
  • Korean boy band BTS as Entertainer of the Year.

Progressive ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's has created a new flavor inspired by Colin Kaepernick, introducing the Change the Whirled flavor yesterday.  It's actually a vegan ice cream, made with caramel non-dairy sunflower butter and fudge chips with graham crackers and chocolate cookies swirled in. Ben & Jerry's said it created the flavor to celebrate, quote, "Kaepernick's courageous work to confront systemic oppression and to stop police violence against Black and Brown people." Kaepernick said he was "honored" to partner with Ben & Jerry's on the flavor, saying in a statement, "My hope is that this partnership will amplify calls to defund and abolish the police and to invest in futures that can make us safer, healthier, and truly free." Kaepernick's portion of the proceeds from the ice cream flavor will go to support his "Know Your Rights" organization, which teaches Black and Brown children about how to deal with police interactions.

➤STUDY: MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF PEOPLE RELY ON MOBILE PHONES FOR ‘SOCIAL LIFE’: Being stuck in the house has driven many to view their phones as the driver of their social lives, finds a new study. When 2,000 smartphone users were questioned, nearly half reported using their phones more in 2020, and 36 percent say they rely on their device completely for a “social life.” People used their phones in order to actually socialize, not just look at social media, with 17 percent using their phones to "have a drink with someone", 12 percent using it to watch a film of TV show "with others", and 28 percent using it to take part in quizzes. The data, gathered by Three Mobile, also finds that more than a third say they would’ve been bored without their mobile phone this year, and 29 percent say they wouldn’t have been able to cope this year. Also, 32 percent say their phone allowed them to have a bit of normality during 2020, with 30 percent admitting that speaking to others on the phone helped their wellbeing. One other find: 22 percent say they went on a “virtual date” during lockdown, and 20 percent report this resulted in a relationship.

➤HOW TO FIND OUT WHEN PS5 AND OTHER SELL-OUT TOYS AND CHRISTMAS GIFTS ARE RESTOCKED: Every year there are super popular toys and gifts that are nearly impossible to get your hands on. One of them this year is the PlayStation 5 or PS5, which launched in November. 

Here are some tips for getting your hands on one, or any other wildly popular item this Christmas season. First, check price comparison sites like Idealo, Google Shopping and Pricespy. Also, go to your chosen retailer’s website and sign up for email alerts for when your desired item is back in stock. Amazon shoppers can click the “alert me” box next to a product if it’s out of stock, and if you click “sign up” you’ll be sent an email when the item becomes available again. You should remember when using this service or a similar one from any website, the alert that the item is available (no matter how it’s messaged to you) does not reserve the item, merely lets you know it’s available. You could also sign up to get alerts from a stock checker, which will send push notifications to your phone, or emails you, when the product you want comes back into stock.You should also follow the right Twitter accounts that can put you ahead of the game when it comes to spotting if an item is back in stock. For example, @PS5UKStock monitors the discussion on PS5s from other users and shares them with their own followers.

➤HERE’S HOW TO GET MCDONALD’S HOLIDAY 2020 DAILY DEALS INSPIRED BY CLASSIC CHARACTERS: McDonald’s has announced it’s offering holiday 2020 daily deals this month. From Monday, December 14th through Christmas eve on Thursday, December 24th, you can score daily freebies in the McDonald’s app. You must have a minimum purchase of $1 to score all the deals except for the final one on Christmas Eve (you can score a free 2-Pack of chocolate chip cookies, no minimum purchase necessary on December 24th). The deals each day are inspired by holiday movie characters, for example you can get free Hotcakes (with the $1 purchase) on December 20th, and this deal is inspired by Buddy the Elf, while on December 22nd you can get a free any size McFlurry with a $1 purchase (inspired by Frosty the Snowman.)

🏈RAMS PUMMEL PATRIOTS 24-3: The Los Angeles Rams pummeled the New England Patriots 24-3 last night at home, with Pats quarterback Cam Newton getting sacked four times before being pulled for the final three series in the fourth quarter. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 137 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for touchdown, and it was breakout night for L.A.'s rookie running back Cam Akers, who rushed for 171 yards. The loss officially ended the Patriots' NFL-record streak of 17 straight seasons with at least 10 wins.

🏈MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CANCELLATIONS, BC OPTS OUT OF BOWL GAME: Four more major college football games that were scheduled for Saturday were canceled yesterday due to positive coronavirus tests, including Number 13 Oklahoma's game against West Virginia and Number 23 Texas' matchup with Kansas. That brings the total to 10 for the week. Meanwhile, Boston College opted out of playing in a bowl game, becoming the first school to pass on an opportunity for the postseason. BC said the decision was made so players can spend Christmas with their families, with athletic director Pat Kraft telling reporters, "A lot of these young men haven’t hugged their loved ones since June."

🏈ARMY-NAVY GAME AT WEST POINT FOR FIRST TIME IN 77 YEARS: The annual Army-Navy college football game is being played at West Point this Saturday for the first time in 77 years, with the two service academies agreeing to the move from its usual site in Philadelphia due to attendance limits because of the coronavirus. It's in West Point because it was Army's turn to be the home team in the 121st meeting between the rivals. Fans won't be allowed at Michie Stadium, but academy students will be, and President Trump also plans to be on hand for the game.

🏀IRVING, NETS FINED FOR HIM NOT SPEAKING TO REPORTERS: The NBA fined Kyrie Irving and his team, the Brooklyn Nets, $25,000 each yesterday because the point guard has refused to speak to the media so far during the preseason. The NBA said Irving has refused several times this week to take part in team media availability, which is being held via Zoom due to the pandemic. Irving said in a statement last week to address his media silence, "My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself. Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change." 

🏌OLSON LEADING AFTER FIRST ROUND OF U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN: American Amy Olson is at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the U.S. Women's Open yesterday at Champions Golf Club Cypress Creek in Houston. She also got a hole-in-one along the way to the lead, getting the ball in with one swing on her seventh hole, with was the 16th at Cypress Creek. She ended the round at 4-under 67, with a one-shot lead over three players tied for second.

No comments:

Post a Comment