VIRUS UPDATE: Glowing vaccine review, 100 million shots promised

Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


— The Food and Drug Administration has released a positive review of the Pfizer vaccine and will hold a public hearing on Thursday in two of the final steps before potential approval and distribution. The FDA’s experts have begun poring over thousands of pages of newly released details from Pfizer’s testing.

— President-elect Joe Biden is promising to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to 100 million people during the first three months of his administration, pledging “100 million shots in the first 100 days.”

— Despite rising infections, U.S. stocks edged higher Tuesday, reflecting optimism over the beginning of mass vaccination in the U.K. and the expectation that U.S. health authorities will approve a vaccine’s use within days.

THE NUMBERS: Confirmed cases per day have reached more than 200,000 on average per day for the first time, with a larger surge expected following holiday gatherings. Deaths per day have eclipsed more than 2,200 on average, matching April’s peak.

DEATH TOLL: The virus is blamed for more than 285,000 U.S. deaths.

QUOTABLE: “Sweetheart, we messed up. We just dropped our guard,” said Dr. David Thrasher, recalling the last words of his friend, Alabama state Sen. Larry Dixon, to Dixon’s wife of 53 years before he died of COVID-19.

ICYMI: The Trump administration faces new scrutiny after revelations that it failed this summer to lock in a chance to buy millions of additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which has shown to be highly effective against COVID-19.

ON THE HORIZON: After this week’s close examination of the Pfizer vaccine, the FDA next week will examine the vaccine developed by fellow biotech giant Moderna.


Source: Associated Press