VIRUS TODAY: 2nd vaccine draws closer to FDA approval

The Associated Press
·2-min read

Here's what's happening Thursday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY

A second COVID-19 vaccine moved closer to joining the U.S. fight against the pandemic with the endorsement of a panel of experts. The move paves the way for a final decision by the Food and Drug Administration on emergency use. In a 20-0 vote, FDA advisers agreed that the vaccine's benefits outweighed the risks for those 18 and older. Moderna’s shot provides 94% protection against COVID-19 — similar to the first vaccine approved in the U.S., developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

An overwhelming amount of false information clung to COVID-19 as it circled the globe in 2020, from speculation that the coronavirus was created in a lab to hoax cures.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose again last week to 885,000, the highest weekly total since September, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases threatens the economy’s recovery from its springtime collapse.

THE NUMBERS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. increased over the past two weeks from 1,606 on Dec. 2 to 2,570 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

DEATH TOLL: The U.S. death toll stands at 309,334 people, or about the population of St. Paul, Minnesota.

QUOTABLE: “This is coming much faster than what anybody thought. Something that might have otherwise taken several years — to take this new vaccine technology and test it and approve it — was compressed into within a year.” — Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, former chief of the FDA's vaccine division.

ICYMI: The Associated Press' pandemic atlas offers a look at the coronavirus in the U.S. by the numbers.

ON THE HORIZON: The FDA’s green light for emergency use of the Moderna vaccine is expected quickly. Moderna would then begin shipping millions of doses, earmarked for health workers and nursing home residents, to boost the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic