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Coronavirus updates: 50 Americans died every hour of November; Florida hits 1M cases; Pence says vaccine could be shipped in 2 week

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The first shots will be given to the most vulnerable people next week, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Trials have shown the vaccine is more than 95% effective against COVID-19.

British regulators insisted that “no corners have been cut.” In a briefing Wednesday, the agency’s, Dr. June Raine, said the public can be “absolutely confident” that its standards are equivalent to those anywhere around the world.

Meanwhile in the U.S., public health officials voted Tuesday to add residents of long-term care facilities to front-line health care workers as the first Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The advisory panel convened by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered advice on who should get specific vaccines and when, but each state ultimately makes the call.

The first day of December proved to be the most fatal since mid-April. According to Johns Hopkins data, 2,597 deaths were reported Tuesday — only 10 less than the record toll set April 15.
New York City will receive 170,000 doses of the vaccine by December 15, per city councilman Keith Powers.
The CDC will soon trim quarantine rules for close contact with an infected person to seven to 10 days from 14.
After a months-long impasse, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a temporary $908 billion coronavirus aid package that would run until April but not include a second round of stimulus checks.
In New Orleans, at least 41 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a swingers convention, according to NOLA.com. About 250 people attended the event in November due to restrictions, down from nearly 2,000 who checked in last year.

CDC shortens recommended quarantine time after exposure
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the recommended days a person must quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 from 14 days to 7 or 10 days.

The new guidelines announced Wednesday say individuals who have close contact with an infected person can end their quarantine after 7 days if they receive a negative test, or after 10 days without a test. The CDC defines close contact as exposures adding up to a total of 15 minutes spent 6 feet or closer to an infected person.

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Dr. Henry Walke, incident manager for the CDC’s COVID-19 response, said people should monitor for symptoms 14 days after exposure. “Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier to take this critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time,” he said during a media briefing.

He added 14 days of quarantine remains the optimal period of time, but 7 to 10 days is a good alternative.

– Adrianna Rodriguez

A 23-year-old’s harrowing COVID-19 experience: ‘I just had a stroke’
“Not taking this pandemic seriously? Keep reading,” Riley Behrens, a 23-year-old Tempe, Arizona man, wrote Sunday evening in a Twitter thread detailing five days of worsening illness. It had reached nearly 150,000 likes and 45,000 retweets by Tuesday afternoon.

Behrens got a headache that night that he assumed was just stress. Thursday, he started to have trouble breathing and pain in his chest. It worsened on Friday.

On Saturday, he woke up with extreme weakness in his left side. He couldn’t balance on his left leg or open the door with his left hand. He was dizzy. His vision was also spotty through his left eye. After he was admitted, an MRI showed that he had a TIA, or a mild blood clot in the brain.

This sickness, he said, does not discriminate. It can affect people in ways we still know little about.

– Emily Wilder, Arizona Republic

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have flouted COVID-19 guidelines

As political leaders across the country are ramping up restrictions to slow the virus’ spread, several Democratic politicians have been found to not practice what they preach. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi each flouted COVID-19 policies by attending or hosting large gatherings.

However, it’s not just some Democratic politicians flouting COVID-19 policies and guidance — this has been an issue on both sides of the aisle.

In early October, USA TODAY reported that President Donald Trump and key Oval Office figures had violated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance at least 27 times in the month prior. GOP lawmakers on the state level have also shown defiance toward social distancing and mask rules.