Congress inks deal for $900B relief package; Moderna vaccine to reach some hospitals today — 7 COVID-19 updates

U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths hit record seven-day averages Dec. 20, while daily hospitalizations declined slightly from a day prior, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.     

Six other updates: 

1. Congress agreed on a $900 billion stimulus package Dec. 20, reports The New York Times. The package is expected to provide $600 to adults earning up to $75,000, reestablish the Paycheck Protection Program, and provide billions of dollars for COVID-19 testing, tracing and vaccine distribution. Congress passed a one-day extension of government funding late Dec. 20 to allow lawmakers time to review the deal, with the House expected to vote on the package Dec. 21, reports USA Today.

2. The first shipments of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are expected to reach many healthcare facilities nationwide Dec. 21, reports The Washington Post. The first deliveries come three days after the FDA granted emergency use authorization to Moderna's vaccine. 

3. Front-line essential workers and adults 75 and over should be the next priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended Dec. 20, according to NPR

4. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, EdD, will receive a COVID-19 vaccine on live TV today in Delaware, reports The New York Times. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will likely receive her vaccine after Christmas, as physicians have recommended the two leaders stagger their first doses, according to the Times.

5. The U.K. issued new lockdown restrictions in some parts of the country in response to a fast-spreading SARS-CoV-2 variant, reports NBC News. Several other European countries have also banned flights from the U.K. to prevent the variant from spreading. For more information, click here.

6. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee implemented a 10-person limit on indoor gatherings Dec. 20, but refrained from instating a mask mandate, despite pleas from physicians in the state to do so, reports ABC affiliate WZTV. Tennessee has the most COVID-19 cases per capita of any state due to a spike in new infections after Thanksgiving. 

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 17,848,395
Deaths: 317,684

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CST Dec. 21.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 21
A week of mixed COVID-19 news: 6 takeaways
22 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 21


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