White House shares $916B relief proposal; Pfizer vaccine gets allergy warning in Britain — 7 COVID-19 updates

The U.S. hit another COVID-19 milestone Dec. 8, reporting more than 15 million total infections.

As of Dec. 8, a record 104,600 Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than 20,400 were in intensive care, according to data from The COVID-19 Tracking Project. 

More than one-third of Americans are living in an area where hospitals are facing a critical shortage of ICU beds as of last week, according to a New York Times analysis of self-reported hospital data HHS released Dec. 7. 

Six more updates:

1. Canada approved Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 9 under an interim order for emergency use. The distribution of the vaccine will be prioritized by the populations identified in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations.  

2. The White House unveiled a $916 billion relief proposal Dec. 8, which is slightly larger than a bipartisan COVID-19 relief proposal released Dec. 1. The proposal includes robust liability protections for hospitals, funds for vaccine distribution, a $600 direct payment for Americans and the revival of the Paycheck Protection Program, according to The New York Times

3. President-elect Joe Biden shared three main COVID-19 priorities for his first 100 days in office during a Dec. 8 media briefing announcing his healthcare team, reports The New York Times. The priorities include a strong emphasis on wearing masks, getting children back in school and distributing at least 100 million vaccines to Americans. 

4. Britain has issued an allergy warning for Pfizer's vaccine after two healthcare workers reported adverse reactions, according to The Washington Post. The day after the U.K. began offering the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, Britain's medical regulatory agency said "any person with a history of significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food" shouldn't receive the vaccine.  

5. AstraZeneca's vaccine was 70 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, according to late-stage trial findings published Dec. 8 in The Lancet. AstraZeneca said the trial, which included more than 11,000 participants in Britain, produced results strong enough to apply for authorization in the U.K. and European Union, but the U.S. will likely wait for results of a 30,000 person trial being conducted in the U.S. to make a regulatory decision.  

6. North Carolina issued a modified stay-at-home order Dec. 8 amid increasing COVID-19 cases. The order takes effect Dec. 11 and requires people to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The modified order will be in place until at least Jan. 8.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 15,174,019
Deaths: 286,338
Recovered: 5,786,915

Counts reflect data available as of 8:45 a.m. CST Dec. 9.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 9
RWJBarnabas Health opens food hubs in New Jersey to alleviate food insecurity
23 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 9


More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Dec. 9
RWJBarnabas Health opens food hubs in New Jersey to alleviate food insecurity
US records most deaths in 1 week; Pfizer vaccine meets FDA criteria for authorization — 5 COVID-19 updates


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