The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

Hawaii is offering free round trips to remote workers who want to live there temporarily

From CNN’s Alaa Elassar

What better way to survive a pandemic than to do it on a beach in Hawaii?

For anyone who finds the idea dreamy, Hawaii is offering free round trip tickets to Oahu to out-of-state remote workers who want to live and work there while contributing to the state’s economy.

The state launched the temporary residency program, known as “Movers and Shakas,” in collaboration with schools and businesses. It’s accepting its first group of applicants until December 15.

“Movers and Shakas is a small step towards economic recovery and diversifying our economy,” Jason Higa, the group’s founder, told CNN.

“The pandemic,” he said, “has normalized remote work for the foreseeable future, so we believe this situation presents an opportunity for local residents to return home, and for out of state professionals to experience Hawaii, not as tourists, but as contributing members of our community.”

Fifty people will be chosen for the first cohort. Later applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, you must be a remote worker and at least 18 years old.

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Hawaii is offering free round trips to remote workers who want to live there temporarily

1 hr 21 min ago

Covid-19 is raging through overcrowded California prisons

From CNN’s Isaac Engelberg

As Covid-19 infections surge across California, state correctional facilities have recorded more than 4,000 active cases among inmates and another 1,430 among staff — the highest numbers recorded since the pandemic’s start.

That means California’s total number of inmate infections is now up to more than 22,300, including 90 deaths.

That translates to about 227 Covid-19 cases per 1,000 over the course of the pandemic — or some 20% of the total inmate population, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Statewide among the public, that number is about 32 cases per 1,000 people.

The soaring numbers across prison facilities come as local and state officials are also trying to control a rampant spread across California’s communities. On Friday, the state shattered its previous case record, reporting more than 22,000 new cases. Hospitalizations are also at record-high levels, with more than 9,900 Covid-19 patients across the state — about 2,200 of whom are in intensive care units.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying the state was at “a tipping point in our fight against the virus,” announced a strict regional stay-at-home order this week, which will go into effect 48 hours after ICU capacity drops below 15% in one of five regions, Northern California, the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley or Southern California.

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Covid-19 is raging through overcrowded California prisons

3 hr 19 min ago

US reported more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in four days. And the impact of Thanksgiving will only make things worse, experts warn

From CNN’s Christina Maxouris

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are at record-high levels nationwide, and officials expect the US will soon bear the full brunt of another surge of infections fueled by Thanksgiving gatherings.

“We have not yet seen the full effect of a potential surge upon a surge,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Friday night. “The travel associated with Thanksgiving, the congregating at family and social gatherings with people indoors, sometimes without masks. So that may peak two to three weeks from now.”

And that surge will come right as travel and social gatherings will likely pick up again for the Christmas holiday.

“So, we’re really very concerned,” Fauci said.

The bleak forecast comes as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet to discuss Pfizer’s and Moderna’s applications for emergency use authorization of their Covid-19 vaccines, which some state leaders say they’re expecting to get the first doses of in the coming weeks.

But health officials warn that while some Americans may receive a vaccine by the end of the year, the country likely won’t see any meaningful effect until late spring.

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In the meantime, experts project an incredibly challenging next few months.

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US reported more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths in four days. And the impacts of Thanksgiving will only make things worse, experts warn

5 hr 1 min ago

A record 227,885 cases of Covid-19 were identified in the United States on Friday

At least 227,885 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the US on Friday, a new single-day record and the fourth time the country has topped 200,000 cases in a single day.

The previous record was set Thursday.

Another 2,607 virus-related deaths were recorded, bringing the nationwide total to 278,932 fatalities.

Since the pandemic began, at least 14,367,462 infections have been identified in the country.

Track cases here:

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Tracking Covid-19 cases in the US

5 hr ago

First US shipments of coronavirus vaccine will fall short

From CNN’s Annie Grayer

State health departments and governors’ offices across the US are finally being told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed how many doses of the coronavirus vaccine they will initially be receiving once the vaccine is authorized — and it’s not enough.

With the Pfizer vaccine emergency use authorization expected later this month, and perhaps also for the Moderna vaccine, states are learning there’s not enough for them to fully vaccinate those designated as their first and top priority.

Earlier this week, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the very first batch of Americans to get vaccinated should be frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Together, they add up to about 24 million people.

Federal officials estimate about 40 million vaccine doses will be available by the end of the month if both Moderna and Pfizer get US Food and Drug Administration authorization — only enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country, because two doses are needed for each person.

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