U.K. becomes first country to approve Pfizer vaccine, Trump discussed pardons for family and ‘the most 2020 wedding’

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The U.K. has become the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, President Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of pardons for his family and one Georgia official has had enough of Republican silence and failure to condemn threats of violence against election workers.

Here is what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.


‘Help is on its way’: U.K. becomes first country to approve Covid vaccine, says rollout begins next week

The U.K. has become the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and says it will begin rolling it out next week.

“For so long we’ve been saying that if a vaccine is developed, then things will get better in 2021, and now we can say when this vaccine is rolled out things will get better,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said early Wednesday.

The vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, the drugmaker said after clinical trials.

The pharmaceutical giant submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 20 for an emergency use authorization in the U.S.

While the first Covid vaccines are still awaiting approval in the U.S., an independent advisory committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already working on the list of who should be first in line once they become available.

Health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first groups to be offered the vaccine, according to the proposal. Combined, those groups represent around 24 million Americans.

With infections surging — the U.S. is fast approaching 14 million confirmed cases and the virus has killed more than 271,000 in the country — a vaccine can’t come soon enough.

The 911 system in the U.S. is “at a breaking point,” after receiving little Covid aid, ambulance companies say.

Private EMS services collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks.

Now as they face another coronavirus surge, many private EMS services don’t know how they are going to make it.

And hospitals in a slew of states — from Indiana to Minnesota and Texas — are running out of space, overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus patients they have coming in.

Indiana’s Elkhart General Hospital was forced to stop accepting ambulance traffic for a full seven hours one day last week because it was so over-capacity. It was only the second time in 20 years that Elkhart General had to make that call.

“This is exactly why we were adamant about masks and flattening the curve. This is the situation that we wanted to avoid,” said Dr. Michelle Bache, the vice president of medical affairs at the hospital.

Follow our live blog for all the latest Covid-19 developments.


President Donald Trump has been discussing the possibility of issuing pardons for his family members and some close associates, multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The New York

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Pregnant women haven’t been included in promising COVID-19 vaccine trials

This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.

COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Moderna and Pfizer both promising

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Early results from two major COVID-19 vaccine trials have sparked hope that the worst of the pandemic may soon be over. But it’s still unclear if or when that relief would extend to pregnant people, who have been excluded from those vaccine trials. 

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Pfizer and Moderna, which are developing two high-profile vaccine candidates, have posted initial data from their large late-stage trials that suggests their products could be close to 90% or 95% effective in reducing risk of COVID-19 infection. Moderna’s data also suggests its vaccine would reduce the risk of severe illness caused by the coronavirus. 

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Both companies have indicated they will seek a federal emergency-use authorization, in which the government makes the drug available before having approved it, based on the strength of early results. That means vaccines could be available to the general public by next spring. 

But since the vaccine trials have thus far excluded people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s unclear when the immunizations would be safely available for them. 

The exclusion has sparked concern from health experts, especially since research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it clear that pregnancy significantly increases COVID-19’s mortality risk. Pregnant people are also more likely to develop complications and require intensive medical care, including requiring a ventilator.

“Pregnant women are now squarely in the higher risk population, which makes thinking about a vax for them – it was already a pressing concern, but it’s even more pressing,” said Anne Lyerly, obstetrician and bioethicist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s department of social medicine.

Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts said the company is working on a “potential pathway” to a pregnancy-related indication for the vaccine program, which would mean getting the vaccine approved for use during pregnancy. It is also currently doing early research – not yet conducting trials in humans – to see how the vaccine works in pregnancy, Pitts said.

Achieving Herd Immunity: How vaccines and masks are the keys to fight coronavirus

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Moderna has not specified its plans to research the vaccine in pregnant people. The company did not respond to The 19th’s requests for comment.

The federal Food and Drug Administration, which will determine whether either vaccine candidate gets an emergency authorization, could approve the vaccine for all healthy adults. That would then allow health authorities like the CDC to determine whether pregnant people should be eligible to get the immunization or if they will have to wait until one is specifically tested for them. The FDA could also approve a vaccine for healthy adults but specifically advise against giving it to pregnant people, at least temporarily.

Vaccine distribution: Who gets them after

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Pregnant women haven’t been included in promising COVID vaccine trials

This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.

COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Moderna and Pfizer both promising

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Early results from two major COVID-19 vaccine trials have sparked hope that the worst of the pandemic may soon be over. But it’s still unclear if or when that relief would extend to pregnant people, who have been excluded from those vaccine trials. 

Pfizer and Moderna, which are developing two high-profile vaccine candidates, have posted initial data from their large late-stage trials that suggests their products could be close to 90 or 95 percent effective in reducing risk of COVID-19 infection. Moderna’s data also suggests its vaccine would reduce the risk of severe illness caused by the coronavirus. 



A couple suing a California fertility clinic claims it cost them $100,000 to give birth to babies that were not their own.


© Getty Images
A couple suing a California fertility clinic claims it cost them $100,000 to give birth to babies that were not their own.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Both companies have indicated they will seek a federal emergency-use authorization, in which the government makes the drug available before having approved it, based on the strength of early results. That means vaccines could be available to the general public by next spring. 

But since the vaccine trials have thus far excluded people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s unclear when the immunizations would be safely available for them. 

The exclusion has sparked concern from health experts, especially since research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it clear that pregnancy significantly increases COVID-19’s mortality risk. Pregnant people are also more likely to develop complications and require intensive medical care, including requiring a ventilator.

“Pregnant women are now squarely in the higher risk population, which makes thinking about a vax for them — it was already a pressing concern, but it’s even more pressing,” said Anne Lyerly, obstetrician and bioethicist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s department of social medicine.

Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts said the company is working on a “potential pathway” to a pregnancy-related indication for the vaccine program, which would mean getting the vaccine approved for use during pregnancy. It is also currently doing early research — not yet conducting trials in humans — to see how the vaccine works in pregnancy, Pitts said.

Moderna has not specified its plans to research the vaccine in pregnant people. The company did not respond to The 19th’s requests for comment.

The federal Food & Drug Administration, which will determine whether either vaccine candidate gets an emergency authorization, could approve the vaccine for all healthy adults — which would then allow health authorities like the CDC to determine whether pregnant people should be eligible to get the immunization or if they will have to wait until one is specifically tested for them. The FDA could also approve a vaccine for healthy adults but specifically advise against giving it to pregnant people, at least temporarily.

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Does vaccine promise put U.S. consumers in a shopping mood? Retailers may have clues

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) – As positive coronavirus vaccine
news makes strategists more optimistic about the future for
retailers, investors will look to earnings results and forecasts
from these companies in the coming days for clues about consumer
spending.

The thinking is that effective vaccines will “translate
into positive performances for discretionary,” said Sam Stovall,
chief investment strategist for CFRA, which recently raised its
recommendation on the S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector

The pandemic and restrictions on businesses have added to
revenue struggles for some traditional retailers like department
stores while boosting sales for Amazon and other
sellers that have capitalized on the work-from-home phenomenon.
Results from Home Depot Inc. , Walmart Inc. and
Kohl’s Corp. are due on Tuesday, while reports from
Macy’s Inc. , L Brands , Target Corp. and TJX
Cos are expected later this week.

The U.S. retail sales report for October also is due on
Tuesday.

Investors will be especially eager to hear guidance and
commentary from retail executives on consumer spending.

“We’ve gotten used to now buying online increasingly and
delivery has become smoother,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market
strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. “The
question is, does it continue?”

Shares in a number of retailers rallied on Monday as a
result of optimism that a COVID-19 vaccine will help the
economic recovery in the months ahead.

Moderna Inc said its experimental vaccine was
94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data
from a late-stage trial. Pfizer Inc said last week its
experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based
on initial trial results.

Among the biggest percentage gainers in the S&P 500 consumer
discretionary index on Monday were Gap Inc. , up 9.5%;
Under Armour , up 5.8%; and Ulta Beauty , up
4.9%.

Investors also are watching whether upcoming holiday sales
data can support hopes for retailer shares despite a surge in
COVID cases and increased restrictions across the United States
and in Europe.

“As long as the jobs market holds up and we see
(unemployment benefit claims) continuing to go down, that helps
consumers’ optimism,” said Krosby.

Some retailers’ shares remain down sharply this year so far,
including Macy’s, which is off more than 50% since Dec. 31
despite a 9% gain on Monday as the pandemic added to their
recent struggles.

On the earnings front, there continues to be a big divide
within the consumer discretionary sector.

Analysts expect the sector to post an earnings decline of
5.1% for the third quarter from a year ago, compared with a 7.4%
decline for the entire S&P 500 , according to IBES data
from Refinitiv.

But earnings for internet and direct marketing retail
companies are show about a 43% rise in the quarter, while
apparel retail earnings are forecast to fall 40.1%.

Nordstrom Inc , Gap Inc and American Eagle
Outfitters Inc report earnings next week.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Alden Bentley
and Cynthia Osterman)
(([email protected]; +1 646 223 6393;
Reuters

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Nordstrom, Macy’s stocks soar after positive vaccine news sparks investor hope for in-store shopping

Nordstrom Inc. shares have skyrocketed 57% for the month to date. Macy’s Inc. which is scheduled to announce third-quarter earnings on Thursday, is up nearly 25% for the period. And Kohl’s Corp. is up 19.6% for November so far.



a person with a bicycle in front of a building


© AFP via Getty Images


Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. which just had the sale of its retail and operating assets to Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Simon Property Group approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, soared more than 30% in Monday trading and has gained more than 79% for the month to date.

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Specialty retail is also getting a bump after the vaccine news with Gap Inc. (up 20.2% for November so far), Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. (up nearly 31%) and Urban Outfitters Inc. (up 22.1% for the period) all rallying.

Stocks across retail, entertainment, cinemas and theme parks, and travel all jumped after news that companies including Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc. have made progress on a coronavirus vaccine.

See: Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate sparks market rally after achieving 94.5% efficacy in late-stage trial and requires only standard refrigeration

“Vaccine development and efficacy are crucial for those retailers that have suffered under the pandemic’s effect on social occasions,” said Ron Rangel, retail analyst at Pacific Asset Management.

“They may not see a material positive impact until the vaccine is widely administered and there is a return to normalcy, but this is a clear step in the right direction and creates opportunity.”

Department stores and many apparel retailers, already hurting due to changes in consumer behavior before the pandemic, have seen the hurdles grow during COVID-19. In particular, e-commerce adoption has accelerated with many consumers now doing most of their shopping online.

The pandemic forced nonessential stores to close for a period and has placed restrictions on store capacity. Many brands and retailers have ramped up omnichannel options, like curbside pickup, to drive business. But with many working from home and large gatherings canceled, there aren’t many reasons for shoppers to buy items like a new dress or tie.

Also: Farfetch says luxury shopping has permanently moved online, shares jump

And: Revolve shares sink as lack of parties and events weighs on sales

Moreover, recent data shows that many consumers are still concerned about going to malls and stores, especially now that the coronavirus is surging to levels that some experts say could be a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Data provided by Bluedot, a location technology company for mobile apps, found that one of the top three reasons why consumers are downloading retail apps is they want to limit contact with other shoppers.

And 92% of consumers have some level of concern about whether stores are taking the appropriate health and safety precautions during the pandemic.

The pandemic has also driven financial concerns among consumers. Deloitte LLP data shows that even as safety perceptions slowly improve, financial stress persists.

See: E-commerce gains importance for grocery consumers most financially impacted by COVID-19

“As we

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Must Read: Megan Thee Stallion Covers ‘GQ,’ What A Quick Vaccine Would Mean for Beauty

megan thee stallion 2020

These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Monday.

Megan Thee Stallion covers GQ‘s December/January 2021 issue
Megan Thee Stallion opened up to writer Allison P. Davis about her rollercoaster of a year, from being shot, to creating “Savage,” one of the year’s most viral hits, to those offended by her collaboration with Cardi B on “WAP.” {GQ}

What a quick vaccine would mean for beauty
Pfizer’s announcement about vaccine progress could mean big changes for the beauty industry, with struggling stocks for major beauty retailers rebounding after the announcement was made. But, some of this year’s changes to how people wear and consume beauty may not go away, writes Rachel Strugatz. {Business of Fashion}

Nikki Ogunnaike named digital director of Harper’s Bazaar
Samira Nasr is continuing to build out her dream team at Harper’s Bazaar, naming Nikki Ogunnaike digital director at the publication. Ogunnaike joins from GQ, where she’s been for the last year; she’s also held roles at Elle.com, Glamour, Instyle and Vanity Fair, reports Kathryn Hopkins. {WWD}

Alessandro Michele and Gus Van Sant talk working together on Guccifest
Gucci announced earlier this month that it would be debuting its newest collection in the form of a mini film festival, featuring films directed by Gus Van Sant. The director got together with Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele to discuss their creative processes with Luisa Zargani. {WWD}

Richemont needs a transformational move
Swiss luxury group Richemont is being outpaced by its rivals in tech and fashion. And with LVMH set to take over Tiffany, even Richemont’s dominance in luxury jewelry is under threat, writes Lauren Sherman. It will take big changes for Richemont to keep up. {Business of Fashion}

What will it take for Brazil’s shoe industry to reawaken?
International brands are showing more and more interest in manufacturing shoes in Brazil, following the leads of local labels. But the frequently fluctuating currency and complicated taxes still present challenges to be overcome, writes Christiana Sciaudone. {Vogue Business}

Moschino collaborates with skate brand Palace
Italian luxury label Moschino and British skate brand Palace have collaborated on a new capsule collection of ready-to-wear and skate accessories. Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott describes the collection as “full of peace, love and hugs,” and Palace reps said working with Scott was “a full-blown dream scenario.” The collection will be available starting Nov. 20. {Fashionista inbox}

Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

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What a Quick Vaccine Would Mean for Beauty

Jessica Richards, owner of Shen Beauty, a store in Brooklyn that specialises in skin care, is placing an unusual bet that the worst of the pandemic will soon be over: she’s stocking more lipstick.

The product has seen dismal sales this year, with consumers seeing little point in glamming up the lower half of their face when they’ll be covering it with a mask. Prestige makeup sales in the US declined by 31 percent in the third quarter, year-over-year, according to The NPD Group.

But Richards is optimistic about the category, and lipstick in particular. She points to Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its vaccine has proven more than 90 percent effective in clinical trials, and that up to 25 million people could receive immunisations by the end of the year.

She thinks sales for lip colour, foundation and bronzer – the first products mask-wearers gave up last spring – could rebound quickly if a vaccine becomes available in the coming months. She reached an agreement with a new luxe lipstick line that will be stocked exclusively at Shen Beauty starting early next year.

“People are going to be dying to wear lipstick,” she said.

She’s not the only one who thinks so. Ulta Beauty’s stock is up 17 percent since Pfizer’s announcement, hitting its highest price since the last week of February when coronavirus fears first hit global markets. Estée Lauder, L’Oréal and other beauty sellers also saw modest bumps.

“As Ulta went up, Peloton went down – that’s how quickly the market reacted to the vaccine and how quickly people’s habits might change,” said Katie Thomas, head of the Kearney Consumer Institute. Thomas said consumers will come back to beauty first – versus leisure travel – because they will be staying local and wanting to go out and get “dolled up.”

Even if beauty comes back, Thomas added, there will be casualties. Some beauty habits may have permanently changed during the pandemic. Customers pay more attention to ingredients now and have pared back the number of products they buy. They are likely to continue doing so even after a vaccine is widely available.

“Covid has allowed beauty to be redefined,” Thomas said.

Life may go “back to normal” (or closer to it), but it doesn’t mean consumers will stop worrying about Covid. Thomas urged beauty retailers to stick with what they learned from the pandemic about customer behaviour, hygiene protocols and in-store sampling – and extend that into a new way of selling.

Retailers aren’t just readying for an influx of sales; they’re eager for a return to services, many of which were put on hold because of the close physical contact required for facials, makeup application, blowouts and eyebrow styling.

For Credo Beauty, a quick pandemic resolution means resuming in-store events and masterclasses, a key part of the business, according to Dawn Dobras, the retailer’s chief executive. Credo has 10 locations across the US.

“Nobody wants another Zoom class right now,” Dobras said. “We’re all doing it

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Why Fashion’s Most Vulnerable Companies Have the Most to Gain From a Vaccine | News & Analysis, BoF Professional

NEW YORK, United States — Shares of long-suffering fashion and retail stocks soared on Monday, after Pfizer’s announcement that its coronavirus vaccine had proved 90 percent effective raised the prospect of a quicker-than-expected end to the pandemic.

The S&P 500 index hit near-record highs, jumping nearly 1.2 percent Monday. Among the biggest winners were some of America’s hardest-hit businesses: Nordstrom, Macy’s and other department stores saw gains of 15 percent or more. Shares of Ulta Beauty, which has struggled with sagging demand for makeup in the age of face masks and Zoom calls, were also up 15 percent. Ralph Lauren and other brands specialising in office wear and fashion, saw big swings higher as well.

These retailers and others in the fashion and beauty space saw their sales eviscerated when lockdowns forced them to close their stores this spring. Customers haven’t returned in the same numbers since those restrictions were lifted, and a second wave of Covid-19 cases is likely to weigh on consumer spending. Many were bracing for another year or more of depressed sales and intermittent closures.

Pfizer’s announcement potentially changes that grim timetable. The pharmaceutical giant said it could have 50 million doses, enough for 25 million people by the end of the year, and 1.3 billion doses next year.

Until now, “[fashion] stocks haven’t recovered as much as a lot of other sectors, like tech or at-home retail,” said Susan Anderson, an analyst at B. Riley FBR. “Now we’re seeing the whole sector up because they were just so impacted by the shutdown.”

Retailers that are more fashion-oriented saw the greatest hikes on Monday because a vaccine signals an end to the work-from-home way of dressing, according to Anderson. “This means consumers are going to get back to more fashion apparel for when they go out, or work apparel,” she said.

The industry’s stock recovery should be nonetheless met with a grain of salt, experts warn: Even with a vaccine, shoppers are unlikely to return to their old habits overnight — or perhaps ever. E-commerce will continue to grow its share of total sales, and retailers that haven’t found their customers online could continue to struggle in the post-pandemic world.

Monday’s rally came on the heels of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election last week, ending weeks of uncertainty that plagued the stock market. The president-elect has already outlined his plan of action for when he takes office in two months, including a 13-member Coronavirus task force. Analysts predict that Biden is likely to roll back Trump-era tariffs on foreign goods, potentially including clothing made in China.

Election clarity is a positive, vaccine clarity is a game changer.

Still, it’s the promise of a vaccine that’s ultimately driving the recovery in retail stocks Monday. Uncertainty – whether about the pandemic, the economy, the election or all three – makes consumers less confident about their future income, and therefore less willing to buy non-essential items like clothes. The events of the last week should improve

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