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