As the United States rolls out the Pfizer vaccine for health care workers and nursing home residents, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed Tuesday the effectiveness and safety of the Moderna and the National Institutes of Health vaccine, bringing the shot to the cusp of U.S. authorization.
Also Tuesday, the FDA authorized the first at-home rapid coronavirus test that doesn’t require a prescription. A company spokesperson said the test will be priced around $30 and be available at pharmacies and online.
California Ups Order of Body Bags, Reminding That COVID Remains Deadly
Tempering the excitement generated by COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday offered a grim reminder that the disease remains deadly, saying the state has ordered 5,000 more body bags for distribution to morgues in three counties, including Los Angeles, NBC Los Angeles reports.
“This is a deadly disease, a deadly pandemic, and we’re in the middle of it right now,” Newsom said. “We’re near the end, but we’re in the middle of the most acute peak as it relates to what we refer to as the third wave — the third and what we hope is the final wave of this disease.”
Newsom said 142 coronavirus-related deaths were reported statewide in the past 24 hours. Over the past week, the state averaged 163 deaths per day — up from 41 per day one month ago.
According to the governor, the state has 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units on standby at counties and hospitals across California for use is local facilities become overwhelmed by virus fatalities.
Florida Gov. DeSantis Reiterates Commitment to Keeping Restaurants Open
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated his commitment to keeping the state’s restaurants open on Tuesday, saying the risk of getting coronavirus is less at a restaurant than it is at home, NBC South Florida reports.
DeSantis held a news conference at Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach, where he said service industries including restaurants, lodging, and hospitality have “taken it on the chin.”
He said contact tracing has not shown that large amounts of people are getting infected at restaurants.
DeSantis’ comments came as Florida has seen increases in COVID-19 infections following the Thanksgiving holiday.