Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
COVID-19 vaccinations of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots begin for U.S. health care workers, the Electoral College formalizes Joe Biden's win, Biden promises to rejoin the Paris climate accord, the national coronavirus death toll passes 300,000 and California's attorney general asks a judge to enforce his subpoena on Amazon make up this week's five national stories.
Hundreds more U.S. hospitals geared up to vaccinate their workers Tuesday as federal regulators issued a positive review of a second COVID-19 vaccine needed to boost the nation’s largest vaccination campaign. The Food and Drug Administration said its preliminary analysis confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, bringing it to the cusp of U.S. authorization. The first 3 million shots are being strictly rationed to front-line health workers and elder-care patients.
The Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden on Dec. 14 as the nation’s next president, ratifying his November victory in an authoritative state-by-state repudiation of President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he had lost. The presidential electors gave Biden a solid majority of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, the same margin that Trump bragged was a landslide when he won the White House four years ago. Results from the state electors will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Mike Pence will preside.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden pledged Dec. 12 to rejoin the Paris climate accord on the first day of his presidency, as world leaders staged a virtual gathering to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the international pact aimed at curbing global warming. The outgoing administration of President Donald Trump, who pulled Washington out of the Paris accord, wasn’t represented at the online gathering. But in a written statement sent shortly before it began, Biden made clear the U.S. was waiting on the sidelines to join again and noted that Washington was key to negotiating the 2015 agreement.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 300,000 Dec. 14 just as the country began dispensing COVID-19 shots in a monumental campaign to conquer the outbreak. The number of dead rivals the population of St. Louis or Pittsburgh. It is equivalent to repeating a tragedy on the scale of Hurricane Katrina every day for 5 1/2 months. It is more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. The U.S. crossed the threshold on the same day health care workers rolled up their sleeves for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, marking the start of the biggest vaccination campaign in American history.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Dec. 14 asked a judge to order Amazon to comply with subpoenas his office issued nearly four months ago as part of an investigation into how the company protects workers from the coronavirus. Becerra said the online sales giant hasn’t provided enough information on its safety steps and the status of infections and deaths at its shipping facilities across California. The attorney general is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department; he’d be the first Latino in the post.