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With vaccine drawing closer, U.S. tops 15 million coronavirus cases.

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DECEMBER 9, 2020

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

U.S. tops 15 million cases
U.S. coronavirus cases crossed the 15 million mark as regulators moved a step closer to approving a vaccine.

Leading health officials are once again sounding the alarm of further spread when people gather for the year-end holidays.

“We’re in for a very challenging period,” top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told a virtual summit on Tuesday. Pfizer cleared another hurdle when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released documents that raised no new red flags over the safety or efficacy of the vaccine it developed with Germany’s BioNTech.

Allergy warning over Pfizer vaccine
Britain’s medicine regulator has advised that people with a history of significant allergic reactions do not get Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine after two people reported adverse effects on the first day of rollout.

Britain began mass vaccinating its population in a global drive that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history, starting with the elderly and frontline workers.

National Health Service medical director Stephen Powis said the advice had been changed after two NHS workers reported anaphylactoid reactions associated with getting the shot.

Merkel pushes for tougher German lockdown
Chancellor Angela Merkel threw her weight behind calls for a fuller lockdown in Germany that would include closing shops after Christmas, telling legislators that vaccines alone would not majorly alter the pandemic’s course in the first quarter.

Europe’s largest economy has been in partial lockdown for six weeks, with bars and restaurants closed but shops and schools open. That has stopped the coronavirus’s exponential growth but infection levels remain at a high level.

Speaking in parliament, Merkel said regional leaders should follow scientific guidance, which has called for people to further reduce their contact with others.

Rich countries have bought too many vaccines, says Amnesty
Rich countries have secured enough coronavirus vaccines to protect their populations nearly three times over by the end of 2021, Amnesty International and other groups said, possibly depriving billions of people in poorer areas.

Track the global spread here.

Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Cruise from hell, Shell, Virgin Royal Caribbean’s “cruise to nowhere” doesn’t get very far and Shell boss Ben van Beurden needs to fix his revolving green door. Catch up with the latest financial insights.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

Are you a government employee or contractor involved in coronavirus testing or the wider public health response? Are you a doctor, nurse or health worker caring for patients? Have you worked on similar outbreaks in the past? Has the disease known as COVID-19 personally affected you or your family? Are you aware of new problems that are about to emerge, such as critical supply shortages?

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TOP STORIES

The U.S. Supreme Court handed a defeat to Republicans seeking to throw out up to 2.5 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania as they try to undo President Donald Trump’s election loss, with the justices refusing to block the state from formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory there. The court in a brief order rejected a request by U.S. congressman Mike Kelly, a Trump ally, and other Pennsylvania Republicans who filed a lawsuit after the Nov. 3 election.

What teacher layoffs in one city could mean for U.S. schools: With budgets battered by the coronavirus pandemic, state and local governments across the United States have laid off nearly 700,000 workers this year, according to U.S. government data, equal to 8.4% of the workforce. Advocates warn that the experience of Schenectady, an aging industrial city in New York, could become commonplace if Washington does not provide more help.

Bermuda and the Bahamas aren’t exactly big players in the oil-and-gas world. They don’t produce any of the fuels at all. Yet the islands are deep wells of profit for European oil giant Royal Dutch Shell. In 2018 and 2019, Shell earned more than $2.7 billion - about 7% of its total income in those years - tax-free by reporting profits in companies located in Bermuda and the Bahamas that employed just 39 people and generated the bulk of their revenue from other Shell entities, company filings show.

Criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their use of cryptocurrencies to launder money, with hundreds of millions of dollars of dirty funds last year flowing through digital wallets that allow users to hide their trail, according to Elliptic. At least 13% of all criminal proceeds in bitcoin passed through privacy wallets - which make it harder to track cryptocurrency transactions - in 2020, up from 2% in 2019, according to a study by the digital currency forensics firm.

BUSINESS

U.S. House to take up one-week stopgap bill as COVID-19 talks drag on

The U.S. House of Representatives votes on a one-week stopgap funding bill to provide more time for lawmakers to reach a deal on both COVID-19 relief and an overarching spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

4 MIN READ

No model for sale here, but India's small investors flock to Tesla stock

Mom-and-pop Indian investors increasingly buying U.S. stocks have been drawn to a company that has no presence in India so far: electric car maker Tesla.

2 MIN READ

Saving the City: London's finance district plots reboot as COVID compounds Brexit

For fintech entrepreneur Lewis Liu, no other city on earth could compare to London. Chinese-born and New York-bred, the CEO and co-founder of Eigen Technologies had always dreamed of setting up business in the Square Mile, the historic heart of European finance and home to a global talent pool vital to companies like his. But less than a year after opening his office within yards of the Bank of England, Liu’s happy-ever-after is under threat.

9 MIN READ

Citigroup heads to trial seeking to undo nearly $900 million Revlon blunder

Citigroup is heading to trial, hoping to convince a Manhattan federal judge to undo a nearly $900 million blunder where it used its own money to repay lenders of Revlon, the struggling cosmetics company.

3 MIN READ

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