Colin Dwyer | Michigan Radio
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Colin Dwyer

Now that federal regulators have authorized one COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the U.S. — and appear close to authorizing another — it seems Americans are growing less reluctant about receiving an inoculation themselves. The Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, released a poll Tuesday showing a significant leap in the number of people saying they definitely or probably would get vaccinated.

The holiday season is upon us, and usually that means packed shopping malls and kisses beneath the mistletoe, long-distance travel and big family festivities — just about everything, in other words, that could make an already dire pandemic even worse. So officials in multiple European countries, caught between a yule log and a hard place, are imposing a new wave of strict coronavirus lockdowns.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, federal officials are mobilizing behind a vast effort to distribute the vaccine as soon as possible. Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Saturday that distribution of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine has begun.

Federal officials have authorized emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech in a landmark decision that promises to alter the fight against the coronavirus radically in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration released its letter to Pfizer granting the authorization Friday evening.

Canadian health officials have authorized use of the country's first COVID-19 vaccine. Health Canada announced the move Wednesday, saying a "thorough, independent review of the evidence" determined that the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech meets the "stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements for use in Canada."

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Now, instead of the standard 14-day quarantine it has been recommending, the CDC says that potential exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 or seven days, depending on one's test results and symptoms.

If individuals do not develop symptoms, they need only quarantine for 10 days; if they test negative, that period can be reduced to just one week.

Officials in Illinois have ordered an independent investigation into a coronavirus outbreak that killed 27 people at a state-operated veterans' home. The state's Department of Veterans' Affairs announced the decision in a statement Tuesday, pledging to "immediately address any findings from that investigation."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is strongly recommending that people stay home for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With the holiday one week away, the agency issued a statement that taking a trip to see loved ones is simply inadvisable right now.

Updated at 11:36 a.m. ET

Officials in Michigan's most populous county reversed course and certified its election results Tuesday evening, just a few hours after a surprising party-line deadlock suddenly cast the certification of more than 800,000 votes in doubt. Wayne County voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Joe Biden.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The curfew in Serbia appears to have ended before it could even begin.

Just two days after federal officials barred international students from attending U.S. colleges that go online-only this fall, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made their objections clear. They sued the U.S. government in federal court Wednesday, seeking to have the U.S. Immigration Customs And Enforcement policy reversed and declared unlawful.

Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET

Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Brazilian president, who has consistently downplayed the dangers of the virus, revealed his positive test result during nationally televised remarks Tuesday. "It came back positive," he told reporters from behind a mask.

The grim news has taken no respite this Fourth of July.

The president of Honduras has contracted the coronavirus.

For nearly two months, the Chinese capital, a city of more than 20 million people, did not report a single local case of the coronavirus. But a recent spike in confirmed cases has officials in Beijing afraid they're staring down a new outbreak — and they are responding with swift and sweeping measures to contain it.

When Dr. Li Wenliang died of COVID-19 several weeks after the Chinese whistleblower tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, his family was expecting to grow in the coming months.

Now his widow, Fu Xuejie, has welcomed their second child, a boy, to the world without him.

"Husband, are you watching from heaven? The last gift you sent to me has been born," Fu said in a note posted to the Chinese social media platform WeChat. "I will definitely take care of him well."

A justice on Brazil's top court has ordered the president's administration to make its coronavirus data publicly available.

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes said in an order dated Monday that Brazil's Health Ministry must resume publishing the running totals for confirmed deaths and infections — a practice the department recently halted to widespread criticism.

Nearly every country in the world has confirmed cases of the coronavirus within its borders — but few have received the kind of global scrutiny that Sweden has.

That's because its uniquely relaxed response to the virus, with no strict lockdown, proved such a departure from not only its Nordic neighbors but also much of the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court has rejected a California church's attempt to overturn the state's coronavirus restrictions on in-person religious services.

In a 5-4 decision issued late Friday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's liberal bloc in upholding the state's right to impose limits on congregations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio expects up to to 400,000 New York City residents to head back to work in the first half of next month, as the city prepares to begin lifting some of its most stringent coronavirus restrictions. That's the upshot of the mayor's news conference Thursday at City Hall, during which he laid out what to expect from a city that emerged weeks ago as the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.

Even in a typical year, Memorial Day in the U.S. can be a confusing mixture of joy and sadness — at once a hearty welcome to summertime, brimming with picnics and parties, and a somber remembrance of the service members who died in wars.

But this has been no typical year.

Japan has completely lifted its nationwide state of emergency.

The country's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, announced Monday that officials have loosened the coronavirus restrictions in the last five of the country's 47 prefectures: Tokyo and its surrounding regions, as well as the northern island of Hokkaido.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

Less than two days after New York relaxed certain coronavirus restrictions on religious services and Memorial Day events, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people, the state has extended the measure to cover all gatherings for "any lawful purpose or reason." Gov. Andrew Cuomo amended the move in an executive order Friday.

A storm of massive proportions has thumped the coastal border regions of India and Bangladesh, slinging heavy rains and gusts exceeding 100 mph when it made landfall. After days of churning in the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Amphan came ashore Wednesday afternoon local time on the northeastern coast of India with the strength of a Category 2 hurricane.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision Tuesday, prolonging for a second time an agreement was initially reached in March.

The move delays the border's reopening by another 30 days, until June 21. The prime minister also made clear that another delay after that may well be in the cards.

Already grappling with effects of a global pandemic, South Asia is now confronting another major cause for concern: Cyclone Amphan, a storm of historic scale, is churning over the Bay of Bengal and about to bear down on the coastal regions bordering Bangladesh and India.

Italy has taken another major step in its emergence from one of the world's strictest coronavirus lockdowns. In a decree issued early Saturday, the Italian government laid out its timeline for lifting restrictions on domestic and foreign travel.

The dire consequences of the global pandemic have been difficult to escape, let alone ignore. The devastating effects of the coronavirus — from physical symptoms to economic complications — have made themselves apparent in headline after headline, week after week, for months that have felt like decades.

Yet beneath the klaxon clang of grim news, the United Nations is warning that the coronavirus presents still another menace that health officials must not overlook.

Happy stories have been hard to come by during the coronavirus pandemic — particularly on Broadway, which shuttered stages two months ago and won't reopen until Labor Day at the earliest. This week, however, brought a rare, bright exception to the parade of grim tidings.

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