Donald Trump breaks the stimulus package; California; Pfizer

Jessica Flores
John Bacon



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In titles:

►Pfizer and BioNTech have announced a second agreement with the US government to provide another 100 million doses of the companies’ vaccine. This agreement brings the total number of doses to be delivered to the US by July 31 to 200 million.

►President Donald Trump denounced a COVID-19 aid package he should have signed, urging Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $ 600 to $ 2,000. It was not immediately clear whether he would veto the bipartisan agreement.

►California is on the verge of exceeding 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. With 1.95 million infections, half a million in just two weeks, state officials said the state could see 100,000 hospitalizations in January. As of Tuesday, the state has a capacity of 1.4% ICU and 22,900 deaths.

►Arkansas will build two facilities that will provide more than 100 additional hospital beds if the state runs out of capacity in the near future, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday. “We need to be prepared for whatever comes in January,” the governor said of a possible increase after the Christmas break.

► Long-term care facilities are preparing to distribute the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to its residents as early as next week as part of a partnership between CDC and CVS Health, Hawaii Public Radio reported. CVS Health began vaccinating long-term care staff and residents in 12 states on Monday. The pharmacy plans to expand its plan to another 36 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 18.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 322,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Just eight days ago, the country reached 300,000 deaths through COVID. Overall totals: over 77.9 million cases and 1.71 million deaths.

Here’s a closer look at today’s top stories:

Congress passed a COVID-19 aid bill that could provide a second round of stimulus checks to millions of Americans immediately after next week. But the really rich will not get rich with these checks. People who earn up to $ 75,000, and couples who earn less than $ 150,000 will receive the full amount – currently $ 600, but President Donald Trump is working for more. The plan calls for the check to be reduced by $ 5 for every $ 100 income above these income thresholds. It will be completely eliminated at $ 87,000 for individuals and $ 174,000 for couples.

Also, many students do not qualify nor do immigrants who do not have a social security number. Some elderly people and people with disabilities will not receive a check.

Jessica Menton

For hundreds of thousands of Mexican Americans, the annual pilgrimage to Mexico in December to visit parents and family is a sacred ritual on which even a global COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on the U.S. border to stop the spread of the virus could not stop. .

Many “paisanos” have already traveled or are in the process of finalizing their plans to make the trip home, changing their vacation plans and taking new precautions, despite requests from US and Mexican officials to stay home this year. Under current border restrictions, US citizens and permanent legal residents are free to travel through land ports of entry.

Last month, more than 5 million Americans defied similar government recommendations to stay home and traveled through US airports during Thanksgiving week, a holiday rooted in the tradition of sharing a meal with family and friends. Health officials blame this increase in travel for the December increase in coronavirus cases. For the vast Mexican diaspora in the United States, the draw for Christmas in Mexico is just as strong.

– Rafael Carranza and Lauren Villagran, Republic of Arizona

Most stores this holiday season will be open similar hours compared to Christmas Eve 2019, with most large retailers closing until 6pm, with a few exceptions. Best Buy stores close at 7pm and Target stores close at 8pm, two hours earlier than last year.

But against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the longest lines could be outside stores, either in on-board parking lots or in front of stores, as many limit the number of shoppers inside. Same-day delivery is also expected to be a more popular option in 2020, with delivery delays between winter and vaccine deliveries.

To help you plan your last-minute shopping, here are the Christmas Eve store hours for department stores, discounted retailers and grocers.

– Kelly Tyko

For months, hundreds of scientists and researchers living in Antarctica have inhabited the only continent in the world without a case reported by COVID-19. But now the virus has gotten right there.

Thirty people from a Chilean base gave positive results, the country’s army announced on Monday. On Tuesday, a regional health minister in Chile said there were 21 infections involving people aboard the Chilean naval supply ship Sargento Aldea. The passengers on the ship, who sailed to Chile from the Antarctic Peninsula, tested positive for COVID-19, the Board of Trustees of National Antarctic Programs said on Friday, according to a statement sent by US email today.

Another case was reported in an Antarctic village where the ship docked, according to regional health secretary Eduardo Castillo. No other country with an Antarctic presence has yet reported cases in public.

– Joel Shannon

Contribution: The Associated Press