Thursday morning news – December 3, 2020


COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record high in U.S. » Hospitals are treating a record number of COVID-19 patients following the Thanksgiving holiday nearly 100,000 people. 

Daily coronavirus deaths could also shatter records very soon. Almost 2,700 people died from the disease on Tuesday—just short of the record high set back in April.  

Dr. Cindy Friedman with the CDC said the agency hopes you’ll be home for Christmas. 

FRIEDMAN: Cases are rising and the safest thing to do is to postpone holiday travel and stay home.

If you are going to travel for the holidays, the CDC says get tested before you go and after you get back.

But the agency also announced Wednesday that it’s loosening its quarantine guidance. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says if you come in contact with someone infected with the virus, the data show you no longer need to quarantine for 14 days. Ten days will suffice or even 7 days with a negative test. 

REDFIELD: Only a 1 percent likelihood of someone being missed at 10 days. And then at 7 days, if you test out at day 5, 6 or 7, there was a 5 percent chance that you might miss someone.

The agency said the change makes following the guidance less of a hardship.

UK approves Pfizer vaccine for emergency use » Amid the COVID surge, the world is anxiously awaiting the arrival of several vaccines. But for at least some people in the UK, that wait is over. 

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech now has a green light in Britain. Regulators on Wednesday authorized it for emergency use.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said rolling out the vaccine will be difficult. 

JOHNSON: There are immense logistical challenges. It’s got to be stored at minus 70 degrees. Each person needs two injections three weeks apart. So it will inevitably take several months before all of the most vulnerable are protected. 

Minus-70 celsius is almost minus-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Many facilities simply aren’t equipped to store supplies at that temperature. 

The government has ordered vaccines for up to 20 million people, but not all the shots will be available immediately. 

U.S. regulators at the FDA will meet one week from today to review Pfizer’s application for emergency use in the United States. 

Ga. secretary state: second recount shows Biden won » Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says it appears that a second recount of presidential ballots will not change the end result. He told reporters Wednesday…

RAFFENSPERGER: As many of us have said, we wish that our guy would have won the election, but it doesn’t look like our guy has won the election. And it looks like Vice President Biden will be carrying Georgia, and he is our president-elect.

He said, as expected, the second recount has produced “no substantial changes to the results from any county.” 

Biden narrowly won the state by about 13,000 votes. An earlier hand recount of every ballot barely moved the needle.

Raffensperger also pushed back against President Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and called on the president to tone down his rhetoric. 

RAFFENSPERGER: He tweeted out ‘expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia.’ This is exactly the kind of language that is at the base of a growing threat environment for election workers who are simply doing their jobs. 

President Trump over the weekend blasted Republican Governor Brian Kemp for not intervening. 

TRUMP: The governor’s done nothing. He’s done absolutely nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him.

He tweeted that Kemp should—quote— “use his emergency powers” to “overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes.”

Kemp said state laws block him from interfering with elections. 

Hong Kong sentences pro-democracy activists » In Hong Kong, the government—now under the thumb of—Beijing is locking up pro-democracy activists for speaking out. That as China continues its crackdown on liberties in what used to be a semi-independent territory. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Activist Joshua Wong will spend the next 13 months in a prison cell after protesting police brutality last year outside a police station. 

The government also sentenced activist Ivan Lam to seven months behind bars. And another, Agnes Chow, received a 10-month sentence.

Authorities arrested the three activists last month.

A magistrate said the trio called on protesters to “besiege” the police headquarters and undermined law enforcement during the rally, which drew thousands of people. 

The activists belonged to the defunct Demosisto political party and helped to draw global attention to Hong Kong’s crackdown on dissent. 

Hong Kong officials have arrested at least 31 people under China’s new so-called national security law which Beijing imposed on the territory in June.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Congressional panel warns of China military expansion » Prominent economist Walter Williams died on Wednesday after teaching one final class at George Mason University. 

The African American author and teacher grew up poor and worked as a cab driver before earning his doctorate degree in economics in 1972.

In The Wall Street Journal, Williams’ colleague, Professor Donald Bordeaux, said Williams eloquently challenged popular economic ideas, such as minimum wages. 

He authored more than 150 publications in well known journals and was known for his straight talk and plain English.

He told the EconTalk podcast…

WILLIAMS: I delight in being able to take roughly 600 words and explain potentially complex economic ideas without the jargon so that the ordinary person can understand.

He also wrote 10 books, including The State Against Blacks, which PBS later made into the documentary “Good Intentions.”

Walter Williams was 84 years old.


(AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong is escorted by Correctional Services officers to get on a prison van before appearing in a court, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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