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FDA authorizes a second vaccine as average daily cases and deaths hit records
By Jason Hanna, Theresa Waldrop and Christina Maxouris, CNN
Updated 8:31 PM ET, Fri December 18, 2020
(CNN) The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday night authorized a second coronavirus vaccine for emergency use as Covid-19 hospitalizations rose to another record and cases and deaths are piling up in unprecedented ways.
The FDA had signaled it would issue the authorization quickly for Moderna’s vaccine candidate, after the agency’s vaccine advisers voted Thursday to recommend approval.
“The emergency use authorization allows the vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years and older,” the FDA said in a tweet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to green-light the vaccine before shots can be administered — and a CDC advisory panel is meeting this weekend to discuss it.If all hurdles are cleared, Moderna’s vaccine could be given in the US next week — joining Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, which rolled out this week, with first doses primarily being given to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
“It’s an exciting time, but it’s a heartbreaking time,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN Friday of the vaccines’ arrivals.”
The numbers (of cases, deaths and hospitalizations) are almost unspeakable at this point.”In the US, average daily cases, total hospitalizations and average daily deaths are still rising to levels not previously seen, as hospital staff around the country warn they’re running out of space and energy to provide sufficient care:
Cases:The country’s average number of daily cases across a week was 216,674 on Thursday — a record high, John’s Hopkins University data show. That’s more than three times what the daily case average was during a summer peak in July.
More than 1.51 million new coronavirus cases were reported in the US this past week — the most ever for one week, according to JHU. That means new infections were reported in roughly 1 in 216 people in the US this week alone.