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5 things to know for November 18: Covid-19, election, stimulus, US troops, Ethiopia

Pfizer has accumulated enough safety data on its Covid-19 vaccine and is preparing to file for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, calls the news "pretty amazing."

Posted: Nov 18, 2020 2:06 AM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 4:45 AM


For Thanksgiving Day, Zoom is lifting the time limit for free meetings -- so your virtual family get-togethers won't be cut short.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

The FDA has issued an emergency authorization for the first rapid coronavirus test that can be used at home and deliver results within minutes. The new test uses nasal swab samples and is authorized for ages 14 and older. It'll help people skip long lines as coronavirus cases skyrocket nationwide and comes days after more positive news on vaccine trials: Moderna announced a 94.5% effective rate, while Pfizer/BioNTech said final analysis shows its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective with no safety concerns and Pfizer's CEO says the company plans to file for emergency use authorization for it soon. The US continues to set grim records, with about 76,830 people hospitalized nationwide, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This is likely the 'last big surge' before a vaccine offers help, said Dr. Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner. 'The months ahead are going to look better than the weeks ahead,' he added.

2. Election 2020

President Trump has fired the head of a federal cybersecurity agency who debunked his election conspiracy theories. Christopher Krebs was director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Homeland Security Department. His agency recently launched an online rumor control blog rebutting claims of election fraud spread by Trump and his supporters. Krebs also posted on social media -- often with blaring red siren emojis -- fact checks of the baseless claims. In a tweet announcing the ouster, the President called Krebs' characterization of the election 'highly inaccurate.' Krebs fired back with a tweet of his own: 'Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow (sic).' Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden announced nine key members of his White House senior staff.

3. Stimulus

The fate of a federal stimulus package is looking bleak. Lawmakers are getting less confident a deal can be reached in the lame duck session -- with the focus instead turning to a government spending negotiation that must be finished by December 11. Aides on both sides say serious conversations about the stimulus have tapered off, even as US coronavirus cases have soared past 11 million. 'The men and women throughout our country -- they're suffering because of Covid and we're not doing a damn thing to help them,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. The divide between Republicans and Democrats continues to simmer over how much money each side is willing to spend. Democrats -- including Biden -- have urged Senate Republicans to pass House Democrats' Heroes Act, which totals more than $2 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they are not willing to spend much north of $1 trillion.

4. US troops

With two months left in office, President Trump is rushing to bring more US troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The withdrawal of thousands of troops would be completed by January 15 (just ahead of Biden's inauguration), leaving Afghanistan and Iraq with 2,500 troops each -- down from about 4,500 and 3,000, respectively, the acting defense secretary said. A senior defense official said the move is consistent with Trump's promise to the American people. But it also suggests the President may fall short of fulfilling one of his core pledges to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office -- something he pledged as recently as October.

5. Ethiopia

A deadly humanitarian crisis is developing in Ethiopia, where thousands of people are fleeing violence in the Tigray region. About 4,000 have crossed the border into eastern Sudan every day over the past week, and that number is growing, the United Nations warned. The crisis started on November 4 after the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Nobel laureate Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive in the region after accusing forces loyal to local leaders of attacking federal troops deployed there. The federal forces have since bombed targets in Tigray, leading to intense clashes with local forces. Pleas from neighboring nations to deescalate have fallen on deaf ears.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Twitter's growing up

The social media platform's introducing a bunch of new features, including disappearing tweets and audio. No edit button, though.

Travel tradition with a twist 

National Geographic unveiled its best travel destinations for 2021 -- but with options that reflect the times we're in.

Persistence does pay

After playing the same set of lottery numbers for 26 years, one North Carolina couple is now $366,000 richer.

Hello, better sleep 

Students designed a series of innovative solutions, including a pillow that forces people off their phones by blocking nearby wireless access.

It was just a matter of time

Amazon's making a leap into the health care industry with the launch of a new digital drugstore that'll have special perks for Prime members.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$1.5 million

The value in bribes a Maryland CEO paid to get his sons accepted to Harvard University, according to federal officials

TODAY'S QUOTE

'You hear about the deaths, but you don't ever really hear about the people left behind, and in this instance, it's a 4-year-old.'

Margie Bryant, great-aunt of a Texas boy who lost both parents to coronavirus

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Patience in action

Ever seen a science project with 250,000 falling dominoes? We haven't either, so here goes. Try not to think about the cleanup. (Click here to view.)

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 137600

Reported Deaths: 1877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29040464
Washington19216179
Marion16668247
Clackamas11989141
Lane8724113
Jackson712295
Umatilla697673
Deschutes517140
Yamhill329448
Malheur319855
Linn319449
Polk256340
Klamath252446
Josephine182636
Benton181714
Douglas175944
Jefferson173425
Union114617
Wasco111723
Columbia107518
Lincoln102717
Coos98315
Hood River97621
Morrow96310
Clatsop7075
Crook65213
Baker5825
Tillamook3692
Curry3245
Lake2485
Grant2171
Harney1806
Wallowa993
Gilliam531
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3147735

Reported Deaths: 36846
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles106550515184
San Bernardino2628581594
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2255582344
Orange2214932625
Santa Clara964351181
Kern89095590
Fresno847441043
Sacramento828611157
Alameda69693886
Ventura64404507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54416487
Stanislaus43938788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30027278
Santa Barbara26514264
Solano26494111
Imperial25562493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24761247
Kings19760160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16437151
Madera13781151
Santa Cruz12687130
Marin11930163
Yolo11014138
Shasta9920129
Butte9711134
El Dorado800259
Sutter792783
Napa782847
Lassen526916
San Benito514348
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada329674
Mendocino325635
Amador304232
Lake268132
Humboldt249425
Glenn198522
Colusa18549
Calaveras167223
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3873
Mariposa3464
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Medford
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 38°
Medford
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 38°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
Coastal rain, inland spotty snow showers tonight
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