National Transportation Board(LOS ANGELES) — Island Express, the company listed as the owner in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others said it is canceling all flights until further notice.The California company had regularly provided private helicopter flights for Bryant, and others, in addition to sightseeing flights for tourists.“All services (regular and charter) were immediately suspended following the tragic accident on Sunday, January 26,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers.”Bryant had chartered the flight on Sunday morning to fly to Mamba Sports Academy for a girls basketball tournament featuring his daughter’s team. Two other children, Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli, as well as a coach, Christina Mauser, were on the flight. Chester’s mother, Sarah, and Altobelli’s mother and father, Keri and John, were also killed in the accident.Pilot Ara Zobayan, who had worked for the company for over 10 years, was the ninth victim.Island Express said in a statement on Monday that it owned the Sikorsky S76 helicopter and promised to cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the accident.“One of our helicopters, N72EX, Sikorsky S76, was involved in an accident on Sunday, January 26th in the Calabasas area of LA County,” the company said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our top priority is providing assistance to the families of the passengers and the pilot. We hope that you will respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time.”“We are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the cause of the accident and we are grateful to the first responders and local authorities for their response to this unimaginable accident,” it added.The helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport and was headed toward Thousand Oaks.NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said Tuesday the helicopter was not equipped with a Terrain Awareness Warning System, or TAWS, which could have alerted the pilot that he was flying too close to the mountain. The NTSB recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration following a 2004 crash that all helicopters should be equipped with the system, but it was not implemented.It’s unclear whether the system would’ve prevented the accident, which took place in heavy enough fog that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said it kept its choppers grounded.The NTSB investigation continues, with a preliminary report expected next week. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Here’s the latest on the developing situation Monday. All times Eastern:10:50 a.m.: Amy Klobuchar’s husband tests positive for coronavirusFormer Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says her husband, John Bessler, received positive coronavirus test results Monday morning.Bessler suffered a bad cough, including coughing up blood, and now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator, Klobuchar said in a statement.“He is exhausted and sick,” she said.“John and I have been in different places for the last two weeks and I am outside the 14-day period for getting sick, my doctor has advised me to not get a test,” Klobuchar said. “As everyone is aware, there are test shortages for people who need them everywhere and I don’t qualify to get one under any standard.”“I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease,” she wrote. “I hope he will be home soon. I know so many Americans are going through this and so much worse right now. So I hope and pray for you, just as I hope you will do for my husband. Meanwhile I am working in the Senate to get help to the American people.” 10:30 a.m.: Stay-at-home advisory issued in MassachusettsA stay-at-home advisory has been issued in Massachusetts, urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel from Tuesday until April 7.Also beginning Tuesday, all “non-essential” businesses in Massachusetts will be closed, though Gov. Charlie Baker encouraged restaurants to continue to offer food for take-out and delivery.9:20 a.m. New Jersey testing site reaches capacity before it opensIn northern New Jersey, hit hard by the outbreak, a testing site at Bergen County Community College reached capacity even before it opened Monday morning, reported ABC New York station WABC-TV.8:39 a.m. One doctor’s plea for suppliesA Massachusetts emergency room doctor, who made a sharp-worded appeal on Facebook for the need for protective gear, told ABC News he’s since received a number of donated supplies. “Since that post went out, people have been showing up in our ER, donating whatever they have, people have been making masks,” Dr. Josh Lerner, who works at the Leominster campus of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, said in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.“People are dropping off food, any type of personal protective equipment. Painters, contractors are giving us their supplies. A neighbor of mine dropped off a box of N95 masks this morning, left it on my porch,” Lerner continued. “So we are being heard by the American people.”But Lerner said it’s unclear how long the supplies will last as his emergency room starts to see an influx in acute cases of patients sickened with the novel coronavirus disease. “I think something to keep in mind is that, for any one patient, there are multiple health care workers who are at the bedside,” he said. “We could be talking about many, many supplies being used at any one time at the bedside. And so, at this moment, I don’t know how many more days of supplies we have, but we are sort of using them as judiciously as possible.” Lerner called on the U.S. government as well as leaders at the local, state and federal levels to “work together” rather than “debate with one another.” “We as an entire nation need to come together to fight this,” he said.7:48 a.m. Spain reports 462 deaths in past 24 hoursSpain’s health ministry on Monday reported 462 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The country’s death toll from COVID-19 has now topped 2,000. Spain has the third-highest number of recorded deaths in the outbreak, following China and Italy. With nearly 30,000 diagnosed cases, Spain is behind the United States and Italy in the highest national total outside China.5:39 a.m. Wuhan, China, reports no new cases for five straight daysThe Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has reported no new confirmed cases for the past five days.The city is still considered a high-risk zone but signs of life are reappearing on the streets as authorities begin to relax some of the strict measures that were put in place. Road checkpoints are being removed and some private vehicles have returned to the streets. The city’s subway system remains shut down but has begun trial runs as health workers disinfect the subway cars and stations.City leaders met Monday to discuss scheduling the resumption of work and production. Monday marks two months since Chinese authorities placed Wuhan on lockdown as the virus spread like wildfire throughout the city and the greater Hubei province.“The meeting emphasized the need to make overall plans to restore economic and social order, and actively and steadily promote orderly resumption of work and production,” the Wuhan government said in a statement Monday. “It is necessary to speed up the resumption of production and industrial enterprises, the return of stores and supermarkets as soon as possible, the orderly restoration of public transportation, the safe and orderly movement of personnel, and the guarantee of resumption of production and market.”4:09 a.m. Florida closes all state parksFlorida is closing all of its state parks to the public due to the coronavirus crisis.At the direction of the governor and to successfully uphold social distancing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said it will close all state parks to the public, effective Monday. The Sunshine State is home to nearly 200 state parks and trails.A notice on the Florida State Parks website said the Department of Environmental Protection “has taken many measures to continue providing resource recreation at our state parks during this time, such as limiting operating hours and reducing visitor capacity at parks with high visitation.”“Unfortunately,” the notice continued, “this has not resulted in the reductions needed to best protect public health and safety as Florida continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”There are more than 1,000 diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Florida, and at least 13 of those patients have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.3:42 a.m. U.S. Secret Service employee tests positiveA U.S. Secret Service employee is in quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the agency confirmed in a statement late Sunday night.“The Secret Service has conducted a comprehensive contact trace assessment and determined that the employee has not had contact with any Secret Service employee or protectee for nearly three weeks,” the agency said.Further information about the employee’s identity was not provided due to privacy considerations.3:00 a.m. Japan to begin quarantining all visitors from the USJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that his country will require a 14-day quarantine to all visitors from the United States amid an escalating number of coronavirus infections around the globe.The quarantine requirement includes Japanese and American citizens and will go into effect Thursday until the end of April. The move comes after Japan raised its travel advisory for the United States, urging Japanese citizens not to make nonessential trips to the nation.Abe said the new requirement is in line with containment measures taken by other countries, including the United States, which has reported a surge in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.Japan appears to have successfully slowed the spread of the virus on its soil, with just 1,101 diagnosed cases as of Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Still, Abe said a decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, slated to kick off on July 24, “may become inevitable” if the pandemic makes it impossible to hold the event safety.The International Olympic Committee’s executive board has announced a plan to analyze the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision that could include the option to postpone, although the board emphasized that it has no current plans to outright cancel the games. A number of Olympic athletes have called on organizers to postpone or cancel the games due to the pandemic.“If it is difficult to hold in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable,” Japan’s prime minister said at a press conference Monday. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — A growing pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected hundreds of thousands of people around the world, spreading to every continent except Antartica since emerging in China back in December. There are more than 350,000 diagnosed cases of the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University shows. More than 15,000 people have died so far, prompting many countries to impose travel restrictions, close borders, and shut schools and businesses. The number of U.S. cases has topped 35,000, spanning across every state as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. At least 471 of those patients have died. Millions of U.S. residents have been ordered to stay at home in an effort to contain the disease.
iStock(NEW YORK) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings have become a source of comfort, calm and inspiration as the novel coronavirus pandemic intensifies.New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic. With over 44,000 diagnosed cases, New York has by far the most cases of any state in the nation.At least 519 have died in the state, and Cuomo warned, “That is going to continue to go up.”The battle against the virus will “be weeks and weeks and weeks,” the governor said Friday, adding, “I’m proud to fight this fight with you.”Here’s a partial transcript of the governor’s Friday remarks:I want to make two points to you and I want to make two promises to you. This is a different beast that we’re dealing with. This is an invisible beast. It is an insidious beast. This is not going to be a short deployment. This is not going to be that you go out there for a few days. We work hard and we go home. This is going to be weeks and weeks and weeks. This is going to be a long day and it’s going to be a hard day, and it’s going to be an ugly day, and it’s going to be a sad day.This is a rescue mission that you’re on – the mission is to save lives. That’s what you’re doing. The rescue mission is to save lives and as hard as we work, we’re not going to be able to save everyone. And what’s even more cruel is this enemy doesn’t attack the strongest of us. It attacks the weakest of us. It attacks our most vulnerable which makes it even worse in many ways. Because these are the people that every instinct tells us we’re supposed to protect.These are our parents and our grandparents. These are our aunts, our uncles. These are a relative who was sick and every instinct says protect them. Help them, because they need us. And those are the exact people that this enemy attacks. Every time I’ve called out the National Guard I have said the same thing to you: I promise you I will not ask you to do anything that I will not do myself. And the same is true here. We’re going to do this and we’re going to do this together.My second point is, you are living a moment in history. This is going to be one of those moment they’re going to write and they’re going to talk about for generations. This is a moment that is going to change this nation. This is a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people — make them stronger, make them weaker — but this is a moment that will change character.Ten years from now, you’ll be talking about today to your children or your grandchildren and you will shed a tear because you will remember the lives lost. You’ll remember the faces and you’ll remember the names and you’ll remember how hard we worked and that we still lost loved ones. And you’ll shed a tear and you should because it will be sad.But, you will also be proud. You’ll be proud of what you did. You’ll be proud that you showed up. You showed up when other people played it safe. You had the courage to show up. You had the skill and the professionalism to make a difference and save lives. That’s what you will have done.At the end of the day, nobody can ask anything more from you. That is your duty, to do what you can when you can. You will have shown skill and courage and talent. You’ll be there with your mind, you’ll be there with your heart and you’ll serve with honor. That will give you pride and you should be proud. I know that I am proud of you.And every time the National Guard has been called out, they have made every New Yorker proud. I am proud to be with you yet again. I’m proud to fight this fight with you. And I bring you thanks from all New Yorkers who are just so appreciative of the sacrifice that you are making, the skill that you’re bringing, the talent that you’re bringing. You give many New Yorkers confidence.So I say, my friends, that we go out there today and we kick coronavirus’ a–, that’s what I say. And we’re going to save lives and New York is going to thank you. God bless each and every one of you. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Courtesy The Arbery familyBy CHRISTINA CARREGA, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents executed a warrant to search the home of the men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, almost three months after the shooting.Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged on May 7 after cellphone video of the chase and killing of Arbery, taken by William Bryan, was leaked onto social media two days earlier.The 28-second video showed Arbery jogging as Travis McMichael stood outside of a white pickup truck armed with a shotgun and Gregory McMichael, a former police officer stood in the truck’s open flatbed trunk holding a. 357 magnum.The McMichaels, who are white, went after Arbery, who is African American, after they suspected him of committing “several break-ins” in their Satilla Shores neighborhood, according to police reports.The video shows Arbery and Travis McMichael tussling with the shotgun before three shots are fired.Arbery, 25, stumbled and fell to the ground where he was pronounced dead on Feb. 23.The McMichaels have been held without bail in a Glynn County jail as GBI continues their investigation.A spokeswoman with GBI confirmed in a statement that the agency executed a search warrant at the home of the McMichaels. However, the father and son live in separate homes within the Satilla Shores neighborhood.Travis McMichael lives on Satilla Drive while Gregory McMichael lives on River Ridge Road, police reports show.A local reporter from WSB’s Channel 2’s Action News was present on Tuesday around 7 p.m. when the agents searched the Satilla Drive home and backyard. It didn’t appear that GBI agents collected any evidence, according to the report.Requests for comment from both of the McMichaels’ attorneys about the search warrant were not immediately returned. Their attorneys have maintained their innocence in previous statements. Travis McMichael’s attorney Robert G. Rubin asked that “no one rush to judgment, and to allow the legal process to run its course.”“No further details are being released at this time due to the active and ongoing case,” the GBI spokeswoman said in a statement.Since the McMichaels’ arrests, several videos have been released regarding the investigation including footage inside the construction site where Arbery was accused by the McMichaels of breaking into on the day of his death.On the same day investigators executed the search warrant, S. Lee Merritt — one of the attorneys for the Arbery family — slammed an unrelated police body camera video that was released on Monday by The Guardian that showed Arbery being questioned by a Glynn County police officer and had a stun gun fired at him by another officer.“Time and again the cycle of information and video from previous encounters with police are released. This time Ahmaud was relaxing in a Brunswick park on Nov 7th, 2017 morning when he was aggressively questioned by two officers,” said Merritt in a statement. “The releases are deliberate distractions from the murder case.”A separate video from December 2017 released Tuesday on Storyful, showed Arbery getting arrested by Glynn County police for allegedly shoplifting a television.“They continue to release images attempting to criminalize Ahmaud Arbery, the victim. When the criminals remain [to be] William Bryan, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael,” said Merritt in a video posted on his Instagram account.Bryan has not been charged in connection with Arbery’s death.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols. Vaccines are how we beat this virus.Now back to continue fighting for a rescue package including a lot more money for distribution so more Americans can receive it as fast as possible. pic.twitter.com/kSBhI3EzzM— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 18, 2020 narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA, MEREDITH DELISO and ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 75.5 million people worldwide and killed over 1.6 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news developed over the weekend. All times Eastern:Dec 20, 8:56 pmCanada suspends flights from UK for next 72 hoursThe Canadian government announced it will suspend all commercial and private flights from the United Kingdom after a new strain of the virus was discovered.The suspension goes into effect at midnight.“Passengers who arrived in Canada today from the United Kingdom are now subject to secondary screening and enhanced measures, including increased scrutiny of quarantine plans. Passengers who arrived recently from the United Kingdom will also receive additional direction from the Government of Canada,” the government said in a news release.Several other nations, including Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, announced U.K. flight suspensions Sunday.Dec 20, 8:55 pmTennessee governor says state is ‘ground zero’ for COVID surgeTennessee Gov. Bill Lee gave a passionate plea to his constituents to avoid holiday gatherings as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.The state has around 10,000 Tennesseans getting sick every day, which was three times the numbers at the end of October, the governor said during a news conference Sunday. More than 100 people are dying from the virus daily, Lee said.“Tennessee is ground zero for a surge in sickness,” he said.Lee warned that the next few weeks will be crucial and urged families to stick to their households during Christmas and New Year’s.“We’ve seen firsthand that Thanksgiving gatherings and extended time indoors have been the leading driver in spreading COVID-19 like wildfire,” he said.Lee signed an order that limited indoor gatherings to 10 people maximum and limited attendance at indoor sporting events.The governor urged residents to wear masks to stop the spread, however, he did not issue a state wide mask mandate.Dec 20, 8:43 pmCongress reaches deal on COVID relief packageHours before the government was set to shutdown, congressional leaders announced they came to an agreement over a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.A final vote on the spending bill and COVID-19 relief bill will be on Monday in the House, before it heads to the Senate.Lawmakers agreed to a $300 boost in weekly unemployment benefits, $600 relief checks for individuals, more than $300 billion for small business aid and huge pots of money for schools, hospitals and vaccine distribution.Dec 20, 7:18 pmFour more countries suspend flights from UKFour more countries announced they will suspend flights from the United Kingdom after a new strain of the coronavirus was discovered in the country.Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior announced it would suspend all international flights, except in “exceptional cases” for at least one week.Turkish Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca tweeted his country would temporarily ban all fights from U.K., Denmark, Netherlands and South Africa.In Switzerland, the Swiss Civil Aviation Authority announced flights from the U.K. and South Africa would be suspended starting at midnight “until further notice.”Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš tweeted that flights to and from the U.K. would be suspended from midnight to at least Jan. 1Dec 20, 5:25 pmCDC committee: People over 75, front-line essential workers should get vaccine nextThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee voted 13-1 on who would receive the vaccine in groups “1b and 1c” and who would be “essential.”Phase 1b includes people over 75 and front-line essential workers, while phase 1c includes younger patients with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers.Those two groups would cover K-12 teachers, school staff, child care workers and critical workers in high-risk settings.It would also include people in homeless shelters, prisons, jails, detention centers and mental development centers and staff who work in these places, according to the CDC.The committee also defined front-line essential workers as first responders, educators, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. postal workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers.The front-line essential workers represent about 30 million Americans, according to the CDC.The CDC is expected to sign off on these recommendations to make the next phase of vaccines available to Americans over 75 and front-line workers, but it will ultimately be up to states to define which front-line workers qualify.Dec 20, 4:30 pmHalf a million Americans received Pfizer vaccine in first week: CDCThe Centers for Disease Control released its first set of data on the Pfizer coronavirus roll out.As of Sunday afternoon, at least 556,208 doses have been administered and 2.8 million doses have been distributed throughout the country, according to the CDC.The first doses were given out to hospital workers, nursing home staff and federal elected officials starting on Dec. 14. Those patients will need a second dose in a few weeks.The CDC told ABC News it plans to transition this data to agency’s COVID Data Tracker in the next couple weeks and have data available down to the jurisdictional level.A coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Moderna began shipping on Sunday and is slated to be administered this week.Dec 20, 12:19 pmModerna vaccine now being shipped in the USThe second COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by the FDA is now being rolled out.The first cases of the Moderna vaccine were seen being rolled out from a facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, to be shipped to the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee, for nationwide distribution on Sunday morning. The shipment was escorted by U.S. Marshalls.The doses were packed into insulated coolers with specialized cold packs and a temperature monitor, according to pharmaceutical distribution compant McKesson.The initial vaccine orders will be delivered to administration sites on Monday.ABC News’ Gio Benitez and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.Dec 20, 7:45 amMcKesson begins distributing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccineHealth care company McKesson Corporation has begun distributing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and the ancillary supply kits needed to administer it, they said in a statement Sunday. Brian Tyler, the CEO of McKesson, said, “We are honored to be a partner with the U.S. government and other private-sector companies such as Moderna to support in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the ancillary supply kits.”Their vaccine distribution plan, they said, is part of Operation Warp Speed’s effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to all Americans, and under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).“In March, our world seemed to change overnight,” Tyler added. “But with a renewed sense of commitment and intensified focus, we’ve come together across industries and forged public and private partnerships to help restore and protect the health and wellbeing of people around the world. With our exceptional group of employees managing the effort, we stand ready as a company to meet this historical moment.”Dec 20, 6:18 amCollege Football Playoff semifinal moved to Texas from CaliforniaThe 2021 college football semifinal game scheduled to take place Jan. 1 at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, has been moved to AT&T Stadium in Dallas because of COVID-19 concerns.The decision “was not an easy one,” said David Eads, Tournament of Roses CEO and executive director. “While we remain confident that a game could have been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, as evident in the other collegiate and professional games taking place in the region, the projection of COVID-19 cases in the region has continued on an upward trend.”Sporting events in California since March haven’t allowed fans or the families of participants to attend. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses in November and again in December appealed this decision. Both appeals were denied.-ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this reportDec 19, 5:44 pmApple temporarily closing all California storesApple is temporarily closing all California stores amid the state’s COVID-19 surge. Stores are currently open for pickup of existing online orders, Genius Bar appointments or one-on-one shopping sessions made through Dec. 22, the company’s website said.Apple, which has over 50 stores in the state, had initially started temporarily closing all Los Angeles-area locations on Friday. California reported 43,608 new COVID-19 cases and 272 deaths on Saturday. Four regions — San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area — are under a regional stay-at-home order based on intensive care unit capacity.-ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman contributed to this reportDec 19, 4:29 pmNetanyahu 1st in Israel to get vaccinatedPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got a COVID-19 vaccine live on TV Saturday, making himself the first person in Israel, and one of the first world leaders, to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.“This is a very great day for the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said upon getting the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. “I have asked to be vaccinated first, together with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, in order to serve as a personal example and to encourage all of you to be vaccinated.”Medical staff and those older than 60 will be vaccinated starting on Sunday.By the end of the month, there will be “millions of vaccines here, and additional millions will come afterward,” Netanyahu said.-ABC News’ Bruno Nota contributed to this reportDec 19, 4:11 pmCDC advisory committee recommends Moderna vaccineThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-0 to recommend Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to patients 18 years and older under the emergency use authorization.Three members recused themselves in Saturday’s virtual vote.The ACIP is an independent group of medical experts that advises the CDC. -ABC News’ Michelle StoddartDec 19, 2:23 pmNew COVID-19 deaths up nearly 14% week-over-week: HHSNew COVID-19 deaths have increased nearly 14% week-over-week, according to an internal U.S. Health and Human Services memo obtained by ABC News. There were 18,358 deaths recorded from Dec. 12 to 18 — marking a 13.8% increase compared with the previous week, the memo said.During that time, there were over 1.5 million new cases, up 5.6% from the previous seven-day period.Across the country, 32% of hospitals have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, 23% of inpatients have COVID-19, and 34% of ventilators in use are occupied by patients with COVID-19.Hospitalization rates are surging in Arizona, New Hampshire, Nevada, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., the memo noted.Fatalities rose 171% in Colorado between the weeks ending Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, it said. -ABC News’ Josh MargolinDec 19, 1:40 pmFirst Moderna vaccinations likely Monday, Azar saysThe first Moderna vaccines will likely be administered on Monday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. Nearly 6 million doses are in the process of [being distributed] (), following emergency use authorization of the vaccine by the Food & Drug Administration.They will begin delivery on Monday, at which point “we will likely see the first vaccinations with this vaccine,” Azar said on Twitter Saturday.Dec 19, 12:36 pmNew London lockdown announced in face of more virulent COVID-19 strainUK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a stricter “tier 4” lockdown for London and southeast England on Saturday, citing a rapidly spreading new strain of COVID-19 detected by government scientists. The new strain was not more dangerous, he stressed during a press briefing, but it was spreading faster, particularly in London and southeast England. The new variant may be 70% more transmissible than any strain previously detected, he said. There is no evidence a vaccine is less effective against it, he added.The new restrictions go into effect Sunday morning. People are encouraged to stay home, and only one household indoors and two households outdoors will be allowed.Previously, up to three households could gather from Dec. 23-27.“We cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” Johnson said Saturday.All nonessential shops, sports facilities and gyms will also close. The restrictions will last at least two weeks.-ABC News’ Mike Trew contributed to this reportDec 19, 10:30 am‘We are ready,’ FedEx says about shipping Moderna vaccine across USFedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp said Saturday it “operations were in motion” to transport the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for McKesson Corp. throughout the United States.Federal advisers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recommend the [Moderna vaccine](} for people over the age of 18, clearing a path for government authorization on what would become the nation’s second vaccine to prevent COVID-19.On Dec. 11, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech became the (first COVID-19 vaccine) authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for people age 16 and over. Rollout of the first vaccine began Monday, FedEx also began delivering the Pfizer and BioNTech last week.FedEx Express will begin transport of the vaccine and kits of supplies for administration of the vaccine, using its FedEx Priority Overnight service supported by FedEx Priority Alert advanced monitoring, the company said in its statement.-Ahmad Hemingway, Anne Flaherty, Stephanie Ebbs, Sophie Tatum, Arielle Mitropoulos and Ivan PereiraDec 19, 6:28 amUS sees record-high number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deathsThe United States reported a record high of 249,709 new COVID-19 cases Friday — just shy of a quarter-million — according to updated data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Also, according to The COVID Tracking Project’s Friday evening update, a record 114,751 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus, marking the thirteenth straight day that the nation has hit a record high of current hospitalizations.Additionally, 2,814 deaths were reported Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. By all metrics, this week has been the worse since the pandemic began in terms of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.Dec 19, 4:42 amStanford apologizes for vaccine plan that left out many front-line doctorsStanford Medical Center has apologized for its vaccine plan that left out many front-line doctors following Friday’s protest. In a statement obtained by KGO, Stanford Health Care wrote: “We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan. Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine. We apologize to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine.”On Friday morning, hundreds of residents protested at Stanford Medical Center, saying that only seven front-line residents were going to be given the COVID-19 vaccine in the first wave of 5,000 vaccines the hospital was allocated. Front-line doctors at the protest said orthopedic surgeons, dermatologists and telehealth doctors were getting vaccinated before them.California Department of Public Health spokesperson Ali Bay also released a statement following the protest. “The federal and state vaccine guidelines have prioritized our front-line health care workers who have been putting their lives at risk to fight this virus from day one. We urge all health care providers to follow the state’s guidelines on vaccination phases which were created in consultation with experts and community leaders,” Bay said.Dec 19, 12:30 amHealth care workers experience reactions to COVID vaccineAdvocate Aurora Health, a health care system in Wisconsin and Illinois, said Friday that four members of their team at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois, “experienced reactions” after getting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. They are now temporarily pausing their vaccination program as they treat the team members and investigate why they experienced negative reactions. “Since Thursday, four team members at Advocate Condell Medical Center experienced reactions shortly after vaccination with symptoms including tingling and elevated heartrate,” they said in a statement. “These four team members represent fewer than 0.15% of the approximately 3,000 who have so far received vaccinations across Advocate Aurora Health. At this time, we can share three team members are home and doing well, and one is receiving additional treatment.”They explained that reactions are an expected side effect of vaccination, and they still encourage others to get vaccinated to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.Dec 18, 9:20 pmCurrent hospitalizations set new record in USThere are a record 114,751 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S., according to The COVID Tracking Project.Nevada and Arizona have the highest hospitalizations per million people in the country, it said.Per capita cases are also growing “at an alarming rate” in Arizona, it said, with currently 1,049 new COVID-19 cases per million people.There were 228,825 new cases and 2,751 additional deaths reported nationwide on Friday.Dec 18, 8:05 pmFDA authorizes Moderna vaccineThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 vaccine Friday night, saying the data provide “clear evidence” that Moderna’s vaccine works.The FDA authorized Moderna’s vaccine for people ages 18 and over.Nearly 6 million doses of the vaccine will start to ship next week to hospitals and nursing homes.The emergency use authorization comes after federal advisers agreed overwhelmingly on Thursday that the benefits of the Moderna vaccine outweighed any potential risks based on trial data.The FDA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine last Friday.People will not necessarily be given a choice between the two vaccines, both of which have proved highly effective in trials.-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.Dec 18, 3:18 pm2nd federal prisoner scheduled to be executed in January tests positiveA second federal prisoner scheduled to be executed has tested positive for COVID-19.Corey Johnson was set to be put to death on Jan 14.“Not surprisingly, given the growing outbreak on federal death row, Corey Johnson also has now tested positive for COVID-19,” Johnson’s attorneys, Donald Salzman and Ronald Tabak, said in a statement. “The government must stop conducting executions during a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility, and we have called on the Department of Justice to withdraw Mr. Johnson’s execution date.”“Mr. Johnson’s diagnosis will substantially interfere with his attorneys’ ability to have meaningful contact with him during these critical days before his scheduled execution, and the widespread outbreak on the federal death row only confirms the reckless disregard for the lives and safety of staff, prisoners and attorneys alike,” the lawyers continued. “If the government will not withdraw the execution date, we will ask the courts to intervene.”Johnson was convicted of killing seven people “in furtherance of his drug-trafficking activities,” according to the Justice Department.On Thursday, ABC News learned that another inmate set to be executed in January, Dustin Higgs, was diagnosed with COVID-19, according to one of Higgs’ lawyers, Shawn Nolan.Higgs was scheduled to be executed on Jan. 15.“This is surely the result of the super spreader executions that the government has rushed to undertake in the heart of a global pandemic,” Nolan told ABC News in a statement Thursday evening. “Following the two executions that took place last week and one other two weeks prior, the COVID numbers at the federal prison in Terre Haute spiked enormously. Now our client is sick. We have asked the government to withdraw the execution date and we will ask the courts to intervene if they do not.”Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women — Tamika Black, 19, Mishann Chinn, 23, and Tanji Jackson, 21 — at a national wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors allege Higgs and two friends kidnapped the three women after Higgs became enraged because one of them rebuffed his advances at a party earlier that night.There are 222 inmates at Terre Haute who have tested positive for COVID-19. The Bureau of Prisons said on Thursday night that there were some inmates who have tested positive on death row, but did not go into detail.A spokesperson said, “While a number of inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at USP Terre Haute in recent weeks, many of these inmates are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates.”ABC News’ Luke Barr contributed to this report.Dec 18, 2:17 pmPence, Pelosi, McConnell get vaccinatedHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi was vaccinated Friday afternoon on Capitol Hill, according to a spokesman.Pelosi tweeted, “Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was also vaccinated Friday. He tweeted, “Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols. Vaccines are how we beat this virus.”Hours earlier, Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated. Pence along with his wife, Karen, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex.All three were wearing face masks, as were the health care workers who administered the injections.“Today, Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to ensure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners,” Pence told reporters. “Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people.”The vice president also said that emergency-use authorization of the Moderna vaccine could come “perhaps within hours.”“When it is approved, we expect later today, we’ll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week,” he said.Despite record-high numbers of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the U.S. this week, Pence said the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will get vaccinated on Monday in Delaware, incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.Dec 18, 2:14 pmCalifornia reports 41,012 daily casesHard-hit California reported 41,012 daily cases on Friday.On Wednesday, the Golden State reported a record high of 53,711 daily cases.With 300 more deaths reported Friday, California’s death toll stands at 22,160.ABC News’ Matt Fuhrman contributed to this report.Dec 18, 1:53 pmPence, Pelosi, McConnell get vaccinatedHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi was vaccinated Friday afternoon on Capitol Hill, according to a spokesman.Pelosi tweeted, “Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was also vaccinated Friday. He tweeted, “Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols. Vaccines are how we beat this virus.” Hours earlier, Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated. Pence along with his wife, Karen, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex.All three were wearing face masks, as were the health care workers who administered the injections.“Today, Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to ensure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners,” Pence told reporters, after being inoculated. “Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people.”The vice president also said that emergency-use authorization of the Moderna vaccine could come “perhaps within hours.”“We have one, and perhaps within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and your family,” he said. “When it is approved, we expect later today, we’ll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week.”Despite record-high numbers of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the United States this week, Pence said the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.Dec 18, 1:42 pmWashington Monument closed due to Bernhardt’s visit before testing positiveThe Washington Monument is temporarily closed, the Interior Department said, after several staff members were put in quarantine following contact with Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.Bernhardt led a private Washington Monument tour earlier in the week.ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.Dec 18, 1:05 pmUK’s 1st vaccine vial to go on display at museumThe London Science Museum will display the vial and syringe that was used for the United Kingdom’s first Pfizer vaccination.The first vaccine was administered on Dec. 8 to 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan. “The empty vial and syringe from Margaret’s historic immunisation will now join the Science Museum Group Collection, a highlight of our significant COVID-19 Collecting project,” the Science Museum Group said. ABC News’ Zoe Magee contributed to this report.Dec 18, 12:52 pmPence, Pelosi get vaccinatedHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi was vaccinated Friday afternoon on Capitol Hill, according to a spokesman.Pelosi tweeted, “Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus.”Hours earlier, Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated. Pence along with his wife, Karen, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex.All three were wearing face masks, as were the health care workers who administered the injections.“Today, Karen and I wanted to step forward and take this vaccine to ensure the American people that while we cut red tape, we cut no corners,” Pence told reporters, after being inoculated. “Karen and I hope this step today will be a source of confidence and of comfort to the American people.”The vice president also said that emergency-use authorization of the Moderna vaccine could come “perhaps within hours.”“We have one, and perhaps within hours, two safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for you and your family,” he said. “When it is approved, we expect later today, we’ll be in a position to ship 5.9 million doses of vaccines all across the country next week.”Despite record-high numbers of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the United States this week, Pence said the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.Dec 18, 12:11 pmUS sets weekly records in cases, deaths, hospitalizationsThe U.S. has set new weekly records for number of deaths, cases and hospitalizations, according to ABC News’ analysis of data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.With the U.S. is now averaging 2,560 new coronavirus-related deaths a day, more Americans are dying from COVID-19 than ever before.Since Sunday, 19 states have reported a record number of patients hospitalized.In the past seven days, the U.S. has reported 1,505,887 COVID-19 cases — equal to nearly 150 Americans testing positive every the last six consecutive weeks, there has not been a single day with less than 100,000 new cases.The U.S. is averaging 214,741 cases every day — a record high. That is three times higher than the nation’s summer peak in July and nearly seven times higher than the country’s record in April.ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.Dec 18, 11:44 amCOVAX secures nearly 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines as UNICEF prepares for distributionCOVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries regardless of income, announced Friday it now has supply agreements to provide nearly 2 billion doses of “several promising vaccine candidates” and could begin shipping them out in the first quarter of 2021, pending regulatory approvals.There are 190 nations and territories participating in COVAX, which is coordinated by the World Health Organization, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The new deals include supply agreements with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.“The arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said in a statement Friday. “But we will only truly end the pandemic if we end it everywhere at the same time, which means it’s essential to vaccinate some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries.”Meanwhile, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced Friday that it could potentially transport up to 850 tons of COVID-19 vaccines per month next year, should quantities become available. The humanitarian organization said commercial airlines will be able to deliver vaccines to almost all of the 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries participating in COVAX.However, UNICEF estimates a funding gap of $133 million to cover on-the-ground logistics and the required equipment for vaccine storage in the world’s poorest nations.“The scale of the task is daunting, and the stakes have never been higher, but we are ready to take this on,” Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, said in a statement Friday. “Countries need urgent technical and financial support to strengthen their capacities for cold and supply chains, to train health workers, and to work with communities in combatting misinformation and building trust in vaccines. Without urgent funding and support, many of the poorest countries still risk being left behind.”Dec 18, 9:38 amWalgreens begins administering Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in long-term care facilitiesWalgreens began administering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the United States on Friday.It’s the first time the U.S. pharmacy chain is offering vaccines in such facilities, like nursing homes.Walgreens pharmacy teams members are currently providing the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at just 10 facilities in Connecticut, Ohio and Florida, including many in rural and urban medically-underserved areas. But the company will soon expand the vaccinations nationwide as more states finalize their distribution plans and receive vaccine allocations, according to Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens’ chief medical officer.“Next week, we’ll be in 12 states in over 800 clinics. We’re moving and ramping up to 35,000 clinics across the entire country, we’re going to vaccinate more than 3 million people in these long-term care facilities,” Ban told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.Ban said only people who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under their state’s Phase 1 distribution plan can get it. But once states move into Phase 2, residents and staff at long-term care facilities that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider will be able to make an appointment in advance.“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said, “and we don’t want people all coming at once.”Dec 18, 8:17 amPence receives Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live TVU.S. Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated against COVID-19 on Friday morning in Washington, D.C.Pence received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television, along with his wife, Karen, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.All three were wearing face masks, as were the health care workers who administered the injections.Dec 18, 8:04 amModerna vaccine could be authorized in US ‘as soon as today,’ HHS secretary saysThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine “as soon as today,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Friday.“The FDA has communicated to Moderna that we expect to grant their emergency-use authorisation. That could come as soon as today,” Azar told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.If the FDA does give the green light Friday, Azar said “trucks will roll, planes will fly this weekend,” with “5.9 million doses of Moderna vaccine allocated for next week.”“This is an exceptionally safe vaccine,” he said, “it’s a shockingly effective vaccine — the Moderna vaccine as well as the Pfizer vaccine.”Some 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available across the United States for the month of December, according to Azar, who urged people to get the shot.“All of us have complete confidence in the independence and quality of the FDA’s review process,” he said. “That’s why you’re seeing the vice president, the second lady, the surgeon general today getting vaccinated.”Azar said a number of government officials and leaders will be inoculated against COVID-19 “over the coming weeks.”“I plan to get vaccinated next week as long as the White House physician says that it’s appropriate to do so and do so on TV,” he added. “We just want to make sure people know we have supreme confidence in the process and confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and we wouldn’t ask you to do something that we wouldn’t do.”With several governors saying that they have been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, Azar cited “a miscommunication.”“There’s nothing actually to fix. There was some misunderstanding,” he said. “We had put into the planning tool some base scenarios just so they could do some rough work on planning. The allocations, though, are always what Pfizer tells us or Moderna now tells us is available and ready for shipment. We’ve always said this week that they would have 2 million doses of Pfizer available for next week for an allocation. We’ll work to clear up any misunderstanding they’ve got, but it’s really just a miscommunication between the governors and us.”Azar said his wife, Jennifer, is “doing very well” after recently testing positive for COVID-19, and that he tested negative himself “just minutes ago.”“We’re following all the CDC protocols, I’ve talked directly to director Redfield as well as the White House physicians of doing exactly what they say to do,” he said.Dec 18, 7:21 amFederal prisoner scheduled to be executed in January tests positiveA federal prisoner scheduled to be executed in January has tested positive for COVID-19. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) notified attorneys for Dustin Higgs on Thursday that their client was diagnosed with the disease, according to one of Higgs’ lawyers, Shawn Nolan.“This is surely the result of the super spreader executions that the government has rushed to undertake in the heart of a global pandemic,” Nolan told ABC News in a statement Thursday evening. “Following the two executions that took place last week and one other two weeks prior, the COVID numbers at the federal prison in Terre Haute spiked enormously. Now our client is sick. We have asked the government to withdraw the execution date and we will ask the courts to intervene if they do not.”Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women — Tamika Black, 19, Mishann Chinn, 23, and Tanji Jackson, 21 — at a national wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors allege Higgs and two friends kidnapped the three women after Higgs became enraged because one of them rebuffed his advances at a party earlier that night.Higgs is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 15A BOP spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that other federal death row inmates at the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only site in the country where federal executions are carried out, have tested positive for COVID-19 but declined to say how many or provide further information, citing “pending litigation and privacy interests.”The spokesperson also said that a BOP employee assigned to the Special Confinement Unit (SCU) — which houses federal death row inmates at the Terre Haute complex — was found to be positive for COVID-19, following a contact investigation that was conducted per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify any potential exposures in connection with the unit.“This employee had no contact with BOP staff involved with executions in November or December,” the spokesperson said. “We can also share that as inmates in the SCU continue to be tested, those who are positive and/or symptomatic for COVID-19 are being placed in isolation until they are considered recovered by medical staff as determined by CDC guidelines.”“All inmates are managed per CDC guidelines,” the spokesperson added. “While a number of inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at USP Terre Haute in recent weeks, many of these inmates are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates.”Dec 18, 4:01 amUS reports over 233,000 new casesThere were 233,271 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, bringing the country’s cumulative total soaring past 17 million, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.It’s the 45th straight day that the U.S. has reported more than 100,000 newly diagnosed infections, and the second straight day with over 200,000. Thursday’s tally falls just under the country’s all-time high of 247,403 new cases confirmed a day earlier, according to Johns Hopkins data.An additional 3,270 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 3,656 fatalities recorded the previous day. It’s only the fifth time since the pandemic began that the country has reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins data.A total of 17,212,496 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 310,782 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.Dec 18, 3:10 amFormer US President Jimmy Carter to get vaccineFormer U.S. President Jimmy Carter plans to get vaccinated for COVID-19, his foundation announced Thursday night.“After consulting with his doctors, President Carter is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to him,” The Carter Center wrote in a statement on Twitter. Carter has not said when he will receive the vaccine or whether it will be on camera like other former presidents have indicated they will do.All living former U.S. presidents have now announced they will get the vaccine.Dec 18, 1:12 amInmates on death row test positiveThe Bureau of Prisons confirmed to ABC News that various inmates on death row have tested positive for COVID-19, although they declined to say how many, citing ongoing litigation.They also said a staff member has tested positive.“We can confirm that inmates in the Special Confinement Unit (SCU) at the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Terre Haute, Indiana, have tested positive for COVID-19,” a BOP spokesperson said in a statement.They added that as inmates in the SCU continue to be tested, those who are positive and/or symptomatic “are being placed in isolation until they are considered recovered by medical staff as determined by CDC guidelines.” Many inmates, they said, are either asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. “Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates,” the BOP spokesperson said.The BOP’s statement came after it was announced Thursday that Dustin John Higgs, a federal prisoner scheduled to be executed just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, tested positive for the virus.Dec 18, 1:02 am75 cases linked to church Christmas event in North CarolinaThe Henderson County Department of Public Health said Thursday that it has identified 75 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Hendersonville First Baptist Baptist Church in North Carolina.The Henderson County Department of Public Health said the holiday event took place on the weekend of Dec. 5.“To date, the Health Department has identified 75 individuals who have tested positive as a result of the event,” they said in a statement. “The Health Department is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately six feet of an infected person with COVID-19 for a cumulative 15 minutes.”The news comes as Henderson County continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases linked to parties, family gatherings and social events.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Andrew Brown Jr. in an undated photo. – Courtesy Brown Family(ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.) — The family of a 42-year-old Black man who was shot to death by a North Carolina sheriff’s deputy outside his home last week accused law enforcement authorities on Monday of walking back their promise to show relatives raw body camera footage of the deadly confrontation.The family members of Andrew Brown Jr., a father of seven, and their attorneys said during a news conference outside the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, that they were expecting to see the video at 11:30 a.m. ET. But an hour before the meeting they were informed of an unexpected delay.Harry Daniels, one of the lawyers for the Brown family, said he received an email at 10:29 a.m. on Monday from Pasquotank County Attorney Michael Cox that redactions were being made to the video.“I was told by the district attorney that the family will get to see the raw footage, not the redacted version,” Daniels said. “These county administrators are walking back the promises they have made. Show the tape. If you ain’t got nothing to hide, show the tape.”Cox released a statement Monday saying that while state law allows the county to show the body camera video to Brown’s family in private, state law “also allows us to blur some faces on the video and that process takes time.”“This may be done when necessary to protect an active internal investigation,” Cox said in his statement.He said officials are working as quickly as possible to show the video to Brown’s family.“As soon as these redactions are complete, we will allow the family to view this footage,” Cox said. “We hope this occurs today, but the actual time will be driven by completion of the redactions.”Ben Crump, another attorney for the Brown family, said if the video had showed Brown doing something wrong, “they would have no problem showing that video.”Brown’s relatives, including several of his children, attended the news conference but did not speak.“It only seems to be [that] when the video has the police doing something wrong, then they’ve got to redact, then they don’t want to show it,” Crump said.Seven Pasquotank County deputies involved in the shooting that erupted last Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City have been placed on administrative leave while the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation probes the circumstances of the deadly encounter. Wooten said a Pasquotank deputy, whose name has not been released, fired the fatal shot and was wearing an active body cam at the time.In advance of the viewing by Brown’s family, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker declared a state of emergency for her city on Monday morning. The emergency declaration went into effect at 8 a.m. and Parker said it will last “until deemed no longer necessary.”Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II said he plans to file a motion with a judge to release the video to the public as soon as the state Bureau of Investigation confirms that doing so will not undermine the investigation. Wooten said he could file the request as early as Monday.“It seems likely that the video and audio footage will be released in the very near future. In order to ensure the safety of our citizens and their property, City officials realize there may potentially be a period of civil unrest within the city following the public release of that footage,” Parker, who is Black, wrote in the order.City offices in Elizabeth City, the county seat of Pasquotank County, were closed on Monday and government meetings, including a budget work session, were canceled.Parker’s order came despite peaceful protests that have occurred for five straight days in Elizabeth City since Brown’s death.The Pasquotank County Sheriff Department has released few details of the shooting in the town of 18,000 people.The shooting unfolded about 8:30 a.m. on April 21 when deputies from Pasquotank and Dare Counties went to Brown’s home to attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Brown that stemmed from a felony drug investigation, officials said.Deputies opened fire on Brown’s car as he attempted to drive away from his home. A first responder was recorded on 911 dispatch saying Brown was shot in the back.Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.Wooten declined to say how many deputies discharged their weapons in addition to the one who fatally shot Brown.The shooting occurred one day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man.Brown’s family said police found no weapons nor drugs in Brown’s vehicle or home.Wooten promised to be transparent about what occurred at Brown’s home.“If any of my deputies broke any laws or violated any policies that come out through this investigation, they will be held accountable,” Wooten said.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Previous Article Next Article • Alex Wilson has joined ICI as senior vice-president of HR. He moves fromGuinness where he was HR director for three-and-a-half years. Prior to joiningGuinness he spent 12 years at Grand Metropolitan, where his last post was seniorvice-president of HR for North and South America. Wilson started his careerwith the Ford Motor Company in 1974 as a trainee personnel officer.• Carmel Maguire, previously assistant chief executive for personnel andtraining at Nottingham City Council, took up the post of HR director at theBritish Library on January 4. She held the Nottingham job for eight years andwas in post when the council became a unitary authority on April 1 1998,growing to three times its size. She previously worked for Hereford andWorcester County Council where she specialised in employee relations andemployment law.• Peter Armitage has been appointed head of HR at Minit UK, owners ofSketchley, Supersnaps and MR Minit shoe bars and key cutters. Armitage has beenrunning his own consultancy since December 1997. Before that he was HR directorfor Pret a Manger for a year, a job he took after leaving Superdrug where hespent four years as personnel controller. He starts on February 7.• West Bromwich building society has promoted Paul Turner to general managerof people development. Turner has risen through the ranks after starting withthe company as a management trainee in 1975. He held posts as branch manager,regional manager, operations controller and assistant general manager ofcustomer services before becoming assistant general manager of peopledevelopment in 1998.• Tracy Newton-Blows has joined Dell Financial Services as European HRexecutive with responsibility for HSB European business operations. She startedon January 5 after moving from Macmillan Davies Hodes where she was arecruitment consultant.• Salisbury District Council has appointed Karen Gard as personnel andtraining manager. It is her first move out of education after spending 19 yearsas personnel officer at Yeovil College and three years as personnel manager atStroud College, Gloucester.• IT recruitment consultancy Certes has promoted former HR manager WendyMerry to the new position of HR and customer services director. Merry joinedthe company in 1998. She was previously head of HR at Sears Financial Services. Comments are closed. People on the moveOn 18 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. HR label sends out all the wrong messagesOn 8 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Now the hype of the millennium is largely over we should perhaps use theadvent of the Year 2000 to reflect on our profession and its role in the future– although amid all the planning to avoid problems with the Y2K bug I couldn’thelp but wish that there might occur some small glitches which would strikedown only those PCs and telephones operated by line managers and personnelstaff. How refreshing it would have been to see the faces of all those peopleforced to leave their offices and work stations and go out and speak to people,face to face.But I return to my thoughts about the future and realise the sameconsiderations which motivate my secret wishes also direct my thinking aboutour profession. One issue which concerns me is what we call ourselves. Ofcourse what we do and how we do it is more important than what we callourselves, but the trend in the past few years to call ourselves the”human resources department” sends out signals about ourselves andour profession that I hope are not true.As a former “gunslinger” in the 1970s and 80s, I knew at the timethe confrontational system of industrial relations was hardly progressive letalone constructive, but perhaps like politics was an example of the art of thepossible in that particular era.In many personnel departments there grew a reputation for admin, welfare andother costly and reactionary services. In that context, I can understand whypeople might want to distance themselves from the organisation and language ofthose times. But in one step the Americans and academics set about “inventing”the human resources management culture. They dressed it up as”proactive” – another term I dislike. Furthermore they pretended,like road-to-Damascus visionaries, to be privy to some new philosophy whichrequired their followers to “add value”, be”customer-orientated” and clasp mission statements to their bosoms.I don’t know of any personnel director or manager who does not understandthe role of his department in these areas. We all know our organisations mustbe flexible, nimble and, above all, people-orientated. I believe crucially inthe individuality of people. I find myself, therefore, at odds with I guessabout two-thirds of our profession who, by their title, regard the people theywork with as “resources”, to be bracketed with equipment, capital orfacilities as simply another “resource”.Frankly I find the term “human resource” to be demeaning toworking people. The term sends all the wrong messages and I cannot believeemployees in whichever enterprise are happy to regard themselves as “resources”.I am no dinosaur but I am a personnel director. I do not think we need toadopt or invent new words or complex jargon describe our responsibilities forpeople. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article CBI figures show a third of companies employing more than 5,000 staff expect a claim for bargaining rights in the coming year. This compares with 13 per cent overall and less than one in 10 firms with fewer than 200 staff. Dominic Johnson, head of employee relations, said this is because the need to show majority support from staff means unions will target companies where they are already recognised in one part of the business or where they have a history. According to the CBI’s latest employment trends survey, the biggest companies are five times more likely to recognise a union than those employing fewer than 50 people.Even where unions have been de-recognised many employees are still members giving the union a good starting point, Johnson said.The TUC said it is too early to say which companies will be targeted, but large and small businesses are likely to be affected. “We would assume that there will be recognition agreements in a variety of companies, both large and small, the only ones that won’t be affected are those with less than 20 people, because the law does not cover them,” said a spokesperson.“All workers are entitled to a voice at work, regardless of the size of the company.”Johnson said, “Small companies are less likely to face recognition claims in the next 12 months, but no company should expect not to be approached.”• Staff at Virgin Atlantic are being asked to vote on whether they want to be represented by a union. A secret ballot of the 5,000 staff will be held next week, according to a report in The Guardian. Comments are closed. Large firms look set to get claims ball rollingOn 20 Jun 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Nonconsensual terminationCole vLondon Borough of Hackney IDS Brief 674 EATCole’s jobceased to exist following a reorganisation. Her options were either to take upa new position if a comparable job was available (which there was not) or toapply for other vacant posts. She could also opt for a severance package. Cole wastold she was not likely to be successful at interview for a vacant post but thecouncil omitted to inform her that she had priority rights in that regard.Believing any application for a vacant position would be unsuccessful, Coleasked to take voluntary redundancy and the council agreed. Cole thencomplained to the tribunal that she had been unfairly selected for redundancyand unfairly dismissed. The tribunal held there was no dismissal but rather amutual termination of the contract. If however, there had been a dismissal,Cole’s application for voluntary severance constituted a dismissal for “someother substantial reason” and the council had not acted unfairly.Colesuccessfully appealed to the EAT which held that but for the council’s decisionto reorganise Cole would not have applied for the severance payment. There wasno consensual termination, rather this was a dismissal by reason of redundancy. This week’s case round upOn 12 Dec 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Ill-considered implicationsOsborne vValve (Engineering Services), unreported, November 2000 EATOsborne commencedtribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and breach ofcontract but shortly afterwards realised the breach of contract claim waslikely to exceed the tribunal’s £25,000 jurisdictional limit. She applied towithdraw that part of her claim in order to pursue the matter in the HighCourt. Thetribunal accepted her withdrawal and made an order dismissing the breach ofcontract claim. Osborne subsequently learned that the order for dismissalconstituted an adjudication on the merits of the breach of contract claim andby the principle of res judicata she would be prevented from bringing futureproceedings on the same matter. She sought a review of the decision but wasunsuccessful.On appeal,the EAT found that the chairman was aware of Osborne’s reason for withdrawingthe breach of contract claim, namely the transfer of the claim to another courtclaim but failed to properly consider the implications when making the orderfor “dismissal”. The appeal was allowed.