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The latest on COVID-19

US could soon give 1 million vaccinations a day, Fauci says

A health worker administered a vaccine to a patient in their vehicle during the first day of mass Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center on Monday in Louisville, Kentucky.
A health worker administered a vaccine to a patient in their vehicle during the first day of mass Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center on Monday in Louisville, Kentucky.Jon Cherry/Getty

Here’s the latest on the battle against coronavirus in Massachusetts and around the world.

♦ Vaccinations of front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities have begun in the United States, spurring hopes of a turning point in the pandemic.

♦ Moderna’s vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.

♦ Massachusetts and the United States are in the midst of a new surge in COVID-19 cases. See the latest numbers.

Alex Morgan says her family has contracted the coronavirus — 6:10 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Alex Morgan has revealed on social media that she and her family contracted the coronavirus over the holidays in California.

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Morgan, 31, recently returned to the United States from England, where she played this fall with Tottenham in the FA Women’s Super League.

Morgan is married to fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco. They have a 7-month old daughter named Charlie.

“We are all in good spirits and recovering well,” Morgan said in a post Tuesday on Twitter. “After our isolation is completed, I will follow US Soccer’s return to play guidelines to ensure my body is fully recovered and I can join my teammates back on the field soon.”

New Hampshire outlines future vaccination phases, timeline — 5:23 p.m.

By The Associated Press

New Hampshire health officials on Tuesday outlined the next phases of the state’s vaccination plan, starting later this month and extending beyond May for younger and healthier residents.

The initial phase currently underway calls for vaccinating health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents. Elizabeth Daly, chief of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said the state has received nearly three-quarters of the doses needed to vaccinate the roughly 100,000 people in that group, and all are expected to get their first dose by the middle of this month.

The next phase is expected to begin later this month and continue into March. During that time, the vaccine will be offered to those aged 75 and older; medically vulnerable adults who are at significant risk of complications and those caring for medically vulnerable children; staff and residents of facilities for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and corrections officers and staff.

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The next phase will span March through May and will start with residents ages 65-75, school employees and child care center staff, to be followed by those ages 50-65. From May onward, the vaccine will be offered to medically vulnerable adults who are under 50 years old and then to anyone else who has not been vaccinated.

US could soon give 1 million vaccinations a day, Fauci says — 4:47 p.m.

By The Associated Press

The U.S. could soon be giving at least a million COVID-19 vaccinations a day despite the sluggish start, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday, even as he warned of a dangerous next few weeks as the coronavirus surges.

The slow pace is frustrating health officials and a desperate public alike, with only about a third of the first supplies shipped to states used as of Tuesday morning, just over three weeks into the vaccination campaign.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The appearance of a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus raises the specter of a “much, much more deadly and destructive pandemic,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, said Tuesday in a statement.

“This demands an urgent rethinking of our current policy responses,” said Jha, who formerly was head of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

By The Associated Press

The 2021 Grammy Awards will no longer take place this month in Los Angeles and will broadcast in March due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

The Recording Academy told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the annual show would shift from its original Jan. 31 broadcast to a later date in March.

The Grammys will be held in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the crisis in California, has surpassed 10,000 COVID-19 deaths and has had 40% of the deaths in California. It is the third state to reach the 25,000 death count.

By Hanna Krueger, Globe Staff

Massachusetts state officials are operating under the assumption that the highly contagious COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom is already here, Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday.

“There’d be no reason not to, given the contagious nature of this new variant,” Baker said at a press conference in Springfield, a day after the first case of the new strain was reported in New York. He reiterated the importance of masks and social distancing and urged residents to be “very vigilant and careful and cautious about our physical engagement with other people.”

By Adam Vaccaro, Globe Staff

About one-sixth of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s workforce, including its general manager and other top executives, will be forced to take five furlough days in the coming months, as the agency seeks to contain costs despite an incoming haul of new federal funding from the latest COVID-19 relief bill.

Workers in three MBTA labor unions, as well as non-unionized executives, will be required to take one unpaid day off a month between February and June. The move will affect about 1,000 workers; MBTA drivers and operators, the largest section of the workforce, will not be required to take furlough days.

By Danny McDonald, Globe Staff

Facing a still-rampaging pandemic, the city of Boston is extending restrictions on gyms, museums, movie theaters, and many other businesses for another three weeks until Jan. 27, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Tuesday.

Boston was one of several Massachusetts cities last month that went farther than the statewide restrictions to try to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

In returning to a modified version of Phase 2, Step 2, of the state’s reopening plan, Boston shuttered a number of places designed to accommodate large groups, including aquariums, sightseeing and other organized tours, indoor historical spaces and sites, and arcades.

By Shaila Dewan and Kay Nolan, New York Times

A pharmacist who was arrested on charges that he intentionally sabotaged more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Wisconsin hospital was “an admitted conspiracy theorist” who believed the vaccine could harm people and “change their DNA,” according to the police in Grafton, Wisconsin, where the man was employed.

The police said Steven Brandenburg, 46, who worked the night shift at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, had twice removed a box of vials of the Moderna vaccine from the refrigerator for periods of 12 hours, rendering them “useless.”

By Tom Withers, Associated Press

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Cleveland’s first playoff game since 2002.

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be Cleveland’s acting coach Sunday while Stefanski is away.

The team announced Stefanski’s positive result on Tuesday and said two other unidentified players and two more coaching staff members — tight ends coach Drew Petzing and defensive backs coach Jeff Howard —tested positive as well.

By Johanna Seltz, Globe Correspondent

Weymouth is offering free COVID-19 tests to all residents and town employees.

Clinicians from South Shore Hospital, which is part of South Shore Health, are administering the tests daily at a drive-through site in the parking lot of Weymouth High School. The Broad Institute in Cambridge processes the tests, with results back within 24 to 48 hours, according to a statement from Mayor Robert Hedlund.

The tests are by appointment only, and the cost is covered by Weymouth’s federal CARES Act funding for COVID-related expenses, the statement said.

By Associated Press

Eleven employees at a private school in New London received COVID-19 vaccinations after they were mistakenly identified as eligible for shots meant only for health care workers and those in nursing homes.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that more than 70,000 “COVID-facing” staff members at Massachusetts hospitals have received the COVID-19 vaccine amid the ongoing distribution program that’s slated to expand to first responders on Jan. 11.

Baker, speaking during a briefing at Baystate Medical Center, said the vaccination tally at the Springfield hospital stood at more than 6,000 as of Tuesday.

By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff

Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh, who’s had a lifelong shellfish allergy, has become an inadvertent spokesman for a cause few had been aware of: the need to safely give coronavirus vaccines to people prone to severe allergic reactions.

Sadrzadeh, a geriatric oncology fellow at Boston Medical Center, is one of 11 people in the United States, along with several abroad, who’ve reported potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions after being injected with the new COVID-19 vaccines authorized last month for emergency use. Though these powerful allergic reactions are rare, they’ve been more common than seen in any previous vaccine.

By David Klepper, Associated Press

For a few days in December, Rhode Island was one of the worst places on the planet when it came to new cases of COVID-19 per capita.

Hospitals hit capacity as the rate of new cases topped the nation, nearly double the rate in neighboring Connecticut. The state’s record for daily COVID-19 deaths, set in April, was broken. Faced with a worsening crisis, Gov. Gina Raimondo reluctantly re-imposed tougher restrictions on businesses.

“I am surprised that we have done so poorly,” Dr. Keith Corl, an emergency physician and faculty member at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, said last week. “We are all exhausted, and now we’re talking about staffing more ICU units.”

By Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Distribution hiccups and logistical challenges have slowed the initial coronavirus vaccine rollout in California, setting a pace that’s “not good enough,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

The state is trying to execute the massive immunization campaign “with a sense of urgency that is required of this moment and the urgency that people demand,” but so far only about 1% of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated, the Democratic governor said.

The 454,000 doses of vaccine that have been administered in California represent just a third of the more than nearly 1.3 million received in the state so far, according to the California Department of Public Health.

By The Associated Press

LONDON — England is facing a third national lockdown that will last at least six weeks, as authorities struggle to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals around the U.K.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a tough new stay-at-home order for England that won’t be reviewed until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus. It takes effect at midnight Tuesday. Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon imposed a lockdown that began Tuesday.

By Bloomberg News

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration delivered a clear rebuke to health officials attempting to alter the timing and dosage of COVID-19 vaccines: Don’t mess with our guidelines.

The agency, in a statement late Monday, urged that vaccines be given according to how the FDA has authorized them after a key U.S. official proposed cutting dosage levels for Moderna Inc.’s shot as a way to immunize more people. Governments and health officials have also considered extending the length of time between doses or mixing and matching vaccines.

By The New York Times

Seven people working on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which was being shot at an NBC Universal stage in Studio City, California, tested positive for the coronavirus this fall. So did nine people working on the Netflix series “Colin in Black & White” in Gardena. And the Los Angeles County Public Health Department reported that a dozen people working on the sitcom “Young Sheldon” in Burbank got the virus, too.

The entertainment industry is so vital to Los Angeles that film and television production were both allowed to continue even after outdoor dining was banned. But now, with the coronavirus surging across California and overwhelming hospitals, unions and industry groups are calling for in-person production to be suspended.

By The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease doctor, a leading drug regulator and the Health and Human Services secretary are dismissing suggestions that the second shot of authorized coronavirus vaccines could be delayed to make more doses available faster to more people.

In recent days, some public health experts have debated whether it is worth taking a scientific gamble by altering the two-dose regimen that proved highly effective in trials to maximize the number of people partially protected with at least one shot as the pandemic surges.

By Robert Weisman, Globe staff

Massachusetts officials Monday outlined plans to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations after what Governor Charlie Baker described as a state and national vaccine rollout burdened by “bumps.”

Shots for more than 45,000 first responders, such as police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, will start next Monday at sites across the state, including four regional vaccination hubs that later could be used to vaccinate others, Baker said.

By Anissa Gardizy, Globe correspondent

The United States entered 2021 with two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use to fight the virus, and many questions swirling about the widespread distribution effort, which is already underway.

Here’s the latest on what you need to know about the vaccine rollout, as well as when and where you might get a shot (or two) in Massachusetts.

By Bloomberg News

New York state has found its first case of the U.K. variant of coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

A man in his 60s who lives in Saratoga County in upstate New York tested positive for the B117 variant, Cuomo said. The man had not traveled recently, which suggests it was the result of community spread, Cuomo said on a conference call.

The state has done about 5,000 tests looking for the new strain, Cuomo said. The new strain is more transmittable, he said, which could be a problem as the state deals with rising hospitalizations.

By The Associated Press

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new version of the coronavirus.

Johnson said the country is at “a critical moment,” with cases rising rapidly in every part of the country.

Under the new rules, which are set to come into effect as soon as possible, primary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed for face to face learning except for the children of key workers. University students will not be returning until at least mid-February.

All nonessential shops and personal care services like hairdressers will be closed, and restaurants can only operate takeout services.

By Danica Kirka and Aniruddha Ghosal, Associated Press

The campaign to vanquish the coronavirus is picking up speed, with Britain beginning to dispense the second vaccine in its arsenal Monday, and India, the world’s second-most populous country, authorizing its first shots.

In the U.S., meanwhile, government officials reported that vaccinations have accelerated markedly after a disappointingly slow start. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said over the weekend that 1.5 million shots were administered in 72 hours, bringing the total to about 4 million.

Britain on Monday became the first nation to start using the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, ramping up its nationwide inoculation campaign amid soaring infection rates blamed on a new and seemingly more contagious variant of the virus.

By The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG — Scientists in South Africa are urgently testing to see if the vaccines for COVID-19 will be effective against the country’s variant virus.

The genomic studies come as Britain’s health minister, Matt Hancock, and other experts in the U.K. have said they worry that vaccines may not be effective against the South African variant.

By The Associated Press

The European Commission defended its coronavirus vaccination strategy Monday amid growing criticism in member states about the slow rollout of COVID-19 shots across the region with 450 million inhabitants.

Vaccinations programs in the 27 nation-bloc have gotten off to a slow start and some EU members have been quick to blame the EU’s executive arm for a perceived failure of delivering the right amount of doses. In Finland, health authorities are reportedly unhappy that the country only received about 40,000 doses in December, instead of the 300,000 that were expected,

Facing a barrage of questions on vaccines during a press conference, EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the main problem with the deployment of vaccination programs “is an issue of production capacity, an issue that everybody is facing.”

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg

Boris Johnson’s government is on the brink of another pandemic U-turn with a third national lockdown looking increasingly inevitable.

A surge in infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals and throws his plan to get English children back into classrooms into disarray on a day the British prime minister had hoped to celebrate the delivery of the first shots of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.

Instead the government is back in crisis mode, with new virus cases exceeding 50,000 a day and hospital admissions soaring past the peak of the first wave in April. Johnson, who ended the year on a high by securing a last-minute trade deal with the European Union, on Monday warned that a “surging epidemic” means stricter rules are coming.

It’s a far cry from the government’s optimism in early December, when the arrival of vaccines was dubbed the “scientific cavalry” to the rescue. The picture changed dramatically when the emergence of a faster spreading strain of Covid-19 led to the introduction of a stricter fourth tier that shut down non-essential shops and hammered retailers reliant on Christmas shoppers.

By The Associated Press

LONDON — England’s National Health Service says a retired maintenance manager has received the first injection of the new coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and drug giant AstraZeneca.

Dialysis patient Brian Pinker became the very first person to be vaccinated by the chief nurse at Oxford University Hospital.

Pinker says he was so pleased to be getting the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday and that he can “now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year.”

The vaccine shots will be delivered at a small number of hospitals in Britain for the first few days before the supplies are sent to hundreds of doctors’ offices later in the week.

By The New York Times

The coronavirus vaccine may end the pandemic at some point, but for now its slow rollout is straining relations between the federal government and states and cities, and is adding one more huge challenge for overstressed health departments.

In a tweet on Friday, President Donald Trump said the states were to blame for the slow start to inoculating Americans, after the federal government’s “successful and very large scale distribution of vaccines.”

But Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said that at a time when the coronavirus is infecting a new person every six seconds in Los Angeles County, and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across California has more than doubled in a month, the sluggish distribution of vaccine was not acceptable.

By The New York Times

As governments around the world rush to vaccinate their citizens against the surging coronavirus, scientists are locked in a heated debate over a surprising question: Is it wisest to hold back the second doses everyone will need, or to give as many people as possible an inoculation now — and push back the second doses until later?

Since even the first shot appears to provide some protection against COVID-19, some experts believe that the shortest route to containing the virus is to disseminate the initial injections as widely as possible now.

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will include a “virtual parade across America” consistent with crowd limits during the coronavirus era, organizers announced Sunday.

Following the swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, Biden and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, will join Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband in participating in a socially distanced Pass in Review on the Capitol’s opposite front side. Those are military traditions where Biden will review the readiness of military troops.

By Felice J. Freyer, Globe staff

President Trump asserted the medication had cured him of COVID-19. Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie raved about receiving it during their bouts of coronavirus.

Yet only a fraction of the available doses of monoclonal antibodies have made it into the arms of less-famous patients, despite preliminary data suggesting the experimental drug might keep people out of the hospital.

Nationwide, patients have received 20 percent of the 378,000 doses that the federal government has distributed to states.

By John Eligon, New York Times

Black civic leaders in Oregon heard the alarm bells early in the pandemic.

Data and anecdotes around the country suggested that the coronavirus was disproportionately killing Black people. Locally, Black business owners had begun fretting about their livelihoods, as stay-at-home orders and various other measures were put into place. Many did not have valuable houses they could tap for capital, and requests for government assistance had gone nowhere.

After convening several virtual meetings, the civic leaders proposed a bold and novel solution that state lawmakers approved in July. The state would earmark $62 million of its $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money to provide grants to Black residents, business owners and community organizations enduring pandemic-related hardships.

But now millions of dollars in grants are on hold after one Mexican American and two white business owners sued the state, arguing that the fund for Black residents discriminated against them.

The dispute in Oregon is the latest legal skirmish in the nation’s decadeslong battle over affirmative action, and comes in a year in which the pandemic has starkly exposed the socioeconomic and health disparities that African Americans face.

By Bloomberg News

The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease doctor said the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is picking up speed and could be fully on track within a week or so.

“It’s just trying to get a massive vaccine program started and getting off on the right foot. The important thing is to see what’s happening in the next week, to week and a half,” Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the initial vaccination program had been superimposed upon a surge of coronavirus cases, which has stressed health care resources in many areas, and on the holiday season.

By The Associated Press

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that more onerous lockdown restrictions in England are likely as the country reels from a new coronavirus variant that has pushed infection rates to their highest recorded levels.

Johnson, though, insisted he has “no doubt” that schools are safe and urged parents to send their children back into the classroom in areas of England where they can. Unions representing teachers have called for schools to turn to remote learning for at least a couple of weeks more due to the new variant, which scientists have said is up to 70% more contagious.

The U.K. is in the midst of an acute outbreak, recording more than 50,000 new coronavirus infections a day over the past five days. On Saturday, it notched a daily record of 57,725 new cases. The country, with nearly 75,000 virus-related deaths, is alternating with Italy as the worst-hit European nation, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

By The Associated Press

BALTIMORE, M.D. — The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has surpassed 350,000 as experts anticipate another surge in coronavirus cases and deaths stemming from holiday gatherings over Christmas and New Year’s.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. passed the threshold early Sunday morning. More than 20 million people in the country have been infected. The U.S. has begun using two coronavirus vaccines to protect health care workers and those over 80 but the rollout of the inoculation program has been criticized as being slow and chaotic.

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Congress is preparing to convene for the start of a new session, swearing in lawmakers during a tumultuous period as a relative handful of Republicans work to overturn Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump and the coronavirus surge imposes limits at the Capitol.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi is set Sunday to be reelected as House speaker by her party, which retains the majority in the House but with the slimmest margin in 20 years after a November election wipeout.

Opening the Senate could be among Mitch McConnell’s final acts at majority leader. Republican control is in question until Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia. The outcome will determine which party holds the chamber.

By The Associated Press

NEW DELHI — India authorized two COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday, paving the way for a huge inoculation program to stem the coronavirus pandemic in the world’s second most populous country.

India’s drugs regulator gave an emergency authorization for the vaccines developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and another developed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech.

Drugs Controller General Dr. Venugopal G Somani said that both vaccines will be administered in two dosages.

By The Associated Press

New York state has recorded more than 1 million positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to figures released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday.

The roughly 15,000 new positive tests reported statewide on Friday bring the total number of cases over 1 million, according to the state’s data. Experts say the official number of coronavirus cases represents a significant undercount, since many people in the New York City area were infected with the coronavirus last spring when testing was largely unavailable.

By The Associated Press

Former CNN talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday.

Citing an unidentified person close to the family, CNN said the 87-year-old King is undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

By Caroline Enos, Globe Correspondent

A COVID-19 outbreak linked to Christmas Eve services at a church in Woburn has infected dozens of worshippers and public health officials fear the virus will become more widespread in other local communities, Mayor Scott Galvin said.

Galvin said the city’s Board of Health nurses have been working with the state to notify those affected by the outbreak at GENESIS Community Church and help them quarantine to prevent further transmission of the virus that has infected nearly 368,000 people statewide.

Associated Press

As communities across the country feel the pain of a surge in coronavirus cases, funeral homes in the hot spot of Southern California say they must turn away grieving families as they run out of space for the bodies piling up.

The head of the state funeral directors association says mortuaries are being inundated as the United States nears a grim tally of 350,000 COVID-19 deaths. More than 20 million people in the country have been infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“I’ve been in the funeral industry for 40 years and never in my life did I think that this could happen, that I’d have to tell a family, ‘No, we can’t take your family member,’” said Magda Maldonado, owner of Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles.

Associated Press

With daily coronavirus infections surging as a result of a new virus variant, the British government faced mounting pressure Saturday from teachers’ unions to keep schools in England closed for at least another two weeks.

The government, which oversees schools in England, has already decided to keep all schools in London closed next week to try to stem new infections. Unions want the policy extended across the whole of England, expressing fears about the health of both teachers and children.

The U.K. on Saturday hit a daily record for new coronavirus infections — 57,725 — and according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University has overtaken Italy once again to be the worst hit country in Europe with nearly 75,000 COVID-related deaths.

By Brendon Derr, Rebecca Griesbach and Danya Issawi, New York Times

Battered by a wave of coronavirus infections and deaths, local jails and state prison systems around the United States have resorted to a drastic strategy to keep the virus at bay: Shutting down completely and transferring their inmates elsewhere.

From California to Missouri to Pennsylvania, state and local officials say that so many guards have fallen ill with the virus and are unable to work that abruptly closing some correctional facilities is the only way to maintain community security and prisoner safety.

By The Associated Press

The New York City Sheriff’s Department shut down a series of illegal New Year’s Eve parties for violating coronavirus restrictions, operating without a liquor license and other infractions, authorities announced Friday.

More than 300 people gathered Thursday night for karaoke and dancing at an illegal bottle club on 58th Street in Queens, the department said on Twitter.

Five people were charged with offenses including violating emergency orders that ban indoor gatherings, providing alcohol without a liquor license and obstructed egress.

By David McLaughlin, Bloomberg

Senator Mitt Romney criticized the slow roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S., blaming the federal government for failing to help states get the shot into more people’s arms.

“That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable,” the Utah Republican said in a statement Friday.

By Michael Laris, The Washington Post

Passengers have verbally abused and taunted flight attendants trying to enforce airline mask requirements, treating the potentially lifesaving act as a pandemic game of cat-and-mouse. A loophole allowing the removal of masks while consuming food and beverages is a favorite dodge.

The displays of rule-bucking intransigence are described in more than 150 aviation safety reports filed with the federal government since the start of the pandemic and reviewed by The Washington Post. The reports provide an unguarded accounting of bad behavior by airline customers, something executives hit by a steep drop in travel and billions in pandemic-related losses are loath to share themselves.

By Sofia Saric, Globe Correspondent

New Year’s Day dawned bright and feeling downright balmy. The air and water temperature were in the low 40s — not too bad for those who wanted to christen 2021 with a quick dip into the cold ocean.

The L Street Brownies canceled its epic plunge into Dorchester Bay this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, a brave few would not be denied their yearly swim off of South Boston’s famous beaches.

By Frances Stead Sellers, The Washington Post

For the first eight months of her pregnancy, Yadira Rivas, a nurse coordinator at Neighborhood Health of Virginia, relied on masks and gloves to protect her from the coronavirus that is rampant among her patients.

Recently, she’s been considering another option - getting vaccinated. But after consulting with her obstetrician, Rivas decided to wait to get a shot until after her baby is born.

he same conundrum faces millions of women across the country, among them many health-care workers like Rivas who are being offered vaccines not yet tested on pregnant or lactating women.

By The Associated Press

The leader of Delta Air Lines is telling workers that he expects some recovery from the coronavirus travel downturn by the spring.

CEO Ed Bastian writes in a New Year’s Day memo to employees that he expects 2021 to start with travel deeply depressed like it was last year. But as vaccines become more widely available, he expects a turning point especially in business travel. He says Delta should generate positive cash flow by the spring.

By The Associated Press

Tens of thousands of Americans have volunteered to test COVID-19 vaccines, but only about half of them got the real thing during trials.

Now, with the first vaccine rollouts and a surge in coronavirus infections, experts are debating what to do about the half that got a dummy shot.

Should everyone now be offered a vaccine? Or should the two groups in the Pfizer and Moderna studies remain intact in order to collect long-term data on how well the vaccines work?

Associated Press

Ambulances waited hours for openings to offload coronavirus patients. Overflow patients were moved to hospital hallways and gift shops, even a cafeteria. Refrigerated trucks were on standby, ready to store the dead.

For months, California did many of the right things to avoid a catastrophic surge from the pandemic. But by the time Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Dec. 15 that 5,000 body bags were being distributed, it was clear that the nation’s most populous state had entered a new phase of the COVID-19 crisis.

Now infections have been racing out of control for weeks, and California has routinely set new records for infections and deaths. It remains at or near the top of the list of states with the most new cases per capita.

By The Associated Press

British medics warned Friday that hospitals around the country face a perilous few weeks amid surging new coronavirus infections that have been blamed on a new variant of the virus.

A day after the U.K. posted a record 55,892 new infections and another 964 coronavirus-related deaths, concerns are mounting about the impact on the overstretched National Health Service. Field hospitals that were constructed in the early days of the pandemic but that were subsequently mothballed are being reactivated.

The Royal College of Nursing’s England director, Mike Adams, told Sky News that the U.K. was in the “eye of the storm” and that it was “infuriating” to see people not following the social distancing guidance or wearing masks.

By Kate Taylor, New York Time

The United States on Thursday recorded its 20 millionth case since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing a grim milestone just as the prospects for getting the virus under control quickly in the new year appeared to dim.

Half of those 20 million cases have been recorded just since Nov. 8, a reflection of how widespread and devastating the recent surge has been. And earlier this week, Colorado identified the first known case in the United States of a new variant of the virus that is believed to be much more contagious, and which threatens to overwhelm an already burdened health care system.

By The Associated Press

This New Year’s Eve is being celebrated like no other in most of the world, with many bidding farewell to a year they’d prefer to forget.

From the South Pacific to New York City, pandemic restrictions on open air gatherings saw people turning to made-for-TV fireworks displays or packing it in early since they could not toast the end of 2020 in the presence of friends or carousing strangers.

As midnight rolled from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Americas, the New Year’s experience mirrored national responses to the virus itself. Some countries and cities canceled or scaled back their festivities, while others without active outbreaks carried on like any other year.

By The Associated Press

Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak that people reconsider their plans to go out and celebrate.

While shopping, gambling, drinking yard-long frozen cocktails and gawking at the sights, most everyone out in Sin City was wearing a face mask, though not all had them covering their mouth and nose, as recommended by health experts.

Casinos have abided by state rules by spacing out chairs at slot machines and installing acrylic partitions separating people standing around craps and blackjack tables, but inside the casino corridors that snake past the gambling floors there were many areas where there were too many people strolling through to abide by social distancing guidelines.

By The Associated Press

Florida health authorities late Thursday reported finding evidence of the latest US case of the new and apparently more contagious coronavirus strain first seen in England, saying it was detected in a man with no recent travel history.

The case, disclosed in a Florida Health Department statement tweeted on its HealthyFla site, comes after reports in recent days of two individual cases of the United Kingdom strain of Covid-19 discovered in Colorado and California.

Florida’s health statement said the new virus variant was detected in a man in his 20s in Martin County, which abuts the Atlantic Coast above densely populated South Florida. It said its experts were working with the Atlanta-based federal Centers for Disease Control on investigating the case.

By The Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Thursday extended pandemic-related bans on green cards and work visas to large groups of applicants through March 31, while a federal appeals court sided with him on a rule that requires new immigrants to have their own health insurance.

The twin developments on the final day of 2020 encapsulated how Trump has made U.S. immigration policy more restrictive without support from Congress. President-elect Joe Biden has promised to undo many of Trump’s actions but it is unclear how quickly and even to what extent.

By Dasia Moore and Dugan Arnett, Globe Staff

Though 2020 has come to a close, the virus that defined it is surging into the new year undefeated and unabated.

Over the course of the pandemic, the United States has recorded nearly 20 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 345,000 deaths — a staggering toll of lives lost and forever changed that seemed unimaginable when the country’s first known outbreaks of the novel coronavirus emerged nearly 10 months ago.

In Massachusetts, as the year wound down, the death toll stood at 12,157, one of the highest per capita death tolls in the nation. The state on Thursday reported 359,445 cases for 2020, following a resurgence of the virus in the fall that pushed daily case counts into the thousands and strained hospitals anew.

The coming of the new year carries at least one sign of progress: Vaccines have arrived. As of Thursday, Massachusetts has administered 78,643 potentially life-saving doses.

By Hamza Shaban and Heather Long, Washington Post

The US stock market ended 2020 at all-time highs, enriching the wealthy and capping off a soaring comeback despite a deadly pandemic that has killed more than 340,000 Americans and left millions jobless and hungry.

The S&P 500 index, the most widely watched gauge, is finishing the year up more than 16 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 7.25 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively. The Dow and S&P 500 finished at record levels despite the ongoing public health and economic crises.

By Lauren Wolfe, New York Times

Forty-two people in Boone County, in southwestern West Virginia, who were scheduled to receive the coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday were mistakenly injected with an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment instead, the West Virginia National Guard said Thursday.

None of the 42 recipients has developed any adverse effects, the Guard said in a statement. The Guard, which is leading the state’s vaccine distribution effort, called the error “a breakdown in the process.”

By The Associated Press

Authorities arrested a suburban Milwaukee pharmacist Thursday suspected of deliberately ruining hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine by removing it from refrigeration for two nights.

The Grafton Police Department said the former Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property. The department said in a news release that he was in jail. Police did not identify the pharmacist, saying he has not yet been formally charged.

By The Associated Press

Republican Sen. David Perdue was forced into quarantine Thursday in the home stretch of Georgia’s high-stakes Senate runoffs, disclosing just five days before the election that he had been exposed to a campaign worker infected with the coronavirus.

Perdue’s campaign did not say how long he plans to stay in quarantine, but guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control say those exposed to the virus can resume normal activities after seven days if they have a negative test result.

By Nathaniel Weitzer, Globe Correspondent

Thursday’s Atlantic Coast Conference women’s basketball matchup between Boston College and host Pittsburgh has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

The postponement follows a positive test, subsequent quarantining and contact tracing within the Pittsburgh program in adherence with the outlined protocols in the ACC Medical Advisory Group report.

By Rebecca Robbins, Frances Robles and Tim Arango, New York Times

In Florida, less than one-quarter of delivered coronavirus vaccines have been used, even as older people sat in lawn chairs all night waiting for their shots. In Puerto Rico, last week’s vaccine shipments did not arrive until the workers who would have administered them had left for the Christmas holiday. In California, doctors are worried about whether there will be enough hospital staff members to both administer vaccines and tend to the swelling number of COVID-19 patients.

These sorts of logistical problems in clinics across the country have put the campaign to vaccinate the United States against COVID-19 far behind schedule in its third week, raising fears about how quickly the country will be able to tame the epidemic.

By The New York Times

A flurry of headlines this week flooded social media, documenting a seemingly concerning case of COVID-19 in a San Diego nurse who fell ill about a week after receiving his first injection of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

But experts said the sickness is nothing unexpected: The protective effects of vaccines are known to take at least a couple of weeks to kick in. And getting sick before completing a two-dose vaccine regimen, they said, should not undermine the potency of Pfizer’s product, which blazed through late-stage clinical trials with flying colors.

By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff

The Baker administration rolled out another $67 million in grants on Thursday to nearly 1,400 small businesses that are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Half of the winning businesses in this round are owned by people of color, and nearly half are owned by women. Restaurants and bars, beauty and personal services, health care, and retail are among the sectors that are getting the most money in this round. Grants ranged significantly in size, up to $75,000 apiece.

The Associated Press

The race to vaccinate millions of Americans is off to a slower, messier start than public health officials and leaders of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed had expected.

Overworked, underfunded state public health departments are scrambling to patch together plans for administering vaccines. Counties and hospitals have taken different approaches, leading to long lines, confusion, frustration and jammed phone lines. A multitude of logistical concerns have complicated the process of trying to beat back the scourge that has killed over 340,000 Americans.

By Dave Philipps, New York Times

This isolated ranching community on the high plains is the last place local residents expect to be first for anything, especially a new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus. But on Wednesday, state health officials announced the first known case of the variant in the United States had been confirmed in a National Guard soldier sent to help with a COVID-19 outbreak at the town’s Good Samaritan Society nursing home.

A second soldier at the nursing home has tested positive and may also have the variant, Emily Travanty, the interim director of the state public health laboratory, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

The Associated Press

China has given conditional approval to a coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned Sinopharm.

The vaccine is the first one approved for general use in China.

Chen Shifei, the deputy commissioner of China’s Medical Production Administration, said at a news conference Thursday that the decision had been made the previous night.

By The Associated Press

A Wisconsin health system said Wednesday that 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine that had to be discarded after they were left unrefrigerated now appear to have been deliberately spoiled by an employee.

Aurora Medical Center first reported on the spoiled doses on Saturday, and said they had been accidentally left out overnight by an employee at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.

In a statement late Wednesday, Aurora said the employee involved “today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration.”

New York Times

An air traffic control center that serves Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was closed for several hours Wednesday for cleaning after an unspecified number of employees tested positive for the coronavirus, grounding flights at one of the world’s busiest hubs.

The disruption at the center — which handles high-altitude air traffic for most of North Texas, Northwest Louisiana and the southern parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas — caused ripples of delays and diverted flights across the country.

The Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center suspended operations from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. so the facility could be disinfected, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which did not say how many employees had contracted the virus.

By Dan McGowan, Globe Staff

For Dr. Christian Arbelaez, the two weeks since he became the first person in Rhode Island to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have showed him that there is both light at the end of the tunnel in the pandemic and a dark road ahead.

As he prepares get his second dose of the vaccine on Saturday, Arbelaez said he wants the public to know that while it’s OK to be hopeful about the future, they must also remain vigilant about combatting a virus that isn’t ready to disappear.

By Edward Fitzpatrick, Globe Staff

With a cumulative COVID-19 rate of 16,815 per 100,000 people, Central Falls has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the Northeast. So state officials included the city in the first phase of a four-phase vaccine program, and they’re hoping to vaccinate people in other hard-hit ZIP codes in Providence and Pawtucket during the first or second phases.

By Hanna Krueger, Globe Staff

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine at the state-run Soldiers’ Homes in Holyoke and Chelsea on Tuesday marked what many hope to be a brighter chapter for the elder care facilities that were ravaged this spring by the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the first day of vaccinations at the veterans’ homes, officials reported that the majority of residents — 86 percent at Chelsea and 94 percent at Holyoke — received the first dose of the vaccine. But vaccination rates were much lower among employees at the facilities, with just 19 percent of staff at Chelsea and 39 percent at Holyoke receiving a shot.

By The Associated Press

California on Wednesday announced its first confirmed case of the new and apparently more contagious variant of the coronavirus, the second case documented in the United States in a day.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the infection found in Southern California during an online conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I don’t think Californians should think that this is odd. It’s to be expected,” Fauci said.

By Bloomberg News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported a new daily high of 13,422 cases of COVID-19 as he stressed the need to reopen the economy long before the majority of the population is vaccinated.

Of the nearly 155,000 tests conducted statewide on Tuesday, 8.66% were positive, including hot-spot areas. The state conducted fewer tests than it has in recent weeks, Cuomo said Wednesday.

By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced Wednesday that his outdoor inauguration ceremony has been canceled due to “aggressive” anti-mask protesters that have been demonstrating outside his home, causing public safety concerns.

Sununu explained the reasoning for the decision in a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon.

“My first responsibility is ensuring the safety of my family and our citizens,” he wrote on Twitter.

By Breanne Kovatch, Globe correspondent

Hazel Plummer, 112, survived the flu pandemic of 1918. A little over 100 years later, she received the Pfizer vaccine to help her live through another one.

“You have to have faith that this works, and it looks like this works good,” said her son, 84-year-old David Plummer, referring to the vaccine.

Hazel Plummer, the oldest resident of Massachusetts, was one of 49 residents at the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton set to be vaccinated Wednesday afternoon, said Samantha Pereira, executive director of the nursing home. Fifty members of staff were also set to get their first round of the vaccine Wednesday.

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

The coronavirus has swept across the world, sickening tens of millions and killing nearly 1.8 million people while governments have struggled to control the spread. Now a new variant of the virus is raising concern, and the latest reports confirm it has arrived in the United States. Here’s a quick rundown, with the help of Globe wire services, of what you need to know.

By The Associated Press

The Canadian government said Wednesday that passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before they arrive in the country.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the measure will be implemented in the next few days.

Canada already requires those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.

By The Associated Press

Health officials say a Colorado National Guard member has the first reported U.S. case of COVID-19 variant and a second case is suspected in another Guard member.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist, said Wednesday that the two were deployed on Dec. 23 to a nursing home with an outbreak of the virus in a small town outside Denver.

She appeared in a virtual briefing with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who says the man in his 20s with the confirmed case was recovering in isolation and had mild symptoms.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Massachusetts residents to avoid large gatherings on New Year’s Eve and said the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is moving forward despite some “bumpy” moments in the initial stages of the herculean rollout.

“I know what tomorrow night is, it’s New Year’s Eve,” Baker said during his regular State House news conference. “And I know that the start of the new year for all of us is a chance to breathe a deep sigh of relief. But I would just ask everybody to continue to stay vigilant.”

By Anissa Gardizy Globe Correspondent

Moderna released a statement Tuesday disclosing that it would make its COVID-19 vaccine available to its US-based workers, contractors, and board members, as well as the adults those people live with.

The Cambridge biotech’s plans appear to put some individuals ahead of the country’s vaccine distribution plan, which at least in Massachusetts puts the general public in the last phase of the rollout. Massachusetts is prioritizing health care workers and those living in long-term care facilities, and the general public is not expected to receive the vaccine until at least April.

By The Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns have two more positive COVID-19 cases — another player and a staff member — as they prepare for Sunday’s finale against the Steelers.

The team closed its facility on Wednesday after being informed of the test results. The Browns have not yet announced the identity of the player or added him to their COVID-19 reserve list.

The Browns already have nine players on the list, including their top four wide receivers. Those players and others are eligible to return Thursday as long as they test negative.

On Tuesday, safeties Andrew Sendejo, Karl Joseph and tight end Harrison Bryant were added to the list.

By The Associated Press

The Bennington Police Department is dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus among its force.

Five officers, including the police chief, and one civilian employee have been infected, Bennington Town Manager Stuart Hurd said by email on Wednesday.

The department has 26 sworn officers. “We have sufficient officers to cover all shifts and our force is providing that coverage,” Hurd said.

Town officials believe the outbreak is contained, he said. Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to make sure proper protocols were followed, including contract tracing, Hurd said.

“It is unfortunate, but as front line workers, they face greater risks than most of us,” he said. The Bennington Banner first reported on the cases.

By The Associated Press

The British government on Wednesday extended its toughest coronavirus restrictions to three-quarters of England’s population, saying a fast-spreading new variant of the virus has reached most of the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government’s top infection-warning level, Tier 4, would be expanded beyond London and the southeast to cover large swaths of central, northern and southwest England.

By The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

The Rhode Island Department of Education has ruled that the superintendent of North Kingstown schools could not bar two students from attending in-person classes because they went to school while their father awaited the results of a coronavirus test.

The siblings, one in high school and one in middle school, were suspended last month by their respective principals from attending in-person classes for the rest of the school year. The family appealed, and Superintendent Philip Auger reduced the suspension until Feb. 12.

The father eventually tested positive, as did the children, who were then taken out of school immediately.

By The Associated Press

Greece’s center-right government says senior state officials will no longer be given priority for the COVID-19 vaccination after posts on social media by Cabinet ministers receiving the shot triggered a backlash from health care unions and opposition parties.

Aristotelia Peloni, a deputy government spokeswoman, said Wednesday that a plan to vaccinate 126 officials from the government and state-run organizations was being cut short after around half had received the shot.

It had been expected that a small number of senior officials would receive the vaccine publicly, as part of a plan to persuade everyone that it was safe and necessary, but the number of people on the list took many by surprise.

By The Associated Press

A new variant of the coronavirus that may be more contagious has been found in a Colorado man who had not been traveling, triggering a host of questions about how the first U.S. case of the new version showed up in the Rocky Mountain state.

The new variant was first identified in England, and infections are soaring now in Britain, where the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has surpassed the first peak of the outbreak in the spring. The new variant has also been found in several other countries.

Colorado officials were expected to provide more details at a news conference Wednesday about how the man in his 20s from a mostly rural area of rolling plains at the edge of the Denver metro area came down with the variant. Gov. Jared Polis announced the case Tuesday, adding urgency to efforts to vaccinate Americans.

By The Associated Press

Britain has authorized use of a second COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to greenlight an easy-to-handle shot that its developers hope will become the “vaccine for the world.”

The United Kingdom government says the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has made an emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said “today is an important day for millions of people in the U.K. who will get access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit.