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Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
After months of back and forth, congressional negotiators came to an agreement on a coronavirus relief package over the weekend. The final text of the $900 billion legislation is still being written, but it will include a $300-per-week federal boost to state unemployment insurance for 11 weeks, $600 stimulus checks for Americans earning less than $75,000, hundreds of billions of dollars for businesses through a renewed Paycheck Protection Program, and tens of billions of dollars for schools and COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution. Lawmakers could vote on the final package as early as today.
The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. The initial doses of the Moderna vaccine were shipped Sunday; distribution will begin today. Army Gen. Gustave Perna of Operation Warp Speed acknowledged on Saturday he overestimated the number of Pfizer vaccine doses that would be available this week, reducing the projection from 7.3 million to 4.3 million.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Sunday to recommend states prioritize Americans over the age of 75 and essential frontline workers like teachers and grocery store employees for COVID-19 vaccination once health care workers and nursing home residents have had a chance to be inoculated. The CDC’s recommended third group includes people ages 65-74, ages 16-64 with co-morbidities, and non-frontline essential workers.