The Morning Dispatch: Cuomo Under Fire for Undercounting Nursing Home Deaths

Happy Friday! It is National Corn Chip Day: Please celebrate responsibly.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • U.S. gross domestic product increased at a 4 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a Department of Commerce report published yesterday. For 2020 as a whole, U.S. GDP declined by 3.5 percent, the largest contraction since the end of World War II.

  • Novavax—a biotech company that participated in Operation Warp Speed—announced Thursday its COVID-19 vaccine was 89.3 percent effective in a Phase III clinical trial conducted in the U.K. It was, however, only about 50 percent effective in a smaller trial conducted in South Africa, with most of the infections attributed to the new variant first discovered in that country.

  • Health officials in South Carolina have identified the first two confirmed cases of the more transmissible coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa. Officials said there is “no known travel history and no connection between these two cases” at this time, meaning the variant is likely already spreading within the United States.

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