10 things you need to know today: December 13, 2020

First trucks carrying Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine hit the road, U.S. surpasses 16 million COVID-19 cases, and more

Trucks carrying the first shipment of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
(Image credit: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

1. First trucks carrying Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine hit the road

The first American shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, went out Sunday, as trucks pulled out of a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to deliver them to hundreds of sites across the country. The watershed moment marks the first phase of what should be the largest vaccination effort in American history, and it could be a major step toward ending the coronavirus pandemic. The initial shipments will be staggered, with around 3 million doses going to 145 sites Monday, 425 more sites Tuesday, and 66 sites Wednesday. Hospitals and other locations that are equipped to meet the ultra-cold storage requirements for the vaccine will be on the receiving end of those batches, and all vaccination sites, as identified by each state, will reportedly get their doses within three weeks.

The Associated Press HuffPost

2. U.S. surpasses 16 million COVID-19 cases

The United States on Saturday surpassed 16 million coronavirus cases, data released by Johns Hopkins University shows. The new milestone comes just four days after the country hit 15 million cases. The U.S. reported 219,000 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, a decline from Friday's all time 24-hour high. Elsewhere, Japan and South Korea both announced Sunday that they set new single-day case records. Japan tallied more than 3,000 new infections for the first time since the pandemic began, and authorities are considering mitigation measures. Japan has been praised for keeping cases down without a lockdown during the crisis so far. Germany, meanwhile, is reportedly planning to close shops and schools for nearly a month during the holiday season to slow the virus' spread.

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The Wall Street Journal The Associated Press

3. Pro-Trump D.C. protests turn violent overnight

Dueling protests turned violent Saturday night in Washington, D.C., after President Trump's supporters, including members of groups like the Proud Boys, marched through the capital during the day to demonstrate against President-elect Joe Biden's victory, which they believe was the result of widespread voter fraud despite there being no evidence to back up the claims. The larger gatherings throughout the day were mostly peaceful, but at night smaller groups of pro-Trump protesters and counterprotesters clashed throughout the city. As of 9 p.m. ET, 23 people were arrested — six for assault on police officers, 10 for misdemeanor assaults, four for rioting, two for crossing a police line, and one for carrying an illegal taser. Police also said eight people were injured. Four stabbing victims are reportedly in critical condition with possibly life threatening injuries, while two police officers reportedly suffered moderate, non-life-threatening injuries. It is not immediately clear with which groups the attackers or the injured might have been affiliated.

CNN The Washington Post

4. Michael Flynn delivers 1st public remarks since pardon at pro-Trump rally

Retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn spoke at a post-election protest from the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, marking the first time President Trump's former national security adviser has addressed the public since Trump pardoned him last month. Flynn echoed other Trump allies who have been pushing unfounded allegations that the president lost November's election to President-elect Joe Biden because of widespread voter fraud. He did not provide any evidence to back up his claims, but said "in this crucible moment of our time, we have to pray that truth triumphs over lies, justice triumphs over abuse and fraud, honesty triumphs over corruption." He added that "courts aren't going to decide who the next president of the United States is going to be. We the people decide." He was reportedly showered with cheers by the crowd.

The Hill The Washington Post

5. Johnson, von der Leyen agree to extend Brexit talks

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to extend the deadline for Brexit negotiations beyond Sunday, the two leaders said in a joint statement. With the end of the transition period set for Dec. 31, and the possibility of the U.K. fully leaving the European Union without a trade deal in place a very real possibility, Johnson and von der Leyen said that despite a series of missed deadlines it's "responsible at this point to go the extra mile" and find common ground on sticking points like fishing rights. Both leaders have previously said a no-deal Brexit appeared probable, but they've asked their negotiating teams to keep at it and have not specified a new deadline before the end of the month.

The Financial Times BBC

6. Atlanta mayor turned down unknown Biden Cabinet role

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms turned down a position in President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet, her senior adviser Rashad Taylor said in a statement Saturday. Taylor said Bottoms was "honored" to receive the offer, but her "focus remains on the people of Atlanta and the great state of Georgia." It's unclear what position Bottoms declined, but both Taylor and the Biden transition team have denied a report from The New Yorker that she was offered the role of ambassador to the Bahamas. There was also speculation that she could be nominated to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a role which ultimately went to Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). At one point, Bottoms was considered a potential running mate for Biden.

Bloomberg The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7. Burisma info sought in Hunter Biden subpoena

A subpoena seeking documents as part of a Justice Department investigation into the tax affairs of President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, has asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including the Ukrainian gas company Burisma where he was a board member, a personal familiar with the case told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Burisma was the firm at the center of President Trump's request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, which ultimately led to his impeachment. It's unclear if the younger Biden's ties to Burisma are central to the tax investigation, or if prosecutors are looking into all of his income sources in recent years.

The Associated Press

8. Country music stars Charley Pride dies from COVID-19 complications at 86

Charley Pride, whom The Tennessean describes as "the first Black superstar in country music," died Saturday due to complications from COVID-19 in Dallas, Texas, his publicist said in a statement. He was 86. The son of sharecropper in rural Mississippi, Pride went on to enjoy a music career that lasted more than five decades. The Tennessean notes that he initially had to deal with "club audiences unwilling to hear a Black singer cover Hank Williams," only to eventually become the best-selling artist on RCA records at one point since Elvis Presley. In 2000, he became the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Tennessean

9. Vanderbilt's Fuller becomes 1st woman to score points in Power 5 game

Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller made history again Saturday, when she knocked through an extra point during the Commodores' SEC matchup with in-state rival Tennessee. With the point after, Fuller, the Vanderbilt women's soccer team's starting goalkeeper, became the first woman to score a point in a Power Five college football game. Last month, Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power Five game when she took the second half kick off against Missouri. Fuller's PAT tied the game at seven, and she made another in the fourth quarter. Tennessee won the game 42-17.

USA Today CBS Sports

10. Columbus Crew capture MLS Cup

The Columbus Crew defeated the Seattle Sounders 3-0 on Saturday night to win the MLS Cup. Argentina's Lucas Zelarayán scored two goals and assisted on another for the winning side. It was a trying season for the entire American soccer leaguer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the playoffs began last month, eight players on the Crew tested positive for the virus, and two more were infected during the run to the finals. But the team was able to fight through the adversity. It's the second Cup the Crew have won, the first coming in 2008. Just three years ago, plans to move the Columbus franchise to Austin, Texas, were revealed, but fans and local businesses in the Ohio city rallied to keep the team in town.


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