VIRUS TODAY: California faces closures; jobless cutoff looms

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An employee at Gucci talks to a man waiting on a socially distanced line of shoppers waiting to enter the luxury designer boutique on Rodeo Drive, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The new stay-at-home order will last at least three weeks, cutting sharply into the most profitable shopping season and threatening financial ruin for businesses already struggling after 10 months of on-again, off-again restrictions and slow sales because of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Pamela Hassell)

Here’s what’s happening Saturday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:


— The coronavirus surge is threatening to overwhelm hospitals in California. Five San Francisco Bay Area counties have new stay-at-home orders that will take effect Sunday. The new shutdowns are a gut-wrenching move for small businesses that have struggled to survive.

— Jobless Americans face a bleak predicament if Congress fails to extend two unemployment programs that are set to expire the day after Christmas. While congressional negotiators continue to seek a deal on extending the support, more than 9 million people could soon lose federal jobless aid that averages about $320 a week and that typically serves as their only source of income.

— Doctors, teachers and others in high-risk groups have signed up for a coronavirus vaccination in Moscow. The effort comes three days after President Vladimir Putin ordered a “large-scale” immunization campaign even though a Russian-designed vaccine has yet to complete the advanced studies needed to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

THE NUMBERS: The U.S. recorded 228,000 additional confirmed cases Friday, passing the previous high mark of more than 217,000 cases set one day earlier. The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 attributable deaths in the U.S. has passed 2,000 for the first time since spring, rising to 2,011. There were 2,607 deaths reported in the U.S. on Friday.

QUOTABLE: ““You can’t give up, because it’s your kid.” — Ellie Rounds Bloom, a Boston-area parent on the challenges facing children with mental health crises during the pandemic.

ICYMI: In Boise, Idaho, an urgent-care clinic has been revamped into a facility for coronavirus patients as infections and deaths surge, showing how a crush of virus patients is straining intertwined health care systems.

ON THE HORIZON: Food and Drug Administration advisers will meet next week to debate if there’s enough evidence for emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine.


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