VIRUS TODAY: Vaccines are on the way to states

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

THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

— The first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States are headed from Michigan to distribution centers across the country. The first round of the Pfizer vaccine will be given this week to health care workers and at nursing homes.

— Despite record amounts of charitable donations this year, nonprofits across the U.S. are being suffocated by the effects of the pandemic as organizations face soaring costs and demands for help, yet are largely without their own support systems, including volunteers and in-person fundraising events.

— Italy on Sunday registered 484 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, one of its lowest daily death tolls in about a month. But those latest deaths were enough to eclipse Britain’s toll as having Europe’s highest toll in the pandemic, according to tracking done by Johns Hopkins University. According to the Italian Health Ministry on Sunday, Italy’s known death toll stood at 64,520. Britain’s toll, according to Johns Hopkins data, stood at 64,267 as of Sunday evening.

THE NUMBERS: The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in the U.S. rose to 2,379, up from 1,477 at the end of November, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The seven-day rolling average of new confirmed cases also has jumped, to 210,454 from 166,123 on Nov. 27.

QUOTABLE: “It’s very exciting. I will be thrilled, that moment when we administer our first dose,” said Dr. Graham Snyder, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at UPMC in Pittsburgh. “That will clearly be a watershed moment for us.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: In San Joaquin County, part of California’s vast Central Valley that produces most of the country’s fruits and vegetables, the coronavirus is spreading like a weed and the hospitals are running out of beds for the sickest patients. San Joaquin is part of a 12-county region that on Saturday had 100% of its intensive care unit beds filled, the highest rate anywhere in California.

ON THE HORIZON: Though COVID-19 vaccines have begun shipping in the U.S. after getting emergency authorization, supplies will be limited for some time. Officials say around 3 million shots would be shipped initially, with allocations based on a state’s population of people 18 and older. The government was holding back enough to ensure people can get a necessary second dose. For now, only Pfizer’s vaccine is being shipped, but other vaccines are making their way through the review process. In December, officials expect to be able to give 20 million first shots. Wide availability is expected by the middle of next year.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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