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5 things to know for December 8: Coronavirus, White House, immigration, Brexit, China

Another critical fire weather day for Southern California, but big changes in the forecast by late week. CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri explains.

Posted: Dec 9, 2020 2:01 AM
Updated: Dec 9, 2020 2:01 AM

The editor behind the "The Yale Book of Quotations" has named 2020's top quotes, and they call to mind the year's biggest struggles: "Wear a mask," and "I can't breathe." Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus

The UK has started administering the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, making it the first Western country to start vaccinating its citizens outside of clinical trials. The UK has ordered enough of the vaccine to inoculate a third of its population, but for right now, it's available by invitation only for those age 80 and over, care homes staff and front line health and social care workers. In the US, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today prioritizing the shipment of a coronavirus vaccine to Americans before other nations, according to senior administration officials. The US just had its deadliest week for the coronavirus since April, with 15,658 reported deaths over the last seven days.  Across the world, South Korea and Japan aren't taking any chances with their pandemic strategies. Both countries have deployed their respective militaries to assist medical staff and help with contact tracing.

2. White House transition

President-elect Joe Biden has selected retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the former commander of US Central Command, to be his secretary of defense, sources tell CNN. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black man to lead the Department of Defense, the nation's largest government agency. Biden will likely make the announcement official today, and will select more Cabinet members, including attorney general, at the end of the week. Meanwhile, President Trump's window for acting on baseless accusations of voter fraud to contest the election results is closing. Today is the federal election "safe harbor" date, and any state that has finalized its Electoral College voters by this day -- six days before the Electoral College officially votes -- is final and presumptively cannot be challenged.

3. Immigration

The US Department of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status -- a form of humanitarian relief -- for Hondurans living in the US, according to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. TPS applies to people who would face extreme hardship if forced to return to home countries affected by armed conflict or natural disasters. In the case of Honduras,  Category 4 hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated the country in November, and officials worry that major health risks and poverty could sweep the nation as it recovers. According to an online announcement from US Citizenship and Immigration Services, TPS has also been extended for eligible people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan until October 2021. The Department of Homeland Security will also begin to accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

4. Brexit

The UK has mere weeks left to reach a trade deal with the European Union unless it wants to tumble out of the last phase of Brexit in the most economically damaging way possible. If the UK's government doesn't reach a deal by the new year, it will have to trade on World Trade Organization terms, which means more tariffs and barriers on goods and services. The UK Office for Budget Responsibility has already predicted a 4% loss of output even if a trade deal is reached. If it's not, that loss could balloon by another 2% in 2021 and send more than 300,000 people to the unemployment line by the second half of next year. Right now, negotiations between the UK and the EU are caught up on fishing rights, government aid for companies, and how disputes are settled.

5. China

The US State Department has announced new sanctions against 14 officials in China's top legislature over their involvement in creating a controversial national security law imposed on Hong Kong. All of them will be banned from traveling to the US, along with their families, and any assets they hold in the US will be blocked. Despite the latest round of economic and diplomatic acrimony, China's foreign minister Wang Yi says Beijing is open to restarting its relationship with the US. Speaking from the US-China Business Council, Wang said the two countries should learn to respect each other again, and blamed their frayed relations on some Americans with "outdated Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices."

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Breakdancing to make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024

Gymnastics, but make it funky.

These lonely otters found love in lockdown just in time for the holidays

Because no one otter be alone this year. (Yes, I'm sorry.)

An invasive species of giant lizard has been making its way through the Southeast

We've ALMOST made it through the year of scary bugs, and now we get scary reptiles?!

A French man has left money to 50 cats who live in Russia's Hermitage Museum

The epitome of life goals.

KFC and Lifetime team up for a 'steamy' holiday mini-movie

Sure, we like our chicken hot and spicy, but not like this ... or ...?

THIS JUST IN

Tripadvisor, and more than 100 other apps, have just been blocked in China

The Cyberspace Administration of China says it's removed 105 apps it considered to be "illegal" in the government's wide-ranging attempt to "clean-up" online content. Most of the platforms belonged to local Chinese firms, and it was not immediately clear why Tripadvisor was caught in the fray.

TODAY'S NUMBER

55%

That's the proportion of firefighters in the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) who said they wouldn't get a Covid-19 vaccine if the department offered one, according to a poll.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months."

NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns, who says he's lost seven family members to Covid-19, including his mother, who passed away in April.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Come on down the maple syrup farm!

In the world of winter flavors, maple syrup -- real, rich maple syrup -- is too often forgotten. We need to right this wrong. (Click here to view)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 755401

Reported Deaths: 8531
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1513291905
Ramsey62614972
Dakota56158520
Anoka53010513
Washington33145327
Stearns27922252
St. Louis23178352
Scott21316159
Wright20879170
Olmsted17821118
Sherburne15232111
Carver1336954
Clay1006598
Rice9855131
Blue Earth949559
Crow Wing9254105
Kandiyohi819195
Chisago816662
Otter Tail7807104
Benton7363108
Beltrami633276
Mower631740
Douglas616189
Goodhue603683
Winona603653
Itasca596978
McLeod580868
Steele572425
Isanti558172
Morrison541565
Becker518762
Polk502577
Freeborn480842
Nobles477052
Lyon444456
Carlton438666
Nicollet423051
Pine419930
Cass413142
Mille Lacs403565
Brown398846
Todd389336
Le Sueur378331
Meeker350452
Waseca322629
Martin316534
Wabasha28495
Hubbard283644
Dodge26819
Roseau258924
Fillmore236312
Redwood234143
Wadena230229
Houston229017
Renville224249
Faribault214630
Pennington213227
Sibley204512
Cottonwood193027
Kanabec187130
Chippewa185839
Aitkin178442
Watonwan168711
Pope15328
Rock153219
Yellow Medicine151120
Jackson144114
Koochiching137219
Clearwater133318
Swift132619
Pipestone131627
Marshall131419
Murray131310
Stevens122311
Lake106221
Wilkin100214
Lac qui Parle95024
Mahnomen86312
Norman8459
Big Stone7874
Grant7669
Lincoln7525
Kittson59522
Red Lake5769
Unassigned528124
Traverse5005
Lake of the Woods4524
Cook2420

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 467281

Reported Deaths: 6685
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk73698716
Linn28680379
Scott24441271
Black Hawk20130355
Woodbury18854242
Johnson17800100
Dubuque15577228
Pottawattamie14073197
Dallas13894107
Story1275148
Warren763496
Webster6876111
Cerro Gordo6816107
Clinton6814100
Des Moines657893
Marshall635484
Muscatine6294113
Wapello5807136
Jasper571478
Lee560787
Sioux560276
Marion499791
Buena Vista489745
Plymouth459187
Henry378647
Jones365160
Washington362255
Bremer353867
Benton352056
Boone344837
Carroll341753
Crawford337345
Mahaska313656
Dickinson297651
Clay274631
Buchanan274239
Jackson270445
Kossuth269373
Hardin266448
Tama261476
Fayette253848
Delaware253444
Cedar246326
Page244827
Wright240945
Winneshiek230837
Hamilton228553
Floyd216744
Harrison215277
Madison214325
Clayton210058
Poweshiek206840
Iowa204229
Butler203237
Jefferson197340
Mills197227
Allamakee192952
Cherokee191943
Lyon190641
Cass190557
Winnebago185432
Hancock184739
Calhoun184115
Appanoose175950
Shelby174239
Louisa169651
Grundy167937
Emmet163842
Franklin163328
Humboldt161826
Mitchell161843
Union159437
Chickasaw156418
Sac156323
Guthrie154034
Palo Alto140831
Clarke140028
Montgomery138941
Keokuk137534
Monroe131534
Howard125422
Ida116641
Davis113825
Greene113712
Lucas112224
Pocahontas109323
Monona107436
Worth10678
Adair103634
Osceola91117
Fremont83711
Van Buren82721
Decatur81212
Taylor78612
Wayne72024
Ringgold66827
Audubon64514
Adams4984
Unassigned150
Rochester
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 42°
Mason City
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 37°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 50°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Charles City
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
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