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

President-elect Joe Biden has selected retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the former commander of US Central Command, to be his secretary of defense, two sources familiar with the decision told CNN.

Posted: Dec 8, 2020 2:00 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2020 2:00 PM

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: 681613

Reported Deaths: 8076
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1403921855
Ramsey58542944
Dakota52093497
Anoka48037479
Washington30637309
Stearns24839240
St. Louis20269335
Scott19626145
Wright18499163
Olmsted15792110
Sherburne13522100
Carver1206952
Clay915295
Rice9104120
Blue Earth866347
Crow Wing7797102
Kandiyohi744188
Chisago711658
Otter Tail666691
Benton6439101
Mower558038
Winona554452
Goodhue550080
Douglas535484
Itasca516671
Beltrami504672
McLeod501463
Steele500921
Isanti490170
Morrison467563
Nobles448650
Becker434559
Polk433675
Freeborn429538
Lyon394254
Carlton389559
Nicollet377647
Pine373726
Mille Lacs354360
Brown346443
Cass343035
Le Sueur340829
Todd321734
Meeker304749
Waseca288625
Martin261933
Wabasha24334
Dodge24064
Hubbard232241
Roseau231723
Houston203816
Renville199548
Redwood198242
Fillmore194710
Pennington190221
Wadena185126
Faribault179725
Cottonwood176624
Sibley175810
Chippewa171239
Kanabec164129
Aitkin155038
Watonwan155011
Rock138519
Jackson134712
Pope13058
Yellow Medicine125120
Pipestone125026
Swift117119
Koochiching116519
Murray115110
Stevens112211
Marshall103518
Clearwater101918
Lake91021
Wilkin89614
Lac qui Parle84824
Big Stone6814
Mahnomen6819
Grant6718
Lincoln6524
Norman6509
Kittson53322
Unassigned51593
Red Lake4777
Traverse4215
Lake of the Woods3884
Cook2120

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 432122

Reported Deaths: 6339
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk67341672
Linn25698353
Scott22828261
Black Hawk19121334
Woodbury16940233
Johnson1659690
Dubuque14547218
Pottawattamie13058183
Dallas12746102
Story1187148
Warren685993
Webster6304102
Cerro Gordo6212102
Clinton620097
Des Moines594482
Muscatine5781108
Unassigned57410
Marshall564280
Sioux542775
Jasper516575
Lee511078
Wapello4993128
Buena Vista472942
Marion449083
Plymouth434083
Henry339940
Jones331158
Bremer325365
Crawford321644
Carroll317053
Washington315754
Benton312656
Boone308736
Mahaska275453
Dickinson270846
Kossuth251471
Jackson246044
Clay245729
Tama238273
Delaware234643
Buchanan233938
Hardin230847
Page221624
Cedar220525
Fayette220345
Wright217641
Winneshiek215937
Hamilton211752
Harrison198875
Clayton194458
Madison193820
Butler188836
Floyd187742
Mills185224
Poweshiek181036
Cherokee179440
Iowa176425
Allamakee176252
Lyon174441
Jefferson169138
Calhoun168313
Hancock167335
Winnebago164231
Grundy158835
Cass155556
Louisa154949
Shelby151739
Appanoose151249
Emmet149541
Franklin148524
Humboldt147226
Sac144722
Union144237
Mitchell141643
Guthrie138132
Chickasaw137518
Palo Alto131124
Clarke125024
Montgomery122239
Keokuk116232
Howard115622
Monroe114033
Ida107538
Davis103125
Pocahontas99023
Greene98012
Adair95334
Monona94733
Lucas94523
Worth9268
Osceola83717
Decatur74510
Fremont74111
Taylor72412
Van Buren70919
Wayne65123
Ringgold62226
Audubon58414
Adams3914
Rochester
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