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In the headlines:
►More than 1.3 million travelers passed through the nation’s airports on Sunday, a new pandemic travel record as passengers headed from the holidays. Those numbers are still down significantly from a year ago, but the the holiday travel season has been stronger than expected.
►Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Monday that “tough, tough” weeks lie ahead and more restrictions are coming soon as a virus variant raged unchecked across Britain. Most of England already has closed gyms and non essential shops. “If you look at the numbers, there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures,” he said.
►The numbers are in for December, and they are grisly. New infections jumped more than 40% from November – and November had more than twice as many cases as any previous month. The December death toll also set a record. More details below.
►Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday he would speed up vaccine approval and beef up border controls to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and promised to consider declaring a state of emergency.
► President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to administer 100 million shots of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office is achievable, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 20 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 351,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 85 million cases and 1.8 million deaths.
Britain on Monday became the first nation to use the vaccine developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca, a vaccine not yet been authorized for emergency use in the U.S.
The National Health Service also endorsed delaying the second dose of the vaccine up to 12 weeks – three weeks is recommended – so that more people can get a first dose. The U.K. is in the midst of an acute outbreak, recording more than 50,000 new coronavirus infections a day over the past six days.
In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he opposes delaying the second dose. Moncef Slaoui,…