COVID-19 vaccine, Alex Padilla, Fauci, Walmart, iguana: Tuesday’s news

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More and more Americans are ready to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This has been the deadliest year in US history. And somewhere in Florida, an iguana is falling from the sky.

This is ashley. Let’s make the news.

But first, ma’am, it’s an airport: It’s not every day that we see the emergency slide of an airplane in action. It’s even less often that you see two passengers using it to slide out of a plane with their dog.

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Are you ready for this vaccine, America?

Do you plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when you can? Americans are starting to heat up now that two vaccines have been cleared by the FDA and healthcare workers have started receiving the vaccines (cry for Anthony Fauci, who gave the green light after being vaccinated on Tuesday. ). In a new USA TODAY poll, 46% of people say they will take the vaccine as soon as they can. That’s almost double the 26% of a USA TODAY poll at the end of October. This growing acceptance is a reassuring sign for public health experts who call the distribution of the vaccine crucial to controlling the pandemic that has killed more than 321,000 people in the United States.

Still on the fence? I understand perfectly. To allay my own apprehension, I asked a few friends in the healthcare industry to tell me why they chose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here’s what they had to say:

“I got vaccinated for my family, for the patients we treated whom we could not save, and for the 1.6 million lives lost worldwide. When I think back to March, I can’t believe we’re still here. My saving grace has been the wonderful team I work with. I couldn’t have gotten through this without them or my incredibly supportive family. “

– Kelsey Palatiello, Medical Intensive Care Unit at New York-Presbyterian / Weill-Cornell

“I feel honored and privileged to be a part of this moment in scientific history. As a childhood cancer survivor and now a pediatrician, I know how essential vaccines are to the health and safety of our community. We know vaccines are safe, work and save lives. When you get the vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself, but also those around you. ”

– Shira Einstein, Pediatric Resident, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

“I am so grateful and honored to have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week. This injection has been a small but powerful dose of hope that I and my fellow healthcare professionals desperately need. Thank you, science, and thank you to all amazing minds who have spent countless hours making this vaccine possible. “

– Jennifer Deutsch, nurse in Washington

The COVID-19 vaccine is "a small but powerful dose of hope" for Jennifer Deutsch, nurse in Washington.

Want to share your vaccine story? As healthcare workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we want to hear your reasons – and see your selfies. Email me at [email protected] to share yours.

Why is the vaccine important? It’s been a deadly year

This year was the deadliest year in US history. Deaths are expected to exceed 3 million for the first time – mainly from the pandemic. Preliminary figures show the country will have more than 3.2 million deaths, at least 400,000 more than in 2019. Deaths in the United States are increasing in most years, so an annual increase in the number of death is expected. But the 2020 numbers represent a jump of about 15% and could increase after all of this month’s deaths are counted. That would mark the biggest percentage jump in a single year since 1918, when tens of thousands of American soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in an influenza pandemic.

What everyone is talking about

Alex Padilla to take Kamala Harris’ seat in the Senate, becoming the state’s first Latin American senator

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walks towards the White House, leaving large shoes to fill. Meet California Secretary of State Alex Padillla. Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday appointed Padilla as the state’s next US senator to fill the seat vacated by Harris. The child of Mexican immigrants, he will give a new level of representation to Latinos, the demographic group that represents nearly 40% of the Californian population. Padilla, 47, has been California’s top election official since 2015 and is widely expected to be Newsom’s choice.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will replace Kamala Harris in the Senate as she assumes her role as Vice President.

Did Walmart Fuel Opioid Abuse? The Justice Department says yes

The Justice Department accused Walmart on Tuesday of contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic by filling thousands of invalid prescriptions and failing to report suspicious orders for opioids and other drugs from its pharmacies. In a civil lawsuit, federal authorities allege “hundreds of thousands of violations” of the Controlled Substance Act, and are asking for billions of dollars in penalties. Ahead of the lawsuit, Walmart filed its own lawsuit in October, saying justice officials were “more focused on chasing the headlines than solving the (opioid) crisis.” On Tuesday, Walmart sought to blame the government for not adequately monitoring suspicious doctors.

Best of 2020: Silver

USA TODAY editors came together to select the best stories of 2020. (Believe us, it wasn’t easy.) Every day until we ring in 2021, I’m going to put together some of the most memorable stories. of the year :

It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, just a falling iguana

Just another weather forecast in Florida: iguana fall. Miami’s National Weather Service on Monday issued an unofficial warning of a possible “iguana fall” this week. “Brrr!” the weather service tweeted. “Much colder temperatures are expected for Christmas. Low temperatures in the 1930s / 40s and iguana falls are possible.” Once the temperatures reach a certain level, the iguanas stiffen and fall from the trees, according to meteorologists. But they are not dead! According to the Florida Weather Service, “Iguanas are cold-blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temperatures drop in the 40s. They may fall from trees, but they are not dead.”

This is not the first time in 2020 that iguanas have been struck by cold.  It happened at Cherry Creek Park in Oakland Park, Fla., In January.  Miami's National Weather Service tweeted this week that residents shouldn't be surprised if they see iguanas falling from trees as low temperatures drop in the 1930s and 1940s.

A break in the news

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