As of 7 a.m. on December 13 there were over 71 million coronavirus cases globally, with the death toll hitting more than 1.5 million, according to John Hopkins University. The good news is that there are over 45 million recoveries.

The United States is leading the world in both COVID-19 infections and fatalities, with over 16 million confirmed cases and over 297,000 deaths.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. About 31,000 doses of vaccine will be distributed to hospitals around Washington state early next week.

During the previous large-stage trial, the vaccine proved to be 95 percent effective in preventing the coronavirus disease.

With the emergency clearance, the U.S. becomes the latest country to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The vaccine was first approved in Britain earlier this month.

The FDA said the vaccine can be given to people aged 16 and older.

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