Quiet goodbye to 2020 in Times Square.. Happy New Year 2021

USA  is keeping track of the news surrounding COVID-19 as a pair of vaccines join the U.S. fight against a virus that has killed more than 345,000 Americans since the first reported fatality in February.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates surrounding the coronavirus, including who is getting the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, as well as other top news from across the USA. 

In the headlines:

► A Wisconsin health care provider says an individual intentionally removed 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine from a refrigerator, causing them to be discarded. Local police announced the arrest of the male suspect Thursday night, but did not identify him. Aurora Medical Center said 500 vials were tampered with; those who had received the shots were being notified. Aside from the immunization being less effective or possibly ineffective, no adverse effects were predicted.

► Republican Sen. David Perdue announced Thursday that he was quarantining after coming into contact with someone on his campaign who tested positive for COVID-19, a striking development just five days before voters decide his political fate in a runoff race in Georgia.

► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blocked quick passage of increasing stimulus checks to $2,000 for the third time, calling the proposal – a key demand of President Donald Trump – “socialism for rich people.”

► The West Virginia National Guard says it accidentally injected 42 people with Regeneron Antibody instead of a Moderna coronavirus vaccine. 

📈 Today's numbers: California on Thursday surpassed 25,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, the third state to do so after New York and Texas, health officials said. New York has nearly 38,000 deaths and Texas has more than 27,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

📰 What we're reading: Heart failure in children is another rare COVID-19 complication. Here's what to look for.

New York City police prevent Times Square crowds as 2020 rings to an end

 New York City police prevented crowds of any size from gathering in Times Square. Citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, police closed the Crossroads of the World to vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would disperse any onlookers venturing into a so-called “frozen zone" – the blocks surrounding the ball that historically draw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. 

Still, modest throngs of people gathered just outside the police perimeter, which took on the feel of a tailgate as midnight neared. Many said they wanted to end a challenging year on their own terms.

Small groups of revelers, some wearing glittery hats, filmed their distant view of Times Square on their phones and broke out in cheers at midnight. There were kisses and toasts, but police quickly broke up the crowds gathered along Broadway after the ball fell.



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