Moderna COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Georgia absentee ballot lawsuit: 5 things to know Thursday


Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine gets FDA committee review

A second COVID-19 vaccine will be reviewed by an independent advisory committee Thursday and could be authorized by this weekend. Data released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed that Moderna’s vaccine appeared safe and highly effective in a study of more than 30,000 volunteers. If the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee decides that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks, the vaccine is likely to be authorized this week by the FDA commissioner. Unlike Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, Moderna’s will be given only to adults. 

Federal judge to hear arguments in Georgia absentee ballot lawsuit 

A federal judge in Augusta will hear arguments Thursday in a new lawsuit challenging election processes used in Georgia for the presidential election, attempting to alter them ahead of Jan. 5 runoffs for the U.S. Senate. Among other things, the lawsuit filed by the 12th Congressional District Republican Committee contends that the use of absentee ballots and ballot drop boxes enable massive voter fraud – though the boxes are monitored on video 24 hours a day. The suit is one of the latest in a string of what have been unsuccessful cases challenging the integrity of the presidential election in Georgia and echoing President Trump’s baseless claim that voter fraud cost him the election.


Electoral College vote hands Trump loss he won’t accept

Facing a loss in the Electoral College, Trump’s allies have shifted their focus to Jan. 6, when Congress will count the electoral votes.

Staff video, USA TODAY

Winter storm expected to pound East Coast with more snow

More heavy snow is expected to fall across the Northeast Thursday days after the start of the U.S. vaccination campaign and in the thick of a virus surge that has throngs of people seeking tests daily. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service said the storm was “set to bring an overabundance of hazards from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast,” including freezing rain and ice in the mid-Atlantic, heavy snow in the New York City area and southern New England, strong winds and coastal flooding, and possibly even severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A crash in Pennsylvania killed two people and involved dozens of vehicles on a major highway Wednesday afternoon, police said, while issuing a reminder to only travel if “absolutely necessary.” 

Ruling on Russian doping case to be announced

A panel of arbitrators rules Thursday on whether Russia can keep its name and flag for the Olympics following a high-profile doping case. The panel considered a dispute between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its Russian affiliate after WADA found that drug testing data from a Moscow laboratory had been deleted or altered. WADA is seeking a ban on Russia’s flag, anthem and team name at next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Games, and other major sporting events like the World Cup.

HBO Max is finally coming to Roku devices

WarnerMedia has reached a deal to bring the HBO Max streaming service to Roku’s popular video devices and the app will be available starting on Thursday, nearly six months after HBO Max launched. Roku devices are the favorite choice for consumers to stream net video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime on their TVs, with 100.2 million viewers, or about 34.6% of all U.S. internet users, according to research firm eMarketer. The announcement comes ahead of the impending debut of next week’s highly anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max. Interest in HBO Max skyrocketed this month when Warner Bros. announced plans to release all of its 2021 movies — including “The Matrix 4,” “Dune” and “The Suicide Squad” on the service the same day as theaters.  


Warner Bros., HBO Max deal: What it means for theaters, moviegoing

USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt talks about the impact Warner Bros. releasing its 2021 slate of movies on HBO Max will have for moviegoing next year.

Entertain This!, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press


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