First shot / Post-Christmas blues / Anchor away

First shot. A retired 90-year-old shop clerk was Beneficiary No. 1 today as Britain launched its COVID-19 vaccination program.
No. 2: 81-year-old William Shakespeare—or, as Twitter has him, a “gentleman of corona.”
New U.S. FDA analysis confirms the shots—developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech—are strongly protective …
 … which makes it all the more unfortunate President Trump’s administration passed on the chance to lock in millions of additional doses.
Gov. Pritzker’s press secretary on the challenge Illinois faces getting the required two shots to everyone: “The state has not undertaken anything of this scale, ever.”
Meanwhile in India, an illness has killed at least one and hospitalized more than 500—and one public health administrator says “nobody knows” what’s causing it.

Right into the ‘danger zone.’ Pritzker warns that, even though Illinois’ COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations have been leveling off, the state still faces the prospect of “the surge on top of a surge that … might define the holiday season.”
Pritzker’s administration has fired the director of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home, where 32 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died over the last month.
One of the alderman’s staffers: “Somebody ratted us out.”

‘The return of competence.’ Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen celebrates President-elect Biden’s pick of the head of infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden’s choice to head Health and Human Services has been what one health policy expert calls “a thorn in Trump’s side.”
By the end of the day—officially, “Safe Harbor Day,” locking Congress into accepting election results—every state is expected to have made its vote official, awarding 306 electoral votes to Biden and 232 to Trump. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)

Post-Christmas blues. Close to half a million Illinoisans stand to lose their unemployment benefits Dec. 26 if Congress and the president can’t come to terms on a new federal relief plan.
Lawmakers are stalled on relief funding, partly because of objections to provisions for a COVID-19-related lawsuit shield for businesses, schools and organizations.

Deadline: 11:59 p.m. tonight. That’s the end of the nomination period for the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago poll. Chicago Public Square welcomes your support in a quest to repeat last year’s wins. Won’t you please take a moment to cast your ballot now?
‘Reading the room beautifully.’ Journalist Josh Sternberg sarcastically praises Apple for introducing $549 headphones as millions of unemployed people face eviction.
Have an iPhone 11 that’s unresponsive to your touch? Apple’s offering free fixes.
Trump has signed a bill co-sponsored by Democratic Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly, requiring better security on internet-connected devices and sensors—the so-called “Internet of Things.”

Anchor away. WGN-TV anchor Paul Konrad is winning praise on social media for dropping out of social media.
In “a gesture of solidarity” with her daughter, who was nervous about wearing glasses during remote class sessions, Ch. 7 anchor Tanja Babich wore hers on TV.

The nose knows. University of Pittsburgh research concludes the facial feature whose appearance is most influenced by your genetic ancestry is right between your eyes.
 Thanks to reader Pam Spiegel for catching a typo above.

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