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Jan. 8, 2021, 2:38 p.m. EST

More than 4,000 U.S. lives lost to COVID in single day, exceeding death toll from 9/11 attacks

Numbers exceed even worst-case scenario forecasts of health experts as vaccine rollout continues to lag targets

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By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch

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See also: U.S. could see up to 150,000 more COVID-19 deaths by February as new strain takes hold, expert warns

• The European Medicines Agency said that the product information for BioNTech and Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine should be updated to say there are six doses in each vial. The authorization granted to the vaccine, which is referred to as Comirnaty in Europe, on Dec. 21 in the European Union says there are five doses in each vial. The EMA, which is the E.U.’s drugs regulator, said health care providers should use low dead-volume syringes or needles to extract what it says is an extra dose. The European Commission must next endorse the EMA’s recommendation for it to move forward into clinical practice.

• Moderna’s /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +1.73%  COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by U.K. regulators, bringing a third shot to the country that is battling a surge in coronavirus cases. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, approved the vaccine after a “thorough and rigorous assessment” by the regulator’s teams of scientists, including advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines, the government said in a statement on Friday. Moderna’s vaccine marks the third to be approved for use by the MHRA and the second that uses the mRNA approach, which sends a message to cells telling them to create proteins that can generate an immune response.

• China has placed 11 million people in the northern city of Shijiazhuang into strict lockdown after an outbreak of COVID-19, CNN reported. The city is based in the province of Hebei, which is suffering the worse flare-up in months. A total of 117 cases, including 67 in patients showing no symptoms, have been detected this week. Residents of the city are barred from leaving withy highways blocked, bus and train stations closed and flights canceled.

• The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared an emergency in the English capital as it struggles with a wave of new infections that are overwhelming hospitals, the Guardian reported. Khan declared a “major incident,” in his dual role as mayor and chair of the London Resilience Forum, after discussions with NHS London, local authorities, Public Health England and emergency services in the capital. Covid cases now exceed 1,000 per 100,000 people, he said, forecasting that the city may run out of beds in the next few weeks unless the spread is slowed dramatically. The U.K. has 2.9 million cases and 79,959 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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Latest tallies

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide climbed above 88.4 million on Friday, the Johns Hopkins data show, and the death toll rose above 1.9 million. About 49 million people have recovered from COVID-19.

Brazil has the second highest death toll at 200,498 and is third by cases at 7.9 million.

India is second worldwide in cases with 10.4 million, and third in deaths at 150,570.

Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 131,031 and 13th highest case tally at 1.5 million.

China, where the virus was first discovered late last year, has had 96,489 confirmed cases and 4,788 deaths, according to its official numbers.

See also: Scotland to impose new lockdown starting at midnight

What’s the economy saying?

The U.S. lost jobs in December for the first time in eight months as the coronavirus bore down on the economy again and forced businesses to resort to more layoffs, MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reported.

The government and private sector shed 140,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

The decline in employment was the first since last April, when the U.S. lost a gargantuan 20.8 million jobs in that one month alone.

The economy is still missing some 10 million jobs that existed before the onset of the pandemic, with little prospect that they’ll be recovered any time soon.

If there was a glimmer of good news in the report, layoffs were concentrated at restaurants and other businesses that rely on large crowds of customers. Many other segments of the economy actually posted strong employment gains last month.

The official unemployment rate, meanwhile, was unchanged at 6.7%. Yet economists estimate true unemployment is several points higher because the official jobless rate doesn’t include about 4 million people who left the labor force last year.

“People dropping out of the labor force is a big problem,” said Thomas Barkin, president of the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.17% fell 0.1% after the report, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.84%  eked out a 0.3% gain.

US : U.S.: Nasdaq
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US : Dow Jones Global
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Volume: 444.85M
Dec. 3, 2021 5:35p
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Ciara Linnane is MarketWatch's investing- and corporate-news editor. She is based in New York.

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