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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
► The United States broke a week-old record by surpassing 3,000 daily deaths from COVID-19. The good news: Americans could be receiving vaccinations within a matter of days. As The New York Times reports:
The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, as well as industry and consumer representatives, is meeting all day on Thursday to discuss whether Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized by the agency. Although the F.D.A. does not have to follow the advice of the panel, it usually does.
If the experts vote in favor of the vaccine, it will clear the way for the F.D.A. to authorize the vaccine within days and for some health care workers and nursing home residents to begin receiving it early next week.
Earlier this week, career scientists at the F.D.A. published more than 100 pages of analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data that showed the vaccine was safe and effective across a variety of demographic groups and also began to show effectiveness after the first of two doses.
Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post have more on how the State of Colorado plans to prioritize the availability of vaccinations, broken down by Winter, Spring, and Summer stages. The short version is that extremely-high risk health care workers and individuals will get the vaccine first, while the general public probably won’t get stabbed in the arm until early Summer 2021.
A minimum security federal prison in Jefferson County is experiencing the largest outbreak in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) system.
Out of 900 inmates at FCI Englewood, 451 presently have COVID-19, and 50 out of 251 staff have COVID right now, according to BOP.
► Scrooge McConnell appears to have scuttled a coronavirus relief package. Again.
🚨🚨MCCONNELL puts out message that the bipartisan deal won’t work for senate Rs. From @burgessev
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) December 10, 2020
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still officially on the job until Democrat John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement on January 3. But as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Gardner hasn’t really been doing his job for weeks now:
The email contact form on Gardner’s website disappeared soon after the election, and the “email Cory” link at the bottom of the site’s other pages leads to a 404 page that says, “404. We’re sorry. The page you requested cannot be found.”…
…Gardner’s eight in-state offices in Colorado shuttered for good on Friday, according to a message reached by calling the senator’s Pueblo office. Multiple calls to each of his offices, including the one in Washington, D.C., went unanswered this week.
A Gardner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
While it is not at all unusual for Gardner’s office to avoid comment — on pretty much any question — it is not standard practice for outgoing U.S. Senators to just stop doing their job:
Four of the other five departing senators had functioning email contact forms on their Senate websites on Wednesday, and the fifth, retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, greeted constituents with messages urging them to get in touch with other members of the state’s delegation…
…Spokeswomen for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow said they’d be happy to help out constituents who can’t reach Gardner’s office. [Pols emphasis]
► Colorado is one of 46 states that have joined an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. As The Denver Post explains:
The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.
“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit and a separate complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission seek to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior by forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, and preventing the company from making any acquisitions for more than $10 million without first alerting officials in the states that filed the suit…
…The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort. The District of Columbia and the territory of Guam did join.
► Colorado House Republicans want to hold a hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee in order to “investigate” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have been invited to testify.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
As Promised, More Words…
► Former Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler is helping the Trump campaign in its persistent efforts to allege voter fraud. Much like the rest of Trump’s legal team, Gessler isn’t actually finding any voter fraud, but he’s pretty sure it happened in Nevada because somebody told him something.
► Former New York City Mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is out of the hospital as he battles COVID-19. As The Washington Post reports, Giuliani’s personal and political connections no doubt helped save him:
The former New York mayor said he received remdesivir, dexamethasone and “exactly the same” treatment that Trump got in October when he was hospitalized, which the president has often credited for his speedy recovery…
…As beds fill up, patients who need hospital care — for the virus or for something else — cannot get it. Many intensive care units are overwhelmed. More and more places face looming, life-and-death decisions about rationing care.
Giuliani himself acknowledged that he got “celebrity” treatment. He said the president’s doctor, apparently referring to White House physician Sean Conley, talked him into being admitted. “I didn’t really want to go to the hospital, and he said, ‘Don’t be stupid,’” Giuliani recounted. “We can get it over with in three days if we send you to the hospital.”
► Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on that farcical election-related lawsuit out of Texas that was recently joined by President Trump:
Sounds serious! Except, it’s not.
Here’s why: Texas has zero legal standing to challenge how other states conduct their elections. Elections — including ones for federal offices — are solely the purview of individual states. States set the hour that their polling places will be open. They decide whether or not a voter is required to show a form of legal identification in order to cast the ballot. They decide on what dates their primaries will be held. And yes, they get to decide — as many states did in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic — whether or not to expand mail-in balloting.
(It’s also worth noting here that Paxton’s lawsuit runs directly counter to the long-held Republican belief that states, not the federal government, should have broad jurisdiction over how they conduct their own affairs.)
► President-elect Joe Biden has selected Tom Vilsack to serve as Secretary of Agriculture, a post Vilsack held under President Obama. As The Ft. Collins Coloradoan explains, this could be good news for Colorado State University.
Biden also selected Denis McDonough to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. McDonough is a former White House Chief of Staff under Obama; prior to serving in the White House, McDonough worked as legislative director for Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar.
► Westword takes a closer look at new COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado:
For the fifth consecutive week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has added more than 200 new entries to its list of outbreaks related to COVID-19, and an increasing number have tallied death tolls higher than since the early days of the pandemic.
An extreme example is Windsor Healthcare, a skilled nursing facility in Weld County. The CDPHE has confirmed sixty positive staff cases, 85 positive resident cases and seven resident deaths.
As Colorado Newsline reports, frontline health care workers are again calling on state and local governments to do more to enforce restrictions aimed at slowing the COVID-19 pandemic.
► A white woman who owns a barber shop in Colorado Springs is suing Gov. Jared Polis and alleging racism after the state decided to spend money to help minority-owned businesses remain afloat during the pandemic.
► A school district in Pueblo plans to continue remote learning for at least two weeks following the Winter break.
► As Jerd Smith reports for The Colorado Sun, we needs us some more water:
The state of Colorado has activated the municipal portion of its emergency drought plan for only the second time in history as several cities say they need to prepare for what is almost certainly going to be a dangerously dry 2021.
Last summer, the state formally activated the agricultural portion of the plan, calling on government agencies that serve farmers and livestock producers to begin coordinating aid efforts among themselves and with growers.
Now a similar process will begin for cities, according to Megan Holcomb, who oversees the drought work for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state’s lead water policy agency.
Holcomb said the state’s decision to sound the alarm on municipal water supply came in response to requests from several cities, who believe the drought has become so severe that they need to prepare quickly for whatever 2021 may bring. Normally cities don’t make decisions about whether to impose watering restrictions until the spring, when it becomes clear how much water will melt from mountain snows and fill reservoirs.
► As Vox.com reports, China, Japan, and South Korea are all making significant cutbacks to investments in coal power.
► As The Huffington Post reports, Georgia Sen. David Perdue never lets ethical questions get in the way of lining his own pockets.
► POLITICO reports on troubling news about efforts by the Trump administration to hide COVID-19 response interference:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield instructed staff to delete an email from a Trump political appointee seeking control over the agency’s scientific reports on the pandemic, a senior CDC official told congressional investigators this week.
Redfield’s apparent instruction was revealed in a Monday closed-door interview with the House subcommittee probing the White House’s coronavirus response, which includes the Trump administration’s interference at the federal public health agency. It came following an Aug. 8 email sent by Paul Alexander, who was then the scientific adviser to Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo, aiming to water down the CDC’s famed Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports to match President Donald Trump’s efforts to downplay the virus…
…Rep. Jim Clyburn, who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, on Thursday raised concern the episode may be among “deliberate efforts by the Trump Administration to conceal and destroy evidence” of political meddling in the pandemic response. In a letter to Redfield and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, he said that instructing staff to delete documents is unethical and possibly a violation of federal record-keeping requirements, according to a copy shared with POLITICO.
► As NBC News reports, technology and medical companies are racing to figure out an app that could demonstrate that you have received a COVID-19 vaccination.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The irony was apparently lost on this group.
► We’re mostly sure that this headline from The Onion does not contain any real information:
► Republican Cory Gardner lied his way into the U.S. Senate in 2014, so it’s fitting that he would end his time in the Senate with a speech full of nonsense.
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