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News Wrap: U.S. vaccination numbers soar with 4 million shots administered Saturday

In our news wrap Monday, an average of 3.1 million COVID vaccines were administered daily over the past week — peaking at a record 4 million on Saturday. Overseas, daily virus infections in India surpassed 100,000 for the first time, making it the second country after the U.S. to reach that benchmark. President Joe Biden doubled down on the need for his $2.3 trillion dollar infrastructure package.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Good evening.

    And, as you can see, I am back in our "NewsHour" studio again.

    Life is not back to normal, but we are taking small steps to see what works. I'm so grateful to our staff for working both here and from home and for doing all we can to stay safe. And we appreciate your staying with us for the news.

  • Our lead tonight:

    The nation's inoculation campaign against COVID-19 is gaining ground. An average of 3.1 million shots were administered daily over the past week, peaking at a record four million on Saturday.

    Health officials said that's leading to a steady drop in deaths among older Americans. But COVID infections are on the rise among young people.

  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

    Cases are increasing nationally, and we're seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults. This is why you have heard me so clearly share my concern.

    We are learning that many outbreaks in young people are related to youth sports and extracurricular activities. According to CDC guidance, these activities should be limited.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will have more on the uptick in cases later in the program.

    Meanwhile, Florida and Maryland became the latest states to open vaccine eligibility for all adults. And, overseas, daily virus infections in India surpassed 100,000 for the first time, making it the second country after the U.S. to reach that benchmark.

    President Biden doubled down, underlining the need for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package today. He questioned why Republican critics of his plan are limiting the scope of what infrastructure means to only roads and bridges. The president spoke to reporters outside the White House.

  • Pres. Joe Biden:

    I'm talking about making sure you are in a situation where we can redo some of the federal buildings that are just absolutely leaking energy every single day.

    That's infrastructure, in addition to roads and bridges and highways and broadband. So, it's interesting how their definition of infrastructure has changed. But they know — but they know we need it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the president's plan is — quote — "something we're not going to do." And he argued increasing taxes to pay for it would only hurt the economy even more.

    McConnell spoke at a vaccination clinic in Lexington, Kentucky.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell:

    Enough is enough. We're threatening the future of our country. So it would have to be completely recrafted in a way that was not going to engage in undoing the tax increase, have it credibly paid for without running up even more of the debt.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Biden's proposal would increase the current corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, impacting primarily big businesses.

    Optimism for economic recovery triggered a rally on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 374 points to close at 33527, a record high. The Nasdaq rose 225 points, and the S&P 500 added 58.

    The U.S. Supreme Court handed Google a victory today in a copyright dispute with software developer Oracle. It centered around thousands of lines of code that Google copied from Oracle's Java platform to build its popular Android operating system. In a 6-to-2 opinion, the justices ruled that that constituted a fair use.

    Justice Amy Coney Barrett wasn't confirmed when the case was argued, and did not participate.

    Crews near Tampa Bay, Florida, are scrambling to drain a wastewater pond that is near collapse. At least 30 people have been evacuated. The initial leak at the Piney Point reservoir was discovered last week. But a drone has now detected a possible second breach. Manatee County officials were optimistic that new pumps could drain the 480-million gallon pond before disaster strikes.

  • Scott Hopes:

    If we go from 35 million gallons a day to 100 million gallons a day or more pulling it out, you can see how, within probably 48 hours, if all those flows continue, we will be at a situation where we will no longer have that risk of that full breach which would send that 20-foot wall of water across.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Officials said the situation posed a major flood risk, but was not a threat to local drinking water.

    Damage from a powerful cyclone, tropical cyclone, is hindering rescue efforts across Southeast Asia today. The storm has claimed the lives of at least 133 people in Indonesia and East Timor. Heavy rains triggered landslides and flash floods, which uprooted trees and destroyed homes. Thousands of people were displaced.

  • Adrianus Nahak (through translator):

    Everything is gone. We only managed to salvage whatever we could save. Compared to the possessions, our lives are more important. If we save the items, we might die. It's better we save ourselves.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The storm is expected to linger a few more days before moving toward Australia.

    Renewed tribal fighting in Sudan has left at least 40 people dead over the last three days. The clashes broke out in the Western Darfur region this weekend between Arab and non-Arab groups. Similar violence earlier this year killed nearly 500 people, challenging efforts by Sudan's transitional government to restore peace.

    Back in this country, the governor of Arkansas vetoed a bill that would have made his state the first to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The bill barred doctors from providing puberty blockers, hormones and surgery to minors. Republican Asa Hutchinson rejected the measure at the urging of doctors and parents. But a simple majority of the state legislature can override the veto.

    And the Stanford women's basketball team is celebrating its first NCAA championship victory in nearly 30 years. They defeated Arizona last night in a squeaker, 54-53. In the game's final moments, Arizona missed a long shot before the buzzer to hand Stanford its third national title.

    Congratulations.

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