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Virus update: Toilet paper limits, empty shelves are back; FDA OKs first at-home rapid test
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Virus update: Toilet paper limits, empty shelves are back; FDA OKs first at-home rapid test

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Looking for toilet paper? Good luck.

A surge of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is sending people back to stores to stockpile again, leaving shelves bare and forcing retailers to put limits on purchases.

Walmart said Tuesday it's having trouble keeping up with demand for cleaning supplies in some stores. Supermarket chains Kroger and Publix are limiting how much toilet paper and paper towels shoppers can buy after demand spiked recently. And Amazon is sold out of most disinfectant wipes and paper towels.

A similar scene played out back in March, when the pandemic first hit and people hunkered down in their homes. Read more:

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • Pfizer said Wednesday that new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective, is safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying — last data needed to seek emergency use of limited shot supplies even as the catastrophic outbreak worsens across the globe.
  • Europe made up almost half of the world’s 4 million new coronavirus cases last week but recorded a nearly 10% fall in infections compared to the week before, thanks in part to strict government lockdown measures that have fanned some discontent, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.
  • U.S. regulators on Tuesday allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be performed entirely at home and delivers results in 30 minutes.
  • The deadly rise in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. is forcing state and local officials to adjust their blueprints for fighting the virus, with Republican governors adopting mask mandates — skeptically, in at least one case — and schools scrapping plans to reopen classrooms.
  • In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds had pushed back against a mask mandate for months but imposed a limited one Tuesday, becoming the latest GOP holdout to change course on face coverings.
  • Governors in Ohio, Maryland and Illinois imposed restrictions on business hours and crowd sizes Tuesday, and their counterparts in Wisconsin and Colorado proposed economic relief packages. Los Angeles County, with a population of 10 million, ordered similar business restrictions.
  • The largest city in South Dakota reversed course and passed a 60-day mask mandate Tuesday.
  • Authorities in Japan's capital reported nearly 500 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the largest daily increase in Tokyo since the pandemic began.
  • Sales of luxury apparel, jewelry and beauty products are set to slide by nearly a quarter this year as the pandemic wipes out more than six years of growth, according to a study released Wednesday by the consultancy Bain.
  • Children of the world can rest easy. The global pandemic won't stop them from tracking Santa Claus' progress as he delivers gifts around the globe on Christmas Eve.
  • The New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders put players on the NFL's COVID-19 list Tuesday, while Washington had its first instance of someone in the organization testing positive for the coronavirus since the season began.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for coronavirus tips and the latest numbers.

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Virus tips

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Virus by the numbers

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