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5 Things To Know On Thursday, December 31, 2020

Posted at 7:07 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 07:07:00-05

While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!

1. New Year, New Laws: What that means when the clock strikes midnight
The new year will bring a handful of new laws to the Sunshine State. They include higher penalties for not stopping for school buses, an official end to betting on greyhound races, and a slightly higher minimum wage.

Today will be the last day to bet on live greyhound or other dog racing in the state of Florida. Voters approved Amendment 13 in 2018 with nearly 70% of the vote.

You can see the full list of laws at the link above.


2. A vaccinated nurse tested positive, but here's why health experts aren't concerned:
A California nurse tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Health experts are saying this may not be completely unexpected given the time it takes for the vaccine to become protective and the fact that a second dose is needed for full efficacy.

It is possible the nurse was infected before receiving the vaccine, as the incubation period may be as much as two weeks.

ER nurse tests positive for COVID-19 eight days after receiving vaccine

3. Missing boat with 20 people aboard was headed to Palm Beach County
Coast Guard officials said Wednesday they are searching for an overdue vessel with around 20 people aboard headed from the Bahamas to Lake Worth Beach.

Officials said they received a report Tuesday that the boat, a blue and white 29-foot Mako Cuddy Cabin, was last known to be departing Bimini on Monday but did not arrive as expected.

Anyone who can help in the search is urged to contact Coast Guard District Seven Command Center at 305-415-6800.

Coast Guard searches for missing boat with 20 people aboard headed to Palm Beach County from Bahamas

4. Trump leaves Palm Beach before his own NYE party
President Donald Trump is cutting short his Florida holiday vacation and returning to Washington today, one day earlier than expected for reasons the White House didn't explain.

The White House announced the abrupt change in the president's schedule late Wednesday, hours after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he will raise objections next week when Congress meets to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.

The schedule change also means Trump will miss the glitzy New Year's Eve party held annually at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

5. Florida's coronavirus totals continue to climb
On Wednesday, Florida's coronavirus deaths increased by 137, tying for the highest for a single day 16 days ago.

Cases roses by 13,871, which is the most daily rise since 13,968 on July 16, and passed 1.3 million total, the Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the rising numbers, many are still traveling to the state. Universal Orlando Resort announced Wednesday morning that both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure reached capacity 10 minutes after both parks had opened.

Today's Forecast
Windy, warm weather lingers:

Latest Weather Forecast: Thursday 5 a.m.

Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.

On This Day In History
On Dec. 31, 1879, in the first public demonstration of his incandescent lightbulb, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lights up a street in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Remember, you can join Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters every weekday on WPTV NewsChannel 5 beginning at 4:30 a.m. And you can always watch the latest news from WPTV anytime on your favorite streaming device. Just search for "WPTV."