The festive season fell between two deadly waves of the deadly influenza outbreak. Families still gathered, often with empty chairs at the table.
IN THE MIDST of the worst surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States, many state and local officials are again wrestling with the hot-button issue of whether to shut schools down. Now, emerging research confirms that schools aren’t the primary drivers of outbreaks, but cases will seep in and contribute to the disease’s spread whenever a country loses control of containing the pandemic. [Related Study in Science]
If a photo can say a thousand words, an infographic on the coronavirus pandemic speaks volumes. The “Swiss cheese model” of pandemic defense is so easy to grasp, thousands of people are sharing it on social media. After reading about the useful metaphor in The New York Times, I contacted its creator, Australian virologist Ian Mackay. We talked about why he created it, how to interpret it, and what lessons we can learn from the visualization.
Researchers have modeled how opening different windows affects airflow inside a car, which may help reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission between people traveling together. [Related paper in Science]
In this comparative study of face covering FFEs, we observed that consumer-grade masks and improvised face coverings varied widely, ranging from 26.5% to 79.0% FFE. Modifications intended to enhance the fit of medical procedure masks improved FFE measurements from 38.5% (unmodified mask) to as much as 80.2%.
A deep contact list, mutual trust and an urgent need smoothed the way for a pharmaceutical giant and a small biotech lab to join forces to hatch a new drug
F.D.A. Advisory Panel Gives Green Light to Pfizer Vaccine – NYT
The blessing of these experts means that the agency will likely OK the vaccine’s use, paving the way for health care workers to begin getting shots next week.
The Covid-19 epidemic continues to rage, especially in countries that have been unable or unwilling to institute strong public health measures. A return to normality has increasingly come to rely on the success of vaccines to prevent disease and, we hope, limit further spread of infection.
The first adolescent participants have received a COVID-19 vaccine in Moderna’s Phase 2/3 study, the company announced Thursday. The study, which includes adolescents ages 12 to less than 18, is being conducted in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the resulting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have afflicted tens of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. Safe and effective vaccines are needed urgently.
Shipments of Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac have arrived in Indonesia in preparation for a mass vaccination campaign, with another 1.8m doses due to arrive by January.
Previous research and anecdotal evidence show that in the United States, some populations, including people who are Black, Asian, or mixed race, are more likely to develop COVID-19.
Official Reporting for December 11, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 68 165 877
Deaths: 1 557 385
Confirmed Cases: 68 619 110
Deaths: 1 570 155
Confirmed Cases: 69,531,812
Total cases: 15,271,571 (+231,396 New Cases)
Total deaths: 288,762 (+3,411 New Deaths)
Wisconsin: Army Guard task force deploys to Wisconsin to fight COVID-19 – Army Times
Arizona: Hospitalizations rise with 90% of hospital beds full – AZCentral
Oregon: Restaurants defy coronavirus restrictions in central Oregon – OregonLive
Orange County, California: At the current rate of deterioration, the EMS system may collapse unless emergency directives are implemented now. – Orange County Health
California: Southern California is a main driver of state’s record COVID-19 deaths, with no signs of a letup – LA Times
Latin America Is Facing A Hunger Pandemic – NPR
China: Advises flight attendants to wear diapers to avoid coronavirus risks in lavatories – Washington Post
Science and Tech
ActivePure says its plug-in purification systems can eliminate coronavirus-causing pathogens in the air
For people looking for an accessible writeup on the coronavirus mutational landscape, I can recommend this Reuters article that came out today. It has a lot of good information in it, and a lot of very well-made graphics to show what’s going on.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Retailers, police departments and loss prevention researchers are reporting an uptick in theft of necessities like food and hygiene products
Limited Secondary Transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) by Asymptomatic and Mild COVID-19 Patients in Bhutan – American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Airflows inside passenger cars and implications for airborne disease transmission – Science
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
4 minute audio at the link – Kolina Koltai first heard about the coronavirus back in January, but not from newspapers or TV. Instead, she read about it in anti-vaccination groups on Facebook. “They were posting stories from China like, ‘Hey, here’s this mysterious illness,’ or ‘Here’s this something that seems to be spreading,'” she said.
False claims about COVID-19 vaccines continue to appear on social media sites as the Food and Drug Administration gets closer to authorizing one from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for use in Americans.
Coping in 2020
Things I find on Twitter…