At least 55 immunization sites across the U.S. received doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s long-awaited vaccine Monday morning, says Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. The effort to get the vaccine into medical professionals’ hands, he said, has gone “incredibly well.”
Scientists stress that the change – spotted in cases in the south of England – is not yet linked to changes in how the virus behaves.
A record 109,331 people were in the hospital for coronavirus in the U.S. on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, as new diagnosed cases and deaths have continued to surge and concern has risen that hospitals nationwide will be overwhelmed.
The director of the White House’s security office is reportedly recovering from Covid-19 after a difficult three-month hospitalization which involved the amputation of his right foot and lower leg, one of the most horrific cases to emerge out of a wave of infections that has swept through the White House.
Seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers will be among the first Americans vaccinated, following recommendations last week by a federal advisory panel. Older adults living at home will need to wait a while longer.
It’s dangerous enough that it dispatches patients to hospitals in droves and has killed more than 1.6 million people, but mild enough that most people shrug it off. It blocks one arm of the immune system from responding as it takes hold, but lures other parts into dangerous hyperdrive. It homes in on cells high up in the airway — think the nose and throat — but also burrows deeper into the lungs, maximizing infectiousness without ceding how sick it can make people.
An infected wild mink was found in the “immediate vicinity” of a Utah fur farm that had an outbreak, officials say.
If we, uniformly throughout the country, implement public health guidelines—wearing masks, keeping physically distanced, avoiding crowded situations, doing things outdoors more than indoors and washing hands frequently—I believe we will see an effect. We know from experience that the states or cities or countries that have done this have always been able to blunt and mitigate the slope of a surging curve such as this one.
In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all citizens wear nonmedical face masks to slow the spread of Covid-19. Earlier this year, we wrote about how to make your own mask. But months into the pandemic, a number of new studies have shown that simple T-shirts or bandanas might not be the most effective face coverings to reduce spread. [My personal favorite is the masks made by Vistaprint. They fit well, have the nose thingie, comfortable, adjustable, no gaps, they come with a filter pocket, and washable.]
Washington Post Video Here – The injection to Sandra Lindsay’s arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center made her the first American to receive the coronavirus vaccine outside a clinical trial. The small dose of mRNA represented a giant leap in efforts to beat back the virus, a moonshot worth of hope amid a pandemic that has infected more than 16 million and killed more than 300,000 nationwide.
(spoiler alert! No gluten, microchips, or autism added) Pfizer’s vaccine is the first on the market that consists of actual genetic information from a virus in the form of messenger RNA, or mRNA, a type of molecule whose usual job is to transport copies of genetic instructions around a cell to guide the assembly of proteins. Imagine an mRNA as a long ticker tape carrying instructions. It’s fairly delicate stuff, and that’s why Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at around -100 °F (-73 °C) until it’s used.
The backers of Australia’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidate today announced a halt to its further development, after some of the first people to receive the vaccine in a safety trial generated antibodies to an unintended target, the AIDS virus. A small fragment of an HIV protein is a component of the vaccine used to add stability to the intended antibody target, the spike protein of the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19 can course with respiratory and extrapulmonary disease. SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected in respiratory samples but also in blood, stool and urine. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by a dysregulated host response to this virus. We studied whether viral RNAemia or viral RNA load in plasma is associated with severe COVID-19 and also to this dysregulated response.
Official Reporting for December 15, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 71 051 805
Deaths: 1 608 648
Confirmed Cases: 71 503 614
Deaths: 1 612 833
Confirmed Cases: 72,818,538
Total cases: 16,113,148 (+181,032 New Cases)
Total deaths: 298,266 (+1,448 New Deaths)
California: Explosive surge continues over the weekend – Mercury News
Florida: Florida is in coronavirus ‘red zone,’ needs to take immediate action – WFLA
UK: London to move into tier 3 as infections rise – BBC
Spain: Study Estimates 76 Percent of Brazilian City Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 – The Scientist
Italy: Overtakes U.K. as European Country With Most Covid Deaths – Bloomberg
Science and Tech
Certain gene variants are linked to severe coronavirus infections, according to a team of scientists in Europe who studied the genomes of 2,200 critically ill covid-19 patients. Their results provide robust support that genetic makeup plays a role in the potentially fatal illness experienced by some people infected by the coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic shaped the year in research — from vaccines and treatments to campus shutdowns and virtual meetings.
Even with vaccines on the way, treatments are needed to prevent the disease from getting worse—and to be ready for COVID-25, COVID-37, and so on
Psychological and Sociological Impact
“Seems like Anthony Fauci was a headline speaker at just about every major (and even) minor event in 2020. That never would have happened if the events were in person.”
More than 300,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. It is the latest sign of a generational tragedy — one still unfolding in every corner of the country — that leaves in its wake an expanse of grief that cannot be captured in a string of statistics.
Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – JAMA
Clinical Characteristics and Disease Severity Among Infants With SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Montreal, Quebec, Canada – JAMA
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
The more people rely on social media as their main news source the more likely they are to believe misinformation about the pandemic, according to a recent survey analysis by Washington State University researcher Yan Su.
Coping in 2020
He brings the energy of popular short videos to cancer screenings and infection rates.