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Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

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Nine months into the pandemic, now we have some probably game-changing vaccine information.

The drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech introduced early outcomes from their joint coronavirus trial, which means that their vaccine is over 90 p.c efficient. No critical security considerations have been noticed, the businesses mentioned.

Our colleague Carl Zimmer, who covers science for The Times, instructed us that this was the primary important signal {that a} coronavirus vaccine might really work. “Up until now, we’ve seen promising hints,” he instructed us.

The expertise behind the vaccine, which requires two doses, has not beforehand been authorized to be used in people. It takes genetic materials known as messenger RNA and injects it into muscle cells. Those cells then construct a protein that can also be discovered on the floor of the coronavirus, which stimulates the immune system to search out these proteins within the precise virus.

The Food and Drug Administration had instructed pharmaceutical corporations that for vaccines to be authorized, they might solely have to be no less than 50 p.c efficient. A 90 p.c success charge would providing a stage of safety just like childhood vaccines for illnesses corresponding to measles.

Still, scientists cautioned towards hyping early outcomes till long-term security and efficacy information are available, and nobody is aware of how lengthy the vaccine’s safety may final. Also, the sparse particulars Pfizer launched immediately had been delivered in a information convention, not a peer-reviewed medical journal.

“Even so, nobody knew if a vaccine against a coronavirus was going to work at all, and this is incredibly encouraging,” Carl mentioned.

A potential timeline for the vaccine, Carl mentioned, might look one thing like this: At the top of this month, Pfizer and BioNTech could apply for emergency use authorization. It will most likely take a couple of weeks for the F.D.A. to decide. If approved, we might even see the primary few million doses of the vaccine given out at first of January to at-risk folks like health care staff.

Other vaccines like Moderna’s, which makes use of comparable expertise to Pfizer’s, could quickly be a part of the social gathering, including to the general provide. If all goes properly, everybody who desires a vaccine ought to be capable of get one by summer time, Carl mentioned.

But first, now we have to get via winter, which is trying more and more darkish as circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths soar.

“This winter is going to be rough, and vaccines aren’t going to help us,” Carl mentioned. “People still need to be wearing masks and social distancing.”

President-elect Joe Biden vowed immediately to make defeating the pandemic his No. 1 precedence when he replaces President Trump on Jan. 20. If present traits within the U.S. maintain, it will likely be an extremely daunting problem.

The nation is averaging greater than 110,000 circumstances per day, hospitalizations have almost doubled since mid-September, and 29 states have set weekly case information. The United States surpassed 10 million circumstances over the weekend, greater than another nation, and a surprising one in 441 Americans have examined optimistic for the virus simply within the final week.

We’ll be inspecting Mr. Biden’s efforts to confront the virus extra within the coming days, however immediately his transition workforce made some essential strikes with the appointment of a 13-member Covid-19 advisory board that may have three high-powered docs as co-chairs.

Another panel decide: Dr. Rick Bright, a former prime vaccine official within the Trump administration, who was ousted as the top of a federal medical analysis company. Dr. Bright submitted a whistle-blower grievance to Congress in May and instructed lawmakers that officers within the authorities had didn’t heed his warnings about buying masks and different provides.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

We’ll adapt the best way we often rejoice the nice feast of Thanksgiving. Usually it’s 25-ish family and friends, virtually everybody brings a dish to move. This yr is the pandemic re-mix, as one good friend known as it. Bring your totally cooked dish to our home the day earlier than Thanksgiving. My husband and I’ll portion all of it out into take-out containers, a bit of little bit of every thing for everyone. Then come to our storage between 1 p.m. and three p.m. on Thanksgiving day to choose up your portion. Go home, re-heat, and get onto Zoom at four p.m., once we’ll gentle our Thanksgiving remembrance candles, and share in a feast, individually collectively.

— Barbara Steer, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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