WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The drugmaker Pfizer said Wednesday that its coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective and had no serious side effects, marking the first set of complete results from a late-stage vaccine trial. Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with its partner BioNTech, said the companies planned to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization. Stock futures edged higher as investors weighed the rising coronavirus cases against the prospect of vaccines that could mitigate the pandemic. Pfizer climbed 1.8% and BioNTech’s U.S.-listed ADR surged nearly 8% after the companies said they would seek authorization within days.
Global drugmakers are facing challenges when it comes to distribution, as vaccines need to be produced and transported in specific – and cold – conditions, otherwise, they can be rendered ineffective.
The FDA approved the first at-home coronavirus test that provides rapid results. The molecular single-use test is expected to cost $50 or less, the company said. The at-home test could assuage the burdens of waiting days to find out results and leaving quarantine to visit a medical professional. The at-home test requires patients to swab their noses, swirl the sample into a vial and then wait up to 30 minutes to see the results.
As coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., the nation’s testing system is starting to see a strain – again. Long lines are forming in some places and testing companies and lab directors warn that waiting times for results could soon start to lengthen. Over the past week, the U.S. conducted nearly 10 million coronavirus tests, an increase of 12.5% from the previous week, while confirmed cases rose more than 40%.
Sweden, a country once hailed for its light-touch approach to the pandemic, has banned gatherings of more than eight people as it grapples with a second coronavirus wave. Sweden originally set itself apart from its Nordic neighbors in its relaxed policies, eschewing major coronavirus lockdowns. The Swedish government also proposed a ban on alcohol sales in bars and restaurants after 10 p.m. in an effort to curb the spread.
As more city and state lockdowns come into effect, grocery stores are taking steps to avoid the empty shelves that marked the first weeks of the pandemic. Some supermarket chains have started to limit in-store and online purchases of products like toilet paper, cleaning supplies and paper towels to reduce the stress on supply chains. In the spring, consumers stockpiled grocery staples like canned beans and frozen veggies, which the industry refers to as “panic buying.” Grocery stores in Washington, where statewide restrictions were recently imposed, are once again seeing barren toilet paper shelves.
Country singer Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s coronavirus research, which developed Moderna’s vaccine. Parton has been a philanthropist for years, founding the Imagination Library which provides free books to children up to the age of 5 years old.
Do I need to get a yearly physical during the pandemic if I feel fine? – Mic – 11/17/2020
“It’s not always necessary for young, healthy people to have yearly visits,” says Lisa Ravindra, a Chicago-based internal medicine physician. Many large studies have shown that annual visits don’t prevent patients from getting sick, she notes. But Ravindra believes the most important part of a yearly visit is discussing preventive care.
Bill Gates worries about dysfunctional Covid-19 vaccine distribution – STAT – 11/17/2020
“I’m worried about vaccine distribution not going to the right people,” he said. “Wow, it is a dysfunctional set of people at the moment.” Gates said the military’s part in distributing the vaccine is opaque right now. “I wish I understood better what people think the military role is here,” he said. “I don’t, and I don’t find it clearly articulated. Is this being left up to the states to do?”
This Swedish startup is making powdered vaccines that don’t need to be kept cold – Fast Company – 11/18/2020
“Essentially, we separate the water from the active ingredients, and we transport them side by side,” says Göran Conradson, CEO of Ziccum , the startup that created the new process. “Then, just prior to vaccination, you add the water again, and it goes immediately into solution.”
Perspective | How to buy a home remotely – Washington Post – 11/18/2020
Real estate technology companies have built many interesting options when it comes to experiencing a home online. You can see dozens of photos, a blueprint-like layout, videos, virtual tours and even 3-D tours. You can even use Google Street View to get a sense of what the street looks like and what the other homes in the neighborhood look like.
Duke study highlights importance of broad asymptomatic testing – Inside Higher Ed – 11/18/2020
Over the course of the first 10 weeks of the fall semester, Duke conducted 68,913 tests on 10,265 students. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of the 84 total students who tested positive were asymptomatic — a finding that suggests, as the article states, “that a substantial proportion of infections would be missed with only symptomatic testing.”
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
Prospect Magazine @prospect_uk 18 Nov An IBM survey found more than half of US adults wanting to work from home permanently, while three quarters wished to do so at least occasionally
Katie Morse @KatieMorseNews 18 Nov WHEN WILL YOU BE BACK IN THE OFFICE?We’re taking a look at the timeline for companies as we see rising COVID-19 numbers. Local companies that want to learn more ab planning ahead can check out a presentation hosted by the @Amherst_Chamber. @WKBW
FlexJobs @flexjobs 17 Nov “With the coronavirus pandemic changing the nature of work for millions, many people are looking not only for jobs with longevity but also for ones with flexibility, like the ability to work remotely.” @Grow_mag @Malinskid #remotework #remotejobs #wfh
KCRW @kcrw 17 Nov The 40-hour work week has been the norm for decades. But maybe it’s time to break-up. (@askpang)What’s your ideal work week? Reply here to let us know.
Bloomberg Opinion @bopinion 17 Nov “Digital nomad” was once a label applied to iPhone-toting millennials traveling the globe.Now it’s an entire aspirational white-collar class. Working from home is privileged, being able to do so while escaping coronavirus lockdowns is a whole other level
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