WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to hospital systems across the U.S., with an estimated 2.9 million doses to be distributed within the first week of the vaccine’s authorization for emergency use late Friday. As many as 40 million doses could be distributed by the end of 2020, federal health officials say. Every state has submitted a list of locations that need the vaccine as ICU space shrinks in places such as Los Angeles, where record numbers of patients continue to be hospitalized. Despite the vaccine’s rapid rollout, health experts say it will be months before immunizations have a meaningful effect on the pandemic in the U.S.
Local health officials are promoting the vaccine in an effort to build confidence and trust in inoculations, particularly among people of color. Five first responders in Washington, D.C. agreed to get vaccinated publicly in an effort to promote its efficacy, a move likely to be seen across the country.
Presidential electors will gather in state capitols across the country on Monday to formally vote for Joe Biden as the nation’s next president following weeks of legal action from President Donald Trump to overturn his loss on Nov. 3. Early in-person voting begins Monday in Georgia for a pair of Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine political control of the U.S. Senate and, by consequence, how much Biden will be able to enact his agenda.
Bahrain approved one of two Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines Sunday and launched online registration for citizens and residents to receive it, while Peru suspended trials of a Sinopharm vaccine due to a “serious adverse event” that occurred with one volunteer in the study. The United Arab Emirates began vaccinations in Abu Dhabi after approving a Sinopharm vaccine. The Philippines planned to finalize negotiations with Sinovac Biotech this week to acquire 25 million doses for delivery by March.
Germany will enter a “hard” lockdown ahead of the Christmas holiday to stem a wave of coronavirus cases. As of Dec. 23, all non-essential shops, services and schools will close until Jan. 10, and Christmas Day gatherings will be reduced from 10 people to 5 from two different households.
Hundreds of journalists worldwide have been imprisoned for reporting on the pandemic, according to Reporters Without Borders. The organization’s German branch found in its annual report that 387 people in the media industry were sent to prison this year for not giving in to government censorship, with half of those people from either China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam or Syria.
The financial pressures of the pandemic have caused some backsliding in countries that were making progress against the marriage of young girls for traditional or transactional purposes. The United Nations estimates that hardships resulting from COVID-19 will drive 13 million more girls to marry before the age of 18.
An annual pilgrimage that draws millions of people to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City was canceled this year due to coronavirus, but one church in the U.S. that serves Mexican and other Latin American immigrants found a new solution to mark the holiday. The church placed a portrait of the patron saint of Mexico in the bed of a pickup truck, reversing the pilgrimage this year to bring Our Lady of Guadalupe to the people.
Pregnant in the pandemic? Good wifi helps. Women are accessing doctors online for prenatal care during covid-19. – MIT Technology Review – 12/14/2020
Pregnancy, including birth and aftercare, is the single largest reason for hospital visits in the US, and on average a typical pregnancy will involve between 12 and 14 medical appointments. Proper prenatal visits can prevent life-threatening complications. But limiting in-person care is vital during the pandemic, especially for pregnant women, who are more likely to develop severe or even fatal covid infections.
What We’ve Learned To Carry In These 9 Brutal Months – Wbur – 12/14/2020
There was so much we didn’t know back then: if his PPE would work, if the emergency department in his hospital would be overwhelmed, if he’d get sick, if he wouldn’t come home. Our two youngest children had birthdays. He dropped off groceries and stayed for cake, then he left before their bedtimes.
Early data suggests wearables can flag some Covid-19 cases early – STAT – 12/14/2020
The results of several ambitious studies testing wearables as early predictors of for Covid-19 are in — and they suggest that data from devices including Apple Watches, Fitbits, and Oura smart rings may be useful for flagging some infections in people before they even feel ill.
Why many countries failed at COVID contact-tracing — but some got it right – Nature – 12/14/2020
Across the Western world, countries have floundered with this most basic public-health procedure. In England, tracers fail to get in touch with one in eight people who test positive for COVID-19; 18% of those who are reached provide no details for close contacts. In some regions of the United States, more than half of people who test positive provide no details of contacts when asked.
How to Make Your Pandemic Holiday Feel Like a HOLIDAY – Vice – 12/14/2020
To gain insight into the specific rituals that make holidays feel holidayish, and to learn some practical ways to fill reimagined holidays with not just activities, but actual meaning, I spoke to Casper ter Kuile, a Harvard Divinity School fellow and the author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices. Here’s what he had to say about making your pandemic holidays feel a little more hallowed.
WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING
Reuters @Reuters 14 Dec Cargo planes and trucks with the first U.S. shipments of the coronavirus vaccine fanned out from FedEx and UPS hubs in Tennessee and Kentucky en route to distribution points around the country
Timothy Aeppel @TimAeppel 13 Dec “Today, we’re not hauling freight, we’re delivering hope,” said Andrew Boyle, co-president of Boyle Transportation, which was hired by UPS to help ferry vaccine from the factory to a waiting plane in Lansing.
Alexandra Leslie @AlexandraLeslie 14 Dec BREAKING NEWS: Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest hospital system, has received the first shipment (approximately 3,000 doses) of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as part of the state’s Phase 1 distribution plan. @wpri12
The Post Millennial @TPostMillennial 14 Dec “With the help of UPS and FedEx, trucks will deliver 2.9 million units of the vaccine to 636 predetermined locations all over the nation this week.”
Popular Science @PopSci 14 Dec See how COVID-19 vaccines will get to your neighborhood
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