“How Full Are Hospital I.C.U.s Near You?” – The New York Times / Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data. A hospital may not appear if it does not report this data to H.H.S., if its data was reported through a parent hospital or if its location information was not available. Percentages above 100 may occur when hospitals report patients beyond their normal limits. Circle size on the national map view corresponds to the hospital’s total I.C.U. capacity.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Stock futures ticked higher, on course to erase the tepid losses from a day earlier after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an effort to hold a vote on sending bigger stimulus checks to many Americans. McConnell later introduced a bill that would boost the size of the checks, repeal section 230 legal liability protections for internet platforms and create a commission to study election issues in an effort to meet the recent demands of President Donald Trump. 

President-elect Joe Biden delivered a warning Tuesday about the road ahead as the nation grapples with COVID-19, preparing the public for “difficult months” as his team takes over the response efforts of the Trump administration. Biden also expressed optimism, saying he envisions a “return to normalcy” by the end of 2021. 

Officials in Colorado reported the first known case in the U.S. of a person infected with the coronavirus variant that has been rapidly circulating across much of the U.K., and suspect they have found a second local case Wednesday. Scientists have said the variant is more transmissible but does not make people sicker. 

Hospitals across China have everything necessary for a mass vaccination – millions of doses, refrigerators for storage and healthcare workers to administer them, but still lacks proof that their vaccines work. Most Chinese companies have not disclosed data from late-stage clinical trials, unlike their Western competitors. The state-owned drug maker Sinopharm is an exception, announcing Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine showed a 79.34% efficacy. It requested regulatory approval of the shot, moving closer to becoming China’s first approved vaccine for general public use. 

Singapore started its planned vaccination exercise with a group of healthcare workers getting the first shots, making the city-state one of the first countries in Asia to begin inoculations. The government approved the use of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s vaccine. Singapore has set aside more than S$1 billion for vaccines and said there should be enough for its population of 5.5 million people by the third quarter. 

Health is being pushed to the forefront of cybersecurity in the new year as health systems face threats and the pandemic cultivates an increased reliance on technology. The distribution of vaccines has added a new opportunity for hackers through factories and internet-connected fridges. 

An iOS app called Vybe Together has been removed from the Apple App Store and had its TikTok account banned after it labeled itself a platform to promote private parties during the pandemic. It used the tagline “Get your rebel on. Get your party on.” The app had a few thousand users and a few thousand additional applicants that had requested access, which involved submitting an Instagram handle and photos of the applicant partying.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

Ten Ways Covid-19 Has Changed the World Economy Forever – Bloomberg – 12/29/2020
In the longer run, a big rethink in economics is changing minds about public debt. The new consensus says governments have more room to spend in a low-inflation world, and should use fiscal policy more proactively to drive their economies. Advocates of Modern Monetary Theory say they pioneered those arguments and the mainstream is only now catching up.

A nurse bore witness to Covid-19. Then her father landed in her ICU – STAT – 12/30/2020
“The patients that do end up taking a turn for the worse do it very quickly,” she said — and she saw it happening in her 59-year-old father, too. One moment, he was thinking it was stupid he’d come back to the hospital, the next his oxygen was plummeting. All he’d done was get up to go to the bathroom.

Remote work has a dark side. Here are 3 ways to make sure you overcome it in 2021 – Fast Company – 12/30/2020
A startling 67% of the employees we surveyed haven’t received a single piece of constructive feedback from their manager in the past 30 days, and nearly half (47%) reported having fewer professional development opportunities while working from home.

COVID cluckers: Pandemic feeds demand for backyard chickens – The Associated Press – 12/29/2020
Amateur chicken-keeping has been growing in popularity in recent years as people seek environmental sustainability in the food they eat. The pandemic is accelerating those trends, some breeders and poultry groups say, prompting more people to make the leap into poultry parenthood.

New Year’s resolution tips for 2021: Focus on getting to the end of COVID-19 – Qrius – 12/30/2020
You might be thinking that this hardly seems like a good use of once-a-year resolutions, but even though these goals will be very short-term, this is valuable given that public health leaders are warning that these particular months are likely to be the hardest of the pandemic. So even though these goals will likely only be needed for a few months, they can be vital for determining our state when the pandemic comes to an end.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Greta Wall @GretaLWall 29 Dec #NEW Colorado Governor Jared Polis announces the first confirmed case of new coronavirus mutation in the U.S. The variant was first found in the UK and is said to be more contagious than the original strain. Vaccine makers confident their vaccines are effective against variant.

NHS London @NHSEnglandLDN 30 Dec Around 1 in 3 people will have no symptoms with the new strain of coronavirus. Protect fellow Londoners by following simple but effective ways to limit the spread:✅ Wash your hands✅ Cover your face✅ Make space

André Picard @picardonhealth 29 Dec How dangerous is the #coronavirus mutation? The new variant is more contagious but not necessarily deadlier, by @TomChivers via @UnHerd @PetuniaCatLand #COVID19

Nilesh TNIE @Nilesh_TNIE 29 Dec There have already been at least 229 novel coronavirus variants with mutation in their spike proteins in India & more than 1,200 across the world, as per @GISAID database.

Herb Scribner @HerbScribner 29 Dec Take the new coronavirus mutation ‘very seriously,’ says Dr. Anthony Fauci

CONTENT FACTS

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