“Is the Covid vaccine safe?” – BBC / Source: WHO, Respective Companies

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

More than 4.2 million Americans have received their first coronavirus vaccine, short of the federal government’s estimate that 20 million people would be inoculated by the end of 2020. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he is optimistic that momentum will pick up soon, an urgent issue as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to set new records across the nation. Between 40% to 60% of ICU patients in some metro areas are critically ill from the coronavirus, adding pressure on smaller hospitals that typically rely on metro infrastructure to help their most endangered patients.    

Some health officials have suggested that many Americans receive half-volume doses of the Moderna vaccine to accelerate the rollout, citing an identical immune response at the lower volume for people ages 18-55. Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui said on Sunday that the reduction in volume would achieve the goal of immunizing more Americans early this year.

Bitcoin shares briefly soared past $33,000 over the weekend, highlighting the cryptocurrency’s surge in value during the pandemic. Bitcoin grew steadily last year until it tripled in value, although prices slumped back below $30,000 on Monday morning. Some analysts compare Bitcoin to gold as the price fluctuates with large amounts of government stimulus, but others say it has emerged as an allocation strategy for institutional investors and investment banks. 

Indonesia will prioritize vaccinations for working adults over the elderly, revealing a new approach that the country hopes will achieve herd immunity more quickly. While the strategy is a departure from priorities in the U.S. and Europe to first inoculate the elderly, experts say it will be valuable for the global leaders to understand how virus transmission is affected. In Britain, health authorities are exploring options that will vaccinate as many people as possible, including stretching the interval of time between the two doses of the vaccine and allowing two different manufacturers to deliver the first and second doses.

India has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and a local vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech for emergency use. North Korea has requested coronavirus vaccines from the global group that pledged to help low-income countries, despite reporting zero infections. 

The global shipping industry cannot keep up with exports from China, highlighting a slowdown caused by pandemic safety measures amid surging global demand.  In November, 50% of global carriers reported that they remained on schedule, compared to 80% one year ago. At the same time, China logged a record trade surplus of $75 billion.

Famed broadcast journalist Larry King has been hospitalized with COVID-19. King, who conducted interviews on CNN for years, was moved from the ICU and has been in the hospital for about 10 days

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

Primary care doctors are being left behind in the vaccine rollout – STAT – 1/4/2021
Primary care doctors are included with tier 1a, the first group designated to receive vaccines as laid out by federal guidance. These physicians have been severely affected by the pandemic; one study of more than 1,000 health care deaths in May found that primary care doctors made up the highest percentage of physician deaths within that group.

Should You Join a Startup During the Pandemic? – Wall Street Journal – 1/3/2021
“One of the most important things I was looking for in a company is the tenure of its employees,” the 27-year-old says. “At IBM, it tends to be around the five-to-seven year mark, and when I spoke with upper-level management, they discussed possible career paths for me and really emphasized growth within the company, which for me, as a millennial, is really important.”

Gyms aren’t coming back. Here’s how you’ll work out in the future – Fast Company – 1/4/2021
A survey of 3,500 Americans by The New Consumer and Coefficient Capital found that 76% of people have tried working out at home during the pandemic—and crucially, 66% prefer it. Among millennials, the number is even higher: 82% made the switch and 81% like it more.

After COVID we may never think about hotels in the same way again – The Conversation – 1/3/2021
It’s hard to blame the big international hotels for taking part. Without income from international tourists, they’ve needed the money. But by taking the money and becoming known as places where people are locked up, at times cross-infected, and fed food ranging from “nice” to “atrocious”, they run the risk of destroying brands that took decades to build.

How to Survive the Pandemic Winter: 9 Creative Ways to Socialize Safely – KQED – 1/3/2021
Social isolation and loneliness, Garfin notes, are also associated with health problems such as coronary heart disease, stroke and even premature death. “We don’t want to trade one risk for the other risk,” agrees Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University who studies isolation. “Ideally, what we want to do is find solutions that help reduce the overall risk” — of social isolation and of catching and spreading COVID-19.

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Alicia Neaves  @AliciaNeavesTV 3 Jan “2021 was supposed to be the year that COVID went away”: Entire family gets coronavirus after Christmas gathering

NYT National News @NYTNational 4 Jan “If Covid wasn’t here, all of our husbands would still be here.” Far more men than women have died of the coronavirus, leaving thousands of spouses suddenly widowed. Some have found each other in online bereavement groups.

Brandon Taylor @Brandon_Newsie 4 Jan ‘No, we can’t take your family member’: California funeral homes overrun during COVID-19 surge. #WLTX

Michael K. Lavers (He/Él) @mklavers81 4 Jan Beginning the day with news that my sister — a nurse in #NewHampshire — just received her first dose of the #coronavirus vaccine.

FRONTLINE @frontlinepbs 4 Jan Boyzell and Andrida Hosey urge others to be diligent about the coronavirus. Take COVID-19 seriously, they say. It hurts them to see people who believe they’re invincible after the Hosey family lost three loved ones in the span of two weeks. [via @TB_Times]

CONTENT FACTS

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