“What vaccines mean for the return of travel” – National Geographic / SOURCE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND MORNING CONSULT POLL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

U.S. stocks were volatile Tuesday morning as investors braced for the outcome of a pair of runoff elections in Georgia that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Polls close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, but state officials said it will likely take several days to count all of the ballots, given the influx of mail-in ballots similar to the General Election. President-elect Joe Biden has said his incoming legislative agenda will not change with either party in control of the Senate, underscoring the pandemic as a top priority. 

California has again reported a new one-day record for COVID-19 cases, reaching 74,000 on Monday. The devastating surge quadrupled the number of patients in the state’s ICU’s since November, moving Los Angeles County to give ambulance crews the directive not to transport patients with a little chance of survival. Several Hollywood guilds and labor unions are recommending that crews for television and independent films temporarily halt in-person production.

Hospital officials at a facility in San Jose said an inflatable Christmas tree costume was likely to blame for the infection of 44 employees. The costume, worn to spread some Christmas cheer, had an air-powered fan, likely spreading COVID-19 droplets that lead to the death of one person.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning those set to receive coronavirus vaccines that a half-dose or any other change to the vaccine schedule could be a public health risk, rebutting comments from the head of the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout that the Moderna vaccine could be cut in half to protect more people. FDA officials said in a statement that changing the dosing schedules is “premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence.”

Coronavirus cases in Mexico continue to climb as Americans travel there at record numbers. More than 500,000 Americans traveled to Mexico in November, many of them seeking a reprieve from lockdowns in the U.S. Many visitors pass through or stay in Mexico City, where hospitals have entered a critical phase in the pandemic leading some families to opt to keep their sick loved ones at home and purchase oxygen themselves. Mexico was the third most visited country in 2020, according to the Mexican government.

Fitness enthusiasts are getting a new test of their dedication this winter as gyms explore their options during pandemic lockdowns. With capacity reduced for indoor gyms, some continue to offer workouts at outdoor venues, which allow for more people to partake in fitness classes. Many gyms have taken over rooftops, parks and empty lots even in the freezing weather.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

The Plague Year – The New Yorker – 1/5/2021
“That whole idea that you were going to diagnose cases based on symptoms, isolate them, and contact-trace around them was not going to work,” Redfield told me recently. “You’re going to be missing fifty per cent of the cases. We didn’t appreciate that until late February.” The first mistake had been made, and the second was soon to happen.

Covid vaccinations: slow start around world brings dose of reality – The Guardian – 1/5/2021
Other chokepoints involve the capacity of regulatory authorities to approve packaged batches of vaccine, the effectiveness of national systems for vaccination, and local requirements for advising, monitoring and then logging the data of recipients, most of which is more time-consuming than giving the injection.

Long COVID: who is at risk? – The Conversation – 1/4/2021
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people with more severe disease initially – characterised by more than five symptoms – seem to be at increased risk of long COVID. Older age and being female also appear to be risk factors for having prolonged symptoms, as is having a higher body mass index.

As localities improvise to distribute COVID vaccines, an information vacuum emerges – Axios – 1/5/2021
Historically, the federal government has established systems to help local governments deploy emergency information, like tornado and hurricane warnings that are broadcast on local television, as well as localized text alerts. But the government hasn’t set up emergency communication systems to convey localized information about the vaccine, forcing citizens to turn to less reliable sources of information online.

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis – Intelligencer – 1/4/2021
And we were warned, repeatedly. The intentional creation of new microbes that combine virulence with heightened transmissibility “poses extraordinary risks to the public,” wrote infectious-disease experts Marc Lipsitch and Thomas Inglesby in 2014. “A rigorous and transparent risk-assessment process for this work has not yet been established.” That’s still true today. 

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

Cleavon MD @Cleavon_MD 4 Jan We’re all tired of COVID, but we must remain vigilant. Hospitalizations are on the rise. We’ve made it this far so let’s not drop our guard now. Note: the misinformation that creates new holes in each layer.

CNN Politics @CNNPolitics 4 Jan The US surgeon general said he has “no reason to doubt” the CDC Covid-19 death toll after the President said the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers

George Mensah, MD @NHLBI_Translate 4 Jan @nytimes: Doctors, #nurses, #pharmacists, other #healthcare professionals are helping address #misinformation & mistrust to promote #COVID19 #vaccination in #Black #Hispanic #Latino #AmericanIndian and other underserved minority #communities. @nih #nihCEAL

Linda Lew 刘凌达 @Lindadalew 5 Jan Fake news in CN has come to pose an opposite challenge – where the gov uses it as an excuse to deny or delay release of info. Chatter had swirled around for weeks on covid prison outbreaks but local authorities said it was just rumours

Jake Boswell @JakeBoswellNews 5 Jan Police say a Wisconsin pharmacist tried to ruin hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine because he believed the shots would mutate people’s DNA.

CONTENT FACTS

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