“Covid-19: Why the US hasn’t hit vaccine targets so far” – BBC / Source: Our World In Data

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Nasdaq futures jumped Monday morning following two executive orders from President Joe Biden to increase federal food assistance and streamline the delivery of stimulus checks, which geared up markets for news of another stimulus package. Lawmakers from both parties lobbied the Biden administration for a more targeted relief bill, questioning the need for some of the items included in his $1.9 trillion proposal.

Biden plans to sign another executive order on Monday to increase domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies, a measure likely to be complicated by a worsening disruption in global supply chains. Consumers have dramatically refocused their spending from restaurants and entertainment to more imported goods, resulting in bottlenecks for both U.S. exports and imports, especially from Chinese factories. 

U.S. drug company Merck abandoned its COVID-19 vaccine program after “disappointing” results that failed to generate immune responses from participants. As the virus variant in the U.K. complicates efforts to contain the spread, U.S. health officials say future vaccines may need to be repeatedly modified. While they say the best solution is to inoculate as many people as possible with the vaccines currently circulating, most state officials say they do not have enough doses, and federal health officials say there is still a lack of information on supply. With given complications, they say, a vaccine will not be widely available to Americans until mid- or late- summer.  

Biden will reinstate restrictions on traveling to the U.S. that were rescinded by former President Donald Trump days before his term ended. The ban would prevent most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, where a new strain of the virus was identified, as well as non-U.S. citizens from numerous European countries and Brazil. 

Paramedics, EMTs and other emergency response personnel resources are stretching thin in areas such as Southern California, where ambulance calls are up 20% from the region’s last record year. Emergency workers are considered essential health care workers but rarely receive the pay and protections given to doctors and nurses, pushing many to question whether to continue working for low pay and benefits as they risk infection.

A scarcity of oxygen around the world is forcing hospitals to ration it among patients and is making the second wave of coronavirus more deadly in some areas. The scarcity is particularly acute in the developing world, where in some cases people have stockpiled oxygen canisters and armed bandits are stealing oxygen tanks. Such is the scene in Mexico, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday he tested positive for COVID-19.

Budweiser has joined Coke and PepsiCo in their plans to sit out advertising during this year’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The brand will opt instead to donate its advertising money to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. Experts say the move demonstrates the difficulty that advertisers face this year in reading their audiences, careful to avoid messages that are too lighthearted, but also those that are too somber.

NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC

How COVID-19 has changed the culture of science – Chemical & Engineering News – 1/25/2021
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Ever since the first genome sequence of the novel coronavirus was released to the world in February 2020, science has been supercharged. The speed and volume of discovery over the past year have been remarkable, with researchers managing to unravel the molecular details of the virus

In a major setback, Merck to stop developing its Covid-19 vaccines – STAT – 1/25/2021
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Merck said Monday it will stop developing both of the current formulations of the Covid-19 vaccines the company was working on, citing inadequate immune responses to the shots. Work will continue on at least one of the vaccines, which is being developed in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), to see if using a different route of administration would improve how effective it is.

Trying to Improve Remote Learning? A Refugee Camp Offers Some Surprising Lessons – Next City – 1/25/2021
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While the pandemic and the sudden shutdown of schools provoked fear, the teachers at this remote refugee camp in northern Iraq weren’t worried about how students would cope: They were confident their students were prepared to take their learning fully online.

The People Planning for a Baby After the Covid Pandemic Hit – The Wall Street Journal – 1/24/2021
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The pandemic has changed much of what it once meant to be expecting: a partner holding your hand through an ultrasound appointment, crowded baby showers and unsolicited advice from hovering strangers in the supermarket, family flying in to meet a new grandchild in the hospital.

The role of the CEO is expanding as people turn to business leaders for stability in time of social uncertainty – Digiday – 1/24/2021
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Faith in government leaders, traditional media and social media as a source for general news has reached an all-time low, according to a recent study from PR firm Edelman, which polled 33,000 respondents globally. Instead, people are turning to, and putting their trust in, their employers for leadership through the current crises. 

WHAT INFLUENCERS ARE SAYING

CBS News @CBSNews 25 Jan New Zealand’s 1st new community COVID case in months is variant from South Africa Retweets: 18 Likes: 35

Reuters @Reuters 25 Jan President Biden will impose a travel ban on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been to South Africa, where a new strain of the coronavirus that current vaccines may not be effective against, has been identified Retweets: 46 Likes: 128

Belfast Telegraph @BelTel 25 Jan Fears new Covid-19 strains will spread in NI as 3,000 people arrived in Republic from Brazil and South Africa in recent weeks Retweets: 15 Likes: 16

Bloomberg Brexit @Brexit 25 Jan The U.K. is considering tightening controls at its borders to prevent the import of new strains of coronavirus, which it fears may undermine the success of its vaccination program Retweets: 9 Likes: 11

Catherine Nicholson @ACatInParis 25 Jan French govt says handmade cloth masks “do not provide enough filtering protection to contain the spread of the new highly contagious strains of coronavirus first identified in the UK and South Africa” #covid19 #F24 #RFI Retweets: 30 Likes: 27

CONTENT FACTS

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