Scientists are not very good at public relations. That becomes a problem when it concerns the coronavirus and vaccines.
The reason scientists aren’t very good at PR is that they are inherently cautious. But they should not be cautious when talking about the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
These vaccines – if the 95% efficacy rate holds – will be among the best vaccines ever. They are an amazing scientific achievement.
Think about even the 5% that do get Covid-19. The vaccine turns Covid into nothing more than a run-of-the-mill flu instead of a possibly lethal virus.
Scientists are hesitant, too, about whether people will still be able to spread the virus after vaccination. Well, if they do, they will be a scientific miracle. No major vaccine has ever somehow prevented the disease in individuals, but not stopped the spread of the disease.
We should be shouting to the heavens about this vaccine . . . just like people did in the 1950s when the polio vaccine was discovered.
Think about it. With the vaccine – after you wait until it takes effect – you will be able to resume your pre-Covid life.
I personally cannot wait to get vaccinated. That way I can finally see my great-nephew who was born in September and I have yet to see in person.
The Big News
The CDC Issues Another Warning
A new, more transmissible variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 could sweep the US. It may become the dominant strain as soon as March. This will lead to a new surge of cases through the spring. That was the warning Friday from the CDC. Modeling work done by CDC scientists suggests that – unless the pace of vaccination rises dramatically and people adhere stringently to virus control measures – the new variant will spread rapidly.
Dire Situation in Los Angeles
How bad is it in LA? Every
minute, 10 people test positive for Covid-19. Every eight minutes, someone
dies. Ambulances circle for hours, unable to find ERs that can accept patients.
Hospitals are running out of oxygen. ICU capacity is at zero. Patients lie in
hallways and tents. Emergency room nurses have more patients than they can
handle — sometimes six at a time. The National Guard has arrived. Not to help
treat patients, but to manage the flow of bodies.
Biden Makes Science a Cabinet-Level Post
Biden announced on Friday that he will elevate his science adviser to a Cabinet-level post. He said, “Science will always be at the forefront of my administration.” Biden’s science adviser will be Eric Lander. He is best known for his work in the Human Genome Project. That was the global effort to spell out the 6 billion “letters” that comprise human DNA. Lander was the lead author on the seminal 2001 Nature paper describing the sequencing endeavor.
Covid Effects On Small and Taste
Many people infected with SARS-CoV-2 lose their sense of smell or taste. . .even without any other symptoms. Some haven’t yet recovered these senses. And for a proportion of people who do, everything smells unpleasant. The science is not yet fully understood. But there is a growing consensus that smell loss occurs when the coronavirus infects cells that support neurons in the nose. A lack of research means few established treatments exist.
A Different Type of Covid Research
Some medical researchers are doing things differently: They are racing to find treatments for Covid-19 in its early stages. Instead of seeking new drugs, these researchers are pulling common generic drugs off shelves. They are even eyeing the nutritional-supplement aisles. They are also pioneering a new approach to research — mail-order clinical trials. In these trials, patients can take the medication and monitor its effects without leaving home.
The Coronavirus Numbers
More than 2 million people around the globe have died from Covid. Here are the numbers on Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 95,653,304 Infected Worldwide
- 2,043,271 Deaths
- 24,079,204 Infected in the U.S.
- 399,003 Deaths in the U.S.
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Despite rising virus cases, stocks in Europe and Asia moved nicely higher on Tuesday. The U.S. dollar drifting lower was a major boost.
U.S. markets reopened higher after a three-day weekend, looking ahead to news of the Biden stimulus package. Today, attention also shifts to corporate earnings season. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Netflix are set to issue reports.
The focus is also tomorrow’s inauguration and the actions Joe Biden takes during his first few days in office.
The confirmation hearing for Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, is bolstering markets today. She is expected to take a “go big or go home” approach to policy.
Former Fed chair Yellen will voice strong support for the $1.9 trillion Biden stimulus package. In support of the Biden stimulus, she will argue that “with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big.”
To say that her comments later today on the Biden stimulus could be market-moving is an understatement.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,