Coronavirus Briefing: What Occurred At present

Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today



Johnson & Johnson, the one main drugmaker creating a single-dose Covid vaccine, announced on Friday that its shot had provided strong protection in medical trials.

If the Meals and Drug Administration grants the corporate an emergency authorization, it will expand the vaccine supply in the United States because the Biden administration seeks to immunize many extra Individuals.

The outcomes got here with a big cautionary notice: Within the U.S., the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 72 p.c in medical trials. However in South Africa, a rustic gripped by a brand new and extra contagious variant, the efficacy fee dropped to only 57 p.c.

The variant, which has unfold to no less than 31 international locations, together with the USA, may blunt the effectiveness of Covid vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest U.S. infectious illness skilled, warned that Johnson & Johnson’s trial outcomes have been a “wake up call” and warned producers to be able to reformulate the vaccines if wanted.

“If ever there was motive to vaccinate as many individuals as expeditiously as we probably can with the vaccine that we have now proper now, now could be the time,” Dr. Fauci mentioned in an interview.

Scientists nonetheless think about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be successful: It was 85 p.c efficient in stopping extreme illness. In all three areas the place the trial was run — the USA, Latin America and South Africa — after 28 days, not one of the vaccinated contributors who developed Covid-19 needed to be hospitalized. It is usually simpler to move and administer than its rivals.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines must be saved at extraordinarily low temperatures, they usually spoil rapidly as soon as thawed. That would make Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine simpler to distribute in poorer elements of the world, the place extra aggressive mutants may in any other case be seeded.

In the meantime in Europe: The E.U. permitted AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine however moved to temporarily restrict doses made within the bloc from being shipped overseas. Britain, a former bloc member, had been receiving a gradual stream of vaccine doses from AstraZeneca since approving it effectively forward of the E.U. in early December.


Eating places in New York Metropolis will be capable to open for indoor dining at 25 p.c capability on Valentine’s Day, greater than a month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down service to fight a second wave of the coronavirus.

For the restaurant business, the announcement was a supply of hope. The virus has decimated an vital financial sector, placing eating places and bars out of enterprise and axing hundreds of jobs. Extra tables indoors, particularly throughout the chilliest days of the year, would possibly assist some companies grasp on till hotter climate returns.

Cote, an upscale Korean barbecue steakhouse, will be capable to double the variety of folks it could possibly sit from the roughly 50 it could possibly serve in its exterior cabanas. It already has a 100-reservation ready record for Valentine’s Day.

“Now that we’re opening indoors, it’s going to imply we not must hemorrhage tens of hundreds {dollars} every week,” the proprietor Simon Kim mentioned.

The change will carry a welcome financial enhance, nevertheless it comes at an extremely precarious section within the state’s battle towards the virus, which has killed more than 42,500 people in New York State.

Whereas the state’s hospitalization and positivity charges have begun to development downward after a post-holidays spike, the vaccine rollout has been sluggish; solely 6 p.c of New York’s inhabitants has been vaccinated to date. Greater than 40 circumstances of the extra contagious British variant have additionally been detected statewide.

Regardless of virus issues, food-focused New Yorkers rushed to safe what’s more likely to be a coveted reservation inside for Feb. 14. Cafe Luxembourg, an intimate French bistro, instantly began fielding “many, many calls,” mentioned Judi Wong, a supervisor.

Covid-19 Vaccines ›

Solutions to Your Vaccine Questions

At present greater than 150 million folks — virtually half the inhabitants — are eligible to be vaccinated. However each state makes the final decision about who goes first. The nation’s 21 million well being care employees and three million residents of long-term care amenities have been the primary to qualify. In mid-January, federal officers urged all states to open up eligibility to everybody 65 and older and to adults of any age with medical situations that put them at excessive threat of turning into severely in poor health or dying from Covid-19. Adults in the general population are at the back of the line. If federal and state well being officers can clear up bottlenecks in vaccine distribution, everybody 16 and older will develop into eligible as early as this spring or early summer time. The vaccine hasn’t been permitted in kids, though research are underway. It might be months earlier than a vaccine is offered for anybody beneath the age of 16. Go to your state health website for up-to-date data on vaccination insurance policies in your space

You should not have to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine, though you can be requested for insurance coverage data. Should you don’t have insurance coverage, it is best to nonetheless be given the vaccine at no cost. Congress handed laws this spring that bars insurers from making use of any price sharing, corresponding to a co-payment or deductible. It layered on further protections barring pharmacies, medical doctors and hospitals from billing sufferers, together with those that are uninsured. Even so, well being specialists do fear that sufferers would possibly stumble into loopholes that leave them vulnerable to surprise bills. This might occur to those that are charged a physician go to payment together with their vaccine, or Individuals who’ve sure forms of well being protection that don’t fall beneath the brand new guidelines. Should you get your vaccine from a physician’s workplace or pressing care clinic, speak to them about potential hidden fees. To make sure you gained’t get a shock invoice, one of the best wager is to get your vaccine at a well being division vaccination web site or an area pharmacy as soon as the photographs develop into extra broadly obtainable.

That’s to be decided. It’s potential that Covid-19 vaccinations will develop into an annual occasion, identical to the flu shot. Or it may be that the benefits of the vaccine last longer than a year. Now we have to attend to see how sturdy the safety from the vaccines is. To find out this, researchers are going to be monitoring vaccinated folks to search for “breakthrough circumstances” — these individuals who get sick with Covid-19 regardless of vaccination. That could be a signal of weakening safety and can give researchers clues about how lengthy the vaccine lasts. They may even be monitoring ranges of antibodies and T cells within the blood of vaccinated folks to find out whether or not and when a booster shot could be wanted. It’s conceivable that individuals might have boosters each few months, every year or solely each few years. It’s only a matter of ready for the information.

“We’re all the time making ready for a change,” Ms. Wong mentioned concerning the state’s shifting restrictions. “And this was a welcome change.”


  • The extremely transmissible variant from South Africa has been identified in the United States, with two circumstances detected in South Carolina.

  • Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus demise toll handed India’s on Thursday to develop into the world’s third-highest, after Brazil and the USA.

  • The College of Michigan suggested college students to remain residence after no less than 14 folks contracted a new variant.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.


  • After months of delays, scientists from the W.H.O. began field work to hint the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan, China.

  • The W.H.O. no longer opposes vaccinating pregnant folks, except they’re at excessive threat.

  • Canada will suspend flights to a number of resort areas in Mexico and the Caribbean in an try and stem the unfold of latest variants. “Now could be simply not the time to be flying,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned.

  • France and Germany each applied journey restrictions in an try and stem the unfold of variants.


Carole Landry, a author and editor on the Briefings group, wrote about her time in part of the world the place the coronavirus is nearly utterly absent.

At present, my household and I are beginning the lengthy drive again to New York Metropolis after practically two months in a world largely freed from Covid. We’ve been spending time with household on Cape Breton Island, on the northeastern finish of Nova Scotia, the place we’ve been in a position to meet with associates, go to eating places, do some buying and mainly plunge again into the Earlier than Instances.

There are presently three active cases of Covid in the region that features the island, and nine active cases in the entire province of Nova Scotia. It’s not as if folks listed here are utterly oblivious — masks carrying is strictly enforced, and social distancing is taken severely, as I discovered once I walked towards the arrows on the ground of a grocery retailer.

I’ve been struck at how our time right here has been a lot much less annoying. In New York, outings carried a threat. I now understand that we had lived beneath a gradual however grinding, low-level stress.

I’ve so appreciated the chance to be social once more, to speak head to head with associates. I really feel as if I’ve peered into the post-pandemic future, and, associates, it’s great.

Tell us the way you’re coping with the pandemic. Send us a response here, and we could characteristic it in an upcoming e-newsletter.

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Carole Landry contributed to at the moment’s e-newsletter.



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