Covid news from the past few days wasn’t entirely depressing.
While coronavirus numbers continue to hit record highs, Joe Biden announced his Covid advisory team two days after his new title as President-elect. New but limited results from Pfizer’s Phase 3 Covid trial resulted in a mixture of pleased and cautionary comments.
The nation’s Covid-19 numbers continue to go in the wrong direction. As of October 1, 46,418 cases were reported; on November 9, 130,553. The death toll on November 4 was 1,616; There is usually a delay in reporting. Infectious disease experts recently warned the country that going the wrong way will likely be the only way, at least in mid-January or so.
Anthony Fauci, MD, the infectious disease expert, is one of them. He has said the upcoming winter season will be a dangerous time. Scott Gottlieb, MD, former head of the FDA, is another; He also warned of the magnitude of the effects of the virus.
The news from the transition team
Regarding Mr Biden’s transition advisory team, notable critics of the Trump administration have been asked to serve, such as the laid-off whistleblower Rick Bright, MD, and Vivek Murthy, MD, who was ousted from his role as surgeon general in the Obama administration in 2017 .
Mr Biden has named the coronavirus crisis as his first priority in his new role. He urges Americans to wear masks and practice safe distancing. “The goal is to get back to normal as soon as possible, and masks are crucial to that. It won’t take forever,” he said after announcing the new members of the transition team.
While the inauguration is still months away, Mr Biden has promised to enforce basic measures to fight the virus and said he would only be sure to promote a vaccine by scientists. In addition to masks and social distancing, Mr Biden also said he would implement a national system to test and track down those who come into contact with the coronavirus.
Testing would be free. He also wants to institute emergency paid leave for families and small businesses affected by the pandemic. On his website, he admits that it would take a fair amount of money to pay for the emergency paid leave. “This requires an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures and further determined action to cope with the larger macroeconomic shock of this outbreak,” it says on its website.
Other members of the Biden transition team in addition to Dr. Bright, former head of BARDA vaccine development agency, and Dr. Murthy are: Dr. Atul Gawande, the noted author, researcher, and surgeon; former Obama White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost, University of Pennsylvania Global Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy; David Kessler, Md, JD, who served as FDA director in the George W. Bush Administration; Celine Gounder, MD, clinical associate professor, NYU Langone; Luciana Borio, MD, Acting FDA Chief Scientist; Marcella Nunez-Smith, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, Yale Medicine; and Julie Morita, MD, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey.
The vaccine news
Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that a vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective at preventing the coronavirus. The first results of the Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine study of 43,538 participants provided some evidence of its effectiveness. Protection was achieved 28 days after vaccination; The vaccine has a 2-dose schedule 21 days apart. However, all results are not available.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Fauci described the vaccine’s 90 percent effectiveness as “just extraordinary,” adding that “not very many people expected it to be that high”.
“It’s going to have a huge impact on everything we do about Covid,” Fauci told the AP.
The company warned that final vaccination protection may vary over the course of the study. The 90 percent effectiveness is considered excellent. In comparison, two doses of the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) achieve 97 percent effectiveness, while the seasonal flu vaccine varies between 10 and 60 percent, according to the CDC.
The company cautioned that the final percentage of vaccination protection may vary over the course of the study.
Pfizer continues to manage security data. It has an estimated two months of data from the second dose plan. This vaccine candidate should be available by the third week of November, Pfizer said. Participants will be monitored for an additional two years after their second dose.
Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce 50 million vaccinations in 2020 and 1.3 billion vaccinations worldwide in 2021.
On Sunday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb in “Face the Nation”. He discussed what steps this country should take to address the pandemic now and in the near future. While Joe Biden has promised to prioritize virus control with increased testing, etc., the country will likely have reached the peak of the pandemic by the time he takes office, said Dr. Gottlieb.
“That will play out in the next few months,” he said. “And I think so [new] President takes office, hopefully we’ll come down the other side of the epidemic curve. “
Dr. Gottlieb added that full control of the virus is unlikely. However, he said the country needs to take more precautionary measures as the virus should spread as far as it is on its own without masks and social distancing.
“We don’t have to shut down the country, close stores or tell people to stay home to gain some level of control over this virus,” he said.
News from the White House
Mr Trump had promised to introduce a vaccine before election day.
With Pfizer’s announcement, President Donald Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. accused the company of withholding information until after the presidential election. According to Business Insider, neither the president nor his son have provided any evidence to support the claim.
A Pfizer spokesman told Business Insider that the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with the election. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, DVM, PhD, told CNN that he first heard about the results on Sunday, adding that the data was released “when science told us the data was available “.
If anything, the results came sooner than expected. CNN reported that Dr. Bourla in October said that based on the study’s current enrollment and dosing pace, he had not estimated that “this milestone would be reached by the third week of November”.
Pfizer pushed back after Vice President Mike Pence tweeted to credit “the public-private partnership” President Trump established for vaccine development. The company clarified that while the government had ordered a potential vaccine, Pfizer never received funding from the government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative to develop such a vaccine.