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Medium Coronavirus Blog
A blog from Medium for Covid-19 news, advice, and commentary.

Why an intellectual property waiver isn’t the solution

When the Biden administration, in a surprise reversal, announced this week that it would support the waiver of intellectual property rights connected to Covid-19 vaccines, the announcement was hailed as a huge step in the fight to contain the global Covid pandemic, with the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) calling it a “monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19.”

For many, it sparked hopes that vaccine manufacturers around the world would soon be able to begin making copies of the various Covid vaccines, expanding supply at a time when the vast majority of the world’s population remains unvaccinated…


And the world can’t afford to be half vaccinated

The Earth, floating in space, with its southern hemisphere in flames; it is being irradiated by a beam-weapon fired by a Death Star-style coronavirus molecule, bearing the Pfizer logo.
The Earth, floating in space, with its southern hemisphere in flames; it is being irradiated by a beam-weapon fired by a Death Star-style coronavirus molecule, bearing the Pfizer logo.

The poorest 125 countries on Earth — pop. 2.5b—have not yet received a single covid vaccine dose. The 85 poorest countries on Earth project full vaccination in 2023 or 2024.

This isn’t just a humanitarian catastrophe, it’s a civilizational risk, an epidemiological game of Russian roulette. Every infected person makes billions and billions of copies of the virus, and every copying operation represents a small — but cumulative — chance for a mutation to emerge. Some mutations will make the virus easier to spread. Some will make it more deadly. Some will confer the ability to infect vaccinated people. Some…


This video is exactly the kind of PSA we need right now

For most of the past several decades, the anti-vaccine movement and general vaccine hesitancy did not fall along partisan lines. Despite common stereotypes of “anti-vaxxers” or “privileged granola moms” who wanted to skip vaccines as belonging to one or another political group, vaccine hesitancy as a whole was pretty evenly spread across the aisle.

“Vaccines aren’t a partisan issue. The consensus in favor of vaccination in this country is very strong and extends across every religious, racial, and political group,” Brendan Nyhan, PhD, an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College who has published research on vaccine attitudes, told me


A new study shows just how bad long Covid can be

A surprisingly large portion of patients who have suffered from Covid-19 continue to experience concerning symptoms and complications months after their initial infection. Increasingly, this prolonged battle is becoming known as long Covid, and those who suffer from it have been dubbed long haulers. Covid-19 differs from most other respiratory viruses in the sense that a lingering version exists, and scientists are working to better understand this emerging condition.

A manuscript from a recent study accepted for publication in the journal Nature was published online April 22. This report, authored by epidemiologists Ziyad Al-Aly and colleagues, provides unique insight into…


Writers on Medium address the country’s disaster

Chandy Bee writes with a plea to acknowledge the pain that the country is experiencing:

From a few weeks before the surge became a full-blown crisis, filmmaker Anand Kamalakar wrote about the challenge of traveling back to the U.S. from India, a situation that is almost certainly harder now than when he wrote this:

Immunologist Rajyalakshmi balaji writes about the Covid-19 variants in India that are likely driving the surge:

Writer and filmmaker Raj Ajay Pandya writes about the callous approach of the Modi government in dealing with the crisis and where its priorities appear to lie:

I can relate…


Here’s what must be done to get the world vaccinated

The pandemic is splitting in two. While the U.S. and other wealthy nations vaccinate their way out of the nightmare, Covid-19 is raging around the world. Globally, new case counts have risen for nine consecutive weeks — and are now at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. Despite this, just 0.2% of all Covid vaccines are going to low-income countries.

That’s why the recent White House commitment to share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine came as welcome news.

For humanitarian, public health, and economic reasons, it’s imperative the U.S. does more to get the rest…


Plenty of people who get the jab are a bit worried about it at first

Vaccines against Covid-19 are rolling out across the world, and it’s a beautiful sight. If you had told most scientists this time last year that we would be seeing effective, safe vaccines preventing Covid-19 infection in every corner of the globe within 12 months, we would probably not have believed you. The monumental amount of work required to get us to this place cannot be overstated — it is a truly spectacular achievement.


CDC director recommends pregnant people get vaccinated

More than 3.7 million people give birth in the U.S. every year. And this year, of course, a pandemic prevails. As a result, pregnant people and OB-GYN doctors like me are tracking the research on Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy.

The most extensive study to date, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, provides more evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are safe and effective during pregnancy for both mom and baby.

Health providers celebrated the Covid-19 vaccine Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. …


Measuring the vaccine against the disease

In an ideal world, vaccines would only prevent diseases and not also cause them. In an ideal world, a vaccine would be categorized as “effective” or “not effective” and not as “relatively beneficial.” Unfortunately, the world is far from ideal and far more complex.

The European health regulators faced the same difficult question for the second time in recent weeks: Which outweighs the other: the risks of the Covid-19 vaccine or the risks of the disease?

After cases of serious and unusual blood clots in people who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine were reported in the…


Public Health Weekly

The latest Covid insights from former CDC Director Tom Frieden

This past week, we learned that our vaccine safety monitoring system works. Reports that a small number of people developed a rare form of blood clot after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine led to quick investigation, quick action, and transparency about what is known, not known, and what next steps should be. Vaccines remain our way out of the pandemic.

Global collaboration has been critical throughout the pandemic. …

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