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

How the end of the CDC’s indoor masking recommendation may go down in history

Historians may come to see May 13, 2021, as the effective end of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. The date isn’t a milestone in a downward trend of deaths or disease. In fact, that week saw about 4,300 Covid-19 deaths, equating to about 225,000 deaths if the rate were maintained over a year. Nor is the date significant because the U.S. reached a particularly high rate of vaccination — about two-thirds of the population are not yet fully vaccinated.

But pandemics don’t end when public health goals are achieved. Instead, historians tell us, pandemics end when a disease has…


Vaccination may protect men from this sexual health complication

Medical researchers from the Department of Urology at the University Of Miami Miller School of Medicine have uncovered compelling motivation for men to get vaccinated against Covid-19. A new study shows long-term damage to the penis long after Covid-19 infections.

The Urology department pilot study sought to analyze penile tissue of men who recovered from symptomatic Covid-19 infection and developed erectile dysfunction (ED) after the infection.

The small study evaluated penile tissue collected from four men scheduled for penile prosthesis surgery due to erectile dysfunction. …


Both Jimmy Kimmel and John Oliver addressed the problem of decreasing Covid-19 vaccination rates, but only one did it well

Within two days of one another, two late-night talk show hosts addressed the issue of people who haven’t yet gotten the Covid-19 vaccine. The difference between the approaches — and the public health impact — is stark. No, I’m not talking about Tucker Carlson spouting off his anti-vaccine nonsense. I’m talking about two hosts who both thought people should get the vaccine. Except, one did his homework, and one most certainly did not — which possibly ensures that some folks will never get their vaccine given his approach.

The disaster of a performance that damaged public health came from Jimmy…


Tucker Carlson’s toxic disinformation about Covid vaccines may well cost someone their life

Let me cut to the chase: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is spreading dangerous disinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines. Given his long history of questionable and controversial statements, this isn’t surprising. But this time, his falsehoods may cost someone their life.

On a recent episode of his massively popular prime time show, Carlson reported that nearly 4,000 Americans have died after getting vaccinated against Covid-19. On that, he’s right — those statistics are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own website.

The problem is that Carlson didn’t stop at the facts. After insisting he was “only asking questions,”…


Don’t skip your second Pfizer or Moderna shot. Without it, your protection won’t be as strong or long-lasting.

Almost 150 million doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the United States. Most adults are now at least partially vaccinated, and more and more people are choosing to get vaccinated every day. But some people may be wondering if their second shot is necessary. The answer is yes.

If you got one dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), don’t skip the second dose. Without it, your vaccine-induced protection won’t be as strong or long-lasting. The second dose greatly reinforces the protection your immune system started building after the first shot.

With new variants in the mix…


What sequence analysis and computation reveal about the deadly spread of the virus

The first wave of the coronavirus hit Brazil’s Amazonas state very hard. So many people got sick in the capital Manaus that researchers estimated 70% or more of the population had immunity by fall 2020. This level of population immunity is in the ballpark of what would be needed for herd immunity, and people in Manaus began to feel that their previous ordeal meant that they would not face another surge in infection and death.

Unfortunately, they were wrong. In December 2020 a new spike in cases began, and by early January the level of daily hospital admissions was more…


Welcome news for teens who are ready to get back to normal

Just in time for summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced game-changing news. The FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccine for kids ages 12–15 years old.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine met the FDA’s safety and efficacy criteria to expand the emergency use authorization. Until now, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for use in people 16 years and older.

Pfizer previously announced in a press release highly encouraging results from their phase 3 clinical trial. The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was 100% effective and generated a high antibody response in children ages 12–15.


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…


Humans don’t always win against evolving viruses, but there are reasons to be optimistic

In 1960, Thomas Francis Jr., MD, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan who was the first to isolate the influenza virus in the U.S., published a paper titled “On the Doctrine of Original Antigenic Sin” in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society that is pertinent to our understanding of immunological memory to this day.

Sadly, the concept of original antigenic sin (OAS) has not been given the scrutiny it deserves. …


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…

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