This is an email from Your Coronavirus Update, a newsletter by Medium Coronavirus Blog.

The Latest: 2021 is giving us hope

Dear Reader,

Health care expert Andy Slavitt, a regular contributor, will be headed to the White House to serve as a senior advisor on Covid-19. Slavitt spends his days talking to the top health and science experts about Covid-19 and distills those findings for his followers. Right now, he’s hopeful that with vaccines and new leadership, the U.S. can finally get control of the virus.

“2021 can be an extraordinary year if we make it so,” he writes. “Little by little, step by step, it’s time we defeat this. With better leadership, the country will have an opportunity to decide how quickly and how aggressively to support progress.”

It’s a hopeful message. The kind of message that you’ll want to bookmark and revisit whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. Read it here.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium

A quick vaccine update

The U.S. government tells states to vaccinate people 65 and older: As my colleague Yasmin Tayag reports, to speed up vaccination, the Trump administration on Tuesday ordered all states to start vaccinating people 65 and older. Many have embraced this as a welcome change, as the previous allocation guidelines led many vaccine doses to go to waste. However, the also reports that although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it would be releasing Covid-19 vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no reserve of vaccines actually exist.

Pfizer says its vaccine works against the new variant: As worrying new variants of the coronavirus spread, many have raised concerns that the available vaccines will not confer protection against them. A welcome bit of good news comes from Pfizer, which on January 8 said that its vaccine protects against a key mutation found in the variant known as B.1.1.7, or U.K. variant.

Read more vaccine updates here.

New on the blog

Possible New Strain of Coronavirus Quickly Dominates Ohio City, Scientists Say

This Can Be an Extraordinary Year

The Latest Understanding of B.1.1.7

U.S. Covid-19 Deaths on Course to Surpass 500,000 in February

A few more smart reads

SARS CoV-2 Is (Probably) Becoming Endemic. What Does That Mean?

Why Has Israel Succeeded at Covid Vaccination?

How a Well-Meaning Health Policy Created California’s Coronavirus Nightmare ()

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that