The Latest: A new plan and a fresh start

Dear Reader,

The United States passed a tragic milestone of over 400,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday. But today marks the beginning of a new administration for the country.

The Biden-Harris administration is inheriting the massive challenge of curbing the spread of Covid-19 and the logistical challenge of getting Americans vaccinated. President-elect (or President, depending on when you’re reading this) Joe Biden, has put together a large task force and has plans to administer 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days. There’s hope that this new leadership will mark a change in how the country responds to the pandemic and that lives can be saved. This newsletter and the Blog will continue to closely track the progress.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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As my colleague Yasmin Tayag reports, scientists are researching how mutations of the virus that causes Covid-19 behave and why the new strains might be more contagious. Here are three theories:

  1. The variant viruses may bind more effectively to the host receptor, ACE2, which would mean that they can infect people more efficiently.
  2. The virus replicates to higher levels in the upper respiratory tract, which means there’s more virus to spread.
  3. People may become infected faster after exposure to a higher dose of virus, and infected people may spread the virus longer.

Read the full explainer here.

Per Capita U.S. Covid-19 Deaths Now Exceed WWI

Covid-19 Vaccine Trials Are Going ‘Unblind’

Biden Aims to Administer 100 Million Vaccine Doses in the First 100 Days

U.S. Life Expectancy Drops Dramatically Due to Covid-19

How to Get More Americans Vaccinated, Faster

11 Things Biden Must Do ASAP to End the Pandemic Sooner Than Later

This Pandemic Is Not Even the ‘Big One’

The U.S. Needs More Covid Testing, and Minnesota Has Found a Way (Bloomberg)

In Minnesota, a GOP Lawmaker’s Death Brings Home the Reality of Covid (New York Times)



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

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Alexandra Sifferlin

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