The Latest: A vaccine update

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readMay 22, 2020


Dear Reader,

It’s the first official holiday weekend during the pandemic, and if you’re like me, you might feel a little weird about it. I’m thrilled for the day off of work, but at least where I am, many big parks and beaches are closed to prevent crowding (rightfully so). Even so, I will be soaking in some healthy sunshine — and hope you do, too.

We are nearing month four of staying at home 😱, but it also means we are — hopefully — moving closer to a vaccine. Biotech writer Emily Mullin has a useful status update for 5 promising vaccines under investigation.

(And if you’re planning to rent a vacation house, read this first.)

What’s new:

  • 35% of people with Covid-19 may be asymptomatic: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an estimate suggesting that about a third of coronavirus infections do not show symptoms. Not all scientists agree.
  • Nobel laureates blast the National Institutes of Health: 77 Nobel Prize winners are criticizing the agency’s decision to cancel a grant to study bat coronaviruses in China.
  • 38.6 million Americans unemployed: Another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to more than 38 million.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A:

What’s safer, a grocery store or a farmer’s market?
“A farmer’s market might generally be a little safer than a grocery store if it is outside,” says Robin Patel, MD, the president of the American Society for Microbiology. “You would, of course, need to take into account the level of crowdedness as well as measures that either the grocery store or farmer’s market have in place for physical distancing.” If it is possible to comfortably keep an adequate distance from other shoppers and both settings are equally crowded, then Patel says a farmer’s market might be safer because it’s an outdoor space with more fresh air.

Read the full story.

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‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’ (The Atlantic)

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

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