The Latest: Historic vote counts and case counts
Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States, which marks a potentially major shift in the U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The President-elect has a lot of work ahead of him. Over 236,000 Americans have died over the last eight months, and the trajectory of the virus suggests the U.S. is headed into the biggest wave yet. Yesterday there were 132,797 new cases of Covid-19 reported. (And Trump will remain the president until mid-January).
As we’ve reported over the past several weeks, Biden and Trump have different strategies when it comes to controlling the pandemic, and Biden has indicated he will rely on science. It won’t be easy, but a leadership that listens to scientists and doesn’t try to control them — all eyes on the CDC 👀 — could meaningfully shift U.S. pandemic progress and reinstate trust.
The Trump administration has repeatedly indicated that it isn’t possible to “control” the pandemic. That’s not true, and much more is now known about how to prevent Covid-19 spread. Now the world watches what happens next.
Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog
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Here’s what else we’re talking about on the Blog:
🦠 Are at-home tests effective? Gloria Oh published a helpful explainer on the Blog about everything you need to know about at-home tests for Covid-19 sold at places like Costco. Some of these are PCR tests with FDA-authorization. Read about the pros and cons.
🇸🇪 What’s going on in Sweden. The country’s cases of Covid-19 are rising dramatically. Sweden has taken a more hands-off approach to curbing the spread of the virus by not instituting lockdowns. The country is now embracing some measures like limiting the number of people at restaurants and cafes. “The brief respite that we got during the summer is over,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Tuesday. “How we act now will determine what kind of Christmas we will be able to celebrate, and who will be able to take part.” Read more here.
💉 AstraZeneca says it could have vaccine trial results this year. On Thursday, vaccine frontrunner AstraZeneca announced that late-stage trials of the vaccine it’s developing with the University of Oxford are on track to produce results “later this year,” reported the Wall Street Journal. If it gains regulatory approval, Yasmin Tayag reports, the company could be ready to roll out the vaccine soon after. Read this week’s full vaccine update here.
🐾 Pity the minks. The Danish government announced a plan to slaughter over 15 million farmed mink because of concerns the animals are carrying a mutated form of the coronavirus that could interfere with vaccine effectiveness. There is no published scientific documentation on the mutation, however, so what effect it could have is unclear. (As Yasmin points out, remember that virus mutation is a normal part of virus biology, and harmful mutations that become dominant are rare.) Read more here.
💊 Aspirin may be helpful for people with Covid-19 (maybe). In a story for Elemental, Markham Heid reports on the idea that aspirin may turn out to be a cheap and effective way to save lives and prevent lasting damage. Read more here.