The Latest: How Covid-19 infects the brain

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readDec 2, 2020


Dear Reader,

Yesterday evening, a panel advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted in favor of a recommendation that the first people to get a Covid-19 vaccine be health care workers at high risk of Covid-19 infection and people living in long-term care facilities.

READ: 15 Reasons Why I Will Get a Covid-19 Vaccine

The director of the CDC will decide this week whether to accept the recommendation. States are not required to follow it, but typically they do.

As the New York Times reports, there are 3 million people living in long-term care facilities, and 39% of deaths from the virus have occurred in these facilities. There are also 21 million health workers, and states will have to decide who qualifies to get vaccinated first. Pfizer and Moderna estimate that they currently have enough doses to vaccinate 22.5 million Americans by the end of the year. Making sure the vaccine is effectively distributed will be a critical part of combatting Covid-19.

Scientists are also continuing to amass new research on the virus that causes Covid-19, including how it might infect the brain and cause a range of symptoms. You can read about that here. 🧠

Here’s what else is new:

  • Case count: There are over 13.7 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 63.9 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far, over 270,669 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • The U.K. approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine: Britain became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. According to a statement from the U.K. government, the vaccine will be made available across the country starting next week. A vaccine committee will now decide which priority groups will get the shot first.
  • Moderna to request emergency authorization from the FDA: The biotechnology company announced it would file for regulatory clearance on Monday. According to Moderna’s chief executive, the first injections may be given as early as December 21 if the process goes smoothly and approval is granted.

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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🗓 Mark your calendar

Have you been enjoying Andy Slavitt’s coronavirus updates? He’ll be discussing the future of the pandemic on December 8th, and you can tune in. Visit this link to register for this (free!) event.

New on the Blog:

How the Coronavirus Gets Into the Brain

There’s Opportunity to Find Meaning in a Pandemic

What to Do Now if You Traveled For Thanksgiving

Covid-19 Drags On — Update From Northern Italy

On vaccines:

15 Reasons Why I Will Get a Covid-19 Vaccine

Who Will Get the Coronavirus Vaccine First?

The 3 Vaccine Dilemmas

Understanding Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Results

A few more smart reads:

What Science Says About Vitamins and Supplements for Covid-19

Why There’s So Little Public Grief of Covid-19

What It’s Like to be a Doctor With a Pre-Existing Condition During Covid-19

Coronavirus-Zapping Robots Are Rolling Out in the Wild

Activating the Vagus Nerve Might Lower Your Covid-19 Risk

Covid Combat Fatigue: ‘I Would Come Home With Tears in My Eyes’ (New York Times)



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