The Latest: How to survive a pandemic winter

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
2 min readOct 16, 2020


Dear Reader,

There’s plenty of valid concern about what the winter will be like during the pandemic. If it’s cold and dark will it be harder to socialize outdoors? Yes and no. As a former Minnesotan, I am prepared to embrace snow and freezing temperatures. (I recommend investing in some warm socks — who doesn’t love warm socks!?)

I am also loving this story about lessons from Norway for surviving a pandemic winter. The Norwegian island of Tromsø rarely sees the sun from mid-November to mid-January. Yet studies of the citizens show that there are no major differences in mental health during this time. Instead, Tromsø’s residents welcome the winter and look forward to sheltering inside and enjoying the ski season. Koselig — the Norwegian term for coziness — is a notion widely embraced across the island. ❄️🕯️

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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Your Friday vaccine update:

At the end of each week, the Blog rounds up the latest vaccine news. Here’s what you should know.

Pfizer won’t seek vaccine approval before November. The CEO of the company said on Friday that Pfizer will not apply for emergency authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine before the third week of November, ruling out a vaccine before Election Day.

Big Tech cracks down on anti-vaccination. On Tuesday, Facebook said it would ban anti-vaccination ads from its platform — a significant about-face for the company, which has avoided censoring controversial content in the past. YouTube followed suit on Wednesday, saying it would remove any videos containing misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

Russia approves another vaccine for limited use. On Wednesday, Russia announced that it had granted regulatory approval for a vaccine from the Vector Institute called EpiVacCorona, bringing the number of limited-use vaccines approved by the country to two. Russia, controversially, does not require the same rigorous three-phase trials required by the United States before granting approval to a vaccine.

The company in charge of America’s vaccine future. When the U.S. approves a Covid-19 vaccine, millions of doses will need to be transported and distributed across the country in stages. It’ll be a huge effort — likely the biggest in U.S. history. The White House has contracted a company called McKesson Corporation, which handled the H1N1 vaccine distribution. Here’s the lowdown on the strategy.

Read the full vaccine news roundup here.

A few more smart reads:

A Pandemic Winter Doesn’t Have to Defeat Us: Lessons From Norway

This Teacher Went Back to School. A Team of Epidemiologists Tracked Her Moves.

Colleges Are Hiring Influencers to Make Mask-Wearing a Trend

I Just Lost My Job at the Happiest Place on Earth

How to Dress for Work When You Never Leave Home

How Trump’s Covid-19 Coordinator Undermined the World’s Top Health Agency (Science)

Inside the Fall of the CDC (ProPublica)



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