This is an email from Your Coronavirus Update, a newsletter by Medium Coronavirus Blog.

Dear Reader,

It’s a strange holiday season. Yet I am feeling grateful that there’s national leadership on the horizon that appears poised to rely on science to dictate pandemic decision making. Without it, people are left to more or less fend for themselves, and we are seeing how destructive and deadly that is and the toll it takes on health workers.

READ: Mask Confusion Settled: Here’s How Effective They Are

It’s a sometimes unpopular position, but I don’t believe in shaming or blaming individual people for their pandemic decisions. It just goes against everything I’ve ever learned about effective public health. But it can be exhausting to repeat the same messaging. My colleague Yasmin Tayag, who has been covering this pandemic since March, wrote a beautiful piece on the Blog this week about the need for effective communication about Covid-19 and the acknowledgement that people are so tired of this. From Yasmin:

We get it. This sucks. And the fact that leaders are asking you to simply figure it out on their own is not a strategy at all — it’s giving up. I promise readers can continue to trust this Blog to provide science-backed analysis and advice for navigating the months ahead.

P.S. There will not be a newsletter on Friday due to the holiday. I am spending some time logged off. You should, too.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Case count: There are over 12.5 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 59.9 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far over 259,900 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • AstraZeneca releases new data on its Covid-19 vaccine: The vaccine is 70% effective on average and could be up to 90% effective. The data is an early analysis of a late stage trial in Britain and Brazil. Read more.

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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New on the Blog:

Mask Confusion Settled: Here’s How Effective They Are

A Fortunate Mistake Results in More Positive Vaccine News

Testing Reduces, But Doesn’t Eliminate, Risk. (Still, Get One)

How the U.S. Laid the Groundwork for a Covid-19 Vaccine

7 Pandemic Differences Between the U.S. and Europe

Doctors Sound the Alarm on Covid-19 Cases. Is Anyone Listening?

A few more smart reads:

In Solidarity, Please Share Your Beautifully Mundane Thanksgiving Plans

An Epidemiologist Weighs in on that Controversial NYTimes Thanksgiving Column

Zoom School Is Hurting Kids’ Mental Health

Isolation Is Hard Enough; Let’s Stop Worrying About Weight Gain

Bill Gates, the Virus and the Quest to Vaccinate the World (New York Times)

Small Social Gatherings Aren’t Driving the Virus Surge (So Far) (New York Times)

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