The Latest: Vaccines for all Americans by May
Yesterday, President Biden said that there would be enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for all Americans by May, moving up his timeline from the end of July. It was a very welcome shot of hopeful news.
Things at the moment are still not good. Though the numbers show that U.S. case counts and deaths are dropping, they’re not low enough for life to return to normal. That’s why Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to end the state’s mask mandate and open up businesses “100 percent” is so troubling. Rochelle Walensky, MD, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has warned that variants are a serious threat, and relaxing our safeguards now could undo all the hard work we’ve done to contain the virus. Unfortunately, Mississippi’s governor has already said the state would follow Texas’ suit.
In his weekly update on the Coronavirus Blog, former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden acknowledged that politicians may take risks to speed up the return to normalcy. However, he noted, he hopes “they are informed risks” based on science. This doesn’t seem to be the case in Abbott’s decision.
Regardless of the rules in your state, remember that you’re empowered to wear a mask and social distance if you think it’s the best choice for you and the people around you. My hope is that you continue to do so as long as experts recommend it.
Stay safe and stay hopeful,
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog
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A quick Q&A: How to make a variant-proof vaccine
Viruses mutate — that’s just what they do. Unfortunately, it’s tricky for vaccine-makers to keep up with the changes. That’s why some researchers are looking into making a different kind of vaccine that would be virtually variant-proof, as Emily Mullin reports on the Blog. Rather than designing a vaccine that relies on antibodies, they are tapping into another branch of the immune system: T cells. Unlike antibodies, which attack virus particles before they enter cells, T cells can destroy cells that are already infected.
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- The Shortcomings of BMI As a Vaccine Eligibility Metric
- How Vaccine Access Codes for BIPOC Can Spread Through Privileged Networks