The Latest: You can’t rush a vaccine ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Everyone wants a vaccine that works as soon as possible.
There’s a lot of back and forth about whether the current administration will attempt to push through a vaccine before it’s confirmed to be ready for use. This keeps many of us up at night, which I get into below, because trust in vaccines and public health institutions is so important for ending this pandemic, and health crises in the future.
Here’s the thing — scientists are working at record speeds to test their vaccines, and it’s a critical and delicate process. A vaccine that doesn’t work, or one that no one gets, won’t end the pandemic. Just to reiterate, this hell will not end. That’s it. The right way forward is clear, and it has never been more important to listen to scientists for guidance.
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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What we’re talking about on the blog:
The back and forth over a Covid-19 vaccine in the fall is nausea-inducing. Here’s why. Everyone wants a vaccine for Covid-19. Vaccines stop pandemics, period. There’s an election around the corner, and there are indications that the administration might try to push through a vaccine before it has finished phase 3 trials and is proven to be safe and effective. This is concerning, because it means the vaccine might not actually be ready for prime time and personal safety. The narrative around vaccines is confusing right now, but here’s the bottom line: To end the pandemic, we need a vaccine that works and we need people to get it. If a vaccine is approved and it doesn’t work (which is unlikely if the scientific process is followed, but could happen if it’s not), then Covid-19 will continue spreading. The pandemic will not end. The good news is that the world knows how to do this right. Vaccines have been studied and brought to market around the world many times. You can trust the process, but you can’t skip steps. Here’s a really good perspective on this whole thing from health care expert Andy Slavitt, and you can trust that the blog will be closely following the vaccine news. Read more.
What you should know about steroids for Covid-19. Three new studies published this week suggest that the use of steroids like dexamethasone can help save the lives of people with severe Covid-19. But as senior writer Dana Smith reports for the Medium Coronavirus Blog, the data is significantly lacking due to the fact that the studies were cut short. Questions remain about proper dosing, which steroid is most effective, and which patients benefit the most. Read here for the full lowdown.
Depression rates are high in the pandemic, especially for people already at risk. A study published today by researchers at Boston University found that the prevalence of depression symptoms increased from 8.5% before Covid-19 to 27.8% during the pandemic. Not only that but being in a lower income bracket and having less than $5,000 in household savings was associated with a 50% greater risk of having symptoms of depression.This suggests that people who were already at an economic disadvantage are experiencing a substantial mental health burden. Read more.
A few more smart reads:
Herd Immunity Is Not a Strategy (The Atlantic)
New Covid-19 Outbreaks Test South Korea’s Strategy (New York Times)