COVID-19 Update

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Mia Couture

Two very distinct stories of coronaviruses are happening now. 

 

The first story is grim: the virus is spreading more rapidly worldwide than at any other time. The U.S. and Europe are also setting records for new reported cases, while significant outbreaks are being coped with by South America, North Africa, India and other regions.

 

The distribution is bad enough that harsh measures may be necessary to get it under control, such as shutting down some restaurants again or banning indoor gatherings. Much of Europe, in recent weeks, has taken such steps. They have been opposed by President Trump, but in naming a 13-member virus task force yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden stressed that he would take a drastically different approach and focus his policies on the advice of scientists.

“There are some of the brightest people living with infectious diseases,” science writer, Apoorva Mandavilli, said of the members of the Task Force. By sending a more clear message about it than Trump has, Apoorva said, Biden, who has worn a mask in public for months, may also be able to increase mask-wearing. Biden implored Americans yesterday to wear masks, saying, “Do it for yourself for your neighbor, just do it.”

 

No matter what, however, for months to come, most of the world will probably be dealing with serious diseases and thousands more deaths every day.

 

Far more positive is the second story. It’s the rapid progress made by medical experts on both new vaccines and therapies that can improve the worst effects of the virus. 

 

Pfizer revealed yesterday that in more than 90 percent of trial participants, early results showed its vaccine prevented Covid-19. Other companies have also posted promising news about their vaccines, including Moderna and Novavax.