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June 19, 2021
Whitmer responds to Atlas suggestion that Michigan should 'rise up'

What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, December 11

Americans shouldn’t let their guard down though, with the nation unlikely to see a meaningful, widespread benefit until well into 2021. “Probably for the next 60 to 90 days, we’re going to have more deaths per day than we had in 9/11,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “This is going to be a real unfortunate loss of life, as all that we’ve had so far, and the reality is the vaccine approval this week is not going to really impact.”

A coronavirus model by the University of Washington has projected 502,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 by April 1, a figure that would drop by 56,000 if 95% of Americans wore masks. But like mask-wearing, there are questions on whether taking the shot will turn into a partisan issue. That already appears to be the case in some parts of Tennessee, Elle Reeve, Samantha Guff and Deborah Brunswick report.

“There’s a lot of sincere people that are doing their best to put out a vaccine, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take it,” said Greg Locke, pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Wilson County, which voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in November’s election and is now seeing a surge in cases. Locke often records Facebook videos with political views in a Walmart parking lot, saying he was not “scared of some fake pandemic” in a recent sermon. “And I don’t wear a mask when I go in either!” added the pastor, who believes Trump won the election.

That said, a recent survey by Pew Research Center found increasing acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine nationwide. About 60% of Americans now say they’d be prepared to be inoculated, and nearly half of those who are reluctant to do so say it’s possible they’d get it after others. And Thursday’s vote may have helped dispel the fears of people showing vaccine hesitancy.

“The reason I think this [vote] is so important is that we want to make sure that we impress [on] the American public that decisions that involve their health and safety are made outside of the realm of politics, outside of the realm of self-aggrandizement and are made in essence by independent groups,” America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: When exactly will the vaccine be rolled out in the US?

A: The FDA will now take the vaccine adviser’s recommendation into consideration before making a decision about an EUA.

Once a vaccine is authorized, Operation Warp Speed — the federal government’s initiative to develop a vaccine — can start shipping and distributing the vaccine to states.

But inoculations won’t begin until after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee recommends the vaccine. That advisory committee will meet Friday and is expected to vote Sunday.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said earlier this week that at least 20 million Americans could get Covid-19 vaccines by the end of December, 50 million by the end of January and at least 100 million by the end of the first quarter.

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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Congress stumbles on a Covid-19 aid package, which could affect efforts to distribute vaccine

US lawmakers are struggling to strike a deal to send emergency pandemic relief to millions of Americans and may fail, once again, to avert a government shutdown at midnight today. Many small business owners who have been decimated by Covid-19 restrictions — particularly those in the restaurant industry — say they need another round of relief to stay afloat. And a huge question looms about how much vaccine distribution could be slowed in the coming months by Congress’ failure to provide additional aid to state and local governments trying to assist providers, combat vaccine skepticism and ultimately get doses to remote corners of each state.

As world races to approve Pfizer shot, other vaccines fall by the wayside

An Australian-produced coronavirus vaccine candidate has been scrapped after trial participants returned false-positive test results for HIV. It was hoped the inoculation, jointly developed by the University of Queensland and Australian biotech company CSL, would be available by mid-2021. In a statement, CSL said no serious adverse effects had been reported in the 216 trial participants, and the vaccine was shown to have a “strong safety profile.” But if the vaccine was rolled out nationally, CSL said it could undermine public health in Australia by causing a wave of false-positive HIV tests in the community.
Meanwhile, British and French pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur said Friday the release of their coronavirus vaccine was delayed until late 2021 after interim results showed “insufficient immune response” in the elderly.
In other vaccine news, British drugmaker AstraZeneca is launching a joint clinical trial with the makers of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine to see if the two vaccines could be successfully combined. The Russian candidate uses human adenovirus, while AstraZeneca’s is based on a chimpanzee viral vector.

Worldwide distribution of vaccines is crucial for the economy, Melinda Gates says

Melinda Gates is urging leaders of wealthy countries not to forget the rest of the world as Covid-19 vaccines begin to roll out, telling CNN that the economic recovery could flounder if they do. “If we only get it to the high-income countries, this disease is going to bounce around. We’re going to see twice as many deaths. And our recovery of our economies is going to be much slower than if we get the vaccine out to everybody,” she said.

This comes as the Gates Foundation, which she co-chairs, said it plans to commit an additional $250 million to support the “research, development and equitable delivery” of tools to fight Covid-19, including tests, treatments and vaccines. The announcement brings the group’s total commitments to the global Covid-19 response to $1.75 billion.

ON OUR RADAR

  • Specially trained dogs could detect Covid-19 by sniffing human sweat, according to a study, as many countries explore the possibility of using canines as a rapid, reliable and relatively cheap way to prescreen travelers.
  • CNN asked UK residents about whether they would take the vaccine after the country became the first in the world to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
  • Covid-19 can lead to neurological complications, including strokes, seizures and movement disorders, research has found. The conditions, which go well beyond cognitive impairment, can occur even in moderate cases.
  • “Friday” and “The Fifth Element” actor Thomas “Tiny” Lister Jr. died at 62 after experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. He had started feeling sick last Thursday, but his symptoms “got really bad, really quick,” his manager told CNN.
  • China’s aviation authority has raised eyebrows for advising that airline personnel like flight attendants wear disposable diapers so they can avoid using the bathroom.
  • The leaders of the European Union’s 27 member states reached a final agreement on a $2 trillion package designed to rebuild the bloc’s faltering economies in the wake of the coronavirus recession.
  • In a year that many of us spent indoors or hidden behind a mask, the way we think about beauty has changed more profoundly than, perhaps, at any other time in living memory. From “Zoom face,” TikTok hacks and DIY self-care, here are the biggest beauty trends of 2020.

TODAY’S PODCAST

“Filipino nurses are dying at a disproportionate rate. A little over 30% of nurses who’ve died of Covid-19 in this country are Filipino, yet Filipino nurses make up just 4% of the nation’s nursing population.” — Kizzmekia Corbett, viral immunologist

With almost 300,000 people lost to Covid-19 in the United States, CNN immigration reporter Catherine Shoichet tells the story of one community’s staggering loss.. Listen Now.