Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Some Good Pandemic News - For a Change

I receive The Dispatch's free morning roundup newsletter. It was so refreshing to read some of this good news, instead of continually being bombarded with gloom and doom. I'm not saying everything is sunshine and roses but it is really nice to look at both sides, because there is positive to go along with the unrelenting negative I see on the news.

I thought I'd excerpt it.
  • If you’re looking for some coronavirus optimism these days, you don’t have to squint too hard to find it. On the infection and hospitalization data itself, just take a look at the chart above. Per our analysis, the seven-day rolling average of confirmed new COVID-19 cases peaked on January 11 at 257,927. Today, that number is 70,591—a 73 percent decrease in six weeks.
  • It’s not just cases, either. The seven-day average of test positivity—another marker of virus prevalence—has dropped from over 14 percent in the first week of 2021 to 5.3 percent this morning. On January 6, 132,464 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. That figure has decreased for 40 straight days, and is now nearly 60 percent lower at 55,403. Deaths are a lagging indicator, but they, too, are beginning to fall off after a sustained plateau above 3,000 per day.
  • And then there are the vaccines. Last March, you’d have been laughed out of many rooms if you said the United States would be on track to inoculate about 50 million people against COVID-19 by the end of February 2021. The laughter would have only grown louder if you added that those vaccines would be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic illness, and close to 100 percent effective against hospitalization and/or death.
  • In recent days, the news has only gotten better. One study found that Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine is up to 85 percent effective after a single jab, and that it doesn’t actually need to be stored in burdensome, ultra-cold freezers as previously believed. A second (preliminary) report from Pfizer, BioNTech, and Israel’s Health Ministry found the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to be 89.4 percent effective at preventing infections, meaning the vaccine limits most asymptomatic transmission of the virus as well.

  • Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said the news couldn’t be much better. “The two mRNA vaccines we have been using have 95 percent efficacy against all manner of disease: mild, moderate, and severe. And [they] may—likely, I think, probably—reduce shedding, it just hasn’t been studied carefully,” he told The Dispatch. “And to date in the preapproval studies, we couldn’t find any evidence for serious adverse events in tens of thousands of people. And now the vaccine has been in tens of millions of people, so you can say with some confidence that the vaccine doesn’t even cause a rare serious adverse event. So I’d say it’s remarkable. I don’t think anybody could have predicted this a year ago.”

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