They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one says a lot about 2020 and Americans in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Confetti falls on a mostly empty Times Square in New York. This year, a limited live audience of first responders and essential workers and their families were allowed to watch the ball drop from a secure area. Corey Sipkin/AFP/Getty Images.” Source CNN
I’ve been tracking COVID-19 news all year. America was the worst at spreading the disease – over 20 million cases and 340,000 deaths – but we made a vaccine (2 in fact) in record time. The first vaccine was administered just 9 months after the WHO declared COVID-19 was a global pandemic (March 11, 2020). Now America is the slowest country to administer the vaccines. Something like 1.3 million doses have been delivered, but only a fraction of that have been administered; inoculation requires 2 doses.
With ever mounting deaths, scientists have been under pressure to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna, Inc., reported that they have developed a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe. Phase I testing (45 subjects) appears to elicit the kind of immune response capable of preventing the disease. There were no no serious side-effects after the first trial. Source: NPR
Phase II can start right away, and the company hopes to start phase III in early July.
This new virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19. Source: Wall Street Journal. This is a serious disease – “a potential pandemic.” They think it originated in a (animal/seafood) market in Wuhan, China, on December 1, 2019. As of March 3, 2020, the WHO reports that there are 92,315 confirmed cases – 3,131 deaths; 60 cases in the US and 6 deaths.
“Social distancing” and “pandemic” are the latest additions to the vernacular. Avoiding crowds of people where the risk of infection is the highest is the social distance thought to reduce the spread of swine flu. It’s an airborne virus and is thought to spread quickly among people in close contact. If we avoid contact we avoid infection.
The word pandemic has been around for as long as there as been people on every continent getting sick. But, with this year’s swine flu outbreak – thought to originate in Mexico – it has been tossed around the media like a catch phrase. Yes, swine flu is pandemic simply because it has spread around the world in a few weeks.
What’s interesting is if you read my other story today is that technology – specifically the Internet – is being used to fight the disease. Twitter is buzzing with swine flu tweets. But like everything important, people should look before they leap.
Public health experts say the Internet can be an important source of information on the H1N1 virus, but you need to know who’s at the helm. “In the current swine flu situation, some [sources] are alarmist, where others present a more balanced picture of concern,” says Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, director of communicable disease control and prevention for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health.
On the other hand, knowledgeable, trusted sources, like the CDC, are on the Internet too and they are trying to spread the word faster than the disinformation sources and rumor mills.