Key developments for Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The cyberattack was serious, and it has serious implications for future attacks. Romney is warning that the next attack could cut off the grid and/or affect food supplies, so we need to get our act together.

China institutes rolling blackouts amidst shortage of Australian coal. These are major industrial areas, so supply chains will be affected:

Decreasing food supply puts food banks in a bind as demand grows.

The UK is in emergency talks to prevent Christmas food shortages due to recent border closures.

Teachers are leaving the US workforce by the droves. Some are retiring, some are quarantining, and some fall into the dreaded category of non-retirement turnover, AKA quitting:

There are over 78.3 million global COVID cases.  The world has gained over 4.6 million cases since last week, which is down from over 5 million the week before. There have been over 1.7 million deaths. There are over 18.6 million cases in the US—up by over 1.5 million in a week. There have been over 330,000 deaths in the US. Over 3,100 have died in the US since yesterday. The US gained over 186,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. India is second in the world in number of cases, with over 10 million. Brazil is still second in the world in number of deaths, with over 188,000.

Novovax hopes to have hundreds of millions of doses added to the vaccine arsenal by Spring should its trials progress well.

Stanford prioritized non-patient-facing clinicians over those in the trenches when it began doling out COVID vaccine doses and the clinicians risking their lives weren’t having that. Stanford administrators blame a faulty algorithm:

South Africa joins Europe in identifying a more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 strain. Neither appear to be more lethal:

The UK is taking the variant very seriously. Folks have jokingly announced that Boris has cancelled Christmas. Unfortunately, other countries are taking it seriously too and this is causing freight and shipping woes that could prevent food from hitting the shelves in the UK.

Travel bans are also pouring in:

There’s some controversy over whether the new variants are actually more transmissible or if the growth in cases we’re seeing in countries where the variants have been identified is actually due to human behavior. Here’s a cogent argument for increased transmissibility:

Well-informed experts are expecting the vaccines to continue working against the new variants:

Cases are surging in California, and particularly Southern California. You know it’s serious when Apple shuts its doors.

Here’s a helpful vaccine tracking center.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) might be the culprit causing allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It’s also used as an osmotic laxative and is sold over the counter in the US. Allergic reactions to PEG are relatively rare. If it’s PEG, the reactions are likely to be seen with the Moderna vaccine as well.

Moderna has been granted Emergency Use Authorization for its mRNA COVID vaccine.

I’ve spent considerable time doing bedside care in ICUs in the past few months as an advance practice psychiatric clinical liaison nurse. Here’s my happiest moment of 2020—brought to you by Pfizer/BioNTech:

Hunger is hitting Florida in a big way as food insecurity grows in the US.

The US has vaccinated over 500,000 people in a week, but we’ve got to ramp up the pace.


    • Hardened

      Thanks for sharing your happy moment!  The vaccines are an incredible bright accomplishment in such a gloomy year!

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    • mopdx

      Thank you for sharing the happy moment picture, Stephanie! And many more thanks for impeccable roundup reporting! Wishing you safe holidays.

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    • Karl Winterling

      The good news about the mRNA vaccine is that you can update the vaccine for new mutations relatively quickly. You still have to do clinical trials with the updated version. But it significantly reduces the development time if you need seasonal vaccines for a mutating virus.

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