‘Pandemic Paradox’; Variant Worries Continue; Oklahoma’s HCQ White Elephant

Covid-19, News

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The World Health Organization warned that the world is facing a “pandemic paradox” — vaccine availability brings sense that the pandemic is winding down, yet people must still follow restrictions as new virus mutations pose danger.

As of 8:00 a.m ET 0n Thursday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. reached 25,599,961 cases and 429,178 deaths, increases of 154,720 and 3,928 respectively, since this time yesterday.

A lab study showed that Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine produced antibodies to the U.K. variant, though appeared slightly less effective at neutralizing the South African variant. (bioRxiv, Wall Street Journal)

The University of Oxford expects to release data next week on the U.K. variant’s susceptibility to its COVID-19 vaccine developed with AstraZeneca. (Reuters)

Regeneron announced that its antibody cocktail (casirivimab and imdevimab) is effective against both the U.K. (B.1.1.7) and South African variant (B.1.351).

But scientists say the coronavirus variant from Brazil (P.1) may be the most worrisome. Here’s why. (NPR)

In Oregon, a health team carrying COVID vaccines about to expire got stuck in a snowy traffic jam, prompting them to offer the shots to random people in other cars. (Washington Post)

President Biden plans to sign an executive order Thursday to reopen Obamacare insurance markets for people who lost other health coverage during the pandemic. (AP)

The new administration has also begun the process of allowing retired doctors and nurses to administer vaccines. (FierceHealthcare)

The Oklahoma Department of Health is still looking for someone to take its stockpile of hydroxychloroquine, after purchasing $2 million worth last spring. (New York Times)

As the variants continue to spread in many countries, Norway announced it will prohibit all non-essential visitors from crossing its borders. (Reuters)

Ireland’s deputy prime minister said that the country probably won’t reach herd immunity before autumn, making summer vacations overseas “very unlikely.” (Reuters)

Is it necessary for vaccinated people to wait to hug family and friends long after injection? (The Atlantic)

In other news:

Last Updated January 28, 2021

  • Amanda D’Ambrosio is a reporter on MedPage Today’s enterprise & investigative team. She covers obstetrics-gynecology and other clinical news, and writes features about the U.S. healthcare system. Follow

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