A version of this story appeared in the February 22 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
The United States could be just days away from getting a third vaccine approved. In analysis released Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has met the requirements for emergency use authorization.
President Joe Biden will commemorate the victims with a candle lighting ceremony and a moment of silence later today.
The once unfathomable milestone arrives just over a year after the first US death. But it also comes at a rare moment of hope. Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US have dropped to the lowest level since early November, when the fall surge in cases and deaths began. The vaccination drive continues according to the plan. Over the weekend, federal officials said states would receive more doses of Covid-19 vaccines than they “have ever received before” in the coming days. The bad weather in parts of the country has caused a backlog of about 6 million vaccine doses, which the White House hopes to clear by midweek.
Despite the vaccination rollout progress, leading medical experts and associations have pleaded with people to keep following the rules. The pandemic is far from over and the virus keeps spreading, albeit at a slower rate. According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, another 91,000 Americans are projected to die from the disease by June 1.
There’s more good news on vaccines. Real-life data from the United Kingdom has shown that the vaccination rollout is having a positive impact – even after just one dose.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Are the US winter storms affecting Covid-19 vaccination distribution?
A: Health experts have said that data so far has shown that Covid-19 vaccines prevent symptoms of the virus – but a new study suggests that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines may also prevent infections.
A team at the Mayo Clinic health system looked at more than 31,000 people across four states who had received at least one dose of either vaccine – and found the vaccines were upward of 80% effective in preventing infection 36 days after the first dose.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
This device is crucial in the fight against Covid. It may not work on dark skin
The pulse oximeter has been an essential tool for doctors treating Covid-19 patients. The small clamp-like devices attach painlessly to a patient’s finger and constantly monitor the amount of oxygen in their blood.
But they may not work well for people with dark skin, according to multiple studies and government health agencies. One study showed that in White patients, the pulse oximeter gave a misleading number 3.6% of the time, while in Black patients, it was 11.7% of the time.
Pulse oximeters work by sending two types of red light through your finger to detect the color of your blood; bright red blood is highly oxygenated, while blue or purplish blood is less. If the device isn’t calibrated for darker skin, the pigmentation could affect how the light is absorbed.
CNN Exclusive: WHO panel to recommend ‘deeper’ study of early Covid-19 clues
The World Health Organization’s preliminary report into the origins of the novel coronavirus will recommend more extensive contact tracing of the first known patient with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, as well as the supply chain of nearly a dozen traders in the Huanan seafood market, which is thought to have played a role in the early spread of Covid-19 in late 2019, according to investigators familiar with the draft report.
WHO chief: This our best chance at defeating the pandemic
Tracking Covid-19 vaccinations worldwide
ON OUR RADAR
- “We’ve done worse than most any other country, ” Dr. Anthony Fauci said as the US marked half a million Covid-19 deaths.
- The House Budget Committee voted yesterday to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, setting up the legislation which will go to the House floor for a vote later this week.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a four-step roadmap to take England out of its Covid-19 lockdown, declaring on Monday that the nation was on a “one-way road to freedom.”
- Meet the volunteers going door-to-door to ensure people get vaccinated.
- The US FDA has issued updated guidance for companies that plan to adapt their Covid-19 medical products for new coronavirus variants.
- A new study shows that people who lose their sense of smell and taste because of Covid-19 may not get them back for months.
- How a movement focused on kindness has helped people get through the pandemic.
Distance learning has taken away a lot of the social and emotional aspects of education, including teaching children about empathy.
We asked Helen Demetriou, a lecturer in psychology and education at the University of Cambridge, how parents can make up for this loss.
“We need to keep reminding children to always think about things from someone else’s perspective. How are they feeling? What are they thinking that made them behave like that?,” she said.
Pandemic paranoia is a real thing. Here’s how to deal with it.
In today’s episode, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Barrett about her Covid-19 dream survey and why we’re having good and bad dreams a year into the pandemic. Listen now.
“A lot of it falls on the patient and having to understand and come to terms with the fact that their life needs to change for them to get better.” – Dr. Dayna McCarthy, Mount Sinai Hospital