Trump announces ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ not to be confused with the new ‘Star Trek’ show from CBS

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President Trump indicated a vaccine for COVID-19 could be available by the end of the year, but health experts generally say it will take longer. President Trump, who had paused his daily coronavirus briefings lately, took a break from his break this afternoon to announce “ Operation Warp Speed ,” an effort to fast-track the development of an effective vaccine for COVID-19. Read Full Story

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How big a factor should racial equity be in deciding how to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine?

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Minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Should they be prioritized when we’re distributing the vaccine? As Oxford University’s vaccine entered its final trial phase, and experts noted that the vaccine could appear before the end of the year, the chair of the U.K.’s COVID-19 task force, Kate Bingham, appeared on a national morning show last week to announce preliminary recommendations from the country’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. She announced that the independent group had recommended to the government to prioritize four groups for a vaccine: people over 50, people with additional health conditions, front-line workers—and ethnic minorities. Read Full Story

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Surprise, surprise: Anti-vaxxers are spreading false claims about cures for COVID-19

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New data shows how false claims from fringe groups—like that vitamin C is a cure-all for the coronavirus—make their way into the mainstream news. In the past several years, social media has given a soap box to a previously niche group of people who are against vaccination. This group, known colloquially as anti-vaxxers, fabricates stories about the danger of vaccines in attempt to discredit them. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has given some members of this faction an opportunity to spread more anti-vaccine propaganda, and it’s starting to make its way to the mainstream. Read Full Story

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How scientists are crowdsourcing a coronavirus vaccine

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This online puzzle game illustrates the power of citizen science. Coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has now officially labeled a pandemic, is taking a toll on communities around the world. There’s currently no cure for COVID-19, but scientists are working on drugs that could help slow its spread. Fortunately, citizens can get involved in the process. Read Full Story

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WHO’s chief scientist: COVID-19 pandemic could be uncontrollable for the next 5 years

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Another WHO official warned, “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.” The World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, has warned that there may be no quick end to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite assertions from governments that a vaccine could be available in as little as 12 months. As CNBC reports , speaking at The Financial Times ‘ Global Boardroom webinar on Wednesday, Swaminathan said, “I would say in a four- to five-year time frame, we could be looking at controlling this.” Read Full Story

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Top economist: The 1930s Depression was ‘Great.’ This one might be greater

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When the pandemic ends, it could take five years before economic output gets back to where it was in February, warns a Stanford economics expert. By any reckoning, the coronavirus pandemic will be at least a temporary body blow to the U.S. and global economies. The debate among forecasters is whether unemployment this summer will peak at 15%, which is much worse than after the 2008 financial crisis, or soar to new records above 30%. Read Full Story

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Exclusive: 16% of parents haven’t vaccinated their kids due to COVID-19

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Sixteen percent of parents say their kids haven’t had all their vaccinations due to pandemic-related scheduling problems, a new exclusive Harris Poll finds. In a hidden consequence of the coronavirus pandemic that public health experts find alarming, 16% of parents say their children haven’t received all the vaccinations recommended by their pediatricians, because COVID-19 has made scheduling inconvenient or impossible. Read Full Story

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Pfizer’s digital chief: Technology can speed the race to a COVID-19 vaccine

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Lidia Fonseca, Pfizer’s chief digital and technology officer, is keeping the drug company’s networks and computers running while scientists work to find a vaccine. On January 24, as the novel coronavirus started to spread in China, the government enacted travel restrictions throughout Hubei, the province where humans first contracted the disease. “I remember vividly on January 27 that our Chinese colleagues could not [get to] work, and we got the first request to help,” recalled Lidia Fonseca, chief digital and technology officer at Pfizer. Employees who had worked on desktops or left laptops in the office couldn’t access work materials, so Fonseca’s team set up virtual desktops so people could access the pharmaceutical company’s network and applications. Read Full Story

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