Commentary, COVID-19

Two hopeful signs on Job Number One for the Biden team

There is no single, near-term issue of greater importance right now than the coronavirus pandemic. If the United States can’t get a handle on the issue that Donald Trump so horrifically botched — a failure that almost assuredly cost him reelection — then just about everything else is in jeopardy.

Fortunately, the morning headlines have greeted us with two encouraging pieces of news on this front. This is from a story on CNN:

Pfizer says early analysis shows its Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective

Drugmaker Pfizer said Monday an early look at data from its coronavirus vaccine shows it is more than 90% effective — a much better than expected efficacy if the trend continues.

The so-called interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the more than 43,000 volunteers who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. It found that fewer than 10% of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine. More than 90% of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo.

Pfizer said that the vaccine provided protection seven days after the second dose and 28 days after the initial dose of the vaccine. The final goal of the trial is to reach 164 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.

In a news release, the pharmaceutical giant said it plans to seek emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration soon after volunteers have been monitored for two months after getting their second dose of vaccine, as requested by the FDA.

Click here to read the full story.

And this is from a story in the Washington Post:

President-elect Biden announces coronavirus task force made up of physicians and health experts

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced the members of his coronavirus task force, a group made up entirely of doctors and health experts, signaling his intent to seek a science-based approach to bring the raging pandemic under control.

Biden’s task force will have three co-chairs: Vivek H. Murthy, surgeon general during the Obama administration; David Kessler, Food and Drug Administration commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Murthy and Kessler have briefed Biden for months on the pandemic.

Biden will inherit the worst crisis since the Great Depression, made more difficult by President Trump’s refusal to concede the election and commit to a peaceful transition of power. The Trump administration has not put forward national plans for testing, contact tracing and resolving shortages in personal protective equipment that hospitals and health-care facilities are experiencing again as the nation enters its third surge of the virus.

Click here to read the full story.

In an ideal world, of course, President Trump would be putting the good of the nation ahead of his ego and cooperating in this latter effort (and others). Unfortunately, at this point it looks like the Biden team will simply have to establish a competent government-in-waiting on its own. Thankfully, the early signs indicate it has the wherewithal to pull it off.

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