coronavirus

Coronavirus vaccine may be only 50% effective

Masks and social distancing will be with us for a while:

Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health. “The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%. “We really felt strongly that that had to be the floor,” Hahn said on July 30, adding that it’s “been batted around among medical groups.”

I know it's depressing as hell to see this on a Monday, but the sooner we get this through our heads the better. That 50% is about the same as influenza vaccines:

UNC officials pay lip service to health department concerns

Plunging ahead with in-person instruction during a pandemic:

In the memo, Stewart expressed concern over signs returning students have already contributed to spikes and clusters of infections. She recommended an all-online fall semester or, at a minimum, holding the first five weeks of the semester online-only. She also recommended the school restrict on-campus housing to those who would otherwise have nowhere to live, in order to slow community spread of the disease.

The chancellor described the Orange County Health Department’s recommendations as “another piece of information we have received.” But after consulting with UNC health experts and the UNC System — which will make the final decision on closures — the university decided not to follow the health department recommendations.

When (not if) the outbreaks occur, faculty and students will have to scramble (again) to adapt to online instruction, and the UNC Hospital itself will likely be buried in older Orange County residents unnecessarily infected. And if it is, they need to treat those people for free. I know it's a teaching hospital that also relies (at least partly) on tuition monies, but health issues should be paramount. And these comments will not age well:

UNC needs volunteers for Coronavirus vaccine trials

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It's a strangely attractive offer, but that could just be a brutal case of cabin fever:

The vaccine trial at UNC will be a Phase 3 clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Moderna, a private research company.

Moderna’s vaccine is based on taking genetic material, known as mRNA, from the coronavirus. When a person gets the vaccine, their cells will make viral proteins from this mRNA, just as they would if they were infected by the coronavirus. Their immune system should learn to detect these proteins to fight off future exposure to COVID-19.

While I'm trying to decide if I want to be one of UNC's little Outbreak monkeys, here's some stuff on genetics that flies over this primate's head:

Will reopening of NC’s universities in the fall be safe?

As North Carolina into a Phase 2 reopening plan, even as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state, universities are trying to decide what they’ll be doing this Fall. Will students return? Only some students? Will all classes be online? Only larger classes? How will they keep faculty, staff, and students safe?

In an online Board of Governors meeting, the UNC System’s president, Bill Roper, said he expects a return to campus by students in the fall and they’ll be finalizing guidance to the system’s 17 institutions by the end of the month. According to an email newsletter from IndyWeek, UNC-Chapel Hill may announce their fall plans as early as tomorrow. In a university-wide Zoom call yesterday, the administration announced a mix of instruction, with students wearing masks and in-person class sizes reduced.

Colleges and universities are unique institutions, bringing together a large population from around the country and even internationally in common spaces such as dorms, eating areas, research labs, and libraries. Some have working hospitals and medical clinics attached to them. The impacts of a contagious virus breakout wouldn’t be isolated to the campus - a university is part of the city or town surrounding it, where faculty, staff, and students live and mingle with the larger population. Think about the Tyson chicken processing plant outbreak in Wilkesboro and how that has spread COVID-19 to the surrounding community and across county lines.

It’s a complex issue to sort out. We have a large number of colleges and universities in all parts of the state, many part of the larger UNC system and others that are private secular and religious colleges.

If you aren’t paying attention to this debate and what universities are planning for the fall, you should be.

Recommended reading: The return to "normal"

Since the mysterious so-called "ReopenNC" movement and Civitas has been pressing the issue with Governor Cooper, it's time for a reality check.

Just what will it mean to get back to "normal"? When will it happen? What can "normal" look like?

The Atlantic gives an opinion on what to expect, informed by scientists and researchers and not social media memes and political slogans.

It's business as usual at Art Pope's Rose's stores

[Previously posted in the comments; additional info added.]

We haven't heard anything about Art Pope for awhile, so I checked the Rose's stores website to see how the pandemic is impacting Pope's main business - there's no mention of it.

WRAL Not Reporting Full Story on Franklin Graham's COVID-19 Stunt in New York

Recently, I highlighted the controversy surrounding Franklin Graham's publicity stunt, setting up a Samaritan's Purse outreach effort in Central Park under the guise of a "field hospital".

WRAL seems to be playing along with Graham's publicity machine, reproducing little blurbs about the makeshift "hospital" in their Coronavirus update every few days.

Video messages from Wayne Goodwin: Chairman, Candidate, Citizen

Though I still wear many hats these days, including as Chairman of the NC Democratic Party, below are several brief messages of mine that are either public safety, campaign, or Democratic Party related.

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

Damned if you don't

Resign, Mr. Burr

Richard Burr's latest transgression has me thinking about the two ways to remove a senator: (1) resignation, and (2) expulsion by the Senate. Either or neither could happen.

Is it a good thing to try to oust Burr now? From a political perspective, I'm not sure. The replacement process would be wicked, with the deck stacked in favor of Republicans.

From a moral perspective? Absolutely.

This is about America, not just North Carolina. As a country and as a state, we cannot tolerate this kind of craven behavior.

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