Vaccine close, but Pritzker warns coronavirus precautions are still key: ‘All I can say is that the virus is deadly’
Emilio Cici, 42, of Burr Ridge, gets a shot as he participates in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by UK drugmaker AstraZeneca in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical Center, Thursday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2020.Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
As Illinois’ coronavirus numbers took another step in the right direction Tuesday, Gov J.B. Pritzker touted the promising early reviews of the COVID-19 vaccine that could start being administered to health care workers across the state as early as next week.
But with daily death counts stuck in the triple digits and a potential post-Thanksgiving spike still looming, the governor warned against complacency in the face of the deadly virus — even with the vaccine in sight.
Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives emergency use authorization to the Pfizer vaccine as expected Thursday, an independent state panel will also have to sign off for distribution in Illinois. But the governor’s health team made clear that the first shipment of the 95%-effective inoculation will be cast across Illinois in short order.
“Illinois will only distribute a vaccine that is deemed safe, and we are one of many states that have established additional review panels,” Pritzker said. “We all want to make sure this vaccine is safe, and additional sets of eyes on the evidence can only be helpful.”
Read the full story from Mitchell Armentrout here.
12:16 p.m. Big Ten expected to let Ohio State play for title
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Big Ten athletic directors support removing the conference’s six-game minimum requirement for teams to be eligible to play for the league championship, and a vote is expected Wednesday to make it official.
Removing the minimum would clear the way for No. 3 Ohio State (5-0) to play in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19 against No. 15 Northwestern.
A person with knowledge of the Big Ten’s discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday that before the rule can officially be changed it must be voted on by ADs, senior women’s administrators and presidents.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not making its internal discussions public.
The conference determined before the season that teams would have to play six of their eight scheduled games to qualify for the championship game. But Ohio State — No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings and the conference’s best team — has missed three games because of COVID-19 issues, leaving it one short.
Read the full story here.
11:42 a.m. Canada health regulator approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
TORONTO — Canada’s health regulator on Wednesday approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Health Canada posted on it is website that the vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech is authorized.
“Canadians can feel confident that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine once it is on the market and will not hesitate to take action if any safety concerns are identified,” Health Canada said in a statement.
Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses this month and 4 million doses of the vaccine by March.
The department said the vaccine is for use in people 16 years of age or older, but noted Pfizer-BioNTech are running further clinical trials on children of all age groups and that could change.
Read the full story here.
11:40 a.m. UK probing if allergic reactions linked to Pfizer vaccine
LONDON — British regulators warned Wednesday that people who have a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program.
The U.K.’s Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is looking into whether the reactions were linked to the vaccine. The two people affected were staff members with the National Health Service who had a history of allergies, and both are recovering. Authorities have not specified what their reactions were.
In the meantime, the regulator has issued the warning for anyone who has had a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food. That includes anyone who has been told to carry an adrenaline shot or others who have had potentially fatal allergic reactions.
“As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday,’’ Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for the NHS in England, said in a statement. “Both are recovering well.”
Read the full story here.
9:09 a.m. The thing about death in the year 2020 is … it’s not limited to COVID-19
The thing about death in the year 2020 is … it’s not limited to COVID-19.
In the year of COVID, people you love make their transitions the same way — socially distanced, with much time since you saw or even talked to them last, their passing a jolt to your isolation-addled consciousness, memories left to fade like beautiful ghosts.
And so it was this weekend, when news came of the passing of two beloved members of my church family, from cancer, on the same day, Dec. 3. Gloria Woods and Nathan Clark were also members of my smaller, close-knit sub-family, Evanston Area Black Catholics, Inc.
COVID has created a new lifestyle. We are isolated, adapting to executing our own everyday work and family obligations under the fears and anxiety 2020 has wrought.
COVID deaths occur in hospitals that are locked down by a coronavirus cloaked as the grim reaper. It shuts out loved ones and our opportunity to say goodbye.
But death is still our eventual destination, and COVID hasn’t changed that.
Read the full story from Maudlyne Ihejirika here.
Analysis & Commentary
9:11 a.m. Are Americans insufficiently alarmed by COVID-19?
Last month, researchers in Texas estimated that nearly 5 million of the state’s residents had been infected by the COVID-19 virus — more than four times as many as the official tally of confirmed cases suggested.
Although the gap implied that the virus was much less deadly than people initially feared, the Houston Chronicle framed the prevalence estimate as bad news.
That choice reflects a broader pattern in American press coverage of the pandemic, which tends to accentuate the negative, exaggerate risk and ignore encouraging information. The result is not just depressing but misleading and potentially counterproductive as Americans are told to keep up their guard against the virus during the winter they will have to get through before vaccines are widely available.
Based on an analysis of news stories about COVID-19 that appeared from Jan. 1 through July 31, Dartmouth economist Bruce Sacerdote and two other researchers found that 91% of the coverage by major U.S. media outlets was “negative in tone.” The rate was substantially lower in leading scientific journals (65%) and foreign news sources (54%).
Read the full column from Jacob Sullum here.
Source by chicago.suntimes.com