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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans reported drinking alcohol more frequently and in higher quantities since last year, according to a study published in JAMA.

Why it matters: Excessive alcohol consumption may cause or worsen mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. Experts have also warned the stress of the pandemic has fomented alcohol and drug abuse.

By the numbers: The greatest changes were among women and people 30 to 59 years old.

  • On average, alcohol was consumed one day more per month by three of four adults.
  • Frequency of alcohol consumption for women increased by 17%. Heavy drinking among women — four or more drinks within a few hours — spiked 41% since 2019.
  • Adults aged 30 to 59 years increased their drinking by 19% since last year.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Countries begin to line up for Chinese and Russian vaccines

Data: Axios research; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Serbia joined Argentina, Belarus and Russia this week to be among the first countries to approve and administer Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

The big picture: Russia has blazed its own course in the vaccine race, relying entirely on a single, state-funded vaccine that was given emergency authorization before much data was available about its effectiveness.

Fauci says COVID variants threaten some treatments more than vaccines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The COVID-19 variants first detected in the U.K. and South Africa and now circulating globally aren't a current threat to the effectiveness of the first vaccines, but mutations will be closely monitored because "they could be an issue," NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

The big picture: Vaccinations are underway, albeit with a slow start. The get-back-to-normal-goal depends on reaching 70%–85% herd immunity in the population, Fauci says. While there are some concerns the mutations might circumvent the vaccines, he says they pose more of a problem for certain treatments than for vaccines.

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