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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

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
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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