President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.
Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.
Millions of Americans who live in "pharmacy deserts" could have extra trouble accessing coronavirus vaccines quickly, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.
Why it matters: Places without nearby pharmacies, or with a large population-to-pharmacy ratio, may need to rely on mass vaccination sites or other measures to avoid falling behind.
Civil rights leaders and Black sports icons are publicly taking COVID-19 vaccines to encourage African Americans to follow their example as social media misinformation exploits Black distrust of vaccines.
Why it matters: The coronavirus has disproportionately struck Black, Latino, and Native American communities, and health officials are racing to reassure skeptical populations that the vaccines aren't clandestine experiments, but needed measures to tame the pandemic.
Southern California's COVID outbreak is in a terrible place, and hospitals haven't even been hit with a wave of potential infections from Christmas and New Year's.
The big picture: Hospitalizations have stabilized, but public health officials say that's just from infections linked to Thanksgiving, the L.A. Times reports.
Coronavirus deaths continue to reach tragic heights while the country grapples with a vaccine rollout, an impeachment and ongoing civil unrest.
America has become a two-vaccine nation, but plenty of other companies are continuing to work on new vaccines that could increase supply and accelerate the country's goal of herd immunity.
Axios Re:Cap digs into the vaccine pipeline with Derek Lowe, a medicinal chemist and biotech blogger.
Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, a Vatican spokesperson announced on Thursday.
The big picture: The Pope has spoken in favor of the vaccine, saying on Sunday that people have an "ethical duty" to get inoculated, CNN reports.
Hospitals around the country remain filled beyond capacity, threatening the quality of care provided both to coronavirus patients and people suffering other medical emergencies.
Why it matters: We're beginning to see more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths a day, and heart attacks and car accidents are still happening, whether or not the local hospital has any room left.
The U.S. is now averaging nearly 250,000 new coronavirus cases per day — a crisis of staggering proportions, even though many Americans have tuned it out.
The big picture: It's not even sufficient to say the pandemic is “still going on,” as if it’s a fire that hasn’t finished burning out. The pandemic is raging. Its deadliest and most dangerous days are happening right now. And it keeps getting worse.
A World Health Organization team of researchers arrived in Wuhan, China, Thursday ahead of their investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Driving the news: Dominic Dwyer, a Sydney virologist based who's among the scientists on the visit, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation they don't expect to find a "patient zero." "But we may have a much better indication of whether the virus truly started in Wuhan," he said.