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

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Less costly pandemic mitigation measures may slow the spread of the coronavirus just as well as lockdowns — if not better — according to a new study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Why it matters: As cases continue to rise in the U.S., Americans may be more palatable to interventions that are less painful than the spring's stay-at-home orders.

What they're saying: "A smaller package of such measures can substitute for a full lockdown in terms of effectiveness, while reducing adverse impacts on society, the economy, the humanitarian response system and the environment," the authors write.

Details: The study examined the impact of more than 6,000 non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented in March and April in 79 territories worldwide.

What they found: "Surprisingly, communicating on the importance of social distancing has been only marginally less effective than imposing distancing measures by law," the authors write.

  • Food assistance and other financial supports for vulnerable populations are also highly effective, because they can help people stay home while sick without risking losing their job, for example.
  • The study also endorsed some of the component restrictions the U.S. has imposed — banning public gatherings, limiting people's movements, closing schools and border restrictions — over the more sweeping lockdowns in other countries, some of which barely allowed people to leave their homes, even to be alone outside.

Yes, but: The U.S. does not have clear, authoritative political communication about the need for social distancing, and Congress is not likely to pass a financial aid package that would enable many Americans to stay home for very long.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: How data and the pandemic have democratized the "high-performance lifestyle — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Pfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains — Republicans are least likely to want the coronavirus vaccine
  3. U.S. news: California surpasses 50,000 deaths COVID-19 deaths, more than any other state — Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to church after receiving COVID-19 vaccines
  4. Local: Public transit ridership in Twin Cities dropped 53% amid pandemic — Data firm predicts "complete chaos" in next phases of Florida's vaccine rolloutAlaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for the coronavirus

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