Your coronavirus update for November 4; stay up to date with Elite.
Nearly 47 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 1.2 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 9.3 million positive COVID-19 cases and at least 231,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine
More Americans Untrusting Of Vaccine, Poll Shows
Increasingly more Americans, especially Black Americans, are claiming to be unwilling to receive a coronavirus vaccine, should one become available, according to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll. The recent findings claim that only 27 percent of Blacks and 46 percent of Whites intend to be vaccinated.1
Reasons for refusal include the perceived politicization of the vaccine and a subsequent rush to develop a vaccine. Peter Marks, PhD, MD, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has written an op-ed in USA Today that attempts to alleviate the public’s concerns.2
“We hope to ensure public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines by being transparent about FDA’s decision-making process. Whether a vaccine is made available through an [emergency use authorization] or through a traditional approval, FDA will ensure that it is safe and effective. Trust means everything.”2
CDC Finds Mask-Wearing Rises, Other Safety Practices Decline
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a new survey that suggests individuals ages 18-29 years old are the least likely to wear protective masks, even as mask-wearing is said to be increased overall in the United States since April.3
The research analyzes more than 6,000 online and telephone surveys conducted in April, May, and June. Respondents were reportedly asked which safety measures they regularly utilize, such as facemasks, hand sanitizing/washing, and maintaining six feet of distance from non-housemates.
Over the course of those three surveys, the percentage of people wearing masks increased from 78 percent to 88 percent, but 18- to 29-year-olds recorded the lowest participation. In April, 69 percent of those 18 to 29 reported wearing a mask. The number increased to 86 percent in June while those older than 60 reported wearing a mask in June at a 92 percent rate.
The surveys also found that other safety measures such as hand-washing, social distancing, and avoiding large crowds all decreased, especially among 18- to 29-year-olds, despite the overall increase in mask-wearing. According to CC officials, the resulting report “COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors by Age Group — United States, April–June 2020” provides four important insights into the practice of mitigation behaviors among U.S. adults to prevent virus spread: The majority of U.S. adults reported engaging in most or all of the six mitigation behaviors assessed; age was an important determinant of engagement in mitigation behaviors overall; while reported use of face masks increased significantly across all age groups over time, other reported mitigation behaviors declined or did not change significantly across age groups; and compared with adults who reported wearing a mask, those who did not report mask use also reported engaging in significantly fewer other mitigation behaviors during the same period, with significant declines in all other behaviors from April to June.
Merck Trailing The Vaccine “Race”
As multiple drug manufacturers work toward a potential COVID vaccine, one company may be struggling to remain in the conversation. According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal,4 Merck, a pharmaceutical company based in Montgomery County, PA, is inclined to “focus on proven technologies,” and thus “lagging behind” in results. There’s also been a reported differing of sides among the company’s executives and scientists as to what next steps should have been since the start of the pandemic. It was not until May that the company announced a COVID-19 vaccine program, and at that time several companies had developed vaccines that had begun being tested on volunteers, which has resulted in the company taking a “play catch up” mode, according to the report.
Thank you for joining us for Your Coronavirus Update for November 2; if you missed last week’s article, please consider reading it here.
- Corey R. The Long Shadow of Racism in Medicine Leaves Black Americans Wary of a COVID-19 Vaccine. Yahoo News. 2020. Accessed online: https://news.yahoo.com/the-long-shadow-of-racism-in-medicine-leaves-black-americans-wary-of-a-covid-19-vaccine-182658548.html
2. Marks P. I’m the FDA Point Person on COVID-19 Vaccines. We’ll Make Sure They’re Safe and Effective. USA Today. 2020. Accessed online: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/10/27/fda-covid-vaccine-ensuring-safety-and-efficacy-column/6047702002
- Hutchins H, Wolff B, Leeb R, et al. COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors by Age Group — United States, April–June 2020. CDC. 2020. Accessed online: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943e4.htm?s_cid=mm6943e4_w
- Zuckerman G, Hopkins J. Why Merck Is Playing Catch-Up in the Coronavirus Vaccine Chase. Wall Street Journal. 2020. Accessed online: www.wsj.com/articles/why-merck-is-playing-catch-up-in-the-coronavirus-vaccine-chase-11603470832