Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Questions about Astra-Zeneca surface; more on what it takes to get out of this pandemic


Getting three major vaccines approved quickly by mid December seems to be an important part dealing with this second wave, but some news on Astra-Zeneca may erode some confidence, as explained by Rebecca Robbins and Benjamin Mueller for the New York Times. Ars Technica weighs in on this with a critical article by Beth Mole, claiming that Oxford's "best result" was a "fluke". 

The half-doses given to some volunteers the first time seem to have come from a contractor error, and apparently did not include older persons, so the usefulness of the 90% with the lower first dose is questionable.

Getting back to normal means one of these two things must happen (or both) (1) some of the vaccines work and start getting to the greatest need quickly (2) a rapid-test program of at-home tests accompanied by automated contact tracing and much clearer procedures and requirements for quarantine and isolation (whose periods might be shortened).  For those isolated, procedures for genuine emergencies (home repairs) need to be specified.  Major improvements in indoor ventilation everywhere seem essential, too.

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