Update on the Coronavirus Pandemic


A potential vaccine developed as cases continue to spike in the US

While most of the United States has been focused on the presidential election, the deadly COVID-19 virus continues to ravage the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US is nearing close to ten million diagnosed cases of the virus, as well as 240,000 Americans dead, and there is still no close end in sight for life returning back to normal. 

The US hit the hardest by the Coronavirus, and cases are only continuing to skyrocket. According to data published by John Hopkins University, there were over one million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the US in just the past two weeks. 

The rest of the world is not faring much better. Europe is seeing a new resurgence in cases as the second wave of the virus hits, forcing countries such as the United Kingdom to resume lockdown measures. 

However, a glimmer of hope has arrived. American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc., released on Monday that it tested a vaccine that could prove 90% effective. While these results are based on early, incomplete test results, this information is heartening. 

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” said Dr. Bill Gruber, the Senior Vice President of clinical development at Pfizer. “We’re very encouraged.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the results were “just extraordinary”, and would “have a major impact on everything that we do with regard to COVID.”

It should be noted that while Pfizer developed the vaccine, the company is still in the early stages of testing it, so the results may be subject to change as more data rolls in. If proven effective, a vaccine could be available by the end of December, although it would still be some time before a vaccine could become widely available to the general public. 

While knowledge about when the vaccine might be made available to the general American public is still uncertain, the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said “the vaccine will be available for free to all American citizens.”

Vice-President Mike Pence falsely attributed President Donald Trump as being instrumental in the development of Pfizer’s vaccine through the administration’s project, Warp Speed, claiming in a tweet that the vaccine was “Thanks to the public-private partnership forged by President [Donald Trump].”

Pfizer, for its part, clarified that while it had taken an order from the US government for a batch of a potential vaccine, it had not received any money from the government. 

“We were never part of the Warp Speed…We have never taken any money from the US government, or from anyone,” said Pfizer’s head of vaccine development, Dr. Kathrin Jansen, to the New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden gave a celebratory, yet cautious response to the news of the potential vaccine. He extended his congratulations to “the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough,” but added that “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”

“America is still losing over 1,000 people a day from COVID-19, and that number is rising…that is the reality for now, and for the next few months,” said Biden. “Today’s announcement promises the chance to change that next year, but the tasks before us now remain the same.”