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The worldwide Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.
Part 12.
2020-NOV-23 until 202o-DEC-18:

This is a continuation of the previous article:

 

 

2020-NOV-23: A third COVID-19 vaccine has been developed:

This was developed by Oxford University and manufactured by Astra Zenaca -- a multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, UK. It would be cheaper to distribute in developing countries because it doesn't have to be stored at very cold temperatures. 2 to 8 degrees C (equivalent to 35.6 to 46.4 degrees Farhrenheit) is sufficient. It was evaluated using different dosing schedules and found to be 90% effective.

It is also much cheaper: about U.S. $2.50 a dose compared to Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines that cost about $20. They are expected to be able to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine, starting in 2021-JAN.

2020-NOV-26: The personal sadness experienced by elderly people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities:

They have not been able to hug a loved one because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their experience will probably continue through U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas and into the year 2021.

Grace Barnum, 76,is a resident at Beechwood Long Term Care in New London, CT. Beechwood doesn't allow indoors visit, but does allow visit with relatives standing outside the building.

She said, while fighting back tears,:

"I'm just waiting. ...to be able to hug again."

The Kaiser Family Foundation noted that there have been more than 70,000 deaths from the pandemic among residents in U.S. long-term care facilities. They make up 45% of all U.S. deaths from the virus by early September.

Another Beechwood resident, Cathy Corey, said:

"It's like my heart gets ripped out sometimes."

She said that virtual visits via FaceTime or Google Meet are good, but it's not like actually being with them.

"But it's as close as you're gonna get, you know, especially this time of year. The holidays are all about memories as a family and everything like that, and it's hard enough being without your family, but when they can't even come up and eat a meal with you ... It's hard." Referring to the staff at the facility and other residents, she said: "Luckily, we have a family here."

Bill White, the owner of Beechwood said that his facility will serve great food to their residents, and do everything they can to make them feel at home. He said:

"You know, we're always doing our best to make people happy, because, honestly, I'd rather be home. I know everybody else would."

2020-NOV-26: Religious leaders and conservatives praise decision by the U.S. Supreme Court:

In an attempt to help control the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) imposed restrictions on religious services in the state. Two religious groups: the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and a Jewish faith group Agudath Israel launched a joint lawsuit against the Governor. It progressed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court!

Many conservatives believed that this imposed restriction contradicts the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which separates church and state. It states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

However, even with precautions, widespread religious gatherings are certain to spread the COVID-19 virus among parishioners, and likely to cause some deaths. Many churches are having virtual gatherings over the Internet which eliminates the possibility of mass infection among the congregation. Some faith groups believe that God will protect them from infection while they are gathered to honor him, and thus there is no risk spreading the virus. However, what data is available seems to indicate that spreading of the virus is a function of the density of the people collected together, whether they wear masks, sing, etc., and not whether it is a religious gathering.

The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMaggio, Bishop of Brooklyn, said in a statement:

"I have said from the beginning the restrictions imposed by Governor Cuomo were an overreach that did not take into account the size of our churches or the safety protocols that have kept parishioners safe. ... Our churches have not been the cause of any outbreaks. We have taken our legal battle this far because we should be considered essential, for what could be more essential than safely gathering in prayer in a time of pandemic?"

Mili Godio, writing for Newsweek, said:

" Agudath Israel of America mirrored this sentiment, stating in a celebratory post on their website that the decision will have a "nationwide legal impact on the status of religious freedom for years to come."

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, and other prominent conservatives, said that the decision can be brought back to President Donald Trump 's recent conservative SCOTUS appointees.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) criticized Governor Cuomo and other Democratic officials for having "acted as totalitarians." He accused them of using the pandemic to suppress people's rights to worship. 1

2020-NOV-28: Four countries have ordered enough vaccine to cover their entire population with two doses of vaccine for each person:

Canada, Japan, the UK and US have ordered more than enough vaccine from AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, and Pfizer to cover their entire population with two injections of a vaccine.

However, not everyone is willing to take the vaccine. 87% of the population of Asia are ready to be vaccinated. The percentage is 85% in China, 79% in Australia and the UK, 78% in Mexico and 76% in Canada. This reluctance is certain to cause large numbers of deaths. 2

The percentage of adults in the U.S. willing to receive a vaccintion has risen from 50% during mid 2020-SEP to 63% in late November.  3

2020-DEC-01: U.S. Advisory Committee makes recommendation:

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the first doses of a Coronavirus vaccine should be given to an estimated 21 million health-care workers, and 3 million residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities. 4

The former are given priority because they keep the hospitals and clinics functioning, and because they are heavily exposed to the virus.

Nursing home staff and residents are given priority because almost 40% of deaths from COVID-19 are among this group.

If their recommendations are approved, they will become official Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

Next in line will probably be individuals with an existing medical condition such as pregnancy, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.

2020-DEC-02: Britain approves the Coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech:

It is the first country to have approved a virus for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first doses will be distributed during the week of DEC-06. Persons who are are residents of long-term care facilities and health care personnel will receive first priority according to  British Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care said that the decision to approve the vaccine "by a panel of experts who concluded that it met the standards for safety and effectiveness. 4

2020-DEC-04: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends extensive wearing of masks:

For a few months, the CDC has recommended that everyone wear masks in public spaces when in the presence of people outside their household. They issued a new directive on DEC-04, asking people to wear masks any time they are outside their homes. They should also wear masks while inside their home if

They warned that the U.S. has entered "a phase of high-level transmission" and that "consistent and correct" use of face masks is critical to taming the virus. They now recommend that people use masks while inside their home, if another member of their family is infected or has been potentially exposed to the virus. 5

2020-DEC-05: Pew Research Center reports how many U.S. adults plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available:

A public opinion poll conducted by Pew Research during 2020-SEP showed that 51% of U.S. adults would definitely or probably choose to obtain the vaccine when it is offered. A second poll during November found that the percentage had increased to 60% as confidence in the research and development programs of virus vaccine producers increased. Still, 21% of U.S. adults planned to not get vaccinated, and felt that more information will not change their mind. 6

2020-DEC-05: President Trump and fellow Republicans meet in Georgia:

Their meeting was televised. Many scenes showed people mingling in corridors, embracing, and talking close to each other. Only a very small percentage wore masks.

Each attendee who was infected with the virus and was not yet showing symptoms of COVID-19 must have spread the virus to many other persons. The meeting was probably an opportunity for a mass spreading of the virus.

Taylor Telford, writing for the Washington Post said:

 "A growing body of research shows widespread mask use can save scores of lives and stave off economic damage. One June analysis from Goldman Sachs estimated that a 15 percent increase in universal masking could prevent lock-downs and reduce associated losses of up to $1 trillion. 5

2020-DEC-08: The first person ever to receive a coronavirus vaccine:

Margaret Keenan, 90, a British grandmother, became the first person in the world to receive a vaccination against COVID-19. May Parsons injected the Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine into her left arm at University Hospital in Coventry. She said that she was eager to get on with her life, after months of keeping her distance from family and friends. 7

2020-DEC-14: Canada: Percentage of Canadian willing to receive the vaccine:

The Angus Reid poll found that 79% of Canadian adults are willing to accept the vaccine: 48% immediately, and 31% later. 14% are not willing to accept the vaccine and 7% are not certain. Residents of Alberta are the most opposed to the vaccine at 27%; Residents of British Columbia are the least opposed at 9%. 8

2020-DEC-14: COVID-19 distribution plans in the U.S. and Canada:

The person who received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. was Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York on Monday morning, 2020-DEC-14. 9

Microsoft News reprinted an article from the Canadian Press about distribution plans in Canada for the COVID-19 vaccine. 7 It could begin as early as the week of DEC-13. Initially, Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine from partners Pfizer and BioNTech. More will be coming later from Moderna. Each province and territory will decide who will who will be given priority to receive the vaccine. Priority groups typically include residents and staff of long-term care homes, health care workers, adults in indigenous communities, persons over the age of 80, adults living in private seniors residences, people living in isolated communities, and persons aged 80 and over.

The first person selected to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada was a health-care worker in a hospital in Toronto who received it on Monday, 2020-DEC-14. 9

2020-DEC-12: Who should NOT receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Microsoft News reported that the "UK-based Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) recently listed three groups of people who, as it currently stands, shouldn't take the vaccine under any circumstance:"

JCVI listed:

  • Most children under the age of 16, because Pfizer has not evaluated its vaccine on volunteers under 16 years of age. However, the Committee recommends that "those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered vaccination.

  • Pregnant women.

  • People who have a history of strong allergic reactions. 10

Dr. Erin Reigh, a staff physician in the Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, suggest that: "People with just run of the mill seasonal allergies in general, I don't expect them to have problems with this."

2020-DEC-14: Who U.S. adults believe should be given priority to access of the COVID-19 vaccine:

Vox.com listed the beliefs of U.S. adults towards who should be given high priority:

  • 91% to health care workers;
  • 87% to first responders;
  • 84% to people with prexisting medical contitions'
  • 83% to the elderly;
  • 64% to teachers;
  • 56% to the military;
  • 28% to students;
  • 20% to people like you;
  • 16% to elected officials;
  • 9% to athletes. 11

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said that four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and two million doses of Moderna's are expected by the end of March.

Moderna's vaccine is not yet approved for use in Canada, but is expected to be shortly. Canada expects to be able to vaccinate every Canadian who wants an inoculation by the end of September 2021. 12

2020-DEC-18: Debunking myths about the coronavirus vaccine:

The White House health advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, debunked some myths circulating about the coronavirus vaccine:

  • One was that a person can contract COVID-19 as a result of receiving the vaccine. They won't. Dr. Fauci said: "That is absolutely impossible."

  • Another was that the speed with which the vaccine was developed makes it less safe.  He said that is just "... a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made in platform technologies for vaccines” [over the past ten years. The speed of development] was not at the expense of safety, nor was it at the expense of scientific integrity." ... [Governments spent an] "enormous amount of money" to get the vaccine developed, collapsing the normal development timetable into the span of a few months."
  • Contrary to many people's beliefs, “You need to keep wearing masks and doing the fundamental public health measures, even after you’ve been vaccinated.”

  • The vaccine cannot affect a person's DNA. It remains totally separate from their genetic material. 13

2020-DEC-18: U.S. A second COVID-19 vaccine is authorised:

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a second COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, a U.S. biotechnology company, in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 14

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyper links are not necessarily still active today:

  1. Mili Godio, "SCOTUS Decision Blocking NY Governor's Limits on Religious Gatherings Praised by Faith Leaders, Conservatives," Newsweek, 2020-NOV-26, at: www.newsweek.com/
  2. Katherine Ellen Foley, "The countries that have already ordered enough vaccines for their entire population," Quartz, 2020-NOV-24, at: The countries that have already ordered enough Covid-19 vaccines
  3. Megan Brenan, "Willingness to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Ticks Up to 63% in U.S.," Gallup, 2020-SEP-08, at: Willingness to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
  4. Sean Boynton, "Britain approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use, 1st in world to do so," Microsoft News, 2020-DEC-02, at: Britain approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use, 1st in world to do so
  5. Taylor Telford, "CDC recommends people wear masks indoors when not at home," Washington Post, 2020-DEC-04, at: CDC mask guidance ...
  6. "Intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine rises to 60%...,"  Pew Research Center, 2020-DEC-05, at: 60% in U.S. now plan to get COVID-19 vaccine
  7. "A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans," Microsoft News, 2020-DEC-08 at: A look at what provinces and territories...
  8. Mark Villani, "More Canadians than ever willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Angus Reid poll, 2020-DEC-14, at: https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/
  9. Dylan Scott, "VoxCare: Congress might finally have a deal to stop surprise medical bills," VoxCare, 2020-DEC-14, via email.
  10. Yoni Heisler, "These 3 groups of people are being told not to get coronavirus vaccines." Microsoft News, 2020-DEC-11, at: These 3 groups of people are being told not to get coronavirus vaccines
  11. "PSWs get first COVID-19 shots in Ottawa as Trudeau announces new vaccine shipments," Microsoft News, 2020-DEC-15, at: PSWs get first COVID-19 shots in Ottawa
  12. Andy Meeks, "You’ll feel a lot better about COVID-19 vaccines when you read this from Dr. Fauci," BGR, 2020-DEC-18, at: You’ll feel a lot better about COVID-19 vaccines
  13. Carolyn Johnson & Laurie McGinley, "FDA authorizes a second coronavirus vaccine, a turning point in the pandemic," Washington Post, 2020-DEC-18, at: FDA authorizes a second coronavirus vaccine"
  14. Federal advisory panel recommends essential workers, people over 75 receive vaccines next," The Week, 2020-DEC-20, at: Federal advisory panel recommendation

Copyright © 2020 @ 2021 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolernace
Latest update: 2021-FEB-13

Author: B.A. Robinson

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