The FDA is thinking boosters, states are challenging vaccine mandates, and the United States is taking another grim step forward. Here’s what you need to know:
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FDA panel takes a close look at boosters amid controversy
Today the United States Food and Drug Administration Independent Advisory Board meets to discuss whether booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are sufficiently safe and effective to warrant widespread use. The FDA will then make a formal decision, after which the Centers for Disease Control’s independent advisory group will intervene. Earlier this week, the FDA released data from Pfizer that examines decreased immunity and advocates for boosters. But so far, the debate over the necessity or ethics of boosters for the general population has been tense. The World Health Organization and other immunization policy experts have criticized the decision to allow third injections for healthy Americans when so many people around the world have yet to receive their first doses. And earlier this week, an international group of scientists said the move was not necessary, including two FDA employees who recently announced they would be leaving the agency at least in part because they disagree with the request for recalls.
On Thursday, the FDA also changed its emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly’s antibody cocktail, which was previously licensed for people 12 years and older who have mild to moderate infections and who are at high risk of developing a severe case of Covid-19. Now, the agency says the drugs can be used as a preventative measure for people who have been exposed and are at high risk, although it has stressed that it is not a substitute for vaccination.
Vaccination mandates polarize country as they begin to bear fruit
Shortly after the White House announced a a radical new range of Covid-19 policies Last week, with vaccine mandates leading them, some states began to oppose national guidelines. In a letter to President Biden yesterday, 24 attorneys general called on him to reverse his decision to force companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations, and threatened legal action if he does not. During this time, Biden met with leaders this week companies like Disney and Microsoft to talk about their plans to make filming more compulsory.
Vaccination mandates are more and more widespread around the world, and all the signs are that they can do a good job of getting people immunized. But to have the desired result, they must be well done. Since this week, French health workers were required have received at least their first dose. The approximately 3,000 employees who had not been suspended without pay. Unions have warned of disruption to care, but the country’s health minister said care had not been significantly affected and some people had decided to get vaccinated after seeing the warrant was a reality.
United States takes toll of pandemic as questions persist over origins and future of Covid-19
Earlier this week, the United States took a grim pandemic milestone: 19 months after Covid-19 first sent the United States into lockdown, 1 in 500 Americans died of the disease. Older, non-white Americans account for a disproportionate share of deaths. On the National Mall in Washington, a new temporary art installation of more than 600,000 white flags bearing personalized messages symbolize the impact of the pandemic.
But despite all the devastation caused by the pandemic, there is still so much we don’t know about how the disease came about or where it is heading. Recently, a wrong theory that Sars-CoV-2 was present in Italy long before it was detected in Wuhan has taken hold, despite the deeply flawed nature of the evidence. And because human behaviors and public health metrics have evolved alongside the virus, it’s proving difficult for disease modellers to reliably predict what will happen next beyond the short term.
Rather than using their new albums as opportunities for reinvention, Drake and Kanye settled into versions of themselves with which the internet is already familiar. It’s Lil Nas X, a new star, who has proven he can adapt online, says Jason Parham of WIRED.
Something to read
Science fiction is not a genre known to be warm and hazy. But the writer Becky Chambers aims to change that. “In a world numbed by cynicism and divisions,” writes Jason Kehe of WIRED, “Chambers stories are meant to mend, warm our guts and restore our feelings.
A good backpack can transform the way you experience the day. here is some of our favorites.
How is technology shaping the course of this pandemic and the futures?
From mRNA vaccines to contact tracing, every major development in this pandemic so far has used technology in innovative ways. At RE: WIRED, a virtual global event on November 9-10, WIRED will host a series of conversations with people from around the world and from a variety of disciplines reflecting on the implications of technology for all aspects of our future, Chief Health Officer public among them. Learn more and sign up to login here.
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