There’s good news and not quite as good news in the effort to vaccinate Americans from the coronavirus. A new “one-shot” vaccine from Johnson and Johnson will be effective against the virus, according to a study reported by the Associated Press, but isn’t quite as strong as two-shot alternatives from Pfizer and Moderna now being administered.
The latter two have shown effectiveness of over 90 percent, while Johnson and Johnson’s version scores lower, being 66 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 and performing better (85 percent) in shielding patients from more serious effects.
However, it would speed up the process of inoculating the millions of people still waiting for their appointments and injections. “Frankly, simple is beautiful,” according to Dr. Matt Hepburn, who heads the federal government’s COVID-19 response team.
In related news, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, expressed hope that vaccinations for children could be available by the late spring or summer. Kids are less likely to become seriously ill if they contract the virus, but some have died, and they can be vectors – carriers – of the infection.
He also said the emergence of new variants on the virus should increase the importance of faster vaccination programs, reports United Press International.
According to the New York Times, the number of new cases in the United States has declined by 34 percent over the last 14 days, and deaths have declined by 2 percent. Orange County is still considered to be at an “extremely high risk level.”
News: Stocks on a roller coaster
Battered by day traders bidding up some stocks in an effort to inflate their prices, Wall Street continues to see sharp increases, drops and increases again in daily prices. This practice, aimed in large part at GameStop, sent all three major stock indexes falling on Friday. The Dow Jones Average fell 620.74 points to 29,982.62. The S&P 500 declined by 73.14 points (to 3,714.24) and Nasdaq slipped 266.46 points to 13,070.69.
BYPASSING BI-PARTISANISM? President Joe Biden on Friday said Friday he would push for Congressional approval of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, with or without Republican votes. “The COVID relief has to pass,” he said. “No ifs, ands or buts.
Democrats have a narrow edge in the House of Representatives and the Senate is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris being able to cast a tie-breaking vote. However, the Democrats would have to have no absences or defections to pass the bill without GOP help.
Sports: Ducks and Kings are cold
The Anaheim Ducks lost 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on the road Thursday. Their record dropped to 3-3-2, good for a tie for fifth place in the NHL West Division. Jakob Silfverberg and Danton Heinen scored for Anaheim. John Gibson had 31 saves in goal.
The Los Angeles Kings also fell, losing 5-3 in St. Louis to the Blues to go to 3-3-2. On Saturday and Sunday the Ducks will host the St. Louis Blues in back-to-back games.
Also on Thursday, the somewhat slumping Los Angeles Lakers lost 107-92 to the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center. LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma (starting for the injured Anthony Davis) each scored 22 points. The team is now 14-6 and in second place in the NBA Pacific Division. The Los Angeles Clippers (14-5) had better luck on Thursday, besting the Miami Heat 109-105. Six Clips scored in double figures as the team took the lead in the NBA Pacific.
The Clippers will visit the Orlando Magic on Friday, and then move to New York to take on the Knicks. The Lakers will be on the road Saturday in Boston.
Weather: The rain may be behind us
Most of the wet weather that has splashed across West Orange County is probably gone … for a while, anyway. The National Weather Service is predicting a sunny Saturday with a high of 63 and an overnight low of 44. Sunday should be mostly cloudy, with a high of 70 and a low of 51.
Clouds will gather on Monday and evening showers are expected to return on Tuesday, but just for that one day. The longer range forecast calls for sunny or mostly sunny conditions through Feb. 12.
Temperatures along the coast – Huntington Beach – are expected to be two to five degrees cooler.
Categories: The Wider World