The Wider World

Coronavirus: fear and hope

HOW EFFECTIVE will vaccines be against coronavirus variants? (Shutterstock).

The coronavirus continues to capture worldwide attention, with worrying and reassuring news emerging all day on Tuesday.

A new antiviral pill designed to fight COVID-19 was recommended by an expert panel for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. According to The New York Times, the pill by Merck – named molnupiravir – can “modestly” reduce the risk of hospitalization or death for coronavirus patients in high risk categories. It’s believed to be effective against several variants, including the omicron variant.

Another drug, by Pfizer, is being considered by the FDA and is reportedly “significantly more effective.”

On a less positive note, the CEO of Moderna said that – based on his conversations with scientists – his company’s coronavirus vaccine will probably not work as effectively against omicron.

“I think there’s going to be a material drop,” said Stephane Bancel, according to The Financial Times. “I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data.”

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious diseases, said Tuesday that he believed the vaccines and boosters would be effective against the new variant, according to United Press International.

Also in the news …

  • Three students were killed and eight others wounded at a high school in Michigan on Tuesday. A 15-year-old male student at the school has been arrested.
  • Dr. Mehmet Oz, a surgeon with a popular TV show, announced he will seek the Republican nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Sports: Kelly leaving Irish for LSU

BRIAN KELLY (Wikipedia)

Brian Kelly, one of the most successful football coaches in Notre Dame history is leaving South Bend for the bayou, accepting the top job at Louisiana State University. Kelly has posted 113 wins with the Fighting Irish in 12 years, and this year’s edition is 11-1 and ranked sixth in the nation with a chance to make the College Football Playoff.

According to published reports, Kelly will receive a package worth $95 million plus incentives to coach the Tigers, who are 6-6 overall and 3-6 in the SEC this season.

Weather: Partly this, mostly that

To people who say that Southern California weather is always the same, here’s a rebuttal. Daytime temperatures in the West Orange County area will range up and down from the 60s to the 80s over the next week or so. Wednesday should have a daytime high of 78 (low of 50 overnight) under partly cloudy skies. Thursday is expected to be cooler at 72 (49) and Friday even chillier at 67 (48). But by Monday, the thermometer could bounce back to 84 under mostly sunny skies.

Stocks: Wall Street’s bad day

Spooked by new worries about the omicron coronavirus variant and comments by the Federal Reserve Chair prompted a rough day for investors. The Dow fells 652.22 points (1.86 percent) to 34,483.72, while the S&P 500 lost 88.27 points (1.90 percent) to 4,567. Nasdaq was down 245.14 points (1.55 percent) to 15,537.69. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that in order to curb inflation, it might be necessary to trim efforts to stimulate the economy.

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