17 December 2020

• The US exceeds 17 million coronavirus cases, as cases increase by more than one million in five days. Sources 1,2
• The USFDA advisory committee endorses Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, with 20 members voting in favor and one abstaining. Source
• Beijing plans a mass campaign to vaccinate 50 million people (including healthcare workers, police and firefighters, customs and border control officers, cargo, transport and logistic workers, nursing home staff, undertakers, sanitation and utility workers and people traveling out of the country) with coronavirus vaccine candidates from Sinopharm and Sinovac, by 5 February 2021 to prevent the virus from spreading over the Lunar New Year holiday. Source
• Brazil’s Supreme Court rules that coronavirus vaccination is obligatory – meaning that people who refuse it can be fined and prohibited from entering some public spaces. Source
• French President Emmanuel Macron announces that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Source
• A third healthcare worker in Alaska experiences an adverse event – described as a probable anaphylactic reaction- minutes after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. She was released after being treated with epinephrine. Source
• Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf calls the country’s coronavirus strategy a failure, saying “ The Swedish people have suffered enormously in difficult conditions,” as state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell defended the avoidance of lockdowns and claimed that there is no real evidence to support that masks work. Sweden’s coronavirus death toll of nearly 8,000 is far higher than that of neighboring countries with different policies (under 1,000 in Denmark, 480 in Finland and just above 400 in Norway). Source
New England Journal of Medicine publishes a letter reporting that two large cohorts found pulse oximeters – devices that clip onto a fingertip to assess need for oxygen – were three times less reliable at detecting occult hypoxemia among Black people than among White people, increasing their risk of low oxygen levels. Sources 1,2

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