18 December 2020

• Global coronavirus cases exceed 75 million. Source
• The US reports a record-breaking daily total of over 251,000 new coronavirus cases as hospitals in many parts of the country are reaching capacity. Source
• The USFDA grants an EUA for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, which was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 – and prevented any severe cases in a phase III clinical trial. Sources 1,2
• WHO Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, issues a statement noting a growing mental health crisis amidst over 23 million cases and 500,000 deaths in the region, calling for “.. concerted action to invest in stronger mental health care services, particularly those that bring care to the community or utilize digital care to reduce obstacles to vital assistance,” along with urging people to remember that the safest thing they can do for the holidays is to stay home. Source
• The EMA expedited its hearing for the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccines to Monday 21 December; pending regulatory approval, the bloc’s first vaccinations will begin on 27, 28 and 29 December. A hearing for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine has been moved from 12 January to 6 January. Source
• China orders 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech and its Chinese partner, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, although the country has yet to approve it. Source
• The New York Times publishes a report on publicly disclosed British pandemic spending, describing it as: “waste, negligence and cronyism.” it found that nearly half of the $22 billion spent was given to companies that were headed by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or those with no prior experience or a history of controversy. Contracts were awarded without competitive bidding – or transparency. Source
• Switzerland approves the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Igor Matovic, has tested positive for the coronavirus; he attended the same meeting of top European Union officials last week in Brussels as French President Emmanuel Macron, who has also tested positive. Other officials who had meetings with President Macron earlier in the week have gone into quarantine. Source

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