COVID-19 Update + A Friendly Reminder

Victoria Benavides and Ben Williams

COVID-19 Updates (as of 11/12)

  • 52,918,582 cases of COVID-19 globally
  • 10,569,558 of COVID-19 in the United States
  • 12,702 daily new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois

Cases by town (as of 10/20)

  • Mount Prospect: 1,204
  • Prospect Heights: 471
  • Arlington Heights: 1,369
  • Wheeling: 1,319

Vaccine Efforts

The Pfizer and German biotechnology firm BioNTech has a COVID-19 vaccination in the works. In their initial testing, it proves 90% effective at protecting people from getting COVID. This is phenomenal since many scientists have estimated that vaccinations would only be 50% effective. If the test subjects experience no serious side effects or a significant increase in COVID diagnoses in the next two weeks, Pfizer plans to request emergency authorization from the FDA to begin producing doses of the vaccine and distributing them to the public. Should they get authorization at that time, Pfizer estimates it could produce 50 million doses by the end of 2020. This would be enough to vaccinate 25 million people, as the vaccine is administered in two doses. It would likely be given to the most vulnerable people first, and the U.S. government plans to make it free.

UPDATE (11/16):

In a press release earlier today, Moderna has revealed that the vaccine it has been testing is 94.5% effective, even more than the Pfizer vaccine. Additionally, the vaccine will be easier to distribute than the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at about -94 degrees Fahrenheit; this extremely cold temperature makes it difficult to transport into communities. Moderna’s, on the other hand, can be stored between temperatures of 35.6 and 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit, about the temperature of a household refrigerator. The study still needs to be peer-reviewed, but Moderna could be ready to request emergency authorization by December. If Moderna’s vaccine is authorized and production begins, doses will be distributed much quicker and easier than Pfizer’s. The company hopes that they could have enough doses produced by the end of January to treat health care workers and people over 65 years old. People who are not high-risk would have to wait until spring or summer to get vaccinated. Regardless, with now two vaccines proving highly effective, we could be nearing the end of COVID-19’s wrath.



A Friendly Reminder

With Joe Biden almost certain to win the 2020 presidential election, many Americans are hopeful that we’ll see a more structured and heavy-handed approach to handling COVID-19 under the new administration. Joe Biden has promised a federal mask mandate, providing the testing, which the Trump administration is expanding greatly, for free, and more lockdowns on a federal level if necessary. Besides the fact that Biden will likely struggle to enforce these policies (the U.S. Constitution leaves the handling of public health crises to individual states), the responsibility for stopping the spread still falls on all of us with or without government orders.

A mask mandate can’t really be enforced in someone’s home, where they’re hosting a big party of family or friends. Testing is only helpful if we seek it after potential exposure to the virus and self-quarantine if the test is positive. Lockdowns only work if we follow the rules and stay inside. With that said, we urge WHS students to wear masks, socially distance, stay home whenever possible, and overall take personal responsibility in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Even if it won’t affect you, do it for someone else. Even if you don’t believe the science, do it out of respect for others.