Coronavirus Live Updates: Race for Vaccine Aims for Next Year
Coronavirus Live Updates: Race for Vaccine Aims for Next Year
Tracking the search for a vaccine.
Researchers around the world are developing more than 125 vaccines against the coronavirus. Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but scientists are hoping to produce a safe and effective vaccine by next year.
The Times is following the status of the ones that have reached trials in humans.
There are three phases before a vaccine is approved for use, but some projects have combined early phase trials to speed up the process. Some coronavirus vaccines are now in Phase I/II trials, for example, in which they are tested for the first time on hundreds of people.
Additionally, the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program has selected five vaccine projects to receive billions of dollars in federal funding and support before there’s proof that the vaccines work.
Work began in January with the deciphering of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. The first vaccine safety trials in humans started in March, but the road ahead remains uncertain. Some trials will fail, and others may end without a clear result. But a few may succeed in stimulating the immune system to produce effective antibodies against the virus.
The New York Times reviewed the numbers of deaths in 25 cities and regions around the world during their most devastating months of the outbreak, compared those figures with the cities’ normal mortality levels, and then compared the increases with the carnage wrought by other disasters in history.
Demographers who study patterns of death call these deviations “mortality shocks,” sudden spikes in the number of fatalities not seen in the weeks before and not likely to be seen after the event is over. They’re often attributed to natural disasters, a severe flu season, famines or wars.
Among the findings: Denver had a monthly mortality increase that exceeded New York City’s in the period around Sept. 11, 2001. The rise in deaths in Paris was greater than the increase related to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. In Madrid, where more than 14,000 people died from mid-March to mid-April (compared with the typical 3,000 at that time of year), the increase was greater than the one in New York City during the flu pandemic in 1918.
These figures reflect only deaths through May. In many cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the outbreak is still getting worse.
“Oh my goodness,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, said on Tuesday. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”
The world economy is facing the most severe recession in a century and could experience a halting recovery with a potential second wave of the virus and as countries embrace protectionist policies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in a new report.
A grim economic outlook released by the O.E.C.D. on Wednesday depicted a world economy that is walking on a “tightrope” as countries seek to reopen after three months of lockdowns. Considerable uncertainty remains, however, as the prospects and timing of a vaccine remain unknown. Health experts fear that the spread of the virus could accelerate again later this year.
“Extraordinary policies will be needed to walk the tightrope towards recovery,” said Laurence Boone, the O.E.C.D.’s chief economist.
The O.E.C.D., which comprises 37 of the world’s leading economies, predicts that the global economy will contract by 6 percent this year if a second wave of the virus is avoided. If a second wave does occur, world economic output will fall 7.6 percent, before rebounding by 2.8 percent in 2021. The two scenarios are viewed as equally plausible.
The report is slightly more ominous than other recent forecasts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
South Korea on Wednesday began requiring gyms, nightclubs, karaoke bars and concert halls to register visitors through smartphone QR codes, in the country’s latest effort to fight a new wave of coronavirus infections linked to entertainment venues.
Until now, such facilities had mostly asked their customers to write down their identities and contact information in rosters before entering. But when the authorities tried to track down customers after the new infections began cropping up last month, they found that much of the information was fake.
Under the new system, nightclubs and other facilities must install QR scanners, and customers must download a QR code that contains their basic personal information. Any QR codes that the government collects are to be automatically destroyed after four weeks.
South Korea’s project is just the latest effort worldwide to harness common consumer technology to track new cases. But privacy concerns have made the approach slower to catch on in the United States and Britain. And in China, the government’s virus-tracking software has prompted fears that it will randomly collect citizens’ information in the name of disease prevention.
There has not yet been a significant public debate over South Korea’s new tracking system, although that may come as the government rolls it out.
Since last month, South Korea has eased its social-distancing restrictions, saying it was confident in its virus-containment strategy. But it has also urged people to stick to preventive measures and said its goal is to keep the daily caseload below 50 until a vaccine is available.
South Korea’s daily caseload has fluctuated between 38 and 57 over the past week, and the country reported 50 new cases on Wednesday.
At a Brooklyn hospital, one last, loud cheer.
Early this spring at Brooklyn Hospital Center, when the I.C.U. was overflowing, Covid-19 patients were dying left and right and a third of the doctors and nurses were out sick, a cheering section would materialize outside every evening as 7 p.m. approached, like fans at the stage door hoping to glimpse their idols.
And every evening, as the people on the sidewalk hooted, blasted songs and held up signs that said things like “Boundless Gratitude,” exhausted hospital workers would come out at the end of their shifts, soak up the love, sway to the music and wave like beauty queens.
Now, with the outbreak in New York City vastly diminished and attendance at the nightly cheer dropping, the organizers threw a farewell party.
On Monday evening, as the nurses and doctors and orderlies filed out, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.” A medic gave a bouquet and a hug to one of the regular cheerleaders. The D.J. played “Last Dance,” and everyone did.
“It’s been so uplifting to have people give their time to come here and support us,” said Alyeshan Quinones, an E.R. nurse.
No more communal snack jars. No more hugging. Probably no more giant open spaces.
Tech giants helped reshape the American office from packed rows of partitioned cubicles into airy shared spaces. The homey, amenity-filled new settings encouraged collaboration and community — while reducing employees’ eagerness to leave for home.
But the pandemic has made unbounded offices a liability.
Now some of the tech companies responsible for popularizing the open office believe they have an obligation — and a big business opportunity — to pioneer a new normal.
Facebook, for one, is betting heavily on remote work. Last month, on the same day employees were told that working from home could become permanent for many of them, the company introduced new remote-working tools for its enterprise clients. They included Workplace Rooms, a videoconferencing service for team meetings.
Salesforce, whose cloud software for businesses already enables remote work, is staking out different territory as it tries to figure out how to reopen its more than 160 offices worldwide.
“It’s going to be different,” Salesforce’s chief executive, Marc Benioff, said. “It’ll be more sterile. It’ll be more hospital-like.”
Reporting was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Jonathan Corum, Sheri Fink, Josh Katz, Allison McCann, Alan Rappeport, Natasha Singer, Kaly Soto, Jin Wu and Carl Zimmer.