Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

This mid-morning edition of the newsletter brought to you by widespread email and server outages, so thank you in advance for bearing with our tardiness. Some of you may still get a duplicate email at some point today, but feel free to ignore it.

First U.S. Covid-19 vaccinations to begin today

The first shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine left distribution facilities in Michigan yesterday and should be arriving across the U.S. today. The go-ahead for distribution came after a packed weekend, with the FDA issuing an EUA for the vaccine late Friday night and a separate CDC expert advisory panel on Saturday overwhelmingly endorsing the use of the vaccine — a recommendation that CDC Director Robert Redfield accepted yesterday.

Thousands of people across the U.S. are now lining up to be first to receive the vaccine — chief among them health care workers, who say the vaccine can't come soon enough given how overwhelmed U.S. hospitals are with Covid-19 patients. The CDC yesterday also said that those who have experienced severe reactions to prior vaccines or injectable drugs can still get the vaccine, but should discuss the risks with their doctors and be monitored for 30 minutes afterward.

A year into the pandemic, what scientists know about how it spreads, infects, and sickens


It's been almost a year since Covid-19 splashed onto the global scene, and in that time, there has been a lot we have learned about this now not-so-novel coronavirus. In a new special report, STAT's Andrew Joseph paints an intimate portrait of the virus that has claimed the lives of nearly 1.6 million people worldwide, and has upended the lives of so many more. From only making a home in the nose and throat of some people to burrowing deep into the lungs of others, and from presenting as just another cold in some to wreaking lasting damage in the bodies of others, SARS-CoV-2 has unleashed high levels of infectiousness, while still keeping its full capacity for virulence somewhat of a mystery. Read more here

NIH's office on women's health research to hold 30th anniversary meeting this week

The NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health is holding a virtual meeting series to celebrate its 30th anniversary, featuring experts from within and outside NIH on women's health and sex and gender research. Today's events will focus on the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health program, which connects junior researchers with senior faculty. Tomorrow, a full-day scientific symposium will highlight mental health research, environmental factors that play into women's health, as well as pain management in women. Finally, on Wednesday, Jocalyn Clark, the executive editor of the Lancet journals, will share her perspectives in a lecture on sex differences research and its impact on women's health. The events will be webcast here

Inside STAT: Can celebrities spur acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine?


Celebrities using their star power to influence public opinion on health isn't new in the U.S. Back in the 1950s, Elvis Presley famously got vaccinated against polio on national TV. And already, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have expressed willingness to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on live television to bolster public confidence in the vaccine — one that only about half of people in the U.S. say they're willing to take. But the country today looks and thinks differently than the country when Elvis was able to use his stardom for public health messaging, and experts aren't sure if celebrities' quicker access to a Covid-19 vaccine will play well with the public, or even if it's ethical to have them jump their spot in line. STAT's Nicholas St. Fleur has more here.

Studies further highlight link between early childhood abuse and poorer health in adult life

Two new studies underscore how abuse and neglect in early life can continue to have a negative impact in adulthood. In one study, scientists recruited kids in kindergarten and followed them through their adult years. Those who had likely experienced physical abuse in the first five years of life were more likely to have poorer physical health scores in adulthood compared to those who likely hadn't experienced any abuse. In a separate retrospective study of kids in Australia, experts found that those who had had contact with child protective services — an indication of possible abuse — had twice the death rate by age 33 than those without CPS contact. This risk was especially elevated if kids were placed in care outside their homes starting at age 3. Deaths from poisonings, alcohol, or other substances were nearly five times as high in those with CPS contact.

Undocumented immigrants have a fraction of the health expenses as other immigrants, U.S. citizens

Undocumented immigrants are not more likely to use health services than other immigrants or U.S. citizens, according to new research that seems to contradict some political discourse about how these individuals may financially drain the health care system. Researchers surveyed households in Los Angeles for documentation status and used a machine learning algorithm and national health expenses database to extrapolate trends. Half of the undocumented immigrants did not have health insurance, and their average annual expenses — $1,629 per person — were almost half as much as those for documented immigrants. Expenses for U.S. citizens averaged more than $6,000. Some caveats: The documentation data were collected more than a decade ago, and fewer undocumented immigrants may have participated for fear of repercussions.

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 190,920
Deaths yesterday: 1,350

What to read around the web today

  • From healthcare worker to patient: Death in Room 311. Los Angeles Times
  • The promise and the peril of phage therapy. The New Yorker
  • Patrick Kennedy pitches himself for Biden ‘drug czar’. STAT
  • This system is supposed to protect people with developmental disabilities. It is falling apart. ProPublica

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Monday, December 14, 2020


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