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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Just a reminder that this newsletter will be on hiatus starting Thursday, Dec. 24 until Monday, Jan. 4. Here's what you need to know to start the week.

CDC panel issues recommendation for second, third priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine

Adults 75 and older and frontline essential workers ought to be second priority to get a Covid-19 vaccine, an advisory panel to the CDC said yesterday. These groups would follow health care workers and nursing home residents and staff, who have already started to be vaccinated. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also voted yesterday to recommend that the third priority group be adults ages 65 to 74, those 16 to 64 years old with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in the second phase of vaccination. On Saturday, the same committee voted to recommend Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine, which also came a day after the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the same vaccine. 

New variant of coronavirus prompts strict lockdown in the U.K. 

A highly contagious variant of SARS-CoV-2 is making its way through parts of the U.K. and South Africa, prompting officials in England to announce strict new lockdown measures. Modeling studies have shown that the British variant is up to 70% more transmissible, although this hasn't been confirmed in lab experiments. In response, British PM Boris Johnson instituted the most stringent lockdown on parts of southeast England since March, causing thousands of travelers to flock to trains ahead of the start of the measures yesterday. Still, scientists caution that such a mutation is not totally unexpected and that it would take a long time before the virus could mutate enough to evade the effect of the Covid-19 vaccines that have been developed. 

Most people in the U.S. would support Biden's mask mandate 


A new STAT/The Harris Poll survey finds the vast majority of the public thinks President-elect Biden should mandate wearing masks in public and testing for anyone who feels sick. The survey, which collected responses from more than 2,000 people between Dec. 11 and Dec. 13, also found that two-thirds of people support a ban on gatherings larger than 10 people and almost as many support a vaccine mandate and closing nonessential businesses such as gyms and restaurants. These findings did follow partisan lines, as a majority of Democrats supported all these measures while a majority of Republicans only favored the mask and testing mandates. 

Inside STAT: Shaped by war and hardship, ER doctor chronicles Covid-19

Emergency room physician Cleavon Gilman, seen in front of the Gowan Company building in historic downtown Yuma, Ariz. (RANDY HOEFT FOR STAT)

Few people can really speak to the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic as health care workers, and ER physician Cleavon Gilman is no exception. For the past 10 months, Gilman has treated Covid-19 patients, first in New York City and now in the hot spot of Yuma, Ariz. In his current posting, Gilman is also battling other challenges, including being in a state where the governor refuses to issue a mask mandate. Gilman — who served as a Marine combat medic in Iraq and saw horrors now overshadowed by Covid-19 — is using his experiences to speak up for health care workers. “Gov Ducey if YOU don’t MANDATE face masks then people will NOT wear them,” he tweeted in mid-June. But this activism has also gotten him in trouble, including a recent — and since reversed — firing from his position. STAT's Usha Lee McFarling has more here

Around 1 in 14 women in the U.S. may attempt an abortion without medical assistance

As access to legal abortion services in the U.S. has become more restricted, a new study estimates that 7% of women in the U.S — or 1 in 14 women — will attempt to give themselves an abortion. More than 7,000 women were surveyed in August 2017 about trying to end their pregnancy without medical assistance. Researchers used respondents' age when such an attempt was made and the fact that abortions are underreported to arrive at the 7% estimate. Black and Hispanic women, as well as those living below the federal poverty level, were more likely to attempt an abortion on their own. Physical methods, herbs, and drugs such as misoprostol were among the most common ways women attempted abortions. Nearly half said a self-attempt was faster or easier than going to a clinic, while more than 1 in 4 said they were able to terminate their pregnancy themselves.

STAT’s most memorable photos of 2020

Physician Shewit Giovanni listens to speakers at Seattle City Hall where thousands of health care workers gathered after marching from Harborview Medical Center to protest police brutality. (JOVELLE TAMAYO FOR STAT)

While the Covid-19 pandemic has dominated headlines at STAT this year, our photographers also captured other important stories. There were the myriad protests across the U.S. against police brutality and systemic racism. And the especially vulnerable among us — like cancer patients — were navigating getting treatment despite the coronavirus. In a year when photographers had to exercise caution by not getting physically close to their subjects, STAT's most memorable photos of the year still paint an intimate portrait of the big issues that emerged. See them all here

Covid-19 in the U.S. 

Cases yesterday: 189,099
Deaths yesterday: 1,509

What to read around the web today

  • The inside story of how Trump’s denial, mismanagement and magical thinking led to the pandemic’s dark winter. The Washington Post
  • Surprise medical bills cost Americans millions. Congress is finally set to ban most of them. The New York Times
  • Only seven of Stanford’s first 5,000 vaccines were designated for medical residents. ProPublica
  • They risk their lives cleaning hospitals. Now, they are getting vaccinated. 'I want people to know that we exist'. Los Angeles Times
  • Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils. Associated Press

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Shraddha

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Monday, December 21, 2020

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