We’re back!

Did you miss us? Here's the latest on schools, vaccines, and more

We hope everyone’s doing well after a very tumultuous few weeks. Hope you didn’t miss us too much during our little hiatus. We’re back with a re-vamped version of the newsletter — as cases are surge once again in many parts of the country, we remain as committed as ever to bringing you clear and up-to-date information. Just facts, no jargon.

So here’s the new format: on Fridays, we’ll send you an issue that answers a lifestyle/parenting question (possibly one of yours from our inbox), a quick roundup of the latest COVID headlines, and the latest word on the school tracking efforts Emily is helping lead. Maybe a few surprises here and there as well—we’ll keep it flexible.

So without further ado…

Dear COVIDExplained: What preventive measures besides masks and social distancing can one do to prevent disease infection? 

This question came into our inbox yesterday and it’s a good one. Many folks are understandably wondering whether, aside from a vaccine, there’s any sort of medication or other silver bullet for disease prevention.

Listen, we totally get it—the pandemic has raged on for months now. Can’t there just be some easy way to make sure we stay safe?

Unfortunately, there is not. 

Best practices for preventing infection remain regular hand washing, social distancing, mask-wearing, etc. It's a very real public health reality that the most effective preventative measures are, for better or for worse, the mundane, low-tech ones. 

Headlines, Explained

A vaccine?!?

Yup, a vaccine. 

Earlier this week, Pfizer announced that its vaccine, jointly developed with German drugmaker BioNTech, was more than 90% effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection. It’s a two-dose vaccine which, according to the company, has yet to cause any serious safety concerns. The company plans to apply for emergency use authorization with the FDA later this month. 

In related news: on Monday, the FDA granted Eli Lilly emergency authorization for its new COVID-19 antibody treatment that’s designed to be administered as soon as possible following a positive COVID test. 

Fauci Urges Americans to Double Down on Basic Preventative Measures

Funny, we were just talking about this! Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on Good Morning America yesterday to reassure us all that: 

  1. He really believes we can keep the virus under control without another lockdown

  2. We all need to double down on basic preventative measures such as masks and social distancing.

So there you go! Straight from America’s top infectious disease expert

COVID-19 School Response Dashboard Updates

Some top line numbers from a two-week period beginning on 10/26 ending on 11/8.

  • The dataset is representative of about 3.2 million enrolled students and 560,000 staff members.

  • All fifty US states are represented.

  • The confirmed case rate among students is 0.14%. The confirmed case rate among staff is 0.23%.

  • Infection rates within schools appear to reflect infection rates within the larger community.

  • The most commonly employed mitigation strategy is mask-wearing at all times in school.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns — you can get a hold of us via email, TwitterInstagram, and the site itself.