The beginning of the end: promising Coronavirus updates

The beginning of the end: promising Coronavirus updates

Juliette Ciullo, Managing Director

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought little but terrible news for nine months. However, the current scientific advances may serve as rare encouraging news, and an acknowledgement that the end of the pandemic is in sight.  

As of Tuesday, Dec. 15 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sanctioned the first test at-home over-the-counter Coronavirus test for emergency use. Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume developed this antigen test, meaning it detects pieces of viral proteins to trigger a bodily immune response. The test involves a nasal swab and results can be received via a smartphone app as quickly as 20 minutes. The test will be available in January in pharmacies, drug stores or online, and will likely cost $30 or less. 

“The vaccine and the first at-home test are really exciting updates, and I’m really eager to be able to see everyone in-person again, and finally feel safe,” senior Ethan Heifetz said. “2020 was a lot harder of year than I anticipated, but looking into 2021, I think it’s possible things will be a lot better. I’m hoping that my freshman year of college can be semi-normal, but of course, I can’t say what will happen in the future for sure.”

Pfizer’s vaccine was officially authorized  by the FDA on Friday, Dec. 11 2020, and on Monday, Dec. 14, the first shots were administered to high risk healthcare workers. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, recommends President-Elect Joe Biden, Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, President Donald Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence all receive the vaccine as quickly as possible, so they are capable of safely leading the nation. The first American to receive the vaccine outside of a clinical trial was critical care nurse Sarah Lindsay, who was given the shot in New York at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. 

“I feel hopeful, more hopeful than I’ve been about the pandemic since March,” senior Abby Ryan said. “I’m so glad the hardworking people on the frontline, as well as older people in nursing homes, are gaining protection. But I’m trying to keep in mind it’s not over yet.  I just hope that people will be willing to take the vaccine in order to ensure the safety of themselves and others.”

States like Tennessee and Mississippi will have a tracking system of vaccinations publicly accessible online. Tennessee begins vaccinations on Thursday, Dec. 17. The Tennessee public dashboard will display how many people have been vaccinated, in what areas, and their demographics. Mississippi has not decided yet how much information they will share.