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What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, November 9

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The Biden-Harris advisory board will be led by former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Members include renowned surgeon and writer Dr. Atul Gawande, and former US Health and Human Services official-turned whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright.

In a statement, Biden said stemming the outbreak is “one of the most important battles our administration will face.” The Biden-Harris transition website gave a taste of what their approach will be, including plans to increase testing and contact tracing, mask mandates, additional protective equipment and investing $25 billion in vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
But until inauguration day on January 20, Biden will remain powerless to mitigate the pandemic, which has taken more than 237,000 American lives. The responsibility remains in the hands of the administration of President Donald Trump, who has not publicly accepted the reality of the election and has continuously downplayed the outbreak. Sunday was the fifth straight day of more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases in the US.
By the time Biden reaches the Oval Office, “this virus is going to have already run rampant through the communities across the United States,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University, told CNN on Sunday. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN that Biden’s plans to take the virus more seriously represent a “good start,” but at present “the ship of state has had no captain.”

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: How far can cough droplets travel?

A: A simulation study suggests that a person coughing can disperse droplets well beyond six feet, and that anyone shorter than the person coughing — such as children — might be at a greater risk of encountering the downward trajectory of those cough droplets.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Pfizer says early analysis shows its vaccine is 90% effective

Drugmaker Pfizer said Monday an early look at data from its coronavirus vaccine shows it is more than 90% effective — a much better than expected efficacy if the trend continues.

The so-called interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the more than 43,000 volunteers, who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. It found that fewer than 10% of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine. More than 90% of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo. Pfizer said that the vaccine provided protection seven days after the second dose and 28 days after the initial dose of the vaccine.

The US is close to recording its 10 millionth case of Covid-19

The US is close to passing 10 million coronavirus cases as 16 states reported record high Covid-19 hospitalizations last week, Christina Maxouris and Dakin Andone report. More than 54,000 coronavirus patients are now hospitalized across the country. Texas alone is inching toward 1 million cases, with more than 5,000 reported Sunday.

“We’re building up a lot of trouble for the future,” former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. “You have to be really worried what January is going to look like, what December is going to look like right now, given the way this is rising.”

Global coronavirus cases passes 50 million mark

The number of coronavirus cases around the world passed 50 million on Sunday, according to data from John Hopkins University (JHU).
France passed the grim milestone of 40,000 deaths over the weekend. Austria reported a new daily record with 8,241 infections on Saturday, as did India’s capital New Delhi — which recorded a record 7,745 new cases on Sunday. Greece, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria all implemented lockdowns last week, while Mexico nears 1 million cases. As of Sunday, at least 95,027 people in Mexico have died from Covid-19.

ON OUR RADAR

The 94-year-old monarch wore the mask during a commemorative ceremony in London.

TOP TIPS

As people stay home and skip the salon or barbershop, some hair-focused non-profits are seeing one bright spot in the pandemic: More donated hair going to those who need it because wigs can be expensive for some cancer patients.

Here are some steps to follow if you’re interested in donating your hair.

TODAY’S PODCAST

“I think that it is a little creepy that I’m monitoring people’s stool.” — Dr. Amy Mathers, infectious disease physician

In today’s episode, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks into how universities, nursing homes, and even entire cities are turning to sewage testing to monitor the spread of the virus. Listen Now.

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