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10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Virus From Around the World – 2021 is Looking Brighter

With so many scary coronavirus headlines these days, we thought we would revise our very popular article series highlighting all the positive updates about the COVID-19 pandemic that we can find from around the world.

If these hopeful headlines uplift you—don’t forget to share, and make some good news go viral across the globe…

1) Coronavirus Numbers Are Finally Dropping in the U.S.

January 26 marked two weeks of a substantial decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States.

Not only hospitalizations, but the 7-day average of coronavirus cases has dropped significantly, too—cut by a one-third since its Jan. 12 peak—according to the COVID Tracking Project maintained by The Atlantic.

Falling hospitalizations are occurring across 36 states, with numbers holding steady in 12 more states. California, for instance, reported a 20 percent decrease in hospitalizations over three weeks.

“It’s a stable indicator pointing in the right direction,” as you can see from the chart below from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

2) Medical Schools Are Being Inundated With Applications From Those Who Want to Join the Field

The number of students applying to medical school for the upcoming 2021 academic year is up by 18%.

It’s a “huge spike” compared to the previous year and also a record “considering that the Association of American Medical Colleges usually sees an increase about 1 to 3 percent year over year.” 

The surge is being compared to the flood of military enlistments that followed the 9/11 attacks, when Americans became inspired to serve.

3) Drug Companies Say They Don’t Want to Make a Profit On Their Vaccines

Both Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have decided that, until the pandemic ends, they’ll sell their COVID-19 vaccines using a not-for-profit model. 

According to the Financial Times, Oxford-AstraZeneca is currently priced at about $3-$4 per dose—which just covers costs.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine, which is still to be authorized, will be priced at around $10, but it only needs one dose in order to be effective. 

4) India and New Zealand Are Buying Vaccines For Neighboring Countries Who Can’t Afford Them

It’s inspiring to see countries pledging to deliver vaccines to neighboring nations who might otherwise have trouble getting doses for their populations.

Daniel Schludi

As part of its ‘vaccine diplomacy’ campaign, India plans to offer 20 million vaccines to Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Maldives, and Mauritius, with many of these aid shipments being completely free.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand government has earmarked $53 Million to make sure its Pacific-Island neighbors have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, which they might not otherwise be able to afford. 

5) Chick-fil-A Manager Fixes Traffic Backup At Drive-Through Vaccination Clinic

After the computer system handling registrations went down during a South Carolina drive-thru coronavirus vaccine clinic, the back-up of cars left people waiting for hours.

Sandy Morckel

In the midst of the chaos, the town mayor decided to contact the local manager of a Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant, tweeting, “When you need help, call the pros.” 

After he looked over the situation, he knew right away what to do. ‘There’s your problem right there,’ he told Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie. ‘It’s backed up because you have one person checking people in.’ Then Chick-fil-A manager Jerry Walkowiak showed them how to do it.

With the help of a few Rotary club volunteers, they slashed the one-hour wait time to just 15 minutes, transforming the messy traffic jam into a smooth operation that vaccinated 1,000 people that day. 

6) The Moderna Vaccine Can Vanquish Viral Variants, Too

The Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna has tested their vaccine against two new, rapidly spreading strains of COVID-19.

According to Nature, it appears that the vaccine works as effectively against the UK variant as it does against the original form. While the vaccine appears less effective at neutralizing the South African 501Y.V2 variant, it still provides protection.

Moderna is now planning to test a booster jab that will enhance immunity against emerging forms of the coronavirus.

7) This All-Female Team Delivers COVID-19 Vaccines by Snowmobile in Harsh Rural Alaska Conditions

Dr Katrine Bengaard

People living in the remotest parts of Alaska are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine early so they can continue to get visits from family members—all thanks to a determined group of women.

The team of four is using planes, snowmobiles, and sleds—whatever it takes—to deliver the vaccine across rural northern Alaska. Consisting of a pharmacist, a doctor, and two nurses, the adventurous medical team has delivered 65 vaccinations, so far, traveling hundreds of miles to villages to get the job done.

8) After Recovery From COVID-19, Immune Cells ‘Remember’ For at Least Half a Year

Good news for those who have already contracted COVID-19: The immune system appears to remember how to make antibodies that can fight off the virus for at least six months following the initial infection—and likely for much longer. 

A study led by scientists at Rockefeller University and published in Nature, found that—perhaps due to the “exposure to remnants of the virus hidden in the gut”—participants continued to improve their antibodies months after contracting the coronavirus.

9) Group is Giving Away Free Bags of Marijuana to People Who Get Vaccinated

Joints for Jabs

Dubbed “Joints for Jabs,” a community effort has been planned for Washington, D.C. for whenever public vaccination sites open.

DC Marijuana Justice will celebrate the “momentous occasion” by thanking people for getting vaccinated, with dozens of DC homegrowers lawfully distributing free bags of cannabis outside vaccination centers as soon as the general public is able to get vaccinated.

“We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis,” says DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller

10) People Are Using Their Free Time to Pick up Books and Read Again

With more downtime than usual, it seems that many people have turned back to books.

By Seven Shooter

In the UK last year, for the first time since 2012, more than 200 million books were sold.

Borrowing books also grew exponentially in the US. National Geographic reported that weekly e-book lending increased across the nation by nearly 50% in the months following March 2020.

A survey in Canada showed similarly positive reading trends, with 58% of respondents in a survey from the non-profit BookNet saying they planned on reading more because of lockdowns. 

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Check out: A Pandemic of Good News—The Top 50 Positive News Stories of 2020

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