Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Jan. 4, 2021 – Jan. 8, 2021.

Bloomberg (12/31, Fourcade) reported, “The new coronavirus variant that emerged in the U.K. is more transmissible and appears to affect a higher proportion of people under 20, according to a report from Imperial College London and other science groups.” The scientists wrote that the variant has “a substantial transmission advantage” and is tied to “epidemic growth in nearly all areas.”

CNN (1/4, Fox) reports, “Anyone who receives the Moderna or Pfizer [coronavirus] vaccine must get two full doses, two top U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said Monday.” Additionally, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., and Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA’s vaccine division, “dismissed other ideas for stretching the vaccine supply and said people who are speculating about the possibility of making do with just one dose or cutting doses in half are misinterpreting the data.”

Politico (1/5, Roubein) reports that late Tuesday, the administration “said it’s accelerating a plan to begin offering coronavirus shots in pharmacies – a move that comes after federal officials faced fierce criticism for the slow pace of immunizations.” Over the next two weeks, Operation Warp Speed “estimates 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could begin administering COVID-19 shots, according to a senior HHS official.”

USA Today (1/6, Weintraub) reports HHS Secretary Alex Azar told governors to vaccinate as many people against SARS-CoV-2 as possible and warned to not let “perfection be the enemy of the good,” referring to priority plans. Azar said that with up to 70% of distributed vaccines still on shelves, states should focus on vaccinating the most people rather than prioritizing certain groups.

Reuters (1/6) reports Azar said, referring to priority plans, “Those are simply recommendations, and they should never stand in the way of getting shots in arms.”

The Washington Post (1/7, Guarino) reports, “People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the novel coronavirus, according to a model developed by” CDC researchers. According to the model, 59% of transmissions come from asymptomatic people. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

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