More good news on the vaccine front.
By Melina Delkic
We’re covering promising results from the Moderna vaccine trial, a boost for Japan’s economy and the beekeepers of Turkey’s “honey forest.”
A second vaccine shows success in trials
The drugmaker Moderna announced on Monday that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5 percent effective, based on an early look at the results from its large, continuing study.
Researchers said the results were better than they had dared to imagine. But the vaccine will not be widely available for months, probably not until the first months of 2021. The company plans to apply for emergency authorization from U.S. drug authorities within weeks. Officials said enough vaccine for about 20 million people would be ready in December, with the first doses going to people facing high risks, like health care workers and nursing home residents.
Moderna said its vaccine had a longer shelf life than what was previously reported: It can last 30 days in the refrigerator and 12 hours at room temperature. That would make it easier to store and use.
The race: Moderna’s announcement came a week after Pfizer, in collaboration with BioNTech, reported that its vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. Ten other companies are conducting big Phase 3 trials, including efforts in China, Russia, India and Australia. Check our vaccine tracker here.
Markets: Global markets were up on Monday over both the Moderna vaccine and a new Asia-Pacific free trade deal.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
India will fly doctors into the New Delhi area, double the number of tests it carries out and ensure that people wear masks, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the capital, the home minister said on Sunday.
Seven months after he battled Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said he was quarantining after coming into contact with a lawmaker later found to be infected with the virus. He was not experiencing any symptoms, his office said.
Tourism in New York City will need at least four years to recover from the free-fall triggered by the pandemic, according to a new forecast from the city’s tourism promotion agency.
Will Japan’s comeback last?
Japan became the latest big economy to bounce back from the devastation of the coronavirus crisis, as lockdowns eased and pent-up demand led to surging domestic consumption and a rebound in exports.
But analysts warn that the recovery is unlikely to be long-lived. Severe economic damage from several quarters of contraction remains, according to Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at the Meiji Yasuda Research Institute.
“The real economy is not as good as the numbers,” he said. “It’s only about halfway recovered from its enormous fall.”
Details: Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, surged 5 percent during the July-to-September period, for an annualized growth rate of 21.4 percent, after three straight quarters of contraction, government data showed on Monday. Japan’s success in controlling the virus has made businesses and investors bullish.
Biden faces hard choices on China
In addition to the pandemic and an economic crisis, President-elect Joe Biden will inherit one more headache when he takes office in January: a toxic relationship with the world’s second-largest economy.
President Trump has placed tariffs on China, imposed sanctions on Chinese companies and restricted its businesses from buying American tech. On Thursday, he issued an executive order banning investments in Chinese firms with military ties.
Mr. Biden and his advisers view many of those measures as clumsy and costly. But they still want to maintain leverage over China and occasionally cooperate to accomplish their policy goals, like combating climate change. The Biden administration will very likely face pressure to take a hard line from lawmakers who view China as a threat.
Details: Mr. Biden has given few details about his plans for U.S.-China relations, other than saying he wants to recruit allies such as Europe and Japan to pressure China to make economic reforms.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
The bizarre intricacies of royal protocol
Imagine you are invited to a dinner with the queen of England and the extended royal family at Balmoral Castle. You’re asked to meet for drinks at 6 p.m. Do you arrive as the clock strikes in elegant evening wear, or do you wander in whenever, in an unbuttoned shirt, a woolly sweater and muddy shoes?
If you decided to show up on time with your best evening wear on then you have already failed the test, and the royal family is aghast. The predicament is featured in the latest season of “The Crown,” which portrays Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis above, providing a look at the rigid world of the British class system.
Here’s what else is happening
Hurricane Iota: The storm upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane Monday morning, the first this year to reach that strength. Iota was expected to make landfall by Monday night around the coastline of Nicaragua and Honduras. It comes after Hurricane Eta devastated communities there less than two weeks ago.
Australian Stock Exchange: The exchange closed early on Monday following a glitch after upgrades went live — its worst outage since 2016. But the market said the issue had been identified and would be resolved in time for normal trading on Tuesday.
Snapshot: Above, beekeepers in Turkey’s “honey forest,” with its distinctive black beehives. The beekeeping traditions of the Hemshin people are at risk of vanishing amid an exploding tourism industry and infrastructure.
What we’re looking at: The Subpar Parks Instagram page, which puts negative reviews of some of the world’s most beautiful national parks in visuals. My favorite is Bryce Canyon National Park: “too orange, too spiky.” In case you needed a reminder that nothing pleases everyone!
Now, a break from the news
Cook: These plump, pan-seared gyoza are filled with ground pork, cabbage, chives, ginger and garlic.
Read: In his new memoir, “A Promised Land,” which goes on sale today, Barack Obama “marshals his considerable storytelling skills to demythologize himself,” writes our book critic.
Do: If your work-from-home setup needs an upgrade, a new task light is a good place to start. Here’s a shopping guide for desk lamps.
Stay safe at home but don’t be bored. At Home has a cornucopia of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do.
And now for the Back Story on …
Different virus strategies in the U.S. and Europe
As the coronavirus has surged again in recent weeks, much of the U.S. has chosen to keep restaurants open and schools closed. Much of Europe has done the opposite. The European approach seems to be working better.
What is Europe doing differently? It is cracking down on the kind of indoor gatherings that most commonly spread the virus. England closed pubs, restaurants, gyms and more on Nov. 5 and announced they would remain closed until at least Dec. 2. France, Germany’s regional governments and the Catalonia region of Spain have also shut restaurants, among other businesses.
Many Americans have resisted accepting that reality. Across much of the country, restaurants remain open for indoor dining. Last week, New York State announced a new policy that public health experts consider to be a bizarre middle ground: Businesses with a liquor license can stay open until 10 p.m.
The one indoor activity that appears to present less risk is school, especially elementary school. Why? Young children seem to spread the virus less often than adults do.
Closing schools and switching entirely to remote learning, on the other hand, has big social costs. Children are learning less, and many parents, mostly mothers, have dropped out of the labor force. The U.S. is suffering from both of these problems and from a raging pandemic.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Carole Landry helped write this briefing. Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about divisions among American Democrats.
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