Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Johnson & Johnson vaccinations could restart soon.,


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This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Credit…The New York Times

A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday voted to recommend lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all adults. The panel recommended adding a label about an exceedingly uncommon, but potentially dangerous, blood-clotting disorder.

Federal health officials are expected to respond quickly and recommend that states end the pause.

The C.D.C. confirmed nine new cases of the disorder, bringing the total to 15, out of nearly eight million people who have received the vaccine. All the cases have been in women, and 13 have been in women between 18 and 49 years old.

The overall risk of developing the clotting disorder is extremely low. Women between 30 and 39 appear to be at greatest risk, with 11.8 cases per million doses given. There have been seven cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49. Federal health officials said information about the disorder would be provided to people at vaccination sites.

European regulators, who have also been scrutinizing the shots, said on Tuesday that they would allow these vaccinations to resume with a warning label.

The F.D.A. approval could boost vaccinations in the United States almost immediately. Roughly 10 million doses or more of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are sitting on shelves across the United States.

The vaccine has immense potential benefits, both for Americans and especially in the wider world. It is easy to store and requires just one shot. It is also especially well-suited for use in hard-to-reach populations, including people who are homebound, homeless, or incarcerated.

During the pandemic, the rules that governed our lives have been stark. Public health experts told us repeatedly that if we didn’t stay home, socially distance and wear a mask, we could get the coronavirus and infect our families and friends.

So it’s no wonder that as society begins to reopen, some people are feeling nervous about relaxing some of those precautions. To help, our colleague Christina Caron asked experts about how to best ease back into society.

Dip your toe in the pool. Find incremental ways of phasing back into prepandemic situations. Maybe it’s having a cup of tea outdoors unmasked, hosting a friend indoors or taking public transportation at nonpeak hours.

Don’t wait for the anxiety to completely disappear. One expert suggested training your anxious nervous system like a pet. Help it recognize that you are not in danger by doing activities that might make you a little anxious. Once you’re in that situation, try to stay there until the anxiety starts to fade. And if acute anxiety persists, consider talking to a therapist.

You don’t have to replicate the “before times.” It’s OK to pare down your social calendar or nix draining activities. And embrace the positive things aspects of the pandemic, like spending more time with family.

Let go of resentment. As the adage goes, you cannot control other people, only yourself. Frustration toward those who behave differently than you will only raise your stress levels.

Prioritize things that reduce anxiety. If you developed a love affair with processed foods, reacquaint yourself with fruits and vegetables. And if you stopped exercising during the pandemic, start moving again. By taking care of your body you are also taking care of your mind.

From Opinion: A science journalist explains how the health of our bodies depends on returning to lifestyles that expose us to bacteria, despite the risks.

  • Studies have found that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines protect against the variant first discovered in New York City.

  • The University of California and California State University systems will require vaccinations for all students, faculty members and staff members on campus this fall, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • North Dakota is offering to vaccinate Canadian truck drivers who cross the border, the BBC reports.

  • NASA vaccinated four astronauts before sending them into space.

For the past year, I have felt like my life has been out of my control. The things I once loved doing — traveling to new places, hugging my friends, sitting in cozy cafes — have been off-limits for so long that I think I’ve forgotten how much fun they are. My life has become one long repetitive stream of toxically boring days. But things are looking up. Yesterday I booked my first real trip in a while, and I finally felt comfortable enough to start dating. Ever since my vaccine I feel like slowly my life is becoming mine again.

— Rachel Mitchell, Dallas

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