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The possible long-lasting effects of COVID-19

Recovering from the coronavirus does not necessarily mean you'll bounce back to your old, pre-infection self: Most people who survived a severe infection were still dealing with some combination of physical, emotional and financial pain weeks later.

Driving the news: That's the conclusion from researchers who tracked more than 1,600 people who were hospitalized for coronavirus infections in Michigan. Their findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


By the numbers: Roughly 24% of those 1,600 patients died in the hospital. Another 6% died within 60 days of being discharged.

  • Researchers were able to track down 488 survivors to see how they were doing 60 days after getting out of the hospital. Roughly a third of those patients were experiencing symptoms such as a cough or long-term loss of taste and smell.
  • Roughly half said their health had affected their emotional well-being, and about 36% said their illness had been a financial setback.

Getting back to work was also a struggle: Among patients who were employed before they got sick, 40% said they had lost their jobs or couldn't go back for health reasons.

  • And a quarter of those who did return to work said their hours had been cut or their responsibilities modified.

Why it matters: The coronavirus can wreak havoc on your health and your life even if it doesn't kill you — which also means that looking only at the death rate is not a good way to take the full measure of this pandemic.

  • Coronavirus hospitalizations are surging right now, all across the country.

The bottom line: The best way to minimize the number of people who suffer these long-term effects would be to minimize the number of people who have the coronavirus — which the U.S. is not doing.

The questions the COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to answer

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

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Podcast: Behind the Faces of COVID

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

WSJ: Pfizer to ship half as many COVID vaccines this year, citing supply chain issues

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimate for how many coronavirus vaccines will be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, instead of 100 million, per WSJ.

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Warner Bros. to release all 2021 movies on HBO Max and in theaters at same time

In a move that will undoubtedly shape the future of cinema for years to come, Warner Bros. said Thursday that it will release its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max, the streaming service owned by its parent AT&T, at the same time that the films debut in theaters.

Why it matters: It's the latest and most aggressive effort by a movie studio to get its titles in front of audiences at home during the pandemic. The move is a major blow to movie exhibitors, which are already struggling to survive the pandemic.

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Trump refuses to say whether he has confidence in Barr

President Trump declined to say on Thursday whether he still has confidence in Attorney General Bill Barr, after insisting that Barr "hasn't done anything" to investigate his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

Why it matters: Trump has weighed firing Barr in recent days, seething about the attorney general's statement this week that the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

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Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

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How institutions that control vast wealth fall through U.S. regulatory cracks

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

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Trump nominee Christopher Waller confirmed to Fed board

The Senate voted 48-47 on Thursday to confirm Trump nominee Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors — filling one of the two vacant slots on the influential economic body.

Why it matters: It's one of the last marks left on the Fed board by Trump, who has nominated five of its six members.

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