Virus Updates: Pfizer, Moderna Ramping Up Vaccine Supplies

President Joe Biden called the U.S. topping 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths a “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone” during a ceremony at the White House Monday night. He told the nation that “to heal, we must remember.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is on course to surpass its goal of inoculating 100 million people within its first 100 days in office. The pace of first-dose vaccinations has been largely steady over the past several weeks, hovering around an average of 900,000 shots per day. Although winter storms disrupted thousands of vaccine appointments last week, the administration says the delayed doses will be injected by March 1 and the daily pace of vaccinations will continue to climb.

The U.S. has reported more than 502,000 deaths and 28 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by NBC News.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from the U.S. and elsewhere:

Executives With Pfizer, Moderna Say They’re Ramping Up Vaccine Supplies

Executives with Pfizer and Moderna said the companies are ramping up their supply of coronavirus vaccines, with shipments expected to double and possibly triple in the coming weeks, according to congressional testimony released Monday.

In a prepared statement to be made before a House subcommittee Tuesday, John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, is expected to say the company plans to increase its delivery capacity of 4 million to 5 million doses a week to more than 13 million by mid-March, NBC News reports.

Moderna expects to double its monthly delivery capacity to 40 million doses by April, according to Dr. Stephen Hoge, the company’s president. Moderna has so far delivered 45 million doses, Hoge’s testimony says.

Young attributed the increased supply to “significant investments” Pfizer made in several manufacturing sites and other improvements.

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Tracking COVID Vaccine Progress by State

Agony, and Mystery, of Post-COVID-19 Loss of Smell

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, doctors and researchers are still striving to better understand and treat the accompanying epidemic of COVID-19-related anosmia — loss of smell — draining much of the joy of life from an increasing number of sensorially frustrated longer-term sufferers like Forgione.

Even specialist doctors say there is much about the condition they still don’t know and they are learning as they go along in their diagnoses and treatments. Impairment and alteration of smell have become so common with COVID-19 that some researchers suggest that simple odor tests could be used to track coronavirus infections in countries with few laboratories.

For most people, the olfactory problems are temporary, often improving on their own in weeks. But a small minority are complaining of persistent dysfunction long after other COVID-19 symptoms have disappeared. Some have reported continued total or partial loss of smell six months after infection. The longest, some doctors say, are now approaching a full year.

Researchers working on the vexing disability say they are optimistic that most will eventually recover but fear some will not. Some doctors are concerned that growing numbers of smell-deprived patients, many of them young, could be more prone to depression and other difficulties and weigh on strained health systems.

“They are losing color in their lives,” said Dr. Thomas Hummel, who heads the smell and taste outpatients clinic at University Hospital in Dresden, Germany. “These people will survive and they’ll be successful in their lives, in their professions. But their lives will be much poorer.”


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