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US life expectancy drops, a vaccine contract revelation, and news on shots and variants: What to know about Covid-19 for Thursday

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.3%. 2 min read.

The life expectancy for the entire US population fell to 77.8 years during the first half of 2020, experts say Covid-19 played a major part in the decline.

(CNN)Life expectancy in the US dropped a full year in the first half of 2020, according to a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and experts say that Covid-19 was a significant factor contributing to the decline.

Compared to 2019, life expectancy for non-Hispanic Black people in the US fell about three times what it did for non-Hispanic White people, by 2. 7 years.

"But also, as the weeks and months go by, as you vaccinate more and more people, you have a vaccine that works against this variant," Fauci added.

and get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can while we maintain the public health measures, we should be in good stead. "

The new national mask standard outlines minimum fit, design, performance and testing requirements for face masks and would require user instructions, package labeling and a permanent tag on the product.

AstraZeneca's contract to supply the UK with 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses commits it to making "best reasonable efforts," the same language used in its deal with the European Union, which critics blamed for the bloc's faltering inoculation program, Angela Dewan reports.

The details of the contract are contained in a redacted version published online without fanfare months ago, long before the UK and the EU became embroiled in a bitter dispute over vaccine supply.

The UK contract also confirmed the UK could receive vaccines manufactured in the EU, another point of contention between Brussels and AstraZeneca during their spat.

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine can protect people against concerning new coronavirus variants, including one first seen in South Africa called B. 1. 351.

They also reported a reduction in the antibody response to viruses genetically engineered to look like the B. 1. 351 variant -- but not enough of a reduction to make the vaccine work any less.

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