Your Tuesday Briefing

Pfizer releases promising vaccine results.

By Melina Delkic

Good morning.

We’re covering a potential vaccine breakthrough, how a Biden administration would deal with China and the chocolatiers trying to challenge Cadbury’s dominance in India.

Pfizer says its vaccine is more than 90 percent effective

The drugmaker announced the promising development on Monday. Early analysis of a late-stage trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19. The stock markets soared after the announcement.

Pfizer, which developed the coronavirus vaccine with the German drugmaker BioNTech, released only sparse details. The 90 percent level of protection it reported would put it on a par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases like measles.

The data, however, is not conclusive: the analysis was released in a news release, not a peer-reviewed medical journal. Pfizer plans to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year it will have enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people.

Vaccine tracker: Eleven vaccines are in late-stage trials, including four in the United States. Pfizer’s progress could bode well for Moderna’s vaccine, which uses similar technology. Check our tracker here.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

A W.H.O. meeting about the pandemic excluded Taiwan — even though it has managed to control the virus better than most places.

President-elect Joe Biden announced a coronavirus task force on Monday to help manage the worsening outbreak in the U.S.

A 51-year-old air cargo worker has been infected with the coronavirus in Shanghai, China’s biggest city, prompting an immediate effort to contain the virus before it can spread.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had tested positive for the coronavirus. “It’s gonna be fine!” he posted on Twitter.

China isn’t counting on friendlier ties under Biden

All along, China’s leaders showed indifference toward the presidential race, having concluded that no matter who won, the United States would remain irreconcilably opposed to the country’s rise.

President-elect Joe Biden has not released a specific plan for China, but tensions between the two countries are likely to fester, writes our Beijing bureau chief. They could even become more pronounced — over trade, tech, Taiwan and other issues.

President Trump’s refusal to concede could serve President Xi Jinping’s portrayal of the U.S. as being in decline. The unchecked coronavirus spread and political tumult have been key themes in Chinese state propaganda.

On the ground: State media downplayed the election, perhaps to avoid emphasizing the democratic process. But Chinese people were not indifferent — both candidates were among the most searched topics on social media.

Myanmar’s second election

Voters turned out en masse on Sunday in elections that were expected to leave the governing party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the biggest force in the country’s Parliament.

The strong turnout underscored voters’ commitment to Myanmar’s nascent democracy. It was only the second truly contested election the country has held in decades.

Despite its expected strong showing, the governing National League for Democracy is facing criticism that it is repeating some of the sins of its former foe, the military, which controls much of the government. It has arrested scores of people for expressing their political views.

Abroad, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense of the military in its ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims has shattered her reputation as a human rights icon. .

Concerns: More than 1.5 million people among an electorate of 37 million people were barred from voting, many of them ethnic minorities living in conflict zones. And many of the country’s million Rohingya Muslims forced out were unable to cast ballots.

If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it

The end of ‘America First’

President-elect Joe Biden says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, renew a nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO, moving quickly to bury “America First” — President Trump’s guiding principle of foreign policy.

But the world looks different now. Power vacuums have been created, and filled, often by China. Democracies have retreated. Although foreign allies may find Mr. Biden reassuring, they also concede that they may never fully trust that the U.S. won’t go back to building walls and making working with allies an afterthought.

Here’s what else is happening

SoftBank: The Japanese investment giant reported a $5.4 billion profit for its most recent quarter, extending a recovery that followed one of the worst losses in Japan’s corporate history.

U.S. defense secretary fired: President Trump announced on Twitter that Mark Esper had been “terminated.” He was the latest casualty in the president’s revolving door of top national security officials who fell on the wrong side of their boss.

Chinese women’s health: Students and teachers are placing sanitary pads outside bathrooms as part of a grass-roots campaign to increase access to products that not all students can afford and to remove the stigma surrounding menstruation.

Britain racism: Lord Kilclooney, a peer in the House of Lords, drew heavy criticism from lawmakers for referring on Twitter to Kamala Harris, the U.S. vice president-elect, as “the Indian.” He removed the comment from Twitter but defended himself.

Snapshot: Above, Harshit Gupta, left, and Elliott Curelop, founders of Madhu Chocolates in Austin, Tex. In India and its diaspora, Cadbury chocolates are widely beloved. Now, several smaller competitors are seeking to challenge the brand’s dominance.

What we’re listening to: This episode of the Sway podcast, featuring the couples counselor Esther Perel. It’s the soothing listen you didn’t know you needed, with comparisons of our interpersonal relationships to larger, fraught global dynamics.

Now, a break from the news

Cook: This simple Taiwanese three-cup chicken can be a starting point. Our Food editor Sam Sifton invites you to adapt the recipe and make it your own.

Watch: “Transhood,” a documentary that chronicles the lives of families raising transgender children, and “Industry,” a new drama that follows graduates working in London’s banking world, are among the new offerings on HBO this week.

Do: Older adults who break a bone face a serious risk of breaking another, often within two years of the first mishap. Here’s some advice to help prevent more broken bones.

Maybe it’s time to try something new. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

And now for the Back Story on …

What’s in store for Biden

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has announced four priorities for his administration: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change. Our DealBook reporters outlined some of the biggest hurdles Mr. Biden faces.

Divisions among Democrats. Immediately after the race was called, the progressive and moderate wings of the party blamed each other for Democrats ceding ground in the House and failing to win clear control of the Senate.

Gridlock with Republicans. Whether Republicans keep hold of the Senate won’t be decided until two Georgia runoff elections in January. If they do, Mr. Biden has a solid working history with the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. That makes some bipartisan action on matters like infrastructure and economic stimulus possible, though after such a bitter election neither side may be in a mood to compromise.

Balance the cabinet. Mr. Biden’s first major appointments will come Monday: a coronavirus task force. Future appointments will reveal how he plans to balance the concerns of the left, right and center.

Cool down trade tensions. The days of presidential tweets threatening trade wars may be over, but few foresee a wholesale change. Mr. Biden’s focus is at home, so pandemic relief is the priority even if allies press him to act on tariffs. Longer term, the Biden economic plan is focused on “bringing home critical supply chains so that we aren’t dependent on other countries in future crises.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
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 Americans’ reactions to the election.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Gold measurement unit (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jane Coaston of Vox is the new host of our podcast “The Argument.”

Site Index

Site Information Navigation

Source: Read Full Article