Mini Covid update - California (Cal.20c) variant, UK variant (B.1.1.7) and vaccine timelines.


There's been a lot of recent worrisome news on the California variant Cal.20c, but I think it is a bit premature to worry about it. We don't know a lot about it relative to the other variants.

Compare the growth rate of the UK variant B.1.1.7 with the California variant. This is what a highly transmissible variant looks like. In about 6 weeks time the UK variant goes from barely present to 50% frequency. Meanwhile the CA variant didn't even get to 50% frequency in twice that time. And of course, California's cases and hospitalizations have fallen in recent weeks just like other states.

As for the UK variant, we will know fairly soon if it is going to cause a Spring wave in the US. Florida should have it as the dominant strain in about two weeks. I think vaccination will be fast enough to avoid the worst of the UK variant.


On the topic of vaccines..

The vaccine makers gave updates on their timelines recently to Congress.

Pfizer expects 120 million doses by end of March. Hitting a peak weekly rate of over 13 million doses. Moderna expects 100 million doses by end of March. Hitting a similar peak weekly rate. Johnson and Johnson expects 4 million doses after it gets EUA in the coming days and 20 million doses in total by the end of March. Hitting a peak weekly rate of about 10 million doses after March. AstraZeneca says it can provide 50 million doses by the end of April if it gets EUA. Novavax says it can provide 110 million doses by July.

Our peak rate governed by supply will be around 3.5 million doses a day in March. In April/May, supply could reach a peak of 4-5 million doses a day on Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J alone. By Summer, we could be looking at supply in excess of 6 million doses a day, but at that point I think we will start moving excess supply to COVAX.

Soon we will go from supply shortages to a supply glut. Hopefully we keep on expanding vaccine administration infrastructure and resources.

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