The Challenges Involved with Pfizer’s Vaccine Candidate as SpaceX launches Public Beta for Starlink Internet

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine candidate is most likely going to be the first in the world to be approved, but there are many challenges involved with the vaccine. SpaceX opens Starlink internet service to public beta testers. A look at Biden’s tax plan and who it’s going to affect. Next-gen consoles finally release but the sell out in hours. Climate change is causing hurricanes to become more powerful and common. Here are this week's top stories.

1. The problem with Pfizer’s Covid 19 vaccine

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

The coronavirus is only getting worse as the virus surges all across Europe and North America. The US crossed 10 million confirmed cases of the virus and has been consistently reporting over 100 thousand daily infections since the election. Scientists and researchers have been working since March to develop an effective vaccine and Pfizer has delivered the world’s first successful trial of a coronavirus vaccine with over 40,000 participants and an effectiveness rate of 90%. The vaccine is on track to be approved by the FDA as early as next month and but it will probably be available for most Americans by April. There are many factors causing this lengthy delay. The vaccine requires two doses given 3 weeks apart. The vaccine also has to be stored at a temperature of -94F(-70C) and the dose is not effective after one hour of being in a warmer climate. Most of the hospitals do not carry such ultra-cold freezers would need to do an investment of more than $10,000. This a very difficult challenge to overcome but Pfizer has developed a solution that might work. Pfizer has developed a special box the size of a suitcase. It is packed with dry ice and can hold 5,000 doses. Pfizer is also working in parallel to release a vaccine that can be stored at temperatures between 2–8 degrees Centigrade, but that may take additional time. In the meantime, it will take a lot of planning before the vaccine can be distributed across the world.

2. SpaceX opens Starlink internet to the public

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

SpaceX is finally allowing public beta testers for its Starlink service. Starlink is a billion-dollar plan by Elon Musk to create thousands of satellites working together and providing internet access everywhere in the world. They have currently launched 895 satellites with coverage across the US and Canada. The goal of this service is to provide internet everywhere at a very low cost. Beta testers were invited to try out the service with a respectable speed of around 50 to 150 megabits. SpaceX is planning to launch many more satellites to expand its coverage dramatically in 2021. The only problem with this service is the price. It initial costs of $499 for equipment and then a $99 monthly fee. This is very expensive and most consumers can get the same speed for half the cost. SpaceX is working on getting the price down. Normal wifi is more reliable but this service also allows rural areas to get access to modern broadband speeds. Beta testers were impressed with the speed and stability. SpaceX has a very bright future and has the potential to change the world.

3. Biden’s Tax Plan

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President Donald Trump had signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. It cut individual income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction, and eliminated personal exemptions from the tax code. People, who earned more than 95% of the population, received a 2.2% increase in after-tax income with those between 20% to 80% received a 1.7% increase. The bottom 20% only received a 0.8% increase in after-tax income. Trump also cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and he did many more things. Democrats claim he only lowered taxes for the rich but he made tax cuts for everyone and Americans paid $64 billion less in federal income taxes. President-elect Joe Biden has made a tax plan to improve upon Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by increasing taxes for the rich and corporations. He wants to raise taxes for people earning over $400,000 by 2.6%. He also proposes to extend the 12.4% portion of the Social Security tax to earnings over $400,000. Additionally, he plans to increase the capital gains rate to 39.6% for taxpayers with income over $1 million. Wealthy investors currently face long-term capital gains rates of up to 20%. The success of Biden’s tax plan depends on the Democrats taking control of the Senate. The Democrats currently have a chance of creating a 50–50 split in the senate if they win both the seats in Georgia.

4. New Xbox and Playstation consoles sell out in hours

Xbox controller and PS5 controller. Source: Metro

The Next generation of consoles has arrived just in time for the Holiday season after years of waiting. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Playstation’s PS5 launched this week to anticipating gamers and holiday shoppers. Both of the consoles sold out everywhere within hours of launch. The rush actually caused Walmart’s website to go down Thursday afternoon. The consoles sold out virtually everywhere online and lucky buyers are putting up their consoles on eBay for extremely high prices. These consoles were only sold online which allowed bots to buy many consoles in milliseconds while human consumers were left out. Walmart and many other big retailers are planning to do multiple more restock before the Holiday season to give consumers a chance of getting the next-gen consoles. There are also many consoles that have problems in their software and hardware but Microsoft and Sony are trying their best. We get a new generation of consoles every 5 to 7 years and the launch always causes certain difficulties, but within a couple of months, almost all the problems are fixed.

5. Climate change is causing hurricanes to get stronger

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

As climate change worsens around the world, hurricanes are becoming more common and stronger. The time it takes for hurricanes to die has doubled in the past 50 years. Scientists and researchers are saying the heat caused by global warming is causing this. Hurricanes have also become more common. North America in 2020 has already named 29 storms breaking 2005’s record of 28. Hurricanes in North America are named alphabetical but this year they ran out of letters so they used greek letters. In the 1960s, hurricanes usually lost 75% of their power by the first day of making landfall. That number has changed to 50% and will keep going down as the earth warms. Warm weather powers hurricanes and allows them to hold more water in the atmosphere, so if it keeps getting warmer then hurricanes can hold more water and become more powerful.

Above were my top stories for the week ending November 15, 2020, hope you liked it. See you next week!

Curious High Schooler, who loves to share new and exciting stories. Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com