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  • USA - 300,000 Deaths By December?/ 9 Takeaways From The Newest COVID-19 Projections

    By Dec. 1, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could reach nearly 300,000. That's the grim new projection from researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — one of the more prominent teams modeling the pandemic. The new forecast, released Thursday, projects that between now and December, 137,000 people will die on top of the roughly 160,000 who have died so far.

    NPR spoke with the head of IHME's team, Chris Murray, as well as with Nicholas Reich, of University of Massachusetts Amherst, who has set up a system for comparing 26 different U.S. forecasts.

    Here are nine takeaways to help make sense of the projections:

    1. The coronavirus is on track to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

    To put the 300,000 projected death toll in context, it is more than four times the number of people who typically die from drug overdoses in the U.S. each year — and more than five times the number killed by the flu in a very bad year. In fact, if IHME's projection holds true, the coronavirus will likely be the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for 2020 — behind only heart disease and cancer — and a bigger killer than accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

    2. The hardest-hit states probably won't bend their curves much

    One reason the projection is so high, says Murray, is that the coronavirus is already spreading so widely across the United States. On the plus side, in some of the hardest-hit states such as Arizona, Florida and Texas, people have already modified their behavior enough to bend the curve. But while Murray estimates that daily new infections have now peaked there, he says: "We don't expect a sharp decline in those states. We expect that deaths will come down a little bit and then we will sort of see a slow, steady set of numbers there." This is due to a pattern his team has noticed when it comes to Americans' behavior ...

    3. There could be a roller coaster effect

    "The lesson that we're seeing in the experience in the big Southern states is that there is a behavioral response from individuals," says Murray. "When things get bad in their community, individuals are more likely to wear a mask, more likely to be cautious. And that helps put the brakes on transmission." But the flip side of that is that once there is an improvement in daily death tolls, people tend to ease up too quickly. "That creates this potential for [cases] going up, stabilizing, then coming down, [then] people becoming less vigilant, and then cases going up again," says Murray. "I think we will see more of that roller coaster phenomenon through the fall."

    4. Starting in November, cold weather could turbocharge this cycle

    In analyzing the pandemic's trajectory so far, IHME's researchers have found a tight correlation with the typical seasonal pattern of pneumonia infections in the United States. And that pattern is that, all things equal, when the weather is colder the virus appears to transmit more rapidly. This is a statistical analysis — so it doesn't explain the cause. For instance, it could be that when the weather turns cold, people spend more time indoors. Or it could be that the virus thrives in colder air. But whatever the reason, the impact is massive, according to Murray. For instance, in Northern states, says Murray, the analysis suggests "at the peak, which will be the first week of February, we would see approximately a 50% increase in transmission." And he says the effect will kick in starting in November.

    5. Things could be worse than projected if hard-hit states don't return to lockdowns

    IHME's projections are all the more sobering because they already factor in the likelihood that states will be taking major steps to curb rising cases. For instance, the forecast assumes 50% of American schools will be sticking to online-only instruction for the entire 2020-2021 school year. The forecast also assumes states will shut nonessential businesses and institute stay-at-home orders once their daily death counts get to the uncomfortably high metric of eight daily deaths per million residents. Four states — Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina — have already passed that mark. Georgia and Texas are projected to reach it in September. By November, 16 states are projected to reach it.

    Of course, it's far from certain that there's political will in many states to return to lockdowns. None of the states that have reached the threshold so far have gone into full stay-at-home mode. Currently "we see lots of evidence of reluctance to do that," says Murray. But he adds that for precisely that reason the team set the threshold for return to lockdown quite high. By comparison, back in the spring many states put their mandates in place when the daily death count reached just one per million.

    6. Things might be better than projected if mask use takes off

    One assumption the projection does not include is the prospect of rising use of masks. And this is where the picture gets more hopeful. Murray estimates that currently about 50% of people in the U.S. are wearing masks when they are out and about. The team then ran a simulation to see what would happen if starting today, that share was increased to 95% of Americans wearing masks. They found that this would cut the number of deaths by Dec. 1 almost in half — saving 66,000 lives.

    But what would it take to get so many more Americans to start wearing masks? Murray says that based on an analysis of the data, tough mandates could really help. IHME's team estimates that when officials make masks mandatory, use increases by 8 percentage points. And when the mandates include penalties, there's a 15 percentage point bump.

    7. Even with universal masking, many states may need to lock down

    In the case of four states — California, Kentucky, Louisiana and Missouri — if 95% of the population started wearing masks, the state would no longer reach the IHME threshold for imposing stay-at-home orders by December. But for the remaining 18 states that are currently at or projected to reach the threshold by December, near universal mask use would only delay the point at which they reach it by an average of six to eight weeks.

    8. New solutions could change the model

    Murray says a challenge of the IHME model is that it is based on observation of what has happened so far. This makes it difficult to estimate the impact of approaches that haven't already been widely used in the U.S. "I do believe that as we get closer to the fall, absolutely the most important question for many states will be, 'Is there something that is less intrusive on people's ability to work and their lives that will still provide enough protection to avoid the death rate getting to a high level?' " Murray says.

    For instance, he adds, "is it enough to have a mask mandate, bar closures, indoor-dining closures, businesses aligned on practices to try to keep their employees safe? And can we model out the effect of that versus the more draconian stay-at-home orders?" Similarly, he says, it will be a priority to estimate the impact of the patchwork of online and in-person instruction in schools and universities, as well as to determine how long lockdowns really need to be kept in place.

    9. Not all forecasts are as pessimistic as IHME's

    Nicholas Reich is a biostatistician at University of Massachusetts Amherst who has set up a system for making apples to apples comparison between 26 different national U.S. coronavirus forecasts. He notes that most of them are shorter-term forecasts — with only a handful projecting months ahead the way IHME's team does. Among these, IHME's predicted death total is the highest. For instance, researchers at Iowa State University are forecasting 236,000 deaths by Nov. 29 — 55,000 fewer deaths than IHME's forecast for that date.

    Reich says the forecasts diverge because they are based on differing computer models "that are incorporating different data sources. Some of them incorporate data on recent trends in neighboring states. Some are incorporating information about which age groups are getting infected." Others are not. "All of those different data sources," says Reich, "mean that some models in certain states may be more pessimistic and other models might be more optimistic."

    This doesn't mean that models with long time horizons like IHME's aren't useful, adds Reich. But he says their value is less about providing a hard number of how many deaths to expect, and more about helping to tease out the impact of different solutions — such as increased mask wearing or stay-at-home measures. As Reich puts it, they're "what-if projections into the future.": https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...19-projections



    Underreported US death count: 165,269

    US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

    Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
    American Revolutionary War - 8,000
    War of 1812 - 2,260
    Mexican–American War - 1,733
    Gulf War – 149
    War in Afghanistan - 1,833
    Iraq War - 3,836
    9/11 Casualties - 2,726

    Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
    it's been blown way out of proportion.

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

    Comment


      • Prices For COVID-19 Vaccines Are Starting To Come Into Focus

      How much will vaccines against the coronavirus cost? Even though none has finished clinical testing, some clues about pricing are starting to emerge.

      Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna, one of the leading horses in the vaccine race, has already made deals at between $32 and $37 per dose of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in agreements with some foreign countries, rattling consumer advocates, who fear an unfair deal for U.S. taxpayers.

      These Moderna prices reflected "smaller volume agreements," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said during a conference call Wednesday to discuss the company's second-quarter financial results. He added that the price would come down for larger volume agreements, hinting at a lower price for U.S. taxpayers.

      Still, advocates are worried. Moderna has been developing its vaccine with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of help from the federal government.

      In mid-April, the drugmaker won a $483 million award from BARDA, the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, toward research and development of its coronavirus vaccine. And that award could ultimately be worth almost $1 billion if the company meets all its goals under the contract, according to federal records.

      By subscribing, you agree to NPR's terms of use and privacy policy. NPR may share your name and email address with your NPR station. See Details. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

      Moderna has been working on its vaccine with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which anticipates spending an additional $410 million on the effort. This includes money for preclinical and early clinical research, but the bulk of it is going toward the crucial phase three clinical trial that began on July 27 and will include up to 30,000 people.

      Given the upfront investment in the Moderna vaccine by the government, there are sharp questions about its eventual pricing. "It's a classic example of taxpayers paying twice for medicines," says Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at Public Citizen focused on pharmaceuticals. "Now it wants to turn around and charge those very same taxpayers the highest public price for a potential COVID-19 [vaccine]. That's outrageous."

      The federal government has been announcing procurement agreements over the past few months with pharmaceutical companies that are part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's push to have a vaccine widely available by January. So far, the prices implied by publicly released deals work out to between $4 and $20 per dose.

      Moderna's procurement contract with the United States hasn't been announced, but a company spokesperson told NPR in an email that it is "committed to responsible pricing."

      Pfizer's agreement with the federal government is the most lucrative to date. The government agreed to buy 100 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, being developed with German biotech firm BioNTech, for $1.95 billion. That works out to about $20 per dose.

      Since Pfizer's contract did not include research funding from the federal government, it's not under the same pressure as some of the other vaccine makers to keep prices low for U.S. taxpayers.

      The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to require two doses to protect against the coronavirus.

      On July 21, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., asked vaccine manufacturers at a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing whether they would commit to selling their vaccines "at cost," meaning for no profit.

      She turned to Moderna's president, Stephen Hoge, first. "We will not sell it at cost," he replied.

      "You will what?" she asked.

      "We will not sell it at cost," he repeated. "No, ma'am."

      Merck also declined to make this pledge during the hearing. AstraZeneca said its existing deal with the U.S. didn't generate a profit, and Johnson & Johnson said it wouldn't make a profit "during the pandemic."

      Moderna views pricing of its coronavirus vaccine in two stages: the pandemic period and the endemic period, CEO Bancel said Wednesday during the conference call.

      "At Moderna, like many public health experts, we believe that SARS-CoV-2 virus is not going away, and that there will be a need to vaccinate people or give them a boost for many years to come," he told investors.

      During the pandemic period, he said the vaccine would be priced "well below value," but afterward, it would be more in line "with other innovative commercial vaccines." That means prices could go up.

      That two-tiered pricing outlook highlights the U.S. government's misstep in failing to add reasonable pricing clauses to its contracts with drugmakers, says Kathryn Ardizzone, a lawyer with Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit public interest group that works on intellectual property issues.

      "The reality is that this is not just a free market arrangement," she says. "The U.S. government has put up a billion dollars towards the development of the vaccine, and in doing so, should have realized that it has significant leverage and [negotiated] contract terms that are favorable to the American public and worldwide."

      Not everyone agrees. Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University who specializes in intellectual property, says efforts to control vaccine and drug prices during the COVID-19 pandemic could have ripple effects in the biopharmaceutical industry, ultimately stifling innovation.

      He says it's a slippery slope to say taxpayers are paying twice for pharmaceuticals because they also financed part of the research. "Because the government is involved in everything in our society, the principles we're establishing would justify the government to dictate prices on not just medicines but also on all products and services from automobiles to smartphones," he says.

      It's not clear exactly how much of the bill taxpayers are footing for Moderna's vaccine. Under its contract with BARDA, Moderna is required to disclose regularly the proportion of its funding that comes from the federal government. Public Citizen and Knowledge Ecology International say it hasn't.

      "It appears to be violating that contract and implicitly downplayed the critical role of federal scientists in its press releases," Public Citizen's Rizvi said. "This is shocking in some way, but it's also just another example of the erasure of publicly funded science that large pharmaceutical corporations often do."

      Gary Disbrow, BARDA's acting director, replied to the groups Thursday night.

      "The trust of the American people is vital in the all-of-America response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Disbrow wrote, stressing his colleagues' commitment to transparency regarding vaccine development. "The contracting officer responsible for the Moderna contract has been in touch with the company and will ensure their compliance with their contractual requirements.": https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...ome-into-focus
      • a side note........

      US - 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

      At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

      Why it matters: The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S.
      • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Friday that school districts in the state could resume in-person classes in the fall amid lower coronavirus transmission rates.
      • Some schools have already reopened for in-person learning in the South — including in Georgia, where authorities confirmed nine people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus at one school.
      • There have been many reports about the virus spreading through schools and summer camps, and evidence has begun to support the notion that children can play a key role in community transmission, Axios' Caitlin Owens notes.
      Of note: The virus disproportionately affects Black and Latino children, who have the highest rates of hospitalization, per the CDC.
      • The CDC received 570 reports from March 2 to July 18 of young people, whose ages ranged from infancy to 20 years old, infected with the virus. Of those, 40.5% were Hispanic or Latino, 33.1% were Black and 13.2% were white.
      What we know: The latest CDCMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportstates that while most coronavirus cases in children tend to be asymptomatic or mild, less is known about severe infections in children requiring hospitalization.
      • The CDC notes that children are much less likely to end up in hospital with the coronavirus than adults, but "one in three hospitalized children was admitted to an intensive care unit."
      • A South Korean study last month found those aged 10 to 19 can spread the coronavirus at least as effectively people over those ages.
      • NIAID director Anthony Fauci has said that while young children may be less susceptible to COVID-19, they're capable of spreading it as they can have a "have a higher viral load in their nasal pharynx."
      The bottom line: Tina Hartert of Vanderbilt University, who's leading a government-funded study into the impact of the coronavirus on children, told AP: "[W]e just don’t know yet the degree to which children can transmit the virus.": https://www.axios.com/children-covid...0fa064f42.html - https://downloads.aap.org/AAP/PDF/AA...20%20FINAL.pdf
      • Coronavirus Cases: 20,119,644

      Deaths: 735,667

      Underreported US death count: 165,766

      US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

      Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
      American Revolutionary War - 8,000
      War of 1812 - 2,260
      Mexican–American War - 1,733
      Gulf War – 149
      War in Afghanistan - 1,833
      Iraq War - 3,836
      9/11 Casualties - 2,726

      Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
      it's been blown way out of proportion.

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

      Comment


        • Inexpensive, Accessible Device Provides Visual Proof that Masks Block Droplets

        Duke physician Eric Westman was one of the first champions of masking as a means to curtail the spread of coronavirus, working with a local non-profit to provide free masks to at-risk and under-served populations in the greater Durham community.

        But he needed to know whether the virus-blocking claims mask suppliers made were true, to assure he wasn’t providing ineffective masks that spread viruses along with false security. So he turned to colleagues in the Duke Department of Physics: Could someone test various masks for him?

        Martin Fischer, Ph.D., a chemist and physicist, stepped up. As director of the Advanced Light Imaging and Spectroscopy facility, he normally focuses on exploring new optical contrast mechanisms for molecular imaging, but for this task, he MacGyvered a relatively inexpensive apparatus from common lab materials that can easily be purchased online. The setup consisted of a box, a laser, a lens, and a cell phone camera.

        In a proof-of-concept study appearing online Aug. 7 in the journal Science Advances, Fischer, Westman and colleagues report that the simple, low-cost technique provided visual proof that face masks are effective in reducing droplet emissions during normal wear.

        “We confirmed that when people speak, small droplets get expelled, so disease can be spread by talking, without coughing or sneezing,” Fischer said. “We could also see that some face coverings performed much better than others in blocking expelled particles.”

        Notably, the researchers report, the best face coverings were N95 masks without valves – the hospital-grade coverings that are used by front-line health care workers. Surgical or polypropylene masks also performed well.

        But hand-made cotton face coverings provided good coverage, eliminating a substantial amount of the spray from normal speech.

        On the other hand, bandanas and neck fleeces such as balaclavas didn’t block the droplets much at all.

        “This was just a demonstration - more work is required to investigate variations in masks, speakers, and how people wear them – but it demonstrates that this sort of test could easily be conducted by businesses and others that are providing masks to their employees or patrons,” Fischer said.

        “Wearing a mask is a simple and easy way to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Westman said. “About half of infections are from people who don’t show symptoms, and often don’t know they’re infected. They can unknowingly spread the virus when the cough, sneeze and just talk.

        “If everyone wore a mask, we could stop up to 99% of these droplets before they reach someone else,” Westman said. “In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral medicine, it’s the one proven way to protect others as well as yourself.”

        Westman and Fischer said it’s important that businesses supplying masks to the public and employees have good information about the products they’re providing to assure the best protection possible.

        “We wanted to develop a simple, low-cost method that we could share with others in the community to encourage the testing of materials, masks prototypes and fittings,” Fischer said. “The parts for the test apparatus are accessible and easy to assemble, and we’ve shown that they can provide helpful information about the effectiveness of masking.”

        Westman said he put the information immediately to use: “We were trying to make a decision on what type of face covering to purchase in volume, and little information was available on these new materials that were being used.”

        The masks that he was about to purchase for the “Cover Durham” initiative?

        “They were no good,” Westman said. “The notion that ‘anything is better than nothing’ didn’t hold true.” : https://corporate.dukehealth.org/new...block-droplets
        • European health commissioner: Coronavirus vaccine could be ready as soon as this year

        A vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready as soon as the end of this year or the beginning of next year, according to EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

        “Although making predictions is risky at this point, we have good indications that the first vaccine will be available toward the end of this year or beginning of next year,” Kyriakides told German business newspaper Handelsblatt in an interview published Sunday.

        Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza made a similar prediction last week.

        Countries around the world are racing to secure potential coronavirus vaccines. In June, a vaccine alliance between Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy began merging its activities with the European Commission’s strategy to advance purchase vaccines as a bloc.: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/0...is-year-392889
        • Coronavirus Cases: 20,384,549

        Deaths: 741,724

        Underreported US death count: 166,814

        US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

        Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
        American Revolutionary War - 8,000
        War of 1812 - 2,260
        Mexican–American War - 1,733
        Gulf War – 149
        War in Afghanistan - 1,833
        Iraq War - 3,836
        9/11 Casualties - 2,726

        Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
        it's been blown way out of proportion.
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

        Comment


          • Coronavirus: Putin says vaccine has been approved for use

          Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a locally developed vaccine for Covid-19 has been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans.

          Mr Putin said the vaccine had passed all the required checks, adding that his daughter had already been given it.

          Officials have said they plan to start mass vaccination in October.

          Experts have raised concerns about the speed of Russia's work, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners.

          Amid fears that safety could have been compromised, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged Russia last week to follow international guidelines for producing a vaccine against Covid-19.

          On Tuesday, the WHO said it had been in talks with Russian authorities about undertaking a review of the vaccine, which has been named Sputnik-V.

          Currently, the Russian vaccine is not among the WHO's list of six vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trials, which involve more widespread testing in humans.: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53735718
          • US - Over 900 Health Workers Have Died of COVID-19. And the Toll Is Rising.

          KHN and The Guardian unveil an interactive database documenting front-line health care worker deaths. The majority of them are people of color — and nurses face the highest toll.



          More than 900 front-line health care workers have died of COVID-19, according to an interactive database unveiled Tuesday by The Guardian and KHN. Lost on the Frontline is a partnership between the two newsrooms that aims to count, verify and memorialize every U.S. health care worker who dies during the pandemic.

          KHN and The Guardian are tracking health care workers who died from COVID-19 and writing about their lives and what happened in their final days.

          It is the most comprehensive accounting of U.S. health care workers’ deaths in the country.

          As coronavirus cases surge — and dire shortages of lifesaving protective gear like N95 masks, gowns and gloves persist — the nation’s health care workers are again facing life-threatening conditions in Southern and Western states.

          Through crowdsourcing and reports from colleagues, social media, online obituaries, workers unions and local media, Lost on the Frontline reporters have identified 922 health care workers who reportedly died of COVID-19 and its complications.

          A team of more than 50 journalists from the Guardian, KHN and journalism schools have spent months investigating individual deaths to make certain that they died of COVID-19, and that they were indeed working on the front lines in contact with COVID patients or working in places where they were being treated. The reporters have also been investigating the circumstances of their deaths, including their access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and tracking down family members, co-workers, union representatives and employers to comment about their deaths.

          Thus far, we have independently confirmed 167 deaths and published their names, data and stories about their lives and how they will be remembered. We are continuing to confirm additional victims and are publishing new names weekly.

          The tally includes doctors, nurses and paramedics, as well as crucial support staff such as hospital custodians, administrators and nursing home workers, who put their own lives at risk during the pandemic to care for others.

          The early data indicates that dozens have died who were unable to access adequate PPE and at least 35 succumbed after federal work-safety officials received safety complaints about their workplaces. Early tallies also suggest that the majority of the deaths were among people of color, and many were immigrants. But because this database is a work in progress — with new confirmed cases added weekly — the early findings represent a fraction of total reports and are not representative of all health care worker deaths.

          Of the 167 workers added to the Lost on the Frontline database so far:

          A majority — 103 (62%) — were identified as people of color.
          At least 52 (31%) were reported to have had inadequate PPE.
          The median age was 57 and ages ranged from 20 to 80, with 21 people (13%) under 40.
          About one-third — at least 53 — were born outside the United States, and 25 were from the Philippines.
          The majority of the deaths, 103, were in April, after the initial surge on the East Coast.
          Roughly 38% — 64 — were nurses, but the total also included physicians, pharmacists, first responders and hospital technicians, among others.
          At least 68 lived in New York and New Jersey, two states hit hard at the outset of the pandemic, with Illinois and California next.

          Some of these deaths were preventable. Poor preparation, government missteps and an overburdened health care system increased that risk. Inadequate access to testing, a nationwide shortage of protective gear and resistance to social distancing and mask-wearing have forced more patients into overburdened hospitals and driven up the death toll.

          Gaps in government data have increased the need for independent tracking. The federal government has failed to accurately count health care worker fatalities. As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 587 deaths among health workers — but the agency does not list specific names and has conceded this is an undercount.

          Recent moves by the White House underscore the need for public data and accountability. In July, the Trump administration ordered health facilities to send data on hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, bypassing the CDC. In the succeeding days, vital information on the pandemic disappeared from the public eye. (The data was later restored following a public outcry, but the agency indicated it may no longer update the figures because of a change in federal reporting requirements.)

          Lost on the Frontline reporters have compiled hundreds of potential cases through crowdsourcing and reports from colleagues, social media, online obituaries, workers unions and local media. They are independently confirming each death before publishing names, data and obituaries.

          Exclusive stories by the reporters have revealed that many health care workers are using surgical masks that are far less effective than N95 masks and have put them in jeopardy. Emails obtained via a public records request showed that federal and state officials were aware in late February of dire shortages of PPE.

          Further investigations found that health workers who contracted the coronavirus and their families now struggle to access death and other benefits in the workers’ compensation system. Our reporting has also examined the deaths of 19 health care workers under age 30 who died from COVID-19.: https://khn.org/news/exclusive-over-...oll-is-rising/
          • Coronavirus Cases: 20,645,578

          Deaths: 748,581

          Underreported US death count: 168,334

          US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

          Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
          American Revolutionary War - 8,000
          War of 1812 - 2,260
          Mexican–American War - 1,733
          Gulf War – 149
          War in Afghanistan - 1,833
          Iraq War - 3,836
          9/11 Casualties - 2,726

          Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
          it's been blown way out of proportion.
          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

          Comment


            • Pfizer's COVID vaccine shows 'robust' results in early trial

            A vaccine based on cutting-edge RNA gene technology showed promising potency against the new coronavirus in an early trial, scientists report.

            The vaccine candidate—for now just called BNT162b1—"elicited a robust immune response in participants, which increased with dose level and with a second dose," according to a news release from the journal Nature, which published the trial data on Aug. 12.

            The early phase 1/2 trial was led by Dr. Judith Absalon, of drug giant Pfizer Inc. According to her team, BNT162b1 is based on a bit of genetic code known as messenger RNA, which helps kick-start the body's immune response when it encounters the new coronavirus.

            Vaccine development strategies focused on RNA are "generally considered safe and have facilitated the rapid development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2," the journal noted.

            The new trial involved 45 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55. Half were randomly selected to get the vaccine at a low, medium or high dose, while the other half got a "dummy" placebo shot.

            The result: "The vaccine elicited a robust immune response in participants," and the higher the dose, the stronger the response, the authors reported. Getting a second "booster" shot also upped the immune system response.

            In fact, in participants who got the vaccine, "levels of [coronavirus-] neutralizing antibodies were 1.9 to 4.6 times higher than those in patients recovering from SARS-CoV-2," according to the release. Still, Absalon's group stressed that phase 3 trials—where the vaccine is tested in a much larger population—are needed to confirm the safety, strength and duration of any protective effect.

            According to the journal, the shot was "generally well-tolerated," although some recipients did have some transitory side effects such as soreness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, fever and sleep woes. Those tended to clear up within a week of vaccination, the researchers said.

            Dr. Amesh Adalja is an expert in infectious diseases and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. Reading over the new report, he said, "The study provides more evidence of mRNA candidate COVID vaccines do induce neutralizing antibodies after two doses."

            Adalja noted that there are "multiple" COVID-19 vaccine candidates that employ RNA technology, and this suggests they can spark a potent immune response in people.

            "What remains to be seen is what these antibodies translate to when a vaccinated individual is faced with the wild virus," Adalja said. "Until we see phase 3 clinical data, it is still an extrapolation to understand how effective these vaccines will be in the real world.": https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-...t-results.html
            • Moderna pledges 100 million-plus vaccines to the U.S.; J&J weighs challenge trials for late-stage vaccine study

            The U.S. locked down another vaccine purchase deal, this time from Moderna. The government put up $1.5 billion to secure 100 million doses of the Massachusetts-based biotech's mRNA shot, with an option for up to 400 million more. The supply pact comes after Moderna scored a $955 million development deal with the U.S. government's BARDA agency.

            If COVID-19 infection rates drop before Johnson & Johnson wraps its late-stage vaccine study, the pharma giant may consider challenge trials, Johan Van Hoof, J&J's vaccines chief, said. In challenge trials, healthy patients are injected with vaccine and then deliberately infected with the virus to speed up review of the shot's performance. So, there are ethical issues and logistical challenges J&J must weigh before going that route, Van Hoof noted, such as having effective therapies on hand to tackle subjects' symptoms.

            Speaking of J&J, the drugmaker is one of three whose vaccine candidates are slated for testing in Mexico, with the two other shots coming from China's CanSino Biologics and Walvax Biotechnology. The trials are set to begin between September and January, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said. Plus, CanSino and Walvax are both eyeing Mexico as a production hub for the Latin American market, Ebrard said.

            The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation put up another $150 million in its quest to secure 100 million vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. The funding was delivered to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which will provide the up-front capital to the Serum Institute of India to crank out shot hopefuls from AstraZeneca and Novavax.

            COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have hit people of color especially hard in the U.S., but minorities are woefully underrepresented in clinical vaccine and drug trials, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the nationally funded trial on antiviral remdesivir, Black Americans only accounted for 20% of the patient population, and only one in 10 trial subjects was black in Gilead's own study of the drug. Now, the report's authors are calling for increased trial diversity to offer results relevant to the entire U.S. population.

            Seventeen drugmakers, including Amgen, AstraZeneca, Gilead and others, were urged by a large pool of investors to price their eventual COVID-19 drugs and vaccines prudently and ensure widespread access. The investors, representing $2.5 trillion in assets, cited the large amount of federal funding that has gone into COVID-19 efforts, in turn making taxpayers the biggest investors in those projects.

            Cipla aims to scale production of Gilead Sciences' remdesivir at its Goa, India, plant, to meet increased demand for the antiviral. Cipla kept mum on the volume it plans to produce, but it has partnered with BDR Pharmaceuticals for API supplies and Sovereign Pharma for finishing work. Cipla launched its licensed version of remdesivir, Cipremi, in July at INR 4,000 ($53.52) per vial—the cheapest version of the drug on the Indian market.

            Israel may consider buying doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, approved out of left field Tuesday, if the shot turns out to be a "serious product," Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said. Meanwhile, health experts slammed the approval as a potentially dangerous political stunt. Developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Research Institute, the shot got a green light from Russia Tuesday despite its lack of late-stage data. : https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/...-s-world-first
            • Moderna stock popped early Wednesday after the biotech player announced a pact worth up to $1.525 billion pact with the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed for 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine. MRNA stock settled back once the market opened after making sizable gains in premarket trades.

            The company already has a separate $955 million U.S. government commitment to speed the development of its pioneering messenger RNA coronavirus vaccine candidate.

            On July 27, Moderna (MRNA) announced the start of crucial final-phase testing of its coronavirus vaccine. Its mRNA technology has shown much progress and good results in early testing, but no mRNA vaccine has ever hit the market.

            On the news, MRNA stock popped 9% in premarket trading in the stock market today, near 75. Shares pared back those gains and were up 1.4% near 69.90 in recent action. MRNA stock has mostly been on a roll since it emerged as an early leader in the coronavirus vaccine race. Moderna stock hit its record high of 95.21 on July 17, after trading below 19 as recently as Feb. 24.: https://www.investors.com/news/techn...u-s-mrna-pops/
            • Coronavirus Cases: 20,959,198

            Deaths: 750,165

            Underreported US death count: 169,667

            US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

            Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
            American Revolutionary War - 8,000
            War of 1812 - 2,260
            Mexican–American War - 1,733
            Gulf War – 149
            War in Afghanistan - 1,833
            Iraq War - 3,836
            9/11 Casualties - 2,726

            Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
            it's been blown way out of proportion.
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

            Comment


            • Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951
              Some 365,000 Vietnamese civilians are estimated to have died as a result of the war during the period of American involvement.
              Dont get sick of me just yet, for I will be here for quite a while

              Comment


                • A New Survey Links Vaping to Higher Covid-19 Risk

                A Stanford University report shows that teens and young adults who use e-cigarettes are five to seven times more likely to test positive for the virus.

                SINCE THE PANDEMIC started to hit the US in full force in March, speculation about the link between vaping and Covid-19 has flourished. The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse both issued warnings. Anecdotal reports of young vapers coming down with severe coronavirus infections began to crop up. But there was very little research to support a connection.

                Now, a study published today in The Journal of Adolescent Health finally offers data that shows a relationship between e-cigarette use and Covid-19 risk. Researchers from Stanford University show that teenagers and young adults ages 13 to 24 who use e-cigarettes are five times more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than their non-vaping peers. Those who are dual users—people who smoke both traditional and electronic cigarettes—are seven times more likely to test positive for the virus, the researchers found.

                “I knew there would be a relationship,” says coauthor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University who studies youth tobacco use. “I did not expect it to be this strong of a relationship.”

                Studies have already linked smoking with higher susceptibility to severe Covid-19 infections, but previously no population-based studies had examined the link between e-cigarette use and Covid-19 in teenagers and young adults. The question researchers wanted to answer was two-fold: Were e-cigarette smokers more likely to get tested for SARS-CoV-2? And were they more likely to test positive? “The answer is soundly yes” to both parts of the question, says Halpern-Felsher.

                The researchers gathered their data through an online survey posted on spaces like social media and gaming sites. Over 4,000 teens and young adults from all 50 states responded, completing the roughly 15-minute survey. Researchers then weighted the samples to reflect the racial and ethnic, gender, LGBTQ status, and age makeup of the United States population.

                The survey, which was sent out in early May, asked respondents whether they had ever used regular or electronic cigarettes; whether they had used them in the last 30 days; whether they had been tested for Covid-19; and whether their test results came back positive. The researchers also controlled for other Covid-19 risk factors like whether the respondents lived near a coronavirus hotspot; whether they were under- or overweight, which can affect lung function; and for their socio-economic status, which can affect how well people can socially distance. Ultimately, the researchers determined that dual users who had smoked in the last 30 days were not only more likely to test positive, but they were also nine times more likely to get tested in the first place.

                The survey did not explore why users decided to get tested. It’s possible that users confused the effects of vaping—extra phlegm, coughing, or shortness of breath—with Covid-19 symptoms. But the high rate of positive test results may indicate that vapers are more vulnerable to the virus itself.

                That said, this study simply illustrates a correlation between e-cigarette and cigarette use and positive Covid-19 diagnoses. As the authors explain in the paper, their findings “show that e-cigarette use and dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes are significant underlying risk factors for COVID-19 that has previously not been shown.” But on its own, this paper can’t prove whether they may be more biologically susceptible to infection in the first place, or if they are more likely to have severe infections.

                Still, Halpern-Felsher has a few theories for why this overlap might exist. Smokers may have more lung damage, making them more susceptible to the virus. Or they might be touching their hand to their mouth more often than other people, or sharing vapes, increasing their likelihood of being exposed in the first place. Or it could be that the virus is being spread through the aerosols vapers exhale. “Those are all hypotheses,” she says. “Someone needs to follow it up.”

                There are already studies that link smoking tobacco with a higher risk of Covid-19. A study published in March in the European Respiratory Journal found that smokers and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had greater expression of ACE2, the protein SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells. In a meta-analysis of 19-papers published in May in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, scientists from UC San Francisco found that tobacco use nearly doubled a person’s risk of severe Covid-19 infection. Another study by a separate group of researchers at UCSF published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in July found that smoking also doubled the risk of Covid-19 infection for young adult ages 18 to 25.

                “I’m not at all surprised” by the results of the Stanford survey, says Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, who was not involved in the study. She points out that nicotine can inhibit the immune system and e-cigarettes can affect a lipid layer in the lungs that traps viruses, bacteria, and other foreign particles, as well as the macrophages that clear those threats away. It can also decrease the number of hair-like projections called cilia that help clear pathogens out of the lungs. “We’re appreciating more and more that vaping is associated with lung injury,” says Levy. When the lungs are injured, she says, they’re less likely to be able to fend off infections.

                More and more evidence shows that e-cigarettes make the lungs more vulnerable to a variety of different infections, which could potentially provide a mechanistic explanation for the relationship the Stanford study shows. “There’s been a consensus that vaping and the use of e-cigarettes causes a suppression of respiratory immune responses,” says Ilona Jaspers, a pediatrician, toxicologist, and deputy director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, who was not involved in the study. She says that models in both mice and in human lung tissue show that e-cigarettes reduce the host’s ability to respond to viral and microbial threats.

                Alicia Casey, a pulmonologist also at Boston Children’s Hospital who works with kids and teens and was not part of this study, says she’s seen similar problems in healthy teens who couldn’t fight off other viral infections. “We definitely saw this with the flu this year,” she says. “Why are these teenagers having so much trouble with the flu? An otherwise-healthy high school athlete should not have trouble and shouldn’t have chronic respiratory problems either.” Casey says that vaping is associated with damage to the lower respiratory tract, so it makes sense that vapers with underlying damage to their respiratory system would have trouble fighting off an infection to that system.

                Casey adds that the Stanford paper is particularly concerning given that data from a 2019 national survey indicates that more than a quarter of high school students use e-cigarettes. “We may have a lot of young people struggling with this,” she says, especially as states begin to reopen and kids go back to school or start to see their friends more often.

                Levy points out that some risk factors may also be behavioral. “The way I see it, nicotine vaping is a marker for other kinds of behaviors that all may increase risk,” she says. Like Halpern-Felsher, she notes that teens and young adults who vape may share vape pens, that smoking involves a lot of hand-to-mouth contact, and that it creates aerosols, all of which could increase the risk of passing the virus. Plus, people may also be vaping marijuana or drinking—if they’re feeling less inhibited, they may forget to follow protocols like wearing a mask or social distancing. “That’s why it’s so frightening,” Levy says. “They’re more likely to behaviorally get themselves into trouble, and then they’re also more likely to experience worse outcomes.”

                But while the exact mechanism of how vaping and Covid-19 are correlated is still unknown, there’s already political pressure on legislators to act. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, cited the study in a letter to the FDA published today, asking the agency to take e-cigarettes off the market during the pandemic, writing that it is “evident that the youth vaping epidemic has combined forces with the Coronavirus pandemic, creating a much deadlier foe that demands FDA action.”

                Halpern-Felsher says both physicians and young e-cigarette users should pay attention to the survey findings. “We’re hoping there’s a prevention message out there: Adolescents, young adults, take note that this is going to put you at risk,” she says. She also urges healthcare providers to regularly ask young people about their vaping and smoking habits. That will help determine who is at risk. Meanwhile, being able to track the number of people who both use e-cigs and come in for Covid-19 testing and treatment will also help researchers figure out whether vaping contributes to more severe coronavirus infections. “We definitely need more data,” she says.: https://www.wired.com/story/a-new-su...covid-19-risk/
                • Coronavirus Cases: 21,092,096

                Deaths: 757,727

                Underreported US death count: 170,419

                US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

                Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
                American Revolutionary War - 8,000
                War of 1812 - 2,260
                Mexican–American War - 1,733
                Gulf War – 149
                War in Afghanistan - 1,833
                Iraq War - 3,836
                9/11 Casualties - 2,726

                Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

                Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                it's been blown way out of proportion.
                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                Comment


                  • Large study suggests convalescent plasma can help treat Covid-19, but experts have doubts

                  Infusing hospitalized Covid-19 patients with blood plasma from people who recovered from the disease appeared to show a benefit in a nationwide study, but the study’s lack of a placebo group left several experts struggling to interpret the data.

                  The study, which enrolled more than 35,000 patients, found that quickly administering so-called convalescent plasma had a marked effect on mortality for patients with severe cases of Covid-19. Those who received transfusions within three days of diagnosis had a seven-day death rate of 8.7%, while patients who got plasma after four or more days had a mortality rate of 11.9%. The difference met the standard for statistical significance.

                  But without a placebo group for comparison, it’s unclear just how valuable the treatment might be. The study, run by the Mayo Clinic and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was meant to broaden access to convalescent plasma. It was part of what is known as an “expanded access program,” not designed to definitively test how well the treatment works but to get it to patients while collecting data.

                  In a statement, the Mayo Clinic said that the Food and Drug Administration has advised it that the expanded access program will continue “while planning is under way to transition smoothly to Emergency Use Authorization of convalescent plasma.”

                  Peter Bach, director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, said there’s no way to be sure about the ultimate benefit of convalescent plasma, but the study “checks a few boxes.” For one, it supports the overall theory that convalescent plasma might help some patients, he said. He noted that researchers also found that the quality of the plasma infusion had an effect on patient outcomes, as those who got infusions that were particularly rich with antibodies fared better overall.

                  “If we had just done the randomized controlled trials, we would know the answers we are still guessing at,” Bach said, noting the authors of the study were “appropriately cautious.”

                  The results of the study were published Thursday on a preprint server, meaning they have not yet been peer-reviewed.

                  The study enrolled a high proportion of critically ill patients, with about 52% in intensive care units and 28% requiring mechanical help to breathe. About 60% of the study participants were male. Roughly half the patients were white, while 38% were Hispanic, 19% were Black, and 4% were Asian. The study classified more than a quarter of patients as “other or unknown.”

                  The concept behind convalescent plasma, which dates back more than a century, is that blood from patients who have recovered from an infection will be rich with antibodies against it, making their plasma an effective treatment. A host of pharmaceutical companies are developing lab-grown Covid-19 antibodies that would work much the same way, and the many vaccines in development are meant to spur the production of similar antibodies that would prevent infection in the first place.

                  As doctors around the world scramble to find effective therapies for Covid-19, studies like this one present enticing data but do little to address the clinical guesswork physicians face when treating the disease.

                  “It raises the question of what strength of evidence is necessary to treat during a pandemic,” said Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale New Haven Hospital. “The problem is we have yet to resolve what is sufficient evidence to change the treatment paradigm.”

                  Steven Nissen, a noted clinical trialist at the Cleveland Clinic, agreed: “The lack of high-quality trials in making clinical decisions about how to treat patients with coronavirus infection is a national embarrassment. Here we have another non-randomized study, NIH-funded, and uninterpretable.”

                  Randomized, placebo-control studies of convalescent plasma are ongoing.: https://www.statnews.com/2020/08/13/...-with-caveats/ - https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1...359v1.full.pdf
                  • Coronavirus Cases: 21,100,473

                  Deaths: 758,001

                  Underreported US death count: 170,422

                  US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

                  Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
                  American Revolutionary War - 8,000
                  War of 1812 - 2,260
                  Mexican–American War - 1,733
                  Gulf War – 149
                  War in Afghanistan - 1,833
                  Iraq War - 3,836
                  9/11 Casualties - 2,726

                  Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

                  Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                  it's been blown way out of proportion.
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                  Comment


                    • Scientists revise COVID-19 incubation period to 7.7 days

                    The average incubation period for COVID-19 may be longer than a week, according to new data from more than 1,000 people who contracted the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China

                    The incubation period of a disease is the time between infection and the emergence of symptoms. Although it varies from person to person, understanding the average incubation period of an infectious disease is critical to controlling it.

                    Authorities use the incubation period to determine the length of quarantine, for instance, as well as to understand how the disease is transmitted and to identify the source of the outbreak.

                    For COVID-19, current estimates of the incubation period are in the region of 4–5 days. However, there is some uncertainty around these estimates due to the novelty of the disease and the fact that only a limited number of studies have tried to establish the incubation period.

                    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have now led a study that has allowed researchers to formulate a new, longer estimate for the COVID-19 incubation period.

                    Using a dataset of people who contracted the virus in Wuhan, China, they found that the median incubation period for the disease was 7.76 days.

                    The study features in Science Advances and is based on the largest number of patients to date.

                    Recall theory
                    The researchers used data from 1,084 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. They followed presymptomatic people from the time they left Wuhan until their symptoms developed.

                    The researchers obtained the data from public databases belonging to health commissions in China and the ministries of health in other countries. Information on confirmed cases included regional information, gender, age, date of symptom onset, date of diagnosis, history of travel, and date of departure from Wuhan.

                    The researchers estimated the incubation period using a mathematical approach called renewal theory, which makes it possible to study the probability of processes over time. One of the benefits of using this approach is that it reduces recall bias, which is when people make mistakes in remembering past events, such as when they traveled.

                    Longer incubation period

                    The researchers found that the median incubation period (the middle value) was 7.76 days, while the mean incubation period (the statistical average) was 8.29 days. However, in some cases, the incubation period was much longer.

                    For 10% of people, the incubation period was longer than 2 weeks (14.28 days), and in 1% of cases, the estimated incubation period was more than 20 days.

                    The youngest person included in the study was a 6-month-old baby, while the oldest person was 86 years old. However, the authors found no evidence that the incubation period for COVID-19 depends on age.: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/art...ubation-period - https://advances.sciencemag.org/cont...sciadv.abc1202
                    • Coronavirus Cases: 21,101,308

                    Deaths: 758,014

                    Underreported US death count: 170,422

                    US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

                    Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
                    American Revolutionary War - 8,000
                    War of 1812 - 2,260
                    Mexican–American War - 1,733
                    Gulf War – 149
                    War in Afghanistan - 1,833
                    Iraq War - 3,836
                    9/11 Casualties - 2,726

                    Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

                    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                    it's been blown way out of proportion.
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                    Comment



                    • Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951


                      Some 365,000 Vietnamese civilians are estimated to have died as a result of the war during the period of American involvement.
                      Dont get sick of me just yet, for I will be here for quite a while

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by S Landreth View Post


                        Underreported US death count: 165,269

                        US conflicts and 9/11 Casualties ………

                        Civil War (US Army) - 140,414
                        American Revolutionary War - 8,000
                        War of 1812 - 2,260
                        Mexican–American War - 1,733
                        Gulf War – 149
                        War in Afghanistan - 1,833
                        Iraq War - 3,836
                        9/11 Casualties - 2,726

                        Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

                        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                        it's been blown way out of proportion.


                        just awful
                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                        Comment


                        • Comment


                          • ^you still upset Walmart’s is requiring you to wear a mask while in their store


                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by S Landreth View Post

                              just awful
                              Perhaps it's a karmic debt:

                              Total US deaths in the conflicts above and 9/11 Casualties: 160,951

                              A 1998 study posited a figure of 202,118 registered deaths resulting from the Hiroshima bombing.

                              Dont get sick of me just yet, for I will be here for quite a while

                              Comment


                              • ^ you might want to start a thread related to the subject
                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

                                Comment

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