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  • Coronavirus Cases: 38,042,463

    Deaths: 1,085,373

    Underreported US death count: 220,011

    American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • When symptoms of COVID-19 don’t go away: Research is underway to assess the pandemic’s long-term effects

      Judy Londa, a 55-year-old Brooklynite who had been traveling by subway to teach art in a Manhattan public school earlier this year, developed symptoms of COVID-19 two days before in-person schooling was abruptly canceled mid-March.

      Londa said she was very ill for two weeks with “intense chest tightness that felt like a car was parked on it and barely able to walk from one room to another.” But she stayed out of the hospital, using FaceTime to consult regularly with her doctor, an infectious disease specialist.

      By May she felt well enough to stroll around the neighborhood, gradually increasing the distance she walked. She expected a full recovery. But now, more than six months after she fell ill, walking up even a short hill can exhaust her, and she wonders if she will ever again feel like the athletic, energetic, healthy woman she was before the novel coronavirus turned her life into a roller coaster of recurring illness despite no evidence of an active infection.

      “I will feel better for about five days and able to walk a mile or more and do yoga, then I’m flattened again for another five days,” Londa told me. “On-and-off like a switch, the same symptoms keep repeating — a feeling like cement is pushing on my chest, chills, cough, sore throat, dry mouth, tingling in my arm, an irregular heartbeat. I’m about to fall asleep, then suddenly start gasping for air like I’m drowning, and I have to get up and walk. It’s really, really depressing.”

      COVID-19 also has left her with health problems she never had before: prediabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and premature ventricular contractions — a heart flutter caused by extra beats in one of the heart’s pumping chambers. Checking with COVID-19 survivors on Facebook, she found that others shared her lingering, recurring symptoms. Londa has been fairly well the past 10 days, but to conserve energy she has been teaching remotely.

      At the start of the pandemic, doctors were necessarily focused on combating the acute effects of COVID-19 and saving lives, but research is now underway to assess its long-term effects and find ways to prevent and treat lasting symptoms. There is increasing concern that the pandemic will result in “a significant surge of people battling lasting illnesses and disabilities,” the journal Nature reported.

      In a commentary in The Lancet in September, an international team of infectious disease specialists conceded that “we do not know what to tell our patients when they are asking about the course and prognosis of their ongoing complaints.” Among the many unknowns they cited: “Does acute COVID-19 cause diabetes? Or other metabolic disorders? Will patients develop interstitial lung disease?”

      They wondered, too, “which symptoms might be explained by the anxiety caused by a new disease and by the isolation, and which symptoms are secondary to a complicated form of COVID-19.” At present, the unknowns about long-term consequences of this potentially devastating viral infection far outnumber the knowns.

      One fact already known: A person need not have had severe disease to experience symptoms that persist for months and, time will tell, possibly for years. Even some people who had mild COVID-19 infections continue to experience symptoms long after recovering from the acute illness.

      The range of reported symptoms is vast. They include unusual fatigue from physical or mental activity, brain fog, temperature irregularities, rashes, memory problems and insomnia. It’s as if the body’s immune response to the coronavirus has thrown the nervous system out of whack, according to Dr. Dayna McCarthy, rehabilitation specialist at the Mount Sinai Center for Post-COVID Care.

      The lasting effects among those who survived another serious coronavirus disease, SARS, are not very encouraging. As the Mayo Clinic reported, “Many people who have recovered from SARS have gone on to develop chronic fatigue syndrome, a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. The same may be true for people who have had COVID-19.”

      The COVID-19 virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, increasing the risk of persistent health problems. According to the Mayo experts, “Imaging tests taken months after recovery from COVID-19 have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who had only mild COVID-19 symptoms.” The illness can cause very small blood clots that can block capillaries in the heart and permanently injure the heart muscle. The disease can also weaken blood vessels and injure the kidneys and liver.

      COVID-19 can scar the lungs' tiny air sacs and cause long-term breathing difficulty even if the scars partially heal. This effect on lung function ended the life of 107-year-old Marilee Shapiro Asher, a celebrated artist in Washington, D.C., who remained professionally active until COVID-19 laid her low in early spring. During five days in the hospital, she recovered from the acute infection, then died several months later with virus-caused damage to her lungs that left them brittle and filled their air sacs with fluid.

      With SARS, a 15-year follow-up of patients found that most lung recovery took place within two years, but some mild pulmonary effects remained indefinitely in more than a third of recovered SARS patients.

      Brain-related effects of an active COVID-19 infection can include strokes, seizures and a temporary paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Many COVID-19 patients lose their sense of smell and taste during the acute illness, but for some this neurological effect persisted for months after they had otherwise recovered. And questions remain whether the viral infection also will raise the risk of later developing neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

      People who were severely ill with COVID-19, especially those who spent weeks or longer isolated in intensive care with or without a ventilator, can develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome and persistent problems with anxiety and depression. Their emotional trauma may cause recurrent nightmares and a fear of being alone and even of going to sleep.

      Indeed, Londa said it’s impossible to know how many of her recurring symptoms or their severity are the result of unresolved anxiety stemming from the acute illness or to a fear that she may never again be the person she was before COVID-19.

      A study of 179 recovered COVID-19 patients in Italy revealed a “worsened quality of life” months later in 44.1%, with a high proportion reporting ongoing fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain and chest pain. In McCarthy’s experience, however, post-COVID-19 patients do get better, although symptoms tend to wax and wane and improvement “is glacially slow.” She suggests that patients do things in smaller doses and not push themselves to live as they did before COVID-19, which can make their problems worse.:
      • Coronavirus Cases: 38,093,180

      Deaths: 1,086,146

      Underreported US death count: 220,018

      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


        • Johnson & Johnson Halts COVID-19 Vaccine Trial After Mystery Illness

        Johnson & Johnson has temporarily halted its trial of a vaccine for COVID-19 after a test volunteer developed a mysterious illness.

        It’s the second time in two months that a COVID-19 vaccine trial has been halted following an unexplained illness in a test subject, raising concerns about the safety of the vaccines and dampening expectations of a quick fix for the pandemic.

        Researchers conducting the Johnson & Johnson trial, which includes 60,000 volunteers around the world, were told Monday to pause testing of the single-dose vaccine. The New Jersey-based corporation is one of a handful of companies in the world that has reached the final phase of testing on people.

        “We have temporarily paused further dosing in all our COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials ... due to an unexplained illness in a study participant,” according to a statement from the company. More details will be revealed after the trial participant’s condition is more thoroughly evaluated, the statement said.

        “We are committed to providing transparent updates throughout the clinical development process of our vaccine candidate,” it added.

        It also assured that “adverse events — illnesses, accidents, etc. — even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies.”:
        • Coronavirus Cases: 38,100,024

        Deaths: 1,086,414

        Underreported US death count: 220,018

        American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Certain pre-existing conditions can double, triple risk of COVID-19 death

          The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said for months that people with pre-existing conditions are at a higher risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. However, a study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE reveals that certain pre-existing conditions can mean people who have them are up to three times more at risk of death resulting from COVID-19.

          Penn State College of Medicine researchers’ findings from a large, international study of COVID-19 patients shows several common conditions can increase a patient’s risk of dying from the virus. They include cancer, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.

          A patient’s risk of dying from COVID-19 may double if they have cardiovascular disease while other pre-existing conditions may increase a COVID-19 patient’s death risk by one-and-a-half to three times.

          “This study suggests that these chronic conditions are not just common in patients with COVID-19, but their presence is a warning sign to a higher risk of death,” said Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the College of Medicine and research assistant professor in Penn State’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, in a news release. “There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension around the world and in particular, the U.S. With the persistence of COVID-19 in the U.S., this connection becomes crucially important.”

          To determine which chronic conditions made hospitalized patients at risk of dying from COVID-19, they examined 11 co-existing conditions for which there is a risk of severe disease and death among COVID-19 patients. Among them were diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, stroke, congestive heart failure, HIV/AIDS and chronic liver disease.

          Researchers analyzed data from over 65,000 patients from 25 global studies involving patients from Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. On average, patients in the chosen studies were 61-years-old.

          When conducting a methodical evaluation and meta-analysis of studies published from December 2019 through early July 2020, researchers found that some pre-existing health conditions affected the rate of survival more than others.

          The study showed that patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die compared to hospitalized COVID-19 patients without pre-existing conditions. Cardiovascular disease, hypertension and congestive heart failure patients were twice as likely to die compared to COVID-19 patients without pre-existing conditions. While chronic kidney disease patients had triple the risk of COVID-19 death compared to people with no pre-existing conditions.

          “Although the health care community has circulated anecdotal information about the impact of these risk factors in COVID-19 mortality, our systematic review and meta-analysis is the most comprehensive to date that attempts to quantify the risk,” said Vernon Chinchilli, distinguished professor and chair of public health sciences, and senior author of this research. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues through 2020 and likely into 2021, we expect that other researchers will build on our work.”:
          • Coronavirus Cases: 38,285,586

          Deaths: 1,088,851

          Underreported US death count: 220,544

          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


            • Eli Lilly antibody trial paused over safety concerns

            A government-sponsored clinical trial testing a coronavirus antibody treatment from Eli Lilly has stopped enrolling volunteers over safety concerns.

            A government-sponsored clinical trial testing a coronavirus antibody treatment from Eli Lilly has stopped enrolling volunteers over safety concerns — days after the company asked the FDA to approve emergency use of the treatment.

            "Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent [data safety monitoring board] to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study," a company spokesperson said Tuesday.

            Neither Lilly nor the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is sponsoring the trial, have described the safety issue that prompted the decision to pause the study. NIAID has not yet responded to a request for comment.

            The late-stage study is examining whether Lilly's antibody, known as bamlanivimab, could help hospitalized patients. The treatment is a monoclonal antibody that mimics the antibodies the body makes naturally. It's similar to the Regeneron antibody cocktail that President Donald Trump received recently after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

            Background: Last week, Lilly asked the FDA to grant an emergency-use authorization that would allow use of the antibody treatment in high-risk patients recently diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.

            That application is largely based on preliminary data from a Phase II trial released in mid-September that showed patients who received any dose of the antibody were less likely to be hospitalized or visit the ER.

            What's next: The data and safety monitoring board overseeing the trial will try to better understand what caused the safety concern and whether or not to restart the trial.:
            • Coronavirus Cases: 38,423,580

            Deaths: 1,091,747

            Underreported US death count: 220,900

            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


            • Study suggests age does not contribute to Covid-19 susceptibility

              Scientists have estimated that the age of an individual does not indicate how likely they are to be infected by SARS-CoV-2.

              Scientists have estimated that the age of an individual does not indicate how likely they are to be infected by SARS-CoV-2.

              However, the development of symptoms, the progression of the disease, and mortality are age-dependent.

              There have been a large number of deaths due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and it has been shown that elderly individuals disproportionately develop severe symptoms and show higher mortality.

              A team of scientists, including Associate Professor Ryosuke Omori from the Research Centre for Zoonoses Control at Hokkaido University, have modelled available data from Japan, Spain and Italy to show that susceptibility to Covid-19 is independent of age, while the occurrence of symptomatic Covid-19, severity and mortality is likely dependent on age. Their results were published in the journal Scientific Reports on October 6, 2020.

              Causes of mortality in elderly individuals may be due to two factors: how likely they are to be infected due to their advanced age (age-dependent susceptibility), which is reflected in the number of cases; and, how likely they will be affected by a severe form of the disease due to their advanced age (age-dependent severity), which is reflected in the mortality rate. These factors are not fully understood for Covid-19.

              The scientists chose to analyse data from Italy, Spain and Japan to determine if any relationship between age, susceptibility and severity. These three countries were chosen as they have well recorded, publicly available data.

              As of May 2020, the mortality rate (number of deaths per 100,000) was 382.3 for Italy, 507.2 for Spain and 13.2 for Japan. However, despite the wide disparity in mortality rates, the age distribution of mortality (the proportional number of deaths per age group) was similar for these countries.

              The scientists developed a mathematical model to calculate susceptibility in each age group under different conditions. They also factored in the estimated human-to-human contact level in each age group, as well as varying restriction levels for outside-home activities in the three countries.

              The model showed that the susceptibility has to be unrealistically different between age groups if they assume age does not influence severity and mortality. On the other hand, the model indicated the age should not influence susceptibility but should negatively influence severity and mortality, to explain the fact that the age distribution of mortality is similar between the three countries.

              Ryosuke Omori, from the Research Centre for Zoonoses Control at Hokkaido University, specializes in epidemiological modelling: the use of mathematics and statistics to understand and predict the spread of diseases. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, he has turned his efforts to ascertain the true extent of the spread of the pandemic in Japan and abroad.:

              Coronavirus Cases: 38,599,993

              Deaths: 1,094,074

              Underreported US death count: 221,234

              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Eli Lilly says other COVID-19 antibody drug trials ongoing after study halted for safety concern

                Eli Lilly & Co on Wednesday said other trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody therapy remain on track after a government-run study testing the treatment in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was paused due to safety concerns.

                Lilly said on Tuesday that an independent safety monitoring board requested a pause in the trial, called ACTIV-3, due to a potential safety issue.

                The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is collaborating with Lilly on the trial, said the advisory board paused the trial after seeing a “difference in clinical status” between patients on Lilly’s drug on those who received a placebo, without providing further detail.

                “They’ve crossed the boundary” for an acceptable level of safety concerns in the trial, said Dr. Richard Chaisson, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins who was not involved with the study. “Now they have to decide whether the boundary is important enough that they should stop the trial altogether, declare it unsafe.”

                Lilly on Wednesday said the paused trial is distinct from others it is conducting because it focuses on hospitalized patients who are more severely ill and being treated with other drugs as well, including Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir.

                The company had already asked U.S. regulators for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the antibody drug, called bamlanivimab or LY-CoV555, to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 patients, based on interim data from a different study in those less severe illness. It is also testing the drug in nursing homes to see if it can prevent staff and residents from getting infected.

                The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of the EUA application.

                LY-CoV555 is similar to the experimental dual-antibody therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc that was used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump. That treatment is also awaiting clearance by U.S. regulators.

                Trump touted both drugs as being tantamount to cures in a video he posted last week after being released from the hospital.

                Lilly said in a statement that these type of treatments may prove to be less beneficial for hospitalized patients than for those with more mild cases of the disease. A Lilly spokeswoman declined to comment further on why the trial was halted.

                The paused trial is being conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the NIH that is working with several drugmakers on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

                It was halted at the request of an independent oversight panel, called a Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB). It is not uncommon to pause drug trials to investigate safety concerns, and such actions do not necessarily indicate a serious problem.

                “Lilly trusts the judgment of the independent DSMB and supports its decisions to exercise caution in ensuring the safety of the patients participating in this study,” the company said in a statement.:
                • Coronavirus Cases: 38,642,377

                Deaths: 1,094,399

                Underreported US death count: 221,431

                American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


                  • People with blood type O may have lower risk of Covid-19 infection and severe illness, two new studies suggest

                  People with blood type O may be less vulnerable to Covid-19 and have a reduced likelihood of getting severely ill, according to two studies published Wednesday. Experts say more research is needed.

                  The research provides further evidence that blood type (also known as blood group) may play a role in a person's susceptibility to infection and their chance of having a severe bout of the disease. The reasons for this link aren't clear and more research is needed to say what implications, if any, it has for patients.

                  Studies add to growing evidence

                  A Danish study found that among 473,654 people who were tested for Covid-19, only 38.4% with blood type O tested positive -- even though, among a group of 2.2 million people who were not tested, that blood type made up 41.7% of the population.

                  In the other study, researchers in Canada found that among 95 patients critically ill with Covid-19, a higher proportion with blood type A or AB -- 84% -- required mechanical ventilation compared with patients with blood group O or B, which was 61%.

                  The Canadian study also found those with blood type A or AB had a longer stay in the intensive care unit, a median of 13.5 days, compared with those with blood group O or B, who had a median of nine days.

                  "As a clinician ... it is at the back of my mind when I look at patients and stratify them. But in terms of a definitive marker we need repeated findings across many jurisdictions that show the same thing," said Dr. Mypinder Sekhon, an intensive care physician at Vancouver General Hospital and an author of the Canadian study.

                  "I don't think this supersedes other risk factors of severity like age and co-morbities and so forth," added Sekhon, who is also a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

                  "If one is blood group A, you don't need to start panicking. And if you're blood group O, you're not free to go to the pubs and bars.":
                  • Coronavirus Cases: 38,688,328

                  Deaths: 1,095,492

                  Underreported US death count: 221,717

                  American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


                    • No, masks don’t collect the coronavirus | PolitiFact

                    Scientific studies have consistently found that face-mask use is one of the most effective means of preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

                    Health researchers have consistently found strong correlations between wearing a face mask and reducing the spread of disease like COVID-19.

                    But new posts on Facebook inaccurately claim that wearing a mask makes you more likely to contract COVID-19, misinterpreting a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along the way.

                    The post features a screenshot of a data table from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A highlighted row shows that 70.6 percent of these people who tested positive for the virus reported that they “always” wore masks or cloth face mask coverings.

                    “This is really REALLY BIG,” the post reads. “HUGE… From the CDC… 70.6% of those testing positive wore masks ALWAYS. 3.9% of those testing positive wore masks NEVER. This means that people who wear masks, are actually ‘collecting’ the virus in their masks. The airborne particles are being absorbed into the Masks and staying on our faces rather than dissipating. A clear indication there is a correlation to more infected people wearing masks than those who do not.”

                    The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

                    Texas A&M University-Texarkana virologist Ben Neuman evaluated the post and the CDC report from which it’s purportedly sourced for PolitiFact.

                    “There’s nothing in this (report) that indicates that mask wearing is associated with more coronavirus,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t even know how that could be possible.”

                    CDC report finds the opposite of what Facebook post claims

                    The CDC paper never claims that mask use increases your likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their home.

                    Instead, the paper summarizes findings from a survey of 314 people. 154 of these people had tested positive for the coronavirus. The other 160 participants (the study’s control group) had tested negative for the coronavirus.

                    From the results of the survey, the CDC report found that two activities were linked to a positive COVID-19 test: close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus and going to locations with on-site eating and drinking options, such as bars and restaurants.

                    The correlation between frequenting on-site eating locations and a positive COVID-19 test probably indicates that masks play a role in preventing the spread of the virus. The paper notes that masks “cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking,” so diners and bar-goers are likely exposed to infectious respiratory droplets when they lower their masks to take a drink or a bite of food.

                    The table featured in the Facebook post doesn’t show that mask use is correlated with the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, it shows the opposite: more people who tested negative for the coronavirus reported that they “always” wore masks than people who tested positive.

                    Of the 160 survey participants who tested negative, 74.2 percent reported that they “always” wore a face mask or cloth face covering. Of the 154 participants who tested positive, 70.6 percent reported that they “always” wore a mask or face covering.

                    Neuman took issue with the survey asking participants to self-report their rates of mask use.

                    “Conducting science by survey has problems,” he said. “There are certain things that are embarrassing or politically and socially sensitive, and you generally won’t get honest answers if you just ask them on a questionnaire because (participants) don’t know if they can trust the person on the other end, don’t know if they’ll be repercussions, or may just be embarrassed about telling the truth.”:
                    • Coronavirus Cases: 38,717,035

                    Deaths: 1,096,103

                    Underreported US death count: 221,794

                    American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


                    • Italy and U.K report record coronavirus surges

                      Italy on Wednesday reported 7,332 new positive COVID-19 tests — breaking its previous record for most infections added in a single day — while the U.K. reported nearly 20,000 new cases.
                      Why it matters: Italy was one of the world's first major coronavirus hotspots, locking down the entire country in March as hospitals threatened to be overwhelmed, and the U.K. has Europe's highest death toll. After successfully suppressing the virus over the summer, many European countries are facing a potentially devastating second wave.
                      • The Guardian notes that the U.K.'s daily case count is also its highest on record when "excluding a day when the total was artificially inflated by previous tests."
                      Worth noting: Despite the record high case count, which is partly attributable to more testing, Italy reported just 43 deaths on Wednesday. During its previous daily infection record of 6,554 in March, Italy reported 796 deaths.
                      The big picture: The 27 countries of the European Union and the U.K. have now surpassed the U.S. in terms of new cases per million for the first time since the spring, according to the Wall Street Journal.
                      • Some European nations are beginning to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in order to curb the virus' spread, but most are hoping to avoid major economic lockdowns.
                      • The rise in cases also comes ahead of Europe's winter, a period in which public health experts fear that colder temperatures could allow the virus to spread out of control.
                      • Coronavirus Cases: 38,723,557

                      Deaths: 1,096,188

                      Underreported US death count: 221,808

                      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Pfizer gets approval to enroll children older than 12 in coronavirus vaccine trial

                        Pfizer, one of four companies in the United States working to develop a potential coronavirus vaccine, announced on Tuesday that it had received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to include children as young as 12 years old to participate in its ongoing trials.

                        This expansion follows continued calls from health officials to expand testing to younger populations to ensure an eventual vaccine will be safe and effective for them.

                        Up until now, people under the age of 16 had not been included in any of the U.S. vaccine trials.

                        "I think this is a really big deal," L.J. Tan, chief strategy officer of the Immunization Action Coalition, told NPR on Tuesday. "Without clinical trials actually done in children, the only way to actually extend the use of the COVID-19 vaccine into children would be to rely on the adult data."

                        Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn urging them to authorize the inclusion of children in vaccine testing.

                        "Children must be included in vaccine trials to best understand any potential unique immune responses and/or unique safety concerns," AAP President Sara Goza wrote in the letter.

                        She added that it would be unethical “to allow children to take on great burdens during this pandemic but not have the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine, or to delay that benefit for an extended period of time, because they have not been included in vaccine trials.”

                        Last month, Evan Anderson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Emory University School of Medicine, told reporters that trials should include children to allow them to be protected from COVID-19 ahead of the 2021 school year.

                        "We owe it to our children not to delay moving forward with initial studies to evaluate promising vaccine candidates," Anderson, who is also an investigator for the Moderna-National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine, said.

                        In addition to Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are also conducting late-stage coronavirus vaccine trials.

                        According to data released by the AAP last week, approximately 697,633 children have contracted COVID-19 in the U.S., making the overall rate 927 cases per 100,000 U.S. children.:
                        • Coronavirus Cases: 38,794,404

                        Deaths: 1,097,628

                        Underreported US death count: 221,850

                        American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


                          • Indonesia passes Philippines with most coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia

                          Indonesia on Thursday reported 4,411 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 349,160, passing the Philippines with the highest case number in Southeast Asia.

                          Indonesia also reported 112 new COVID-19 deaths, with total fatalities reaching 12,268. The Philippines had recorded 348,698 cases and 6,497 deaths as of Thursday.:
                          • Coronavirus Cases: 38,848,934

                          Deaths: 1,098,438

                          Underreported US death count: 222,060

                          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Paris Under Curfew: Europe Reacts As Countries See Highest-Ever Coronavirus Numbers

                            Coronavirus restrictions are taking effect in the Netherlands, the U.K., the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe on Wednesday as nations try to reverse an alarming wave in new cases. The continent is now seeing more new coronavirus cases – an average of 100,000 daily — than at any other time during the pandemic.

                            Bars, restaurants and schools are being shut down or sharply limited, and officials are working to bolster hospital capacity, to accommodate an expected influx of new COVID-19 patients.

                            Numbers that showed signs of taking off in late August and September are now skyrocketing. Europe reported more than 700,000 new coronavirus cases last week – a surge representing a 36% weekly increase, as NPR's Reese Oxner recently reported.

                            Europe's infection rate "has been increasing for 77 days," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in its most recent weekly report for the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom.

                            Here, a sampling of the situation in Europe:

                            In France, President Emmanuel Macron used a nationally televised interview Wednesday night to announce the start of nightly curfews in Paris and eight other densely populated areas in an effort to control the coronavirus in what are deemed "health emergency zones."

                            The curfews will run from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next four weeks, starting on Saturday. Anyone who violates the curfew would face a fine of 135 euros (nearly $160) for the first offense. A second offense would bring a far steeper fine of 1,500 euros — around $1,760.

                            "I'm not talking about infantilizing people," Macron said, according to France24, "we're taking measures that are proportionate."

                            Italy reported its largest one-day total of new cases Wednesday, with more than 7,300 – easily surpassing the terrible heights the country reached in March. The rise comes one day after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree putting new limits on gatherings, sports and school activities. Bars and restaurants are still allowed to operate until midnight, but only if they offer table service.

                            In Spain, the regional government of Catalonia is ordering all bars and restaurants to close their on-premises operations, saying they can only sell to-go items for the next 15 days. Shopping areas, theaters and gyms will have to operate at reduced capacity. It's the only way to avert an even deeper shutdown, officials say.

                            "We are facing difficult times; we must act today to avoid a lockdown in the coming weeks," Catalan Vice President Pere Aragonès said, adding that the region's health statistics "are very worrying."

                            "It's the first time one of Spain's autonomous regions has taken such drastic measures to combat the pandemic since the state of emergency ended mid-June and control of the health care system went back to the regional governments," Lucia Benavides reported for NPR from Barcelona. "Under Spain's new health ministry rules, all municipalities with more than 100,000 residents that meet certain criteria must be confined. None of Catalonia's cities fall under that category – but they're not far off, and Catalan leaders say they want to prevent another lockdown."

                            The Czech Republic, hard hit by the new coronavirus wave, has closed schools as of Wednesday. Restaurants and bars are closed for everything except takeout orders – and they can only operate until 8 p.m., according to Radio Prague International.

                            "With Europe's highest number of infections per capita, the Czech Republic is also canceling nonessential medical procedures to maximize hospital capacity," Esme Nicholson reported for NPR from Berlin. "The Czech Republic was quick to impose its first lockdown in March and was an early adopter of the face mask, measures which previously helped to flatten the curve."

                            Making matters worse, the coronavirus has infected nearly 5,000 health care workers – and in that vital sector, the number of ill staff is doubling every 10 days, Radio Prague International says.

                            The Netherlands is enacting a partial lockdown because of a rise in new cases. The government declared on Tuesday, "The coronavirus has been given too much room to spread again."

                            The restrictions close all food and drink establishments, except for carryout orders. No more than four people from different households can gather, indoors or outside.

                            Schools and public transportation will continue to operate, but everyone over 13 must wear a face mask in indoor areas and on public transport.

                            The U.K. instituted a three-tier alert system on Wednesday that will group different regions of England under restrictions in an effort to avoid repeating a national lockdown. So far, the only region under a "very high" alert is Liverpool – where people took advantage of the last few hours before the restrictions to party in the streets.

                            "These pictures Shame our City," Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said via Twitter, responding to photos of the large number of people gathering in the interim between the 10 p.m. closure of pubs and the midnight onset of the new restrictions.

                            Noting that some people in the crowd had attacked a police car, Anderson called the violence "unacceptable."

                            "There is a reason our city is in Tier 3 for #Covid19," Anderson said later Wednesday. "The level of infection is at very high levels and beginning to impact on our hospitals — both for the virus and other illnesses like Cancer.":
                            • Coronavirus Cases: 39,001,521

                            Deaths: 1,100,215

                            Underreported US death count: 222,175

                            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Oxford researchers develop rapid COVID-19 test capable of producing results in less than five minutes

                              University of Oxford scientists on Thursday announced they have developed an extremely rapid COVID-19 test capable of delivering results in less than five minutes.

                              Researchers from Oxford’s Department of Physics said the “cost-effective” antigen test uses machine-learning software to quickly identify the virus in samples taken from throat swabs.

                              The test can distinguish SARS-CoV-2 from other common respiratory pathogens such as influenza and seasonal human coronaviruses with high accuracy, researchers said in a pre-print study. The research was preprinted this week and has yet to be peer-reviewed.

                              “Unlike other technologies that detect a delayed antibody response or that require expensive, tedious and time-consuming sample preparation, our method quickly detects intact virus particles; meaning the assay is simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective,” Achilles Kapanidis, a professor from Oxford’s Department of Physics, said in a statement released by the university.

                              Researchers are aiming to develop an integrated testing device that will eventually be used for mass testing in airports and businesses. The scientists said they are hoping to begin product development of the testing device in 2021 and have an approved product available within six months of that time.

                              “Our test is much faster than other existing diagnostic technologies; viral diagnosis in less than five minutes can make mass testing a reality, providing a proactive means to control viral outbreaks,” Nicolas Shiaelis, from the University of Oxford, said.

                              The rapid antigen tests currently being used in the U.S. and other parts of the world to identify COVID-19 typically takes about 15 minutes to deliver results. While the antigen tests are valuable for their ability to produce results more quickly than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, they are generally less accurate.

                              PCR tests detect the virus’ genetic material and are highly accurate but typically take several days to deliver results.:
                              • Coronavirus Cases: 39,076,026

                              Deaths: 1,100,781

                              Underreported US death count: 222,563

                              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


                                • Pfizer won't seek coronavirus vaccine authorization until after election

                                Pfizer will not seek an emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine until after the election, the final blow to President Donald Trump's repeated pledges to make a shot available before Americans cast votes amid the worst pandemic in a century.

                                Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Friday that the company may know whether its vaccine is effective by the end of October, but won't have the safety data the FDA wants at least until the end of November. Amid rising concerns about political pressure on the agency, the FDA released guidance on emergency authorizations that requires vaccine developers to provide two months of safety data on half of the trial participants following the final dose of the vaccine.

                                "Let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the U.S. soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," Bourla wrote in an open letter.

                                Moderna, the other company with a vaccine in a late-stage trial with more than 20,000 enrolled, has also said it won't be ready to file for an emergency authorization before the election. Other vaccines could be ready for FDA review late this year or early 2021, but not by Nov. 3.

                                Background: The move by Pfizer continues the company's push to publicly distance itself from the presidential race, and defuse critics who say the company is falling prey to political pressures.

                                What's next: Pfizer will soon complete enrollment in its late-stage trial with 44,000 participants, and then will wait for its data safety monitoring board to provide guidance on whether the vaccine is effective. That is based on the number of people in the vaccine and placebo groups who get Covid-19.
                                • Coronavirus Cases: 39,510,558

                                Deaths: 1,107,701

                                Underreported US death count: 223,458

                                American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

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


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