Coronavirus Breaking News

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 is currently reaching pandemic levels in various countries.

Oct 21, 2020 • 6:01 pm CDT

Brazil's President Cancels COVID-19 Vaccine Order From China

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro announced on October 21, 2020, he rejected the planned purchase of 46 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine candidate, which is produced by a Chinese firm.

On October 20, 2020, Brazil’s health minister Eduardo Pazuello said 'the federal government had reached a deal with Sao Paulo state to buy CoronaVac vaccine doses to be administered starting in January 2020.'

“The Brazilian people will not be anyone’s guinea pig,” Bolsonaro said on Twitter. “My decision is to not purchase such a vaccine.”

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Oct 21, 2020 • 4:42 pm CDT

Research Finds Super-Antigen-Like Motif Not Present in Other SARS Coronaviruses

A study published by PNAS on October 13, 2020, found hyperinflammatory syndrome reminiscent of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is observed in severe COVID-19 patients, including children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). These researchers showed that the SARS-CoV-2 spike contains sequence and structure motifs highly similar to those of a bacterial superantigen and may directly bind T cell receptors.

They further reported a skewed T cell receptor repertoire in COVID-19 patients with severe hyper-inflammation, in support of such a superantigenic effect.

Notably, the superantigen-like motif is not present in other SARS family coronaviruses, which may explain the unique potential for SARS-CoV-2 to cause both MIS-C and the cytokine storm observed in adults with COVID-19.

Previously, a September 8, 2020 study published in Nature stated: 'Different SARS-CoV-2 strains haven’t yet had a major impact on the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they might in future.'

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Oct 21, 2020 • 3:34 pm CDT

The U.S. CDC Defines Who is a 'Close Contact'

The leaders of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, announced the expansion of how it defines a “Close Contact” of someone with COVID-19. The CDC's leaders said on October 21, 2020, a close-contact is someone who spent a cumulative 15-minutes or more within 6-feet of someone who was infectious over 24 hours.

The CDC advises anyone who has been in Close Contact with a COVID-19 patient to quarantine for 2-weeks.

And, if possible: 'Wash hands regularly, stay at least 6-feet away from others whenever possible, and wear masks, says the CDC.

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Oct 21, 2020 • 12:16 pm CDT

Japan's COVID Vaccine Sprint Depends on Partners

Japan's first clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine is underway at Osaka University Hospital. Some of the small-scale results, along with those from another university, are expected within the next month and will determine whether a larger clinical trial can be held in November 2020, involving 500 people, reported Nikkei Asia on October 13, 2020.

Takeda Pharmaceutical, Japan's largest pharmaceutical maker, chose not to develop a coronavirus vaccine on its own, deciding to either manufacture or import and distribute those of two U.S. drug developers, such as Novavax and Moderna.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been just 1,679 fatalities reported amongst Japan's 126 million residents, as of October 21, 2020.

Oct 21, 2020 • 9:09 am CDT

Japan Launches Studies For Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine

Reuters reported Pfizer and BioNTech SE announced on October 20, 2020, launching combined Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in Japan of their mRNA vaccine candidate BNT162, which is targeted against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla recently stated 'Pfizer expects to have the safety data from BNT162 in the third week of November 2020.'

Oct 21, 2020 • 7:52 am CDT

Brazil Selects China's COVID-19 Vaccine

Brazil’s health minister Eduardo Pazuello stated the country would add the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine to its national immunization program against COVID-19. Pazuello is reported by the SCMP to say: 'Brazil's federal government had reached a deal with Sao Paulo state to buy 46 million vaccine doses to be administered starting in January 2020.'

Brazil is a South America country of 212 million residents and has registered about 5.3 million SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cases and 155,000 fatalities related to COVID-19.

Oct 21, 2020 • 6:52 am CDT

Michigan Undergrads Told to Stay in Place For 2-Weeks

The Washtenaw County Health Department, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, issued a 14-day Stay in Place order for the university's 31,000 undergraduate students regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which has impacted about 400 students.

Under the Washtenaw County order which went into effect on October 20, 2020, U-M undergraduate students living in on-campus, near-campus, or off-campus housing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be required to stay in place and remain in their current designated residence for 2 weeks, unless they are going to in-person classes, getting food or doing work that cannot be done remotely.

However, the U-M Wolverine football games will continue to be played.

Oct 21, 2020 • 6:40 am CDT

Many Countries Willing to be COVID-19 Vaccinated

A study conducted during June 2020 in 19 countries to determine potential acceptance rates and factors influencing the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, found 71.5% of participants reported that they would be very or somewhat likely to take a COVID-19 vaccine, and 61.4% reported that they would accept their employer’s recommendation to do so.

These levels of willingness to accept a COVID-19 vaccine are insufficient to meet the requirements for community immunity.

In this study published in the journal Nature on October 20, 2020, found differences in acceptance rates between countries ranged from almost 90% (in China) to about 55% (in Russia).

Oct 20, 2020 • 8:47 pm CDT

Several COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Near the Finish Line

These vaccine development landscape documents have been prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on October 19, 2020, for information purposes only concerning the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Inclusion of any particular product or entity in any of these landscape documents does not constitute, and shall not be deemed or construed as, any approval or endorsement by WHO of such product or entity. 

Oct 20, 2020 • 4:32 pm CDT

Sweden Begins to Selectively Lockdown Regions

Sweden has begun regional lockdowns in response to COVID-19 outbreaks by establishing new rules for about 170,000 citizens living in the Uppsala region. These residents have been asked to work from home and avoid social gatherings. However, the new rules do not affect schools or restaurants.

‘It is not a lockdown as that would mean that you shut down the whole society,’ said Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden’s liberal approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Amedpost on October 20, 2020.

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Oct 20, 2020 • 4:09 pm CDT

Kidney Impairment Common in Hospitalized COVID-10 Patients

According to a study published in Anaesthesia on October 16, 2020, renal impairment is common in patients who are critically ill with COVID‐19. This study's data demonstrate that renal impairment in patients admitted to intensive care with COVID‐19 is common and is associated with high mortality and requirement for on‐going renal support after discharge from critical care.

Led by researchers at Imperial College London, the retrospective study involved 372 adult COVID-19 patients in four ICUs in the United Kingdom. Of the 372 patients, 216 (58%) had kidney impairment, with a majority of cases developed during hospitalization (168 patients).

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Oct 20, 2020 • 5:55 am CDT

Covid-Related Cardiometabolic Syndrome Identified

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a new paper for October 2020, that break down (4) pre-existing health risks that can make COVID-19 cases more severe. These issues are obesity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, which these researchers named 'Covid-related cardiometabolic syndrome.'

They stated: 'An emerging model of COVID-related cardiometabolic syndrome encompassing events before, during the acute phase, and subsequently in the chronic phase of COVID-19 is presented to guide preventive measures and improve overall cardiometabolic health, so future viral pandemics confer less threat.'

Oct 20, 2020 • 5:32 am CDT

Texas A&M Needs 500 First Responders for COVID-19 Vaccine Study

Texas A&M (TAMU) researchers stated on October 3, 2020, they are looking into an old vaccine's potential to help prevent reduce the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. In addition to medical professionals participating in the ongoing phase 4 study of the BCG vaccine, first responders such as firefighters and police officers can now see if they are eligible for the study.

These researchers are still able to accept around 500 more individuals to participate who can visit this TAMU website for more information.

Jeffrey Cirillo, Director of A&M’s Center for Airborne Pathogen Research and Tuberculosis Imaging, said in an article 'this vaccine has the potential to be used almost immediately because it’s already FDA approved.'

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Oct 20, 2020 • 4:47 am CDT

Italy Begins Analyzing Its COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed challenges inherent to the country of Italy's decentralized healthcare system, stated a new editorial published in The Lancet on October 15, 2020. During the first months of 2020, Italy had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe and in the world.

Lombardy, with a population of 10 million people, was the region of Italy hit the hardest by the pandemic. According to the Italian Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard, the Lombardy region in northern Italy reported one-third of all SARS-CoV-2 cases and about 50% of all COVID-19 related fatalities in Italy.

The Regional Council of Lombardy has now formed a COVID-19 investigative commission within the regional assembly to analyze the sequence of events and the specific choices that led to so many infections and deaths in a region with an extremely high standard of healthcare.

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Oct 19, 2020 • 9:25 pm CDT

Ireland Begins 6-Week Soft Lockdown

Ireland's government announced Level 5 restrictions across the State for (6) weeks beginning October 21, 2020, through December 1st, in a bid to curtail the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reported The Irish Times.

As part of the new restrictions, the public will be asked to stay within 5km of their home. There are some exceptions for travel such as medical reasons and essential work.

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin stated in a video that schools and childcare services are to remain open during the 6-week restrictions, adding that they "could not become another victim of the disease."

Oct 19, 2020 • 12:16 pm CDT

Factor D May Block SARS-CoV-2 Virus Virility

Blocking a protein that enables the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus to turn the human immune system against healthy cells has been identified in a recent study by a team of Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers.

Based on the findings published in the journal Blood on September 2, 2020, the Johns Hopkins researchers believe that inhibiting the protein, known as factor D, will curtail the potentially deadly inflammatory reactions that many patients have to this coronavirus.

“When we added a small molecule that inhibits the function of factor D, the APC wasn’t activated by the virus spike proteins,” says senior author Robert Brodsky, M.D., director of the hematology division at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“We believe that when the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins bind to heparan sulfate, it triggers an increase in the complement-mediated killing of normal cells because factor H, a key regulator of the APC, can’t do its job.”

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Oct 19, 2020 • 11:50 am CDT

US Funds Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Study

California-based Beckman Coulter announced on October 15, 2020, that it was awarded funding by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for a multi-center clinical trial to validate the ability of its Monocyte Distribution Width hematology biomarker to aid in the rapid detection of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

Recently defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is a rare but severe complication seen in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As of October 15, the number of confirmed MIS-C cases in the USA reached 1,097, with 20 related fatalities.

Oct 19, 2020 • 11:37 am CDT

How Similar are Human Coronaviruses?

A new study published on October 15, 2020, identified the shared biology and potential drug targets among the (3) highly pathogenic human coronavirus strains. They mapped the full interactome of SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and MERS-CoV and investigated the localization of viral proteins across strains, and quantitatively compared the virus-human interactions for each virus.

Using functional genetics and structural analysis of selected host-dependency factors, they propose an integrative and collaborative approach that could and should be used to study these similar human coronaviruses, which are the 2nd leading cause of the common cold, after rhinoviruses.

Oct 19, 2020 • 10:55 am CDT

Are COVID-19 Immunity Passports Feasible?

Immunity passports could be implemented on the basis of either a laboratory test of an immune response or an immunizing event from infection or vaccination, which would identify individuals less likely to get the COVID-19 disease or transmit the virus when exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, said a report published in The Lancet on October 16, 2020.

These researchers identified important immunological issues for such passports, such as (1) the degree of immunity induced (an immune response might only attenuate disease severity, or might prevent any symptomatic disease and even pathogen carriage, which is necessary for herd immunity) and (2) the duration of immunity.

And, critics of immunity passports point to persisting uncertainties about the immune response to COVID-19, claiming that “COVID-19 immunity is a mystery” and that this uncertainty makes immunity passports unfeasible.

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Oct 19, 2020 • 10:09 am CDT

Slovakia Begins Coronavirus Testing For 5.5 Million Residents

The Slovakia Republic's government adopted a resolution entrusting the Armed Forces with an operation called Joint Responsibility, which will attend to test its entire population of about 5.5 million for COVID-19. Integrated teams led by 8,000 Armed Forces will operate at the sampling points.

'Testing at the national level (for those over 10 years of age) will help to better identify existing outbreaks, provide adequate healthcare for cases with little or no symptoms of COVID-19, and more effectively separate the infected population,' announced the Slovakia government on October 18, 2020.

Oct 19, 2020 • 9:51 am CDT

Nursing Homes Could See COVID-19 Case Spike

The Washington, D.C. based American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a report showing nursing homes in the USA could see a 3rd spike of new COVID-19 cases due to the community spread among the general population.

Previously, Dr. David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, stated, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”

Oct 18, 2020 • 9:34 pm CDT

Pharmacies Will Administer COVID-19 Vaccines at Long-Term Care Facilities

As part of the US government's Operation Warp Speed (OWS) effort, long-term care facilities will be able to sign up to have a major U.S. pharmacy company come to their facilities and administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents at no charge. OWS named Walgreens and CVS on October 16, 2020, as nationwide partners in the effort.

Long-term care facilities will be able to sign up to have either CVS or Walgreens come to their locations to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to residents and staff. This OWS program is free of charge to facilities and is opt-in only.

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Oct 18, 2020 • 9:24 pm CDT

Masks Required When Not Eating, Drinking or Skiing

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that ski resorts can reopen with 50% indoor capacity and with strict health and safety protocols under state-issued guidance starting November 6, 2020.

Governor Cuomo said in a press release on October 18, 2020: "Beginning next month, Ski resorts will be allowed to reopen with limited indoor capacity, which will allow New Yorkers to have some outdoor activity this winter without having to quarantine when they come back."

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Oct 18, 2020 • 11:31 am CDT

Massachusetts to Distribute Up To 60,000 Coronavirus Vaccines

The Massachusetts Department of Health published a draft version of how the state plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to its residents. According to the October 17, 2020 draft, the state expects to receive between 20,000 and 60,000 vaccine doses in the 1st phase.

The state of Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is aligned with the (3) phases of vaccine availability, as well as the vaccine-based scenarios, as described in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook.

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Oct 18, 2020 • 7:32 am CDT

5.4% Test Positive for Coronavirus

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported during week #41, there were 2,632,222 specimens were tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus for diagnostic purposes and 141,317 (5.4%) were found positive, as of October 10, 2020.

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Oct 18, 2020 • 7:19 am CDT

Japan's Influenza Drug Seeks Approval to Treat COVID-19

Tokyo based FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. announced that the company filed an Application for Partial Changes to manufacturing and marketing approval matters of its anti-influenza drug Avigan® Tablet (favipiravir) already approved in Japan. The filing seeks to add an indication relating to COVID-19.

Avigan selectively inhibits RNA polymerase necessary for influenza virus replication. Due to this mechanism of action, it has been expected that Avigan may have an antiviral effect on the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as they are RNA viruses of the same type as influenza viruses, stated the company's press release on October 16, 2020.

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Oct 17, 2020 • 6:38 pm CDT

India Authorizes Testing Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have been approved by the Controller General of Medicines of India to conduct Phase 2-3 clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine in India.

RDIF and Dr. Reddy's has agreed to a partnership to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine in India in September 2020

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Oct 17, 2020 • 2:36 pm CDT

Switzerland Plans to Reduce Quarantine Process

Switzerland's health authorities have put forward a plan to shorten the country’s quarantine requirement from 10 to seven days. Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset produced a 'test and release' plan which enables a person in quarantine will be able to take a test on the 6th day of the quarantine process. 

If the COVID-19 test is negative, the person can end the quarantine on the 7th day.

And on October 16, 2020, Switzerland announced an agreement with AstraZeneca to pre-order up to 5.3 million doses of AZD1222 Covid-19 vaccine candidate that is currently under development.

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Oct 17, 2020 • 2:22 pm CDT

China's COVID-19 Vaccination Costs $59

The eastern China city of Jiaxing's Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated on WeChat that 2-doses of the CoronaVac vaccine candidate will cost 200 yuan ($29.75) per dose, reported Reuters on October 16, 2020.

According to Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the CoronaVac SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine candidate is based on an inactivated pathogen made by growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it, which is how polio shots are made.

Oct 17, 2020 • 5:53 am CDT

Late-Stage COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Prepare for Authorizations

The U.S. FDA has not approved any preventive or therapeutic vaccines for use against the newly identified SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. There are various vaccine candidates in development such as nucleic acid, virus-like particle, peptide, viral vector, recombinant protein, live attenuated virus, and inactivated virus approaches. The goal of these vaccines is to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from getting into cells, replicating itself, which then creates COVID-19, says the FDA.

An updated list of late-stage COVID-19 vaccine candidates as of October 17, 2020, is published in on this CoronavirusToday webpage.

Oct 16, 2020 • 5:09 pm CDT

Mortality Attributed to COVID-19 Remained Stable During Week #41

In the USA, the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and the percentage of visits to emergency departments or outpatient providers for COVID-like illness and influenza-like illness has increased slightly in recent weeks. As of October 16, 2020, COVID-19 related hospitalizations and mortality attributed to COVID-19 remained stable or declined but this may change as more data are received, reported the U.S. CDC.

Nationally, the overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 increased to 5.4% during week #41. Percent positivity decreased slightly among those 18-49 years but increased among the other age groups.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker data published on October 16th, indicates there have been over 130 million diagnostic tests, excluding antibody, and antigen tests,

Oct 16, 2020 • 10:18 am CDT

UAE Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Studies

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan posted on Twitter on October 16, 2020, that he received the coronavirus vaccine. Al-Nahyan tweeted a caption saying “corona vaccination is our way to return to normal life.”

On October 12, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the UAE announced it would conduct Phase III clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine.

And, the UAE began a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 in July to test another COVID-19 vaccine.

Outbreak Alert
Oct 16, 2020 • 7:24 am CDT

Moscow's Coronavirus Cases Increase 29% in One Week

The Russian Federation's capital city of Moscow reported the number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 5,000 for the first time in October 2020, and increased by 29.4% in just one week, the coronavirus crisis center reported on October 16, 2020. And, passengers without face masks and gloves won't be allowed to enter Moscow's metro services.

Starting next week, Muscovites will be required to scan a QR code or send a text message to a designated number when entering a bar or club after midnight, reported the MoscowTimes.

In total, Russia has confirmed 1,369,313 cases of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and 23,723 COVID-19 related fatalities during 2020.

Oct 15, 2020 • 3:33 pm CDT

COVID-19 Oral Vaccine Producer Under U.S. SEC Scrutiny

California-based Vaxart Inc. disclosed in its legal filings on October 13, 2020, that it has come under scrutiny from federal prosecutors and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Vaxart stated it had received a subpoena from the US Justice Department concerning its role in Operation Warp Speed program, and other related matters.

Vaxart's VXA-CoV2-1 oral vaccine candidate is indicated to prevent the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease in humans.

Oct 15, 2020 • 3:10 pm CDT

COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Recommendations Issued

The US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published a framework on the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The recommendations of the NASEM committee are nonbinding, but are expected to be influential in the eventual design of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and allocation plans.

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Oct 15, 2020 • 2:55 pm CDT

Australia Issued Provisional Determination for Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (ATG) announced on October 14, 2020, Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. has received provisional 'determination' for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2. The next step is that Pfizer may now apply for provisional 'approval.'

TGA’s provisional regulatory pathway gives sponsors an accelerated, but still “formal and transparent,” mechanism to speed up registration of medicines and vaccines the agency deems promising, using more preliminary clinical data than would be required for full approval for inclusion in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

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Oct 15, 2020 • 9:58 am CDT

Blood Type Impacts COVID-19 Susceptibility and Severity

Additional clinical evidence published on October 14, 2020, suggests a person's blood type may play a role in COVID-19 susceptibility. A new study from Denmark found blood group O is associated with a decreased risk for contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection.

And, a second study found COVID-19 patients with blood group A or AB appear to exhibit a greater disease severity than patients with blood group O or B.

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Oct 15, 2020 • 7:01 am CDT

Child Care Programs Not-Associated With Elevated COVID-19 Risk

A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found 'within the context of considerable infection mitigation efforts in U.S. child care programs, exposure to child care during the early months of the pandemic was not associated with elevated risk for COVID-19 transmission to staff or providers (N=57,335). 

In this AAP study, there were 427 child care providers who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, however, they found no association between contracting the virus and exposure to child care.

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Oct 15, 2020 • 6:32 am CDT

The Czech Republic Combats COVID-19 Outbreak

The Czech Republic announced it will start building extra capacity for COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals. The Czech military will start building bed capacities in the complex of the Letňany exhibition grounds on the outskirts of Prague on October 17, 2020, providing up to 500 beds, Deputy PM, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told the CTK news agency.

Additionally, face masks are now required on public transport and transit stations, in all non-residential indoor premises, and at outdoor events, if the number of participants exceeds 100 people in Prague, Central Bohemia, and Zlin regions.

These actions are related to the Czech Republic's accelerating COVID-19 outbreak, which reported over 9,500 new cases on October 14, its greatest one-day amount during 2020.

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Oct 15, 2020 • 5:44 am CDT

London Leads the UK's COVID-19 Lockdown

The city of London's 9 million residents will be living under new restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak beginning on October 16, 2020. London is currently rated "medium" (tier 1)  in the new 3-tier system of local alerts for England. Prime Minister Johnson stated: 'the new COVID-19 alert levels were being introduced to "squash this virus wherever it appears", reported The Telegraph.

However, the Liverpool region is the only area to be under the toughest rules, with some bars closed, reported the BBC.

And the leaders of all 10 councils in the Greater Manchester area put forward a strong set of proposals building on Tier 2 with additional measures that will protect public health and maintain economic activity.

Oct 14, 2020 • 5:55 pm CDT

Alabama Football Coach Confirmed with COVID-19

Nick Saban, the legendary college football coach, just weeks from his 69th birthday, tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Alabama University announced late on October 14, 2020.

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said in a statement. “I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID.

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Oct 14, 2020 • 4:11 pm CDT

France Declares a Public Health Emergency

French President Emmanuel Macron declared on Twitter a public health state of emergency and nightly curfews for various cities, including Marseille and Paris, will become effective on October 17, 2020. And, group meetings will be limited to a maximum (6) people.

President Macron's new actions in response to over 22,000 coronavirus cases being confirmed during 1-day.

During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, France has confirmed 33,037 fatalities related to this new disease.

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Oct 14, 2020 • 10:13 am CDT

Russia Announces 2nd Coronavirus Vaccine

The Russian Federation's President Vladimir Putin announced on October 14, 2020, the registration of the second vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus produced in Russia. The EpiVacCorona vector vaccine contains synthetic peptide antigens that are fragments extracted from the virus. The vaccine based on those antigens provokes an immune reaction against coronavirus and helps to develop immunity.

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Oct 14, 2020 • 8:53 am CDT

Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Found Effective with Hamsters

California-based Vaxart Inc. announced on October 14, 2020, the topline results from its Hamster Challenge Study showed 'hamsters that received (2) oral doses of the COVID-19 VXA-CoV2-1 vaccine candidate showed no systemic weight loss, a key indicator of protection against COVID-19 in this animal model.'

Oct 14, 2020 • 7:33 am CDT

Sudden Hearing Loss From COVID-19

A new Case-Report published by the BMJ on October 13, 2020, focused on the first case of Sudden Onset Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) in the UK. Hearing loss and tinnitus are symptoms that have been seen in patients with both COVID-19 and influenza, virus but have not been highlighted. The exact pathophysiology of the disease is still unknown, with the most likely causative factor being following a viral infection.

These authors suggest that 'patients are asked about SSNHL when applicable, and any patient reporting acute hearing loss should be referred to otolaryngology on an emergency basis.'

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Oct 14, 2020 • 7:13 am CDT

Golf Champion Diagnosed with COVID-19

The Professional Golf Association (PGA) announced on October 13, 2020, that Florida-based Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from a PGA tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.

Oct 14, 2020 • 6:53 am CDT

High-Dose Favipiravir Found Effective Against Animals Infected with SARS-CoV-2

A pre-clinical study published in PNAS on October 9, 2020, concluded 'the results with favipiravir demonstrate that an antiviral drug at nontoxic doses exhibits a marked protective effect against SARS-CoV-2 in a small animal model. And, the antiviral efficacy of high favipiravir doses is in line with a recent study, in which thrice-daily dosing of favipiravir resulted in significant reductions in virus infection in hamsters.'

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Oct 13, 2020 • 5:30 pm CDT

Separating Newborns From Mothers Found Unwarranted During COVID-19

A new study published in the JAMA on October 12, 2020, found no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 from infected mothers to their rooming-in babies and direct breastfeeding when basic infection-control protocols were followed.

These findings suggest that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the separation of affected mothers and newborns may not be warranted. Furthermore, this study concluded 'direct breastfeeding appears to be safe.'

An accompanying editorial in JAMA stated: 'The balance between these risks has greater clarity now and will be considered when revisions are made to neonatal management guidance. This is exactly how the scientific method is supposed to work. We can draw solace from the knowledge that scientific processes that have worked in the past are working now and will continue to serve us as we move together into an uncertain future.'

Oct 13, 2020 • 4:16 pm CDT

Canada Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Assessment

Massachusetts based Moderna, Inc., announced the initiation of a rolling submission to Health Canada for mRNA-1273, the Company’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19. The rolling submission has been accepted under the Canadian Minister of Health's Interim Order, which permits companies to submit safety and efficacy data and information as they become available.

This rolling review process allows Health Canada to begin its assessment using the information submitted by the applicant and accept new evidence as it becomes available until the application is deemed complete. Following the authorization of any vaccine submission, Health Canada stated it 'will publish the evidence used in making its decision for transparency.'

Previously, the Canadian Government increased its confirmed order commitment to 20 million doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate during September 2020.

Oct 13, 2020 • 3:45 pm CDT

Older US Veterans Suffered From COVID-19

In a national study focused on US military veterans published in JAMA on September 23, 2020, most SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus related fatalities in the Department of Veterans Affairs national health care system were associated with older age, male gender, and various comorbidity burden. Most deaths in this cohort of 10,131 veterans occurred in patients with the age of 50 years or older (63.4%) and Charlson Comorbidity Index score of at least 1 (11.1%).

Many factors previously reported to be associated with mortality in smaller studies were not confirmed, such as obesity, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and smoking.

This data compares with current US active-duty military personnel, which reported over 48,000 coronavirus cases and just 8 related fatalities as of October 9, 2020.