Factual, unbiased, and essential
pandemic news from trusted sources around the globe.
GREAT news on the vaccine front: Pfizer will apply for an Emergency Use Authorization with the FDA today.
According to an article on KTLA,
"Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic — but not until after a long, hard winter.
The action comes days after Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.
The companies said that protection plus a good safety record means the vaccine should qualify for emergency use authorization, something the Food and Drug Administration can grant before the final testing is fully complete. In addition to Friday’s FDA submission, they have already started “rolling” applications in Europe and the U.K. and intend to submit similar information soon.
“Our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine has never been more urgent,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
With the coronavirus surging around the U.S. and the world, the pressure is on for regulators to make a speedy decision.
“Help is on the way,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert said on the eve of Pfizer’s announcement, adding that it’s too early to abandon masks and other protective measures. “We need to actually double down on the public health measures as we’re waiting for that help to come.”
Friday’s filing would set off a chain of events as the FDA and its independent advisers debate if the shots are ready. If so, still another government group will have to decide how the initial limited supplies are rationed out to anxiously awaiting Americans.
How much vaccine is available and when is a moving target, but initial supplies will be scarce and rationed. Globally, Pfizer has estimated it could have 50 million doses available by year’s end.
About 25 million may become available for U.S. use in December, 30 million in January and 35 million more in February and March, according to information presented to the National Academy of Medicine this week. Recipients will need two doses, three weeks apart.
Not far behind is competitor Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine. Its early data suggests the shots are as strong as Pfizer’s, and that company expects to also seek emergency authorization within weeks."
Click here to read the full article.
Dr. Fauci believes that there is a light at the end of this COVID tunnel. And it may really begin next spring when a vaccine may become more widely available.
An article in USA Today published today explains,
"Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert who has guided the U.S. through the pandemic, projected Americans could expect their first doses of an approved coronavirus vaccine as early as April.
Front-line health care workers are expected to get their first doses by the end of December or early January. After prioritizing people at risk of infection or severe disease, the healthy general population can expect first doses of a vaccine starting in April and through July if all continues on track, Fauci told the USA TODAY Editorial Board on Wednesday.
If most of the population is vaccinated by summer and fall, Fauci said, people can start looking forward to returning to pre-pandemic normalcy."
Click here to read the full article.
Certain mouthwashes can apparently be added to the tools to fight COVID-19.
According to an article in "Sky News,"
"Mouthwash is able to kill COVID-19 within 30 seconds of exposure to it in a laboratory, a scientific study has found.
The preliminary findings, which are yet to be peer reviewed, come ahead of a clinical trial investigating whether over-the-counter mouthwash can reduce the levels of coronavirus in a patient's saliva.
The research, which was conducted at Cardiff University, found that mouthwashes containing 0.07% of the ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) showed "promising signs" of reducing COVID-19."
Click here to read the full article.
Fantastic news from pharmaceutical company, "Moderna" today: Its COVID-19 vaccine has been found to be 94.5% effective!
An article in STAT news explains,
"Moderna’s vaccine against Covid-19 is strongly effective, the company said Monday, building excitement about the potential of controlling the global pandemic.
The news comes exactly a week after results from Pfizer and BioNTech, which announced broadly similar results.
The Moderna vaccine reduced the risk of Covid-19 infection by 94.5%. There were 95 cases of infection among patients who received placebo in the company’s 30,000-patient study. There were only five infections in patients who developed Covid-19 after receiving Moderna’s vaccine, mRNA-1273.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted the preliminary data for the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines — the only two so far to have early estimates of vaccine efficacy — are better than he had anticipated."
"Both Moderna’s trial and Pfizer’s are continuing and efficacy figures could decline by the time the trials are complete. It is often the case that a vaccine performs less well in the real world than it does in the setting of a clinical trial, experts warn.
Furthermore, data from the two trials do not indicate how long the protection afforded by the vaccines lasts. That can only be determined over time as large numbers of people are vaccinated.
The Moderna results, like those from Pfizer, were disclosed in a press release, not a scientific article, and limited details are public.
The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines, if approved, will become the first licensed products using an approach that has been thought to hold enormous promise as a tool for responding to new disease threats. The vaccines contains genetic material that prompt the body to create a protein that sits on the exterior of the virus, effectively training the immune system to recognize it as an invader."
Read the full article here.
The coronavirus surge is continuing its march across the USA, and it is not looking good.
Friends, as much as I hate to report on negative news, this is the unfortunate reality that we are dealing with, and until vaccines are widely available (hopefully early next year), we really need to hunker down.
According to an article on CNBC published today - these were some of the key points.
Click here to read the full article.
A question that many people have is, "Where is it most likely that I could contract COVID-19?". This question may have been answered in a study in Nature Magazine.
According to an article on CNN,
"The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, suggests that reducing the maximum occupancy in such places -- including restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels -- can slow the spread of illness substantially.
The researchers -- from Stanford University and Northwestern University -- used cell phone location data from SafeGraph to model the potential spread of Covid-19 within 10 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC.
The data, representing the hourly movements of 98 million people, included mobility patterns from March to May.
The researchers examined Covid-19 case counts for each area and took a close look at how often people traveled to certain non-residential locations or "points-of-interest."
Those locations included grocery stores, fitness centers, cafes and snack bars, doctor's offices, religious establishments, hotels and motels and full-service restaurants.
"On average across metro areas, full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels, cafes, religious organizations, and limited-service restaurants produced the largest predicted increases in infections when reopened," the researchers wrote in their study."
Click here to read the fascinating study.
Please keep your face masks on, this virus is spreading rapidly, friends.
Finally, we have some fantastic news to report about COVID-19!
Results from pharmaceutical company, "Pfizer" shows its vaccine is 90% effective in preventing SARS COV-2.
An article in STAT explains,
"Pfizer and partner BioNTech said Monday that their vaccine against Covid-19 was strongly effective, exceeding expectations with results that are likely to be met with cautious excitement — and relief — in the face of the global pandemic.
The vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States to generate late-stage data. The companies said an early analysis of the results showed that individuals who received two injections of the vaccine three weeks apart experienced more than 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than those who received a placebo. For months, researchers have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective."
Click here to read the article.
The USA is still awaiting the official answer to the question of who will be the next President, and it is increasingly becoming apparent that it will be Joe Biden.
As the country waits, unfortunately, COVID cases climb.
The USA has recorded several days this week of new infections totaling over 100K per day, and deaths are also unfortunately rising.
This brings up the importance of the public continuing to heed the advice of doctors and medical experts, who continue to remind us all that physical distancing is still very important. In fact, a new study just published today in "Science Advances" show that approximately 59K lives could have been saved in America if social distancing was imposed only two weeks earlier than it was in May.
The study is explained here from CNN -
"More than 1 million US Covid-19 cases and more than 59,000 deaths could have been prevented by early May if mitigation steps had been implemented two weeks earlier, according to a modeling study published Friday in Science Advances.
Sen Pei, a research scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues built a Covid-19 transmission model that looked at all US counties from February 21 through May 3.
Broad coronavirus transmission control measures were announced March 15, they wrote. The study found that starting interventions such as social distancing and business closures a week earlier, on March 8, led to 600,000 fewer confirmed cases and 32,000 fewer deaths. Beginning such interventions two weeks earlier, on March 1, resulted in more than 1 million fewer confirmed cases and more than 59,000 fewer deaths.
Pei and colleagues wrote that they recognize that protracted shutdowns are a burden, but said it’s vital to balance a return to social and economic activity with avoidance of viral spread. South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Germany “have shown that such a balance may be achievable; the strategies adopted in these countries could be used to guide policies in the US and elsewhere.”
“Our results demonstrate the dramatic impact that earlier interventions could have had on the COVID-19 pandemic in the US,” the authors wrote. “Looking forward, the findings underscore the need for continued vigilance when control measures are relaxed.”
And, they write, “rapid detection of increasing case numbers and fast re-implementation of control measures is needed to control rebound outbreaks of COVID-19.”
The researchers note their experiments are based on idealized assumptions. It’s complicated to initiate and implement social distancing rules during an outbreak, and compliance might lag, they write.
But, “given that more effective control of COVID-19 has been maintained to date in countries such as South Korea, New Zealand, Vietnam and Iceland, these cases and deaths could have been averted, not merely postponed.”
Click here to read the update page on CNN.
And click here to read the study in Science Advances.
Please be safe, keep a mask on, and please stay physically distant when possible, friends.
As the USA election results continue to come in one day after Election Day, the coronavirus continues its surge across the country.
At this point in the pandemic, (and though this blog is not politically biased) it has become undeniably clear that President Trump has failed the American public in his disastrous response to the virus.
And in fact, CNN just reported that, "The United States recorded 102,831 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. It marked the first time the country's daily new cases reached six figures -- and is the highest single-day jump in infections since the pandemic began."
Additionally, according to an article on KTLA:
"New confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have climbed to an all-time high of more than 86,000 per day on average, in a glimpse of the worsening crisis that lies ahead for the winner of the presidential election.
Cases and hospitalizations are setting records all around the country just as the holidays and winter approach, demonstrating the challenge that either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will face in the coming months.
Daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged 45% over the past two weeks, to a record 7-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also on the rise, up 15 percent to an average of 846 deaths every day.
The total U.S. death toll is already more than 232,000, and total confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed 9 million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.
Several states on Wednesday reported grim numbers that are fueling the national trends. Texas reported 9,048 new cases and 126 deaths, and the number of coronavirus patients in Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma hospitals set records. About a third of the new cases in Texas happened in hard-hit El Paso, where a top health officials said hospitals are at a “breaking point.”
Public health experts fear potentially dire consequences, at least in the short term.
Trump’s current term doesn’t end until Jan. 20. In the 86 days until then, 100,000 more Americans will likely die from the virus if the nation doesn’t shift course, said Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, echoing estimates from other public health experts.
“Where we are is in an extremely dire place as a country. Every metric that we have is trending in the wrong direction. This is a virus that will continue to escalate at an accelerated speed and that is not going to stop on its own,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert at George Washington University.
Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said there are things Americans can do now to help change the trajectory.
“Regardless of the outcome of the election, everyone in America needs to buckle down,″ Bailey said.
“A lot of us have gotten kind of relaxed about physically distancing, not washing our hands quite as often as we used to, maybe not wearing our masks quite as faithfully. We all need to realize that things are escalating and we’ve got to be more careful than ever,” she said.
Polls showed the public health crisis and the economy were top concerns for many Americans.
They are competing issues that Trump and Biden view through drastically different lenses.
Trump has ignored the advice of his top health advisors, who have issued increasingly urgent warnings in recent days about the need for preventive measures, instead holding rallies where face coverings were rare and falsely suggesting that the pandemic is waning.
By contrast, Biden has rarely been seen in public without a mask and made public health a key issue. Whether his voice will carry much influence if Trump is declared the winner is uncertain.
“President Trump has already made clear what his strategy is for COVID-19, which is to pretend that there is not a contagious virus all around us,” Wen said. Trump has been touting treatments and vaccines, which won’t be widely available to all Americans until at least mid-2021, she noted.
“There’s a lot of suffering that is going to happen before then, which could have been prevented,” Wen said."
Click here to read the full article.
The USA is not "turning the corner" on COVID-19, contrary to what the President says. And top White House Coronavirus Task Force members Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci are now sounding the alarm.
According to an article on CNN,
"Dr. Deborah Birx sounded an alarming note about the state of the coronavirus in an internal White House report, saying the US is entering its "most deadly phase" yet, one that requires "much more aggressive action," according to The Washington Post.
The dire warning from Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, is at odds with public comments made by President Donald Trump in the closing days of the presidential election, who is falsely claiming the US is "turning the corner" on the pandemic while pressuring Democratic governors to "open" their states despite surging cases nationwide.
"We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic ... leading to increasing mortality," Birx wrote in an internal report Monday, obtained by the Post. "This is not about lockdowns -- It hasn't been about lockdowns since March or April. It's about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented."
In her report, Birx calls for "much more aggressive action from messaging, to testing, to surging personnel around the country before the crisis point," the Post reported. She notes that the country will see more than 100,000 new cases a day this week, according to the Post."
Please be safe out there, friends, and let's listen to the science and the doctors.