Health News Roundup: School’s back and COVID cases; US COVID deaths projected to more than double and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

French parents: school’s back and already we have COVID cases

COVID-19 has forced the closure of a dozen schools in mainland France just days into the new academic year, the government said on Friday, as coronavirus cases surge in parts of the country. In some other cases the school itself stayed open, but classes, where there were outbreaks of infection, were sent home, inducing anxiety in parents who have only just shipped their children back to school after the summer holiday.

U.S. coronavirus deaths projected to more than double to 410,000 by January

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus will reach 410,000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3,000 per day in December, the University of Washington’s health institute forecast on Friday. Deaths could be reduced by 30% if more Americans wore face masks as epidemiologists have advised, but mask-wearing is declining, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said.

Russia records more than 10,000 deaths linked to coronavirus in July – stats agency

Russia registered 10,079 deaths linked to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, data from the state statistics service Rosstat showed on Friday. The virus had been the main cause of death in 4,863 of these cases, Rosstat said.

Smoking tied to COVID-19 risk; oxygen meter may help home patients

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Smoking tied to higher levels of COVID-19-associated genes.

Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine showed antibody response in initial trials

Russia’s “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published on Friday by The Lancet medical journal that were hailed by Moscow as an answer to its critics. The results of the two trials, conducted in June-July this year and involving 76 participants, showed 100% of participants developing antibodies to the new coronavirus and no serious side effects, The Lancet said.

Widespread COVID-19 vaccinations not expected until mid-2021, WHO says

The World Health Organization does not expect widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year, a spokeswoman said on Friday, stressing the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety. None of the candidate vaccines in advanced clinical trials so far has demonstrated a “clear signal” of efficacy at the level of at least 50% sought by the WHO, spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.

WHO’s Tedros says ‘vaccine nationalism’ would prolong pandemic

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the effort to quash the pandemic and called for vaccines to be used fairly and effectively. Tedros said 78 high-income countries had now joined the “COVAX” global vaccine allocation plan, bringing the total to 170 countries, and the “number is growing”. He urged others to join by the Sept. 18 deadline for binding commitments.

U.S. CDC reports 186,173 deaths from coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday said the number of deaths due to the new coronavirus had risen by 1,081 to 186,173 and reported 6,132,074 cases, an increase of 44,671 cases from its previous count. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 3 compared with its previous report a day earlier. (

U.S. will not ‘cut corners’ in developing coronavirus vaccine, Pence says

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that the Trump administration would not “cut corners” in making a vaccine for the coronavirus available, although it wants to move as fast as possible to deliver something that is safe and effective. “We’re not going to cut corners in the development of a vaccine, but at the same time through Operation Warp Speed, the president has made it clear that we want a safe and effective vaccine available for the American people absolutely as soon as is possible to have,” Pence told Fox Business Network.

Exclusive: J&J seeking one-third of COVID-19 vaccine trial volunteers in hard-hit Latin America

Johnson & Johnson will seek 20,000 volunteers for late-stage human trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in hard-hit Latin America, one-third of the planned global total, one of its public health chiefs in the region said. Josue Bacaltchuk, vice president of medical affairs for Latin America for Janssen, J&J’s Belgian unit developing the vaccine prototype, said countries hosting the trials would also likely get preferential access to vaccines once ready.

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