Health News Roundup: South Korea’s conscripted doctors feel like ‘human shields’ in virus battle; U.S. CDC reports 225,084 deaths from coronavirus and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

South Korea’s conscripted doctors feel like ‘human shields’ in virus battle

As the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping through South Korea late in February, doctor Nam Ha-jong received an order to report overnight to Daegu, a city that was to become the epicentre of infections. With little formal training in treating virus victims and just two hours of instruction in the use of personal protective gear, the 30-year-old was sent to track down likely patients.

Alarmed Europe prepares for more COVID pain amid rising discontent

European governments prepared on Tuesday to introduce new restrictions to try to curb a growing surge of coronavirus infections across the continent and provide economic balm to help businesses survive the pandemic. Eight months into the crisis, world leaders face an increasingly difficult task holding the disease at bay while also trying to keep their economies afloat as they wait for a vaccination that should mitigate the contagion.

Analysis: Australia’s star vaccine maker not immune to virus anxiety

Earlier this year, a low-key biomedical firm briefly toppled Australia’s biggest bank and miner to become the country’s most expensive company and a household brand, thanks to its part in the race to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. But while the coronavirus pandemic has lifted CSL Ltd’s investment profile, virus anxieties are also hitting its most lucrative business: taking blood from donors and converting it into medical treatment.

U.S. COVID-19 cases soar as Pence’s staff at White House test positive

A new coronavirus outbreak at the White House involving Vice President Mike Pence’s staff comes as the United States reported a near-record number of new cases on Saturday. The United States reported 79,852 new infections on Saturday, close to the previous day’s record of 84,244 new cases. Hospitalizations are also rising and have hit a two-month high and deaths are also trending upwards, according to a Reuters tally. (Graphic:

UK PM under pressure for new lockdown to tackle second COVID-19 wave: Telegraph

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being put under pressure for a new lockdown with the government working on the assumption the second wave of coronavirus will be more deadly than the first, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday. An internal analysis of the projected course of the second wave, provided by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has led to intense lobbying from UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and other advisers for Johnson to take more drastic action, the report said.

English COVID data patchy, researchers say, as new dashboard launched

There are significant problems with the availability and quality of COVID-19 data in England, British researchers said on Wednesday as they launched a dashboard to help make sense of the patchwork of stats. The COVID Response Evaluation Dashboard (COVID RED) presents available statistics from Public Health England (PHE), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Health Service (NHS) and also highlights where more data are needed.

Novavax delays U.S. trial of COVID-19 vaccine to November

Novavax Inc on Tuesday delayed the start of a late-stage U.S. trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by roughly a month to the end of November, citing delays in scaling up the manufacturing process. The U.S.-based drug developer said data from a separate Phase III trial being conducted in Britain was expected by the first quarter of 2021 and could be the basis for global regulatory approvals although it did not elaborate.

Shares of the company rose nearly 3%. Mexico passes 900,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

Mexico’s health ministry reported on Tuesday 5,942 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 643 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 901,268 and the death toll to 89,814. Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases. On Sunday, the ministry said the true death toll from Covid-19 may be around 50,000 higher.

U.S. CDC reports 225,084 deaths from coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 8,680,611 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 63,589 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 483 to 225,084. 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 Oct. 26 compared with its previous report a day earlier. (

Melbourne opens up dining, shopping as four month virus lockdown lifted

Melbourne’s shops, restaurants and hotels opened for business on Wednesday after a four month coronavirus lockdown, with happy customers enjoying alfresco eating in the spring sunshine and shopkeepers hoping for big sales to make up for lost revenue. The state of Victoria and its capital Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, has been the epicentre of COVID-19 infections, but the strict lockdown has ended a second wave, with only two new cases and two deaths overnight.

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