Health News Roundup: Trump signs US healthcare orders that may have little impact; AstraZeneca gets partial immunity and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Trump signs U.S. healthcare executive orders that may have little impact

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday signed two executive orders on healthcare for Americans that lawyers said will carry little weight, as the president seeks to boost his flagging credibility with voters on the hot-button issue ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump signed the twin orders implementing his “America First Healthcare Plan” in an airport hangar in Charlotte, North Carolina, amid an audience that included medical professionals.

Exclusive: AstraZeneca gets partial immunity in low-cost EU vaccine deal

European governments will pay claims above an agreed limit against AstraZeneca over side-effects from its potential COVID-19 vaccine, under different terms to a deal struck with Sanofi, an EU official told Reuters. The deals reflect different strategies by two of the world’s top drugmakers for protecting themselves as a debate rages about liabilities for vaccines aimed at ending the pandemic.

U.S. CDC reports 202,329 deaths from coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday reported 6,958,632 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 42,340 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 918 to 202,329. 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. 24 compared with its previous report a day earlier.(

Details on Trump’s $200 cards for Medicare users scarce and conflicted

The Trump administration’s planned distribution of $200 benefit cards to Medicare recipients will take place over the next few months, with not all beneficiaries receiving one before the Nov. 3 presidential election, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official said on Friday. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that 33 million Medicare beneficiaries would “soon receive a card in the mail” to help pay for prescription drugs. Nearly 60 million people are enrolled in Medicare, the U.S. federal health insurance program for older people and the disabled.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produces strong immune response in early trial

A single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus in an early-to-mid stage clinical trial, according to interim results published on Friday. The vaccine, called Ad26.COV2.S, was equally well-tolerated at two different doses, the results showed. A single shot, versus a rival two-dose approach being tested by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, could simplify distribution of the vaccine.

Global COVID-19 death toll could hit 2 million before vaccine in wide use – WHO

The global death toll from COVID-19 could double to 2 million before a successful vaccine is widely used and could be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, an official at the World Health Organization said on Friday. “Unless we do it all, (2 million deaths) … is not only imaginable but sadly very likely,” Mike Ryan, head of the U.N. agency’s emergencies programme, told a briefing on Friday.

Positive results for J&J vaccine; child racial disparities seen

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. J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine produces strong immune response.

Costa Rican government says has signed up for WHO’s COVAX vaccine plan

The Costa Rican government said on Friday it has signed up for the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility vaccine program to be able to pre-order more than one million doses of the vaccine once it is made available.

U.S. records over seven million COVID-19 cases as Midwest outbreak surges

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States topped 7 million – more than 20% of the world’s total – as Midwest states reported spikes in COVID-19 infections in September, according to a Reuters tally. The latest milestone on Thursday comes just days after the nation surpassed over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest death toll from the virus. Each day, over 700 people die in the United States from COVID-19.

Canada’s biggest provinces seek clamp down on social gatherings as coronavirus wave spreads

Canada’s two most populous provinces on Friday moved to clamp down further on social gatherings in a bid to slow a second wave of coronavirus cases sweeping across much of the country. Ontario ordered the closure of bars and restaurants from midnight to 5 a.m. except for takeout and delivery and said strip clubs would have to shut down from Saturday.

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