Health News Roundup: US CDC reports 173,490 deaths from COVID; COVID eras highlights U.S. ‘black hole’ compenstation fund and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. CDC reports 173,490 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 1,074 to 173,490 and reported 5,551,793 cases, an increase of 44,864 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 pm ET on Aug. 20 versus its previous report a day earlier.(https://bit.ly/31f9FJZ)
COVID-19 era highlights U.S. ‘black hole’ compensation fund for pandemic vaccine injuries
A U.S. government program that compensates people who say they have been harmed by an emergency vaccine has paid out on fewer than 10% of claims, raising questions whether the process should be used to address any potential side effects from a coronavirus shot, according to some lawyers who have filed such claims. The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), run by an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has been designated to handle any issues with a COVID-19 vaccine.
South Africa’s COVID-19 infections breach 600,000 mark
South Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have surpassed 600,000, the health ministry said on Friday, although the number of new cases has been declining since a peak in July. Despite imposing one of the world’s toughest lockdowns at the end of March when the country had only a few hundred cases, South Africa saw a surge in coronavirus infections that has left it the hardest hit on the continent.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
New, milder, virus variant found Russia vaccine roll-out plan prompts virus mutation worries
Russia’s plan to roll-out its “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine even before full trials show how well it works is prompting concern among virus experts, who warn a partially effective shot may encourage the novel coronavirus to mutate. Viruses, including the pandemic SARS-CoV-2, are known for their ability to mutate all the time – and often this has little or no impact on the risk posed to people.
WHO chief hopes coronavirus pandemic will last less than two years
The World Health Organization hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be shorter than the 1918 Spanish flu and last less than two years, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday if the world unites and succeeds in finding a vaccine. The WHO has always been cautious about giving estimates on how quickly the pandemic can be dealt with while there is no proven vaccine.
Remdesivir disappoints in COVID-19 study; breast milk transmission unlikely
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. New questions about remdesivir COVID-19 efficacy.
Gilead: FDA could expand remdesivir use despite mixed data
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could update its emergency use authorization for Gilead Sciences Inc’s drug remdesivir to include patients hospitalized with moderate COVID-19, despite mixed trial results, the company’s top research executive said on Friday. The FDA in May okayed sales of remdesivir on an emergency basis for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, after trial data showed that the antiviral drug helped shorten their hospital recovery time.
Explainer: Reaching herd immunity in a viral pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought “herd immunity” to the public consciousness, kindling hope the phenomenon can help slow or even end the outbreak. Herd immunity refers to a large portion of a community developing a degree of immunity to a virus, thereby reducing person-to-person spread. As a result, the whole community gains protection, not just those who are immune.
Nearly a fifth of 11,000 people enrolled so far in a 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial testing a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are Black or Latino, groups among the hardest hit by the coronavirus virus pandemic, a top Pfizer executive said. “Between Latinx and Black or African American populations, we’re running at about 19 percent or so,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development, told Reuters in an interview.