“Many people in the field think that there were likely COVID-19 cases in the U.S. prior to January,” one expert tells Yahoo Life.
The editorial, by David Harrington at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, infectious disease specialist Dr. Lindsey Baden and Brown University biostatistician Joseph Hogan, was published on Wednesday along with the WHO study. The findings are complicated by the fact that there is "variation within and between countries in the standard of care and in the burden of disease in patients who arrive at hospitals," they write.
Nurse Carly Thomas was among the first health care workers assigned to her western Pennsylvania hospital's COVID-19 unit in March. "That day, those nurses prayed," Thomas, who has worked at Excela Westmoreland Hospital for nine years, told ABC News Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. Today, the 15-bed COVID-19 unit Thomas works in is full, and nurses are faced with an emotionally taxing responsibility: video-calling dying patients' families so they can say goodbye.
Elliot Page came out as transgender this week, and trans celebrities everywhere are welcoming him into the community with open arms.
LONDON -- The first rigorously tested coronavirus vaccine was given a green light for use Wednesday in Britain. Doses of the vaccine, made by the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and a small German company, BioNTech, will be injected starting next week, the government said.In leaping ahead of the United States to allow mass inoculations, Britain added to the pressure on U.S. drug regulators, who were summoned to the White House on Tuesday by President Donald Trump's chief of staff to explain why they were not ready to do the same.Why did Britain authorize a vaccine before the U.S.?Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York TimesThe two countries vet vaccines differently.Rather than accepting the findings of vaccine makers, U.S. regulators painstakingly reanalyze raw data from the trials to validate the results, poring over what regulators have described as thousands of pages of documents. Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, called the United States an outlier when it comes to the rigor of its vaccine reviews, saying on Tuesday that the FDA "is one of the few regulatory agencies in the world that actually looks at the raw data."Regulators in Britain and elsewhere in Europe lean more heavily on companies' own analyses. Instead of sifting through raw trial data and crunching the numbers themselves, regulatory agencies often will study a drugmaker's reports and, unless there are anomalies, ground their decisions in company-provided documents.Still, scientists and industry experts said the British regulators maintained high standards, often acting as a bellwether for other countries' rulings. The regulators themselves said on Wednesday that experts had "unprecedented access" to raw trial data; tested vaccines for quality, batch by batch; and read more than 1,000 pages of documentation.American and British regulators also have different ways of soliciting outside views.The FDA consults an independent panel of experts before it decides. In the case of Pfizer's vaccine, that panel will meet on Dec. 10. British regulators seek opinions from a specialist committee, too, but that group has the flexibility to review data and meet as it needs to, allowing it to move more quickly. In all, the committee met for more than 40 hours about the Pfizer vaccine, its chair said on Wednesday.Like American regulators, their British counterparts have been reviewing vaccine data as it arrived. And different teams worked in parallel, rather than waiting for other parts of the review to finish."If you're climbing a mountain, you prepare and prepare," Dr. June Raine, the chief executive of Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said on Wednesday. "We started that in June."When early results arrived on Nov. 10, she said, "We were at base camp." And later, she said, "When we got the final analysis, we were ready for that last sprint."What about the rest of Europe?Britain broke from the European Union's regulatory orbit to approve a vaccine early, owing to emergency powers that the bloc gives countries in the case of a pandemic. Once Britain consummates its split from the European Union on Dec. 31, those powers to approve vaccines on its own will become permanent.The countries that remain in the European Union are waiting for its regulator, the European Medicines Agency, to authorize a vaccine. Like the FDA, the European regulator has scheduled a meeting during which it will consult outside experts and offer an opinion on the Pfizer vaccine. That will happen Dec. 29.The agency's job is complicated by its obligation to solicit the views of all 27 EU countries. That process has been accelerated during the pandemic, but it will still take several days for countries to weigh in after the Dec. 29 meeting, which is likely to delay vaccinations until early January.When will the first doses arrive in Britain?Pfizer plans to ship 800,000 doses to Britain in the coming days. Starting Tuesday night, those doses were being prepared for shipping at a factory in Puurs, Belgium, BioNTech said.The doses will be packaged in boxes of several thousand doses each, with dry ice keeping them at the South Pole-like temperatures they require, before they are put on trucks or planes and taken to Britain. They will arrive in government distribution warehouses by the weekend, Pfizer said Wednesday.British hospitals have already begun emailing staff members to schedule vaccinations, with a London hospital system indicating that its first doses will be given at 7 a.m. Monday. Britain placed advance orders for 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine but most of those are expected to be administered next year. Each patient needs two, a month apart.Does authorization in Britain affect other countries' supply of the vaccine?The British decision will not in itself bring vaccinations closer anywhere else. But Pfizer executives said Wednesday that they had already heard from other countries that, in light of Britain's go-ahead, were looking to accelerate their own approval processes.U.S. regulators, despite months of pressure from Trump, have maintained that they will follow their plan and review Pfizer's vaccine to the FDA's standards.The United States has preordered 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Most of its supply will come from a separate factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Still, many questions remain about how vaccine makers like Pfizer will fulfill the orders of wealthier nations that have procured supplies in advance.Britain's ruling offered little relief to poorer countries that could not afford to buy supplies in advance and may struggle to pay for both the vaccines and the exceptional demands of distributing them.Who will be vaccinated first in Britain?A government advisory body released its list of vaccine priority groups Wednesday. At the top of the list are nursing home residents and workers, followed by people older than 80 and health and social care workers.In practice, though, government officials have indicated that front-line hospital workers may be quicker to receive vaccines because of the difficulties of storing and moving the Pfizer vaccine to nursing homes and other sites. It has to be stored at around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit) until days before injection.Pfizer has said that the vaccine can survive for five days in a normal refrigerator. But Britain's National Health Service still has to consider issues like staffing at nonhospital sites and transport difficulties within the country in deciding how to administer the vaccine.The National Health Service has roughly 150,000 doctors and more than 330,000 nurses and midwives.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Coronavirus vaccine distribution could begin by mid-December. So, will there be side effects? When will you be able to get it? Here's what to know.
As COVID-19 tears across the country, health experts have been calling for increased access to testing that will help track and contain the virus's swift and often silent spread.But some of the cheapest and most convenient diagnostic tools on the market might not perform as promised in a crucial contingent of the population, in which they were already being used: children, whose pint-size bodies might make the coronavirus more difficult to detect.A small but growing body of evidence, some of which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, suggests that some rapid tests for the coronavirus may falter in very young people, letting low-level infections slip by unnoticed.Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York TimesIn a recent study of more than 1,600 people in Massachusetts, Binax NOW, a rapid test manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, caught 96.5% of the coronavirus infections found by a more accurate laboratory test in adults with symptoms. But the rapid test detected just 77.8% of the symptomatic cases in people 18 or under. Among people without symptoms, the test faltered further, identifying 70.2% of adults and 63.6% of children.Another recent paper, published in November in Clinical Microbiology and Infection, found that a different rapid test by Abbott, called the PanBio, identified just 62.5% of coronavirus cases in people 16 or younger, compared with 82.6% of infections in adults, although the number of pediatric samples tested was small.Children rarely seem to have serious cases of COVID, and the youngest among them may also be less likely to pass the coronavirus on to others. But the new findings should encourage more in-depth studies of diagnostic tools for the virus in pediatric populations, health experts said."At this moment, I think it's still totally possible that these tests perform the same way" in children as they do in adults, said Dr. Nira Pollock, the associate medical director of the infectious diseases diagnostic laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital and one of the researchers who led the Massachusetts study. But without solid data demonstrating how coronavirus diagnostics perform in children, she added, it would be a mistake to assume that young people will test as easily as adults.Nonetheless, the tests' performance seems to have been taken for granted. The Binax NOW, which received an emergency green light from the Food and Drug Administration in August, was not tested in anyone younger than 22 before Abbott sought the federal agency's authorization. Yet the government has already purchased millions of these tests and begun to distribute them to governors and vulnerable communities, encouraging their use in schools as screening tools.Another of Abbott's rapid tests, ID NOW, also excluded people 21 and younger from early studies, but it has already appeared in clinics across the country. And a widely used rapid test called the Veritor, made by Becton, Dickinson and Company, was not evaluated in people younger than 18, but it had been publicly optioned for use in schools. Several other rapid testing companies, including Access Bio and LumiraDx, did include a small number of minors in their preliminary studies, but they declined to provide data on performance across age.In medicine, children are often "assumed to be just miniature versions of grown-ups," said Jennifer Dien Bard, director of the clinical microbiology and virology laboratory at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "But they are not just small adults. It's really important that any testing that is available, that there are specific strategies offered for children and their specific needs."In the rush to clear treatments, vaccines and diagnostics for widespread use, companies often neglect to include children in early trials that test whether products or therapies are safe and effective. But tests for viruses, bacteria and other infectious microbes that yield stellar results for adults do not always translate perfectly for children.The reasons behind these differences are not always obvious, Pollock said. For instance, children's immune systems might be better at homing in on and sequestering certain infectious invaders, making them harder to detect with standard-issue tests.In one study, published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in October, Pollock and her team amassed data from nine pediatric hospitals across the country, all of which reported relatively scant counts of the virus in children without symptoms. Another, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, hinted at a similar trend in children who were sick.Laboratory tests, such as those that use a technique called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, are sensitive enough to uncover these low-level infections, Pollock said. But the virus may not be present in high enough amounts to be discovered by a rapid test, such as those that detect only relatively large quantities of antigens, or bits of coronavirus proteins. The Binax NOW is one such test.Many such children "are going to be negative on rapid tests," Pollock said. "That impacts how we think about school settings and day care."It may be that some children are naturally predisposed to harbor less of the virus. It was also possible that the children in these studies were all sampled too late in their infections, when the virus had already petered out. If that was the case, Pollock said, these children might have once carried or even transmitted the virus in large amounts, but they were not tested during that time. Teasing apart these scenarios may be difficult without testing many more children, she said.For now, "if your goal is to detect infection, molecular tests are the way to go," she said, referring to laboratory diagnostics like those that use PCR.Still, if children truly do carry around less of the virus, it may be acceptable that some cases are missed by certain tests, said Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "It depends on the goal of testing," Akinboyo said. People who carry less of the virus may be less likely to transmit it to others, for instance.In response to the recent findings out of Massachusetts, Kimberly Modory, a spokeswoman for Abbott, noted that Binax NOW "is for use within seven days of symptom onset" and that the test performed "well" in this window of time. She pointed out that if symptomatic children who were carrying low amounts of the virus -- a group the company argued were less likely to be infectious -- were discarded from the data set, the test's performance increased. Abbott declined to comment on the findings among asymptomatic people, noting the company was conducting its own studies on the matter.But several experts caution that tests alone cannot determine whether someone is contagious, or rule out the risk of passing a pathogen to others. Harboring less of the virus in your nose does not necessarily mean you pose less of a transmission risk, especially in an understudied population like children, Dien Bard, of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said. "These people can very well still be infectious."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
The World Health Organization on Wednesday tightened guidelines on wearing face masks, recommending that, where COVID-19 is spreading, they be worn by everyone in health care facilities and for all interactions in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces. In more detailed advice published on Wednesday, the WHO said that, where the epidemic was spreading, people - including children and students aged 12 or over - should always wear masks in shops, workplaces and schools that lack adequate ventilation, and when receiving visitors at home in poorly ventilated rooms. Masks should also be worn outdoors and in well ventilated indoor spaces where physical distancing of at least one meter (3 ft) could not be maintained.
Pfizer and BioNTech win permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first shot backed by rigorous science.
As numerous states continue to see an uptick in coronavirus cases, some hospitals are being forced to hit pause on elective surgeries -- a measure that was last seen in the early spring as cases and hospitalizations climbed dramatically. "Hospital capacity is now the state's top concern," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday after announcing that elective surgeries will be suspended in Erie County due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Catholic Health, one of the hospitals affected by the governor's orders, had already suspended elective surgeries two weeks ago.
Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 35 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive university entrance exam Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules. The Education Ministry said about 493,430 students were taking the one-day exam at about 1,380 sites across the nation.
Renown Regional Medical Center confirmed that it is currently treating more than 40 patients in the parking-garage-turned-care-site.
When Toshitsune Tamashiro was young and closeted in 1980s Japan, Tokyo's Shinjuku Ni-chome gay district was a haven. Now he runs a bar there, and has fought to keep the district going during the coronavirus pandemic. Ni-chome, believed the most dense concentration of gay bars globally, fulfills a vital role for Japan's LGBT community in a nation where some gay men still marry women, and even a few Ni-chome bar owners haven't come out to their families.
Mexico's health ministry on Wednesday reported 11,251 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 800 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,133,613 cases and 107,565 deaths. The 11,251 new cases announced on Wednesday represent one of the biggest one-day totals recorded by Mexico since the pandemic began. The government said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
The museum has responded to complaints that a peanut butter-focused menu was "tone deaf" in light of nut allergies.
The NBA said Wednesday that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus since testing resumed last week. The league and National Basketball Players Association said 546 players were tested between Nov. 24-30 in the initial phase of testing after returning to team markets. Any player with a confirmed positive test is isolated until cleared by rules established by the league and union, in accordance with CDC guidance.
Australia expects no changes to the timeline for its COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans, Health Minister Greg Hunt said, after Britain approved Pfizer Inc's vaccine on Wednesday, the first country to do so. Britain said it would start inoculating high-risk people from early next week with the vaccine, developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE. "Our advice remains that the timeline for a decision on approval is expected by the end of January 2021, and our planning is for first vaccine delivery in March 2021," Hunt said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced alternatives to its two-week recommended quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. The CDC's 14-day guidance has been one of the more notable standards on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after a potential exposure, along with other basic public health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, and Wednesday's announcement could mark a shift in recommendations from local health departments on how individuals should handle a potential exposure. Dr. Henry Walke, the COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, told reporters on Wednesday that although the CDC continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine as the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, the agency has two new alternatives.
CDC reportedly will soon recommend quarantining for less time. At least 41 people tested positive after a swingers convention. Latest COVID-19 news.
An article from The New American claims the CDC admits that masks do not work and contribute to COVID-19 infection. This is false.
The doses will be delivered through Jan. 31, with at least 350,000 delivered in December, the company said. The experimental drug has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use for helping newly-diagnosed, high-risk patients avoid hospitalization, and the government bought 300,000 doses in October. The new purchase is part of a U.S. government deal to secure nearly 1 million doses of Lilly's bamlanivimab, a treatment similar to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc's COVID-19 antibody therapy that U.S. President Donald Trump received in October during his illness.
In the video, which has been viewed nearly 90,000 times, Dr. Kenneth Remy says, "I hope that the last moments of your life don’t look like this."
As COVID-19 hospitalizations increase exponentially, doctors, nurses, staff and ICU beds are needed. Health care experts sound an alarm.
Guidance until now had recommended quarantining for 14 days after exposure to a coronavirus-infected person within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes.
Americans who celebrated Thanksgiving with other people outside their household should assume they are infectious and a “dangerous to others,” the White House Coronavirus Task Force is warning in a startling new report obtained by ABC News. Delivered Nov. 29 to the nation’s governors, but not released publicly, President Donald Trump’s top pandemic advisers said it’s up to state and local public health officials to alert the public as COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high. The task force advises older Americans should be warned to stay away from indoor public spaces and to have groceries and medications delivered.
“This metastasizing debt crisis has had tremendous social costs. An entire generation has been set back.”
“It is not the government’s job to step in and rescue those who took on more debt than their future incomes would support.”
“Many student-borrowers need relief, but well-off borrowers who are thriving — thanks to their college degrees — do not.”
“It will stimulate the lagging economy. And though not everyone will directly benefit, the country as a whole will improve.”
“Canceling student debt would cost billions of dollars each year and would exacerbate, not lessen, economic inequalities.”