The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 rose to over 30 million on Friday and the death toll rose to over 946,000, with the US death toll closer to 200,000 – nearly a fifth of the world's Number.
Controversial guidelines for coronavirus testing posted on the CDC website, stating that asymptomatic people do not need to be tested even if exposed to the virus, were not actually authored by the CDC, the New York Times reported, and were made about the objections published by CDC scientists.
Citing internal documents and sources described as familiar with the matter, the Times said the Department of Health and Human Services rewritten the testing guidelines in late August and "posted" them on the CDC website without proper verification.
The recommendation contained numerous flaws (including suggestions that tests should target COVID-19, the disease, rather than the virus), the Times reported, and was inconsistent with the CDC's news, especially with asymptomatic individuals being the main vectors of the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly reverted to the new guidelines after a riot. A new version of the testing guidelines is expected to be announced on Friday, the Times said, which has also been revised by HHS and does not appear to have been properly reviewed.
In case you missed it (August 27th):In a second embarrassment for a major U.S. health agency this week, CDC says that asymptomatic people exposed to infection can be retested
The incident appears to be another example of the politicization of a historically apolitical agency that threatens to undermine its credibility during the worst pandemic in a century. HHS has been viewed as more vulnerable to political influence, particularly recently.
The report comes a day after President Donald Trump had a dispute with the chief of the country's main health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over the schedule for a possible COVID-19 vaccine. Trump said a vaccine would be ready "in weeks", contradicting CDC chief Robert Redfield, who had stated under oath that it was expected to be available in mid-2021.
Trump's rival in the presidential race, Democrat Joe Biden, said at an event at CNN City Hall on Thursday that he would not mislead the American public on vaccination if he were elected.
"Highlight my words: If I am president, I will always measure myself against the American people and always tell the truth," Biden said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.
Dr. Atul Nakhasi, a doctor and policy advisor for the Los Angeles Department of Health, told MSNBC that the CDC's schedule described by Redfield was appropriate.
"If we get evidence that a vaccine is effective by the end of the year, we still need 300 million syringes, we need 300 million needles, we need 300 million products and we need to bring it to the Americans in this country," Nakhasi said an interview. "So … I think the CDC is realistic here that we may not really get this out to the American people on a really large scale until the spring or summer of 2021."
Dr. Michael Offit, a pediatrician at Philadelphia Children's Hospital who co-invented the rotavirus vaccine, told MarketWatch that a vaccine won't be a panacea even when it's done.
"People now see vaccines as magic dust that is scattered over this country and makes everything disappear," he said in an interview. "It doesn't work that way."
Offit outlined the logistical challenges of an expected two-dose regimen, the storage and refrigeration requirements challenges associated with messenger RNA vaccines, and the fact that early vaccines are unlikely to be more than 50% to 75% effective.
"Even if it's very effective, it won't be a safe shot." If you hit 75%, it means one in four people may still get a moderate to severe illness that can lead to hospitalization or death. That's why he still has to wear a mask. "he said." There will likely be a larger percentage, more than 25%, who could either still get mild or asymptomatic infections, or they could still be shedding and contagious. "
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A former Republican official in the Trump White House – Olivia Troye, former MP for Homeland Security to Vice President Mike Pence – endorsed Biden Thursday, saying Trump mistreated the pandemic because his focus has always been on re-election, not public health.
In other news:
• The US Postal Service was ready to send face masks to every American household in April, but the White House scrapped the plan at the last minute fearing it would panic, according to multiple reports. The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the Post had prepared a draft press release announcing a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver more than 600 million face masks to every residential address in the country. The Post received the draft of the publication as part of an application under the Freedom of Information Act. NBC News later independently confirmed the Post report. Approximately 135,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus since April.
• Mainland China counted 32 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Reuters reported. That was the largest one-day increase in more than a month, and a sharp increase from the nine cases reported on Wednesday. The National Health Commission said all new cases were imported infections, of which 13 were in northwestern Shaanxi province and another 12 in Shanghai. China has not confirmed any cases of local transmission of the virus since mid-August.
• Israel marks the Jewish New Year with a second nationwide lockdown as officials work to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, the BBC reported. The lockdown will last three weeks and will require the Israelis to stay 1 kilometer from their homes. The number of people admitted to synagogues has also been reduced. No more than 10 people are allowed to meet indoors. Israel has 176,933 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,169 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
What does a second coronavirus lockdown look like? Ask Israel
• The UK government has been instructed by its leading scientific experts to impose a national lockdown to contain a second coronavirus surge, as Boris Johnson's government health secretary Matt Hancock declined to comment on Friday The next step would be reported by MarketWatch's Pierre Briançon in the coming weeks. Many regions and cities in the UK are currently on local lockdown after infections increased significantly in August to other European countries like Spain and France. The latest restrictions were placed in Newcastle and other Northeast English cities on Thursday. However, the government has so far committed to doing everything possible to avoid such measures at the national level.
According to Johns Hopkins data, there are 30.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 946,847 people have died. At least 20.6 million people have recovered.
The US has the highest numbers in the world with 6.7 million cases and 197,644 deaths. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 134,935 and the third highest at 4.5 million.
India ranks third with 84,372 deaths and second with 5.2 million cases. Mexico ranks fourth with 72,179 deaths and seventh with 684,113 cases.
The UK has 41,794 deaths and 384,087 cases, the highest death toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.
In China, where the disease was first reported late last year, there are 90,297 cases and 4,737 deaths, according to official figures.
What is the latest medical news?
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche AG
MarketWatch's Jaimy Lee says that hospitalized COVID-19 patients taking the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra are less likely to need mechanical ventilation than those taking placebo.
The company's Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study focused on the enrollment of minority patients with COVID-19-related pneumonia. 389 participants take part in the study.
However, the drug didn't make a difference in mortality, Roche said. Roche is also testing Actemra with Gilead Sciences Inc.
Remdesivir, the only previously unapproved drug that has received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a COVID-19 treatment during the pandemic.
Earlier this week Eli Lilly & Co.
and Incyte Corp.
said that their rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant combined with remdesivir reduced recovery time for hospitalized coronavirus patients.
Both findings, neither of which have yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, indicate for the first time in months a clinical benefit for rheumatoid arthritis drugs in treating some COVID-19 patients after a series of setbacks over the summer.
The European Commission has signed a contract with Sanofi SA
and GlaxoSmithKline PLC
Up to 300 million doses of their potential COVID-19 vaccine are to be secured, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The contract is the second deal the EU has signed for the supply of vaccines against coronavirus, having already signed a contract with UK drug maker AstraZeneca PLC.
"Agreements with other companies will soon be concluded and a diversified portfolio of promising vaccines based on different technologies will be built, increasing our chances of finding an effective remedy for the virus," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Sanofi and GSK aim to have the vaccine available by the second half of 2021, after starting a phase 1 and phase 2 study in September with a phase 3 study by the end of 2020.
What is the economy saying?
The University of Michigan announced that its tentative US consumer sentiment index was 78.9 in September, down from 74.1 in the previous month, MarketWatch's Victor Reklaitis reported.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected a value of 75.9.
The sentiment indicator covers how consumers view their personal finances as well as business and buying conditions.
Americans' confidence in the economy and their own financial security predicts the future well. Unless they feel more secure, the economy is unlikely to quickly recover from the coronavirus recession.
Connected:The numbers tell us the economy is better, but millions of Americans are not feeling it
What could help to restore confidence are further measures by the federal government to support the economy. However, analysts have determined that a divided Washington is unlikely to deliver another major coronavirus bailout ahead of the November 3 election.
Independently of this, the index of leading economic indicators rose 1.2% in August, the Conference Board announced on Friday. This is a slower pace than the revised 2% increase in July and the 3.1% increase in June.
"The slowdown in improvement suggests that economic recovery could slow down this summer by the end of 2020," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycle research on the board.
The LEI is a weighted display of 10 indicators that are designed to show business cycle peaks and troughs.
The main US stock knives
traded lower at noon on Friday and remained on track for weekly gains.