Trump promises COVID vaccine this year despite current progress

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On the final night of the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump, speaking on the White House lawn to a large, mostly unmasked audience, said his administration would have a vaccine against COVID-19 in the next 4 months.”We are providing life-saving therapy and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” Trump said during his acceptance speech as the party’s incumbent candidate.

The claim comes despite the fact that no major vaccine candidate has completed clinical trials, and it was followed today by news that two public relations experts working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been fired after Trump and the FDA chief overstated the benefits of blood plasma for treating patients with COVID-19.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, today removed Emily Miller from her post as the agency’s chief spokesperson, along with fellow communications consultant Wayne Pines, according to the New York Times. Hahn had been heavily criticized this week after claiming that early data from the Mayo Clinic showed the use of convalescent plasma resulted in a 35% reduction in mortality, while the absolute reduction was closer to 3%.

According to Stat News, no speaker on the last night of the convention mentioned that the country has recorded more than 180,000 deaths from COVID-19, by far the most countries in the world. The United States, along with the United Kingdom, is one of the only advanced economy countries in the world where most citizens are likely to disagree with their government’s response to COVID-19.

According to a new Pew Research poll, only 47% of Americans said their country was handling the pandemic well, compared to 95% of Danes, 88% of Canadians and 88% of Germans. The UK approval rate is 46%. But the margin of error for the US and UK for the poll ranges from 3.7 to 4.1 percentage points, which could take approval rates to just over 50%.

U.S. officials yesterday reported 45,966 new COVID-19 cases and 1,116 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 tracker, bringing the country’s total to 5,902,374 cases and 181,435 deaths.

Risk of COVID-19 from hurricanes

As more than 500,000 people evacuate parts of Louisiana and Texas as Hurricane Laura makes landfall, officials fear the evacuation could lead to new coronavirus outbreaks in a part of the country that has struggled throughout been to contain the virus.

“Remember, just because a hurricane is coming to Texas doesn’t mean COVID-19 has left or will leave Texas,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said earlier this week.

An unpublished Columbia University model has projected that a hurricane could cause thousands of new cases of COVID-19 as people are forced to seek refuge in shelters without physical distance.

First American case of confirmed reinfection

Finally, today, researchers in Nevada confirmed the first U.S. case of COVID-19 reinfection, involving a 25-year-old patient from Nevada. The patient was first infected in April and then 48 days later tested positive after two negative tests after the first infection.

The viral genomes of the first and second isolates show differences which indicate that the two infections were independent of each other.

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