What we know about the coronavirus as cases rise again
This week, the virus continued to increase across much of the United States and Europe. Several European countries, including Italy and Austria, reported their highest one-day cases yesterday. And in the United States, it was the first day with more than 70,000 new cases since the summer, as 32 states reported increased infection rates.
While the question of how and whether to reopen schools remains controversial, experts say that so far, little to suggest that reopened schools are contributing to these surges. And although infections are on the rise, death rates from Covid-19 have plummeted, indicating that doctors are improving in patient care, even in the absence of a cure or treatment. final.
We also know a lot more about how the virus is spread than in the early days of the pandemic. While it can linger on surfaces, there is a growing body of evidence showing that you are much less likely to catch it from touching something than to overlook social distancing. Earlier this week, the CDC changed its guidelines to reflect research showing that one can contract coronavirus from several brief encounters. The agency now defines “close contact” as a cumulative period of 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of an infectious person over a 24-hour period.
Vaccine progresses as America’s first treatment sheds light
Yesterday, Moderna announced that it had recruited all 30,000 participants in its Phase III vaccine trial. More than a third are minorities and a quarter are over 65 to try to reflect the diversity of the general population. The company expects to have early data on the effectiveness of its vaccine next month. During a day-long meeting with FDA officials the same day, some vaccine experts urged the agency to request more than the required two months of safety data before approving vaccines.
The FDA has also made progress with remdesivir as the first – and only – drug fully approved for the treatment of Covid-19 in the United States. The drug received emergency use authorization in May and has been approved or cleared for temporary use in around 50 countries. Now, it can be used for any hospitalized Covid-19 patient in the United States who is at least 12 years old. The news comes about a week after a massive international trial found that remdesivir did not prevent deaths in patients with severe cases of Covid-19. The research has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a journal, and some have questioned its conclusiveness. But the sheer size of the trial suggests the data is still meaningful.