While they may be unpopular in some places, mask mandates work to slow the spread of Covid-19, according to new researchpublished Fridayby the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since Covid-19 spreads predominantly through respiratory droplets, wearing amaskcanprotect othersfrom the person wearing the mask who may have Covid-19. This month, the CDC releasedguidancethat said masks can protect the wearer, too, by filtering incoming infectious droplets.
OnJuly 2, as Covid-19 cases were surging in the state, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive order that made masks mandatory in public spaces. The majority of the state's counties, 81, opted out of this executive order, but 24 opted in or created their own mask mandate. The counties that did require masks account for two-thirds of Kansas' population.
The CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment looked at the Covid-19 case trends between June 1 and July 2, before the mandate, and then July 3 to August 23, after the mandate, to compare what happened.
In the 24 counties that required people to wear masks in public, there was a net decrease of 6% in cases; whereas the disease continued to surge in the counties without the mandate. In those counties, the net increase in cases was 100%.
It is critical that US President Donald Trumps administration share important information about coronavirus response and vaccine distribution with President-elect Joe Bidens team,Michael Osterholm, a member of Bidenscoronavirus advisory board, said Friday.
Current coronavirus vaccine distribution plans are stillpreliminary and mainly focus on rolling out the first doses to health care workers, Osterholm told CNNs Erin Burnett.
We also need to talk about how to roll out to the entire population. We need to understand how we're going to educate the public about the need for this vaccine and why they want to take it, why is it safe, why is it effective, saidOsterholm.
These are all issues that are not available at this point, and not to be able to share that information between both groups is actually dangerous, he added.
Osterholm, who isdirector of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, noted that vaccine hesitancy will be a major roadblock to successful vaccination.
This is why we have to today, begin working very, very hard at a community grassroots level to help communities understand why they want this, he said.
The United States has reported 193,079 Covid-19 cases so far on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest one-day total of the pandemic for a second consecutive day.
The previous daily high was recorded on November 19, with 187,833 cases.
At least11,908,395 Covid-19cases, including 254,383 deaths, have now been reported nationwide.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
Note: The numbers are not the final count for the day, and could rise further.
CNN is tracking the US cases:
Toronto, Canada's biggest city, is going into lockdown for at least 28 days to limit the spread of Covid-19, according to a news release from the Office of the Premier of Ontario published Friday.
The lockdown will go into effect Monday and it includes Peel Region, which is part of the Greater Toronto Area.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in the news release that Covid-19 numbers are "rising rapidly in certain regions," adding the lockdown will protect "hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province."
"We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into lockdown level restrictions ... We need to take decisive action to stop the spread of this deadly virus," Ford said.
These are the lockdown rules:
- Indoor social gatherings or events won't be allowed except with members of the same household, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people, according to the release.
- Wedding services, funerals, and religious ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained indoors or outdoors will also be limited to no more than 10 people.
- Retail will be allowed to operate for curbside pick-up or delivery only. Certain businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to open at 50% capacity.
- Schools and childcare will remain open, and post-secondary education will move to virtual learning except for training that can only be provided in person.
Other parts of the province will move to higher levels of restrictions starting Monday as well, according to the release.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says he and other state leaders have had no choice about putting tighter Covid-19 restrictions in place this week given the size of the pandemic.
We have to understand that the house is on fire, right, Inslee said Friday.
This week, the state prohibited indoor gatherings with people outside the organizers own household unless they quarantine ahead of the event, and get a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours. Indoor service in restaurants is prohibited. The restrictions will last until at least December 14.
Given the extraordinary raging of this virus, we did not have the luxury of cutting this with a scalpel and taking months to decide where the right point was, Inslee said.
To address concerns of businesses being closed again, Inslee announced that the state is releasing another $135 million in leftover CARES Act money, $70 million of which is earmarked for business grants.
But Inslee added this is probably the last stimulus the state will be able to scrape together without more assistance from the federal government. We are nearing a cliff of support from the federal government for Washingtonians, he said.
Almost a million people have been given an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Sinopharm as part of an emergency-use program authorized by Beijing, the Chinese pharmaceutical giant's chairman said.
No serious adverse effects have been reported from vaccine recipients so far, Sinopharm said Wednesday in an article onsocial media platform WeChat, citing Chairman Liu Jingzhen.
"In emergency use, we now have used it on nearly a million people. We have not received any reports of serious adverse reaction, and only a few have some mild symptoms," Liu said.
Liu said the vaccine had been given to Chinese construction workers, diplomats, and students who have gone to more than 150 countries during the pandemic -- and none of them has reported an infection.
He said on November 6 that there were 56,000 people who had received emergency vaccinations and then gone overseas.
"For example, a transnational company has 99 employees in one of its overseas offices, of whom 81 were vaccinated. And later, an outbreak broke out in the office, 10 of the 18 people who were not vaccinated were infected and none of those vaccinated were infected," he said.
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President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., has tested positive for Covid-19, his spokesperson said.
Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result. Hes been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," his spokesperson said.
Bloomberg first reported the story.
The US Food and Drug Administration said Friday it has scheduled a meeting of its outside advisory panel to discuss Pfizer and BioNTechs application for emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine.
TheVaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet on Dec. 10.
The companies submitted their application for an EUA earlier Friday. Its the first application for an FDA regulatory OK for a coronavirus vaccine.
"The FDA recognizes that transparency and dialogue are critical for the public to have confidence in Covid-19 vaccines. I want to assure the American people that the FDA's process and evaluation of the data for a potential Covid-19 vaccine will be as open and transparent as possible," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.
"The FDA has been preparing for the review of EUAs for Covid-19 vaccines for several months and stands ready to do so as soon as an EUA request is submitted.While we cannot predict how long the FDA's review will take, the FDA will review the request as expeditiously as possible, while still doing so in a thorough and science-based manner, so that we can help make available a vaccine that the American people deserve as soon as possible.
The FDA is supposed to post the VRBPAC meeting schedule in the Federal Register at least two weeks ahead of time. The agency has promised to fully consider input from the committee, which is made up of vaccine experts and others with no ties to the companies submitting vaccines for FDA approval or authorization.
A discussion about the safety and effectiveness of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine with this committee, made up of outside scientific and public health experts from around the country, will help ensure clear public understanding of the scientific data and information that the FDA will evaluate in order to make a decision about whether to authorize a vaccine for emergency use for the prevention of Covid-19, Hahn said.
The FDA said it will livestream the VRBPAC meeting on the agency's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels and from the FDA website.
The president of the company that makes the monoclonal antibody treatment given to President Trump says his company has been speaking with President-elect Joe Bidens transition team.
We have had discussions with representatives of the Biden administration before, during and since the election,Dr. George Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officerof the biopharmaceutical companyRegeneron,saidThursday.
Regeneronhas applied for emergency use authorization for its antibody treatment for coronavirus, but is still waiting for a decision from the US Food and Drug Administration.
I know that they have a lot of sophistication, and they have tremendous interest of course in all these approaches, including these antibody treatments. They want to know all about them,Yancopoulos saidat a conference sponsored by Reuters.
He added that Regeneron has presented its latest data to Bidens team.
Biden has always been a pro-science guy, so of course we're hopeful that they're going to take a careful and a data-based approach, and try to do the best to figure out how to best deliver the available therapies and vaccines to the people who might benefit the most,Yancopoulos said.