Coronavirus Newsbites

Moderna coronavirus vaccine shows 'promising' safety and immune response results in published Phase 1 study, but more research is needed
A Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna looks promising.

The vaccine has triggered immune responses in all of the 45 volunteers who received it in a Phase 1 trial, according to early results published yesterday. The study also revealed some mild side effects -- fatigue, chills, headache, muscle pain and pain at the injection site.

The Moderna vaccine is just one of at least 23 that are in human trials around the world. Another 140 are in preclinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

It's official: The CDC wants you to wear a mask
The science shows face masks work both to protect the wearer and to protect others, and everyone needs to wear one when around other people in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday. There is "ample evidence" that people who have no symptoms and may not realize they are infected may be driving the ongoing surge in infections, the agency warned.

It’s not exactly breaking news — experts have been urging people to cover their mouths and noses for months. There are some indications that countries that made masks compulsory early in the pandemic have seen fewer cases and deaths.

Coronavirus hospital data will now be sent to Trump administration instead of CDC
The change comes as four former CDC directors blasted the administration's efforts to disregard and politicize guidelines from the agency in a scathing Washington Post op-ed.

The move could make data less transparent to the public at a time when the administration is downplaying the spread of the pandemic, and threatens to undermine public confidence that medical data is being presented free of political interference.

One day into new mask law, one man is dead and another injured over a dispute in a Michigan store
A 43-year-old man walked into the store not wearing a mask and was confronted by a 77-year-old customer for not wearing a face mask, according to a Michigan State Police statement.

Both men left the store and got into an argument in the parking lot. It was then that the suspect stabbed the older customer and fled in a car

One of the country's largest megachurches says it's canceling all in-person services for the rest of 2020 over coronavirus concerns
Atlanta's North Point Ministries, which counts over seven locations in and around the city and hosts over 30,000 people every Sunday, will host digital services for the rest of the year, ministry founder and senior pastor Andy Stanley told parishioners in a video message.

"Even if we did reopen, we certainly would not be able to create a quality adult or children's worship experience with social distancing protocols in place," Stanley said.

North Point came to the decision because of its size and the difficulty that poses for contact tracing, Stanley said. If a church member is diagnosed with coronavirus after attending a service, North Point would be responsible for contact tracing, or identifying anyone who could've been exposed to that sick person.

Stanley said contact tracing would be an "impossible thing to do" given average church attendance.

Trump offers denial and delusion as pandemic crisis overtakes his presidency
Rarely has a president shown himself to be so unequal to a tragic national emergency.

Hundreds of Americans are dying daily and tens of thousands are getting infected from a once-in-a-century virus. States and cities are closing down again, threatening to trigger a ruinous new economic slump. Doctors and nurses lack sufficient protective gear as they battle the deadly pathogen. And with testing swamped by waves of disease, one top official is warning of the "the most difficult time" ever for US public health this winter.

Yet this is what is on Donald Trump's mind: Joe Biden didn't fix the country's roads and bridges, crowds of bikers and boaters in MAGA hats prove that election polls are wrong, and the border wall is almost finished (except it isn't). Oh, and by the way, where is Hunter Biden?

... All Trump could offer on Tuesday was self-pity, incoherence and indifference. He came across as a leader living in a different dimension from his people and their fear and suffering and uncertainty about what the coming months will bring.

You won't believe what Donald Trump just said about coronavirus testing
  1. The US does not have the lowest mortality rate "anywhere." In fact, according to data from Johns Hopkins, the gold standard when it comes to the coronavirus information, the United States has the seventh highest mortality rate of any country. So, yeah.
  2. The Obama administration did not just stop testing for H1N1. While the comparison, which Trump loves to make, between swine flu and Covid-19 is totally misguided (one killed 12,000 Americans, the other has already killed more than 135,000), the President is also wrong about his facts.
  3. You don't "create" cases by testing. The notion that testing somehow creates cases rather than simply identifying them is truly remarkable. Of course, it's not the first time that Trump has argued that he is kind of, sort of against more transparency and testing -- because it makes the number of coronavirus cases increase. Remember that way back in early March, Trump was opposed to allowing American passengers exposed to coronavirus on a ship docked in San Francisco getting off the ship.

    "I'd rather have the people stay, but I'd go with them," he said. "I told them to make the final decision. I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."
  4. Testing is not the reason we have more cases. As CNN's Ryan Struyk noted on July 7, there has been a 37% increase in average daily testing in the US. Over that same time there has been a 152% increase in average daily cases. And, with cases spiking even higher in Florida, Texas and Arizona since July 7, that gap has only widened.
This is all blame-shifting and distraction on Trump's part -- plain and simple. He's wrong on the facts about testing. Comparisons to what Obama did with swine flu are pointless because they do nothing to solve the current crisis. The virus isn't political. It infects Republicans and Democrats. Trump still hasn't grasped that reality.