Coronavirus Newsbites

Trump Announces Emergency Use Authorization for Coronavirus Plasma Treatment After Targeting FDA
President Donald Trump on Sunday announced an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19, calling it a "historic breakthrough."

"It's had an incredible rate of success," Trump told reporters at a White House briefing.

The treatment is already widely available and has been given to more than 70,000 patients, according to the FDA. The authorization could make it easier to get for patients, but it is far from a full approval, which requires rigorous clinical trials.

The FDA said in a press release that "this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product."

Experts have said convalescent plasma can be helpful, but many don't claim it as a "breakthrough" in the fight against the coronavirus.

The news comes one day before the start of the Republican National Convention, where Trump is expected to refute claims from Democrats that his administration has fumbled the response to the pandemic.

Trump 'considering fast-tracking UK's coronavirus vaccine before US election'
Donald Trump is reportedly pushing for fast-track approval of a potential Covid-19 vaccine to be used on Americans ahead of November’s election.

The White House is considering a vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University, and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, according to a Sunday report by the Financial Times which cited three sources familiar with the matter.

One option could involve the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) authorising it for emergency use in October - a month before Americans go to the polls.

Trump Touts Misleading and Flawed Excess Mortality Statistic
On six separate occasions, President Donald Trump has claimed that Europe’s excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic is 33% to 40% higher than America’s. But that’s only possible when cherry-picking numbers or ignoring Europe’s larger population.

It’s a meaningless comparison anyway, experts say, given differences in population age and density, a later arrival of the coronavirus on American shores, and a still raging epidemic in the U.S.

Posts criticize Democrats for not wearing masks at a time when they weren’t recommended
Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times during the Democratic National Convention criticize Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and other top Democrats for appearing in a crowd without masks. This is misleading; the photos in the posts are from a Democratic event held weeks before US health authorities began recommending that the general population wear face coverings to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Hong Kong Researchers Report First Documented Coronavirus Re-Infection
Scientists have documented the first confirmed reinfection with COVID. A young man tested positive twice, more than four months apart. Rigorous analysis confirms it was a different infection the second time. This confirms expectations there would be some cases of early reinfection, and complicates the quest for a vaccine.

Melania Trump, Karen Pence and others photographed without masks at White House event
Melania Trump has been photographed not wearing a face mask at an event at the White House, where she reportedly hugged and shook hands with multiple children.

The first lady of the United States was at an event on Monday that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which allowed white American women the right to vote.

While not wearing a mask, Ms Trump shook hands and hugged multiple children who attended the event, according to CNN reporter Kate Bennett.

President 'acted quickly' on coronavirus, son claims at RNC despite highest death toll in world as FDA disputes vaccine 'deep state' conspiracy
As the United States death toll passed 177,000 on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. used a speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) to claim that the president “acted quickly” to control the pandemic.

The US president’s eldest son delivered a complete endorsement for his father’s reelection on the convention’s first night in North Carolina, whilst claiming that the US had “shut down” travel from China – when in truth, the Trump administration only restricted such travel at the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, president Trump appeared with frontline health workers in a video in where he laughed about taking the unproven Covid-19 hydroxychloroquine treatment. That comes as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied delaying a vaccine as part of a deep state conspiracy against the president.

Fauci warns against premature approval of coronavirus vaccine as Trump piles pressure on FDA
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, has cautioned against approving a potential Covid-19 vaccine before it has been shown to be safe and effective.

The president’s top pandemic adviser also warned that rushing out one vaccine candidate could harm the progress of other vaccines. A number of firms now have potential vaccines in late-stage trials.

Dr Fauci’s comments came a day after reports emerged suggesting that the Trump administration was looking at emergency use authorisation (EUA) for a vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.