Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
CNN Coronavirus Update
Two of the frontrunners in the global race for a coronavirus vaccine are unlikely to be ready before the US election on November 3, dashing President Donald Trump's campaign promise of delivering doses by the time of the vote.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that the company will not have enough data to file for emergency use authorization of its vaccine candidate until November 25, weeks after Americans go to the polls.

Public health experts have expressed concern that the Trump administration is expediting the development process, undermining the safety and efficacy of a future vaccine. In Tuesday's presidential debate, Trump said he had spoken to the major vaccine makers, including Moderna, and that they told him a vaccine could be available soon.

But Bancel emphasized that he has received no political pressure, in either direction: "Nobody has called me. Nobody has emailed me, or had a meeting with me or my teams telling us to go faster or telling us to go slower. Nobody," he said, adding that the earliest Moderna's candidate could be available for public use is late March or early April next year.

Meanwhile, drugmaker AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trial in the United States is still on hold after a participant developed a serious illness, but, speaking at the US Pharma and Biotech Summit hosted by the Financial Times Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner would not say why. The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, is in late-stage human trials (Phase 3) and has been amongst the most closely watched efforts. Regulators in Britain, Brazil and South Africa have decided to resume the trials.

There are currently nine Covid-19 vaccine candidates in Phase 3 trials around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Three of those are in the United States: from Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech.

Fauci hits back at Trump over masks
During Tuesday night's presidential debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden cited statistics that wearing masks could lower the Covid-19 death toll in the next several months by hundreds of thousands. President Donald Trump said, "Dr. Fauci said the opposite."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has hit back at the President, saying his early opinions about mask use were "taken out of context." Fauci explained that "very early on in the pandemic," public health experts did not recommend masks to the general public because they were worried about shortages. But as it became clear that masks were widely available and helped stop asymptomatic transmission, that changed.

Experimental antibody cocktail shows promising results
An experimental antibody cocktail being developed by New York biotechnology company Regeneron seems to reduce levels of the virus and improve symptoms in patients, according to early test results.

The greatest improvements were seen in patients who hadn't already mounted a natural response to the infection, the company said. The numbers in this early release of information were small and the data has not been peer reviewed yet.

The collapse of global air travel is putting 46 million jobs at risk
The collapse in aviation caused by the coronavirus pandemic could wipe out 46 million jobs worldwide, according to new research that highlights just how damaging a prolonged downturn in air travel and tourism is for the global economy.

The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), a Geneva-based coalition of aviation industry organizations, said in the report published Wednesday that more than half of the 88 million jobs supported by aviation could be lost at least temporarily as a result of the pandemic. Many in the industry expect air travel will not recover to last year's level until 2024.

Job losses at airlines, airports and civil aerospace companies alone could amount to 4.8 million by the beginning of next year, a 43% reduction in employment from levels before the pandemic, according to the report, which is based on an analysis by Oxford Economics.

Another 26 million jobs could go in air travel-related tourism, with about 15 million more at risk in companies that sell goods and services into the air transport supply chain or to aviation industry workers.

Airline jobs could fall by more than a third, or 1.3 million, while economic activity supported by aviation could shrink 52%, translating to a loss of $1.8 trillion in global GDP.

The pandemic will have "far-reaching implications on the industry for many years," according to the report, which highlights the extent to which the livelihoods of millions of workers rely on global air travel. That came to a near standstill at the height of coronavirus lockdowns in April and is expected to remain depressed for years to come.

New York sees startling uptick in Covid-19 cases in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods
New York neighborhoods with large Orthodox Jewish communities have seen startling rises in Covid-19 cases and test positivity rate in recent weeks, alarming officials concerned about a new outbreak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 20 "hot spot" zip codes, including parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Orange and Rockland counties, had a collective positivity rate of 5.5%, more than five times the statewide rate. One zip code in Orange County, for example, had a positivity rate of 18%.

"If you look at those clusters and you look at those zip codes, you will see there's an overlap with large Orthodox Jewish communities," Cuomo said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Cuomo said he had a "good conversation" with Orthodox Jewish community leaders in hot spot cluster areas that morning. He said those leaders are working with officials to come up with an action plan particularly ahead of the Friday holiday of Sukkot.

Cuomo said the outbreaks stemmed from a lack of mask-wearing in these communities, and he blamed the myth of herd immunity, President Trump's criticisms of masks, and local governments' lack of enforcement.

How you can help fight the hunger crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic
The coronavirus is leading to a secondary pandemic -- hunger.

The need for emergency food has exploded since March of 2020. According to an Oxfam report, this hunger crisis could soon kill more people each day than the infection itself.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates about 821 million people were suffering from chronic undernourishment before the pandemic. Globally this hunger crisis has already been exacerbated by climate change, existing conflicts, and inequalities. But now, coupled with Covid-19, people worldwide have hunger and malnutrition to worry about even more. Here is how you can help:
  • Volunteer
  • Buy local
  • Donate to an anti-hunger initiative

Russians Were Urged to Return to Normal Life. Except for Putin.
President Vladimir Putin inhabits a virus-free bubble — including outfitting his residence with a tunnel that douses people in disinfectant — and rarely leaves home. The number of daily reported new cases in Moscow tripled to more than 2,300 in the past two weeks.

Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump
Cornell University researchers analyzing 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that President Trump was the largest driver of the “infodemic.”

Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump.

That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.

The study, to be released Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media.

Pfizer CEO ‘Disappointed’ in Presidential Debate, Politicization of Coronavirus Vaccine
The head of one of the companies leading the way in developing a coronavirus vaccine said he was "disappointed" in Tuesday's presidential debate, adding that "amplified political rhetoric" is hurting public confidence in the process. "Tuesday night I joined the millions of Americans who tuned in to the Presidential debate. Once more, I was disappointed that the prevention for a deadly disease was discussed in political terms rather than scientific facts," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wrote to his employees in a Thursday memo obtained by CNBC. "People, who are understandably confused, don't know whom or what to believe."