Second wave may be more contagious
Researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital say a study of the second wave of the coronavirus indicates a mutation that is more contagious. Later infections show the virus still has the crown shape, but the newer version has more of the spikes that latch onto cells. The study, which has not yet been subject to crucial peer review, found patients infected with the variant strain had more of the virus when diagnosed than patients in the spring. The study showed no indication that the mutation is any more deadly. Outcomes remain primarily linked to preexisting conditions.
The U.S. has reported more than 6.9 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 202,000 deaths, a total that exceeds the population of cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Trump suggests overruling FDA
Hours after some of the administration’s leading health officials offered assurances that the search for a vaccine would be free of political interference, President Donald Trump on Wednesday undercut that notion and suggested he may overrule the Federal Drug Administration. Trump questioned why the FDA would set a higher standard for granting emergency authorization for a vaccine, as the agency is reportedly planning on in an effort to gain public trust. The president said FDA guidance “has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it.”
NY to review approved vaccines
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will establish a state panel to review any vaccines that win federal approval before he will recommend them to New Yorkers. Cuomo expressed concern over bickering between Trump and the FDA over standards required for approval. He said he hoped his state could become the first to become fully vaccinated. But he also said he wants to be able to assure New Yorkers the vaccines are safe. “I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo said.
Soccer star tests positive
Global soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović has tested positive, AC Milan announced. The club said the Swede, one of the premier strikers of the last two decades, tested positive ahead of Thursday’s Europa League qualifying match against Bodø/Glimt. AC Milan “has informed the relevant authorities” and Ibrahimović is in quarantine, the team said. Ibrahimović’s teammates and club staff have tested negative. “Covid had the courage to challenge me,” Ibrahimović, who scored both his team’s goals in a game Monday, said in a Twitter post. “Bad idea.”
Britain may infect volunteers
Britain could become the world’s first country to intentionally infect healthy volunteers with the virus for a “human challenge” trial to expedite a determination on which vaccines work. The Financial Times reported that the government-funded studies could be announced next week and begin in January. Government officials would only say that discussions were underway. Britain has been struggling to neutralize an uptick in cases. Tighter restrictions went into effect Thursday.
Trudeau warns of ‘second wave’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canada is on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring. He noted that when Canada went into lockdown March 13, there were 47 new cases; Tuesday alone, Canada had well more than 1,000. Many provinces reopened over the summer. Trudeau urged Canadians to keep wearing masks.