Sec­ond wave may be more con­ta­gious

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Con­tribut­ing: John Ba­con, Jes­sica Flores, Chris Bum­baca and The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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