The results are preliminary, but they are encouraging: Another candidate vaccine has proven extremely effective against COVID-19. Moderna, working with the federal government, has early results that show a 94.5 percent efficacy rate for its shots.
It’s the latest good news on the vaccine front. Earlier this month, a candidate from Pfizer/BioNTech released results that their candidate was 90 percent effective.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on NBC’s “Today” show that the news from Moderna “is really quite impressive.” He said the Moderna and Pfizer news “is something that foretells an impact on this outbreak.”
“So now we have two vaccines that are really quite effective, so I think this is a really strong step forward to where we want to be about getting control with this outbreak,” Fauci said, predicting vaccines for those at high-risk could be available by the end of December.
All vaccines, once administered, are expected to cause sore arms and a day or two of fatigue and flu-like symptoms. Before the companies can apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for authorization to provide their vaccine to the public, they must jump through several more hurdles.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported 11 million cases and more than 246,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 54.4 million cases and 1.31 million deaths.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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Not even the WHO is immune from COVID: 65 staffers infected
The World Health Organization has recorded 65 cases of the coronavirus among staff based at its Geneva headquarters, including at least one cluster of infections, an internal email obtained by The Associated Press shows. The agency has made public assertions that there has been no transmission at the Geneva site.
The email said about half of the infections were in people who had been working from home. But 32 were in staff who had been working on premises at the headquarters building, indicating that the health agency’s strict hygiene, screening and other prevention measures were not sufficient to spare it from the pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is as “fit as a butcher’s dog” after being instructed to self-isolate for 14 days after recent contact with someone who contracted coronavirus. He posted a video message Monday in which he said he was quarantining despite being “bursting with antibodies.” He was infected with COVID in April and spent three days in the ICU.
Last week, he met with a small group of lawmakers for about 30 minutes, including one who subsequently developed symptoms and tested positive.
The quarantine requirement comes at the start of a crucial week that includes discussions over a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.
Costco will no longer make an exemption for people who say they can’t wear a face covering because of a medical condition.
The wholesale club’s updated face mask policy goes into effect Monday and requires all members, guests and employees to wear a face mask or a face shield in order to shop in its nearly 560 clubs nationwide.
“If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco,” the retailer’s president and CEO Craig Jelinek wrote in a letter to members, noting entry to Costco “will only be granted to those wearing a face mask or face shield.”
– Kelly Tyko
Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, faced heavy criticism after he told Michiganders to “rise up” in a tweet in response to the new COVID-19 restrictions announced by the state’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday.
Whitmer held a news conference to announce that because of the rising rate of COVID-19 infections, she was suspending in-person classes for school and college, as well as indoor dining, for three weeks.
“The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept,” Atlas tweeted shortly after Whitmer’s announcement. The tweet echoed Trump’s controversial call on April 17 to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” in the face of similar restrictions.
Atlas later clarified Monday that he was not advocating violence. But many criticized his choice of words regarding a state where armed protesters against coronavirus measures at one time flooded the state Capitol, and where an armed group recently targeted Whitmer in a kidnapping plot that was foiled by the FBI. What’s happening in your state? Check the list.
– William Cummings
A second COVID-19 candidate vaccine looks to be even more effective than the first, with both protecting more than 90% of those who get the shots.
Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, announced early Monday that its candidate vaccine, mRNA-1273, developed in collaboration with the U.S. government, appears to be 94.5% effective against the disease.
Earlier this month, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, announced early effectiveness data, showing their vaccine, called BNT162b2, had protected more than 90% of those who received it.
Both results are preliminary, with final results expected in as soon as a few weeks.
– Karen Weintraub
Trump faces criticism over pandemic as he delays Biden transition
President Donald Trump faced mounting criticism Sunday for continuing to focus his message on the election and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud while sidestepping the resurgent coronavirus pandemic raging across the country.
Almost 170,000 new infections were reported Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University – the 11th straight day the count surpassed 100,000. Before that, the U.S. had never before reached six figures.
Public health officials said they are eager to begin briefing Biden’s team.
Biden campaign officials are prohibited from interacting with agency leaders, including those at public health agencies, until the Trump administration formally recognizes the outcome of the election – a recognition that has not yet taken place.
– John Fritze
Minnesota Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka on Sunday announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The lawmaker said in a statement that he has been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms on Monday and is following the advice of his doctor. He said he expects to make a “full recovery.”
“We have learned a lot about this virus and how to treat it, we must remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to live with it,” Gazelka said.
Gazelka’s statement said the “blaming and shaming of a positive COVID diagnosis has got to stop” and some are using a “COVID diagnosis as a political tool to blame just Republicans when community spread is uncontrolled is indicative of failed leadership looking for a scapegoat.”
Catholic protesters on Sunday demanded French authorities to relax coronavirus lockdown measures to allow religious services. Gatherings were reported outside the Saint-Louis Cathedral in Versailles, in front of a Virgin Mary statue in Nantes and other cities.
France banned Mass and other religious services for all of November as infections continue to rise nationwide. However, individuals are still allowed to visit churches and other religious sites to pray.
France’s interior minister is scheduled to meet with religious leaders Monday to discuss when and how services could again be permitted.
New Mexico’s outdoor recreation industry is one of its fastest growing, and officials at both the state and federal level advocated for it to receive more federal relief funds to survive the COVID-19 health crisis and maintain the momentum.
Recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed the outdoor industry contributed $2.4 billion to the New Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year. RVing, equestrian and snow sports were the top three contributors to New Mexico’s outdoor economy, the report read, followed by boating and fishing.
New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division Director Axie Navas said the industry was one of the top sectors in the state’s economy and leaders should provide more funds to help its recovery after the devastating impacts of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 health crisis has hurt many of our businesses in this space – a fact not captured in this new tranche of data. It’s our job to aid in the recovery of the outdoor industry, so it continues to be a vibrant economic engine in the state,” Navas said.
– Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus
Longtime Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim announced on Twitter Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Boeheim, 75, said the positive result turned up following the most recent round of regular testing the Orange received as they ready for the 2020-21 season. He said he is currently asymptomatic and isolating at home.
“I am not experiencing any symptoms at this time, and will continue to monitor my health closely as advised by the medical staff,” Boeheim wrote in a statement. “Thank you for the well wishes,” he added. “I look forward to getting back on the court with my team.”
Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement that Boeheim’s positive test led to another round of testing for “all members of the basketball program” that turned up one additional positive test. Due to that, Wildhack said the Orange were pausing “all basketball-related activities.”
– Jace Evans
Contributing: The Associated Press