The United States reported 99,321 new coronavirus cases on Friday — the second consecutive day it has seen the highest number of daily infections since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Friday’s new infections surpassed the 88,521 cases reported on Thursday. The US now has a total caseload of 9,044,255 infections, according to JHU’s tally.
Friday also recorded 1,030 new virus-related fatalities, bringing the country’s total death toll to 229,686. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories, as well as repatriated cases.
An influential model of the coronavirus pandemic has predicted 399,000 total coronavirus deaths in the US by Feb. 1.
Brazil’s health minister, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, has been hospitalized for dehydration, according to CNN affiliate CNN Brasil.
Eduardo Pazuello went to hospital in the capital Brasília on Friday for medical exams, and doctors identified that the minister was dehydrated, CNN Brasil reported. The health ministry denied his hospitalization was due to a Covid-19 complication.
Pazuello had been isolating at home since testing positive. An army general, he is the third health minister appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro, after the first two were squeezed out for clashing with the President over how to tackle the pandemic. Pazuello has stood behind Bolsonaro’s views.
Dozens of Brazil’s cabinet members and elected officials — including Bolsonaro himself — have tested positive for Covid-19 since the virus was first detected in the country in March.
Brazil has recorded a total number of 5,535,605 positive cases with 16,077 newly recorded cases. A total of 159,902 fatalities has been recorded and 340 are the newly recorded cases.
Europe has once again become the epicenter of the global pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.
France begins a four-week lockdown today, and Germany’s new restrictions begin next week.
Africa has so far managed better than widely expected in terms of containing the epidemic, with a lower percentage of deaths than other regions, partly due to strict lockdown measures imposed in March.
There have been 42,922 deaths among the 1.79 million people reported infected with the virus, according to Reuters.
The number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa have increased to 725 542, the death toll stands at 19 thousand with 46 new deaths. The recovery rate remains at 90%, with 654 182 recoveries.
Zimbabwe has recorded a total of 8,367 positive cases, 5 new cases. 1 new death has been recorded bringing fatalities to a total number of 243 cases.
FDA in “early stages” of considering whether to use expanded access to distribute potential Covid-19 vaccine -CNN
The US Food and Drug Administration is in the “early stages” of looking into whether expanded access — a regulatory pathway typically used for investigational drugs — could be used as a way to make a potential Covid-19 vaccine available to the public, an FDA official said on Friday.
“We’re still in early stages of considering whether this would be an appropriate mechanism,” Dr. Doran Fink, deputy director of the FDA’s division of vaccine and related products applications, said during a virtual meeting of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Friday.
Among the regulatory pathways for making a potential Covid-19 vaccine available, emergency use authorization has been the most discussed so far.
“Emergency use authorization is one of those mechanisms and is dependent upon declaration of a public health emergency, which is the situation we’re currently in with Covid-19. Expanded access does not require the declaration of a public health emergency but it does have additional requirements for use,” Fink said on Friday. “Expanded access is not an approval process.”
Some background: If expanded access were to be considered for a potential Covid-19 vaccine, the vaccine manufacturer would need to have an active “investigational new drug” application on file with the FDA. Then the manufacturer would need to “submit a protocol for use of the vaccine under expanded access regulations and would work potentially with public government agencies” to organize and implement the expanded access protocol, Fink said.
Expanded access has been used before for vaccines, Fink added, just not on the massive scale that would be needed for a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
“We do have recent examples of expanded access treatment protocols that have been used to provide vaccine to thousands of individuals or tens of thousands of individuals,” Fink said. “One example was to address meningococcal B disease outbreak on several college campuses prior to FDA licensure of meningococcal vaccines, and then more recently, there’s been an expanded access protocol for use of non-US-licensed yellow fever vaccine.”
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