U.S. adds 43K COVID-19 cases; side effects seen in vaccine trials

Masked pedestrians are seen Wednesday walking along Madison Avenue in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Oct. 1 (UPI) — Clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine have seen multiple volunteers come down with intense side effects, and a new study has identified President Donald Trump as the world’s greatest single source of misinformation about the crisis.

CNBC reported Thursday that five human subjects testing vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer experienced strong side effects that included high fever, chills, body aches and severe headaches.

The volunteers said the symptoms were uncomfortable and severe, but they disappeared after a short period. One, a 44-year-old computational biologist in Utah, said he was bedridden with a fever of more than 101 degrees and other symptoms after taking a second dose during the final stage of Moderna’s trials.

The symptoms disappeared after 12 hours, he said.

Moderna and Pfizer have acknowledged in published results from earlier trials the vaccines could induce side effects similar to the symptoms of mild COVID-19.

Another late-stage trial for a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is still on hold in the United States, but Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn has declined to explain the reason.

AstraZeneca halted its trial worldwide weeks ago after one volunteer developed a serious illness. The testing has since resumed overseas but not in the United States.

“I can’t speak to confidential commercial information,” Hahn said Wednesday. “We will look at any and all data, and we will make a decision when we have the data available to us regarding any issue, whether it’s safety or effectiveness.”

The United States added 42,800 COVID-19 cases and about 950 deaths on Wednesday, according to updated data from Johns Hopkins University.

The data show there have been 7.24 million cases and 207,000 deaths nationwide since the outbreak began early this year.

A study at Cornell University said a thorough review of almost 40 million English-language news reports worldwide identified Trump as the single-largest driver of misinformation about the pandemic.

The main author of the study, which was first reported by The New York Times, called the results a “big surprise.”

“That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications,” Cornell Alliance for Science director Sarah Evanega, the study’s lead author, told the Times.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves allowed a statewide mask order to expire and signed a new order calling for continued face coverings in schools and certain businesses.

Reeves ordered mandatory mask usage in August after initial resistance to the idea.

“I still believe masks work,” Reeves said in a statement. “It’s the wise thing to do.”

Cases and hospitalizations in Mississippi have declined in recent weeks after peaking in midsummer. The state now averages about 500 new cases per day.

In Washington state, officials say they’re looking into an outbreak linked to a resort and spa about 40 miles east of Seattle. Cases involving staff and guests have been linked to the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Wash., they said.

Authorities are encouraging tests and isolation for anyone who visited the lodge since mid-September.


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