Drug trials bring hope as COVID-19 keeps spreading

Drug trials bring hope as COVID-19 keeps spreading


Overwhelmed NYC funeral home stored bodies in unrefrigerated trucks, causing “overwhelming” stench

Police were called to a Brooklyn neighborhood Wednesday after a funeral home overwhelmed by the number of bodies from the COVID-19 pandemic resorted to storing them on ice in rented trucks, and neighbors complained about the odor, officials said. Dozens of bodies were found in two unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks at the funeral home, reports CBS New York.

One neighbor told the station the stench was “overwhelming.”  Some area residents said they’ve been complaining about the smell for a couple of weeks.

Survival and death in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic

Investigators learned the business was overflowing with so many deceased that workers had to put bodies in two large U-Haul trucks outside that had no refrigeration, CBS New York said. The Associated Press reported that they were stored on ice. Click here to read more.



AstraZeneca expects to have “good idea” of efficacy of experimental vaccine by July

The chief executive of British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca told BBC radio on Thursday that the company expects to know by June or July whether a coronavirus vaccine it’s working on with University of Oxford researchers will be effective.

“By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy,” CEO Pascal Soriot told the BBC. 

“We’ll continue working with the Oxford Vaccine Unit to bring it to patients, and to regulatory authorities first of all as soon as possible,” he added.

CBS News’ Charlie D’Agata reported this week that, in the race for a vaccine, the Oxford team has jumped way ahead of the pack. Human testing is already underway, and scientists leading the project have said they’re hopeful it can be widely available by September.

Oxford says coronavirus vaccine could be ready by September

The experimental vaccine reportedly protected monkeys that were exposed to heavy quantities of COVID-19. In the human trials, 550 participants are being given the vaccine while 550 others get a placebo.

“Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation,” Soriot said in a statement Thursday, announcing his company’s collaboration with the Jenner Institute for vaccine research at Oxford..  


Fauci voices optimism about remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, is optimistic about the ability of the antiviral drug remdesivir, produced by Gilead Sciences, to shorten the time it takes seriously ill patients to recover from a COVID-19 infection. Preliminary data analysis from an international COVID-19 drug trial “shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci told reporters at the White House Wednesday.

This development is “really quite important for a number of reasons,” Fauci said, calling the data “highly significant.” He said that the recovery time was reduced from 15 days to 11 days in the drug trial, which involved over 1,000 hospitalized patients in the U.S., Germany, Denmark, Spain, Greece and other countries, and was, he said,”the first truly high-powered, randomized, placebo-controlled” trial for a coronavirus treatment.

“Although a 31% improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100%, it is a very important proof of concept,” Fauci said, adding that “what it is proving is that a drug can block this virus.” Click here to read more.


Russia sees largest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases

Russia reported its highest one-day increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the country’s official total to 106,498.

The increase of 7,099 new confirmed infections was a 7% jump from Wednesday’s tally. The country’s total death toll from the virus stood at 1,073 on Thursday.

When asked whether the epidemic in Russia had started to plateau, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a Russian television station: “this is what everyone would like to see.”

The Kremlin has urged Russians to adhere to lockdown regulations during upcoming public holidays at the beginning of May, when citizens traditionally rush to the countryside and get together for barbecues.


Elon Musk slams “fascist” social distancing measures in rant about Tesla production

Tesla CEO Elon Musk railed against what he called “fascist” social distancing measures on an earnings call Wednesday. In an expletive-laden rant, Musk warned that shelter-in-place orders in California, where a major Tesla factory is located, also pose a “serious risk” to the company.

“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great,” Musk said, according to a recording of the call reviewed by CBS News. “They can stay in their house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom. Give people back their g**d*** freedom.”

No state has implemented an order forbidding residents from leaving their homes, although many have ordered residents to only leave for essential purposes. Click here to read more.


Los Angeles becomes 1st major U.S. city to offer all residents a free coronavirus test

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that the city will offer all residents free testing for the coronavirus.

“While priority will still be given to those with symptoms, individuals without symptoms can also be tested,” Garcetti tweeted, adding that LA is the first major city in the U.S. to offer such widespread free testing.


Over 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Georgia last month were black, study finds

A CDC study released Wednesday found that over 80% of the COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Georgia last month were black. It’s the latest analysis showing that communities of color are being hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus.

The study comes just days after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp started reopening some of the state’s businesses – a move condemned as premature and dangerous by local black leaders as well as public health officials and even President Trump.

The study from the CDC, which is headquartered in Atlanta, surveyed eight hospitals in the state – seven in the Atlanta metro area and one southern Georgia. In the sample of 305 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 247 – or 83.2% – were black. By comparison, 32 patients (10.8%) were white, 10 (3.4%) were Hispanic and eight (2.7%) were Asian or Pacific Islander. Click here to read more.

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