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COVID Moderna's

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine appears safe | COVID-19 Pandemic – WION


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COVID protests

Protests and Covid leave Hong Kong stuck in recession – The Guardian

Political unrest hit tourism and retail, and coronavirus response has delayed recovery





People wearing protective face masks visit the lookout of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong







People wearing protective face masks visit the lookout of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.
Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s economy was already in recession when the pandemic hit in January. Six months of running battles between pro-democracy campaigners and local government had deterred many of the visitors who fuel the lucrative tourism industry, while the threat of violence on the streets and closures of shops had sent retail sales down nearly a quarter on the previous year.

With much of Asia shut down by coronavirus restrictions during the winter months, there was little expectation of a recovery until the spring, when the level of infections fell to almost zero across mainland China and most of the rest of the region, and the measures could be eased.

Some analysts expected the recovery to be strong. Hong Kong is a hub for financial and professional services in competition with Singapore. Many workers could operate from home and maintain the same level of activity.

The national security law China imposed on Hong Kong in June 2020 has wrought profound changes on the region of more than 7 million people.

From who really runs Hong Kong now to the fate of the pro-democracy movement and how major global companies are grappling with the implications of the new law, our reporters in China, Hong Kong, London, the US and Australia have investigated how the unprecedented crackdown affects not only Hong Kong, but the world. 

As well as charting the new restrictions on freedoms and civil liberties, the series seeks out voices of hope and acts of resistance – and asks what next for Hong Kong, as it stands at a crossroads in its history.

But Hong Kong’s dependence on trade from India, the Philippines and the US, where the virus continues to flourish, left it more vulnerable to a second spike, and in the summer cases began to rise again. The flare-up triggered new restrictions on households and businesses and an immediate downturn in business activity.

Last month, the territory’s government said GDP in the second quarter of this year was down 9%, after a 9.1% downturn in the first quarter.

In May, the International Monetary Fund had said it expected Hong Kong to recover in the second half of the year and predicted that its GDP would drop just 4.8% during 2020.

Retail sales data due out this week will provide a clue about how long the recession will last and whether a rebound in shopping is likely, though the widespread reluctance among consumers across China to spend in the way they did in previous years is expected to keep sales figures subdued.

A brighter picture has emerged for those involved in the finance industry, which remains Hong Kong’s largest business activity, as the stock market has followed the same trajectory as the US markets to reach all-time highs this year.

However, analysts have become concerned in recent weeks that the summer increase in infections and the recent collapse in profits and scandal over suspicious financial transfers at HSBC, which has a large presence in Hong Kong, could send the market into reverse. So far the Hang Seng index has fallen to 23,275, having climbed to a high of 26,669 in July.

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COVID Moderna

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults: study – Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview.

The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine – 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms – in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.

Overall, the team found that in older adults who received two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses roughly in line with those seen in younger adults.

Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.

Side effects, which included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and injection site pain, were deemed mainly mild to moderate.

In at least two cases, however, volunteers had severe reactions.

One developed a grade three fever, which is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C) or above, after receiving the lower vaccine dose. Another developed fatigue so severe it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.

Typically, side effects occurred soon after receiving the vaccine and resolved quickly, he said.

“This is similar to what a lot of older adults are going to experience with the high dose influenza vaccine,” Anderson said. “They might feel off or have a fever.”

Norman Hulme, a 65-year-old senior multimedia developer at Emory who took the lower dose of the vaccine, said he felt compelled to take part in the trial after watching first responders in New York and Washington State fight the virus.

“I really had no side effects at all,” said Hulme, who grew up in the New York area.

Hulme said he was aware Moderna’s vaccine employed a new technology, and that there might be a risk in taking it, but said, “somebody had to do it.”

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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COVID Moderna

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults: study – Yahoo News

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview.

The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine – 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms – in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.

Overall, the team found that in older adults who received two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses roughly in line with those seen in younger adults.

Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.

Side effects, which included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and injection site pain, were deemed mainly mild to moderate.

In at least two cases, however, volunteers had severe reactions.

One developed a grade three fever, which is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C) or above, after receiving the lower vaccine dose. Another developed fatigue so severe it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.

Typically, side effects occurred soon after receiving the vaccine and resolved quickly, he said.

“This is similar to what a lot of older adults are going to experience with the high dose influenza vaccine,” Anderson said. “They might feel off or have a fever.”

Norman Hulme, a 65-year-old senior multimedia developer at Emory who took the lower dose of the vaccine, said he felt compelled to take part in the trial after watching first responders in New York and Washington State fight the virus.

“I really had no side effects at all,” said Hulme, who grew up in the New York area.

Hulme said he was aware Moderna’s vaccine employed a new technology, and that there might be a risk in taking it, but said, “somebody had to do it.”

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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Adults COVID

Covid: Adults without A-levels to be offered free college courses – BBC News

A woman taking notes while she looks at a laptop screen

Image copyright
Getty Images

Adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course, the government has announced.

The offer will be available from April and applies to courses offering “skills valued by employers”.

In a speech on Tuesday, the PM will say the government cannot “save every job” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but wants to help people find new work.

Labour said the plans would not reverse the impact of “a decade of cuts”.

The government decision comes amid fears that unemployment is set to grow sharply.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has said the unemployment rate could peak at between 9.7% to 13.2% in the next few years. The most recent rate – for May to July – is 4.1%.

In his speech, Boris Johnson will say: “As the chancellor has said, we cannot, alas, save every job – what we can do is give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs.

“We’re transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain.”

It comes as:

The offer of courses to adults without an A-level will be paid for through the National Skills Fund topped up with £2.5bn, the government said.

A full list of available courses will be announced next month.

The government added it wanted to make higher education loans more flexible, with the aim of letting people “space out” their learning throughout their lives rather than in three- or four-year blocks, enabling more part-time study.

It said the changes would be backed by investment in college buildings and facilities, including more than £1.5bn in capital funding.

Further details will be set out in an education white paper later in the year.

In other plans, small businesses will be offered financial incentives to take on apprentices and £8m will be spent on skills “boot camps” in West Yorkshire, south-west England, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to cover sectors like construction and engineering.

This follows pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands that focused on digital skills.

And the government’s online Skills Toolkit, a collection of training resources launched in the spring to help people acquire jobs skills ahead of businesses reopening, will be expanded to include 62 additional courses.

Responding to the government’s measures, Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “A week ago Labour called for a National Retraining Strategy fit for the crisis Britain faces, but what the government proposes is simply a mix of reheated old policies and funding that won’t be available until April.

“By then many workers could have been out of work for nearly a year, and the Tories still think that they will need to take out loans to get the training they will need to get back in work.”

She added the plans would not give workers “the skills and support they need in the months ahead”.

CBI director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said the “significant” unemployment coronavirus is leaving in its wake “only accelerates the need for people to develop new skills and adapt to new ways of working”.

“The lifetime skills guarantee and flexible loans to support bitesize learning are a strong start but to really shift gears, this must be backed up by meaningful progress on evolving the apprenticeship levy into a flexible skills levy,” she added.

The apprenticeship levy – introduced in 2017 – takes 0.5% of the salary bill from major employers that have an annual pay bill over £3m, with the intention of using the money to improve skills and provide training.

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COVID Potential

Potential COVID-19 exposures at two Oswego businesses – WSYR

Posted:
/ Updated:

Interactive Coronavirus Maps

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Oswego County Health Department is alerting residents to two potential COVID-19 exposures in Oswego.

An employee at the T.J. Maxx, located at 137 NYS Route 104, and an employee at the 5 Points Convenience Store, located at 1 Washington Boulevard have tested positive for COVID-19 and may have unknowingly exposed customers to the virus.

Anyone who was at T.J. Maxx on the following dates should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Tuesday, September 22 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 23 between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 24 between 9 a.m and 11:30 a.m.

Anyone who visited the 5 Points Convenience Store on the following dates should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Monday, September 21 between 12 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 23 between 3 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Symptoms of COVID-19 typically develop in 2 to 14 days of exposure. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home and contact their primary health care provider for further guidance on testing. For more information on COVID-19 testing, call the Oswego County COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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COVID deaths

COVID-19 deaths near 1 million worldwide – ABC News


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COVID Early

Early Covid Treatments Could Be ‘Bridge’ to Vaccine, Fauci Says – Bloomberg

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COVID Minnesota

COVID-19 fact-finding leads to threats against health workers in Minnesota – Minnesota Public Radio News

Samples are tested for COVID-19.

Samples are tested for COVID-19 in March at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Health

Updated 4 p.m.

Incidents of racism and implied threats of violence have stopped the work of public health care workers on a project looking at how the coronavirus spreads.

According to leaders with the Minnesota Department of Health, the agency’s workers along with workers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were met with animosity.

“What happened is that in short, the reception of these teams, getting into communities is just too often hostile,” said Stephanie Yendell, a senior epidemiology supervisor with the Health Department.

“Unfortunately, people of color on the teams were reporting being subjected to racial slurs,” she added. “We had one one Latina team member who told us that she was called this one particular epithet more times in the last week than she had in her entire life before that.”

In one case in far southeastern Minnesota near Eitzen, in Houston County, the health department reported that two CDC workers and a contract nurse were walking up to a house when they said two cars came and boxed their car in. 

“Three men got out and one of them had a holstered gun with his hand on it, and the team felt the intent was to intimidate and scare them,” Yendell said.

“The community members said that they didn’t think they were who they said they were,” Yendell added.

“The CDC employees showed their badges and didn’t really get a response from that, you know, they there was still this disbelief that they were who they said that they were in the community member said that they wouldn’t get a response there.”

The mayor of Eitzen, Jeff Adamson, later issued a statement disputing that account.

‘Taint of racism’

The project is called CASPER, or Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response. The goal of the project is to collect data on how COVID-19 is spreading in the state.

“The goals of the study were to understand how COVID-19 is spread in Minnesota communities, understand what caused COVID-19 to spread and in those certain communities, understand how the COVID-19 transmission and infection rates differ among regions in Minnesota,” Yendell said.

If households agreed to participate, one person in the home would complete a questionnaire and any household member who was interested and agreed would get a COVID-19 test to see if they had a current infection or an antibody test to see if there was evidence of a past infection.

The CASPER project started in the state on Sept. 14 and was supposed to go through the end of the month. The project was stopped on Wednesday after these incidents, which happened in southeastern and south-central Minnesota.

Public health teams were going to visit about 1,200 randomly selected households in 180 sites around the state. Teams had only gotten to around 400 sites when the project was stopped.

The visits had started in the Twin Cities metro area, then southeastern, south-central and southwestern Minnesota. Teams had just started in the northeast region of the state.

“We had really hoped through the CASPER survey to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 is spreading in Minnesota, and how it is affecting people. And that kind of understanding could have helped us improve multiple aspects of our response,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota’s state epidemiologist. 

She said the pandemic has been difficult for many people in many ways.

“We know that people are hurting and frustrated. And we totally understand that people may not like the policies that have been put in place to control the spread of this virus,” she said.

“That is understandable. But it is distinctly different to not like a policy than to take frustrations out on another human being who’s trying to help. And it is especially concerning when there is a taint of racism. There really is no justification for this. The enemy is the virus and it is not the public health workers who are trying to help”

Assistant Health Commissioner Dan Huff said there have been other instances of pushback against state health workers.

“This is happening to our inspectors, who are inspecting restaurants and bars. We’ve heard incidents in communities of people lashing out to local public health department staff who live in their community,” he said. “These are people that are trying to serve their community. We are all trying to serve the people of Minnesota and it is demoralizing, it’s scary and it prevents us from doing the work we can do.”

Health Department leaders said there were many Minnesotans who participated in the project and had hoped to be part of the project when the teams went into northeastern and west-central Minnesota.

‘We’re Minnesotans’

News of the threats drew a strong rebuke from the Minnesota Medical Association.

“We cannot overstate the severity of this virus and Minnesotans must recognize that the target of our frustration and outrage must be the virus, not the public health experts, clinicians and others working to stop it,” Dr. Keith Stelter, the association’s president, said in a statement, adding the group was outraged by the reports of public health workers being threatened.

Speaking to reporters later Friday, Huff said investigators have dealt with other incidents of people yelling or threatening to call police, but officials became increasingly aware that workers of color were being singled out for harassment.

“Over the past week, a pattern emerged where the CASPER teams that contained people of color reported more incidents than the teams that were comprised of Caucasian people,” he said.

That anger has also been directed at Minnesota’s top public health officials. Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, said she’s been the target of threatening calls and emails.

While threats happen in other states, too, Ehresmann said she found it “particularly disturbing” in Minnesota, believing residents here would behave differently. “You always think your home state is the best. It might have been happening elsewhere, but we’re Minnesotans.”

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COVID scientists

Covid Scientists Find a Turning Point in Life-Threatening Cases – Bloomberg QuickTake: Now


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