Coronavirus Johnson

Coronavirus vaccine: Johnson & Johnson jab shows response in 98% of test participants – The Independent

One of the numerous proposed coronavirus vaccines has produced a strong immune response in test subjects according to a report issued Friday.  

Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ.N Covid-19 vaccine, called Ad26.COV2.S, was well-tolerated by subjects at two dosing instances in early-to-mid stage coronavirus clinical trials.  

It is the only Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial in the US that is testing a single dose vaccine.  

Researchers said 98 per cent of participants in the study whose data was available had neutralising antibodies, which help the body fight off pathogens, a month after they received the vaccine.  

The vaccine is unique in that it is delivered in a single shot, rather than in two doses. The reduced time needed to deliver the vaccine could simply its distribution.  

The report written based on the trial, which was released on the medical website medRxiv, has not been peer reviewed, according to Reuters.  

Nearly 1,000 healthy adults participated in the clinical trial, which began after Johnson & Johnson saw that the vaccine provided strong immune protection when tested on monkeys.  

The company began the latest phase of the trials on Wednesday when it began a 60,000-person trial. If results are successful, the trial would be another step on the path to a viable coronavirus vaccine.  

Johnson & Johnson said the trial should finish by the end of the year or the beginning of 2021.  

While the results thus far have been promising, an area of concern voiced by researchers is whether or not the vaccine will be effective in the elderly.  

There were only 15 participants included in the report who were over 65 years old.  

Participants over 65 years old reported adverse reactions to the drug – like fatigue and muscle aches – at a rate of only 36 per cent. Younger participants reported those effects at a rate of 64 per cent. Since the older patients weren’t experiencing side effects as often, researchers worry they may not have the same immune response as younger individuals.  

The report found that most of the side effects caused by the vaccine cleared up in a few days. 

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson says UK ‘seeing a second wave coming in’ of coronavirus, claims it was ‘inevitable’ – Fox News

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said the U.K. is “seeing a second wave” of coronavirus infections — as he says he wants to keep schools and the economy open as much as possible.

“Obviously, we’re looking carefully at the spread of the pandemic as it evolves over the last few days, and there’s no question, as I’ve said for several weeks now, that we could expect, and we are now seeing, a second wave coming in,” he said.


He noted that countries like Spain and France had seen spikes and that was “absolutely inevitable, I’m afraid, that we would see it in this country.”

The government implemented “the rule of six” earlier this week that limits gatherings to six people, along with a number of other local lockdowns in an effort to stop the increase in infections the country has seen in recent weeks.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks to his office in Downing Street after a cabinet meeting in London, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2src2src.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks to his office in Downing Street after a cabinet meeting in London, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

This week, the government tightened restrictions in the northwest of England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire in response to local case spikes.

The U.K. has largely opened its economy, including schools — which resumed full, in-person learning at the beginning of the month. Officials have been wary about rolling back those national reopenings, and Johnson expressed similar reservations — although he did not rule out a second national lockdown.

“We want to keep schools open, that’s going to happen, we’re going to try and keep all parts of the economy open as far as we possibly [can] — I don’t think anyone wants to go into a second lockdown, but clearly when you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in on Monday,” he said.

People queue up outside a coronavirus testing centre offering walk-in appointments in north London, Friday Sept. 18, 2src2src.  (Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP)

People queue up outside a coronavirus testing centre offering walk-in appointments in north London, Friday Sept. 18, 2020.  (Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP)

“So, we’ll be looking at the local lockdowns we’ve got in large parts of the country now, looking at what we can do now to intensify that, to bring the rate of infection down there, but also looking at other measures as well,” he added.

Sky News reported that officials were considering proposals for a “circuit break” that would involve essential travel to schools and workplaces continuing, but restaurants and bar closed or running on restricted hours.

Johnson later doubled down on how he doesn’t want to do a second lockdown: “What I don’t want to do is go into a second national lockdown of the kind we had in March and April — I don’t want to do that again.”


A survey released by the Office for National Statistics found that an average of 6,000 in England were estimated to have been infected between Sept. 4-10, about double the previous week.

Meanwhile, the U.K. registered 27 deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 41,732.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson faces rebellion over Brexit powers that breach international law – BBC News – BBC News

Boris Johnson wins Commons backing for Brexit powers that breach international law – BBC News – YouTube

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Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson reacts to Cowboys’ Week 1 loss, Brady’s Bucs & Joe Burrow’s debut | NFL | THE HERD – The Herd with Colin Cowherd

Jimmy Johnson reacts to Cowboys’ Week 1 loss, Brady’s Bucs & Joe Burrow’s debut | NFL | THE HERD – YouTube

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson Wants Scope to Boost Government Intervention, Rattling Brexit Talks – The Wall Street Journal

For decades, Britain’s Conservative Party politicians decried the European Union for its supposed aversion to free markets.

Now trade negotiations that will define the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU from next year have stalled, in large part because Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government wants the freedom to ignore EU rules limiting state subsidies of private companies.

With trade talks restarting Tuesday, and little sign of quick progress, this impasse is increasing fears among officials on both sides that a trade deal won’t be secured by the end of the year, resulting in tariffs and a host of other barriers to trade amounting to $800 billion annually. Mr. Johnson said his government would walk away from talks if a deal isn’t reached by Oct. 15.

“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free-trade agreement between us,” Mr. Johnson said Monday. “And we should both accept that and move on.”

EU officials say the bloc remains intent on striking a deal but that Mr. Johnson’s government will need to make some major concessions. The bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said the end of October is the effective deadline for an agreement. The pound has fallen against the dollar on fears that talks will collapse.

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Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson, the Rock, Tests Positive for the Coronavirus – The New York Times

Movies|Dwayne Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Urging Fans to Wear Masks

The actor and former wrestler known as the Rock said on Instagram that his entire family had tested positive. “It has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “Wear your mask.”

Credit…Emma Mcintyre/Getty Images

Dwayne Johnson, the actor and former wrestler known as the Rock, announced on Instagram on Wednesday that he and his family had recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mr. Johnson, 48, said they had become infected around two and a half weeks ago, from “very close family friends.” He called it “one of the most challenging and difficult things we have ever had to endure as a family,” but added that he and his family were now “on the other end of it” and were healthy and no longer contagious.

While the symptoms were mild for his youngest daughters, Jasmine and Tiana, Mr. Johnson said he and his wife had a “rough go” with the virus.

Mr. Johnson also used urged people to wear masks.

“It baffles me that some people out there — including some politicians — will take this idea of wearing masks and make it part of a political agenda,” he said.

“It has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “Wear your mask.”

Mr. Johnson added that his mother, who had part of her lungs removed before recovering from lung cancer, still wears a mask “every day.”

His announcement comes as coronavirus cases increase around the world, with over 26 million people infected and at least 862,000 dead from the virus, according to a New York Times database.

In the United States, at least 1,074 deaths and over 40,000 new cases were reported on Wednesday, when Mr. Johnson posted to Instagram about his experience with Covid-19.

While Mr. Johnson said he and his family still trust the friends from whom they contracted the coronavirus, he advised people to take all precautions before seeing others. “Think twice about who you have over to your house,” he said.

Mr. Johnson joins a long list of celebrities, athletes and public figures who have contracted the virus and called on the public to treat it seriously by wearing masks, social distancing and taking other precautions. The list includes Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks and his wife, the actress Rita Wilson; athletes like the basketball players Kevin Durant and Rudy Gobert; and world leaders such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain.

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Denies Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson denies getting dirt on Biden from Ukrainian lawmaker, blasts Blumenthal for ‘twisting’ cla… – Fox News

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., is hitting back against a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., arguing that he never received documents relating to Joe Biden’s family nor did the CIA refuse to brief him on the matter.

In a lengthy thread on Twitter, Johnson denied Blumenthal’s claims that he received documents relating to Joe Biden and his son’s activities in Ukraine from the son of a former Soviet intelligence agent and blasted the Connecticut Democrat for his “twisting of classified briefings and repeating of false news reports.”

“[Blumenthal’s] twisting of classified briefings and repeating of false news reports is beyond the pale,” Johnson tweeted. “It is a flat-out lie that I received the documents from Ukrainians that Democrats keep claiming. And they know it. It is unconscionable that Democrats and the press continue to report it.”

Johnson’s Twitter screed continued: “It is a flat-out lie that I asked for the CIA to brief our committee and that they refused. We’ve already been briefed repeatedly on these issues, Democrats simply didn’t like what they heard.”

In his op-ed on Friday, Blumenthal suggested that Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, may be using Russian disinformation to move ahead with his investigation into Biden’s family. Blumenthal cites a report from last week that says Johnson had been provided with tapes by Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker whose father was a KGB agent.

Derkach has been active in leveling unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Biden and his son Hunter, who used to sit on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. That effort has included publicizing leaked phone calls.

“Johnson’s actions are of such concern to the CIA, according to news reports, that the agency has refused to brief him,” Blumenthal wrote. “Think of it: Congress may become a forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Kremlin proxies.”


He added: “There is no excuse for perpetuating Russian disinformation in the U.S. Senate, just as there is no excuse for barring the American public from learning more about the genuine foreign threats to the November election. The Trump administration appears to be failing to take the danger seriously, failing to prepare adequately.”

The senatorial spat comes just days after the U.S. counterintelligence chief said that officials believe that Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate Biden ahead of the November election and that individuals linked to the Kremlin are boosting Trump’s reelection bid.

The statement Friday from William Evanina is believed to be the most pointed declaration by the U.S. intelligence community linking the Kremlin to efforts to get Trump reelected — a sensitive subject for a president who has rejected intelligence agency assessments that Russia tried to help him in 2016. It also connects Moscow’s disapproval of Biden to his role as vice president in shaping Obama administration policies supporting Ukraine, an important U.S. ally, and opposing Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Asked about the intelligence assessment Friday evening in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump appeared to dispute the idea that Russia was disparaging Biden. “I think the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have — ever,” he said.

Concerns about election interference are especially acute following a wide-ranging effort by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf through both the hacking of Democratic emails and a covert social media campaign aimed at sowing discord among U.S. voters. Trump has routinely resisted the idea that the Kremlin favored him in 2016, but the intelligence assessment released Friday indicates that unnamed Kremlin-linked actors are again working to boost his candidacy on social media and Russian television.


The White House reacted to Friday’s news with a statement saying “the United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our electoral processes and will respond to malicious foreign threats that target our democratic institutions.”

Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, responded that Trump “has publicly and repeatedly invited, emboldened, and even tried to coerce foreign interference in American elections. … Joe Biden, on the other hand, has led the fight against foreign interference for years.”

Democrats in Congress who have participated in recent classified briefings on election interference have expressed alarm at what they have heard. They have urged the U.S. intelligence community to make public some of their concerns in part to avoid a repeat of 2016, when Obama administration officials were seen as slow and overly deliberate in their public discussion of active Russian measures in that year’s election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus Johnson

Coronavirus updates: Johnson & Johnson announces US vaccine deal; progress toward $1 trillion stimulus package; US nears 5M cases – USA TODAY


Communities of color are dying at higher rates from the novel coronavirus than white Americans. Here’s how structural inequities play a role.


Days after President Donald Trump defended his administration’s “incredible” handling of the coronavirus outbreak in a widely viewed interview, the nation’s top health official called the country’s response “disparate” and “not as well suited” to the dynamics of the pandemic.

“What happened when the rubber hit the road on this, and we did get hit, we had the kind of response that was not as well suited to what the dynamics of this outbreak is,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum Wednesday. “What happened is, we had a bit of a disparate response.”

The country’s response has allowed the daily COVID-19 case count to plateau at an “unacceptable level,” Fauci said, warning that the U.S. will continue to “smolder” without a unified effort to stop the virus. 

Here are some significant developments:

  • deadly explosion that rocked Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut has put a further strain on the nation’s health system, which was already running short on personal protective equipment and grappling with more than 5,200 cases of COVID-19.
  • Virginia on Wednesday became the first state to roll out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • Johnson & Johnson said it has a $1 billion agreement to supply 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate to the U.S. government. Also Wednesday, Moderna said it expects to fully enroll 30,000 people for a trial of its vaccine candidate next month.
  • Whatever was left of an in-person 2020 Democratic National Convention evaporated Wednesday as organizers announced Joe Biden won’t travel to Milwaukee to give his presidential acceptance speech.
  • Trump says schools should reopen because children are “virtually immune,” despite evidence suggesting they are not. “This thing’s going away – It will go away like things go away,” Trump said during a wide-ranging interview on “Fox & Friends”. Facebook took down a post with the interview from President Trump’s personal page, and Twitter will require Trump’s campaign account to remove the post before the account can tweet again.

? Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 158,000 deaths and 4.8 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there have been more than 706,000 deaths and 18.7 million cases. 

? What we’re reading: Kids are less likely to die from the coronavirus. But some experts say a lack of information about how they contract and transmit COVID-19 will leave the nation unprepared when schools reopen.

Our live blog is being updated throughout the day. Refresh for the latest news, and get updates in your inbox with The Daily Briefing.

No NBA players test positive for COVID-19 for third week

No NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 for the third consecutive weekly testing period, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association said in a joint news release Wednesday.

In the latest round of precautionary measures, 343 players were tested inside the NBA’s bubble-like environment at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.

No player has tested positive inside the bubble since initial testing between July 7-13.

– Jeff Zillgitt

Kids less likely to die, but schools could become hot spots for spread

As many school districts prepare to reopen campuses, some experts fear classrooms will become the next incubators for large coronavirus outbreaks.

Advocates for resuming school in person, including President Donald Trump, have repeatedly claimed that children pose less of a risk of spreading COVID-19 and that the benefits outweigh the risks. About 6 out of 100,000 school-age kids are hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with the overall rate of 130 people per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a recent study estimated that closing schools in March reduced the rate of new COVID-19 cases by 66%.

“We show that it actually did make a difference in cases and in deaths,” said lead study author Dr. Katherine Auger, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “That was a very important thing society did.”

In an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning, Trump claimed children should return to school because they are “almost immune” or “virtually immune” from the disease.

The interview was posted on Trump’s personal Facebook page, and later removed – it was the first time Facebook has removed a post by the president for violating its policies on COVID-19 misinformation.

Twitter hid the campaign’s post of the interview, telling USA TODAY in a statement that  the “account owner will be required to remove the tweet before they can tweet again,”

Jayme Fraser, Dan Keemahill, and Jessica Guynn

NCAA releases requirements for schools hoping to play fall sports

The NCAA on Wednesday released a set of requirements for all schools wishing to complete fall sports competition. Although the NCAA left the decision on whether to hold fall sports up to individual divisions, it said divisions must determine the status of fall championships by Aug. 21.

“The board expressed serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of the nation,” the NCAA statement read. “The board has determined that it will only support moving forward with fall championships and other postseason play if strict conditions are applied and adhered to.”

Two of the requirements involve protecting players who choose to opt out. First, the school is required to honor the scholarship of any athlete who opts out, and each division must decide by Aug. 14 how opting out or having a season cut short would affect eligibility, and inform players of that decision. 

– Aria Gerson

Coronavirus in Lebanon: ‘Struggling’ health system devastated by Beirut explosion

A massive, deadly explosion that rocked Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut has put a further strain on the nation’s health system, which was already running short on personal protective equipment and grappling with more than 5,200 cases of COVID-19.

Several hospitals were damaged in the explosion – which killed at least 135 people and wounded thousands – and those still working were overwhelmed with patients, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a series of tweets.

“After months of a spiraling economic crisis and battling the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon was already in a fragile state,” the ICRC said. “The health system was already struggling to respond to the mounting health needs. Now it is totally overwhelmed.”

At Hôtel Dieu, a university hospital in Beirut, oncologist Hampig Kourieh was just finishing his shift when the explosion happened. He described “hundreds of people covered in blood arriving on foot, cars and bikes … the scene was apocalyptic.”

The smell of blood, Kourieh said, was so strong it was like “iron was covering the ER.”

– Nadia Al Faour, special for USA TODAY


Lebanese authorities believe the deadly Beirut explosion could be tied to highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which was stored at the port for years.

Associated Press

Georgia schools face questions after viral back-to-school photos surface

Two suburban Atlanta school districts that began in-person classes Monday with mask-optional policies face more questions about COVID-19 safety protocols after on-campus pictures showed students packed shoulder-to-shoulder.

In Cherokee County, dozens of seniors gathered at two of the district’s six high schools to take traditional first-day-of-school senior photos, with students squeezing together in black outfits. In Paulding County, student pictures taken Monday and Tuesday show crowded hallways at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia. Fewer than half of the students shown are wearing masks.

In Columbia County, the school district has already confirmed its first COVID-19 case.

– Miguel Legoas, The Augusta Chronicle; The Associated Press

Virginia is first state to roll out app to detect virus exposure

Virginia on Wednesday became the first state to roll out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus. The new pandemic technology, created by Apple and Google, is available in Apple and Android app stores as of Wednesday. The app relies on Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus. State officials said the app doesn’t track user location or collect personal information.

“We’re using every possible approach to fight this virus and keep Virginians healthy,” Virginia Gov. Northam said in a statement.

Joe Biden won’t go to Milwaukee to claim Democratic nomination

When Milwaukee landed the 2020 Democratic National Convention more than a year ago, city leaders hoped 50,000 people would flood into town for four non-stop days and nights of politics. Now even the party’s nominee isn’t going.

Officials announced that Joe Biden will accept the party’s nod from his home in Delaware – and the other convention speakers won’t travel to Wisconsin, either. Organizers cited the “worsening coronavirus pandemic.” 

“This convention will look different than any previous convention in history,” said Joe Solmonese, the convention’s chief executive. “It will reach more people than ever before, and truly be a convention across America for all Americans, regardless of which party you belong to or who you’ve voted for in previous elections.”

Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Florida surpasses 500,000 virus cases

Florida became the second state to confirm more than 500,000 cases of COVID-19. The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 5,409 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 502,739. California leads the nation, with more than 526,000 cases, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. 

Florida also announced an additional 225 deaths, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average for reported deaths to a record 184.86. The state death toll now stands at 7,627.

Cheryl McCloud, Treasure Coast Newspapers

Chicago Public Schools to start online-only this year

Chicago Public Schools are joining a lengthening line of major school systems that will start the academic year fully online. The district, which had initially planned to launch a hybrid online and in-person model starting Sept. 8, said Wednesday the continued uptick in coronavirus cases and concerns from parents urged them to adjust the plan.

Tens of thousands of families indicated in a district survey that they did not intend to send their children to school. And the city’s teacher’s union threatened to go on strike over concerns about in-person classes. The district said it will consider switching to a hybrid learning model in the second quarter, which begins on Nov. 9. 

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Miami are among other major cities starting the school year online-only.

Cruise lines extend moratorium on cruises through October

The cruise industry has voluntarily extended its pause on operations in U.S. waters until “at least” Oct. 31, a month past the date the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-sail” order is set to expire. CLIA’s member lines carry 95% of the world’s ocean-going cruisers. The new order will apply to all CLIA member ships that can carry 250 or more passengers.

“We believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of U.S. ocean-going cruise operations to Oct. 31,” Cruise Lines International Association, the major trade organization for ocean-going cruise lines, said in a statement.

Morgan Hines

UConn is first bowl-level college football program to cancel season

The University of Connecticut football team became the first bowl-level program to cancel its 2020 season Wednesday, citing an “unacceptable risk level” faced by the student athletes.

UConn, which plays as an independent, had games against Illinois, Indiana, Maine and Mississippi dropped from the schedule due to “conference-only” schedules being played by those schools. Games against North Carolina and Virginia might have faced the same fate. The players released a joint statement through the school citing “full support of the decision to not compete in 2020.”

Several schools in college football’s lower divisions, including the entire Ivy League, also have canceled their seasons.

Chris Bumbaca

Alaska cruise ship quarantines after passenger tests positive

One of the first cruise ships to resume overnight sailing in U.S. waters since the pandemic shut down the cruise industry has reported one case of COVID-19. Passengers are quarantining on board UnCruise Adventures’ Wilderness Adventurer “until the state of Alaska deems it safe for them to return home,” according to a travel alert posted on the cruise line’s website. The ship was able to bypass the federal no-sail order because its capacity is less than 250 passengers and crew.

“The guest is showing no symptoms and no other guests or crew are showing outward symptoms of any kind,” the cruise line said. “All guests have been informed and will quarantine until the state of Alaska deems it safe for them to return home.”

Hannah Yasharoff and Morgan Hines

What we’re reading

US buys 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate

Johnson & Johnson announced a deal with the U.S. government for 100 million doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S, for use in the United States – if and when the vaccine wins Food and Drug Administration approval. The government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses, the company said in announcing the $1 billion deal. A clinical trial is underway, and the company said it is evaluating one- and two-dose regimens. The plan is to provide more than 1 billion non-for-profit doses globally through the course of 2021.

“We are scaling up production in the U.S. and worldwide to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for emergency use,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson’s chief scientific officer.

517 inmates at Arizona prison test positive for COVID-19

More than 500 inmates at the Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson Whetstone Unit have tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said. The 517 inmates, almost half the unit’s population of 1,066, are being housed together in separate areas and receiving medical care, according to a statement released by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.

The department did not immediately respond to questions, including when tests were performed and whether every inmate there was tested. The tests came after inmates at the Whetstone Unit staged a peaceful walkout last week due to virus concerns.

Audrey Jensen, Arizona Republic

Moderna in talks with ‘several countries’ for vaccine candidate

Biotech giant Moderna said Wednesday it expects to fully enroll 30,000 volunteers in the crucial Phase 3 study of its COVID-19 vaccine next month. Moderna’s vaccine candidate, backed by almost $1 billion in federal funding, last week became the nation’s first to begin such a large trial. It’s being tested at scores of sites in the U.S., with results expected as soon as October.

“We began discussions with several countries for supply agreements for (vaccine candidate) mRNA-1273 and as of July 31, we have received approximately $400 million of customer deposits for potential supply,” Moderna said in a statement.

The announcement came one day after Novavax released promising results from a small, early trial. AstraZeneca, Pfizer and a group of Chinese researchers also have released promising early trial results, and China has begun providing its candidate vaccine to members of its military.

By the numbers: Record deaths in California, Florida, Georgia

A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Tuesday shows one state set records for new cases in a week while three states had a record number of deaths in a week. New case records were set in Hawaii, and also Puerto Rico. Record numbers of deaths were reported in California, Florida and Georgia. The United States has reported 4,771,080 cases and 156,801 deaths.

– Mike Stucka

More COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

On Facebook: There’s still a lot unknown about the coronavirus. But what we do know, we’re sharing with you. Join our Facebook group, Coronavirus Watch, to receive daily updates in your feed and chat with others in the community about COVID-19.  

In your inbox: Stay up-to-date with the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic from the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for the daily Coronavirus Watch newsletter here

Tips for coping: Every Saturday and Tuesday we’ll be in your inbox, offering you a virtual hug and a little bit of solace in these difficult times. Sign up for Staying Apart, Together here.

Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, UISA TODAY; The Associated Press


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Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $2.1 billion in baby powder lawsuit | TheHill – The Hill

A Missouri appeals court on Tuesday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.1 billion to women who claimed the company’s talc-based products caused their ovarian cancer.

The decision by the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals cut in half the amount of compensatory and punitive damages the company is required to pay compared with a previous jury verdict, according to reports.

The jury verdict from July 2018 had ordered $4.69 billion paid after allegations by 22 women and their families, but the court ruled to reduce the damages owed because it said some of the plaintiffs were from out of state and should not have been included in the suit, St. Louis Today reported.

Johnson & Johnson had appealed the verdict, requesting the court throw out the decision entirely, which the court declined to do, saying it had found “significant reprehensibility” in the company’s conduct. The court cited in its decision internal memorandums as far back as the 1960s indicating the company’s talcum products contained asbestos, a known carcinogen.

“A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer,” the ruling said, according to The New York Times.

The plaintiffs “showed clear and convincing evidence defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference,” the court said.

Johnson & Johnson has to pay $500 million in actual damages and $1.62 billion in punitive damages. 

Kim Montagnino, a spokeswoman for the company, told the Times that Johnson & Johnson will seek review of the case by the Supreme Court of Missouri. 

“We continue to believe this was a fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts,” she said. “We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos free and does not cause cancer.”

Mark Lanier, who represents the plaintiffs, said the decision was “a clarion call for J&J to try and find a good way to resolve the cases for the people who have been hurt,” according to Fox Business. Six plaintiffs in the case died before the trial began, and another five have died since the trial ended in 2018, according to the Times.

Lanier told The Hill in a statement that his clients “appreciate the extensive time and careful scholarship shown in the appellate court’s meticulous detailed ruling.”

Johnson & Johnson has defended its talc-based products as safe as the company has faced more than 19,000 lawsuits relating to those products as of March. The company has appealed almost all of the cases it has lost. 

Last month, the company announced it would discontinue its talc-based products in the U.S. and Canada, citing decreased sales and “misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.” 

In October, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration found trace amounts of asbestos in a bottle.

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson decries ‘racist thuggery’ after London protests become violent | TheHill – The Hill

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday decried “racist thuggery” after violent clashes broke out between far-right protestors and anti-racism demonstrators in London.

The violence took place amid escalating unrest in the U.S. and other parts of the world in wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. In response, protestors in the U.K. have targeted monuments of figures they’ve deemed symbols of racism in recent weeks. 

On Saturday, counterprotestors gathered for what was advertised as a demonstration to “protect the monuments” in Parliament Square. The protest was announced after the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was toppled in Bristol and graffiti was tagged on a statue of Winston Churchill

Thousands of people travelled into London for the demonstration, which resulted in violent scuffles between right-wing protestors and demonstrators speaking out against racism. Video captured in Parliament Square showed right-wing protestors at one point pelting horse-mounted police officers with bottles and cans.

Stones were also lobbed at police at a bridge near the Waterloo train station, Reuters reported.

“Racist thuggery has no place on our streets,” Johnson said on Twitter. “Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law. These marches & protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines.”

“Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality,” he added. 

Racist thuggery has no place on our streets. Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law. These marches & protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines. Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality.

— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) June 13, 2020

The London Metropolitan Police Department said that more than 100 people were arrested on Saturday for offenses including breach of the peace, violent disorder and assault on officers. 

The city had walled off statues of Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi ahead of the protests to avoid any possible damage, The Guardian reported. The Metropolitan police said Sunday that it had arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly urinating on a memorial dedicated to Keith Palmer, a police officer killed by a terrorist in 2017. 

The arrest came after a photo appeared on social media apparently showing the suspect committing the act.

London mayor Sadiq Khan blamed Saturday’s events on “right-wing extremists” and commended police for how they controlled the situation. 

“Millions of Londoners will have been disgusted by the shameful scenes of violence, desecration and racism displayed by the right-wing extremists who gathered in our city today,” he said. 

Millions of Londoners will have been disgusted by the shameful scenes of violence, desecration and racism displayed by the right-wing extremists who gathered in our city today.

In the face of attacks and abuse, our police did a fantastic job to control the situation. Thank you.

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 13, 2020

Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd said, “I cannot breathe.” The incident spurred massive demonstrations throughout the world, as well as a renewed push from many activists for statues dedicated to figures who espoused racist views to be removed. 

In the U.S., protestors have toppled several statutes commemorating leaders of the Confederacy. 

Churchill is widely admired in the U.K. for leading to the country during World War II, though some demonstrators have argued that he expressed racist and anti-Semitic beliefs. Johnson said last week that it was “shameful” that a Churchill statue was facing the threat of being targeted. 

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