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Coronavirus live updates: US virus cases may be about 8 times higher than reported

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(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 61 million people and killed over 1.4 million worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:

Nov 27, 1:56 pm
Brazil’s president says he won’t take a COVID-19 vaccine

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insisted he will not take a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m telling you, I’m not going to take it. It’s my right,” Bolsonaro said Thursday in a live broadcast streamed on various social media platforms.

The right-wing leader also said that Brazil’s National Congress is unlikely to require citizens to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and he expressed skepticism over the effectiveness of face masks in curbing the spread of the virus.

Bolsonaro, an avid supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, has downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic despite getting infected himself over the summer.

Brazil has the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind only the United States, and the third-highest number of confirmed cases, after India and the United States, according to a real-time tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Nov 27, 1:38 pm
COVID-19 patient with ‘irreversible lung damage’ recovers after transplant

A COVID-19 patient whose lungs had been severely damaged by the virus has made a miraculous recovery after undergoing a double lung transplant at a Texas hospital.

Paul Rodriguez, 52, of San Antonio, had no pre-existing conditions when he contracted the novel coronavirus and fell ill with pneumonia in July. Rodriguez was hospitalized at an area hospital in his hometown and required intubation as well as the use of a ventilator. Then in mid-September, Rodriguez was transferred to Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston for evaluation, “as it became clear that a lung transplant was his only chance of survival,” according to a press release from the hospital, which said the patient had “irreversible lung damage.”

Rodriguez was approved for a transplant and, within a week of listing, he received a brand-new set of lungs on Oct. 15. After being successfully weaned off the ventilator and oxygen support, Rodriguez underwent rehabilitation at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and was discharged on Nov. 24. He is expected to continue the rehabilitation program as part of his recovery, according to the press release.

“Rodriguez is the first double lung transplant the hospital has performed on a coronavirus patient since the pandemic began,” Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center said in a statement. “To date, only a handful of transplant centers in the U.S. have performed lung transplants on patients due to irreversible lung damage caused by the virus.”

Nov 27, 11:49 am
COVID-19 cases in US may be about 8 times higher than reported

The actual number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the United States reached nearly 53 million at the end of September, according to a model developed by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The scientists estimated the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 in the U.S. population by taking the laboratory-confirmed case counts that were reported nationally and adjusting them for sources of under-detection based on testing practices in inpatient and outpatient settings. Preliminary estimates using the model found that 2.4 million hospitalizations, 44.8 million symptomatic illnesses and 52.9 million total infections may have occurred through Sept. 30.

“This indicates that approximately 84% of the U.S. population has not yet been infected and thus most of the country remains at risk, despite already high rates of hospitalization,” the scientists wrote in a report published in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

There were 6.9 million laboratory-confirmed cases of of domestically-acquired infections that were detected and reported nationally through Sept. 30. Since then, the CDC’s tally has increased to nearly 12.5 million. Based on the model’s ratio, the true estimated total would now be more than 95 million.

Nov 27, 8:46 am
UK government asks regulator to assess AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday that he has formally asked the country’s medicines regulator to assess whether a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford “meets rigorous safety standards.”

The move comes amid questions about preliminary results from late-stage trials of the vaccine candidate, called AZD1222, after the England-based pharmaceutical giant and the university acknowledged that the most positive findings actually stemmed from a dosing error.

On Monday, researchers announced the interim analysis of Phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil, which looked at two different dosing regimens. One regimen showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. A second regimen showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens showed an average efficacy of 70%.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidate is the second to reach the formal assessment stage in the United Kingdom, following one developed by New York City-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Nov 27, 7:56 am
Moscow sees 311% spike in COVID-19 deaths

Moscow saw a 311% month-to-month increase in COVID-19 deaths for October, health authorities said.

According to the Moscow Healthcare Department, the Russian capital reported 543 COVID-19 deaths in September followed by 2,235 deaths in October — an increase of more than 311% — as a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept the country.

Meanwhile, Russia reported a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections on Friday, with the country’s coronavirus response headquarters confirming a record 27,543 new cases in the last 24 hours. An additional 496 new deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide in the past day. The country’s cumulative total now stands at 2,215,533 confirmed cases, including 38,558 deaths.

Moscow continues to be the epicenter of Russia’s COVID-19 outbreak and recent surge. The city accounted for nearly 29% of the newly reported cases and more than 15% of the newly registered deaths, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.

The Eastern European nation of 145 million people has the fifth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India, Brazil and France, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Nov 27, 6:50 am
US reports over 110,000 new cases on Thanksgiving

There were 110,611 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, the day of Thanksgiving, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

It’s the 24th straight day that the country has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Thursday’s count is down from a peak of 196,004 new cases on Nov. 20.

An additional 1,232 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide on Thursday, less than the all-time high of 2,609 new deaths on April 15.

COVID-19 data may be skewed this week and next due to possible lags in reporting over Thanksgiving followed by a potentially very large backlog from the holiday.

A total of 12,885,299 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 263,462 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4.

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