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Fauci is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine being available in 2020-2021 time frame.

COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Available by Late 2020, Early 2021: Fauci

TUESDAY, June 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- There could be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year or early next year, according to Anthony Fauci, M.D., infectious diseases chief at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Testifying before a House committee on Tuesday, Fauci said he is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine being available in that time frame but also mentioned struggles to contain the new coronavirus, the Associated Press reported.

"We've been hit badly," Fauci said, adding that he is "really quite concerned" about rising community spread in some states. "The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges."

Read the full HealthDay story.

Each week, HealthDay's Physician's Briefing division rounds up the most important COVID-19 developments in the medical field. See this week's edition below for July 6-July 10.

Gilead Presents Additional Data on Efficacy of Remdesivir for COVID-19

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- There is more good news on the effectiveness of the antiviral drug remdesivir against COVID-19, according to new clinical trial results from the drug's maker.

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Risk for COVID-19 Increased for Adults Taking PPIs

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Adults taking proton pump inhibitors have an increased risk for having a positive COVID-19 test, with evidence of a dose-response relationship, according to a study published online July 7 in preprint format in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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WHO to Lead Investigation of COVID-19 Pandemic Origins

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The World Health Organization will lead an international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.

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Emphasizing Severity of COVID-19 Important for Teen Behaviors

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For adolescents, understanding the severity of COVID-19 and valuing social responsibility are associated with acting in socially responsible ways, including more social distancing and disinfecting, according to a study published online June 29 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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Children Seem Not to Be Driving SARS-COV-2 Transmission

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Children are mainly infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in familial clusters, suggesting that transmission in schools is likely to be less than expected and that school closures are not necessary, according to a study and accompanying editorial published online July 10 in Pediatrics.

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COVID-19 Explored in Kidney Recipients, Hemodialysis Patients

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Many outpatient kidney transplant recipients with COVID-19 have symptomatic resolution without requiring hospitalization, and hospitalized COVID-19 patients on hemodialysis have worse outcomes than those without kidney failure, according to two studies recently published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Incidence of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Up During COVID-19

FRIDAY, July 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online July 9 in JAMA Network Open.

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Sick Days Up for Some Essential Workers During COVID-19

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Increases in health-related workplace absenteeism were seen in April 2020 in personal care and service, health care support, and production occupations, according to research published in the July 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Mental Health Issues

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Just as the physical symptoms of COVID-19 vary among the population, mental health is enduring a variety of effects from the virus as well, according to Don Mordecai, M.D., national mental health and wellness lead at Kaiser Permanente, who recently spoke with HD Live! about the effects of the pandemic on mental health.

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Spectrum of Neurological Disorders Linked to SARS-CoV-2

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection is associated with a spectrum of neurological disorders, according to a study published online July 8 in Brain.

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CDC Updates Info on COVID-19 Cases at Meat, Poultry Processing Facilities

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- COVID-19 was confirmed in 16,233 workers in 239 meat and poultry processing facilities in 23 states through May 31, 2020, according to research published in the July 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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February to March 2020 Saw Surge in Hydroxychloroquine Rx

WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- From February to March 2020, there was a considerable increase in the number of patients receiving outpatient prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, and azithromycin, according to a research letter published online July 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Profiled

WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which coincided with COVID-19, is described in children and adolescents in the United States and New York state in two reports published online June 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Rising Number of People Report Anxiety, Depression During COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- New evidence shows that depression and anxiety are increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey released by Mental Health America.

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COVID-19 Antibody Cocktail Begins Late-Stage Human Trials

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Late-stage human trials to assess whether a double antibody cocktail can prevent and treat COVID-19 infection have started, biotechnology company Regeneron said Monday.

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Company Gets $1.6 Billion From U.S. Government for COVID-19 Vaccine

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccine maker Novavax will receive $1.6 billion from the U.S. government to provide 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021, the Maryland-based company said Monday.

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Acute Ischemic Stroke Risk Higher With COVID-19 Than Influenza

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with COVID-19 appear to have a heightened risk for acute ischemic stroke compared with patients with influenza, according to a study published online July 2 in JAMA Neurology.

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Social Distancing Effective for Mitigating COVID-19 Spread

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Social distancing is one of the main measures to combat COVID-19 spread, according to a study published online July 1 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Chilblains in Recent Case Series Not Tied to COVID-19 Infection

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In a case series of 31 patients, published online June 25 in JAMA Dermatology, chilblains did not appear to be directly associated with COVID-19.

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Major Medical Groups Urge Americans to Wear Face Masks

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Three major medical groups are urging Americans to wear face masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the United States.

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Fight Against COVID-19 Threatens Progress Against Other Diseases

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Decades of progress against HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases worldwide are threatened by the diversion of resources on the COVID-19 pandemic, the International AIDS Society says in a report to be published this week.

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FDA Warns About Hand Sanitizers With Methanol

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A warning about hand sanitizer products that contain methanol (wood alcohol), a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze, has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Scientists Say New Coronavirus Can Linger in Indoor Air

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The new coronavirus can linger in indoor air and infect people, 239 scientists in 32 countries say in an open letter to the World Health Organization that challenges the WHO's position on how the virus is spread.

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Endotheliopathy ID'd in COVID-19, Tied to Higher Mortality Risk

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Endotheliopathy is present in COVID-19 and is associated with critical illness and death, according to a study published online June 30 in The Lancet Haematology.

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Outcomes Similar for COVID-19 in Patients With, Without HIV

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Persons with HIV hospitalized with COVID-19 have similar outcomes to demographically matched patients without HIV, according to a study published online June 28 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Most Using Online COVID-19 Tool Report Mild, Moderate Symptoms

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of individuals using an online COVID-19 self-assessment tool report mild or moderate symptoms possibly associated with COVID-19, according to research published online June 15 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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HD Live! Videos

Our latest HD Live! discussion is on how countries have contained COVID-19 and whether the United States can do the same with universal masking and certain other health strategies.

Mabel Jong from our liveblog team speaks with Dr. Robert Brook, a professor of medicine at UCLA and the distinguished chair in the health care services program at the RAND Corporation, and Dr. May Chu, a clinical professor of epidemiology with the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Watch our in-depth discussion above, and see our past HD Lives and other videos on our YouTube channel.

They contend that much smaller exhaled droplets can travel the length of a room and cause infection when inhaled.

Scientists Say New Coronavirus Can Linger in Indoor Air

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The new coronavirus can linger in indoor air and infect people, 239 scientists in 32 countries say in an open letter to the World Health Organization that challenges the WHO's position on how the virus is spread.

The WHO says the virus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets expelled by infected people in coughs and sneezes but that those droplets fall quickly to the floor instead of remaining in the air, The New York Times reported. But the scientists' letter contends that much smaller exhaled droplets can travel the length of a room through the air and cause infection when they are inhaled. They plan to publish their letter next week in a scientific journal.

If this type of airborne transmission plays a significant role in the pandemic, there are major implications, according to The Times. Masks may be required indoors, building ventilation systems may need to minimize recirculating air, ultraviolet lights may be required to kill airborne viral particles, and health care workers may need masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for COVID-19 patients.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested.

FDA Warns About Hand Sanitizers With Methanol

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A warning about hand sanitizer products that contain methanol (wood alcohol), a substance often used to create fuel and antifreeze, has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested, and it is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizer products, according to the FDA. The agency said it has seen an increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol. Methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, or death.

State officials have reported recent harm among adults and children who ingested hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol, including blindness, hospitalization, and death, the FDA said. Consumers who have hand sanitizers with methanol should immediately stop using them and dispose of the bottle in a hazardous waste container, if available, or dispose of it as recommended by their local waste management and recycling center. There is a list of FDA-tested and recalled hand sanitizers on the agency's website.

Read the full HealthDay story.

In many cities, a combination of factors are fueling the problem: a shortage of key supplies, backlogs at laboratories that perform the tests, and surging infection counts as cases climb in almost 40 states.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Near 3 Million as Hospitals in Sun Belt Fill Up With Patients

TUESDAY, July 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- With the number of coronavirus cases in the United States approaching 3 million on Monday, hospitals across the Sun Belt continued to be flooded with COVID-19 patients.

Arizona reached 89 percent capacity for ICU beds, as Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas also reported unprecedented numbers of hospitalizations, the Washington Post reported.

For the 28th day in a row, the country's rolling seven-day average of daily new cases obliterated previous records, though the number of deaths nationwide has remained relatively stable, the newspaper reported.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Authors say self-assessment tool could ease burden on health care system and collect useful information.

Most Using Online COVID-19 Tool Report Mild, Moderate Symptoms

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of individuals using an online COVID-19 self-assessment tool report mild or moderate symptoms possibly associated with COVID-19, according to research published online June 15 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

William M. Mehring, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues developed a web-based COVID-19 self-assessment tool, available in English and Spanish, and report the results of 276,560 digital self-assessments.

The researchers report that of the 5,611 users who entered optional demographic data, 61 percent were female (mean age, 39 years). In more than two-thirds of self-assessments (69.6 percent), users reported symptoms potentially attributable to COVID-19. Among the reported symptoms potentially attributable to COVID-19, the majority (80.5 percent) reported mild or moderate symptoms that could likely be managed with home self-care, while 19.5 percent reported severe symptoms for which the tool recommended immediate medical attention. Of individuals reporting mild symptoms, 7.1 percent said they had direct exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Soluble thrombomodulin concentration >3.26 ng/mL linked to lower rates of hospital discharge and survival.

Endotheliopathy ID'd in COVID-19, Tied to Higher Mortality Risk

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Endotheliopathy is present in COVID-19 and is associated with critical illness and death, according to a study published online June 30 in The Lancet Haematology.

George Goshua, M.D., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues conducted a single-center study involving hospitalized adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from the medical intensive care unit (ICU) or a specialized non-ICU COVID-19 floor (48 and 20 patients, respectively); 13 asymptomatic nonhospitalized controls were recruited as a comparator group. Markers of endothelial cell and platelet activations were assessed and the levels were compared for ICU patients, non-ICU patients, and controls.

The researchers found that compared with non-ICU patients, in ICU patients, markers of endothelial cell and platelet activation were significantly elevated, including von Willebrand Factor (VWF) antigen (mean, 565 percent in ICU patients versus 278 percent in non-ICU patients) and soluble P-selectin (15.9 versus 11.2 ng/mL). In 16 of 20 non-ICU patients, VWF antigen concentrations were also elevated above the normal range. Among all patients, there was a significant association between mortality and VWF antigen and soluble thrombomodulin. Soluble thrombomodulin concentrations greater than 3.26 ng/mL were associated with lower rates of hospital discharge (88 versus 52 percent) and a lower likelihood of survival (hazard ratio, 5.9).

Read the full HealthDay story.

See what experts have to say about the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave a Mental Health Crisis in Its Wake?

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Stressed from home-schooling your kids? Lonely from lockdown? Worried about a sick loved one isolated in a nursing home? Worried you might lose your job?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone's mental health in ways small and large, and experts are concerned that for many, today's anxiety will become a tidal wave of mental health problems in the years ahead.

The pandemic is adding to what already was an underrecognized mental health crisis in the United States, according to Dr. Don Mordecai, national mental health and wellness lead at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.

Read the full HealthDay story.

In a small study, all 10 patients who had severe COVID-19 symptoms produced T-cells that worked with antibodies to try to kill the virus and stop the infection.

How Immune System Fights COVID-19 May Be Key to Vaccine Success

MONDAY, July 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Even the sickest COVID-19 patients make T-cells to fight the infection, a new study finds.

This means that a COVID-19 vaccine will have to cause the body to make T-cells along with antibodies, researchers say.

The immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was the same in American and Dutch patients in the study.

Read the full HealthDay story.