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It used a weakened common cold virus to safely deliver COVID-19 coronavirus genetic material into human cells.

Chinese COVID Vaccine Promising in Early Trial in People

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Another COVID-19 vaccine candidate has achieved good early results, a research team in China reported Friday.

The experimental vaccine produced important signs of immune response in a small group of adults, a sign that it could potentially protect people against COVID-19, researchers reported May 22 online in The Lancet medical journal.

"These results represent an important milestone," researcher Wei Chen, part of a team with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, said in a journal news release.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Can you get out of your house and have some fun, without running a huge risk of contracting COVID-19? Experts say you can as long as you follow certain guidelines.

During the Pandemic, How Safe Is the Great American Summer Vacation?

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Memorial Day is fast approaching, summer travel plans have mostly been wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and people are climbing the walls.

Is there any way you can get out of your house and have a little bit of fun, without running a huge risk of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus?

Experts say yes -- if you maintain the social distancing rules that everyone absorbed during the nationwide lockdown.

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A clinical trial in the United States is looking at a combination drug therapy for COVID-19 treatment that can both prevent the virus from spreading inside the body and help to quiet the extreme immune system response to COVID-19, which can cause inflammation.

Combining Remdesivir With Other Meds Could Boost COVID-Fighting Power

THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A combination drug therapy for COVID-19 aims to both prevent the virus from spreading inside the human body as well as quelling the immune system havoc that the germ wreaks.

A U.S. federally funded clinical trial is testing whether the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir works better against COVID-19 if given with a powerful anti-inflammatory drug called baricitinib.

"Baricitinib is a once-daily oral drug that has been well-tolerated in many studies examining its use in rheumatoid arthritis. It has very few drug interactions, so can [it] be combined with most antivirals such as remdesivir," said Dr. Vincent Marconi, a professor of medicine and global health at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

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From no more open floor plans to added Plexiglass barriers and floor markings, see how experts say the office of the future might look.

As Americans Return to Work, How Will COVID Change the Workplace?

TUESDAY, May 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) --White-collar employees heading back to the office after months of sheltering at home are likely to find a drastically changed workplace in the wake of COVID-19, experts say.

Until now, offices have been designed primarily around business needs, with some nods toward fire safety, said Nellie Brown, director of workplace health and safety programs at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Going forward, companies also will have to design workspaces and employee schedules with an eye toward reducing disease transmission.

"We've not tended to look at our spaces that way before," Brown said. "That's a very different point of view than we've used historically."

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A COVID-19 outbreak inside a correctional facility affects not just the people in cells, but also the greater community, as corrections officers could potentially spread the virus after they leave work.

America's Prisons, Jails Are Breeding Grounds for COVID-19

MONDAY, May 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Jails and prisons are hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19, endangering both the inmates held within as well as the wider community, public health experts warn.

The highly infectious virus easily passes from person to person, and prison conditions -- overcrowding with poor ventilation and shared living quarters -- make it even more likely that a COVID-19 outbreak can occur, said Dr. Alysse Wurcel, infectious diseases liaison for the Massachusetts Sheriff's Association.

"When you find a case in the jail, at that point it is pretty much everywhere," said Wurcel, an assistant professor of community medicine and public health at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Experts say an outbreak inside a correctional facility is also a public health hazard for surrounding communities.

Corrections officers are regularly exposed during an inmate outbreak, and could potentially spread the virus once they leave work, Wurcel said.

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For the study, researchers compared COVID-19 rates for counties on either side of the Iowa/Illinois border and found what happens when one state issues a stay-at-home order and the other doesn't.

Illinois Mandated 'Stay-at-Home' Orders, Nearby Iowa Didn't: Here's What Happened

FRIDAY, May 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Statewide stay-at-home orders appear to help slow the spread of COVID-19 above and beyond other steps like banning large gatherings and closing non-essential businesses.

That's the suggestion from a new cross-border study.

Certain counties in Iowa -- one of five states that didn't issue a stay-at-home order for its citizens -- experienced a 30% greater increase in COVID-19 cases compared to counties right across the border in Illinois, which did issue such an order, the researchers reported.

"It does line up with a lot of other evidence that's coming up from other national studies," said senior researcher George Wehby, a professor of health management and policy with the University of Iowa College of Public Health. "Overall, there's evidence the more restrictive measures were associated with greater declines in COVID case growth."

For this study, Wehby and a colleague compared COVID-19 rates for counties on either side of the Iowa/Illinois border. "Border counties serve as nice controls because they tend to be somewhat similar," Wehby said.

As the pandemic unfolded, Iowa issued a series of social distancing orders. The state banned gatherings and closed bars and restaurants, then closed non-essential businesses, and then closed all primary and secondary schools.

But Iowa did not issue a broad shelter-in-place order directing residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary, a step taken by Illinois on March 21.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Image: John Imbur

Even as states start to reopen again, many people are still wary of going into restaurants, shops and other businesses.

States Begin to Reopen During COVID Crisis, but Not Everyone Feels Ready

THURSDAY, May 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Virginia resident John Imbur doesn't plan to sit down for a meal in a diner anytime soon, even if his state reopens for business after its stay-at-home order lifts on June 10.

"I don't feel comfortable going into places where there are going to be a group of people, particularly if they're unmasked," said Imbur, 50, a tech support worker in Blacksburg. "With a restaurant, no one's going to have their mask on because they're eating."

States plunging ahead with plans to reopen economies shut down over COVID-19 are encountering opposition from an unexpected quarter -- their own citizens.

Surveys show that a majority of people remain uncomfortable about entering stores, restaurants and other businesses that closed in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

That's because people are walking risk calculators, constantly weighing the information on hand to judge their personal safety in a variety of situations, said Susan Joslyn, an associate professor of psychology with the University of Washington who researches risk perception and decision-making.

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Rural America presents its own risks for coronavirus spread, given that people in these areas tend to be older, sicker and with less access to health care services.

COVID-19 Now Reaching Into Rural America

TUESDAY, May 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Until now, cities such as New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and New Orleans have been hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States.

But the coronavirus threat is growing in America's rural areas -- and in many ways, the risk there is even more dire than it has been in big cities, experts say.

That's because people tend to be older and sicker in rural areas, and have far less access to the health care services needed to help them get well and prevent community-wide spread of COVID-19, said Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of the National Rural Health Association.

Read the full HealthDay story.