Number of new cases last week double previous week’s total

The number of new coronavirus cases last week was not only a record for Midland County but was double the total of new cases from one week earlier.

The 535 new cases reported by the Midland Health Department last week was 117 more than the previous high total during the pandemic (418 from July 19-25), but also was one shy of doubling the total from Oct. 11-17 (268).

Statistics also showed this past week’s increase was the fifth increase in weekly cases in six weeks (since Sept. 6-12, when health department officials reported 79 cases in one week – a low during the summer).

The case count in Midland County last week also was noteworthy as it represented the first time during the pandemic that there were 100 or more cases during all five reporting days.

The health department also reported 1,783 active cases (an increase of 308 week over week) and 2,854 recoveries (an increase of 208). There were four COVID-19-related deaths reported last week – including two on Saturday. The number of deaths last week was one more death than the previous week.


The deaths reported on Saturday bring the total during the pandemic to 92.

The 91st patient is a man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions and was being treated at Midland Memorial Hospital. He died Friday.

The 92nd patient is a man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions and was being treated at MMH. He died Saturday.

Most cases in a week

Oct. 19-22        535

July 19-25         418

Aug. 2-8           414

July 26-Aug. 1  372

Coronavirus report

Monday: 106

Tuesday: 116

Wednesday: 105

Thursday: 104

Friday 104

By weeks

March 15-21     3

March 22-28     8

March 29-April 4          13

April 5-11         8

April 12-18       10

April 19-25       29

April 26-May 2 13

May 3-9            17

May 10-16        19

May 17-23        4

May 24-30        5

May 31-June 6  26

June 7-June 13  46

June 14-20        121

June 21-27        241

June 28-July 4   209

July 5-11          335

July 12-18         283

July 19-25         418

July 26-Aug. 1  372

Aug. 2-8           414

Aug. 9-15         297

Aug. 16-22       194

Aug. 23-29       157

Aug. 30-Sept. 5 123

Sept. 6-12         79

Sept. 13-19       110

Sept. 20-26       156

Sept. 27-Oct. 3  236

Oct. 4-10          233

Oct. 11-17        268

Oct. 18-24           535

Total number of deaths

By weeks

July 5-11          4

July 12-18         6

July 19-25         10

July 26-Aug. 1  7

Aug. 2-8           7

Aug. 9-15         4

Aug. 16-22       9

Aug. 23-29       5

Aug. 30-Sept. 5 6

Sept. 6-12         4

Sept. 13-19       4

Sept. 20-26       2

Sept. 27-Oct. 3  2

Oct. 4-10          0

Oct. 11-17        3

Oct. 18-24        4

Source: Reporter-Telegram records

Larger West Texas counties

Last      This

Week    week

El Paso 31,478  37,263

Lubbock           14,921  16,602

Potter   7,021    7,540

Midland            4,397    4,771

Randall 4,188    4,762

Ector    3,448    3,660

Tom Green       2,452    2,558

Taylor  1,718    1,841

Also

Howard 1,011    1,058

Scurry  951       1,035

Dawson            697                   787

Andrews           547       567

Gaines  454       503

Pecos423          446

Reeves239        256

Brewster           245       246

Ward   

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COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready in weeks, nor mandatory

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Harris says she would absolutely take a vaccine if it was recommended by public health professionals, but not if only President Trump says to.

USA TODAY

The claim: COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in weeks, and the government will force everyone to get it

The global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine has been a priority since the coronavirus pandemic started. Seven months into the U.S. outbreak, vaccine candidates are facing skepticism by some in the general public and various elected officials.  

Leading health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have maintained that a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until mid-2021. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has promised a vaccine before Election Day, prompting the Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris to accuse Trump of politicizing the vaccine and to question its safety, noting that she would take it only if the health experts said it was safe.  

The effectiveness and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine is not the only thing people are worried about. Vaccine conspiracy theories that originated in anti-vaxxer communities have thrived anew in the COVID-19 era, including claims that the vaccine would implant microchips or that it will be mandatory for every American.

A post from from Before It’s News, a website that allows anyone to contribute, — which was shared 38,00 times as of Oct. 15 — furthers the conspiracy theory of a mandatory vaccine, with a headline reading, “The Government Has Released Their Initial Plans to Force a Vaccine on Everyone.”

The post also says, “Three potential vaccines are currently in Stage 3 trials in the United States and could be ready in weeks,” citing Trump.

USA TODAY reached out to the site’s Facebook page for comment.

We’ll look at the two claims here: Will a vaccine be mandatory? And, what does the development and distribution timeline really look like?

Will a vaccine be ready in weeks?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the general cycle for the development of a new vaccine has six stages: exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control. 

The global prioritization of finding a COVID-19 vaccine has shortened the timeline of its development, which for a regular vaccine would usually take years. However, vaccine developers and institutions like the CDC are following existing protocols to ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. 

As of Oct. 15, according to the World Health Organization, 42 vaccine candidates are in clinical evaluations and 156 are in preclinical evaluations.

16-year-old Katelyn Evans gets the first of two shots as part of a trial testing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in minors. (Photo: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital)

The post from Before It’s News cites a Sept. 15 comment from Trump where he said a vaccine could be ready in a “matter of weeks.” On Oct. 5, Trump said vaccines would be ready “momentarily.” However, scientists disagree.

On Sept. 16, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said that while an effective vaccine could be developed before the

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Trudeau challenges Trump’s claim that vaccine will be available ‘in weeks’, announces $214M for Canadian vaccine development

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Trudeau says COVID-19 vaccine won’t come before the new year

At a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to U.S. President’s Donald Trump’s claim that a viable COVID-19 vaccine could be available in a matter of “weeks,” if not by the end of the year.

“We are hopeful that the vaccines will arrive yesterday, but they won’t,” Trudeau said. “There’s still a number more months of work to do.”

“Reasonable expectation is that vaccines could start to arrive sometime in the new year but even then, there will be smaller amounts of doses that will have to be distributed to priority populations, I think of most vulnerable or our frontline workers.”

The prime minister also said Canada has “an excellent portfolio of vaccine potentials” but stressed that “nobody’s got a vaccine yet.”

“There are still trials going on, there are still a number of companies, some closer than others, but we are waiting to ensure that those vaccines are effective and further, that they will be safe for Canadians,’ Trudeau said. “Nothing will be distributed in Canada until Health Canada is absolutely certain that the safety of Canadians is being properly covered and taken care of.” 

PM looking at Alberta travel pilot project to guide loosening border restriction

The prime minister also commented on yesterday’s announcement that Alberta will begin a pilot project in November, allowing travellers to be tested for COVID-19 upon returning to the province to reduce the required self-isolation time

“We’re interested in seeing the result of this pilot project, but it is only a pilot project,” Trudeau said. “As we move forward into the coming months and perhaps look at loosening some of the border restrictions internationally, we will be able to have data to rely on to make sure that we are first and foremost, keeping Canadian’s safe and controlling the spread of the virus.”

‘This is serious’

When speaking more generally about the COVID-19 situation in Canada, the prime minister stressed to Canadians that the daily case numbers in the country need to be reduced, as Canada saw its highest single-day increase on Thursday, totalling 2,786 cases.

“We have to get these numbers down, this is serious and everybody must do their part,” Trudeau said. “People’s lives are at stake, we can’t afford to be careless or think that this virus will just go away on its own.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, spoke specifically about the increases in outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Canada, including Ontario and Quebec.

“The size of the outbreaks are smaller than in the initial wave,” Dr. Tam identified. “I’m not sure exactly what that means, that could be people are identifying things more rapidly and putting in control measures, and the prevention is better, but

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WHO Says It Will Have Advice on Remdesivir in Three-Four Weeks | Top News

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it is preparing guidelines on use of the drug remdesivir for COVID-19 and should be able to release them in three to four weeks.

The United States has given full approval for remdesivir to treat infections, the first COVID-19 treatment to receive regulatory endorsement there.

However, a large WHO study earlier this year on COVID-19 patients in hospital found that the drug probably had no effect on their survival rate.

“We would anticipate that the guidelines will be available within three to four weeks,” Janet Diaz, the WHO’s top official for clinical care responses, told a news conference.

A WHO panel will convene next week to look at all evidence of the effectiveness of the drug, made by Gilead Sciences

, she added.    WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the U.S. FDA drug regulator does not appear to have taken the results of the global health body’s study into account in giving approval.

“We believe our results are very robust,” Swaminathan said. “We hope that people who are doing treatment guidelines in other countries as well as regulators around the world will take note of our study results, in addition to the other evidence,” she said.

“Because you need to look at the global evidence for a drug, before you make decisions.”

(Reporting by John Miller, Stephanie Nebehay and Michael Shields; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Cawthorne)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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The Latest: Ireland sets new virus restrictions for 6 weeks

MILAN — LONDON — Ireland’s government is putting the country at its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks in a bid to combat a rise in infections.

Premier Micheal Martin said Monday the measures take effect at midnight Wednesday and run until Dec. 1.

People are being asked to stay at home, with exercise allowed only within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius of their home. Only essential stores can open. Restaurants and bars can provide only takeaway service. No social or family gatherings will be allowed in homes or private gardens, but schools will remain open to prioritize education.

———

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide top 40 million but experts say that’s only the tip of the iceberg

— Coronavirus vaccines will require non-stop refrigeration to stay potent and safe, which may leave 3 billion people without access to them

— India reports lowest daily virus death toll in three months; Belgium and Slovakia slap night-time curfews on residents to control virus spread.

— To avoid the economic hit of full lockdowns, some places are trying more targeted restrictions

— Congress is past the point of being able to deliver more coronavirus relief before the Nov. 3 election

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

———

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state won’t allow distribution of coronavirus vaccines until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts.

Newsom said Monday that California wants its own independent review no matter who wins the presidential election next month.

The governor named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. The board members hail from top California top universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health officials.

Newsom’s position pledge raises the possibility that California’s 40 million residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states.

———

SALEM, Ore. — As Oregon’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic nears 40,000, state health officials say face-covering requirements are being expanded.

Currently, Oregonians are required to wear masks at indoor public spaces and outside where they cannot maintain six feet of space between others. Health officials said Monday that they are expanding the guidance to include all private and public workplaces, including classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, colleges, universities, outdoor markets and private career schools.

———

AUSTIN, Texas — Health officials in Texas have reported 4,319 COVID-19 hospital patients, the most since Aug. 28.

The state estimated Monday that 82,930 coronavirus cases are active in Texas. That is about a third more than the 64,431 reported a month ago, on Sept. 20.

In Houston, schools in the state’s largest school district resumed in-person classes Monday for the first time since campuses doors were closed in March when the coronavirus came to Texas.

———

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says

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Affordable Care Act: Trump keeps chipping away at Obamacare with only weeks until the election — and a Supreme Court hearing

The administration this week approved Georgia’s waiver request to provide Medicaid coverage to certain low-income residents if they work or participate in other qualifying activities for at least 80 hours a month. It’s the latest state to receive permission to require work as a condition of coverage, though implementation elsewhere has been halted by federal courts or state officials.

Also, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it had completed its review of Georgia’s more controversial request to make fundamental changes to the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange. The agency, which opened the door for states to create alternatives to Obamacare in 2018, is still finalizing the terms for approval.

The Peach State, which has the nation’s third highest uninsured rate at 13.4%, is the first to seek this enhanced power to reshape its individual market.

Georgia and federal officials say that these efforts will make coverage more available and affordable to residents, but consumer advocates say they are the latest attempts to undercut the law.

“It’s a road map of what they would allow were the ACA to be struck down and were they to win election again,” said Judy Solomon, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

These moves come as health care takes center stage in the 2020 presidential campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has hammered Trump for trying to take down the landmark health reform law and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Trump has repeatedly said he has a replacement plan that would continue those safeguards but has yet to produce one.
Also, Trump’s Justice Department is backing a coalition of Republican-led attorneys general, who argue that Obamacare’s individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional after Congress reduced the penalty for not having insurance to zero as part of the 2017 tax cut law. As a result, the entire health reform law must fall, they argue. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on November 10.
The administration has pursued multiple avenues to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its first term. After efforts to repeal the law in Congress failed in 2017, officials started undermining it from within, including shortening the annual enrollment period to obtain coverage on the exchanges and slashing the budget for outreach and assistance. It also broadened the availability of alternative plans, primarily short-term health insurance policies that typically have lower premiums but are allowed to base coverage and premiums on people’s medical histories.
Also, officials took the unprecedented step in 2018 of allowing states to institute work requirements in Medicaid, a longtime Republican goal. However, the effort has been set aside by federal courts in four states, prompting the six others that had received approval (prior to Georgia) to stop implementation. Another eight states are awaiting permission from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

What Georgia wants to do

Georgia is not looking to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The waiver only applies to those earning up to

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Ibuprofen, some aspirin unsafe for pregnant women at 20 weeks

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The WHO initially recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen to treat coronavirus symptoms, but they have now said otherwise.

USA TODAY

Some of the most commonly used pain and fever medications could be harmful to pregnant women and their unborn babies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday. 

The agency is requiring labeling changes for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to explain that if women take these medications at about 20 weeks or later into their pregnancy, they can cause fetal kidney problems.

NSAIDs include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly known by the brand names Advil and Aleve. It also includes diclofenac, celecoxib and aspirin above 81 mg. 

According to the FDA, these medications work by blocking the production of a certain chemical in the body that causes inflammation.

“It is important that women understand the benefits and risks of the medications they may take over the course of their pregnancy,” said Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Fetal kidney problems can lead to other pregnancy-related complications as the kidneys are responsible for producing amniotic fluid, the protective cushion surrounding the baby.

Fetuses produce the most amniotic fluid beginning about 20 weeks after conception, and kidneys damaged by NSIADs could result in low levels of amniotic fluid, reducing a baby’s protection inside the mother’s womb. 

Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said low levels of amniotic fluid also could cause problems with the baby’s development. 

Pregnant women with COVID-19: Sick moms don’t need to separate from their newborn after birth, study suggests

Doctors can detect a decrease in amniotic fluid levels as soon as two days after taking these medications, the FDA said, but levels usually return to normal after a pregnant women stops taking them.

The agency recommends pregnant women avoid NSAIDs after 20 weeks and opt for other medicine to treat pain and fever during pregnancy, such as acetaminophen.

Wu said taking ibuprofen and other NSIADs in the third trimester also could cause heart problems in the baby. 

“When you’re pregnant, your baby is exposed to every medication you’re taking,” Wu said. “So, you need to be careful and check with your health care provider before taking any medications, including over the counter medications.” 

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT. 

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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With the holidays coming, Covid cases likely to surge during ‘six weeks of superspreader events’

Thanksgiving kicks off the annual season of celebration, but it will be no holiday for the coronavirus.

With the United States climbing toward what epidemiologists are calling a third peak of pandemic infections, public health experts fear gatherings of families and friends could make an already bad situation worse.

“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we’re having what I see as potentially six weeks of superspreader events, right, in which we’re going to be getting together with family and friends,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious diseases expert at the Emory University School of Medicine, warned. “And we can see a lot of disease happening.”

Del Rio sounded the alarm during an NBC News Facebook Live interview with Dr. John Torres, NBC News contributor, as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. surged past 8 million and deaths due to the coronavirus climbed to a world-leading 218,097.

“So, I’m really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” del Rio said.

He said President Donald Trump was sending the wrong message to Americans with his cavalier attitude toward Covid-19, his repeated boasts about being “immune” since he was released from the hospital and his refusal to consistently wear a mask at public events and campaign rallies.

“The president got infected and did remarkably well for his age,” del Rio said of Trump, who is 74. “He was treated with everything but the kitchen sink, but he’s recovered. He’s done well. So the president at this point in time is saying, ‘Hey, this is no big deal. If you get infected, nothing happens.’”

In other coronavirus news:

  • Trump made the inaccurate claim that “85 percent of the people wearing masks” still catch the coronavirus, during an interview Thursday on the Fox Business Network. He cited as evidence a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. But a day earlier, the CDC tweeted that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”

  • While the White House has been pushing for approval of a Covid-19 vaccine before Election Day, the drugmaker Pfizer said it will not apply for emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate until at least the third week of November. “We are operating at the speed of science,” Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said.

  • The federal budget deficit under Trump hit an all-time high of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 budget year as the pandemic shrank tax revenues and government spending soared. That’s more than double the previous record set in 2009 when the Obama administration shored-up the banking system to limit damage from the recession that began on President George W. Bush’s watch.

  • Eight million Americans have slipped into poverty as a result of the pandemic, according to a new study.

  • Hawaii is saying aloha to tourists again, but only if they test negative before they get on the plane.

  • The Navajo Nation in Arizona is using the sun and the wind to

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