Health Highlights: Sept. 16, 2020

Vaccine Campaign Would Take Six to Nine Months to Curb Coronavirus Pandemic: CDC Director Big Ten Reverses Decision, Will Have 2020 Season Other Nations Think U.S. Has Handled Pandemic Poorly NYC Lockdown Reduced Coronavirus Spread by 70%

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Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Vaccine Campaign Would Take Six to Nine Months to Curb Coronavirus Pandemic: CDC Director

When a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus becomes available, it's likely to take six to nine months for enough Americans to get vaccinated to have a significant impact on the pandemic, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Human Services, Redfield said he expected a vaccine to become available in November or December, the Washington Post reported.

The first people to be vaccinated would be those with health conditions that make them most vulnerable to severe illness or death if they're infected, Redfield said.

For the vaccine to become "fully available to the American public, so we begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we are probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021," Redfield testified


Big Ten Reverses Decision, Will Have 2020 Season

The Big Ten has reversed a decision to postpone its 2020 football season and the league says it will begin play the weekend of Oct. 24.

Just over a month ago, the Big Ten became the first major conference to postpone its season, but the conference's university presidents and chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to go ahead with the season, the Washington Post reported.

The league says it will implement medical protocols such as daily coronavirus testing and enhanced cardiac screening.

"Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love," Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement, the Post reported.


Other Nations Think U.S. Has Handled Pandemic Poorly

Eighty-five percent of people in 13 other wealthy democracies believe the United States has handled the coronavirus pandemic poorly, a Pew Research Center survey finds.

The United States leads the world in both COVID-19 cases and deaths, and this poll suggests that the country's reputation has plummeted to a new low due to its disorganized response to the pandemic, the Washington Post reported.

Among the nations surveyed, Belgians had the lowest opinion of the United States, and approval ratings for the United States fell to record lows in at least seven nations, including important allies like Britain and Japan.

Only 26% of Germans polled had a positive opinion of the United States, the lowest level since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Post reported.


NYC Lockdown Reduced Coronavirus Spread by 70%

The spread of the new coronavirus fell by 70% after New York City's spring lockdown, researchers say.

They added that the spread of the virus could have been reduced even more with more consistency in mask wearing, the Washington Post reported.

City schools were closed on March 15 and stay-at-home orders for everyone other than essential workers were issued the next week. The measures remained in place until June, when officials began a gradual reopening.

The lockdown "likely contributed to the largest reduction in transmission in the population overall," but masks also played a crucial role, according to the Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene researchers, the Post reported.

After mandatory use of face coverings began on April 12, virus transmission fell by another 7% overall, and by 20% among people 65 and older. If everyone used masks correctly, overall transmission could be cut by as much as 32%, the scientists wrote.

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.


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