Coronavirus Now: COVID-19 Updates for October 23

As of October 23, confirmed cases of COVID-19 now number more than 42 million around the world, including more than 8.6 million cases in the United States and more than 227,000 U.S. deaths. You can see a breakdown of coronavirus cases throughout the world and within the U.S. on the map and chart above.

Below you’ll find updates on the latest news about the coronavirus.

October 23 News Updates

U.S. Sets Record with 77,000 Coronavirus Cases in One Day

On Thursday, the U.S. recorded 77,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, topping a previous July record, NBC News reported.

Oxford Vaccine Focused on Spike Protein Is Creating a Strong Immune Response

A new Oxford vaccine led by University of Bristol researchers is working as expected, which is good news for the experimental vaccine, Metro reported. The vaccine trains the body on how to recognize and fight off the virus’s spike protein, rather than using a weakened strain or parts of the virus itself. The vaccine has induced a strong immune response so far.

El Paso Funeral Homes Preparing Extra Refrigerated Units After Surge in Cases

Two funeral homes in El Paso are adding extra refrigerated units to hold dead bodies after a surge in cases in the city, CBS 58 reported. El Paso reported a record high number of new cases on Thursday. Sunset Funeral Homes added three walk-in units, where two out of every three deaths that have come to their business in the last few days have been related to COVID-19. At Perches Funeral Homes, about 20% of their services are related to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Death Rates Are Dropping, According to Studies

Two peer-reviewed studies show that COVID-19 death rates are dropping among hospitalized patients, NPR reported. This includes people of all ages and underlying conditions. Patients who would have started with a greater than 25% chance of dying were now down to a 7.6% chance. The study adjusted for factors like age and other conditions, so the researchers could know if the lower death rate was because a different age was getting sick or because treatments were improving.

Among the changes are that doctors know what to look for to better identify blood clot risks or cytokine storms. Mask wearing may also be lowering the viral load, as has consistently keeping hospitals below maximum capacity.

Vaccine Updates

GettyA woman leaves Life Care Center of Kirkland on February 29, 2020, in Kirkland, Washington.

A 28-year-old in Brazil died from coronavirus complications after participating in AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial in October. It was later determined that the volunteer had received a placebo.

In late August, Moderna announced that a small vaccine trial of 10 patients between ages 56 and 70 and 10 elderly adults ages 71 and older has shown promising results, CNBC reported. They produced neutralizing antibodies and killer T-cells, with antibody levels higher than those who had recovered from COVID-19. There were no serious side effects.

Novavax announced that in its Phase 1 vaccine trial for NVX-CoV2373, antibodies were induced in 100% of participants, The Motley Fool reported. The vaccine had mild side effects, typically worse with the second dose.

Moderna’s new vaccine has shown promise in early trials of eight volunteers who received two doses, The New York Times reported. The vaccine showed a safe immune response. The trial was expected to proceed with hundreds and later thousands of people in July. The vaccine uses mRNA from the virus, which is a new process. The earliest a Moderna vaccine might be available would be the end of this year or early 2021.

Oxford University researchers have tested a vaccine that successfully works in monkeys and is being tested in Britain volunteers, WUSA9 reported in late April. If all goes well, the first few million doses could be ready as soon as September. The vaccine uses genes from a spikey protein to help the immune system make antibodies.

A second potential COVID-19 vaccine is from Inovio, called the INO-4800 DNA vaccine. Inovio completed Phase 1 trial for a similar DNA vaccine for MERS. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is backing this trial. Inovio announced positive results from two Phase I clinical trials in early July. The Phase 1 trial was expanded to include older participants in June and July, and Phase 2/3 trials were expected to begin in September. The Phase 1 trial had 40 healthy volunteers ages 18 to 50 who had 1 mg and 2 mg cohorts, with two doses taken four weeks apart. All were safe through week eight and only 10 had minor adverse events, mostly just redness at the injection site. Analyses showed 94% had immunological response rates. The vaccine has also been shown to protect mice, preventing viral replication in their lungs.

On March 30, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would start human clinical trials for a vaccine by September, with the first round not being available until early 2021. In June the company announced it would begin human clinical trials earlier, in late July. On August 31, Johnson & Johnson announced the first human clinical trial was “underway in healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium,” with planning for Phase 3 ongoing.

A clinical vaccine trial funded by NIH at Kaiser Permanente in Washington began on Monday, March 16, according to The Associated Press. Forty-five people participated in the first round. The vaccine candidate code is mRNA-1273. As of May 1, about 2/3 of the participants had gotten their first of two doses, NBC News reported. The company announced in mid-July that “no serious adverse events were reported.” In August, Kaiser Permanente announced it had joined a “late-stage COVID-19 vaccine study” with several partners.

Israeli scientists have said they may be close to a vaccine, The Jerusalem Post reported in April. Scientists have been working on a vaccine against a bronchial disease that affected poultry. Dr. Chen Katz told The Jerusalem Post that out of luck, they had chosen a coronavirus as the proof of concept for their technology, and the DNA of COVID-19 is very similar. Reuters reported in early August that the Israel Institute of Biological Research “intends to begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as early as October.”

Greffex in Houston has a potential vaccine ready for animal testing, Yahoo! reported. And Walter Reed and the U.S. Army have been conducting animal studies since January.

Coronavirus Trends in the United States

An interactive map from shows recent trends in deaths per state over the last 14 and 7 days. You can view the full map here. Green means the trend is decreasing, red means the deaths are increasing. Circles show the prior 14 days and triangles show the prior seven days.

Open this map full screen.

Another map sourcing the most recent news about the virus can be found here.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, talk with your doctor right away.

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