Coronavirus Now: COVID-19 Updates for October 19

As of October 19, confirmed cases of COVID-19 now number more than 40 million around the world, including more than 8.3 million cases in the United States and more than 223,000 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 19 News Updates

More than 40 Million People Worldwide Had Confirmed Cases

There are now more than 40 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide. According to Worldometers, the U.S. still leads the world in cases at 8.3 million, but India is closing in with 7.5 million confirmed cases. Brazil has 5.2 million confirmed cases and Russia has 1.4 million.

Heart Damage Is Being Noted & Doesn’t Appear to Be Confined to Only More Severe Cases

The risks of heart damage are still troubling and being assessed, The Guardian reported. A study published in JAMA Cardiology found that when MRI scans were run on 100 patients who had recovered — most with mild symptoms — 78 showed abnormal heart involvement of some sort, with 60% still having cardiac inflammation independent of pre-existing conditions. A study in the same journal in September showed cardiovascular damage among 15% of athletes who recovered from COVID-19, with 30% indicating some evidence of prior heart injury.

The studies have led to college sports leaders in the United States requiring cardiac screening for any athletes who once tested positive for COVID-19, The Guardian reported.

More than Half of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Had Symptoms for Months After Infection

In a small UK study of 58 people, more than half of the people who had been hospitalized and were later discharged after recovering from COVID-19 reported lingering symptoms for months, Reuters reported. Some also had abnormalities in multiple organs. Of the people in the study, 64% still had persistent breathlessness two to three months after onset, and 55% had fatigue. 60% had lung abnormalities, 29% had kidney abnormalities, and 10% had liver abnormalities.

COVID-19 Cases in Arizona Dropped 75% After Mask Mandate

After local mask mandates were instituted, COVID-19 cases dropped by 75% in Arizona, AZ Central reported. Local health systems were overwhelmed after a stay-at-home order expired. Local mask mandates were implemented on June 17 after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had initially prevented them from being implemented.

The Sources of Many Illinois Outbreaks Were Hidden from the Public

Many outbreaks in Illinois were hidden from the public, Investigate Midwest reported. Data was obtained from an open-records request for July through September, after Illinois was experiencing a spike in cases. The biggest source of infections were prisons and jails, followed by a naval base and meatpacking plants.

Vaccine Updates

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

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.

Bill Gates is funding factories that will test seven vaccine candidates to help mobilize vaccines faster, Business Insider reported in early April. He said: “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don’t waste time.”

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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