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U.S. Coronavirus: Several New York zip codes report infection rates five times higher than nationwide



“We have had clusters in the past that came from factories, churches, bars and other places,” said Cuomo. “We’re pretty familiar with this, and when there’s a cluster we’re very aggressive and oversampling in the clusters.”

Wisconsin reported the highest number of Covid-19 hospital stays, almost doubling since September 18, according to hospital officials. The governor of Illinois tightened restrictions in one part of the state after a surge in positivity rates. And in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear called on the state to halt a recent “escalation” of cases after reporting more than 1,000 new infections for the second straight day.

At least 27 states have reported more new cases since the previous week, and only nine are reporting a decline, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than 7.2 million people have been infected and more than 206,000 Americans have died.

When might a vaccine be available to the US population?

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said that if the Covid-1

9 vaccine was shown to be safe and effective, it could be available to the general population in late March or early April.

Moderna began its Phase 3 clinical trial for Covid-19 in the United States in July. It is one of four companies that have started Phase 3 vaccine trials with Covid-19 in the US. Others include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer / BioNTech, and AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca study was suspended after an unexplained illness in a volunteer, and U.S. health officials are still reviewing crucial issues related to the injections of the experimental vaccine.

“I think a late approval for the first and second quarters is a reasonable timeline based on what we know from our vaccine,” Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.

Before that, however, there are a few more steps to take.

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If the safety and efficacy data are reviewed, Bancel expects Moderna to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by late January or early February. This application asks the FDA to consider full approval of a drug, while an Emergency Authorization (EUA) expedites a drug candidate for emergency use.

Moderna could apply for an EEA as early as November 25 for high-priority individuals, including healthcare workers and the elderly, Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.

Until a vaccine is available, experts have long said that the country’s strongest tools against the pandemic are face masks and other safety measures like social distancing. But even when a vaccine is ready, health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that the virus is still able to spread as the vaccine is unlikely to be 100% effective or used by 100% of the population.

“I think if we can get 75 to 80% of the population vaccinated it would be a really good feat,” Fauci said last week.

Mississippi cancels mask mandate

Despite officials continuing to advocate the use of masks, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Wednesday that he would not renew the state’s mask mandate as the state’s numbers for average new Covid-19 cases have declined.

“It’s been a great week for Covid-19 numbers,” said the governor. “We’ve cut our average number of new cases in half, we’ve cut hospital admissions by two-thirds from what they used to be.”

Mississippi has reported more than 98,000 infections since the pandemic began. According to Johns Hopkins, Mississippi is one of 14 states whose number of new cases has steadily increased compared to the previous week.

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More and more communities across the country have eased restrictions further in recent days, including Florida where the governor cleared the way for bars and restaurants to be fully reopened. Wyoming, which set a daily record for new Covid-19 cases last week, also relaxed the rules for restaurants. Nevada also eased restrictions on public gatherings, while California gave several counties the go-ahead to enter less restrictive stages of the state’s reopening plan.

Despite the lifting of the mask mandate in Mississippi, the governor urged residents to continue wearing face covering, saying it was the “smart, prudent and wise thing to do”.

“I believe this is the right decision at this point,” he added. “I believe this will protect my compatriots in Mississippi and give us the opportunity, if things don’t get better or stay relatively flat, it will give us more options going forward.”

CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia, Lauren Mascarenhas and Kay Jones contributed to this report.


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