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Experts call Trump’s rosy virus message misguided

Should people fear the coronavirus?

Public health experts say 1 million worldwide deaths are among reasons to be concerned, if not fearful, and to take everyday precautions despite rosy advice from the still-recovering president.

“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it,” Donald Trump said in a White House video released after he left the hospital Monday.

In the United States alone, more than 210,000 people weren’t able to beat it.

The seven-day rolling average for new U.S. cases has climbed over the past two weeks to almost 42,000 per day. The nation also sees more than 700 COVID-19 deaths each day.

COVID-19 also is deadlier than the flu, despite Trump’s claim otherwise. Flu has killed 12,000 to 61,000 Americans annually since 2010, according to CDC estimates.

It is true that the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms. But experts can’t predict which patients will develop dangerous or deadly infections. And only a small percentage of Americans have been sickened by the coronavirus, meaning the vast majority are still at risk for infection.

It is true, as Trump said in the video, that medicines have been found that can treat the virus, reducing chances for severe illness and death. But there is still no cure for it and no definitive date for when an effective vaccine might become widely available.

Another reason for concern is uncertainty over which patients will develop lasting complications affecting the lungs, heart, kidneys and other organs. While these are more common in patients with severe infections, persistent symptoms lasting several months have occurred even in those with mild disease. Fatigue is among the most common.

Taking everyday precautions including wearing masks and social distancing to curb disease spread doesn’t mean the virus is dominating people’s lives, said Dr. Khalilah Gates, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“There are things we need to do collectively to make sure we minimize the mortality,” Gates said. “That’s not domination. That’s just being willing to make changes so we can all get through this in a much better and safer way.”


Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Experts call for including pregnant women in COVID-19 vaccine trials

More than 210,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and tens of thousands are testing positive daily. The best way to defeat the pandemic is with a safe vaccine that can protect a large share of the population, especially people at higher risk of exposure, such as frontline health workers, and those more vulnerable, such as the elderly and, some health experts maintain, pregnant women. The data on whether pregnancy increases the risk for coronavirus infection or leads to more complications is incomplete, but there are preliminary indications that it is a potential risk factor.

By the workings of “herd immunity,” a vaccine wouldn’t even have to be given to everyone; if a large enough portion of the population is protected from infection, the virus won’t be able to keep spreading. The country is nowhere near that point at present.

It is encouraging to know that there are many efforts on a global scale to make and distribute a safe vaccine. According to the World Health Organization, more than 190 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently under development. Of these, 42 are in the human trial phase. 

But so far, manufacturers and U.S. regulators have held off on including pregnant women in these trials, raising concerns among bioethicists, vaccine experts and maternal health specialists that when a vaccine is approved and ready to be distributed, this important and vulnerable population may not be able to benefit from it. 

However, it isn’t unreasonable that they have not been included in trials yet. When most vaccines are being developed, they are usually tested first in healthy adults.

“It’s really important before we consider studies in pregnant women to know that there is a safety record of these vaccines and other populations,” said Dr. Ruth Karron, a pediatrician and professor at Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the co-founders of PREVENT, a collaboration that advocates for the need to include the interests of pregnant women and their offspring in the development of new vaccines. 

Testing a vaccine in healthy, nonpregnant adults first can show whether the vaccine triggers an effective immune response, while minimizing the risk of dangerous side effects and complications. But considering the scope of this pandemic and how dangerous this virus can be, some health experts believe pregnant women should be considered high priority and included in vaccine trials as soon as the likely benefits of participating in them outweigh the risks. 

Ruth Faden, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and one of the co-leads on the PREVENT project, told Yahoo News, “It is essential that the interests of pregnant women be top of mind from the beginning so that as the trials are being designed, there’s really serious attention being paid to how quickly we can start to include [them] in the trials.”  

The experts’ concerns about the absence of pregnant women in these important vaccine trials are also not unreasonable, considering that there exists a history of excluding this group

Victims of disgraced Harley Street dentist call for ‘outrageous’ legal loophole to be closed as they launch battle for compensation

Victims of a disgraced Harley Street dentist who was kicked out of the profession for a catalogue of botched procedures have launched a legal bid for compensation.

Fraser Pearce, 51, was left with a pierced sinus from faulty dental work by Dr Shahram Sahba, while Helen Pitt, 55, had £10,000 of veneers fitted in a negligent attempt to fix a receding gum line.

Dr Sahba, who ran the Lister House Dental Clinic in London’s famous medical district, was struck off last year after his professional regulator found him guilty of more than 400 charges of misconduct, negligence, and dishonesty.

A first attempt by his patients to sue for damages was blocked, as the disgraced dentist had left England and his insurers had no obligation to pay out when their client was not co-operating.

Fraser Pearce 

Mr Pearce and Ms Pitt, represented by law firm Devonshires, are now using the Consumer Credit Act to bring fresh legal action, to get money back via the credit card transactions used to pay for the botched procedures.

William Collins, a specialist medical negligence lawyer from Devonshires, called situation “outrageous” and called for the government to close the legal loophole.

Mr Pearce, a business consultant from Sandwich, Kent, needed an operation to try to repair his sinus after work by Dr Sabha, and also discovered the dentist had applied a crown to a perfectly health tooth.

“I felt physically violated”, he said. “I was really angry as I felt like he had breached the relationship between a doctor and his patient.”

Helen Pitt (Submitted)

Ms Pitt, who was treated by Dr Sahba for six years, may need to have her veneers replaced every ten years. She said: “I was so angry as I would never have had them fitted if I’d known that was the case.”

She added: “Dentists are in a position to do serious damage to their patients, so how can it be that dentists are allowed to have insurance that is discretionary and does not protect patients?”

Dr Sahba, who ran his practice just off Harley Street between 2009 and 2015, did not return from Sweden for a General Dental Council disciplinary hearing last year, when he struck off the professional register.

As well as botched procedures, he was found to have charged patients for work they did not receive and also lied about his qualifications.

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