U.K. OKs Pfizer’s COVID Vax; A Shorter Quarantine; Inside Italy’s Second Wave

Allergies & Asthma, Covid-19

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Pfizer and BioNTech announced emergency authorization from the United Kingdom for their COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows invited FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, to come explain why his agency hasn’t yet granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s vaccine. (CNBC)

In related news, the White House is hosting a “COVID-19 Vaccine Summit” next week, 2 days before an FDA advisory committee meeting to discuss granting Pfizer an EUA for its vaccine. (STAT)

The CDC will now recommend that close contacts of those infected with COVID-19 quarantine for 7 to 10 days, down from the 14 days it is currently recommending. (CNN)

As of 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. reached 13,728,153 cases and 270,691 deaths, increases of 181,515 and 2,588 since this time a day ago.

Homeland Security investigators are looking into fraudulent COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including more than 60,000 websites that are involved in COVID-19 fraud or are suspected of being so. (AP)

Sign of the times? Reviews of scented candles are much more negative this year, suggesting a possible coronavirus connection. (Washington Post)

A doctor in Milan talks about what it’s like to be inside Italy’s second coronavirus wave. (Slate)

In Nevada, an ICU doctor spoke out against President Trump’s tweet suggesting the COVID-19 crisis in his hospital — where five patients had just died in a 32-hour span — was fake. (Washington Post)

Many employers are not reporting COVID-19 deaths to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as required. (Kaiser Health News)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed had her own dinner party at the French Laundry restaurant the night after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had dined there, raising questions about Breed’s adherence to COVID-19 precautions. (San Francisco Chronicle)

France appears to be flattening the curve on coronavirus cases, with fewer than 10,000 new cases for 3 days in a row. (Reuters)

USA Today profiles Moncef Slaoui, PhD, science adviser for Operation Warp Speed.

Figuring out which restaurants or bars are linked to coronavirus outbreaks is not an easy task. (Kaiser Health News)

Coronavirus reinfections are likely being underreported. (National Geographic)

In other news:

  • The first infant formulation of the HIV drug dolutegravir (Tivicay) — a strawberry-flavored tablet that dissolves in water or juice — will soon be available. (New York Times)
  • The FDA has approved omalizumab (Xolair) for treatment of nasal polyps in adults, Novartis announced.
  • The phase III ACTIVATE trial for mitapivat, a treatment for adults with pyruvate kinase deficiency who don’t receive regular transfusions, met its primary endpoint for hemoglobin response, Agios Pharmaceuticals said.
  • An Alzheimer’s blood test is now on the market, albeit without FDA approval. (CBS News)
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    Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including stories about Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, healthcare trade associations, and federal agencies. She has 35 years of experience covering health policy. Follow

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