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Second vaccine results ‘very close behind’

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Sarah McPhee There have been more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 recorded across the United States but Texas is the first of the 50 states to pass the one million milestone. According to data from Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University, Texas has the 10th most cases in the world and had reported 1,010,364 by early…


Sarah McPhee

There have been more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 recorded across the United States but Texas is the first of the 50 states to pass the one million milestone.

According to data from Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University, Texas has the 10th most cases in the world and had reported 1,010,364 by early Wednesday.

That is more than all of Italy, at 995,463 cases.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the number of new infections have spiked in El Paso County, the Panhandle and in major cities such as Houston.

The statewide seven-day average is 8210 cases and the positive test rate is 11.24 per cent.

There have been more than 750 deaths reported there so far this month but more than 19,000 since the pandemic reached the state.

There will be “many announcements in the coming weeks about the availability of medicines and vaccines to combat COVID-19” in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.


Sarah McPhee

Dr Anthony Fauci was also asked about the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine candidate which is being regarded as having at least 90 per cent efficacy.

Host Leigh Sales asked: “Realistically, how soon do you think people could expect to see mass vaccinations?”

Dr Fauci said it will be a “gradual process” but he expects vaccinations to start next month – “likely before the Christmas holidays”.

He told CNN earlier this week he expected low-risk Americans to receive the jab by April 2021, and those deemed to be at a higher risk to receive it earlier.

“The thing that we have been dealing with in this country is a vaccine hesitancy or people really being sceptical about getting vaccinated,” he told ABC’s 7.30.

“That is pretty much overcome when you get a vaccine of such high degree of efficacy as the Pfizer vaccine which is 90 plus, closer to 95 per cent efficacious.

“I think those types of numbers with no concerning safety signal hopefully will get many, many more people than you would have predicted get vaccinated.”

Leigh Sales and Dr Fauci. Picture: ABC/7.30

A SECOND OPTION

Dr Fauci said it was important to note the Pfizer vaccine is not the only one being tested in the US at present and other results are imminent.

“There is another one very close behind made by a company called Moderna which is a similar to, if not identical, candidate with an mRNA.

“We likely will see results from them probably sometime I would think in the next two weeks, or two-and-a-half to three weeks, which means you will have two companies that will have vaccine available.”


Sarah McPhee

Dr Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, says President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon calling for his beheading was “unusual”.

Almost 240,000 people have died in the US from COVID-19 and the country is reporting record daily totals every day.

The White House coronavirus task force member and director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases appeared on 7.30 on Wednesday night.

Host Leigh Sales asked: “What has this been like for you as a human being?”

“Well, it has been very stressful,” Dr Fauci replied.

“To deny that would be to deny reality when you have public figures like Bannon calling for your beheading, that’s really kind of unusual.

“That’s not the kind of thing that you think about when you go through medical school, to become a physician.

“But I’ve gotten through it by really focusing like a laser beam on what my goal is. I am a scientist and I am a physician.

Dr Anthony Fauci. Picture: 7.30/ABC

“My goal is to help develop vaccines. I think we have been successful in that. Now the next challenge is to develop good therapeutics and the other challenge is to get public health measures to be listened to by the American public.

“If you focus on that and don’t get distracted by all the other noise, then it is not as bad as you might think it is.

“It is when you start to focus on that other junk, as I call it, it is noise. It is meaningless. People calling for you to be beheaded, fired, thrown in the fire pit. That’s just noise. You don’t pay attention to that.”

Earlier in the interview, Sales asked “how much culpability” President Trump carried for the number of deaths in the US.

“I’m not going to get into any political discussions, I can absolutely guarantee that,” Dr Fauci replied.

Prior to the presidential election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden, Mr Trump hinted that he wanted the expert fired.

A “Fire Fauci” chant broke out at a rally at Opa-Locka Airport.

Mr Trump replied to the crowd: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

Read the full story here.


Sarah McPhee

A TV news crew has been forced to isolate after speaking to a young woman at Adelaide Airport who tested positive to COVID-19 within 24 hours of her arrival.

The Nine News crew interviewed the woman when she flew in from Melbourne on Monday.

South Australia’s chief public health officer on Wednesday said they had identified two close contacts who were sitting near the woman on Jetstar flight JQ 776 when it arrived from Victoria on November 9.

Picture: NCA NewsWire/Kelly Barnes

“There are also two, what we are calling casual contacts, who are in home quarantine,” Professor Nicola Spurrier said.

Nine News director Jeremy Pudney told The Advertiser a reporter and camera operator are in quarantine “after briefly interviewing, by chance, a person who has since tested positive for COVID-19”.

“At the time, our team members were conducting interviews for a story on travel restrictions, in a public area and at a safe distance,” he said.

“We have been assured by SA Health there is no broader risk to other Nine employees and we are supporting our team members until they’re given the all-clear to leave quarantine.”

Read the full story here.


natalie.brown

NSW Health have urged more than 18,500 western Sydney residents to get tested for COVID-19, after virus fragments were discovered in sewage at two local sewage pumping stations.

“The area served by one of the pumping stations includes a population of around 5,860 residents of North Kellyville and Rouse Hill,” a statement from the department read.

Picture: Sydney Water/NSW Health

“The second pumping station serves a population of around 12,650 people across the suburbs of Rouse Hill, Box Hill, The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens.”

NSW Health said that while the detection of the virus in sewage samples “could reflect the presence of older cases” diagnosed in the areas, they’re “concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are simply a cold”.


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Anton Nilsson, NCA NewsWire

NSW businesses will be forced to register customers electronically under a strict new COVID-19 rule to come into effect on November 23.

The announcement, from Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, means pen and paper will no longer be an accepted way of keeping track of customers for the purposes of coronavirus contact tracing.

Picture: Toby Zema

Businesses that fail to have a digital system in place by November 23 – the same day the Victorian border will open – could face penalties.

“Any business that is serious about safety should be using digital registration, such as a QR code or other method of capturing contact details electronically. There are no excuses,” Mr Dominello said.

Read the full story here.


natalie.brown

A bar and restaurant in Sydney’s inner-west has been slapped with a $10,000 fine, after CCTV emerged of large groups mingling and dancing in the venue.

Leichhardt’s Odyssey Bar Restaurant was issued with two $5000 fines as a result of the lack of social distancing, Liquor & Gaming director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said.

“It’s hard to fathom how staff could have failed to notice and stop things getting out of hand as patrons had in effect created multiple dancefloors,” he said.

Inspections by Liquor & Gaming NSW last Friday across Sydney uncovered 94 breaches of COVID-19 restrictions, inspectors said.

Of the 74 venues inspected, 13 weren’t registered as COVID-safe, 39 didn’t hold a current safety plan, 20 had issues with record keeping, seven failed to properly adhere to social distancing, two had hygiene issues and 13 had no COVID-19 safety marshal.

“Such a high level of breaches is simply unacceptable and puts at risk all the hard work in containing the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Argeres said.


natalie.brown

Tasmania will reopen its borders to Victoria earlier than intend, largely as a result of its northern neighbour’s 12-day streak of zero new coronavirus cases or deaths.

Originally slated to scrap border restrictions on December 1, Tassie will now re-open on November 27.

Victoria will also be classed as medium risk from this Friday until the end of the month – meaning returning travellers can quarantine at home instead of at a government-supervised hotel.

Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

“I think it would be fair to say that in terms of the steps that have been taken in Victoria, and, without wanting to put the mocker on them, it has worked,” Premier Peter Gutwein said today.

The call follows Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young’s comments this morning that a final decision to lift her state’s border with Victoria would be made by the end of November, and brought into effect from December 1.

“I’m sure they’re starting to feel there’s a good chance they’ve eliminated the virus in Melbourne which is really, really exciting,” Dr Young told ABC radio.

“So, hopefully we will be able to open borders to Melbourne and not require any form of quarantine.”


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In its daily update, Victoria’s DHHS has given some more detail on the Melbourne woman who tested positive for COVID-19 in South Australia.

“The Department of Health and Human Services is working closely with South Australian health authorities in investigating a South Australian resident, who has been working in Victoria, and who has tested positive for coronavirus in South Australia,” the update read.

“The case is an aged care worker who previously tested positive in Victoria in early August and isolated for the full period required. They recovered and were cleared of the virus later that month. The case has not worked in aged care since mid-October.

“The case tested positive in South Australia on 9 November as part of their entry screening processes. The case is not showing symptoms.

“The case is likely to represent intermittent shedding following a previous infection but through an abundance of caution, and while further investigations are underway, the public health response across the two jurisdictions will align.

“As a result, at this time, we are asking people who visited Melbourne Central on 8 November between 2pm and 5pm or were at Terminal 4 of Melbourne Airport on 9 November between noon and 1pm to be alert to even the mildest of symptoms and seek immediate testing if they become unwell.”

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