Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are becoming stronger, according to a NOAA study. Great, a new thing to worry about.
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There's some good news in the quest for a coronavirus vaccine: The biotech company Moderna says volunteers who got its Covid-19 vaccine had positive early results. Trial participants developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus that sometimes surpassed levels seen in people who've naturally recovered from Covid-19. Neutralizing antibodies bind to the virus, disabling it from attacking human cells. But it's still not clear whether natural infection confers immunity to reinfection, and so it's also not clear whether vaccination confers immunity. The trial was very small, and the results haven't been peer-reviewed, but Moderna's chief medical officer says if future studies go well, the vaccine could be available to the public as early as January.
President Trump claimed he's taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine, the controversial antimalarial drug he and his inner circle have touted as a possible treatment for Covid-19. While speaking at a meeting of restaurant executives, Trump said he started taking the drug after consulting with White House physician Dr. Sean Conley -- though notably, he did not say Conley recommended the drug. Conley said in a White House memo that he and the President decided "the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risk." That's not a view shared by other medical experts. The FDA has warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, saying it should only be used in hospitals or clinical trials because it can kill or cause serious side effects. News of the President's regimen has drawn scrutiny and concern, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
3. Coronavirus symptoms
Health agencies are recording more symptoms and risks brought on by Covid-19. A new review of studies reveals delirium, confusion and agitation may be common in severe coronavirus infections while patients are hospitalized, though it's unclear if these psychological symptoms extend further into recovery. In the UK, the loss of taste or smell has been added to the official list of coronavirus symptoms. The condition is called anosmia, and its connection to the virus has been known among medical communities for months. Finally, another study has shown enlargement of one of the heart's four chambers -- the right ventricle -- was the best predictor of which patients with severe Covid-19 infections were most likely to die. It sounds dire, but knowing this can help doctors better determine which new patients are most at risk.
4. European Union
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have unveiled a $500 billion initiative to rescue the European Union from economic crisis. The pandemic fallout has plunged the EU into its worst economic shock since the Great Depression, and it's also opened old political wounds among the 27 member countries. Those divisions have slowed progress on a recovery fund to rebuild regional economies. Under Merkel and Macron's plan, the European Commission would borrow money to boost the EU economy and channel the funds through the EU budget to the hardest-hit regions. Germany and France are the EU's leading economies, and the two leaders are hoping their proposal will unite their fellow EU nations, which would have to all agree on the proposal before it could happen.
5. Al Qaeda
Did al Qaeda strike on American soil last year? That's the question raised by new information from the FBI about a shooting at the Pensacola Navy base that left three US sailors dead in December. FBI Director Christopher Wray said attacker Mohammed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, was a longtime associate of an al Qaeda affiliate who had communicated with operatives from the group as recently as the night before the shooting. US investigators uncovered the connection after the FBI broke through the encryption protecting the Saudi attacker's iPhones. But Wray stopped short of saying Alshamrani, who was killed by law enforcement during the attack, had been directed by the terror group. Since 9/11, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully directed a deadly attack in the US.
A priest used a squirt gun to fire holy water at congregants. Now, he's a meme
A man wore a watermelon on his head while robbing a convenience store. He was arrested
For the record, watermelons are not very good safety masks, either.
Ryan Seacrest is reassuring fans after an apparent 'American Idol' health scare
His rep said he, like so many others, was just feeling the work-from-home stress.
A South Korean football club is apologizing for filling the fan-less stands with, uh, 'love dolls'
A Maryland restaurant is using inner tubes to encourage social distancing
Follow the (stimulus) money
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will give their first report on the economic stimulus programs implemented by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act when they testify today before the Senate Banking Committee. The CARES Act was passed two months ago and was meant to help support the economy and businesses struggling under stay-at-home measures.
That's how much demand has risen for American Diagnostic Corp's "non-contact" thermometers, according to the company's CEO Marc Blitstein. Demand for thermometers is through the roof, partly because large companies are ordering thermometers to shore up their Covid-19 measures, and experts worry the US is rapidly running low on supply.
"I'd rather have him on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes because maybe his wife isn't there or his kids aren't there."
President Trump, defending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general whom Trump fired last week, was investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform a variety of personal errands, including walking his dog, picking up dry cleaning and making dinner reservations.
Listen to this bird speak cute, reassuring little nothings into your ear. There, now don't you feel better? (Click here to view.)