5 things to know for May 19: Vaccine, hydroxychloroquine, symptoms, EU, al Qaeda

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he asked President Donald Trump to remove State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because the independent watchdog was "undermining" the department and wasn't performing in a way that the top US diplomat wanted him to.

Posted: May 19, 2020 5:31 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 5:31 PM

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are becoming stronger, according to a NOAA study. Great, a new thing to worry about.

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1. Vaccine

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.

2. Hydroxychloroquine

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.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

A priest used a squirt gun to fire holy water at congregants. Now, he's a meme

Strange times call for strange measures.

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'

They were probably a tough crowd.

A Maryland restaurant is using inner tubes to encourage social distancing

Like we said, strange times.

HAPPENING LATER

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.

TODAY'S NUMBER

900%

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.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"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.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Bird therapy 

Listen to this bird speak cute, reassuring little nothings into your ear. There, now don't you feel better? (Click here to view.)

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
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Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
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Huntington
Scattered Clouds
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Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
AM Storms, Slightly Cooler Friday
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