China Tests Entire City For Virus As WHO Slams Herd Immunity Idea

China rushed Tuesday to test an entire city of nine million within days after a minor coronavirus outbreak, as the WHO warned that letting the pathogen run free to achieve herd immunity was “scientifically and ethically problematic”.

The virus is still spreading rapidly around the world, with well over 37 million infections, and nations that had suppressed their first outbreaks are now struggling with fresh surges — especially in some parts of Europe.

China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao -- nine million people -- for the coronavirus China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao — nine million people — for the coronavirus Photo: AFP / STR

In the absence of a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread unchecked, with China launching a sweeping drive to test all residents of Qingdao after a handful of cases were detected on Sunday.

“As of 8 am… our city has taken 3.08 million samples for nucleic testing,” the city’s health commission said Tuesday, adding that no new positive samples were found.

Chinese officials intend to test the entire city — around 9.4 million people — by Thursday.

Graphic looking at countries with the highest coronavirus death tolls, and their respective death rates. Graphic looking at countries with the highest coronavirus death tolls, and their respective death rates. Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

In scenes contrasting with the fumbled testing efforts of other nations, health workers in protective clothing swiftly set up tents and residents queued deep into Monday night to provide samples.

In opposition to economically painful lockdowns and social distancing, there have been proposals in some countries to let the coronavirus circulate in the population to build up “herd immunity” — where so much of the population has been infected there are insufficient new victims for the virus to jump to.

Letting Covid-19 "run free" with eye to herd immunity is "simply unethical", says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. Letting Covid-19 “run free” with eye to herd immunity is “simply unethical”, says WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. Photo: WHO

But the World Health Organization said such plans were unworkable, and required mass vaccinations to work.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, describing the idea as “scientifically and ethically problematic”.

“Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical. It’s not an option.”

China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao -- nine million people -- for the coronavirus China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao — nine million people — for the coronavirus Photo: AFP / STR

Further illustrating the challenge, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal indicated that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity — and the second infection could come with even more severe symptoms.

A television shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the country on new virus restrictions, as customers sit at the bar inside the William Gladstone pub in Liverpool A television shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the country on new virus restrictions, as customers sit at the bar inside the William Gladstone pub in Liverpool Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS

The pandemic has claimed more than one million lives worldwide, and spurred breakneck efforts to develop vaccines and effective treatments.

Some have made it to late-stage clinical testing, but the optimism was dented Monday when Johnson & Johnson announced it had temporarily halted its

Why ignoring your dentist during pandemic is a bad idea



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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — During lockdown, routine dental visits were canceled. Now, some are paying the price.

Many fear going to the dentist during the pandemic, according to Dr. Marc Rothman, associate adjunct professor at Temple University’s School of Dental Medicine and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

“We’re seeing a lot of dental issues, concerning things that were missed or small that were present during the beginning of the pandemic, but because of the delay of treatment have now become rather more serious or in some cases, life threatening,” said Rothman.

He added that these stressful times are taking a huge toll on our teeth.

“People can damage their teeth through clenching and grinding, it happens quite often. But we’re seeing it at a much greater frequency since COVID started,” he explained.

He stressed that dentists are taking COVID-19 protocols quite seriously and there is no reason for you to fear going into the office. In fact, there are good reasons why you should make that appointment now.

“Recent literature has shown that people with poor oral hygiene tend to fare a lot worse when they become infected with COVID and develop respiratory problems,” Rothman said.

In addition, he said poor oral hygiene not only causes problems for the teeth and structures of the mouth, but also the person’s overall physical health.

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Distrusting Trump, States Plan to Vet COVID Vaccines Themselves. Bad Idea, Say Experts. | Best States

By JoNel Aleccia and Liz Szabo

As trust in the Food and Drug Administration wavers, several states have vowed to conduct independent reviews of any COVID-19 vaccine the federal agency authorizes.

But top health experts say such vetting may be misguided, even if it reflects a well-founded lack of confidence in the Trump administration — especially now that the FDA has held firm with rules that make a risky preelection vaccine release highly unlikely.

At least six states and the District of Columbia have indicated they intend to review the scientific data for any vaccine approved to fight COVID-19, with some citing concern over political interference by President Donald Trump and his appointees. Officials in New York and California said they are convening expert panels expressly for that purpose.

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion and I wouldn’t recommend [vaccines] to New Yorkers based on the federal government’s opinion,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last month.

“We want to make sure — despite the urge and interest in having a useful vaccine — that we do it with the utmost safety of Californians in mind,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, said at a recent news conference.

“Do you really want a situation where Texas, Alabama and Arkansas are making drastically different vaccine policies than New York, California and Massachusetts?” asked Dr. Saad Omer, an epidemiologist who leads the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Separate state vaccine reviews would be unprecedented and disruptive, and a robust regulatory process already exists, said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

“States should stay out of the vaccine review business,” Osterholm said. “I think the Food and Drug Administration is doing their job right now. Unless there’s something that changes that, I do believe that they will be able to go ahead.”

The administration has given reasons for states to worry. Trump has repeatedly signaled a desire for approval of a vaccine by the Nov. 3 election, arousing fears that he will steamroll the normal regulatory process.

The president wields “considerable power” over the FDA because it’s part of the executive branch of government, said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. The president nominates the FDA commissioner and can replace that official at any time.

Trump has already contradicted the advice of his own scientific advisers in order to promote unproven therapies to fight COVID-19. The FDA approved two treatments — hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma — without strong evidence of safety and efficacy after Trump pushed for the therapies to be widely available.

Late Monday, The New York Times reported that top White House officials planned to block FDA guidelines that would bolster requirements for emergency authorization of a COVID vaccine — because the new guidelines would almost certainly delay approval until after the election.

The White House’s actions undermine