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World News

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of Covid-19 and stock graph logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Past the 30 million mark

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 30 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing. India was firmly in focus as the latest epicentre, although North and South America combined still accounted for almost half of the global cases.

The south Asian nation, the world’s second-most populous country, has been reporting more new daily cases than the United States since mid-August and accounts for just over 16% of global known cases.

Reported deaths in India have been relatively low so far but are showing an uptick, and the country has recorded more than 1,000 deaths every day for the last two weeks.

Pfizer vaccine trial bets on early win

Pfizer Inc is betting that its coronavirus vaccine candidate will show clear evidence of effectiveness early in its clinical trial, according to the company and internal documents reviewed by Reuters that describe how the trial is being run.

Pfizer’s clinical trial protocol calls for a first assessment of the vaccine’s performance by the monitoring board after 32 participants in the trial become infected with the novel coronavirus. So far, more than 29,000 people have enrolled in the trial that started in July, some receiving the vaccine and the others receiving a placebo.

Pfizer’s vaccine would need to be at least 76.9% effective to show it works based on 32 infections, according to its protocol. That would mean that no more than six of those coronavirus cases would have occurred among people who received the vaccine, the documents showed.

EU travel industry steps up quarantine pushback

Leaders of Europe’s coronavirus-stricken travel and tourism industries have appealed to the EU’s chief executive to press governments to end quarantine requirements and instead embrace coordinated restrictions and testing.

“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement,” a broad ad-hoc group of more than 20 industry groups including airline body IATA told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a letter reviewed by Reuters.

But with COVID-19 cases rising, governments are reluctant to drop more drastic restrictions and quarantines - condemned by the industry as disproportionate to the risks of travel within a region where community transmission is already widespread.

When will COVID-19 vaccines be generally available in the U.S.?

Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has said vaccines were likely to reach the general public around mid-2021, an assessment more in line with most experts.

Most vaccines in development will require two doses per person. The CDC anticipates that 35 million to 45 million doses of vaccines from the first two companies to receive authorization will be available in the United States by the end of this year. The current frontrunners are Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc.

The CDC has said the earliest inoculations may go to healthcare workers, people at increased risk for severe COVID-19, and essential workers.

Expert tips for mental health

Months in, the pandemic continues to take a toll on mental health. As part of our #AskReuters Twitter chat series, Reuters gathered a group of experts to share their tips on coping with isolation, caregiving and more. Here are a couple of edited highlights:

“Don’t be afraid to ask about safety. It is awkward and anxiety-provoking. People do not consider suicide because someone asks. Asking is often the intervention that keeps people safe. Isolation and helplessness are much greater risks than despair.” — Rebecca Kullback, psychotherapist and co-owner of Metropolitan Counseling Associates and LaunchWell College Readiness Program

“A sense of belonging can promote resilience: that could be a sense of belonging to family, a group one identifies with, culture, or place in the world. Familiarity with your own history can support a sense of belonging and therefore increase resilience.” — Riana Elyse Anderson, assistant professor in the health behavior and health education department at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

Compiled by Karishma Singh

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