Coronavirus live news: remdesivir approved as Covid treatment by US FDA; France sees record new cases

Donald Trump and Joe Biden will face off for a final time during Thursday night’s presidential debate in Nashville – perhaps the last chance for the president to shift the dynamics of a race that increasingly favors his Democratic opponent with less than two weeks until election day.

The candidates will have 90 minutes to make their closing arguments to the nation, amid a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans and infected millions more, including the president. In part due to the pandemic, more than 40 million Americans have already cast their ballot, shattering records and leaving Trump an increasingly narrow window to reset the debate.

Despite the cascading public health and economic crises, Biden has maintained a steady lead over the incumbent, according to public opinion polls, while Trump has struggled to outline his vision for a second term and grapple with voters’ disapproval of his response to the pandemic:

In the UK, a slump in donations to medical charities will result in potentially life-saving research being shelved unless the government steps in to support the organisations, a leading thinktank has said.

The closure of charity shops, suspension of fundraising events, such as the London to Brighton cycle ride, and wider economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant medical charities stood to lose more than £4bn between now and 2027, according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The collapse in funding for what is often foundational research would in turn cause private follow-up investment to shrink substantially, the thinktank found, leading to an overall shortfall of nearly £8bn over the period, the equivalent of a 10% spending cut for UK health research:

Study finds between 130,000 and 210,000 US deaths could have been avoided

The Trump administration’s botched response to the pandemic has led to between 130,000 and 210,000 preventable deaths, according to a new report from a team of disaster preparedness and public health experts.

“The United States has turned a global crisis into a devastating tragedy,” read a report released Thursday by researchers at Columbia University. “We estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership.

The team calculated avoidable deaths by estimating how many people would have died in other nations, like Japan and South Korea, if they had the same population as the US, and comparing those figures to the US death rate.

“Many of the underlying factors amplifying the pandemic’s deadly impact have existed long before the novel coronavirus first arrived in Washington state on January 20th – a fractured healthcare system, inequitable access to care, and immense health, social and racial disparities among America’s most vulnerable groups,” the researchers noted. “Compounding this is an Administration that has publicly denigrated its own public health officials – and science more generally — thereby hamstringing efforts by its vaunted public health service to curb the pandemic’s spread.”

It has been touted as a breakthrough treatment by Donald Trump, and there are hopes that blood plasma containing coronavirus antibodies may help British patients during the second wave of Covid-19 as well.

But a study, which is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Friday, suggests “convalescent plasma” has only limited effectiveness and fails to reduce deaths or stop the progression to severe disease:

France reports record new cases

Remdesivir approved as Covid treatment by US FDA



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