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Health Highlights: Oct. 5, 2020


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

CDC Now Acknowledges Airborne Transmission of COVID

Infection with the new coronavirus can occur through airborne transmission between people farther than 6 feet apart, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally acknowledged in an update to its website on Monday.

The agency said this is especially true in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation, the Washington Post reported.

The CDC's update comes in response to growing evidence that coronavirus infection can occur through tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes, or even hours.

Last month, the agency removed a draft that referred to tiny airborne droplets as a source of transmission. The CDC said the draft was removed because it didn't go through proper review and was posted in error, the Post reported.

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Coronavirus May Have Infected 1 in 10 Worldwide: WHO

About 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the new coronavirus, which is more than 20 times the number of confirmed cases, a World Health Organization official said Monday.

Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO's head of emergencies, said there are differences between urban and rural areas, and between different groups, but the overall rate means "the vast majority of the world remains at risk," the Associated Press reported.

He spokeat a special session of the WHO's 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19.

The pandemic will continue to evolve, but tools exist to suppress transmission and save lives, according to Ryan.

"Many deaths have been averted and many more lives can be protected," Ryan said, the AP reported.

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Three Scientists Share Nobel Prize for Hepatitis C Research

Two U.S. researchers and a British scientist have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for major contributions to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis.

Hepatitis C, which causes cirrhosis and liver cancer, causes 400,000 deaths worldwide each year, the Washington Post reported.

The three recipients are: Harvey Alter, a clinical scientist at a U.S. National Institutes of Health blood bank; Charles Rice, of the Washington University in St. Louis; and British-born virologist Michael Houghton.

The researchers' work was described by the Nobel Committee as "a landmark achievement in our battle against viral infections," the Post reported.

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Daily COVID-19 Cases in U.S. Highest in Months

The highest daily rate of new COVID-19 cases in the United States in nearly two months was reported late last week.

There were 54,506 new reported cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest single-day number since 64,601 cases were reported on Aug. 14, according to CNN.

From Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, the United States had an average of 46,500 cases per day -- the most cases over five days since Aug. 14-18, the data show.

As of Saturday night, 21 states had more cases than in the previous week, just over half held steady, and there was a decline in just three states -- Texas, Missouri and South Carolina, CNN reported.

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Coronavirus-Linked Syndrome Seen in Children Also Occurs in Adults

Adults can develop a coronavirus-linked syndrome that's similar to one seen in children, researchers report.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A) has killed at least three patients and disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, CNN reported.

Like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), MIS-A isn't obviously linked to the new coronavirus and patients may not show any other symptoms suggesting coronavirus infection, the researchers said.

MIS-C -- which has affected several hundred children worldwide -- causes general inflammation. With proper treatment, children recover, CNN reported.

The CDC researchers' case study describes 27 adults, aged 21 to 50, with MIS-A.

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