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Demands for Cuomo to resign grow louder as police get groping report
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s grip on power appeared increasingly threatened Thursday as a majority of state legislators called for his resignation, Democrats launched an impeachment investigation and police in the state capital said they stood ready to investigate a groping allegation.
WHO approves J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency listing
The World Health Organization on Friday approved the emergency listing of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, giving its seal of approval to expedite use especially in countries with weaker regulatory agencies. It is the third COVID-19 vaccine after the two-shot regimens of Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca to receive backing from the WHO, and the first requiring just a single injection. The listing covers use in all countries, for roll-out of the vaccine facility COVAX and follows the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorisation announcement on Thursday.
South Korea extends social distancing rules to stamp out infections amid vaccination drive
South Korea will extend social distancing rules with a ban on private gatherings of more than four people in a bid to stamp out the possibility of a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday. The announcement at a government meeting comes as South Korea has been ramping up its immunisation drive, authorising use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for people aged 65 years and older in a bid to inoculate 70% of its 52 million residents by September. The country has administered 546,277 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday midnight, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, including both AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech treatments.
What to know about the NBA Top Shot trading phenomenon
NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy and sell officially-licensed highlights from NBA games.Why it matters: The platform, which is a joint venture between the NBA, NBPA and Dapper Labs, could be the future of the collectibles market.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Thanks to the blockchain, Top Shots come in verifiable numbered runs (i.e. no fakes), and a complete list of all transactions is available.Sales can happen almost instantly, and since digital highlights don’t degrade over time, there’s no need for card grading services.How it works: The NBA cuts the highlights, then Dapper Labs decides how many of each highlight to sell and numbers them.Highlights are placed into digital packs, just like regular trading cards, and the packs are sold on the official NBA Top Shot website.Once you purchase a pack, those highlights go into your encrypted wallet to be “showcased” or re-sold on the NBA Top Shot Marketplace. A February highlight of LeBron James dunking sold for over $200,000. Courtesy: NBA Top ShotBe smart: You don’t need to own a Top Shot to watch it, as NBA highlights are available everywhere. But if you “own” one, you’re the only one who owns that asset.”Can’t I just go to YouTube for free if I want to see a Ja Morant dunk? Of course you can. You could also have your cousin in art school design a Kobe Bryant rookie card for you in Photoshop.” DeMarco Williams, SLAMBy the numbers: NBA Top Shot has processed more than $250 million in sales from 100,000 buyers over the last month alone.Michael Levy, a 31-year-old financial analyst, spent $175,000 on Top Shots over the past six months. They’re now worth ~$20 million.”I don’t know where this is heading,” Levy told WSJ (subscription). “I just know that it has enormous potential that no other investment I have access to can mimic.”Of note: Dapper Labs’ first major project was called CryptoKitties, which was essentially digital Pokemon cards. Like Top Shot, it exploded — only for the items to plummet in value after the fad passed.What’s next: Other leagues like the NFL and NHL could embrace the revolution, and Dapper Labs is “actively building out experiences for women’s sports,” per CNBC.Go deeper:Read the full Axios Sports special report on the rise of sports fandom investingA short, lucrative, and depressing journey into NBA Top Shot (Defector)NBA Top Shot offers greater near-term upside but carries more risk than Bitcoin (Sportico)More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
COVID-19 deaths falling but Americans ‘must remain vigilant’
U.S. deaths from COVID-19 are falling again as the nation continues to recover from the devastating winter surge, a trend that experts are cautiously hopeful will accelerate as more vulnerable people are vaccinated. While new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have plummeted, the decline in deaths from a January peak of about 4,500 hasn’t been quite as steep. “I am encouraged by these data but we must remain vigilant,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at Friday’s White House briefing.
Exclusive: AstraZeneca to seek U.S. authorization for COVID-19 vaccine this month or early next – sources
AstraZeneca Plc is preparing to file for U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine later this month or early April after accumulating enough data to judge the inoculation’s efficacy, sources with knowledge of the ongoing clinical trial told Reuters on Friday. The number of COVID-19 cases among those who got the vaccine versus infections in participants who received a placebo will show how effective the AstraZeneca shot was at preventing illness in those age 18 and over. The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, has been authorized for use in theEuropean Union and many countries but not yet by U.S. regulators.
Antibiotic use during COVID raises concern for rising resistance
Doctors tended to overprescribe antibiotics to COVID-19 patients in hospitals during the early pandemic months, but programs designed to limit overuse are helping, according to an analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts.Why it matters: Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat globally and in the U.S., with rising deaths due to bacterial infection, dwindling novel drugs to treat them, and huge associated economic costs. Many worry the pandemic will only make the problem worse.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeDriving the news: Looking at the first six months of the pandemic, Pew researchers found 52% of COVID-19 patients in 5,838 hospital admissions were given at least one antibiotic, 96% of them within the first 48 hours of admission.But, only about 20% of those admitted were diagnosed with suspected or confirmed bacterial pneumonia and 9% were diagnosed with a community acquired UTI — a discrepancy indicating a concerning use of antibiotics, they said.The pandemic shunted resources away from hospital programs for infection control and other efforts designed to ensure the right antibiotic is only prescribed for known or suspected bacterial infections, using the correct dosage and timeframe, says David Hyun, project director of Pew’s Antibiotic Resistance Project.”That kind of resource diversion can significantly jeopardize not only the progress that’s been made up to this point in improving antibiotic use, but during a pandemic and the public health crisis like we’re in currently right now, it could create complications within a facility of increased levels of antibiotic-resistant infections,” Hyun tells Axios.And there is some anecdotal evidence that hospital-acquired antibiotic resistance may be growing, particularly due to the long hospital stays for many COVID-19 patients, Hyun says. One example is a cluster of 34 cases of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii found in a New Jersey hospital.COVID-19 patients could have a higher risk for multiple resistant pathogens.However, Pew’s analysis also found a significant drop-off in antibiotic prescriptions after the first 48 hours — only 15% of admissions had an antibiotic course prescribed in the first 48 hours of admission and another one ordered after that period, says Rachel Zetts, an officer with the Antibiotic Resistance Project.”That may indicate antibiotic stewardship is currently playing a role in improving prescribing within the COVID-19 population,” Zetts says.The big picture: A lack of novel antibiotics in the pipeline is a constant worry in the medical community. Pew also released two briefs looking at the economic incentives needed to entice new development and how the medical community should think outside the box.What we’re watching: IBM Research published a study Thursday in Nature Biomedical Engineering on a new AI tool they developed to speed up the design of molecules for novel antibiotics and other drugs.Per an IBM Research blog, within 48 days their tool identified, created and experimentally tested 20 AI-generated candidates for new antimicrobial peptides, or protein-building blocks for drugs.Out of those 20, two were found to be potential “new non-toxic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) with strong broad-spectrum potency,” IBM’s Aleksandra Mojsilovic and Payel Das wrote.Go deeper: CDC official: Pandemic “explosion” of antibiotic resistance not seenMore from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
Controversial plan could see doctors without a degree learning on the job
Doctors could qualify without a traditional medical degree under controversial plans to allow medics to “earn as they learn” as apprentices. Health officials hope the proposals will help boost workforce diversity, particularly those from poorer backgrounds and people looking to change careers. Apprenticeships have already been introduced for nursing, allowing recruits to earn on the ward, while undergoing a four-year training course. Health Education England (HEE) last night said early talks had taken place to allow doctors to earn while they train, instead of having to pay tuition fees in medical school. Apprentices would still have to follow the same curriculum as those doing traditional medical degrees, it is understood. Health officials said the scheme could attract those who had lacked the time or money to undertake a traditional medical degree, but stressed that discussions were at an early stage. It is understood that there will not be a national apprenticeship model, meaning employers and medical schools can decide their own entry requirements. But unions said this might also mean apprentices were paid different amounts, depending where they trained. A letter sent by British Medical Association (BMA) council member Chris Smith to the union’s medical students committee, discussing the proposals, says that apprentices would still have to follow the same curriculum as those doing traditional medical degrees. Fears over two-tier system It also raises doubts about the idea, saying that those who failed to get into medical school might see apprenticeships as “backup”, suggesting this could lead to apprenticeships being seen as “lesser”. Prof Liz Hughes, deputy medical director for undergraduate education at Health Education England, told Health Service Journal: “We are working with employers, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Medical Schools Council, the GMC and a number of other stakeholders on developing a medical apprenticeship. “A proposal is currently in the early stages of development and there will be significant opportunities to help shape and implement the plans. The expectation is that such an apprenticeship could make the profession more accessible, more diverse and more representative of local communities while retaining the same high standards of training.” Professor Wendy Reid, HEE’s medical director, said: “The difference between an apprenticeship and a degree will be that people will be working alongside learning. “So very similar to traditional apprenticeships, where if you are older or you have commitments where you can’t suddenly go off and spend five or six years as a graduate, then this is a way of learning differently. “At the moment this will suit people who have been in work for some time, either in a health service related role or indeed in other work.” Most medical schools in England and Wales charge tuition fees of £9,250 annually for a five year course – a total of £46,250. A British Medical Association spokesman said: “Proposals for a medical doctor apprenticeship that results in doctors educated and trained to the same high standards as current studentships are interesting and worthy of consideration.” A BMA representative who spoke anonymously to HSJ raised concerns that the proposals could create a “two-tier” system. He said: “It’ll inadvertently create a two-tier system, reminiscent of barber surgeons and physicians, and undoing the work that’s already been done on widening participation — effectively making medical school only an option for those from wealthy backgrounds by inducing poorer aspirants into apprenticeships instead.”
Fauci says he’s “very much” concerned about a post-COVID mental health pandemic
NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CBS News Thursday that he’s “very much” concerned about a post-COVID mental health pandemic. Why it matters: Three in four adults in the U.S. reported a high stress level related to the pandemic, while one in four essential workers have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder since the start of the public health crisis, according to a survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) conducted in late February.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Two in three Americans said they are sleeping “more or less than they wanted to since the pandemic started,” while nearly one in four reported drinking more alcohol to cope with stress. Black Americans were most likely to report “feelings of concern about the future,” per APA. What he’s saying: “That’s the reason why I want to get the virological aspect of this pandemic behind us because the long-term ravages of this are so multifaceted,” Fauci said when asked if he was concerned about a post-COVID mental health pandemic. Fauci said these “ravages” included the economic and mental health effects, as well as the “prolonged symptomatology” that some people who have had COVID-19 continue to experience. He also said he hopes the U.S. doesn’t see an increase “in some preventable situations” because many people have “put off routine types of medical examinations that they normally would have done.” Methodologies: The APA’s March 2021 Stress in America survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll between Feb. 19 and 24 among 3,013 adults ages 18 and older who reside in the U.S. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
As Covid Wanes, the U.S. Economy Could Soar. What That Means for Investors
Everything we heard about Covid-19 was true. Exactly one year ago, as the virus began to spread across the U.S., the economy effectively shut down, leaving more than 20 million people unemployed and sending the stock market into a tailspin. With the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions just about in sight, America itself could be on the cusp of a new beginning.
Most of California to reopen as vaccine eligibility expands
Most of California’s 40 million residents will be able to enjoy limited indoor activities such as dining inside or watching a movie at a theater by mid-week as coronavirus case rates continue to stay low, state officials said Friday. Officials said that 13 counties, including Los Angeles, would be able to open restaurants, gyms and museums at limited capacity on Sunday, the result of the state hitting a 2 million equity metric aimed at getting more vaccines into low-income communities. Another 13 counties are expected to reopen Wednesday under a different metric.
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