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Health Highlights: Oct. 8, 2020

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

New England Journal of Medicine Says Trump Should Be Voted Out for Handling of Pandemic

The Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic has been "dangerously incompetent" and Trump should be voted out of office, the New England Journal of Medicine wrote in a rare editorial.

To date, more than 7.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there have been more than 211,000 deaths from the disease, CNN reported.

"This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy," the editorial stated.

"Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment," the editorial added. "When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs."

The editorial was drafted in August, according to Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the journal and one of the authors of the editorial. "We rarely publish editorials signed by all the editors," he noted, CNN reported.


Hawaii Eases Tourist Restrictions

People flying to Hawaii can avoid a 14-day quarantine by having a negative test for the coronavirus in the 72 hours before they arrive, under a new policy that takes effect next week.

Officials said that about 10% of visitors to the state will be randomly chosen for a follow-up test about four days after they arrive, the Washington Post reported.

Visitors can still choose to quarantine instead of being tested for the coronavirus.

Since March, Hawaii has aggressively enforced quarantine restrictions, arresting hundreds of tourists for leaving their hotel rooms. While that's helped the state maintain one of the lowest infection rates in the country, it's caused serious harm to the economy, the Post reported.


Company Seeks FDA Emergency Approval for COVID-19 Antibody Therapy

Eli Lilly and Co. is seeking U.S. approval for emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy for COVID-19.

The request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is based on partial clinical trial findings suggesting the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus, hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

The results were released Wednesday in a news release, and they haven't been published or reviewed by independent researchers.

The FDA granted emergency approval for the antiviral drug remdesivir, but it's not clear if there's enough evidence for Lilly's antibody therapy to be approved, the AP reported.


U.S., French Researchers Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry

American and French scientists have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work developing the revolutionary gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9.

The award for University of California at Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier of France was announced Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

"This year's prize is about rewriting the code of the life," said Goran Hansson, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

CRISPR-Cas9 -- often described as molecular scissors -- can locate and snip out specific sections of DNA, and is being investigated as a cancer therapy and a cure for inherited diseases, the Post reported.

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The news stories provided in Health News and our Health-E News Newsletter are a service of the nationally syndicated HealthDay® news and information company. Stories refer to national trends and breaking health news, and are not necessarily indicative of or always supported by our facility and providers. This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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