With COVID-19 bringing about constant change, ZU News provides updates on the vaccine, the election, the number of cases and the economic relief package.

COVID-19 Vaccine

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the development of a coronavirus vaccine by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford was put on hold. The hope of a vaccine couldn’t pull through due to a United Kingdom participant contracting an unexplained illness. 

The unexplained illness was brought by a serious reaction from the vaccine which resulted in the trial being put on pause for safety measures. Although they don’t know when the reaction happened, the participant is expected to recover. 

This has become routine for large trials as illnesses spark and must be reviewed carefully to move forward with testing. This would be the second time the Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial has been put on pause, but trials could resume in days. 

There are high hopes that this vaccine may possibly be one of the first to come on the market following phase 1 and 2 testings. Thousands of participants have been the subjects of testing in the US, UK, Brazil and South Africa.

About 180 vaccine candidates are being tested around the world, stated by the World Health Organization, but they have yet to complete clinical trials. 

The Election

President Trump has assured us there will be a vaccine by November, but this statement contradicts the schedule health officials are going off of. 

On Monday, the president said, “We’ll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date. You know what date I’m talking about.” 

The idea of having a vaccine before Election Day is not realistic because of how trials operate. Trials operate by taking about 30,000 people and splitting that number into two groups. One group takes the vaccine and the other does not. We then wait to see how many in each group do or do not become infected with COVID-19. 

The Food and Drug Administration has suggested that coronavirus vaccines have the possibility of being approved before completing the third phase of clinical trials. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging states to consider waiving requirements in order for states to be ready for a potential vaccine two days before the presidential election. 

Number of Cases

Labor Day weekend was filled with many travelers, as coronavirus deaths within the US increased by 175 to 188,688. This created a total report of 6,287,362 cases. As of now, worldwide cases are up to 27,454,713 with deaths at 894,830.

Economic Relief Package

As of now, Senate Republicans plan to vote later this week on another economic relief package. Democrats don’t agree on adding another economic relief package as they see it as a deal-breaker

The economic relief package is for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have plans to continue unemployment benefits until Dec. 27, but halving the amount from $600 go down to $300, providing funds for schools and childcare centers.

In order for the funding to go through, there needs to be a bill that is partially paid for by redirecting $350 billion of unspent money from the CARES Act. 

The funding plan would provide $105 billion for schools and $15 billion for childcare centers. An additional $16 billion would fund coronavirus testing and another $31 billion will go towards the development of a vaccine, therapeutics and diagnostics with vaccine distribution.