Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

‘No excuse’ for countries that fail in contact tracing, WHO’s Tedros says

Tracing contacts of people with coronavirus infections is the most important step in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and countries that are failing to do so have no excuse, the World Health Organization chief said on Monday. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing.

‘A recipe for disaster,’ U.S. health official says of Americans ignoring coronavirus advice

A spike in U.S. coronavirus infections is fueled in large part by people ignoring public health guidelines to keep their distance and wear masks, the government’s top infectious disease official said. A daily surge in confirmed cases has been most pronounced in southern and western states that did not follow health officials’ recommendations to wait for a steady decline in infections for two weeks before reopening their economies.

WHO sees ‘tremendous work’ towards COVID-19 vaccine, but no guarantee

The World Health Organization sees tremendous work towards finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there are no guarantee of success, the head of its emergencies program, Mike Ryan, said on Monday.

‘Wear a mask!’ Republicans split with Trump as virus cases surge

In a rare break with mask-averse President Donald Trump, fellow Republican leaders are advocating for face coverings as COVID-19 cases surge in some Republican-leaning states. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there should be no stigma attached.

U.S. CDC reports 2,545,250 coronavirus cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 2,545,250 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 41,075 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 885 to 126,369. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on June 28 compared with its previous report a day earlier.

Gilead prices COVID-19 drug remdesivir at $2,340 per patient in developed nations

Gilead Sciences Inc on Monday priced its COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir at $2,340 per patient for wealthier nations and agreed to send nearly all of its supply of the drug to the United States over the next three months. The price tag is slightly below the range of $2,520 to $2,800 suggested last week by U.S. drug pricing research group the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) after British researchers said they found that the cheap, widely available steroid dexamethasone significantly reduced mortality among severely ill COVID-19 patients.

WHO sending team to China to investigate origins of coronavirus

The World Health Organization is sending a team to China next week to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday. The United States, the WHO’s largest critic which has said it is leaving the U.N. agency, has called for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.

Iran records highest daily death toll from COVID-19

Iran recorded its highest number of deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period, official health ministry figures showed on Monday. The 162 deaths reported on Monday exceed the previous record on April 4, when the health ministry reported 158 deaths in a day.

Brazil’s Sao Paulo sees China coronavirus vaccine trial approval soon

Brazil’s Sao Paulo state expects this week to receive federal regulatory approval to start trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac, Governor Joao Doria said on Monday. The trial would be carried out by the Instituto Butantan, a research center funded by the state of Sao Paulo. Doria said in a news conference that 9,000 volunteers had already been registered to test the vaccine, known as CoronaVac.

Special Report: Into the fog – How Britain lost track of the coronavirus

On Friday, Feb. 21, Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, was in a cheerful mood. It was near the end of the school half-term holiday. He wrote on an official blog that there had been no new positive cases of the new coronavirus that week in the United Kingdom. It was a “testament,” he said, “to the robust infection control measures” and the “diagnostic and testing work” at laboratories nationwide.

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