COVID-19 and aspirin: Can this common drug in your medicine cabinet reduce your risk of dying from COVID? Here’s what a new study found

At least 29 million Americans take low-dose aspirin every day in hopes of preventing a heart attack or stroke.

Now, a new University of Maryland study found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients, who were taking a daily 81-milligram dose of aspirin, had a significantly lower risk of complications than those not taking aspirin.

“Forty percent across the board did not require a ventilator, did not need to go to the ICU,” explained Dr. Michael Daignault, an ER physician at Providence St. Joseph Hospital.

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Dr. Daignault says aspirin’s ability to reduce blood clots may be the key.

“We know that aside from being a respiratory virus, that COVID-19 at the local organ level causes a lot of mini clots,” Dr. Daignault said.

Clotting and inflammation is what sends many patients into the ICU.

So during this pandemic, should everyone be taking daily baby aspirin? Dr. Daignault says this was a small correlation study and without more research, he would not advise it.

“It’s hard to say if they got better because of the aspirin specifically or because of other reasons,” Dr. Daignault explained.

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A Harvard study found more than six million Americans are taking aspirin without a doctor’s advice or knowledge. Experts say for people who don’t have severe cardiovascular issues, the risks may outweigh the potential benefits.

“Aspirin can raise your risk of having gastritis or irritation of your stomach lining or a ulcer or an upper gastrointestinal bleed,” Dr. Daignault said.

If you’re thinking about taking a daily baby aspirin for any health reason, it’s important that you discuss this with your doctor first.

“Aspirin is cheap, it’s widely available, and it could be a potential game changer, but we definitely need more perspective or robust studies,” Dr. Daignault said.

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Scott Gottlieb warns of ‘sustained period’ with ‘well above’ 1,000 people dying from COVID-19 a day

The U.S. could begin seeing more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths per day for a “sustained period of time,” the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday. 

“We’re probably going to see significant spread across the entire United States in a confluent epidemic that we’re much better prepared to deal with, so I don’t think that we’re going to see the excess death that we saw with the first wave of this pandemic when it struck New York,” Scott Gottlieb told CNBC’sSquawk Box.” 

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“But the sheer fact that we’re going to be infecting so many people right now is probably going to mean that the death tolls get well above 1,000 for a sustained period of time,” Gottlieb said. 

The public health expert told the news outlet that the next several months could be “the last acute phase of this pandemic” and predicted the U.S. could be in a better coronavirus situation next year. He said cases will likely peak by the time a new president is inaugurated in January. 

Currently, the U.S. is averaging more than 83,000 new cases per day and more than 830 deaths, according to The COVID Tracking Project. The number of daily deaths is still far lower than the peak daily death toll in the spring when the U.S. was averaging more than 2,000 deaths. 

Outbreaks are on the rise in most states, with some states reporting record hospitalizations. The U.S. on Friday reported more than 99,000 new cases — a record peak of confirmed infections in a single day. Gottlieb previously warned the country would cross 100,000 infections per day in the next couple of weeks or sooner. 

Earlier this week, the former FDA commissioner warned that the Thanksgiving holiday could be the “inflection point” of a dangerous surge in cases that has already kicked off. He said the country is right at the beginning of “what looks like exponential growth” in the Midwest and Great Lakes region.








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The Trumps don’t seem to understand that their supporters are dying from the coronavirus

For two consecutive nights, as President Trump was barnstorming swing states, his two eldest sons appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, where they dismissed the threat posed by the coronavirus.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear, Arizona, U.S., October 28, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear, Arizona, U.S., October 28, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

On Wednesday, Eric Trump made his appearance. His interview was centered on the unfounded claim that social media companies were “censoring” conservatives.

“The one thing you don’t want to do to Americans is take away their free speech. It’s our First Amendment right for a reason,” he said, conflating Twitter’s efforts to stem disinformation with government censorship of speech.

“I’m telling you,” he added, “people aren’t happy about it. I think it’s probably become the number one issue in politics in the last couple of weeks.”

A claim that social media companies adding warnings to false claims by the president (which is really the recent spur for this frustration) is the number one issue in politics is unquestionably ridiculous. That the son of the president, someone who has been on the campaign trail stumping for his father, would say this with sincerity during a period when deaths from the coronavirus are on the rise is simply callous.

On Thursday, though, his brother Donald Trump Jr. tried to tell Ingraham that deaths weren’t on the rise.

“The reality is this,” he said. “I put it up on my Instagram a couple days ago, because I went through the CDC data, because I kept hearing about new cases, but I was like why aren’t they talking about deaths? Oh, oh: because the number is almost nothing.”

As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake reported, Trump Jr.’s claim that deaths were down to “almost nothing” was a function of his making a mistake that has been made repeatedly over the course of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks coronavirus deaths by confirming death certificates. Those certificates can come days or weeks after the deaths — deaths that are reported by counties and states in near real time. So the CDC numbers necessarily and demonstrably show fewer recent deaths but, over time, equivalent long-term totals.

It’s like arguing that there are very few coronavirus infections after scaling back testing for the virus. Which, of course, is what President Trump would like to do.

As his sons were misinforming Fox News viewers, Trump was misinforming attendees at his rallies.

“A safe vaccine is coming very quickly — you’re going to have it momentarily — that eradicates the virus,” he told a crowd in Arizona on Wednesday. “And we’re rounding the turn regardless.”

This assertion from Trump that the country is “rounding the turn” on the virus even without a vaccine is as untrue as his son’s claim that deaths are falling. Both cases and deaths are up, the former leading the latter by about two weeks. On Thursday, the country saw nearly

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A New, Large Study Finds Plasma Does Not Lower Risk of Dying from COVID-19


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Researchers in India report that COVID-10 patients who received convalescent plasma from recovered patients did not see a lower risk of dying from the disease.

The study, published in BMJ, included 464 people with moderate COVID-19 disease, meaning they had oxygen saturation levels of 93% or less when breathing room air, the criterion that most doctors use to determine if they should hospitalize people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the illness. Study co-author Aparna Mukherjee, a scientist in epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, notes that patients in her study would likely be considered severely ill in other countries, since definitions of illness vary considerably around the world. Once in the hospital, some patients in the study received two doses of convalescent plasma from those who had recovered from the disease and donated their immune cell-rich blood. These patients were compared to those treated with standard of care, who acted as a control group (but did not receive a placebo infusion). Both groups had similar mortality rates after 28 days.

“This study had a large sample size and it showed that when plasma is infused in patients who have moderate COVID-19 (similar to severe in other countries), it did not reduce mortality or progression to more critical COVID-19,” Aparna Mukherjee, a scientist in epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research and one of the co-authors of the study, said in an email response to questions.

The results add to the continued debate over how useful convalescent plasma might be as a treatment for COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is one of the oldest therapies that doctors have used in treating infectious diseases, based on the idea that people who are naturally infected and recover will have a ready supply of the proper immune cells needed to fight off the virus or bacteria in question. But because people’s immune systems vary widely, their volume of disease-fighting cells is also unpredictable, and may range from barely adequate levels to extremely rich sources of immune cells. That variability has led to conflicting results on the effectiveness of the therapy, including in this study, which used donated plasma from people who were sick for an average of six days with what the authors describe as mild disease.

Two other international studies also failed to find a benefit of convalescent plasma, but those were stopped early because too few eligible patients were enrolled. Other, smaller studies were more encouraging, so in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the therapy in August that allows doctors to treat patients with plasma. Key public health leaders including Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, however, have noted that researchers are still studying convalescent plasma’s role in COVID-19. Those ongoing studies are comparing people who receive

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Number of South Koreans dying after flu shot rises, prompts vaccine worries

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – At least 13 South Koreans have died after receiving flu shots in recent days, according to official and local media reports, ramping up fears about vaccine safety even as authorities rule out a link.

Health authorities said on Wednesday they had no plans to suspend a programme to inoculate around 19 million people for free after a preliminary investigation into six deaths found no direct connection to the vaccines.

No toxic substances had been found in the vaccines, and at least five of the six people investigated had underlying conditions, officials said.

Officials have reported nine deaths following flu vaccinations and the Yonhap news agency reported another four on Thursday.

The deaths, which include a 17-year-old boy and a man in his 70s, come just a week after the free flu shot programme for teenagers and senior citizens was restarted.

The programme was suspended for three weeks after it was discovered that some 5 million doses, which need to be refrigerated, had been exposed to room temperature while being transported to a medical facility.

South Korea’s vaccines come from a variety of sources. Manufacturers include local drug makers GC Pharma, SK Bioscience and Ilyang Pharmaceutical Co, along with France’s Sanofi and Britain’s Glaxosmithkline. Distributors include LG Chem Ltd and Boryung Biopharma Co. Ltd., a unit of Boryung Pharm Co. Ltd..

GC Pharma, LG Chem, SK Bioscience and Boryung declined to comment. Ilyang Pharmaceutical, Sanofi and GSK could not immediately be reached for comment.

South Korea had extended its seasonal vaccine programme this year to ward off any potential COVID-19 complications and overburdening hospitals over the winter.

Officials said 8.3 million people have been inoculated with the free flu vaccine since it resumed on Oct. 13, with around 350 cases of adverse reactions reported.

The highest number of deaths linked to the seasonal flu vaccination was six in 2005, according to the Yonhap news agency. Officials have said it is difficult to make comparisons to previous years because of the greater numbers of people taking the vaccine this year.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Sangmi Cha; editing by Jane Wardell)

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