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Meningitis outbreak death toll rises to 23 as reported cases also increase

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Nearly two-dozen have died as disease is traced back to fungal contaminate at New England compounding company

The death toll from a rare form on fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid shots prepared by a Massachusetts pharmacy has now risen to 23, health officials said Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted in its latest update that a further two additional patients are now known to have been given the fatal injection. It also increased the total number of reported cases to 284.

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Some 16 states have now been affected by the widening health scare, thought caused by batches of infected medications shipped out by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) – a pharmacy compounder near Boston that could face criminal charges over the outbreak.

On Thursday it was confirmed that a fungal contaminate found in a sealed vial of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate at the company matched that blamed for the 20-plus deaths.

All the victims had all received steroid shots made by the NECC, mostly to treat back pain. As many as 14,000 people received injections derived from batches mixed at the pharmacy.

Earlier this week, federal agents from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided NECC’s premises in the Boston suburb of Framingham.

Accompanied by local police officers, the raid came amid growing concerns that other medications sent out by the company may be contaminated, a concern that could drastically escalate the national health scare.

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The pharmacy compounder has a checkered history of violating health and safety standards, having been cited on numerous occasions by the FDA prior to the latest outbreak.

As well as the prospect of potential criminal action, the company is already the subject of numerous civil lawsuits by those affected by the meningitis outbreak. It is thought that at least 10 different complainants have now lodged legal documents suing the NECC.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying threat from coronavirus: report

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Major Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity spent weeks assuring viewers that the novel coronavirus wasn't a serious threat. In recent weeks, however, they have shifted to a different narrative, acknowledging that the virus is dangerous but giving President Donald Trump credit for taking action and criticizing Democrats' lack of action — even though many Democrats, in fact, warned the pubic first.

But according to The Daily Beast, even as there is no clear end to the crisis in sight, and even as the U.S. crosses 13,000 deaths, many Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying the virus, either telling viewers it wasn't as bad as advertised and urging the president to end public safety measures against it.

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The dangers of Trump TV: MSNBC host hammers Fox News as ‘genuine public health threat’ amid pandemic

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Tuesday night, Fox News decided that all anyone needed to do is to pump Americans with a Malaria drug and send them back to work to save President Donald Trump's economy.

Speaking Wednesday night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes bashed the conservative network for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus, saying that they are "a genuine public health threat."

While Trump has advisers like Dr. Anthony Fauci, he also has the unofficial advisers he sees on Fox News.

They "are coalescing around the idea the whole thing is just overblown and we need to pump everyone full of the malaria drug and get them back to work. This is what you heard if you watch trump tv just last night," Hayes said. He then played clips illustrating exactly that, with hosts ranting and raving about the virus not being as serious as the flu.

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‘Don’t let him rewrite history’: GOP ex-congressman slams Trump for painting fewer than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths as a victory

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At Wednesday's coronavirus task force press conference, President Donald Trump reiterated his claim that if fewer than 100,000 Americans die from COVID-19, it will be a victory for him.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) had none of it.

He ignored the warnings. He ignored the scientists & doctors. He refused to prepare. He lied about the virus. This country wasn’t ready. People got sick. People died. People lost their jobs. Because he cared more about himself than the country.

Don’t let him rewrite history. https://t.co/9snqoJ1VQI

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