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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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2020 Election

Trump accuses Democrats of ‘trying to steal an election’ with mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic

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President Donald Trump accused Democrats of conspiring to steal an election at a hastily arranged news conference held at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

And angry Trump lashed out at Democrats for seeking to allow voting by mail in the November election.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's press conference, where he questioned if Democrats love America:

https://twitter.com/jeffmason1/status/1292196974746370055

https://twitter.com/margarettalev/status/1292197337465597957

https://twitter.com/ToluseO/status/1292197677984354306

https://twitter.com/vmsalama/status/1292197526960054273

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Pelosi blasts Trump as ‘not a well person’ and wonders if GOP is motivated by a ‘manhood thing’: report

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) briefed members of the Democratic Caucus on Saturday about the state of negotiations over the next coronavirus stimulus bill.

Luke Broadwater, a congressional correspondent for The New York Times, posted a thread about the call on Twitter, citing "sources on call."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was also on the call, and reportedly blasted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for the failure to reach a deal.

“Meadows, when John Boehner and Paul Ryan was Speaker, impeded every agreement they tried to make with us on must-pass legislation," Hoyer reported said.

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Democratic pressure on intel agencies exposed a motherlode of information on foreign meddling helping Trump: report

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On Saturday, Politico reported that congressional Democrats believe their pressure campaign on the intelligence community was crucial to exposing Russia's newest plot to interfere with U.S. elections on behalf of President Donald Trump.

"For weeks, top Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate have been blaring warnings and demanding briefings and public disclosures from the intelligence community, shrugging off Republican charges that they’re politicizing intelligence," reported Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney. "And Democrats can now point to evidence that their pressure campaign might be working. On Friday, the Trump administration’s counterintelligence chief publicly confirmed that Russia is attempting to harm Joe Biden’s candidacy in 2020. The official, William Evanina, even singled out a pro-Russia Ukrainian, Andrii Derkach, as a key participant in the Kremlin’s new effort."

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