Health Highlights: May 6, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Human Trials of Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine Begin in U.S.

An experimental coronavirus vaccine began human trials in the United States on Monday, Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech said.

If the trials show that the vaccine is effective, it could be available for emergency use in the United States as early as September, The New York Times reported.

The experimental vaccine, called BNT162, is being jointly developed by the two companies and the first human trials of the vaccine began in Germany last month.

In the United States, the plan is to test the vaccine on 360 healthy volunteers in the first stage of the study, with up to 8,000 more participants added by the end of the second stage, The Times reported.

Other companies have also launched human trials of experimental coronavirus vaccines, but no vaccine has yet been approved to fight the virus.


Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg Treated for Gallbladder Infection

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been treated in hospital for a gallstone that was causing an infection, the court announced Tuesday.

A statement said the 87-year-old is “resting comfortably” at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after the nonsurgical treatment on Tuesday and is expected to remain there for a day or two, NBC News reported.

Last summer, Ginsberg was treated for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, and she had surgery for lung cancer in late 2018.

Ginsberg has said she will stay on the Supreme Court as long as her health permits, NBC News reported.


U.S. COVID-19 Death Estimate Doubled

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States predicted by a model often cited by the Trump administration has doubled.

The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) at the University of Washington had predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning, but later increased that toll to 134,000, CNN reported.

In related news, a Trump administration model projects a rise in COVID-19 deaths to about 3,000 a day nationwide by June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times.

About 2,000 people died of COVID-19 each day in the United States over the past week, Johns Hopkins University data show.

One reason for the steep increases in number of deaths in the models is the easing of social distancing and other restrictions in some states.

Another factor is the rising number of cases in some meatpacking plants in the country, IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray told CNN.