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Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

U.S.|Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Some researchers have begun testing experimental vaccines on themselves.

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Credit…The New York Times

Do-it-yourself projects in the time of the coronavirus go far beyond homemade masks and Zoom knitting classes. For dozens of scientists who believe that exceptional times call for exceptional measures, experimental Covid-19 vaccines are the new frontier.

These researchers have inoculated themselves — and, sometimes, friends and family — bypassing the rigorous tests required for conventional vaccines and raising fears of potential side effects.

Methods, credentials and claims vary widely. At one end of the spectrum is the 23-person Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative, whose ranks include a renowned Harvard geneticist. It plans to offer its vaccine for free and has produced a lengthy scientific document explaining how it works and how to recreate it.

At the other end are one-man shows like Johnny Stine, who runs the Seattle biotech firm North Coast Biologics. Mr. Stine charged people $400 for his unproven vaccine and got in trouble with the Food and Drug Administration, which ordered him to stop “misleadingly” representing it.

These experiments follow a long history of scientists openly testing vaccines on themselves and their children, but they have become less common in recent decades, according to a medical historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Defenders of the vaccine projects say that everyone can benefit from these scientists’ findings, as long as they’re measured about their claims and transparent about the process. But critics argue that little can be gleaned without extensive studies and trials, and that ineffective vaccines could offer a false sense of protection and even be harmful.

Moving forward in Russia. President Vladimir Putin said the nation’s vaccine, Sputnik V, announced in early August, was ready for use outside of clinical trials. Though health officials said mass vaccination would start next month, the health ministry has pushed back the timeline to November or December, when other countries have said a vaccine may be available.

The U.S. Open kicked off yesterday in New York. But for most of the players the Grand Slam event began at least two weeks ago, when they arrived at a hotel on Long Island to enter a quarantine bubble.

Typically, playing at the U.S. Open, even for those who don’t make it very far, comes with the perk of being able to enjoy New York City’s nightlife, neighborhoods or shopping during downtime. But not during the pandemic. Players this year are mostly confined to the arcades and cafes inside their hotel or the National Tennis Center.

The experience can feel particularly brutal for those who have traveled thousands of miles, only to quickly lose. Damir Dzumhur, who spent more than two weeks in the bubble, was sent home by the world No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, in the first round Monday.

“My friends were telling me how lucky I was to be in New York,” Mr. Dzumhur said after his loss. “I keep telling them, ‘Don’t be jealous.’”

Quarantines aren’t all bad for athletes. Many have performed as well or better than ever, saying they have turned shutdowns into an opportunity. They feel refreshed by less exhaustive travel, enhanced focus on training and more time for injuries to heal.

  • Doctors in the capital of Nigeria went on strike, saying that the government had not followed through on its promise of hazard pay.

  • With the virus spreading quickly in Gaza, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed Monday night to ease up on bombarding each other.

  • Hawaii, trying to quell a surge of the coronavirus that hit in mid-August, began requiring visitors and residents arriving on the islands to register online beforehand.

  • After tens of thousands of unmasked protesters turned out to rally against virus restrictions in Berlin, the city instituted a rule that requires masks for demonstrations with more than 100 participants.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

I gave myself permission to go up a jean size and to finally ditch the bras — worked wonders for my mental health!

— Jane Olenchuk, San Francisco

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