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Morning virus brief: Researchers identify first drug proven to reduce COVID-19 deaths; US retail sales jump
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Morning virus brief: Researchers identify first drug proven to reduce COVID-19 deaths; US retail sales jump

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Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

Results were announced Tuesday and researchers said they would publish them soon. The study is a large, strict test that randomly assigned 2,104 patients to get the drug and compared them with 4,321 patients getting only usual care.

The drug was given either orally or through an IV. After 28 days, it had reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen. It did not appear to help less ill patients. Read the full story here:

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • U.S. retail sales jumped by a record 17.7% from April to May, with spending partially rebounding after the coronavirus had shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months.
  • Scientists at Imperial College London will start immunizing people in Britain this week with their experimental coronavirus shot, while pharmaceutical company Sanofi and the French government announced more than 800 million euros ($890 million) in investment Tuesday as part of the worldwide race to find an effective vaccine.
  • Chinese authorities locked down a third neighborhood in Beijing on Tuesday as they rushed to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100 people in a country that appeared to have largely contained the virus.
  • Germany launched a coronavirus tracing app Tuesday that officials say is so secure even government ministers can use it, though developers acknowledge it isn't perfect yet.
  • The American casino industry wants gambling regulators to make it easier to adopt cashless payment transactions on the casino floor, citing a desire to help customers avoid handling money during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The number of people in the U.K. claiming job-related benefits increased by a monthly 23.3% in May to 2.8 million, according to official figures released Tuesday.
  • McDonald’s sales are gradually improving as more of its restaurants reopen worldwide.
  • Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Monday announced the death of her father due to complications from COVID-19.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further to learn about the long-term effects of having COVID-19, interactive maps showing the spread, a quiz and more.

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What are the potential long-term effects of having COVID-19?

It's hard to say exactly, because the coronavirus is still so new that scientists don't know much about long-term effects. The best evidence comes from patients themselves, and some experience a variety of symptoms long after their infections have cleared. Read the full story here:

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