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Health Highlights: Oct. 9, 2020

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

U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Could Reach 233,000 by End of October: CDC

COVID-19 deaths in the United States could reach 233,000 by the end of October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The prediction is based on data from dozens of independent models, CNN reported.

"This week's national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID-19 deaths reported over the next four weeks and predicts that 2,800 to 6,800 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending October 31," according to a statement on the CDC's website.

COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of more than 212,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Americans Washing Hands More Often

Hand-washing has become more common among Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study finds.

Compared with October 2019, adults in June 2020 were 2.3 times more likely to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing or nose blowing, 2 times more likely before eating at a restaurant and 1.7 times more likely before eating at home, CNN reported.

Here's how often Americans washed their hands: after coughing, sneezing or blowing their noses, 53.3% in 2019 and 71.2% before eating in a restaurant, 55.2% in 2019 and 70.6% in 2020; before eating at home, 62.8% in 2019 and 74.4% in 2020.

The study was published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Dual Coronavirus-Flu Vaccine to Start Human Trials

Human trials of an experimental nasal spray vaccine for both the new coronavirus and seasonal flu are scheduled to start early next month, Hong Kong researchers say.

The early-stage trails of the dual vaccine -- which is meant to trigger an immune response in the nose's mucous membrane -- will enroll about 100 volunteers, the Washington Post reported.

The experimental vaccine is one of dozens of coronavirus vaccines under development worldwide, but apparently the first to also guard against the flu.

Public health experts have warned that the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and flu season could overwhelm hospitals, the Post reported.

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Mask Mandates, Business Closures Led to 75% Drop in Coronavirus Infections in Arizona

Coronavirus cases in Arizona fell 75% after cities made masks mandatory and businesses such as bars and gyms were closed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Infections in the state -- which had one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks over the summer -- peaked after stay-at-home orders were lifted, the Washington Post reported.

After an executive order banning communities from imposing mask mandates was rescinded in mid-June, most cities immediately introduced mandatory mask use in public, which affected about 85% of the state's population.

The study said the number of daily new coronavirus cases stabilized about two weeks later, around the time that bars, gyms, water parks and movie theaters were closed, and the 7-day average of new cases fell 75% from July 13 to Aug. 7, the Post reported.

The study was published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Women More Likely to Take Coronavirus Precautions Than Men

American women are more likely than men to follow COVID-19 prevention guidelines, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed 800 people and found that women were more likely than men to say they maintain social distance, stay at home, wash hands frequently and get together less with family and friends, CNN reported.

The only area where there wasn't a difference between women and men was how often they had contact with people other than friends or family, according to the study published recently in the journal Behavioral Science & Policy.

The researchers also observed pedestrians in New York City, New Haven, Connecticut, and New Brunswick, New Jersey and found that 55% of women wore masks, compared with 38% of men, CNN reported.

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