CLOSE Without masks and a vaccine, we could reach Herd Immunity from COVID-19, but deaths would skyrocket. We break down the science of it. USA TODAYMissouri Gov. Mike Parson and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, the same day another Republican elected official, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, once again engaged Dr. Anthony Fauci in a contentious debate over the U.S. pandemic response. And President Donald Trump cast doubt on the FDA’s assurances that it would keep politics out of the vaccine-approval process.Earlier in the day, Johnson & Johnson said it was beginning the final stage of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate trial as the company hopes to provide safe and effective protection with a single shot.While other companies have already begun their late-stage trials, Johnson & Johnson’s is the first vaccine candidate to reach Phase 3 requiring only one dose, which could ease the challenges of vaccine distribution.The news comes as the nation’s top health experts told a Senate panel Wednesday that regulatory agencies were not cutting corners when it comes to vaccine safety.”We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease

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