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Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

The number of possible cases of severe respiratory illnesses among people who vaped nicotine or cannabis products has jumped by nearly 50% to 530 in 38 states and 1 territory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Why it matters: There have been 8 confirmed deaths related to e-cigarette use, but no single product or substance has been definitively tied to the illnesses, the CDC said in its media briefing. This includes products purchased from unauthorized retailers. The CDC still advises that people should avoid using e-cigarettes.

“I wish we had more answers ... I know this is very frustrating for the public. This is very frustrating for us. This is a complex investigation."
— Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at CDC

The CDC, Food and Drug Administration and individual states are having difficulty given the inconsistency of the cases. Some people are unable to talk about their illness given their symptoms, and in other cases, people are hesitant to disclose using illicit products.

  • The CDC says nearly three-quarters of patients are male, and two-thirds are 18–34 years old.
  • On Sept. 12, there were 380 cases in 36 states and 1 territory.
  • Most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients have reported using marijuana and nicotine, while some reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.
  • The FDA said Thursday that the agency's Office of Criminal Investigations has been pursuing a parallel investigation since the illnesses were first reported.

Background: Many states and the White House are pushing major anti-vaping efforts. Individual states are testing everything from banning flavored cartridges to public service announcements aimed at teens.

  • New data released Wednesday by the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirmed that the number of 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders using e-cigarettes has doubled in the past 2 years.

What to watch: The agencies expect the number of deaths to rise.

Go deeper: The global anti-vaping tipping point

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

Pandemic concerns change economic growth forecast

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Business economists have tempered their 2021 growth expectations, cutting nearly a point off their annual GDP forecast since earlier this year, according to the NABE outlook survey released today.

Why it matters: This reflects increased concerns over the pandemic's impact on the economy, particularly due to the spread of Delta and other variants. Panelists said that a faster vaccine rollout could improve their outlooks.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

German election: Social Democrats narrowly beat Angela Merkel's bloc

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

BERLIN — The center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) clinched a narrow victory in Germany's historic federal elections on Sunday, just four years after suffering its worst loss since World War II.

Why it matters: It's a stunning political comeback for the SPD, paving the way for its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz to form a new governing coalition and lead Europe's largest economy into the post-Merkel era.

NTSB investigating deadly Amtrak derailment in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived on Sunday evening at the site of an Amtrak train derailment near Joplin, Montana, which authorities said killed three people and wounded some 50 others.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Oregon, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m. Saturday, per an Amtrak statement.