The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the U.S. won’t be able to contain COVID-19 as new cases continue to hit record highs.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.” When asked why the U.S. can’t attempt to curb the virus, Meadows said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Instead, Meadows said that “what we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die from this.”
Tapper: “Why not make efforts to contain it?”
Meadows: “We are making efforts to contain it.”
Tapper: “By running all over the country not wearing a mask?”
Meadows: “What we need to do is make sure we have the proper mitigation factors… make sure people don’t die from this”
Meadows’ remarks fall in line with the Trump administration’s lack of a plan for containing the virus, like say, implementing national guidelines to control the infection rate. Over 224,000 Americans have died since the pandemic’s outset, with health officials encouraging the public to continue wearing masks, as they could save almost 130,000 lives in the coming months.
During his CNN interview, which was received online with a combination of shock and outrage, Meadows also defended the large campaign rallies that Trump has continued to host as the election nears, where masks and social distancing measures aren’t enforced. “We live in a free society,” Meadows said after Tapper pushed him on the rallies.
The U.S. reported 83,757 new confirmed cases on Friday, eclipsing the previous daily record of 77,300 in mid-July. On Saturday, the country reported an additional 83,718 cases. As CNBC points out, research suggests that the U.S. could see over 500,000 total deaths by the end of February if states don’t intensify pandemic limitations.
Meadow’s interview inspired a visceral action online and beyond, with Joe Biden slamming the Trump administration for its failure to safeguard the U.S. “Mark Meadows stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they’ve given up on their basic duty to protect the American people,” the former vice president said in a statement.
“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t.”
A total of 30 people were infected at the Sunny Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Chelmsford, according to statistics released weekly by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
MORE: Key coronavirus indicators suggest as winter approaches, US headed in wrong direction
The outbreak comes after 15 weeks of no positive cases at the nursing home, Sunny Acres administrator Jeff Schwartz wrote on its website. Many of the residents began testing positive in late September.
“Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to keep this rapidly spreading and highly contagious virus out of this center,” Schwartz said.
Several residents have moved past their 14-day isolation period and are now recovering, Schwartz said. The facility has been receiving support from infection control specialists and has been following state and federal COVID-19 guidance.
Meanwhile, one church in North Carolina has been barred from holding services after a week-long convocation drew more than 1,000 people, leading to three deaths.
MORE: Wisconsin’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow
The convocation held by the United House of Prayer for All People led to a COVID-19 cluster tied to 121 cases in three counties, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported. Those numbers do not include an additional 127 people who were tested in drive-by facilities on Friday.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department issued an “Abatement of Imminent Hazard” on the church due to the cluster.
“We have taken this action out of an abundance of caution to prevent the COVID-19 virus from further spreading in our community,” Mecklenburg County public health director Gibbie Harris said in a statement. “This type of order is rare, but sometimes necessary. It prevents the church from opening or allowing any further gathering, making sure we stop this outbreak from going any further.”
The order was issued after church leaders announced they still planned to hold large events scheduled for Oct. 25 through Oct. 31, according to WSOC.
All in-person gatherings at United House of Prayer facilities are now canceled until at least Nov. 6, and the church is required to clean and disinfect indoor surfaces.
The U.S. has now surpassed 225,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
There have been 225,061 deaths from COVID-19, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
A federal health agency offered early access to coronavirus vaccines if Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and Christmas elves participated in a $250 million public service COVID-19 ad campaign— which is no more.
Paid for by taxpayer money, the ads were set to promote the benefits of vaccinations with the goal to recruit celebrities to urge Americans to get inoculated once a vaccine is available. However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services told the Wall Street Journal that the plan has since been abandoned.
The campaign was conceived by Michael Caputo, a former H.H.S. assistant secretary. Caputo took medical leave last month after he denounced other federal health officials for “sedition” and made other bizarre allegations in a Facebook post.
A H.H.S. spokeswoman said that its director, Secretary Alex M. Azar II, “had no knowledge of these outreach discussions.”
According to the Journal, Caputo reached out to Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, in late August to ask if the organization’s members would participate in the initiative. Caputo was looking to run ads on TV, radio, social media, and podcasts, as well as host live events in 35 cities.
A recording of the pair’s conversation revealed that Erwin gladly accepted the proposal in exchange for early access to the vaccine: “If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is,” Mr. Caputo says, to which Mr. Erwin replies, “Ho! Ho! Ho! I love you!”
Erwin also guaranteed to bring 50 fully outfitted Santas to an event in southern California, telling Caputo, “My friend, we will pull this sleigh uphill ourselves if we have to.”
He also told the Journal that he thought the campaign’s cancellation was “extremely disappointing.”
The actors who play Santas are having a tough season as many stores have called off seasonal exhibits where children visit with Santa and share their Christmas wishes. Stores are afraid these displays could become superspreader events— not to mention that many Santa actors are at a higher risk to contract the virus since they tend to be elderly and overweight and are immunocompromised due to heart disease and diabetes.
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Cancer doesn’t take a pause, and screenings can save lives (“Drop in Cancer Screenings Fuels Worry,” U.S. News, Oct. 16). Health-care providers are taking Covid-19 seriously and have implemented numerous safeguards to safely provide critical screenings and cancer treatments. Eight months into this pandemic, your health-care providers have learned a lot about how to protect their patients and themselves during screening appointments. For more information on how to reschedule your medical screenings and appointments, the easiest thing you can do is to call and talk with your doctor’s office. It is so important to get those screenings back on the books.
CEO, Prevent Cancer Foundation
People don’t have to sit back and wait until they feel safe going to see a doctor to get screened for colon cancer. They can use Cologuard at-home colon cancer screening kits. The earlier colon cancer is caught, the better the outcome can be for the patient. It’s important to screen on time and stay up to date.
Pressure to create a coronavirus vaccine is increasing by the day, but for a safe vaccine to enter the market, it takes time.
Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccine plan doesn’t say for certain who gets immunized first when vaccines roll out, but the working document suggests priority will go to a broad category of health care workers.
Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services recently submitted its draft coronavirus vaccine plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was a requirement for all states.
The state plans were due Oct. 16. Arizona’s draft plan builds off a model it used during the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009. Arizona’s plan will be updated as more details are provided to the state from federal partners, state health officials say.
A more detailed “operational” vaccine plan is expected to be completed further along in the process. State health officials say they don’t have a definitive date for when that plan will be released.
In Thursday’s presidential debate, President Donald Trump said there was a COVID-19 vaccine “that’s ready.”
But experts say it’s unlikely a vaccine will be available until the end of the year, and many place wide distribution at sometime in 2021. To date, no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA, either through the regular approval process or by emergency use authorization.
Who might be immunized first?
While more than one COVID-19 vaccine may become available, there might not be enough supply to initially go around. That’s why government officials need to consider who to immunize first, and the ways that they will distribute it.
The state plan references priority populations outlined in the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Playbook released in September, as well as guidance contained in a federal report released earlier this month.
Both the CDC playbook and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report prioritize health care workers and first responders during the first phase of the vaccine rollout.
A state worksheet in the draft plan lists the priority order by category for receiving vaccines, before it would go to the general population:
1a: Health care personnel, among them pharmacists, pharmacy techs, school nurses, home health aides, health care support workers, practitioners and first responders.
1b: Other essential workers such as food industry workers, teachers and child care workers.
1b: People at increased risk for COVID-19 illness, including people age 65 and older.
2: People at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting the coronavirus, such as individuals attending colleges and universities and racial and ethnic minority groups.
2: People with limited access to routine vaccination services, including people with disabilities and people who don’t speak English.
“While target groups and prioritization tiers may differ somewhat for each local jurisdiction, this worksheet will assist in estimations and reinforce key planning elements,” Arizona Department of Health Services spokesman Steve Elliott wrote in an email.
The state plan, CDC playbook and NASEM report all reference health inequities that need to be addressed
Almost eight months after the White House first announced it would move from containment to mitigation efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Administration is now pinning its hopes on vaccines to inoculate the population and therapies to treat the disease.
Months after announcing it would be working with technology giants Apple and Google on a contact tracing app (and nearly two months after Google and Apple rolled out their exposure notification features) and initiating wide spread testing efforts nationwide with the largest national pharmacies (which never received the coordinated support it needed), the Administration appears to be giving up on a national effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that the US is “not going to control the pandemic… We are gonna control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation.”
The admission is a final nail in the coffin for a federal response that could have involved a return to lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus, or national testing and contact tracing and other mitigation measures. Meadows statement comes as the US experiences a second peak in infection rates. There are now over 8.1 million cases and over 220,000 deaths since the first confirmed infection on US soil on January 20.
The number of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is going to continue to grow sharply as we enter the winter; until all of us on our own start taking enough collective action to slow the spread. There is no seasonal backstop, and won’t be any new national policy action. https://t.co/YoCFZkhVSb
Now, the focus is all on the vaccines, therapies and treatments being developed by large pharma companies and startups alike that are making their way through the approval processes of regulatory agencies around the world.
The vaccines in phase three clinical trials
There are currently 12 vaccines in large scale, late-stage clinical trials around the world, including ones from American companies Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Therapeutics, and Pfizer who are recruiting tens of thousands of people in the US and UK to volunteer for testing.
In China, the state run pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has filed its application to China’s regulatory commission for the approval of a vaccine and hundreds of thousands of civilians have already been vaccinated under emergency use approvals from the Chinese government, according to a report in the New Yorker. Meanwhile the privately held Chinese pharmaceutical company, Sinovac, is moving forward with phase three trials for its own vaccine in Brazil, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Another
As a general rule, the administration’s malevolence shocks me more than its incompetence. Over the weekend, however, it was the latter that came to the fore. One would think that after a covid-19 cluster developed in the White House earlier this month because of its criminal incompetence, Trump officials would have been more conscientious about taking precautions to prevent any further spread.
In retrospect, this was silliness on my part. The day Trump was diagnosed, the Associated Press reported, “The White House does not appear to be making any changes to current virus protocol, even after President Trump and the first lady tested positive for covid-19. A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as ‘a personal choice,’ despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.” Trump’s reaction after returning to the White House also suggested willful disregard for any precautionary measures.
Sure enough, another cluster has emerged in the White House, in Vice President Pence’s office. That is correct: The head of the federal government’s coronavirus task force has been unable to prevent the spread of covid-19 to his own staff.
According to ABC News’s White House team, “Five individuals in Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus, including his chief of staff Marc Short and political aide Marty Obst.” Both ABC News and the New York Times further report that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows did not want to immediately reveal that Short and the others had tested positive. My Post colleague Josh Dawsey reports that Pence’s body man is among the others who tested positive.
Pence and his wife tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but given his proximity to those who tested positive, it would seem like Contact Tracing 101 that he should quarantine. However, Pence’s press flack issued a statement explaining that “while Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”
On Sunday, Meadows went on CNN’s “State of the Union” to talk to Jake Tapper about all of this, and finally revealed the truth about how the White House thinks about the pandemic: It has decided there is no longer any point in fighting back. As the AP reported, “With covid-19 cases surging in the United States, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows acknowledged that the Trump administration can’t stop the spread and is focusing instead on getting a vaccine.”
Think this is an exaggeration? Watch this clip:
The United States is weeks, if not months, away from a functional vaccine. Even then, it will take several months after that for daily life to appreciably change. Nonetheless, the Trump White House has looked at this difficult problem and decided to allocate the bulk of its efforts into concealing the truth and
(Reuters) – The United States has seen its highest ever number of new COVID-19 cases in the past two days, keeping the pandemic a top election issue as Vice President Mike Pence travels the country to campaign despite close aides testing positive.
The United States reported 79,852 new infections on Saturday, close to the previous day’s record of 84,244 new cases. Hospitalizations are also rising and have hit a two-month high and deaths are trending upwards, according to a Reuters tally. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
So far in October, 29 states have set records for increases in new cases, including five considered key in the Nov. 3 presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Hospitals are strained in several states including North Dakota, which is the hardest hit based on recent new cases per capita, according to a Reuters analysis.
The city of El Paso in Texas is asking residents to stay home for the next two weeks and the wider El Paso County closed its parks and recreational facilities for 14 days.
Over the last three weeks, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the El Paso area has tripled to a record 786, according to state data. (http://www.epstrong.org)
“If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire healthcare system,” the city’s public health director, Angela Mora, said in a statement. “For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve.”
On Saturday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the federal government to allow the use of an army medical center at Fort Bliss by non-coronavirus patients to ease the burden on hospitals.
On Sunday, Abbott said state emergency management officials will open an alternate care site this week, initially with 50 beds, at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center.
NEW WHITE HOUSE OUTBREAK
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive on Saturday as well as multiple other senior aides. Despite the outbreak, the White House said the vice president would press ahead with campaigning, visiting North Carolina on Sunday and Minnesota on Monday.
The new infections offered a reminder of the way Trump – who was hospitalized for three nights this month after contracting COVID-19 – and those around him have downplayed the advice of public health experts to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines to stem COVID-19 transmission.
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” why Pence was not following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to quarantine for 14 days after such exposure, Meadows on Sunday cited the vice president’s status as “essential personnel.”
The latest outbreak follows what health experts described as a super-spreader event at the White House on Sept. 26 where President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece reported 935 new infections of COVID-19 on Saturday, a fresh daily record, as further restrictions to deal with a new wave kicked in for high-risk regions.
In Athens, home to half the population, people were largely complying with new rules from Saturday for worst-hit areas, including mandatory mask-wearing in outdoors spaces and no movement from 12.30 a.m.-5 a.m.
“On the one hand they are right, but on the other hand they overdid it. There are a lot of restrictions,” said pensioner Nikos, wearing a black mask in central Athens’ Syntagma square.
“The measures they took were taken late, and they didn’t take measures to disperse young people gathering at squares,” added Antonis Marietis, sitting on a bench.
Lockdowns have already been imposed in two regions in the north, Kozani and Kastoria.
Greece has recorded significantly lower numbers than most other countries in Europe, though cases started to rise in early October as testing increased.
Five more deaths were registered on Saturday, health authorities said, bringing the total to 564, many of them elderly and more than 95% of them with underlying health issues.
Greece has reported 29,992 infections in total.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Vassilis Triandafyllou; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
BANGKOK, Oct 25 (Xinhua): Thai health authorities on Sunday said Covid-19 virus was found on the surface of fitness equipment in a hotel gym where an infected patient was quarantined.
“However, rest assured, health officials had conducted swab tests on 67 people in the hotel and all were cleared of infection,” said Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Director-General of the Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health.
Seven specimens from the environment in the hotel in Bangkok’s adjacent province of Samut Prakan were examined and the virus was found in one of them, he added.
There was a risk of quarantined people spreading the virus in a gym or in other areas of the hotel, he said.
Due to this incident, the ministry’s Disease Control Department and the Department of Health Service Support have decided to tighten up preventive measures at hotels used as quarantine facilities.
Regarding the infected case, a French woman, Opas said that the latest blood test showed no sign of antibodies, while her husband, son and a friend who picked her up at Samui airport have been cleared of the virus.
All 10 passengers on the same flight with the woman from Bangkok to Koh Samui, and two cabin crew, have been tested with negative results and all have been isolated for observation.
The 57-year-old woman entered quarantine at a hotel in Bangkok on Sept 30 after her arrival from France.
She underwent two tests during the 14-day mandatory quarantine period, which both returned negative results.
Two days later she fell ill, with a fever, cough and muscle pain, and was admitted to a private hospital on the island. Two subsequent tests confirmed she was infected.
Thailand on Sunday reported four new coronavirus cases, including the women and three others identified whilst in state quarantine, taking the total number of infections to 3,736.- Xinhua