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California won’t budge on theme parks; India 8M cases; CVS

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Infecting young, healthy people with COVID-19 is an important, but controversial, part of creating a viable vaccine.

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India surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Thursday, moving closer to surpassing the U.S. for the most infections in the world.

While daily infections have dropped to their lowest level this week, health experts are worried that a major Hindu festival and winter will increase the spread of the virus. The Health Ministry reported 49,881 infections and 517 fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the country’s death toll to 120,527.

Meanwhile, infections and deaths are surging in the U.S., with one American testing positive every 1.2 seconds and one death every 107 seconds, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Two “superspreader” events in New York, a wedding and birthday party, left 56 people infected with the virus and nearly 300 in quarantine. Long Island officials said the wedding violated the state’s 50-person limit while the birthday party did not.

“These kinds of superspreader events are a threat to our public health and to our continued economic recovery,” Steve Bellone, Suffolk County county executive, said at a news conference. 

On Twitter, Bellone added, “This type of blatant disregard for the wellbeing of others is not only extremely disappointing — it will not be tolerated.”

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.8 million cases and more than 227,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 44.4 million cases and 1.17 million deaths. A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Tuesday shows 20 states set records for new cases in a week, while three states (Nebraska Tennessee and Wyoming) had a record number of deaths in a week.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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COVID-19 cases are surging: An American dies every 107 seconds

The U.S. set a record this week for new coronavirus cases over a seven-day period with more than 500,000 infections. An American is testing positive every 1.2 seconds.

Daily deaths are also climbing — one of us is dying every 107 seconds, according to Johns Hopkins data. And daily hospitalizations have been rising steadily for more than a month, from 28,608 on Sept. 20 to more than 44,000 on Tuesday.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat it: We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors and the people you care about,” said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, whose state is seeing one of the nation’s worst outbreaks.

As winter approaches, America is facing a crucial fork in the road, said Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease expert and professor at the University of South Carolina.

“We might see a larger surge due to the pandemic fatigue Americans are experiencing,” Nolan told USA TODAY. “Americans are tired of adhering to

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CVS adding 15,000 employees ahead of flu season, coronavirus vaccine rollout

CVS Health announced Monday that the company would hire thousands of workers to fill positions ahead of an anticipated rise in coronavirus and seasonal flu cases this fall and the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The company said in a statement that the hirings would take place across the fourth quarter of 2020. Many of the positions are temporary with the potential of being extended to full employment.

“Additional team members typically are needed every flu season,” said Lisa Bisaccia, the company’s top HR official. “However, we’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities.”

“These jobs offer a rewarding career opportunity, with flexible hours, advancement potential and a supportive environment while helping people on their path to better health,” Bisaccia added.

CVS executives added in the news release that the company was advocating for regulations to be amended to allow for pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the supervision of a certified pharmacist, a move CVS argued would “help fill the urgent need to safely and quickly scale distribution of a vaccine and extend the capacity of the health care workforce to address the pandemic.”

“By leveraging CVS Health’s innovation and technology, we can help get more Americans back to work from the convenience of their own homes, where they can contribute to the company’s ongoing efforts to help solve the country’s health care challenges,” said Jeffrey Lackey, CVS’s vice president of talent acquisition.

More than 8 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus since the pandemic began. The White House launched Operation Warp Speed, a program aimed at providing funding and cutting red tape for companies working to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, earlier this year but it remains unclear if a workable vaccine will finish development this year.

Pfizer, a leading company at work developing a COVID-19 vaccine, said in recent days that it would not seek emergency authorization for its vaccine before the election, a possibility that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump ‘continues to lie to us’ about coronavirus MORE has raised in recent months.

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CVS to hire thousands of pharmacy techs as it prepares for more Covid-19 cases, rollout of vaccine

  • CVS wants to immediately hire 15,000 employees to prepare for an expected rise in Covid-19 and flu cases this fall and winter.
  • More than 10,000 of those will be full-time and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians who can help dispense medications and administer Covid-19 tests.
  • The expanding staffing could also help CVS prepare for the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, if federal officials allow pharmacy technicians to administer it.



a man holding a sign: A sign advertising free flu shots is seen at a CVS Pharmacy on October 14, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.


© Provided by CNBC
A sign advertising free flu shots is seen at a CVS Pharmacy on October 14, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.

CVS Health said Monday that it wants to immediately hire 15,000 employees to prepare for an expected rise in Covid-19 and flu cases this fall and winter.

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More than 10,000 of those will be full-time and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians who can help dispense medications and administer Covid-19 tests.

Public health officials have warned that Covid-19 cases will likely rise in the months ahead, as more Americans spend time indoors during colder weather. Cases are already growing. Average daily new cases of the coronavirus were up by at least 5% on a weekly basis in 39 states on Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 63,600 new cases reported in the U.S. on Thursday, pushing the seven-day average of daily new cases up more than 13% compared with a week ago.

The larger workforce could also help CVS prepare for another major phase of the pandemic: The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, once it’s available. Federal officials will need to give authorization to companies, including CVS, for pharmacy technicians to administer the vaccines under the supervision of an immunization-certified pharmacist.

CVS has advocated for the change, saying pharmacy technicians could help expedite the vaccine’s widespread distribution.

The health-care company has expanded its staffing and services during the pandemic. It has more than 4,000 Covid-19 drive-thru testing sites and has done nearly 5 million tests. In March, the company announced plans to fill 50,000 jobs for roles from delivery drivers to store associates to keep up with growing demand for over-the-counter medications, early refills of prescriptions and more at its approximately 10,000 pharmacies across the U.S.

Since then, CVS has hired about 76,000 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, company spokesman Joe Goode. It has about 300,000 employees.

Along with recruiting pharmacy technicians in the latest hiring effort, CVS is looking for pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and distribution center employees. The company said many of the new positions are temporary, but could become permanent.

Pharmacy technicians have less training and make lower pay than pharmacists. They’re required to have a high school diploma or GED and sometimes a license, compared with pharmacists, who must attend years of graduate training.

The pandemic has increased demand for the flu shot, a tool that public health officials are advocating to keep Americans healthy and reduce confusion between Covid-19 and the flu’s similar symptoms.

CVS expects to administer 18 million flu shots

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Tests available at City, CVS, Walmart and more

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COVID-19 testing sites within the City of El Paso are open.

According to the CDC, the virus can spread person-to-person within 6 feet through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Walmart COVID-19 testing

Individuals must schedule an appointment online at http://patient.questdiagnostics.com/myquestcovidtest.

Tuesday and Thursday weekly:

  • 1551 N. Zaragoza Road
  • 101 E. Redd Road
  • 3000 Saul Kleinfeld Drive
  • 10301 Alameda Ave.
  • 4716 Hondo Pass Drive
  • 10840 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • 3590 N. Zaragoza Road
  • 1110 Sunland Park Drive

CVS COVID-19 testing:

CVS officials report that the pharmacy will accept insurance at the drive-thru test sites; and uninsured patients will be covered under a program funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Individuals must register in advance at CVS Minute Clinic.

Days and hours vary per store.

  • 8041 N. Mesa St., Suite A
  • 1780 N Lee Trevino Drive
  • 12051 Tierra Este Road

Walgreens COVID-19 testing

Walgreens is offering no-cost COVID-19 testing.

Testing is available by appointment only and the details can be found online at https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing.

To receive an appointment for testing, individuals must first complete a screening survey online to determine eligibility. The test is a self-administered nasal swab test.

Individuals will be advised of location, date and time once screening is completed.

More: COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in El Paso. Here’s how to track cases.

City of El Paso Drive-thru testing:

Testing is free and available for anyone with or without symptoms.

Test results for the City sites will be provided within 24 to 72 hours.

Appointments are required by calling (915) 212-0783 Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Test results for GynPath tests are available at http://www.gynpath.com.

For assistance regarding your results email [email protected]

  • City testing East site; 301 George Perry Blvd.
  • City testing West site; 7400 High Ridge Drive

El Paso coronavirus update: Latest COVID-19 numbers

Project Vida Health Center:

Testing is free and available for anyone with or without symptoms.

Test results for GynPath tests are available at http://www.gynpath.com.

Appointments can be made by calling 915-298-5044 from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9 am.m-4 p.m.

  • Naftzger Clinic, 3612 Pera Ave.

Thursdays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • 7000 5th St. Canutillo, TX 79835

More: ‘We’re slipping’: El Paso reports all-time high COVID-19 cases; update on restrictions

State testing sites

Testing is free and available for anyone 5 years or older with or without symptoms.

Test results will be provided via email within 3-5 days.

If do not have an email address, you will be notified via phone call.

No appointments needed; however, once the daily capacity is met the site will be closed for the day.

Sept. 30-Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (7-days a week)

  • El Paso Community College Valle Verde Campus, 919 Hunter Drive
  • Nation Tobin Recreation Center, 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX

Sept. 30-Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sun-Fri, closed Saturday)

  • SISD Student Activities Complex, 1300 Joe Battle Blvd.

NOTE: The

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CVS, Walgreens to distribute Covid vaccines to nursing homes, feds say

The two drugstore chains are the best placed to send out mobile units to vaccinate seniors and other vulnerable people on site, Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“This is a completely voluntary program on the part of every nursing home. This is an opt-in program,” Mango said.

It will be up to the drugstore chains to figure out how to deliver the vaccines, including cold storage requirements and personal protective equipment. The retailers also will have to determine how to collect fees from Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for administering the vaccines, which must be provided to people free of charge, officials said.

Mango said the Operation Warp Speed team did not have any idea of how many nursing homes would choose to use the retailers. “We are not imposing our solution on anyone,” he said.

Operation Warp Speed is the federal government’s program to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director of infectious diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that a third of coronavirus deaths in the US have been among residents of long-term care facilities.

“We believe that this plan will be the quickest and easiest way to provide vaccines to long-term care facility residents,” Butler told reporters.

Johnson & Johnson pauses Covid-19 vaccine trial after 'unexplained illness'

Staff and residents of long-term care facilities are expected to be among the first to get vaccinated.

“We fully anticipate that both Pfizer and Moderna will have data of both safety and effectiveness of their vaccines very shortly. We are very encouraged because their clinical trials are going extraordinarily well,” Mango said.

“Part of the reason we are doing this is within 24 to 48 hours of the time the emergency use authorization is authorized, we expect to be putting needles into people’s arms,” Mango said. “This is pre-staging for what we believe will be rapid deployment.”

The CDC had asked states to submit plans for vaccine distribution by Friday. Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Sharpsten, director of supply and distribution for Operation Warp Speed, said this plan would help provide centralized management and “ensure there is comprehensive vaccine coverage for the American people.”

“Our goal is to broaden vaccine coverage,” Sharpsten said on the call.

Earlier Friday, President Trump said seniors would be the first to get any vaccine.

“Seniors will be the first in line for the vaccine. And we will soon be ending this pandemic,” Trump said during a visit to Ft. Myers, Florida.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in an open letter posted Friday he thought his company would know whether the vaccine it is testing protect against Covid-19 by the third week of November. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has made similar predictions for his company’s vaccine.

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Trump Administration Announced Vaccine Distribution Deal With CVS, Walgreens For Care Facilities

KEY POINTS

  • The Trump administration on Friday announced a deal with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities
  • The vaccine will be free for all residents and staff members in long-term care facilities
  • Johnson & Johnson’s late-stage coronavirus vaccine was paused after a participant reported an adverse effect

The Trump administration on Friday announced a deal with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19  vaccines to long-term care facilities when a safe vaccine is produced.

The vaccine will be free for all residents and staff members in long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care homes, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release.

CVS and Walgreens will coordinate on-site inoculation dates with each facility. The companies anticipate that three total visits over two months are likely to be needed to administer both doses of vaccine to residents and staff, the agency said.

“Protecting the vulnerable has been the number one priority of the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19, and that commitment will continue through distributing a safe and effective vaccine earliest to those who need it most,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the deal will ensure that nursing home residents, which have been hit hard by the virus, “are at the front of the line for the COVID vaccine and will bring their grueling trial to a close as swiftly as possible.”

The announcement comes the same day states must submit their draft plans to the federal government on how they will distribute a coronavirus vaccine if and when one is approved for public use.

Most of the potential vaccines require two doses, although Johnson & Johnson’s requires just one shot, and some of them need to be transported and stored at varying and specific temperatures.

Most notably, Johnson & Johnson’s late-stage coronavirus vaccine was paused after a participant reported an adverse effect, the company’s chief financial officer said Tuesday.

The pause will allow the data and safety monitoring board to thoroughly investigate the unexplained illness, CFO Joseph Wolk said in an interview on CNBC.

“We’re letting safety protocol follow the proper procedure here,” he said, adding that pauses in trials are “not uncommon.”

“What it should also do is reassure the public that every scientific, medical and ethical standard is being applied here,” Wolk added.

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