MANILA, Philippines — A House panel yesterday approved a bill seeking the stockpiling of medicines for public health emergencies like the current coronavirus pandemic.
The committee on health chaired by Quezon Rep. Helen Tan has approved the substitute to the proposed “Health Procurement and Stockpiling Act,” which seeks to ensure supply of critical drugs, vaccines, devices and materials in times of public health emergencies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need to preposition critical and strategic pharmaceuticals and medical devices as well as the supply of raw materials. The country needs to be proactive in its response to public health emergencies,” explained Tan, principal author of the bill.
The bill proposes the creation of the Health Procurement and Stockpiling Bureau under the Department of Health, which will absorb the existing Procurement Service and the Supply Chain Management Service and serve as the principal agency mandated to undertake a transparent, fair, proactive and innovative procurement service for the DOH.
The new bureau will be tasked to stockpile, conserve and facilitate the release of adequate amounts of potentially lifesaving pharmaceuticals, vaccines, devices and materials in times of public health emergencies.
It will also be mandated to identify strategic and critical drugs and medicines, vaccines, devices and materials needed for public health emergencies that have the distinct capability of being stockpiled in strategic and secure areas of the country; supplement drugs and medicines, vaccines, devices and materials to state supplies acting as a stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of drugs and medicines, vaccines, devices and materials may not be immediately available; and ensure the rotation, replenishment and freshness of stocks and that there exists at all times steady, available and adequate supplies in responding to public health emergencies.
The proposed DOH bureau will also lead in facilitating the creation of a conducive environment to encourage pharmaceutical and device self-sufficiency for medical supplies needed by the country and spearhead the crafting of a multi-sector National Drug and Device Security Program geared towards the country’s self-reliance in producing drugs and medicines, vaccines, devices and materials.
Tan pointed out that based on the Joint External Evaluation Mission report, the Philippines, due to its location, is one of the most natural-disaster prone countries in the world and in the past decade the country has faced challenges in making solid progress in infectious disease control.
“Given this situation, the country’s preparedness in times of public health emergencies is significantly necessary such as during pandemics and natural disasters,” the lawmaker stressed.?
In proposing the measure, Tan lamented how COVID-19 caught the country and the world flatfooted as it affected the global and local production and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical devices as well as the supply of raw materials.
She recalled how some countries even imposed limits on export of medicines and medical supplies/equipment such as face masks, shields and ventilators to mitigate critical shortages in their countries likewise aggravated the situation.
The lawmaker cited, for
- Fitness influencer Alex Hager, 24, trains some of TikTok’s biggest stars, including residents of the Hype House and Sway LA.
- Hager has built an audience of around 250,000 TikTok fans by regularly posting videos with some of the app’s top creators.
- He uses TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to promote his digital fitness program, “Six Week Shred.”
- “My sales went up within two weeks of posting TikToks with these guys and then getting into YouTube and then posting [Instagram] Stories all the time,” Hager said.
- Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.
On October 13, Alex Hager uploaded a video of himself doing a set of wide-grip barbell curls on TikTok.
In the post, which has garnered over 100,000 views and around 9,500 likes, the 24-year-old fitness trainer offers tips on lifting form. But in the video’s comments section, a lot of the attention is on another TikToker in the background, Blake Gray, whose arms flop up and down as he practices a coordinated dance.
“Blake do be vibing in the back,” one TikTok user wrote.
Gray, along with his roommates, are collectively known as Sway LA and are some of the biggest TikTok stars in the world with tens of millions of combined followers. Hager has far fewer — around 250,000. But his frequent videos with the group have helped raise his TikTok profile this year and boost his business.
Hager isn’t paid by members of Sway LA for his training tips and said he counts them as friends. But the workouts with Sway LA and another wildly popular TikTok group, the Hype House, have helped Hager grow his social following, win sponsorship deals with brands, and promote his paid digital fitness program “Six Week Shred.” One of Hager’s TikTok videos advertising the program at a $10 price point drew 15,600 “likes” from users.
“My sales went up within two weeks of posting TikToks with these guys and then getting into YouTube and then posting [Instagram] Stories all the time,” he said.
Hager declined to share how much his program’s revenue grew once he began filming with the group. But he did share screenshots with Business Insider that showed new user sign-ups growing about 250% month-over-month between June and July 2020.
Like many fitness influencers, Hager also makes money from brand sponsorships on his social accounts. He recently pitched AfterShokz bluetooth headphones on TikTok and a zero carbohydrate protein drink on Instagram.
Like many of its stars, Hager’s TikTok career began taking off as attention moved online during the coronavirus pandemic
Hager’s rise to TikTok fame came at a moment when his other career plans were in flux.
At various points, Hager has worked as a fitness trainer, computer engineer, dabbled in singing, and even recorded how-to tech videos. He said he always tries to have “multiple eggs in multiple baskets.”
He’s also no stranger to LA’s social-media scene. Hager said he knew Hype House cofounder Thomas Petrou back when he was a member of the YouTube group
By Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
TUESDAY, Nov. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The pandemic is entering a new and “deadly” phase and the United States needs to adopt a more aggressive approach to curbing the spread of COVID-19, White House coronavirus response coordinator warned Monday.
The warning, expressed by Dr. Deborah Birx in a private memo to White House officials, was a direct contradiction to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the pandemic is “rounding the corner,” the Washington Post reported.
Birx’s memo painted a grim picture: “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” it said. “Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.”
The memo went further, and suggested that Trump and his advisers were spending too much time focusing on preventing lockdowns and not enough time on controlling the virus.
“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Birx wrote. “This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”
Until now, Birx has not criticized Trump or his administration in public, the Post reported. But her sharp critique mirrors a growing dread among government scientists and public health experts that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.
Birx now contradicts Trump on numerous points, the Post reported:
–While he holds large campaign rallies, she warns against them.
–While he blames rising cases on more testing, Birx says testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising.
–While he says the country is “rounding the turn,” Birx notes the country is entering its most dangerous period yet and will see more than 100,000 new cases a day this week.
The latest case counts suggest Birx is right: More than 9.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the seven-day average of new daily coronavirus infections in the United States hit a new high of 81,740 in Sunday, the Post reported.
Meanwhile, hospitals are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals, the Associated Press reported.
Nurses are being trained in fields where they have limited experience, hospitals are scaling back other medical services, and health systems are turning to short-term travel nurses to help fill the gaps, the AP reported.
Adding to the strain, experienced nurses are “burned out with this whole [pandemic]” and some are quitting, said Kevin Fitzpatrick, an emergency room nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., where several left just in the past month to work in hospice or home care or at outpatient clinics.
States say they don’t have enough money to distribute a COVID vaccine
Meanwhile, state health officials say they are frustrated about a lack of financial support from the federal government as they
‘We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,’ Birx wrote in a White House memo.
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who has carefully straddled the line between science and politics as she helps lead the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, delivered a stark private warning on Monday, telling White House officials that the pandemic is entering a new and “deadly phase” that demands a more aggressive approach.
The warning — sent in a private memo to White House officials as the nation — amounted to a direct contradiction of President Trump’s repeated false assertions that the pandemic is “rounding the corner.” In it, Dr. Birx suggested Mr. Trump and his advisers were spending too much time focusing on lockdowns, and not enough on controlling the virus.
“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic,” Dr. Birx wrote, adding, “This is not about lockdowns — It hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”
The report warned against the type of rallies that Mr. Trump has been holding. It also predicted that the United States would continue to see days when the number of new cases exceeded 100,000. Its existence was first reported by The Washington Post; a top White House official who has seen it confirmed its contents.
The blunt message was a striking one for Dr. Birx, who at least in public has resisted disagreeing with Mr. Trump. But with cases soaring around the country, and hospital intensive care units starting to fill up, government scientists and public health experts are growing increasingly concerned that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, has also been offering unusually blunt assessments, and is once again in Mr. Trump’s cross hairs as a result. At a campaign rally in Miami early Monday morning, Mr. Trump attacked the news media for its emphasis on the virus, which prompted the crowd to chant, “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”
To that, the president responded: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice.” What the president neglected to mention is that Dr. Fauci has Civil Service protections, and it would be extremely difficult for Mr. Trump to remove him.
Unlike Dr. Fauci, who has clashed repeatedly with the White House, Dr. Birx has taken a more measured approach, taking care never to openly criticize the president or his administration.
Dr. Birx was named the coronavirus response coordinator in March. The job has required her to manage the work of the White House coronavirus task force, tracking and orchestrating the government’s effort to contain the outbreak. In the early days of the pandemic, she projected a calm, authoritative presence — and a steady counterpoint to the mixed messages from Mr. Trump.
More recently, though, she has been eclipsed by Dr. Scott W. Atlas, Mr. Trump’s new pandemic adviser, who advocates allowing the virus to spread naturally among young people, while the government focuses its efforts on protecting
Since it was revealed in early October, details about President Trump’s COVID-19 infection have been in short supply, including the likely source of his exposure and when he was tested.
New research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle gives a glimpse into the spread of the disease among America’s first family and White House staff and guests.
Two journalists who directly interacted with White House officials at the end of September — but were not in each other’s company — contracted variations of the virus that were “highly genetically similar.” The genetic code from the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, that infected the journalists contained five unique mutations and were distinct from the genomes of more than 160,000 publicly available virus sequences.
Our research group at @fredhutch, @UWMedicine and @BrotmanBaty has sequenced the viral genomes of two SARS-CoV-2 infections that were connected to the White House #COVID19 outbreak. The @nytimes reports here: https://t.co/k54FDzVag9. 1/16
— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) November 1, 2020
The scientists said this particular lineage of the virus was first documented in the U.S. in April or May, but its exact spread from there was unclear.
Shortly after Trump was infected, Anthony S. Fauci — the nation’s top infectious-disease expert — said that the White House had been the site of a so-called super spreader event when it hosted a Rose Garden reception for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, now a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Photos show that many in attendance did not wear masks. At least 50 COVID-19 cases have been connected to an outbreak associated with the White House, according to the researchers.
Trump Administration officials at the time of the outbreak made little effort to do contact tracing to potentially help contain the spread — a decision that drew criticism from some health experts.
When it comes to the source of the White House infections, “it’s sort of an unknowable question, where it entered the environment,” said White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern, in a press conference on Oct. 7.
The Fred Hutch-led research calls that assertion into question. While it’s too late to use the information to limit spread from the initial event, genomic sequencing could provide additional insights into the path of transmission if more samples were tested. It could also help build a more complete picture of the outbreak’s spread by analyzing infections that occur weeks or months following the White House event.
Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciRegeneron halts trial of COVID-19 antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers Donald Trump Jr. claims US coronavirus death rate at ‘almost nothing’ MORE, the nation’s leading disease expert, took aim at the White House’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak as the country has seen a spike in cases as it approaches winter, saying “it’s not a good situation.”
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post in an interview this weekend. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “all the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors.”
“You could not possibly be positioned more poorly,” he continued.
In a broad interview with the paper, Fauci warned of the country reaching a point where it could see over 100,000 coronavirus cases recorded daily if it does not reverse course quickly when it comes to public health practices. His comments came shortly after the country recorded a surge in COVID-19 infections last week, as multiple states have been reporting record number of cases in recent weeks.
Fauci said in the interview that Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Trump leads Biden by 7 points in Iowa Biden campaign cancels event in Texas after pro-Trump cars surrounded its bus Obama shooting three pointer while campaigning for Biden goes viral MORE’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Trump leads Biden by 7 points in Iowa Biden campaign cancels event in Texas after pro-Trump cars surrounded its bus Obama shooting three pointer while campaigning for Biden goes viral MORE is “looking at it from a different perspective” by focusing on “the economy and reopening the country.”
He also said that the coronavirus task force has been having fewer meetings, despite rising cases in the country and that “the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly.”
Fauci told the paper that the president not as accessible to him and White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump, Biden set for weekend swing state sprint Kushner told Woodward in April Trump was ‘getting the country back from the doctors’ MORE as he once was. Fauci said the last time he and the president spoke was around the start of October.
“The last time I spoke to the president was not about any policy; it was when he was recovering in Walter Reed, he called me up,” Fauci told the paper.
“All of a sudden, they didn’t like what the message was because it wasn’t what they wanted to
The White House on Saturday unleashed on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, following his comments to the Washington Post that criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, including Dr. Scott Atlas, who the President has relied on for advice on handling the coronavirus.
“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President (Donald) Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to CNN on Saturday evening.
Deere took issue with Fauci’s comments where the doctor seemingly praises Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. Fauci told the Post that the Democratic nominee’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” While Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country,” according to the Post.
“As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent— exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp,” Deere said.
Fauci, a leading member of the government’s coronavirus response, said the United States needed to make an “abrupt change” in public health practices and behaviors, according to the Post. He said the country could surpass 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day and predicted rising deaths in the coming weeks.
“Dr. Fauci knows that the risks today are dramatically lower than they were only a few months ago with mortality rates falling over 80%. The Trump Administration, through the work of the Task Force, continues to surge testing, PPE, personnel, and capacity to protect the vulnerable, help schools reopen, and respond to conditions on the ground,” Deere said.
In Friday’s interview with the Post, Fauci also criticized Atlas, a neuroradiologist and Trump’s hand-picked coronavirus adviser, for his lack of expertise.
“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Atlas responded to Fauci on Twitter, tweeting on Saturday night:
As President Donald Trump fights his way through the final days of the presidential campaign denying the pandemic — by lashing out at doctors, disputing science and slashing the press for highlighting rising coronavirus case counts — the long-running rift between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci burst into the open Saturday night.
For months as Trump undercut his own medical experts, sidelined scientists and refused to take basic steps to control the virus while mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist held his tongue and took the President’s attacks in stride as he continued to plead with the American people to socially distance and wear masks.
But Fauci’s restraint appeared to have evaporated in a Washington Post interview that was published Saturday night, in which he called out the White House for allowing its strategy for fighting the virus to be shaped in part by a neuroradiologist with no training in the field of infectious disease and said he appreciated chief of staff Mark Meadows’ honesty when he admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper during a recent interview that the administration has given up controlling the spread of the virus.
At a time when Trump is downplaying the rising cases in the vast majority of states, dangerously holding huge rallies with few masks and no social distancing, and lodging the false and outlandish claim that doctors are exaggerating the number of Covid deaths for profit, Fauci told the Post that the nation is “in for a whole lot of hurt.”
“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place” as the country heads indoors in colder weather, Fauci told the newspaper in an interview late Friday — a day when the US set a global record for the most daily cases and the nation surpassed 229,000 deaths. “You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling
Fauci, who is widely trusted by the public after a lengthy career serving under six presidents from both parties, said Meadows was being candid in the interview last weekend where he told Tapper it was not possible to control the virus. Fauci has adopted the polar opposite strategy by repeatedly telling Americans that they can change the trajectory of the virus and save lives if they adhere to mask use, social distancing protocols and other safety precautions.
“I tip my hat to him for admitting the strategy,” Fauci told the Post of Meadows’
Private insurers must publish the prices they have negotiated with providers under a Trump administration rule aimed at lowering health-care spending by giving consumers more information about their out-of-pocket charges.
The rule completed Thursday calls for gradually increasing the requirements. Private insurers will have to post the negotiated prices for 500 “shoppable” services in 2023, with the mandate extended to all services by 2024.
The action comes in the final days of President Trump’s re-election campaign and after Democratic challenger Joe Biden has criticized him for backing a lawsuit to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, which could result in about 20 million Americans losing health coverage.
With health care among the top issues for voters, the president has made price transparency a key part of his message on the subject. His administration also issued a rule Wednesday to ensure seniors on Medicare get any possible coronavirus vaccine administered at no cost.
Insurers and hospitals have criticized the White House initiatives as too expensive and burdensome and of little use to consumers they say are unlikely to shop around based on negotiated rates. A federal judge in June ruled against hospitals that had sued to block a similar rule compelling them to negotiate their rates with insurers. The case is now with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force has reportedly warned of a “persistent and broad spread” of COVID-19 infections across the U.S. West, advocating stricter prevention efforts to help slow the spread of transmission, per Reuters.
“We are on a very difficult trajectory. We’re going in the wrong direction,” Anthony Fauci, the most prominent task force member, said.
PROPOSAL TO LET CORONAVIRUS SPREAD NATURALLY THROUGH US POPULATION INTERESTS WHITE HOUSE, ALARMS MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT
EUROPE REENTERS LOCKDOWNS AS COVID-19 CASES SURGE
THE FIRST DEATH FROM A CORONAVIRUS REINFECTION HAS BEEN REPORTED
US SENATOR TOOK OFF MASK REPEATEDLY ON FLIGHT. HE CHAIRS COMMITTEE THAT OVERSEES AIRLINE SAFETY
Data reveal that cases are high and remaining high in states like Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas and Minnesota, among dozens of others. Many of these states are key battleground states that have potential to determine the outcome of the competitive election between incumbent President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Fauci confirmed that new cases are increasing in 47 states, along with hospitalizations.
Wisconsin, in particular, is on track to run out of intensive care unit beds.
“Every single positive increases the probability or likelihood of having another patient who is hospitalized,” Bill Melms, chief medical officer for Marshfield Clinic Health System, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
On a national level, the two-week change in new cases is up by 41 percent, with fatalities increasing by nine percent on average.
Roughly 1,016 new COVID-19 deaths and 81,457 new cases were reported on Oct. 28, per The New York Times.
“We continue to see unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West. This will require aggressive mitigation to control both the silent, asymptomatic spread and symptomatic spread,” one state report said.
A nationwide lockdown has still not been issued, and some states do not have a mandatory mask order, such as Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Most of these states are experiencing surges in new cases.
KANSAS’S COVID-19 POSITIVITY RATE SURPASSES 20 PERCENT
MOST VOTERS BELIEVE THE CORONAVIRUS IS OUT OF CONTROL IN THE US, POLL SAYS
CDC ‘STRONGLY RECOMMENDS’ ALL PASSENGERS ON PLANES, TRAINS, BUSES WEAR MASKS TO SLOW SPREAD OF COVID-19
THE COMING WEEKS WILL BE ‘DARKEST OF THE ENTIRE PANDEMIC,’ INFECTIOUS DISEASES EXPERT SAYS