Coronavirus USA: news summary for Thursday 8 October

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US coronavirus/Trump updates live: 8 Oct 2020

Trump coronavirus latest: headlines

- VP Mike Pence, who is in charge of the coronavirus task force, went head-to-head with Kamala Harris - here's how the VP debate went

- President calls for quick stand-alone bill to help airlines, small businesses and Americans, after calling off relief package negotiations to focus on Supreme Court position filled

- Trump defiant in White House return message: "We're going back to work. Don't let it (the virus) dominate you, don't be afraid of it"

US coronavirus latest: 12:30 PT / 15:30 ET (21:30 CEST Thu 8 Oct)

Latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide

Cases: 36,337,110
Deaths: 1,058,508
Recoveries: 25,291,395

US

Cases: 7,578,203 
Deaths: 212,286
Recoveries: 2.999.895

Related coronavirus articles that may be of interest:

US appeals court blocks extension of Wisconsin's absentee ballot receipt deadline

A divided US appeals court on Thursday blocked a federal judge's ruling that would have allowed Wisconsin election officials to count absentee ballots that arrive up to six days after the 3 November presidential election, as mail-in voting surges amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to put the changes on hold until the case is fully resolved likely means that ballots arriving after 3 November will be disqualified. The appellate ruling also blocked a week-long extension of the state's online and mail-in registration deadline.

Wisconsin is one of a handful of battleground states that will decide the contest between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The pandemic has prompted an unprecedented wave of election-related litigation between the parties.

In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Wisconsin Republican legislative leaders that it was too close to Election Day to make significant changes and that alterations were better left to elected officials, rather than the judiciary.

"If the judge had issued an order in May based on April's experience, it could not be called untimely," the majority wrote. "By waiting until September, however, the district court acted too close to the election."

The Democratic National Committee, which had sought the accommodations, could appeal the decision, either to the full 7th Circuit or to the US Supreme Court. A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The American-born 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winner has been awarded one of the year’s top literary prizes for her “unmistakable poetic voice”.

Trump Covid-19 steroid makes him "very energetic"

Dr Anthony Fauci has claimed today that the steroid dexamethasone that President Donald Trump was treated with while in hospital for Covid-19, makes people “very energetic”.

Speaking to MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday, the top US infectious disease expert said  “When you're on steroids, there are a number of side effects. It makes you hyper energetic, it sometimes interferes with your ability to sleep.

“If you're on it [dexamethasone] a very long time, and which he's not, and they don't plan on having him on it for a long period of time, there are long range side effects.”

Pelosi questions Trump's capacity as President

Speaking at her weekly press conference, House Speaker Pelosi said "Tomorrow, by the way," Pelosi said. "We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment." Suggesting that perhaps the President may be incapacitated due to his illness.

Echoing suspicion that his team had lied about when Trump first tested positive for Covid-19, Pelosi added “I think that the public needs to know the health condition of the President," Pelosi said. "There's one question that he refused to answer … when was his last negative test?" Pelosi said that this information is necessary in order to “make a judgment about the actions that were taken after that.”

The 25th amendment would allow the President to be replaced in the eventuality that he is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".

Traces of Coronavirus found on bleached surface after 8 days

Non-infectious fragments of coronavirus can remain on surfaces which have been cleaned with bleach for as long as eight days, according to a new report.

It has long been known that Coronavirus virions can remain infectious for up to 72 hours on surfaces but a new study by mSystems has looked at how long the virus can remain in various different environments, and in some cases, remain infectious through contact.

Using the E2E approach, this study showed that, in some cases, non-infectious viral fragments of SARS-CoV-2 persisted on surfaces for as long as eight days even after bleach treatment.

Demand for Regeneron experimental antibody drug soars 

Following this nearly 5 minute gushing video from the President on how he feels after being given the experimental treatment made by Regeneron patients are asking to join clinical trials in their droves. In the video Trump promises to offer the drug for free.

Regeneron said on Wednesday that it has submitted a request to the US Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for its antibody combination.

 

Trump: "I'm a perfect physical specimen". No word from doctors.

Confined to the White House where he is being treated for Covid-19, said on Thursday he does not believe he is contagious and feels good enough to resume campaign rallies as he tries to boost his flagging reelection bid.

“I’m back because I’m a perfect physical specimen,” Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on the phone, in his first interview since it was revealed nearly a week ago that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump’s contention he was no longer contagious was not yet backed up by solid evidence from his doctors. The White House has refused to say when his last negative test for the virus was, so it is unclear how long he has been positive.

SNL Alabama Slammer

Country music star and Saturday Night Live music contributor Morgan Wallen has been dropped from the show following reports that he violated the show's Covid-19 protocols this weekend. He was shown on TikTok socialising maskless at a crowded bar and house party in Alabama.

SNL have not yet announced his replacement. The singer has apologised on social media, saying "I have some growing up to do."

WHO report record one-day rise in Covid-19 cases

The World Health Organization reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Thursday, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours. Deaths rose by 5,514 to a total of 1.05 million. India reported 78,524 new cases, followed by Brazil at 41,906 and the United States with 38,904 new infections. The previous WHO record for new cases was 330,340 on 2 October. The agency reported a record 12,393 deaths on 17 April.

Trump positive: points finger at veterans' grieving families


President Trump in an interview with Fox today suggested that his Covid-19 infection may stem from a White House event honouring Gold Star families, in spite of the fact that a veterans' group involved in the event said none of the relatives of fallen service members who attended have since become sick.

"I went through like 35 people," he elaborated. They were “telling the story of their son who just died or daughter or husband, who just died in a war or recently died… They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I'm not telling them to back up. I'm not doing it. But I did say it's obviously dangerous. It's a dangerous thing, if you go by the Covid thing,”  Trump said.

Until today, it has been widely speculated that an event at the Rose Garden to celebrate the nomination of Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett was the 'superspreader' event. Since the event, (which moved indoors after beginning in the open air) almost a dozen attendees have tested positive.

Will they, won't they?

Speculation abound as proposals and counter-proposals continue today in the debate debate. Trump says the second live presidential debate has to happen in person or not at all amid suggestions it could take place virtually. Biden suggests delay of a week “so the president is not able to evade accountability.”

Even McConnell doesn't trust how the White House handled Covid outbreak

On the same day the New England Journal of Medicine publishes an editorial saying current US leadership ‘recklessly squandered lives’, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell takes a dig at the lack of safety measures displayed in Trump's inner circle.

WHO reports a record one day rise in global C-19 cases

The World Health Organisation reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases today, the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours. Deaths rose by 5,514 to a total of 1.05 million. India reported 78,524 new cases, followed by Brazil at 41,906 and the US with 38,904 new infections. The previous WHO record for new cases was 330,340 on 2 October. The agency reported a record 12,393 deaths on 17 April.

Latest on second stimulus bill back-and-forth

It appears Trump changes his mind on relief bill as often as he changes his tie. All the updates in one place.

Fauci says "reasonably good chance" Regeneron antibody therapy helped Trump

Top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Thursday that President Donald Trump's health was likely helped by an experimental therapy made by Regeneron Inc in which he received antibodies to fight the disease.

"There is a reasonably good chance that in fact it made him much better," Fauci said during an interview on MSNBC. Fauci also said that the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 212,000 people in the United States and 1 million people globally, is far more serious than the seasonal flu. "There is no doubt about that," Fauci said when asked about President Trump's tweet comparing the disease to the seasonal flu. Twitter took down the tweet.

pelosi

Pelosi rejects airline aid without larger Covid-19 U.S. stimulus bill

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said there would be no additional federal aid for U.S. airlines without a more comprehensive Covid-19 relief package, adding that she was hopeful for a larger deal 'because it has to be done.' 'Ain't going to be no standalone bill, unless there is a bigger bill,' Pelosi told reporters.

Kamala

Early ratings data show US VP debate audience up slightly from 2016

Television viewership for Wednesday's debate between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris rose slightly from four years ago, according to early ratings data reported by Hollywood publication Variety. About 22.6 million people watched the faceoff across six networks, Variety said. That figure is 6% higher than the comparable number in 2016.

Pretty fly for a pink eye

Vice President Mike Pence's eye inflamed suspicion on Twitter that he might have the 'rona. But is it actually a symptom?

Trump update

Trump's personal Covid-19 update

Speaking in an interview with Fox Business, Donald Trump provided an update on his coronavirus infection.

The president confirmed he is still taking the strong steroid dexamethasone. It’s widely available in hospitals and doctors have highlighted it can make the patient feel better than they actually are, which could help explain the president’s upbeat descriptions of how he is feeling over the past several days.

Trump downplayed the drug’s strength while trying to describe what medications he is currently taking. “They have a steroid, it’s not a heavy steroid, they have that go a little longer. I’m almost not taking anything. I feel great.”

Donald Trump says Gold Star families may have given him Covid-19

Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that he might have contracted Covid-19 from Gold Star family members who were too close to him when telling stories of their loved ones who died in the line of duty.

In an interview on Fox Business, Trump told  Maria Bartiromo that he “figured there would be a chance” he would become infected with the virus, citing his meetings with the families of America’s war dead.

Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that,” he said. “But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story.”

The White House has not disclosed when Trump contracted coronavirus and has refused to provide details on the president's Covid-19 test results in the days leading up the announcement he had tested positive.

Trump campaign release statement on virtual presidential debate

The Trump campaign have issued a statement about the virtual presidential debate plan for October 15 between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

“President Trump won the first debate despite a terrible and biased moderator in Chris Wallace, and everybody knows it. For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defense by unilaterally canceling an in-person debate is pathetic. That’s not what debates are about or how they’re done. Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration. The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head to head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

Second Trump-Biden debate will be 'virtual'

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced on Thursday that the second Trump-Biden debate on October 15 will be 'virtual'. The decision comes after the president tested positive for Covid-19.

"The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations," the commission said in a statement. 

Mr. Trump said Thursday that he wouldn’t participate. “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” he said on Fox Business.

The Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moderna says it won't enforce patents related to experimental Covid-19 vaccine

(Reuters) - Moderna Inc said on Thursday it would not enforce patents related to its experimental Covid-19 vaccine while the coronavirus pandemic continues, a move that would allow other drugmakers to develop shots using the company's technology.

Moderna is not asserting its intellectual property rights for its vaccine technology and is willing to license the technology behind its experimental coronavirus vaccine after the pandemic, the company said in a statement.

The company is one of the furthest along in the U.S. race for a vaccine seen as essential to ending a pandemic that has claimed more than a million lives worldwide

vaccine

EU seals supply deal with Johnson & Johnson on Covid-19 vaccine

The European Commission said on Thursday it had sealed a supply deal with Johnson & Johnson for the supply of its potential Covid-19 vaccine for up to 400 million people.

This is the third advance purchase contract signed by the EU with makers of Covid-19 vaccines after deals with AstraZeneca and Sanofi.

Dick's Sporting Goods to hire 9,000 holiday season workers, eyeing surge in online orders

Dick's Sporting Goods said on Thursday it will hire up to 9,000 workers to cover the key holiday season in its stores, 1,000 more than last year, expecting a jump in online orders for curbside or in-store pickups amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers have struggled this year, with mall traffic declining across the United States as stores in states like California continue to operate under severe restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The number of people visiting Dick's outlets declined nearly 54% in May, according to data firm Placer.ai. While this has since improved, traffic is still about 9% lower than last year, the data shows.

Gilead

Europe buys Gilead's remdesivir for 500,000 Covid-19 patients amid supply worries

Gilead Sciences said on Thursday it had agreed to sell Europe up to 500,0000 courses of its antiviral drug remdesivir, as the continent scrambles to shore up supplies of one of only two drugs approved to treat Covid-19 patients.

The deal will cover purchases of the drug for the next six months for the 27-nation European Union, Britain, six Balkan countries and the other European Economic Area countries -Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Several European countries have said they are experiencing shortages of the drug, whose global stock has been secured almost entirely by the United States.

Trump to hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday?

The New York times reported that Trump is considering holding an event in Pittsburgh on Monday. Travelling while positive would be expressly against CDC guidelines.

DT

Trump’s public schedule cleared for sixth day in a row

​​​​​​The White House published Trump’s daily guidance and schedule events for Thursday, which lists no public events, though this isn’t an indication that Trump won’t make an appearance.Sunday’s drive past fans outside Walter Reed and Trump’s departure from Walter Reed on Monday were not listed on his schedules.

It is the sixth day in a row that his schedule has been clear since Trump tested positive on Thursday last week. Friday’s schedule last week listed “a phone call on Covid-19 support to vulnerable seniors”.

mall

Los Angeles reopens malls but Disneyland, movie theaters told to stay shut

Malls in Los Angeles were open on Wednesday for the first time in months, but movie theaters and Disneyland remained shuttered as state and local leaders try to reopen the economy without triggering a new surge in infections.

The move to allow indoor malls in Los Angeles County to reopen at 25% capacity came as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remained stable in Southern California, in contrast to rising numbers in New York and parts of the Midwest.

Indoor malls are the latest business sector to reopen in Los Angeles County as its leaders seek to ease joblessness and economic damage triggered by state and local restrictions imposed as the coronavirus pandemic spread in March.

The Walt Disney Co., which last week announced it would lay off 28,000 workers in the face of the shutdown and theater owners, who say they could be put out of business, have also lobbied state officials to reopen.

Trump

Despite Covid-19 treatment, Trump edges back into campaign spotlight

President Donald Trump, still confined to the White House where he is being treated for Covid-19, planned more steps on Thursday to try to reinvigorate a re-election campaign hit hard by his handling of the pandemic.

Trump is scheduled to appear in his first TV interview since revealing last Friday he had contracted Covid-19. Fox Business Network said the interview would air on Thursday after 8 a.m. (1200 GMT).

Itching to get back out on the campaign trail since leaving a military hospital on Monday, Trump has called off negotiations with Congress for a fresh round of stimulus for the ailing economy and declared in a video that his illness was "a blessing from God."

Not close to being under control

We're deep into the pandemic and still aren't close to getting a handle on it. 

Harris won round one, on the coronavirus

Pence tried to defend his administration's handling of the pandemic, but for all he claims they shut flights early from China and sourced equipment (both claims which are rather wobbly under any scrutiny) the simple fact remains that more than 7 million Americans are now confirmed to have caught the disease and over 210,000 have died from it. 

 

Trump's message and Covid drugs offer

The president posted a video of him showing his gratitude to those who treated him after he became infected with the novel coronavirus.

He went on to say that the therapeutic drugs he was given were more like a 'cure' and that he is working to get the same treatment available for free for everyone.

"I want everyone to be given the same treatment as your president. I'm feeling perfect."

He also stated that he felt him catching the virus was a "gift from God" and that "China would pay a big price" blaming them for the pandemic.

Regeneron antibodies in demand after Trump treatment, doctors seek more data

Patients are asking to join clinical trials of antibody-based Covid-19 drugs after US President Donald Trump was treated last week with an experimental therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, and on Wednesday he promised to make it free to Americans while touting its benefits, Reuters report.

Medical experts said more data is needed to assess the treatment's efficacy before wider use should be allowed. Trump was discharged from the hospital late on Monday, just a few days after being diagnosed with Covid-19 that caused enough lung inflammation for blood oxygen levels to fall. According to his doctor, blood tests on Monday detected infection-fighting antibodies, which a Regeneron spokesperson said were probably from the treatment.

In a video shot outside the White House, Trump credited the Regeneron therapy for his feeling much better than when he was first diagnosed and said he would push for emergency use authorizations (EUA) of that treatment and others like it. He mistakenly said the drug was called Regeneron.

Regeneron said it was talking with the US Food and Administration about an EUA for its cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies - manufactured copies of antibodies that are one of the main weapons the immune system generates to fight infections.

VP debate live!

Follow the VP debate live from University of Utah in Salt Lake City from 21:00 ET as Kamala Harris faces Mike Pence in their one live encounter.

The US handling of the coronavirus pandemic is certainly going to play a role in the discussion.

Meadows avoids testing question

President Donald Trump spent most of Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office, with the White House keeping access to the room extremely limited, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in an interview with Fox News Channel.

Asked when Trump's last negative Covid-19 test was, Meadows said the White House does not get into the testing protocol.

If the doctors don't want to answer it, and his senior associates don't want to answer it, who will provide us with some transparency? Maybe Mike Pence in a short while...

 

US taxpayers indirectly fund Trump businesses

This revelation will reignite the controversy over how the president's privately held businesses are able to generate revenue via his public office at the expense of ordinary US citizens.

As revealed by The Scotsman throughout Mr Trump’s tenure in the White House, his loss making and heavily indebted Turnberry resort - arguably the most prestigious of any of the Trump Organisation’s golf courses around the world - has received tens of thousands of pounds from his own government since he took office.

The new receipts, released by the US State Department under freedom of information legislation, detail the extent of Mr Johnson’s spending during his stay at the property, which coincided with Mr Trump’s own two-night stay there in the summer of 2018.

Read the report from Martyn Mclaughlin in The Scotsman:

"They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy"

In a rare act, an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine has been published and signed by all editors, which condemns the Trump administration for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. And they go further, calling for a change in leadership.

'Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.

'The magnitude of this failure is astonishing. [...] the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000. Covid-19 is an overwhelming challenge, and many factors contribute to its severity. But the one we can control is how we behave. And in the United States we have consistently behaved poorly.'

Read the full piece in the New England Journal of Medicine: Dying in a Leadership Vacuum

What damage could Trump's decision cause?

The US economy, like many around the world, is taking an unprecedented hit during the pandemic, but the president's actions don't appear to be helping.

Even the most bullish policymakers and forecasters had penciled in more government aid to keep households and businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic afloat through the end of the year. That money would bolster retail spending, rent payments and mortgages and whittle away at the 11 million lost jobs that have not yet been recouped. Without it, the United States faces another roughly 5% hole in annual economic output.

Full story:

An important date still unknown

CNN's Jake Tapper puts together a thread pointing to the timeline of related infections and trips, and how knowing when President Trump last tested negative for Covid-19 is rather important to the discussion.

Pence to defend US coronavirus management

A reminder that Vice President Pence, famous for happily ceding the spotlight to his boss, takes a rare turn in center stage on Wednesday, squaring off with Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California at the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City.

It's a moment fraught with political peril, coming just after President Trump was hospitalized for the coronavirus — the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans this year, sent the economy spiraling, and shaken voter confidence that they have what it takes to fix the crisis.

Senate Democrats push for mandatory coronavirus testing and mask usage

“The US Senate has become a Covid-19 hot spot and we need to take immediate action," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "Senate Republicans must join us here in reality and acknowledge that through their inaction, they are creating a truly dangerous situation.” 

Republicans are unlikely to see things that way, though some, like Senate Rules Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), have called for more testing.

Why Trump postponed relief package

Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin had been continuing discussions on HEROES Act but on Tuesday the Treasury Secretary called off the negotiations on the direct orders from the President.

Greg Heilman reports on the government's political games. 

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Leaders slam NYC lockdown

Andrew Cuomo’s order to lock down parts of New York state where Covid-19 cases are rising has prompted outrage from members of New York City's ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, the Wall Street Journal reports. On Monday, Cuomo temporarily closed 100 public and 200 private schools in several areas with large Orthodox populations. Those measures went into effect on Tuesday.

Mask were burned in the street by members of the ultra-Orthodox community in New York City which drew a response from Cuomo, who said today: "These are difficult rules, this is a dramatic shift for society, it always has been. There’s always been opposition but most New Yorkers are smart and have common sense.”

Wisconsin to set up Milwaukee field hospital due to surging Covid-19 cases

Wisconsin will open a field hospital outside of Milwaukee to deal with the surge in Covid-19 cases that have overwhelmed hospitals across the state, Governor Tony Evers said on Wednesday.

The hospital will open within the next week after hospitalizations across the state nearly tripled over the last month. There were 853 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Tuesday, an increase of 71 from the day before, Evers said in a statement.

Trump is symptom-free and stable, White House doctor says

US President Donald Trump has presented no Covid-19 symptoms during the past 24 hours, with a physical examination and his vital signs showing his condition remains sable, White House physician Sean Conley said on Wednesday.

Conley, in a statement released with Trump's permission, said the president has been fever-free for more than four days and had not needed or received any supplemental oxygen since his initial hospitalization.

Trump was hospitalized on Friday after tests showed he had contracted Covid-19. He returned to the White House on Monday.

Coronavirus US latest news: welcome

Hello and thank you for joining us for our round-the-clock coverage of all news related to how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the United States.

We'll be keeping the number of cases and deaths updated thoughout the day - and you can click on the link to go to further detail - as well as developments in economic relief talks and what is happening with the recently infected president, Donald Trump.

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