Overnight Health Care: Trump issues orders aimed at lowering drug prices | New CDC guidelines favor reopening schools | Fauci defends past remarks

Overnight Health Care: Trump issues orders aimed at lowering drug prices | New CDC guidelines favor reopening schools | Fauci defends past remarks
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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE unveiled some drug pricing executive orders, but they were pretty sparse on details. The CDC released guidance for schools that strongly recommended reopening, and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN's Burnett presses Navarro on hydroxychloroquine in combative interview: 'You're an economist, not a scientist' Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine Fauci says family has faced threats, harassment amid pandemic MORE reminded everyone that data during public health crises can change.

We'll start with drug pricing:

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Trump signs executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices

President Trump on Friday signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices, seeking to take action on a key issue for voters in an election year. Trump has been promising lower drug prices since before he even took office, but has yet to fulfill the campaign promise.

The orders signed by Trump would move towards allowing states to develop plans to import cheaper drugs from Canada, eliminate a system of drug discounts known as rebates in a bid to simplify the system, and seek to make EpiPens and insulin more affordable for some patients of certain health providers.

Trump also announced a fourth, more sweeping order, seeking to slash the price that Medicare pays for drugs to be in line with prices paid in other countries, what Trump called "most favored nation" status for the U.S.

But in a surprise move, Trump said that order's implementation would be delayed until Aug. 25 to give pharmaceutical executives, who strongly oppose the idea, a chance to propose an alternative. 

The reality: It remains to be seen if there's any real world impact of these orders, and they can't be implemented without extensive rulemaking, which means nothing is likely to happen by the November election. The administration also already killed the rebate rule in 2019.

Noteworthy: Pharma executives are meeting with Trump on Tuesday, so we'll see what comes out of that, and if they can convince Trump to abandon some of his plans.

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Read more here.

 

CDC releases updated guidelines in favor of reopening schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late Thursday released new guidelines with a heavy focus on reopening schools in the fall, and downplayed the risk the virus might pose to children.

Under the new guidelines, the CDC recommends that schools follow a certain level of precautions based on the amount of community transmission in their area – without actually saying how much transmission is too much.

The CDC advises that unless there is substantial, uncontrolled community transmission in an area, schools should reopen to some extent. During a call with reporters on Friday, CDC director Robert Redfield said a "hotspot" would be an area where the positivity rate is above 5 percent, but he said the ultimate decisions should be up to the local education boards and local health departments.

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” Redfield said in a statement announcing the guidelines. “School closures have disrupted normal ways of life for children and parents, and they have had negative health consequences on our youth. CDC is prepared to work with K-12 schools to safely reopen while protecting the most vulnerable.”

The CDC’s recommendations include socially distancing school children through cohorting or pods as well as a number of other measures to limit possible transmission of the coronavirus. It also includes strategies to support students of different ages wearing masks.

Why it matters: President Trump criticized previous CDC guidance on schools as too tough and expensive to comply with. This guidance doesn’t change anything the CDC has already recommended about physical distancing and keeping smaller groups in classrooms, but provides more information about what schools and families can do to keep kids safe. 

Read more here.

Related: McEnany likens schools to ‘essential places of business’ in push for reopening

 

Fauci defends past recommendations following conservative attacks

In an interview with Washington Post Live, America's top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci defended some of his past recommendations on the coronavirus, arguing that science changes over time.

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Fauci has faced criticism in recent weeks as President Trump, administration officials and allies of the president in the media attempt to deflect blame from the White House response to the pandemic. 

Earlier this month, the White House sent out a memo detailing “wrong” statements Fauci had made about the pandemic. For example, the memo pointed to comments he made in March that healthy people should not be wearing masks.

"As the data changes, then you change the recommendation," Fauci said in the interview. "Back then, the critical issue was to save the masks for the people who really needed them because it was felt there was a shortage of masks. Also, we didn't realize at all the extent of asymptomatic spread."

On schools: “I think the CDC has put some good guidance down,” Fauci said. “I just took a quick look at them ... I think it’s a sound set of guidelines.”

When asked about the impact on children, Fauci said the data is still unclear. He said a study should finish by December that looks at how easily kids can get infected by COVID and then spread it to adults. "Because even though we have some information about that, we still need more information," he said.

Read more here.

 

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CDC: Even mild coronavirus symptoms can persist for weeks

COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even in people with mild symptoms, including young adults, according to a new analysis released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It has been known that people severely ill after contracting COVID-19 can stay sick for several weeks. But less has been known about the effects of the disease on people with milder symptoms who don’t require hospitalization.

A CDC survey of nearly 300 people with the coronavirus found that 35 percent had not returned to their “usual state of health” two to three weeks after testing positive for the disease.

“These findings indicate that COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults,” the authors of the report wrote

Read more here.

 

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What we're reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why his pitch was just a bit outside (The Wall Street Journal

‘It’s like groundhog day:’ Coronavirus testing labs again lack key supplies (The New York Times)

Why Covid-19 is killing diabetes patients at alarming rates (Reuters)  

An elite group of scientists tried to warn Trump against lockdowns in March (Buzzfeed News)

State by state

California coronavirus case surge exacerbates inequities (Los Angeles Times)

Florida collects more data on COVID hospital patients than it shares with the public (Miami Herald)

Covid-19 patients will be ‘sent home to die’ if deemed too sick, Texas county says (Forth Worth Star-Telegram