Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge $32 to $37 a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine

Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. 

Anthony Fauci said his family has been harrassed because people don't like what he's been saying. New York City will set up checkpoints to enforce COVID-19 quarantine orders, a pharmaceutical company announced a high price for its taxpayer-funded vaccine, just as the federal government made another investment with a drugmaker.

We'll start with Fauci:

Fauci says family has faced threats, harassment amid pandemic

Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says he and his family are getting death threats because people don't like what he says about COVID-19.

"Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it's amazing," Fauci said during an interview with CNN's Sanjay Gupta on Wednesday.

"I wouldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don't like what you and I say, namely in the world of science, that they actually threaten you," he added.

Fauci said that crises such COVID-19 bring out both the best and the worst of people.

Fauci's profile has been elevated by COVID-19, as he is often on TV offering a blunt portrayal of the state of the pandemic in the U.S.

He also reflected on what he says is a degree of "anti-science" sentiment in the U.S. that is making it difficult to get people to do things to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks.

"There is a degree of anti-science feeling in this country, and I think it is not just related to science. It's almost related to authority and a mistrust in authority that spills over," he told Gupta.

Read more here.

The latest vaccine news:

The US reached a $1B deal for doses of potential Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a deal worth approximately $1 billion for the manufacturing of 100 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson that the federal government would then own. 

The move is the latest in a series of agreements the Trump administration has made with several companies making potential coronavirus vaccines. The goal, through the Operation Warp Speed program, is to make bets on a wide array of vaccine candidates with the hope that at least one and maybe more will end up proving safe and effective through clinical trials. 

The companies will begin manufacturing the doses even before the results are in to accelerate the process. 

Big picture: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently began phase one clinical trials, placing it behind some of the more advanced-stage potential vaccines, like those from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which have begun phase three trials. 

Read more here

Moderna to charge $32 to $37 a dose for its COVID vaccine

Moderna will charge between $32 and $37 a dose for its experimental coronavirus vaccine for some "low volume" customers, the company's CEO said Wednesday. With the likelihood of two doses needed, that could be almost $80 per course of treatment. 

The company will be using a tiered pricing system, and will charge less for higher volume orders. The company considers a small order to be "in the millions" of doses, chief executive Stéphane Bancel said on a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly earnings.

Pandemic vs. Endemic: Bancel said the company will be charging "well below value" during the pandemic, but will follow market pricing once the virus is under control and considered endemic.

The company is working with governments around the world and others "to ensure a vaccine is accessible regardless of ability to pay," he said.

The controversy: Moderna's vaccine research is 100 percent taxpayer funded to the tune of nearly $1 billion, but will charge the U.S. government close to 50 percent more than Pfizer, which will only get government money for distribution, not development.

Pfizer recently came under fire for saying it will charge about $20 per dose. Needless to say, lawmakers and drug pricing advocates are not thrilled with Moderna.

"Industry political power combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending: billions for unproven products with no meaningful restraint on the prices Americans are charged. Taxpayers are the angel investors, yet, even when we pay for the entire cost of developing a pharmaceutical, manufacturers charge whatever they want. As any other investor would demand, we should have a stake in the outcome-and protection from paying and paying again, as taxpayer and as patient," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Read more here.

New York City adding 'key entry point' checkpoints to enforce quarantine

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday announced that officials will start adding checkpoints at "key points of entry" in the city as part of its efforts to ensure compliance with coronavirus quarantine requirements for travelers from multiple other states.

De Blasio said during a press briefing that the checkpoints will be positioned at major bridge and tunnel crossings that lead into New York City. Travelers coming from any of the 34 designated states and territories with high coronavirus transmission rates will be required to fill out a state health department traveler form and quarantine for two weeks.

"New Yorkers have worked too hard to beat back COVID-19 - we cannot lose that progress," de Blasio said in a series of tweets. "Thirty-five states have dangerously high infection rates. We won't let the virus spread here."

Read more here

US urged to consider cheaper, faster COVID-19 tests to contain outbreaks

Seven months into the pandemic, the U.S. needs to rethink its approach to testing for COVID-19, experts say, by shifting to cheaper tests that can return results in less than an hour, potentially finding people when they are most infectious and containing outbreaks before they explode. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, appears reluctant to approve those tests for sale in the U.S. because they are typically less likely to detect small amounts of virus compared to the gold standard, high-sensitivity lab tests the U.S. has been relying on. 

As demand for tests surged, those lab tests have taken longer and longer to return results, making it extremely difficult to contain outbreaks.

The rapid tests, some of which can be used at home, can miss infections but experts say they make up for it through their speed and low cost. Because they're cheaper, they could be made available to millions of people to use several times a month, experts say. 

Additionally, the tests are actually very good at detecting virus when it matters most: at high or peak levels, when an individual is most contagious to others, experts say. 

"If you want to be certain about whether somebody is infected or not these tests are not so great. If you want to identify whether they're infectious or not going to go out and spread to other people, these tests are actually quite good," said Ashish Jha, a physician and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. 

Read more here.

What we're reading

Senate Democrats propose 'Force to Fight COVID-19' in next coronavirus relief package (NBC News)

Second grader tests positive for coronavirus after attending the first day of school in Georgia (CNN

Yes, we need a vaccine to control Covid-19. But we need new treatments, too (Stat)

White House warns 10 local areas about coronavirus numbers in private call (Center for Public Integrity)

State by state

North Carolina bars, gyms to remain closed as Cooper stalls reopening coronavirus plan for 5 weeks (NBC 12)

Coronavirus contact tracing anecdotes show 50 Ohio bars associated with outbreaks since July 1 (Cleveland.com)

What happened to Ohio's COVID-19 modeling? It isn't happening anymore (Cincinatti Enquirer)

Montgomery County reviewing Hogan's order to limit authority on school closures (Washington Post

The Hill op-eds

Interviewing President Trump: You can't diagnose from TV clips

COVID-19: Are we safe from our own trash?

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