Overnight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically

Overnight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically
© Getty

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

Congressional coronavirus talks have collapsed, Trump administration health officials are trying to show the public that a vaccine approval won't be influenced by politics and New York schools can open in person this fall.

We'll start with the congressional talks:

ADVERTISEMENT

Negotiations not looking good...Trump to take executive action after talks collapse

Top administration officials said Friday they will recommend President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE move forward with executive orders to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus as negotiations on Capitol Hill collapsed.

"In the meantime, we're going to take executive orders, to try to alleviate some of the pain that people are experiencing," White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates Former Homeland Security Secretary Johnson: 'Disconcerting' to see Trump, Meadows cast doubt on election security Meadows: 'There are different degrees of confidence' in FBI director MORE told reporters.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHouseholds, businesses fall into financial holes as COVID aid dries up Centrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election MORE said that he and Meadows "will recommend to the president based upon our lack of activity today to move forward with some executive orders."

"Again we agree with the Speaker, this is not the first choice," he added.

Mnuchin said administration officials will be recommending executive orders to deal with unemployment after the $600 per week federal benefit expired last week. They will also recommend that Trump sign orders relating to rental foreclosures and student loans.

Read more here

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Trump vaccine official: 'I would resign instantly' if pressured politically

Amid worries about President Trump applying political pressure for a coronavirus vaccine, a top vaccine official sought to offer some reassurance this week. 

Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientist of the Trump administration’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine, said in a new interview that he would “resign instantly” if he was forced to inappropriately accelerate a vaccine for political reasons.

“The data will dictate, the facts will dictate,” Slaoui, the top scientist for the administration’s Operation Warp Speed, said in an appearance on a podcast Thursday hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

“We may have the endpoint in October. We may have it on Nov. 4, who knows? We may have it on Dec. 15. That's the answer, and to be honest, on a personal basis, I would resign instantly if I was forced to do something that I thought would be inappropriate.”

Trump added fuel to the fire on the issue on Thursday when he said on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show that he thinks it is possible to have a vaccine by around the time of the election.

Read more here.

 

Trump downplays COVID-19's mortality rate in US 

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates anywhere in the world, even though the nation has recorded more deaths from the coronavirus than any other country.

The U.S. has a mortality rate per 100,000 people that's about twice that of Canada. While the U.S. rate is lower than Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy per 100,000 people, it is higher than such nations as Germany, France and the Netherlands.

But Trump is not focused on those numbers.

Rather than the mortality rate, Trump has been fixated on the percentage of people who die after contracting COVID-19, a figure called the case fatality rate. 

ADVERTISEMENT

In doing so, he has downplayed the scope of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and the extremely high rate of deaths as a proportion of the population.

By not specifying the figures he is using, Trump has also likely confused many people about how the U.S. stacks up with other countries.

Read more here.

 

Cuomo says New York schools can reopen in-person this fall

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York reports 1,000 daily new COVID-19 cases for first time since June Overnight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump MORE (D) announced Friday that schools can reopen this fall, citing low infection rates that he said will allow students and teachers to return to classrooms safely.

"It is just great news," Cuomo told reporters. "We are probably in the best situation in the country right now."

ADVERTISEMENT

When and how schools reopen will be left up to individual school districts. However, Cuomo warned that if the seven-day rolling average of tests coming back positive exceeds 9 percent in a particular region, schools in that area must close.

The percent of tests coming back positive in New York is about 1 percent — one of the lowest levels in the country.

Public health experts have stressed that the decisions to reopen should depend on the transmission levels of individual communities; it will be harder for schools to reopen safely in communities where there are high levels of COVID-19 transmission.

Read more here.

 

Gates Foundation invests in $3 COVID-19 vaccine for poorer countries

A coronavirus vaccine will be available to poorer countries for less than $3 a dose under a new partnership between the Gates Foundation and the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker.

ADVERTISEMENT

The collaboration is meant to ensure up to 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available for distribution quickly to low- and middle-income countries. The arrangement also provides an option to secure additional doses if needed.

The goal is that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval, doses can be produced at scale for distribution for low-income countries as early as the first half of 2021. Serum Institute of India is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world by volume. It already has contracts with vaccine candidates developed by Novavax and Oxford University, in partnership with AstraZeneca. 

Cost comparison:  $3 a dose is the lowest end of the scale. Oxford-AstraZeneca has pledged its vaccine will be available globally "at cost" for about $3 a dose, while Johnson & Johnson predicted its vaccine will cost about $10 a dose for 100 million doses. Moderna this week said it will price a two-dose regimen at as much as $74 for small-batch customers. The U.S. agreed to pay Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech $1.95 billion for 100 million doses, which is about $19.50 a dose, $39 for a two-dose regimen.

Read more here.

 

What we’re reading

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTillis appears to reinforce question about COVID-19 death toll Overnight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump MORE says chance of coronavirus vaccine being highly effective is 'not great' (CNBC)

German Health Officials Warn About 2nd Coronavirus Wave (NPR)

Gilead says it will be able to make enough remdesivir to meet global coronavirus demand in October (CNBC)

 

State by state

Texas to allow limited visitation in nursing homes with no active coronavirus cases (Texas Tribune

Coronavirus outbreak at Houston-area nursing home kills 17 residents (Texas Tribune)

Health directors told to keep quiet as Fla. leaders pressed to reopen classrooms (Palm Beach Post)
One of Florida’s biggest disparities: How coronavirus spread in Pinellas’ Black community (Frontline)