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Overnight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight

Overnight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

Joe BidenJoe BidenAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Federal student loan payment suspension extended another month Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week MORE detailed his plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as the U.S. approached its July peak in cases. A new study suggests masks can save 130,000 lives, and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: CDC urges 'universal' indoor mask use when not at home | Pelosi bullish on COVID-19 relief | Trump largely silent on coronavirus as health officials sound the alarm Fauci warns US has not hit 'Thanksgiving peak' even as cases soar The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Fauci to serve as Biden's chief medical adviser MORE said Trump listens to Scott Atlas more than him.

We'll start with Biden: 

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Following the debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus, and further details his plan

Joe Biden’s focus on the coronavirus in the closing days of the campaign was clear on Friday, as he quickly followed up Thursday night’s debate with a speech on his response to the virus. 

In putting forward some further details of his proposals to fight the virus, Biden called for a dramatic increase in the nation’s testing. 

“I'll put a national testing plan in place with the goal of testing as many people each day as we're currently testing each week, a sevenfold increase,” Biden said Friday. 

“There's a key difference in this campaign between Donald Trump and me: I believe in testing,” he added. “Donald Trump does not. I believe in science.”

Further steps he outlined:

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  • Calling on the new Congress to put a bill with resources to fight the virus on his desk by the end of January, “to see how both our public health and our economic response can be seen through the end.”
  • Urging every governor to implement a mask mandate, and if they refuse, turning to local officials. 
  • Ramping up production of personal protective equipment for health workers

Read more here

 

Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives by spring

Universal mask-wearing could prevent nearly 130,000 deaths from COVID-19 through the end of February, according to new research released Friday.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found that even if only 85 percent of the population wore masks in public, nearly 96,000 lives could be saved.

The study painted a grim picture of the coming months. Even if physical distancing mandates were in place in every state, researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected more than 500,000 people could die by March. 

The most optimistic scientists do not predict the availability of new coronavirus treatments before 2021, and a vaccine might not be widely available until April at the earliest. 

That means until there is a vaccine, masks and other non-pharmaceutical measures such as physical distancing are the only real ways to reduce transmission of the virus.

The findings match what public health officials have been saying for months, but mask-wearing is still controversial. Only 49 percent of Americans said they always wear a mask in public.

Read more here.

 

Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight

It's a familiar cycle — with no deal in sight, it's all about making sure someone else gets blamed.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Calif.) is blaming the impasse on President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks GOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.), accusing the GOP leaders of failing to put forth a package big enough to address the historic pandemic.

Republicans say it is Pelosi who wants to keep Trump from getting a victory.

Read more here.

 

Fauci: Trump has not been to a task force meeting in months

President Trump has not been to a White House coronavirus task force meeting in several months, Anthony Fauci said Friday.

During an interview on "Meet the Press Daily," the nation's top infectious disease doctor said he hasn't directly interacted with or spoken to Trump in some time.

"I definitely don't have his ear as much as Scott Atlas right now, that has been a changing situation," Fauci said. 

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Fauci’s remarks echo those of Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who also sits on the task force. Collins told NPR in an interview earlier this week that Trump has primarily received his information from Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceLoeffler campaign staffer dies in car crash Senate confirms Christopher Waller to Fed board Trump pardon scandal would doom his 2024 campaign MORE and Atlas.

Scott Atlas is a neuroradiologist and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank. He was added to the task force over the summer after appearing frequently on Fox News.

Atlas has emerged as one of Trump's most influential advisers, but he has come under fire from public health experts inside and outside the administration who accuse him of feeding the president — and the public — misinformation, especially about herd immunity.

Fauci said that during the spring, the task force would meet almost every day, but once the focus of the White House shifted to the economics of reopening the country, the frequency of official task force meetings has dropped to once a week.

Read more here.

 

Coronavirus infections are spiking: US reaches second-highest daily total of cases

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The United States on Thursday reported at least 75,049 new coronavirus cases, the second-highest daily total across the country since the onset of the pandemic, according a database from The New York Times.

There has been an average of 62,166 cases per day over the past week, an increase of 32 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

The spike is the highest daily count since July, when more than 77,000 infections were recorded in one day.

Meanwhile, President Trump insists that the virus will just disappear, and the country is on the right path to eradicating it very soon.

"We’re not entering a dark winter. We’re entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel," Trump said at an event in Florida on Friday, echoing what he said on the debate stage.

Read more here.

 

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial resumes in US; J&J's to start soon

AstraZeneca announced on Friday that the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the company to restart its phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial in the U.S. 

The company has said the FDA has reviewed all data and concluded that it is safe to resume the trial. It expects results from its trials later this year. 

“The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news as it allows us to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement. “We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use.”

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson said it will resume recruitment in the U.S. trial for a coronavirus vaccine. In a statement, the company said preparations to resume the trial in the United States, including submissions for approval by the Institutional Review Boards, are now underway, following consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.

Read more here

 

Virtual Event Announcement: COVID-19 & A Responsive Rx Supply Chain

The pandemic has led to an unprecedented demand for medicines. As a consequence, concerns and fears have arisen surrounding drug availability and shortages. What are stakeholders doing to ensure that disruptions do not occur, especially as we head into flu season and colder weather?  And what plans are being put in place for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine once available?  On Tuesday, October 27th at 1:00 PM ET, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Reps. Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterBipartisan lawmakers call for overhauling medical supply chains The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day Overnight Health Care: US sets a new record for average daily coronavirus cases | Meadows on pandemic response: 'We're not going to control it' | Pelosi blasts Trump for not agreeing to testing strategy MORE (R-GA) and Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBickering Democrats return with divisions Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (D-MI), headline "COVID-19 & A Responsive Rx Supply Chain." RSVP today for event reminders

 

What we’re reading

Trump ramps up rallies, bucking health guidelines as virus rages (Bloomberg

A powerful argument for wearing a mask, in visual form (The Washington Post)

Did Trump confuse the public option with Medicare for All? (PolitiFact

 

State by state

How Missourians did an end-around their conservative legislature to expand Medicaid (ABC News)

How Wisconsin’s COVID-19 epidemic became one of the worst in the US (Vox)

Trump mentions Arizona's COVID-19 spike, saying it's now gone. But state faces fastest spread since June (Arizona Republic