Overnight Health Care: White House seeks to clarify press release claiming pandemic over | Fauci: COVID vaccine likely not available until next year

Overnight Health Care: White House seeks to clarify press release claiming pandemic over | Fauci: COVID vaccine likely not available until next year
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Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care.

The White House wants to clarify that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE does not really think the pandemic is over and is instead making ending it his top priority. There's more evidence masks work. And Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci urges Americans to conduct 'risk-benefit assessment' before holiday travel Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Fauci: 'We're in a very difficult situation at all levels' but 'help is on the way' MORE doesn't expect a vaccine until January at the earliest.

We'll start with the White House cleanup:


White House seeks to clarify press release claiming Trump ended the COVID-19 pandemic

A press release claiming that President Trump ended the coronavirus pandemic was "poorly worded" and Trump does not believe the pandemic is over, a White House spokesperson said Wednesday.

"The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus," White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said during a Fox News interview. 

"Cases are still rising and we need the American public to remain vigilant. This is the top priority of the president, defeating this virus and rebuilding our economy," Farah said.

Farah was attempting to clarify a press release sent Tuesday from the White House science office, which listed "ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC" in bold capital letters as the top accomplishment of President Trump's first term.

Trump's response: "Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people," Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Trump has been holding rallies with thousands of people and minimal physical distancing or mask-wearing. He says the country is "rounding the turn," and claimed the rise in cases is merely because the U.S. is testing more people.


On Wednesday, Farah said Trump means that the U.S. is in a better position to deal with the virus than before and is "rounding the corner" because of the availability of treatment options and the potential for a vaccine to become available by the end of the year.

Read more here.

Related: Wisconsin reports record number of COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and cases

COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Jersey surpass 1,000 for first time since July


Trump administration agrees to purchase $375 million of Lilly coronavirus antibody drug

The Trump administration will pay Eli Lilly $375 million to supply 300,000 doses of its experimental antibody drug to treat COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

If the Food and Drug Administration authorizes use of the drug, the federal government will allocate the doses to state and territorial health departments which, in turn, will determine which health care facilities receive the drug for use in outpatient care.

Eli Lilly said it anticipates only high-risk patients will be indicated to receive the drug until more studies are completed and more supply is available.

The initial agreement is for delivery over the course of two months following authorization, with the option to purchase up to 650,000 additional doses through the end of June 2021 for up to an additional $812.5 million. 

Supply constraints: The rolling seven-day average of daily cases in the U.S. topped 70,000, according to COVID Tracking Project data. With that many cases a day, the projected supply of the monoclonal antibodies would not be nearly sufficient to meet demand.

Eli Lilly said it anticipates manufacturing up to 1 million doses of its drug by the end of 2020, with 100,000 doses ready to ship within days of authorization.

Read more here.



Fauci: COVID vaccine likely not available until next year

A potential COVID-19 vaccine will not likely be available until next year, Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. 

During a virtual Q&A with the editor in chief of the medical journal JAMA, Fauci said companies by December will likely have enough data for the independent safety monitoring board to recommend applying for emergency authorization, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may not grant that authorization until January at the earliest.

Fauci cautioned that FDA's vaccine committee is going to want to see "good enough safety data and even prolonged efficacy data."

From that point in December, Fauci said FDA authorization could come in January, or it could be later. 

Still talking about masks: Fauci also expressed frustration that more than seven months into the pandemic, there are people who still refuse to wear masks. There's no doubt that wearing masks "makes a difference," Fauci said, adding that people making masks into a political issue should stop.

"We have to shake each other by the collar, and say. Look at the data! It speaks for itself," Fauci said. 


Read more here.


About that data: Study shows counties without mask mandates have higher hospitalizations

There is more evidence that masks work, in something of a natural experiment in Tennessee. 

A new study by Vanderbilt University compared Tennessee counties with mask requirements to those without any.

Hospitals where less than 25 percent of the patients came from counties with mask requirements had the largest increase in coronavirus hospitalizations, up more than 200 percent since July 1, the study found. In hospitals where more than 75 percent of the patients came from counties with a mask requirement, hospitalizations were about flat compared to July 1.

“It’s very clear that areas where masking requirements have remained in place have seen much lower growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations,” said John Graves, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt.


Caveat: Masks are also not a “silver bullet,” the study states, noting that even areas with mask requirements have seen an uptick in hospitalizations since early October.

Read more here


Things not looking great in Europe: France to undergo second national lockdown

It’s not just the U.S. where coronavirus cases are spiking. 

France is set to go under a second round of national lockdown starting Friday, as coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks and caused mass hospitalizations.

The new regulation stipulates that people are only permitted to leave their homes for essential work or medical reasons. All non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will close under the new mandate, according to the BBC.

Schools and churches will remain open, making this lockdown less restrictive than the earlier one this year.

Prime Minister Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE announced the new measures during a televised press conference Wednesday.

“The virus is circulating in France at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecast didn’t foresee,” Macron said, according to Bloomberg. “The measures we’ve taken have turned out to be insufficient to counter a wave that’s affecting all Europe.”

Read more here

Related: Germany, which does not yet have as many new cases as France, is also imposing a partial lockdown for one month. More on that here


What we’re reading

White House could have traced and contained its covid-19 outbreak. It chose not to. (Washington Post)

Congressman Calls For Federal Crackdown On Unproven Coronavirus Treatment (NPR)

Gilead’s revenue rises 17% driven by sales of coronavirus treatment remdesivir (CNBC


State by state

In a pivotal race in North Carolina, Democrats try to paint the incumbent as ‘pharma’s favorite senator’ (Stat News)

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Iowa soar for third straight day (The Gazette)

Texas coronavirus cases, hospitalizations at highest point in two months (Corpus Christi Caller Times