Overnight 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

Overnight 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
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. As the pandemic worsens, the CDC is issuing new warnings, coronavirus relief might actually happen in Congress and President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE has largely gone silent. 

We’ll start with the CDC:

CDC urges 'universal' indoor mask use when not at home


As the pandemic worsens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making an extra push for people to wear masks. 

The agency recommended in a report that officials at the state and local level "issue policies or directives mandating universal use of face masks in indoor (nonhousehold) settings" as one strategy to combat the virus, a tactic President Trump and many GOP governors have resisted.

The CDC said wearing a mask is most important when someone is indoors somewhere besides their own home and outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. Masks should also be used inside one's household when someone is infected or has had recent exposure to the virus, the report said.

Things are getting worse: Wearing masks is the first strategy listed among many in the CDC report, which warns that mitigation measures are increasingly important "with colder weather, more time spent indoors, the ongoing U.S. holiday season, and silent spread of disease."

And maybe skip that indoor restaurant meal: The report also recommends that people "avoid nonessential indoor spaces and crowded outdoor settings."

Read more here.

More in the new burst of optimism on COVID relief: Pelosi bullish, says 'We cannot leave without it' 


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (D-Calif.) expressed optimism Friday that the parties will come together to secure a coronavirus relief package before Congress leaves Washington for the winter holidays.

Addressing reporters in the Capitol, the Speaker said party negotiators still have a number of disagreements to iron out to win such an agreement, but indicated the sides are making steady progress and all but guaranteed that a bipartisan deal will be sealed in the coming days.

"We'll take the time we need and we must get it done," she said. "We cannot leave without it."

Pelosi had spoken Thursday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (R-Ky.) seeking a strategy for passing both an emergency COVID-19 bill and legislation to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. Both sides emerged from that discussion in agreement that the two bills should be lumped together for the sake of expediency — a message Pelosi amplified on Friday.

A key breakthrough: Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done MORE (D-N.Y.) announced this week that they're prepared to lower their funding demand dramatically, agreeing to use a recently released bipartisan framework — in the range of $900 billion — as the baseline of the talks.

Read more here

Trump largely silent on COVID-19 as health officials sound the alarm

Trump administration health officials are issuing increasingly dire warnings about the coronavirus and its rapid spread across the country, drawing a sharp contrast to the president’s reluctance to acknowledge the severity of the crisis head-on.

President Trump has been largely silent when it comes to warning the public about the need for precautions or announcing major new steps aimed at curbing the spread of the virus before a vaccine is widely available.

Instead, many of his public statements have focused on election conspiracy theories and his refusal to accept the results, underscored by a 46-minute video he posted to Facebook on Wednesday.

Trump has made little use of his White House megaphone to warn the public, including his supporters, about the increasing dangers posed by the coronavirus. 

In contrast, Trump’s health officials are issuing strong warnings:

  • CDC Director Robert Redfield warned on Wednesday that December, January and February are “going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”
  • The White House coronavirus task force sent a report, dated Sunday, to states sounding the alarm on several fronts, including that “a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall” as hospitals are overwhelmed.

Read more here.

More positive vaccine news: Study finds antibody levels remain elevated 3 months after Moderna vaccination

A new study finds that people still had high levels of antibodies three months after receiving the Moderna vaccine, positive news for estimating how long immunity to the virus from the vaccine will last.

The results published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that people will have immunity for at least three months after receiving the vaccine. It is still a serious question of how long immunity will last in total. It is possible people will have to return to get booster shots after some number of months if immunity is not long-lasting.

But the results finding elevated antibody levels three months after people received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine are encouraging, researchers said. 

“These data give us further optimism to expect that the high level of efficacy recently demonstrated by [the vaccine] to prevent COVID-19 disease will be durable,” said Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer. 

Neutralizing antibody levels “declined slightly over time, as expected, but they remained elevated in all participants 3 months after the booster vaccination,” the letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine states. 

Read more here.  

Fauci warns US has not hit 'Thanksgiving peak' even as cases soar


On a more concerning front, Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Israeli president receives COVID-19 booster shot AstraZeneca CEO: 'Not clear yet' if boosters are needed MORE said Friday that the country has not yet experienced the “post-Thanksgiving peak” in coronavirus infections, even as states across the country have had record surges over the past week. 

“We have not yet seen the post-Thanksgiving peak,” Fauci told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show, adding that the country will likely not see the full impact that Thanksgiving gatherings and travel had until about two to three weeks following the holiday. 

“That’s the concerning thing, because the numbers in and of themselves are alarming,” he continued. “And the thing that concerns me is that abuts right on the Christmas holiday, as people start to travel and shop and congregate.” 

“That’s the reason that we plead with them to please, as best as you can, uniform wearing of masks, keep distances to the best possible way you can, avoid crowds in congregated settings, particularly indoors, and if you are indoors in that circumstance, always wear your mask,” Fauci added. 

New role: He also said in the interview that he accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s request to serve in an expanded role in the administration “right on the spot.” 

Read more here.

Virtual Event Announcement: 1:00 ET Wednesday 12/9 -- From Platform to Policy: 2021 Health Care Agenda


With the election behind us we turn our attention to the future of health care in a new political climate. As a new Congress convenes, how can we ensure our health system is ready for the challenges of the present and future? Join The Hill for a discussion with policymakers and health care stakeholders about health policy in the 117th Congress. Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Senate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure MORE, Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodBiden's midterm strategies start to come into focus Biden aims to build support for jobs and families plan in Illinois Hollywood goes all in for the For the People Act MORE and more.  RSVP for event reminders

What we’re reading

CDC advisor says kids could get Covid vaccine in the second half of 2021 (CNBC

You make too much for an ObamaCare subsidy. Are there options? (New York Times

Immune response in animals good news for COVID-19 vaccine development (NPR)

State by state

In rural North Carolina, COVID-19 skepticism meets surging case counts and deaths (News & Observer)

Coronavirus caseload in Washington region hits single-day record (Washington Post)

Montana nurse describes how coronavirus pushes rural health care to its limits (NPR)