POST 50. October 6, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Monday October 5th will go down as one of the most fraught chapters in the history of American public Health (and national security).

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Newspaper  headlines paint a terrifying picture of politics crushing public health (and national security).

‘Don’t Be Afraid of Covid,’ Trump Says, Undermining Public Health Messages

““Don’t be afraid of Covid,” he wrote. “Don’t let it dominate your life.” When he arrived at the White House a few hours later, Mr. Trump removed his mask before joining several masked people inside. The president was probably still contagious, as many patients can pass on the virus for up to 10 days after symptoms begin.

Scientists, ethicists and doctors were outraged by the president’s comments about a disease that has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States.” (A)

Instead of Reassurance, Trump’s Doctor Delivers Confusion, Experts Say

“When Dr. Sean P. Conley confessed that he had misled the public on Saturday about President Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 to reflect the “upbeat attitude” of the White House, he lost credibility with many colleagues in the medical world.

“Yesterday’s briefing was a spin doctor, not a medical doctor,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University in Atlanta, said in an interview Sunday.” (B)

White House Is Not Tracing Contacts for ‘Super-Spreader’ Rose Garden Event,

“Despite almost daily disclosures of new coronavirus infections among President Trump’s close associates, the White House is making little effort to investigate the scope and source of its outbreak.

The White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members at the Rose Garden celebration 10 days ago for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the president, may have become infected, according to a White House official familiar with the plans.” (C)

White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

“Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process.

Facing a White House blockade, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines. That includes sharing the standards — perhaps as soon as this week — with an outside advisory committee of experts that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. The hope is that the committee will enforce the guidelines, regardless of the White House’s reaction.” (D)

For the Secret Service, a New Question: Who Will Protect Them From Trump?,

“For more than a century, Secret Service agents have lived by a straightforward ethos: They will take the president where he wants to go, even if it means putting their bodies in front of a bullet…

The problem came into focus on Sunday, when a masked Mr. Trump climbed into a hermetically sealed, armored Chevy Suburban with at least two Secret Service agents — covered head to toe in the same personal protective equipment used by doctors — so the president could wave to a group of supporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Medical experts said the move recklessly put agents at risk. Secret Service personnel have privately questioned whether additional precautions will be put in place to protect the detail from the man they have pledged to protect.” (E)

The Coronavirus May Be Adrift in Indoor Air, C.D.C. Acknowledges

“Two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took down a statement about airborne transmission of the coronavirus, the agency on Monday replaced it with language citing new evidence that the virus can spread beyond six feet indoors.” (F)

Trump makes misleading comparison between coronavirus and the flu

President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to downplay the coronavirus and suggested the United States should learn to live with the pandemic, posting to Twitter hours after returning to the White House from being hospitalized with Covid-19.

In his morning tweet, the president likened the highly contagious disease to the seasonal flu, reprising a misleading comparison he repeatedly invoked in the early stages of the U.S. outbreak.

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump wrote. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” (G)

Senior Pentagon leadership quarantining after exposure to coronavirus

“The top US general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the senior Pentagon leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN.

The Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday.

“On Monday, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray, tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested the same day, after feeling mild symptoms over the weekend,” the Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday…

Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon in secure areas with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Multiple defense officials tell CNN that senior Pentagon leadership who had been in proximity to Ray have been tested and are awaiting results.”  (H)

The White House Bet on Abbott’s Rapid Tests. It Didn’t Work Out

“The fault for the outbreak lies in no small part with an ill-conceived disease-prevention strategy at the White House, health experts said: From the early days of the pandemic, federal officials have relied too heavily on one company’s rapid tests, with little or no mechanism to identify and contain cases that fell through the diagnostic cracks….

Other health experts noted that the tests deployed by the White House, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, were given emergency clearance by the Food and Drug Administration only for people “within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms.” But they were used incorrectly, to screen people who were not showing any signs of illness. Such off-label use, experts said, further compromised a strategy that presumably was designed to keep leading officials safe from a pandemic that so far has killed more than 210,000 Americans.” (I)


Donald Trump’s campaign claims the president’s COVID diagnosis will HELP him beat Biden because ‘he has firsthand experience the Democrat doesn’t’

“As President Trump prepared to check out of the hospital, his campaign announced its new Operation MAGA and argued Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis gave him something Democratic rival Joe Biden didn’t have – experience with the virus.

‘He has experience as commander-in-chief, he has experience as a business man, he has experience – now – of fighting the coronavirus as an individual,’ Trump campaign press communications director Erin Perrine told Fox News on Monday afternoon.

‘Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those,’ she said.” (J)


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