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Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Again Scorns Science on Masks and Vaccines Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Again Scorns Science on Masks and Vaccines
(32 minutes later)
President Trump rebuked the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, saying that Dr. Robert R. Redfield offered “incorrect information” when he told a Senate panel earlier in the day that a coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to be widely available before the middle of next year.President Trump rebuked the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, saying that Dr. Robert R. Redfield offered “incorrect information” when he told a Senate panel earlier in the day that a coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to be widely available before the middle of next year.
“I saw the statement — I called him,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a news briefing at the White House. “I said, ‘What did you mean by that?’ And I think he just made a mistake.”“I saw the statement — I called him,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a news briefing at the White House. “I said, ‘What did you mean by that?’ And I think he just made a mistake.”
The president also said that Dr. Redfield was wrong to say that a mask is more effective than a vaccine.The president also said that Dr. Redfield was wrong to say that a mask is more effective than a vaccine.
“The mask is not as important as the vaccine,” the president asserted, adding, “The mask, perhaps, helps.“The mask is not as important as the vaccine,” the president asserted, adding, “The mask, perhaps, helps.
“When I called up Robert today, I said, ‘What’s with the mask?’” Mr. Trump said. “He said, ‘I think I answered that question incorrectly.’ I think maybe he had misunderstood it,” he added.“When I called up Robert today, I said, ‘What’s with the mask?’” Mr. Trump said. “He said, ‘I think I answered that question incorrectly.’ I think maybe he had misunderstood it,” he added.
Dr. Redfield had told senators that even if a vaccine were available now, vaccinating enough Americans for widespread immunity could take six to nine months. He estimated that one could be available for limited use by the end of the year, and for wider distribution by the middle of 2021, echoing a timeline that other top health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, had used in recent weeks.Dr. Redfield had told senators that even if a vaccine were available now, vaccinating enough Americans for widespread immunity could take six to nine months. He estimated that one could be available for limited use by the end of the year, and for wider distribution by the middle of 2021, echoing a timeline that other top health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, had used in recent weeks.
During the hearing, Dr. Redfield also said that masks are “the most important, powerful public health tool we have” in fighting the pandemic.During the hearing, Dr. Redfield also said that masks are “the most important, powerful public health tool we have” in fighting the pandemic.
He said universal mask use could bring the pandemic under control in a few months and said, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.” (Vaccines are not 100 percent effective, whereas masks, worn properly, do what they are designed to do.)He said universal mask use could bring the pandemic under control in a few months and said, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.” (Vaccines are not 100 percent effective, whereas masks, worn properly, do what they are designed to do.)
But Mr. Trump asserted several times that his C.D.C. chief was wrong. “I got the impression that he didn’t realize he said what he might have said,” the president said. Asked whether he still had “confidence” in Dr. Redfield, Mr. Trump said, “I do.”But Mr. Trump asserted several times that his C.D.C. chief was wrong. “I got the impression that he didn’t realize he said what he might have said,” the president said. Asked whether he still had “confidence” in Dr. Redfield, Mr. Trump said, “I do.”
The president has repeatedly claimed that a vaccine could be available before Election Day, a timeline that most health experts say is unrealistic, prompting concerns that the Food and Drug Administration might give emergency authorization to a vaccine before it has been fully vetted for safety and effectiveness. Nine pharmaceutical companies have pledged to “stand with science” and to not push through any product that didn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.The president has repeatedly claimed that a vaccine could be available before Election Day, a timeline that most health experts say is unrealistic, prompting concerns that the Food and Drug Administration might give emergency authorization to a vaccine before it has been fully vetted for safety and effectiveness. Nine pharmaceutical companies have pledged to “stand with science” and to not push through any product that didn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.
The F.D.A. chief, Stephen Hahn, said last week that the agency would be issuing new guidelines for emergency authorization of vaccines “in the near future.”The F.D.A. chief, Stephen Hahn, said last week that the agency would be issuing new guidelines for emergency authorization of vaccines “in the near future.”
“We’re ready to go as soon as the vaccine happens,” Mr. Trump said. Asked how long he thought it might be before every American could be vaccinated, he replied, “I think it will be very soon.”“We’re ready to go as soon as the vaccine happens,” Mr. Trump said. Asked how long he thought it might be before every American could be vaccinated, he replied, “I think it will be very soon.”
Mr. Trump said at a town-hall-style event on Tuesday night that a vaccine could be ready within “three weeks, four weeks.”Mr. Trump said at a town-hall-style event on Tuesday night that a vaccine could be ready within “three weeks, four weeks.”
Shortly before Mr. Trump’s briefing on Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, gave a speech in which he expressed grave concern over the political pressure that he said Mr. Trump was exerting over the government’s approval process and accused the president of trying to rush out a vaccine for electoral gain. Earlier on Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, gave a speech in which he expressed grave concern over the political pressure that he said Mr. Trump was exerting over the government’s approval process and accused the president of trying to rush out a vaccine for electoral gain.
“Scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does,” he said. “They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles. And their timing and their approval and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations. It should be determined by science and safety alone.”“Scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does,” he said. “They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles. And their timing and their approval and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations. It should be determined by science and safety alone.”
Mr. Biden delivered his remarks in Wilmington, Del., after receiving a briefing on the coronavirus vaccine from top national health experts, including Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general.Mr. Biden delivered his remarks in Wilmington, Del., after receiving a briefing on the coronavirus vaccine from top national health experts, including Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general.
Michael R. Caputo, the embattled top spokesman of the cabinet department overseeing the coronavirus response, will take a leave of absence “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family,” the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.Michael R. Caputo, the embattled top spokesman of the cabinet department overseeing the coronavirus response, will take a leave of absence “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family,” the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
Mr. Caputo’s science adviser, Dr. Paul Alexander, will be leaving the department.Mr. Caputo’s science adviser, Dr. Paul Alexander, will be leaving the department.
The announcement came after a bizarre and inflammatory outburst on Facebook on Sept. 13 and disclosures that he and his team had tried to water down official reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the pandemic.The announcement came after a bizarre and inflammatory outburst on Facebook on Sept. 13 and disclosures that he and his team had tried to water down official reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the pandemic.
Mr. Caputo, a longtime Trump loyalist and the health department’s assistant secretary of public affairs, apologized for his Facebook presentation to his staff and to Alex M. Azar II, the department’s leader, after his comments became public.Mr. Caputo, a longtime Trump loyalist and the health department’s assistant secretary of public affairs, apologized for his Facebook presentation to his staff and to Alex M. Azar II, the department’s leader, after his comments became public.
Since he was installed at the department in April by the White House, Mr. Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide, has aggressively worked to develop a media strategy for dealing with the pandemic. But critics, including some in the administration, complained that he was promoting the president’s political interests over public health.Since he was installed at the department in April by the White House, Mr. Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide, has aggressively worked to develop a media strategy for dealing with the pandemic. But critics, including some in the administration, complained that he was promoting the president’s political interests over public health.
His Facebook talk, which was shared with The New York Times, was filled with ominous predictions of left-wing “hit squads” plotting armed insurrection after the election and attacks on C.D.C. scientists, who he said had formed a “resistance unit” determined to undercut Mr. Trump’s chances of re-election. He accused the scientists of “rotten science” and said they “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants” except to plot against the president at coffee shops.His Facebook talk, which was shared with The New York Times, was filled with ominous predictions of left-wing “hit squads” plotting armed insurrection after the election and attacks on C.D.C. scientists, who he said had formed a “resistance unit” determined to undercut Mr. Trump’s chances of re-election. He accused the scientists of “rotten science” and said they “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants” except to plot against the president at coffee shops.
In his appearance in front of a Senate health panel on Wednesday, the C.D.C. director said Mr. Caputo’s remarks about government scientists committing “sedition” were “false accusations” offensive to career officials at his agency.In his appearance in front of a Senate health panel on Wednesday, the C.D.C. director said Mr. Caputo’s remarks about government scientists committing “sedition” were “false accusations” offensive to career officials at his agency.
“C.D.C. is made up of thousands of dedicated men and women, highly competent,” Dr. Redfield said. “It is the premier public health agency in the world.”“C.D.C. is made up of thousands of dedicated men and women, highly competent,” Dr. Redfield said. “It is the premier public health agency in the world.”
Mr. Caputo and a colleague pushed the C.D.C. to delay and edit apolitical . health bulletins, called Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, in an effort to paint the administration’s pandemic response in a more positive light.Mr. Caputo and a colleague pushed the C.D.C. to delay and edit apolitical . health bulletins, called Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, in an effort to paint the administration’s pandemic response in a more positive light.
Connecticut officials on Wednesday took what they called the “extraordinary step” of closing a nursing home and moving its residents elsewhere after an outbreak that resulted in around 30 cases and four deaths and might have spread to a hospital.Connecticut officials on Wednesday took what they called the “extraordinary step” of closing a nursing home and moving its residents elsewhere after an outbreak that resulted in around 30 cases and four deaths and might have spread to a hospital.
The shutdown came just after the state made the rare move of installing an outside manager at the home, the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich, to address various deficiencies.The shutdown came just after the state made the rare move of installing an outside manager at the home, the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich, to address various deficiencies.
The manager recommended the closing after quickly concluding that the problems could not be fixed by Sept. 30 as required by the state, Deidre S. Gifford, Connecticut’s acting health commissioner, said.The manager recommended the closing after quickly concluding that the problems could not be fixed by Sept. 30 as required by the state, Deidre S. Gifford, Connecticut’s acting health commissioner, said.
In a statement, the home’s operator, JACC Healthcare Center of Norwich, said it supported the move.In a statement, the home’s operator, JACC Healthcare Center of Norwich, said it supported the move.
Of the home’s 53 remaining residents, 17 who have tested positive will be transferred to a home in East Hartford to isolate, officials said; 29 will be moved to other homes near Norwich. The rest are waiting for their test results and under observation for possible infection.Of the home’s 53 remaining residents, 17 who have tested positive will be transferred to a home in East Hartford to isolate, officials said; 29 will be moved to other homes near Norwich. The rest are waiting for their test results and under observation for possible infection.
The state began investigating the home last month after 13 residents and two staff members tested positive. By Wednesday, at least 21 residents and six staff members had tested positive.The state began investigating the home last month after 13 residents and two staff members tested positive. By Wednesday, at least 21 residents and six staff members had tested positive.
Investigators found, among other things, inadequate staffing; a failure to keep residents who had tested positive for the virus away from those who had not; and a lack of personal protective equipment.Investigators found, among other things, inadequate staffing; a failure to keep residents who had tested positive for the virus away from those who had not; and a lack of personal protective equipment.
Investigators also determined that workers at the nursing home had sent several virus patients to Backus Hospital in Norwich for emergency care without telling the hospital in writing that there was an outbreak at Three Rivers. Several hospital employees have tested positive for the virus, and the state is now investigating the outbreak there.Investigators also determined that workers at the nursing home had sent several virus patients to Backus Hospital in Norwich for emergency care without telling the hospital in writing that there was an outbreak at Three Rivers. Several hospital employees have tested positive for the virus, and the state is now investigating the outbreak there.
As in many states, the virus has ravaged Connecticut’s long-term care homes. Nearly three out of every four of the 3,280 virus-related deaths that the state had recorded as of Wednesday were linked to such homes, according to data compiled by The New York Times.As in many states, the virus has ravaged Connecticut’s long-term care homes. Nearly three out of every four of the 3,280 virus-related deaths that the state had recorded as of Wednesday were linked to such homes, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
In neighboring New York, officials this week eased restrictions on visitation guidelines previously set at nursing homes. Under the new rules, homes that have been virus-free for 14 days can allow visitors, half of the previous 28-day requirement.In neighboring New York, officials this week eased restrictions on visitation guidelines previously set at nursing homes. Under the new rules, homes that have been virus-free for 14 days can allow visitors, half of the previous 28-day requirement.
The Big Ten Conference said Wednesday that it would try to play football as soon as the weekend of Oct. 23, potentially salvaging the seasons of some of the most renowned and lucrative teams in college sports and reversing a decision from just over a month ago not to compete because of the pandemic.The Big Ten Conference said Wednesday that it would try to play football as soon as the weekend of Oct. 23, potentially salvaging the seasons of some of the most renowned and lucrative teams in college sports and reversing a decision from just over a month ago not to compete because of the pandemic.
The move will probably appease some prominent coaches, parents, players, fans and even Mr. Trump, but it is also likely to provoke new accusations that the league is prioritizing profits and entertainment over health and safety.The move will probably appease some prominent coaches, parents, players, fans and even Mr. Trump, but it is also likely to provoke new accusations that the league is prioritizing profits and entertainment over health and safety.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the league said players, coaches, trainers and others on the field would undergo daily testing for the virus, and that any player who tested positive would be barred from games for at least 21 days.In a statement on Wednesday morning, the league said players, coaches, trainers and others on the field would undergo daily testing for the virus, and that any player who tested positive would be barred from games for at least 21 days.
Leagues that have already returned to play, like the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12, have been forced to postpone a handful of games or bench players because of positive tests or exposure to the virus. Stadiums are operating with fewer spectators in the stands or none at all.Leagues that have already returned to play, like the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12, have been forced to postpone a handful of games or bench players because of positive tests or exposure to the virus. Stadiums are operating with fewer spectators in the stands or none at all.
Complicating matters is the association between football and social gatherings like tailgate parties. Health officials near some Big Ten campuses, including Michigan State and Wisconsin, have begun cracking down on students for partying, threatening harsh penalties and putting fraternities and sororities under quarantine. In Ingham County, home to Michigan State University, local health authorities ordered residents of nearly two dozen Greek houses, as well as several other group houses, to quarantine for 14 days after the university reported 160 new cases.Complicating matters is the association between football and social gatherings like tailgate parties. Health officials near some Big Ten campuses, including Michigan State and Wisconsin, have begun cracking down on students for partying, threatening harsh penalties and putting fraternities and sororities under quarantine. In Ingham County, home to Michigan State University, local health authorities ordered residents of nearly two dozen Greek houses, as well as several other group houses, to quarantine for 14 days after the university reported 160 new cases.
“While we know many students are doing the right thing, we are still seeing far too many social gatherings in the off-campus community, where individuals are in close contact without face coverings,” Mayor Aaron Stephens of East Lansing said on Saturday of the order.“While we know many students are doing the right thing, we are still seeing far too many social gatherings in the off-campus community, where individuals are in close contact without face coverings,” Mayor Aaron Stephens of East Lansing said on Saturday of the order.
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is also part of the Big Ten and had a sharp uptick in cases last week, local health authorities ordered all Greek organizations with one or more cases among their live-in members to quarantine. Several states, including Kansas, Colorado and Michigan, have tracked coronavirus clusters to Greek houses.At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is also part of the Big Ten and had a sharp uptick in cases last week, local health authorities ordered all Greek organizations with one or more cases among their live-in members to quarantine. Several states, including Kansas, Colorado and Michigan, have tracked coronavirus clusters to Greek houses.
And at SUNY Oswego, which recorded 70 new cases since Saturday, officials warned students that any parties hosted by fraternity or sorority members, even if not technically sponsored by their Greek organizations, would still lead to “severe individual and organizational penalties.”And at SUNY Oswego, which recorded 70 new cases since Saturday, officials warned students that any parties hosted by fraternity or sorority members, even if not technically sponsored by their Greek organizations, would still lead to “severe individual and organizational penalties.”
In recent days, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have canceled spring break, when students often travel to places like Florida and spend a week partying.In recent days, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have canceled spring break, when students often travel to places like Florida and spend a week partying.
Mr. Trump urged Republicans on Wednesday to “go for the much higher numbers” in stalled negotiations over another economic recovery package, undercutting his party’s push for a bare-bones plan that omits another round of stimulus checks for Americans struggling to weather the pandemic-induced recession.Mr. Trump urged Republicans on Wednesday to “go for the much higher numbers” in stalled negotiations over another economic recovery package, undercutting his party’s push for a bare-bones plan that omits another round of stimulus checks for Americans struggling to weather the pandemic-induced recession.
The comments on Twitter Wednesday morning were the latest instance in which Mr. Trump has undermined the Republican position in high-stakes negotiations, muddling the party’s message along with lawmakers’ chances of reaching a politically palatable solution.The comments on Twitter Wednesday morning were the latest instance in which Mr. Trump has undermined the Republican position in high-stakes negotiations, muddling the party’s message along with lawmakers’ chances of reaching a politically palatable solution.
Democrats are pressing for at least $2.2 trillion in stimulus spending, a sum that White House negotiators and Republican leaders have said is far too high. Senate Republicans tried last week to push through a substantially scaled-back package that would provide only about $300 billion in new spending — and did not include the $1,200 stimulus payments — but it did not reach the 60-vote threshold and Democrats called the bill inadequate.Democrats are pressing for at least $2.2 trillion in stimulus spending, a sum that White House negotiators and Republican leaders have said is far too high. Senate Republicans tried last week to push through a substantially scaled-back package that would provide only about $300 billion in new spending — and did not include the $1,200 stimulus payments — but it did not reach the 60-vote threshold and Democrats called the bill inadequate.
In his tweet, the president falsely asserted that it was Democrats who had opposed the stimulus checks — which have been a part of every aid plan they have proposed, including the $3.4 trillion measure they pushed through the House in May.In his tweet, the president falsely asserted that it was Democrats who had opposed the stimulus checks — which have been a part of every aid plan they have proposed, including the $3.4 trillion measure they pushed through the House in May.
Top Democrats, who are under mounting pressure from centrist lawmakers to act on another relief plan before the November elections, seized on Mr. Trump’s comments to try to pressure Republicans to bow to their demands for more spending. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said they “look forward to hearing from the president’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway.”Top Democrats, who are under mounting pressure from centrist lawmakers to act on another relief plan before the November elections, seized on Mr. Trump’s comments to try to pressure Republicans to bow to their demands for more spending. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said they “look forward to hearing from the president’s negotiators that they will finally meet us halfway.”
“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” the two leaders said.“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” the two leaders said.
Ms. Pelosi later reiterated the points made in the statement in a phone call with Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, in which the two also discussed negotiations over a stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown, according to Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the speaker.Ms. Pelosi later reiterated the points made in the statement in a phone call with Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, in which the two also discussed negotiations over a stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown, according to Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the speaker.
Republicans were bewildered about the president’s tweet.Republicans were bewildered about the president’s tweet.
“That probably needs to get translated for us,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, said when informed of the president’s tweet, which he suggested did not reflect the political reality in the Senate.“That probably needs to get translated for us,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, said when informed of the president’s tweet, which he suggested did not reflect the political reality in the Senate.
“I know kind of what the threshold is for what we can get Republican votes for in the Senate,” Mr. Thune told reporters. “I think if the number gets too high, anything that got passed in the Senate would be passed mostly with Democrat votes and a handful of Republicans, so it’s going to have to stay in sort of a realistic range.”“I know kind of what the threshold is for what we can get Republican votes for in the Senate,” Mr. Thune told reporters. “I think if the number gets too high, anything that got passed in the Senate would be passed mostly with Democrat votes and a handful of Republicans, so it’s going to have to stay in sort of a realistic range.”
A member of the White House staff has recently tested positive for the coronavirus, Mr. Trump confirmed at his news briefing on Wednesday. He declined to name the person but said, “It’s not anybody that was near me.”A member of the White House staff has recently tested positive for the coronavirus, Mr. Trump confirmed at his news briefing on Wednesday. He declined to name the person but said, “It’s not anybody that was near me.”
Mr. Trump addressed the subject in response to a question from a reporter seeking to confirm the information, which the White House had not volunteered. Mr. Trump said that he had heard about the positive test on Wednesday morning but also said he had learned of it “last night for the first time.”Mr. Trump addressed the subject in response to a question from a reporter seeking to confirm the information, which the White House had not volunteered. Mr. Trump said that he had heard about the positive test on Wednesday morning but also said he had learned of it “last night for the first time.”
Earlier in the day, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, declined to comment on whether any staff members had tested positive.Earlier in the day, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, declined to comment on whether any staff members had tested positive.
“I don’t share people’s personal medical information,” she said.“I don’t share people’s personal medical information,” she said.
Several people close to the White House and the president’s re-election campaign have tested positive over the past several months, including Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fund-raising official for the campaign; Robert O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser; and Katie Miller, the press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence.Several people close to the White House and the president’s re-election campaign have tested positive over the past several months, including Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fund-raising official for the campaign; Robert O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser; and Katie Miller, the press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence.
The coronavirus is out of control and is the “No. 1 global security threat in our world today,” the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said Wednesday at a news conference outlining his messages for this year’s General Assembly session. The session, which began this week, will largely be held via virtual meetings because of the pandemic.The coronavirus is out of control and is the “No. 1 global security threat in our world today,” the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said Wednesday at a news conference outlining his messages for this year’s General Assembly session. The session, which began this week, will largely be held via virtual meetings because of the pandemic.
Mr. Guterres called for greater cooperation to develop and distribute an affordable vaccine and criticized what he called “deadly misinformation” that could dissuade people from getting vaccinated.Mr. Guterres called for greater cooperation to develop and distribute an affordable vaccine and criticized what he called “deadly misinformation” that could dissuade people from getting vaccinated.
Mr. Guterres also said he would press the organization’s 193 member states to help ensure that nations heed his plea for a worldwide cease-fire in all armed conflicts, which he called for six months ago to help combat the pandemic.Mr. Guterres also said he would press the organization’s 193 member states to help ensure that nations heed his plea for a worldwide cease-fire in all armed conflicts, which he called for six months ago to help combat the pandemic.
The United Nations has been unable to orchestrate a coordinated global response to the scourge and its pleas for billions of dollars in emergency aid for the neediest countries have so far only engendered what Mark Lowcock, the organization’s top relief official, has called a “tepid” response.The United Nations has been unable to orchestrate a coordinated global response to the scourge and its pleas for billions of dollars in emergency aid for the neediest countries have so far only engendered what Mark Lowcock, the organization’s top relief official, has called a “tepid” response.
On Tuesday, the new president of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, a veteran Turkish diplomat, announced he would convene a special session of the body during the first week of November devoted to addressing the pandemic.On Tuesday, the new president of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, a veteran Turkish diplomat, announced he would convene a special session of the body during the first week of November devoted to addressing the pandemic.
LATEST IN SCIENCE ROUNDUPLATEST IN SCIENCE ROUNDUP
Federal officials outlined details on Wednesday of their preparations to administer a future coronavirus vaccine to Americans, saying that they would begin distribution within 24 hours of any approval or emergency authorization, and that their goal is for no American “to pay a single dime” out of their own pocket.Federal officials outlined details on Wednesday of their preparations to administer a future coronavirus vaccine to Americans, saying that they would begin distribution within 24 hours of any approval or emergency authorization, and that their goal is for no American “to pay a single dime” out of their own pocket.
The officials, who are part of the government’s Operation Warp Speed — the multiagency effort to quickly make a coronavirus vaccine available to Americans — also said the timing of a vaccine was still unclear.The officials, who are part of the government’s Operation Warp Speed — the multiagency effort to quickly make a coronavirus vaccine available to Americans — also said the timing of a vaccine was still unclear.
“We’re dealing in a world of great uncertainty,” said Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t know the timing of when we’ll have a vaccine. We don’t know the quantities. We don’t know the efficacy of those vaccines.”“We’re dealing in a world of great uncertainty,” said Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t know the timing of when we’ll have a vaccine. We don’t know the quantities. We don’t know the efficacy of those vaccines.”
The officials said they were planning for initial distribution of a vaccine — perhaps on an emergency basis, and to a limited group of high-priority people such as health care workers — in the final three months of this year and into next year. The Defense Department is providing logistical support to plan how the vaccines will be shipped and stored as well as how to keep track of who has gotten the vaccine and whether they have been given one or two doses.The officials said they were planning for initial distribution of a vaccine — perhaps on an emergency basis, and to a limited group of high-priority people such as health care workers — in the final three months of this year and into next year. The Defense Department is providing logistical support to plan how the vaccines will be shipped and stored as well as how to keep track of who has gotten the vaccine and whether they have been given one or two doses.
In other science news:In other science news:
A single infusion of an experimental drug has markedly reduced blood levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lowered the chances that they will need hospitalization, the drug’s maker announced on Wednesday. The drug is a monoclonal antibody, a man-made copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19.A single infusion of an experimental drug has markedly reduced blood levels of the coronavirus in newly infected patients and lowered the chances that they will need hospitalization, the drug’s maker announced on Wednesday. The drug is a monoclonal antibody, a man-made copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19.
Russia’s vaccine, which has been approved by the government but not yet been fully tested for safety and efficacy, won a new customer on Wednesday in India, according to a Russian financial company backing the vaccine. The Indian company, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, agreed first to cooperate on clinical trials and, if they are successful, to buy 100 million doses, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said in a joint statement with the company.Russia’s vaccine, which has been approved by the government but not yet been fully tested for safety and efficacy, won a new customer on Wednesday in India, according to a Russian financial company backing the vaccine. The Indian company, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, agreed first to cooperate on clinical trials and, if they are successful, to buy 100 million doses, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said in a joint statement with the company.
U.S. ROUNDUPU.S. ROUNDUP
As a strike by University of Michigan graduate students demanding more protection from the virus has extended into a second week, the school has gone to court seeking a judge’s order that would force the students to return to work.As a strike by University of Michigan graduate students demanding more protection from the virus has extended into a second week, the school has gone to court seeking a judge’s order that would force the students to return to work.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization went on strike Sept. 8, demanding the right to opt out of in-person teaching and other concessions. Residential advisers have demanded hazard pay and regular access to testing, among other issues.The Graduate Employees’ Organization went on strike Sept. 8, demanding the right to opt out of in-person teaching and other concessions. Residential advisers have demanded hazard pay and regular access to testing, among other issues.
The university said it had offered the students some concessions, but its proposals have been rejected. In its court filings, the university accused the union of “interfering in the university’s mission to educate students by unlawfully withholding their labor.” It is illegal for public employee unions to strike in Michigan.The university said it had offered the students some concessions, but its proposals have been rejected. In its court filings, the university accused the union of “interfering in the university’s mission to educate students by unlawfully withholding their labor.” It is illegal for public employee unions to strike in Michigan.
Erin Markiewitz, the graduate student group’s vice president, said Wednesday that the university was “leaning into anti-union laws in an attempt to ignore their workers’ real concerns about the public health crisis on this campus.”Erin Markiewitz, the graduate student group’s vice president, said Wednesday that the university was “leaning into anti-union laws in an attempt to ignore their workers’ real concerns about the public health crisis on this campus.”
About 90 percent of the university’s undergraduates take a course taught entirely or in part by a graduate student, according to court filings. The university has said that about 75 percent of graduate students are teaching remotely, and that it will accommodate opt-out requests.About 90 percent of the university’s undergraduates take a course taught entirely or in part by a graduate student, according to court filings. The university has said that about 75 percent of graduate students are teaching remotely, and that it will accommodate opt-out requests.
“What we cannot welcome is the profound disruption to the education we’ve promised our undergraduate students,” the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, said in a video town hall meeting this week.“What we cannot welcome is the profound disruption to the education we’ve promised our undergraduate students,” the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, said in a video town hall meeting this week.
Hillary Rubin, the parent of a freshman, said the university appeared to be unprepared for the complexities of college life amid the pandemic.Hillary Rubin, the parent of a freshman, said the university appeared to be unprepared for the complexities of college life amid the pandemic.
“I’m not going to take sides for or against the university,” Ms. Rubin said. “I’m saying they need to figure this out. We’re paying tuition, and our kids don’t have classes.”“I’m not going to take sides for or against the university,” Ms. Rubin said. “I’m saying they need to figure this out. We’re paying tuition, and our kids don’t have classes.”
Elsewhere around the United States:Elsewhere around the United States:
All students at the University of Colorado Boulder, which has an enrollment of about 35,000, were advised to quarantine for two weeks by the county’s health department on Tuesday after a surge of cases tied to the university. The county health director said that mandatory restrictions would be imposed if the positiviy rate remained high.All students at the University of Colorado Boulder, which has an enrollment of about 35,000, were advised to quarantine for two weeks by the county’s health department on Tuesday after a surge of cases tied to the university. The county health director said that mandatory restrictions would be imposed if the positiviy rate remained high.
The University of Arizona, with about 45,000 students, also asked students living on or near campus to quarantine this week and next, with the exception of attending classes, after a major spike in cases. And Grand Valley State University’s 21,000 students in Allendale, Mich., were also ordered to “stay in place” for two weeks by the county health department.The University of Arizona, with about 45,000 students, also asked students living on or near campus to quarantine this week and next, with the exception of attending classes, after a major spike in cases. And Grand Valley State University’s 21,000 students in Allendale, Mich., were also ordered to “stay in place” for two weeks by the county health department.
In Florida, Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County said on Wednesday that he would allow the staggered opening of additional indoor spaces. As of Wednesday, the 14-day average of the county’s positivity rate was about 5 percent. Beginning on Friday, movie theaters, bowling alleys, banquet halls and some other venues will be able to open at half-capacity as long as they require masks and social distancing and meet certain ventilation requirements. No eating or drinking will be allowed while watching movies, Mr. Gimenez said; food or drink may only be consumed in designated areas where masks can be removed.In Florida, Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County said on Wednesday that he would allow the staggered opening of additional indoor spaces. As of Wednesday, the 14-day average of the county’s positivity rate was about 5 percent. Beginning on Friday, movie theaters, bowling alleys, banquet halls and some other venues will be able to open at half-capacity as long as they require masks and social distancing and meet certain ventilation requirements. No eating or drinking will be allowed while watching movies, Mr. Gimenez said; food or drink may only be consumed in designated areas where masks can be removed.
Federal Reserve officials expect to leave interest rates near zero for years — through at least 2023 — and will tolerate periods of higher inflation as they try to revive the labor market and economy, based on their September policy statement and economic projections released Wednesday.Federal Reserve officials expect to leave interest rates near zero for years — through at least 2023 — and will tolerate periods of higher inflation as they try to revive the labor market and economy, based on their September policy statement and economic projections released Wednesday.
NEW YORK ROUNDUPNEW YORK ROUNDUP
Just hours before New York City’s 1.1 million students logged on for virtual school orientation on Wednesday morning, the Department of Education announced a last-minute change to how children will learn when classes officially start on Monday.Just hours before New York City’s 1.1 million students logged on for virtual school orientation on Wednesday morning, the Department of Education announced a last-minute change to how children will learn when classes officially start on Monday.
The city announced earlier in the summer that all schools would be required to provide at least some live instruction to all students on every day they were learning at home. Principals and teachers have been warning for weeks that there were simply not enough teachers to educate students in-person and online; different teachers have to instruct each cohort. The city finally acknowledged the enormous staffing crunch, which the principals’ union estimated could be as large as 10,000 educators, with Tuesday night’s announcement.The city announced earlier in the summer that all schools would be required to provide at least some live instruction to all students on every day they were learning at home. Principals and teachers have been warning for weeks that there were simply not enough teachers to educate students in-person and online; different teachers have to instruct each cohort. The city finally acknowledged the enormous staffing crunch, which the principals’ union estimated could be as large as 10,000 educators, with Tuesday night’s announcement.
For students in the hybrid education model, which involves physically attending school one to three days per week and learning remotely the rest of the time, the new rule will no longer require schools to provide daily live instruction when those students are remote. The roughly 40 percent of students who have chosen to learn remotely full-time will still get live instruction each day. Students can switch to full remote learning at any time.For students in the hybrid education model, which involves physically attending school one to three days per week and learning remotely the rest of the time, the new rule will no longer require schools to provide daily live instruction when those students are remote. The roughly 40 percent of students who have chosen to learn remotely full-time will still get live instruction each day. Students can switch to full remote learning at any time.
When the students in the hybrid model do not receive live instruction, they might instead watch a prerecorded video of a lesson, or complete assignments on their own time. The city also said that if schools have enough staff to provide daily live instruction on days when hybrid students are at home, they should do so.When the students in the hybrid model do not receive live instruction, they might instead watch a prerecorded video of a lesson, or complete assignments on their own time. The city also said that if schools have enough staff to provide daily live instruction on days when hybrid students are at home, they should do so.
The city’s mayor has argued that reopening schools for in-person instruction is crucial for the city’s hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children who were largely failed by remote learning. But the scarcity of both in-person instruction and live teaching has frustrated many parents.The city’s mayor has argued that reopening schools for in-person instruction is crucial for the city’s hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children who were largely failed by remote learning. But the scarcity of both in-person instruction and live teaching has frustrated many parents.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would add more teachers throughout the fall to provide live instruction.On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would add more teachers throughout the fall to provide live instruction.
Elsewhere in the New York area:Elsewhere in the New York area:
After months of complaints about testing delays, New York City officials are set to announce on Thursday that they have opened a lab in Manhattan that should significantly cut down on wait times as the city prepares for its most ambitious period of reopenings, with public school classes and indoor dining scheduled to begin this month. The new facility will prioritize New York City residents, meaning turnaround times within 24-48 hours, officials said.After months of complaints about testing delays, New York City officials are set to announce on Thursday that they have opened a lab in Manhattan that should significantly cut down on wait times as the city prepares for its most ambitious period of reopenings, with public school classes and indoor dining scheduled to begin this month. The new facility will prioritize New York City residents, meaning turnaround times within 24-48 hours, officials said.
Mr. de Blasio on Wednesday announced that he is furloughing his own staff at City Hall, himself included. The policy will affect 495 mayoral staff members, who will have to take an unpaid, weeklong furlough at some point between October and March 2021. The mayor intends to work during his furlough without pay, his spokesman said. The furloughs would yield $860,000 in anticipated savings.Mr. de Blasio on Wednesday announced that he is furloughing his own staff at City Hall, himself included. The policy will affect 495 mayoral staff members, who will have to take an unpaid, weeklong furlough at some point between October and March 2021. The mayor intends to work during his furlough without pay, his spokesman said. The furloughs would yield $860,000 in anticipated savings.
Mr. de Blasio also said on Wednesday that New York City would close off additional streets to vehicle traffic to allow restaurants to serve customers outdoors and would also extend the street closings from weekends to weekdays. The move is meant to try to help restaurant owners offset some of their huge losses during the pandemic. Indoor dining is set to resume in the city on Sept. 30, but restaurants will be allowed to serve at only 25 percent capacity.Mr. de Blasio also said on Wednesday that New York City would close off additional streets to vehicle traffic to allow restaurants to serve customers outdoors and would also extend the street closings from weekends to weekdays. The move is meant to try to help restaurant owners offset some of their huge losses during the pandemic. Indoor dining is set to resume in the city on Sept. 30, but restaurants will be allowed to serve at only 25 percent capacity.
GLOBAL ROUNDUPGLOBAL ROUNDUP
A day after covering a large White House event during which many attendees did not wear masks, Israeli reporters returning home on Wednesday were sent into quarantine.A day after covering a large White House event during which many attendees did not wear masks, Israeli reporters returning home on Wednesday were sent into quarantine.
In a statement, a spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Health said the journalists who were flying with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel were directed to go into quarantine and would be the subjects of an epidemiological investigation.In a statement, a spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Health said the journalists who were flying with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel were directed to go into quarantine and would be the subjects of an epidemiological investigation.
The reporters, who attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony on the South Lawn for agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, followed strict health protocols. An Israeli government official said the decision to quarantine them did not result from any specific notice of cases at the White House.The reporters, who attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony on the South Lawn for agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, followed strict health protocols. An Israeli government official said the decision to quarantine them did not result from any specific notice of cases at the White House.
But Health Ministry officials watching the ceremony back in Israel — which featured hundreds of attendees, many of them maskless, sitting and mingling at close quarters — believed it to be obviously unsafe and were “pissed,” according to an Israeli government official.But Health Ministry officials watching the ceremony back in Israel — which featured hundreds of attendees, many of them maskless, sitting and mingling at close quarters — believed it to be obviously unsafe and were “pissed,” according to an Israeli government official.
One Israeli reporter who attended the event posted a video on Twitter showing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking just inches away from Israel’s Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen. Neither man wore a mask.One Israeli reporter who attended the event posted a video on Twitter showing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking just inches away from Israel’s Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen. Neither man wore a mask.
The number of cases in Israel, when adjusted for population, have risen to among the highest in the world. The government has mandated a second, nationwide lockdown to begin Friday afternoon, hours before the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday, and to last at least three weeks, extending to the last day of Yom Kippur and the festival Sukkot. The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the venerable institution where Israeli prime ministers and presidents have prayed, announced on its website on Wednesday that it would remain shuttered over the Jewish high holidays for the first time in its more than half-century of history.The number of cases in Israel, when adjusted for population, have risen to among the highest in the world. The government has mandated a second, nationwide lockdown to begin Friday afternoon, hours before the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday, and to last at least three weeks, extending to the last day of Yom Kippur and the festival Sukkot. The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the venerable institution where Israeli prime ministers and presidents have prayed, announced on its website on Wednesday that it would remain shuttered over the Jewish high holidays for the first time in its more than half-century of history.
In other developments around the world:In other developments around the world:
India’s overall caseload surpassed five million on Tuesday, less than a month after hitting the three million mark. More than 82,000 people have died from the coronavirus in India, but, per capita, the country has had far fewer deaths than many others. Doctors say this reflects India’s younger and leaner population.India’s overall caseload surpassed five million on Tuesday, less than a month after hitting the three million mark. More than 82,000 people have died from the coronavirus in India, but, per capita, the country has had far fewer deaths than many others. Doctors say this reflects India’s younger and leaner population.
A health official from Madrid’s regional government warned that the capital was preparing to impose “selective lockdowns” in districts where the number of cases has recently risen significantly. The minister, Antonio Zapatero, said that the region needed “to flatten the curve” urgently, before the arrival of colder weather that could help spread the virus faster.A health official from Madrid’s regional government warned that the capital was preparing to impose “selective lockdowns” in districts where the number of cases has recently risen significantly. The minister, Antonio Zapatero, said that the region needed “to flatten the curve” urgently, before the arrival of colder weather that could help spread the virus faster.
Gen. Eduardo Pazuello on Wednesday became Brazil’s third health minister during the pandemic, The Associated Press reported, after nearly four months holding the position on an interim basis and almost 120,000 deaths from the virus there during that time. Mr. Pazuello, a logistics expert with no prior health experience before taking a deputy position in May, follows two predecessors who departed after disagreements with President Jair Bolsonaro regarding ways to combat the virus.Gen. Eduardo Pazuello on Wednesday became Brazil’s third health minister during the pandemic, The Associated Press reported, after nearly four months holding the position on an interim basis and almost 120,000 deaths from the virus there during that time. Mr. Pazuello, a logistics expert with no prior health experience before taking a deputy position in May, follows two predecessors who departed after disagreements with President Jair Bolsonaro regarding ways to combat the virus.
Six months after locking down the country to curb the spread of the virus, Nepal is starting to welcome back trekkers and mountaineers. The decision is aimed at reviving the country’s ailing economy, which is heavily dependent on mountain tourism. Trekkers visiting Nepal will be required to produce documentation showing that they tested negative before flying in, and to quarantine before traveling to tourist destinations.Six months after locking down the country to curb the spread of the virus, Nepal is starting to welcome back trekkers and mountaineers. The decision is aimed at reviving the country’s ailing economy, which is heavily dependent on mountain tourism. Trekkers visiting Nepal will be required to produce documentation showing that they tested negative before flying in, and to quarantine before traveling to tourist destinations.
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Alan Blinder, Luke Broadwater, Emily Cochrane, Michael Corkery, Michael Crowley, Melissa Eddy, Rick Gladstone, David Halbfinger, Anemona Hartocollis, Mike Ives, Isabel Kershner, Andrew E. Kramer, Gina Kolata, Sapna Maheshwari, Patricia Mazzei, Raphael Minder, Benjamin Mueller, Richard C. Paddock, Linda Qiu, Gretchen Reynolds, Dana Rubinstein, Ed Shanahan, Eliza Shapiro, Bhadra Shrama, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Glenn Thrush, Marc Tracy, Noah Weiland and Sameer Yasir.Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Alan Blinder, Luke Broadwater, Emily Cochrane, Michael Corkery, Michael Crowley, Melissa Eddy, Rick Gladstone, David Halbfinger, Anemona Hartocollis, Mike Ives, Isabel Kershner, Andrew E. Kramer, Gina Kolata, Sapna Maheshwari, Patricia Mazzei, Raphael Minder, Benjamin Mueller, Richard C. Paddock, Linda Qiu, Gretchen Reynolds, Dana Rubinstein, Ed Shanahan, Eliza Shapiro, Bhadra Shrama, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Glenn Thrush, Marc Tracy, Noah Weiland and Sameer Yasir.