Harris says she would absolutely take a vaccine if it was recommended by public health professionals, but not if only President Trump says to.
The claim: COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in weeks, and the government will force everyone to get it
The global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine has been a priority since the coronavirus pandemic started. Seven months into the U.S. outbreak, vaccine candidates are facing skepticism by some in the general public and various elected officials.
Leading health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have maintained that a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until mid-2021. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has promised a vaccine before Election Day, prompting the Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris to accuse Trump of politicizing the vaccine and to question its safety, noting that she would take it only if the health experts said it was safe.
The effectiveness and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine is not the only thing people are worried about. Vaccine conspiracy theories that originated in anti-vaxxer communities have thrived anew in the COVID-19 era, including claims that the vaccine would implant microchips or that it will be mandatory for every American.
A post from from Before It’s News, a website that allows anyone to contribute, — which was shared 38,00 times as of Oct. 15 — furthers the conspiracy theory of a mandatory vaccine, with a headline reading, “The Government Has Released Their Initial Plans to Force a Vaccine on Everyone.”
The post also says, “Three potential vaccines are currently in Stage 3 trials in the United States and could be ready in weeks,” citing Trump.
USA TODAY reached out to the site’s Facebook page for comment.
We’ll look at the two claims here: Will a vaccine be mandatory? And, what does the development and distribution timeline really look like?
Will a vaccine be ready in weeks?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the general cycle for the development of a new vaccine has six stages: exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control.
The global prioritization of finding a COVID-19 vaccine has shortened the timeline of its development, which for a regular vaccine would usually take years. However, vaccine developers and institutions like the CDC are following existing protocols to ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
As of Oct. 15, according to the World Health Organization, 42 vaccine candidates are in clinical evaluations and 156 are in preclinical evaluations.
16-year-old Katelyn Evans gets the first of two shots as part of a trial testing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in minors. (Photo: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital)
The post from Before It’s News cites a Sept. 15 comment from Trump where he said a vaccine could be ready in a “matter of weeks.” On Oct. 5, Trump said vaccines would be ready “momentarily.” However, scientists disagree.
On Sept. 16, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said that while an effective vaccine could be developed before the
The latest coronavirus surge is raging across the American heartland, most acutely in the Midwest and Mountain West.
This harrowing third surge, which led to a U.S. single-day record of more than 85,000 new cases Friday, is happening less than two weeks from Election Day, which will mark the end of a campaign dominated by the pandemic and President Trump’s much-criticized response to it.
As of Friday evening, 15 states have added more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic: Wisconsin, a battleground in the presidential election, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Alaska, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and North Dakota. And four states have added more deaths this week than in previous weeks: Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
North Dakota leads the nation in coronavirus cases per capita. Illinois is averaging more than 4,100 new cases per day, up 85 percent from the average two weeks ago. And Pennsylvania, another battleground state, on Friday reported a record of 2,258 cases.
The virus will be front of mind for voters in several key states: in Ohio, where more people are hospitalized than at any other time during the pandemic, and especially Wisconsin, home to seven of the country’s 10 metro areas with the highest numbers of recent cases. On Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order restricting the size of indoor gatherings to 25 percent capacity on Friday.
Experts worry that the growing numbers in need of hospital care will only get worse if cases continue to mount, especially in rural areas where medical facilities could be quickly overwhelmed.
Citing a rise in hospitalizations across the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a strengthening of coronavirus restrictions in certain counties, capping gatherings at 10 people from no more than two separate households. For the third straight day, Colorado announced a new single-day cases record on Friday.
Overnight, nearly 2,500 people were hospitalized in Illinois, the state’s top public health official, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, said in a news conference Friday afternoon. The mayor of Chicago, Lori E. Lightfoot, announced a curfew on nonessential businesses beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday.
In the latest presidential debate on Thursday night, President Trump asserted that the virus was “going away” as he defended his management of the pandemic. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, attacked Mr. Trump’s handling, calling for much more aggressive federal action for the “dark winter” ahead.
President Trump and many supporters blame restrictions on business activity, often
President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher’s lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE are offering opposing visions of responding to the coronavirus crisis as a new wave of cases mounts just ahead of Election Day.
Biden warned of a “dark winter” at Thursday night’s debate as new cases in the United States near a record high and hospitalizations rise again.
Despite this worsening outlook, Trump struck an optimistic message, saying the virus is “going away” and the country is “rounding the turn.”
Biden is hammering Trump over his response to the virus, which has killed more than 220,000 Americans so far. The country is now averaging about 60,000 cases per day, a number that is rising as the weather gets colder. Hospitalizations, after falling in the late summer, are now rising again too.
The former vice president immediately followed up the debate with a speech on responding to the pandemic on Friday.
“He’s given up, he’s quit on you, he’s quit on your family,” Biden said of Trump. “We don’t have to be held prisoner by this administration’s failures.”
Biden and Trump diverge not just on their outlooks, but in how forcefully they would marshal the powers of the federal government.
Biden is calling for new investments in rapid tests that can be done at home and called for a seven-fold increase in testing on Friday. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the need for more testing and blamed testing for showing the country has more cases.
Biden says he will urge every governor to impose a mask mandate and encourages their use, while Trump has repeatedly mocked masks and rarely worn one himself. A study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday estimated that 130,000 lives could be saved through the end of February if everyone wore a mask.
On Friday, Trump was surrounded in the Oval Office by dozens of people, almost all maskless, for an event on Sudan launching into new relations with Israel.
Biden is calling for “evidence-based national guidance” on when schools and businesses should open or close, depending on the level of virus circulating in an area.
Trump, in contrast, says “we have to open our country” and has gone on the attack against Biden for being open to further lockdowns.
Pressed on that issue at the debate, Biden said, “I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country,” while leaving open the possibility of future closures of high-risk businesses like bars and gyms, places that experts have identified as significant sources of spread.
Sensing the Republican attacks, Biden emphasized again on Friday: “I’m not
During Thursday’s debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had an ominous warning about the coming months.
“We are about to go into a dark winter,” he said.
The former vice president’s comments echoed concerns voiced by experts about the looming combination of colder weather and holiday gatherings, which have the potential to contribute to a massive rise in coronavirus infections.
Covid-19 cases are rising across nearly 75 percent of the country — a “distressing trend,” Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
“I am really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said last week during a “Doc to Doc” interview with NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres.
“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s,” del Rio predicted, “I see potentially six weeks of superspreader events.” A superspreader event refers to a situation in which a gathering of people results in a large number of infections.
It’s a distressing outlook for the millions of Americans who are trying to figure out whether it’s safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays.
And it’s why Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, developed a “holiday bubble checklist” for families to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread this winter.
His plan was inspired in part by physician colleagues who are around Covid-19 patients “all day, every day” but remain healthy, as well as the success of the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, in which the league’s players were sequestered throughout the basketball season. All players followed strict rules. As a result, not a single player became infected.
“The NBA did not say, ‘OK, guys, be real careful.’ They had a very deliberative process that was monitored carefully. Everybody was fully committed to it,” McDeavitt said.
That level of commitment is where his holiday bubble checklist begins. He advises designating one person as the “bubble commissioner” — an organized person to take responsibility for encouraging the entire family to get on board with mitigation efforts well in advance of any significant holiday gathering.
Every single person to be included in the gathering should be aware of the guidance, and pledge to adhere to it. This cannot be done halfway, McDeavitt said. “There is harm in that,” he said. “It gives a false sense of security.”
The checklist also advises getting a flu shot as soon as possible. “This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans,” he wrote in a blog post detailing the checklist.
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The guidance also advises self-quarantining as much as possible for 14 days ahead of any family gathering.
Months after his hospitalization for COVID-19, Gary Degrijze still can’t grasp a coffee cup handle. Ron Panzok suffers from pain in his left foot. Shirelle White needs supplemental oxygen to breathe.
The three are among the many COVID-19 patients who are enduring the effects of the disease months later. The virus is so new in humans that scientists don’t know how long patients will continue experiencing debilitating long-term effects and whether some of them will have complications the rest of their lives.
“It leads to a lot of frustration,” said Dr. Ewa Rakowski, a pulmonary critical care doctor at Stony Brook Medicine, which is preparing to open a specialized center for those with long-term COVID-19 complications. “They want an explanation and want to know when they can expect to feel back to normal, and we just don’t really have that yet.”
It’s not just those who were hospitalized with severe symptoms of COVID-19 who are still struggling.
“We are also seeing patients who didn’t require hospitalization or really much medical care, and they’re still coming in with the prolonged symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, persistent cough and mental fogginess,” Rakowski said.
Degrijze, of Bellport, doesn’t fit most people’s image of someone who almost died of COVID-19. He’s 49 and had to pass a strenuous physical exam every year for the Army Reserve.
“I’ve been perfectly healthy for the majority of my life,” said Degrijze, who was a United States Postal Service letter carrier for 26 years and hopes to one day return to delivering mail.
He spent 2 1/2 months at Stony Brook University Hospital — most of that time on a ventilator — and another two weeks in rehabilitation.
Degrijze’s breathing has greatly improved, but, “I have good and bad days,” he said. “There are days I might walk halfway around the block and I’m like, ‘I’m starting to feel a little out of breath.’ “
Joint pain means he can’t stand or walk for long, and sitting too much leads to lower back pain.
“I have very limited strength in my right arm” because of nerve damage,” he said. “I barely have any strength in my wrists. It’s like my fingers are jammed at the knuckles. It’s almost as if I had a stroke, and I didn’t.”
Degrijze goes to physical therapy three times a week. Doctors don’t know if his arm and hand will ever fully heal.
“They tell me they don’t know how much strength and mobility in my arm and hand I can get back,” he said. “It may be 90%, it may be 70%. They just don’t know.”
Like ‘walking on rocks’
Other than high blood pressure, Panzok, 66, had no major health problems before COVID-19. He, too, almost died from the virus. He spent about two months in a coma
In the battle against Covid-19, Europe is looking back at a summer of squandered opportunities.
With the virus suppressed following months of intensive social restrictions last spring, European leaders quickly moved to accelerate the reopening of society to try to spur an economic recovery. But pockets of infection persisted, and few countries had put in place adequate systems to track and lock down local outbreaks. Making matters worse, in several regions infection rates never fell to a level where such systems could work effectively.
The result: A second wave of infections washing across the continent that is proving difficult to manage and poses the risk that Europe will have to live with high infection rates well into next year.
“People assumed the situation was under control but it wasn’t,” said Rafael Bengoa, the co-director of the Institute for Health and Strategy in Bilbao, Spain. “The fire was out but the embers weren’t.”
European nations are trying to strike a middle path, neither fully repressing the virus nor fully opening up their economies, a vast experiment in how to manage a pandemic without infringing too extensively on civil liberties or destroying livelihoods.
Most are now experimenting with localized restrictions in virus hot spots. But the balancing act is set to be sorely tested as public compliance with rules frays and the death toll again climbs. Already some leaders are abandoning the lighter-touch strategy. Ireland’s government recently announced a six-week lockdown.
“It is just very difficult,” said Lawrence Freedman, a professor at King’s College London. “People talk as if there is an obvious policy to follow but there isn’t.”
The race to return to a form of normality fanned the virus. Across the continent universities welcomed back students, the U.K. government subsidized millions of restaurant meals to get people to eat out, newly reopened borders saw tourists flock to night clubs in Spain and beaches in France. With the virus out of sight, people’s behavior relaxed.
“Authorities prioritized the economy over health, thinking that during the summer nothing would happen,” said Saúl Ares, researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology of Spain’s National Research Council.
Today that has left leaders with little option but to reimpose restrictions to slow the virus’s spread. A state of emergency has been declared in France and Spain. Paris is under nightly curfew and Madrid is locked down. People living in Wales are advised to leave the house only for exercise. Face masks have been made compulsory in Italy, even outdoors. Though these restrictions aren’t yet as stringent as the total closures seen earlier this year, they are likely to both dent economic growth and test the morale of populations in the winter months, experts say.
On the whole, European countries are in a better place to handle the pandemic than in March. Testing capacity has vastly expanded and hospitals are better able to treat the sick. Europeans are now accustomed to social distancing and wearing masks in public.
But even Italy, traumatized after the north of
Daily Covid-19 cases will hit six digits soon, expert warns, as US reports one-day high of more than 83,000 infections
The US just marked a harrowing milestone: It recorded its highest one-day number of Covid-19 infections Friday at more than 83,000 — more than 6,000 higher than the country’s previous record set in July.
And as the fall surge continues, the daily numbers will get worse, experts warn.
“We easily will hit six-figure numbers in terms of the number of cases,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN Friday night. “And the deaths are going to go up precipitously in the next three to four weeks, following usually new cases by about two to three weeks.”
This comes as the country’s seven-day average of new daily cases surpassed 63,000 Friday — an 84% increase since the average started ticking back up in mid-September, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Health officials say the steep inclines follow the reopening of schools and colleges across the US and have been largely driven by small gatherings — often family events — that are increasingly moving indoors, where the virus is likely to spread.
In Maryland, the governor said this week family gatherings were the No. 1 source of transmission in the state, followed by house parties. In North Carolina, health officials reported its highest daily case count Friday and said they continue to see clusters “from social and religious gatherings.”
Unlike many European countries that are also experiencing spikes, the US never lowered its daily case baseline very far, meaning the compounding of cases could be worse, experts say.
And that’s ahead of several popular holidays, when health officials worry more Americans could let their guard down and opt to visit family and friends and further drive surges.
In North Dakota, with the highest per capita new case rate in the country, Gov. Doug Burgum called for a “Thanksgiving challenge,” urging residents to follow mitigation guidance like masks and social distancing to bring numbers down by the holiday.
“It would be really great to be sharing with all of you at Thanksgiving that our numbers are going down as we head into the holiday period,” he said Friday. “That we’ve got increasing amounts of hospital capacity. That our schools have remained open, that our businesses are open during that holiday season.”
34 states report rise in cases
The President has said in recent days the country is rounding the corner when it comes to the pandemic. But alarming patterns across the country tell a different story.
At least 34 states reported more new Covid-19 cases in the last week than the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins data. In Georgia, health officials reported
The US just reported its highest number of Covid-19 infections in one day since the pandemic’s start
The US reported more than 80,000 new coronavirus infections Friday — the highest daily case number since the pandemic began.
That comes amid other bleak patterns including rising hospitalizations and daily death tolls across the country, with experts warning that the worst is yet to come.
Friday’s case count of at least 80,005 surpasses the country’s previous one-day high of 77,362, reported July 16, according to Johns Hopkins University.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams cautioned earlier Friday that hospitalizations are starting to go up in 75% of the jurisdictions across the country, and officials are concerned that in a few weeks, deaths will also start to increase.
The good news, Adams said, is that the country’s Covid-19 mortality rate has decreased by about 85% thanks to multiple factors, including the use of remdesivir, steroids and better management of patients.
More than 41,000 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals across the country Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest level of nationwide coronavirus hospitalizations since August 20.
The number of people hospitalized has increased by 33% since the beginning of October, the CTP says.
Deaths are also creeping upward, with 856 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins says. The seven-day average of daily deaths has climbed to 763 — the highest average in a month.
In White House coronavirus task force reports obtained by CNN this week, officials say there are “early signs of deterioration in the Sun Belt and continued deterioration in the Midwest and across the Northern States.” And more state leaders have sounded the alarm on increasing infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Friday that he’s concerned about a massive surge in Covid-19 cases across the country and urged people to “double down” on measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The upticks on the map of more than 30 States that are having upticks is not going to spontaneously turn around unless we do something about it,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
Fauci has previously said he doesn’t think a federal mask mandate would work but on Friday he said it might be time for it — even if such a rule would be tricky to enforce.
“Well, if people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it,” Fauci said.
A vaccine trial resumes after being halted
Drug manufacturer AstraZeneca announced Friday it will resume the trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in the US.
The company said the US Food and Drug Administration has given approval to continue the trial after reviewing all of the global safety data and concluding it
MADISON, Wis. – Inside UW Health, the Covid-19 units keep growing — and the stress is rising.
“The people we’re seeing in here are very sick,” nurse Katie Lanoway said. “They are lonely. They are dealing with this alone and it’s becoming increasingly harder for us to try to manage, and playing all these different roles: playing the nurse, playing the support person. It’s very difficult.”
NBC News received a rare tour of one of thee units, which had previously reached its capacity of 28 beds. It’s currently down to about 20 patients. At first, the unit stretched just one hallway. Now, it’s four.
On Friday, Wisconsin reported a seven-day rolling average of its positivity rate: 22.7 percent. (That’s the percentage of tests that come back positive.) The same rate in New York is currently barely above 1 percent — and even that’s considered risky.
Wisconsin also set several records: most cases in a seven-day period (24,292)l the highest average cases per day (3,470) and the highest average coronavirus-related deaths per day (24).
Almost all of the state’s 72 counties now have what public health officials say is a “very high” level of the virus.
“It’s terrifying,” said Dr. Katie Gavinski, who started working at UW Health in Madison this summer. “I’m very scared that if this doesn’t stop soon, we’re going to end up with a much bigger problem come winter and flu season.”
The shifts are taking their toll.
“It’s devastating to see someone struggling to breathe,” Gavinski said. “You can see the fear in their eyes. You can see how scared they are.”
UW Health has had months to prepare, putting it in a better position than most. It has adequate personal protective equipment and it has the space to be able to rearrange Covid-19 wards. But if the flu season creates another surge of patients, staffing could be a challenge.
Dr. Jeff Pothof is UW Health’s chief quality officer and an emergency medicine physician.
“What I can’t do by the snap of my fingers is create critical care nurses, create critical care physicians and bring their expertise to the bedside,” he said.
Just across town, the Big Ten conference is set to kick off its college football season Friday night. There will be no fans in the stadium, no tailgating allowed and police plan to enforce rules banning outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people.
But health care workers have an urgent warning for those who don’t plan to take the virus seriously and will congregate anyway.
“The Badger game this evening does worry us,” Pothof said. “We have a very healthy culture of celebrating the Badgers, tailgating, parties — and if that happens this year, with how much Covid is in our communities, it is certain to cause a super-spreader event. … We need to celebrate the Badgers, but we need to do it differently.”
Compared to the beginning of the pandemic,
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will not necessarily follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in approving Gilead Science Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for use in COVID-19 patients, a top Mexican health official said on Friday.
Mexico’s health regulator Cofepris has already twice denied approval for the drug with a “non-favorable” opinion, deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told his regular nightly news conference.
“We have no mandate from the FDA,” he said. “Cofepris has identified that the evidence does not suggest a usefulness, a sufficient efficacy.”
The FDA approved remdesivir on Thursday, making it the first and only drug approved for the disease in the United States.
Remdesivir, given intravenously, was one of the drugs used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump during his bout with COVID-19.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity drug trial last week concluded remdesivir has little or no impact on a patient’s chances of surviving COVID-19, and a top WHO scientist on Friday recommended the FDA consider all available evidence.
Lopez-Gatell said Gilead had sent a letter to doctors in Mexico refuting the results of the Solidarity trial, and that officials were looking to see if the letter could be cause for sanction, given that remdesivir is not registered with Mexican health authorities.
“It confuses the population and generates a false expectation of the possibility of having a treatment option,” he said.
Gilead did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Sharay Angulo and Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Tom Hogue)