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September 8 coronavirus news

Trump holds rally with few people wearing masks
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What you need to know

  • Drug giant AstraZeneca paused a trial of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
  • Nine biopharmaceutical companies signed an unusual pledge to uphold “high ethical standards,” suggesting they won’t seek premature government approval for Covid-19 vaccines.
  • US federal officials have cast skepticism on President Trump’s predictions that a coronavirus vaccine could be available to Americans by Election Day.

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LA County bans trick-or-treating due to coronavirus

Trick-or-treating will not be allowed in Los Angeles County this Halloween due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus, according to new guidance from the local health department.

“Door to door trick or treating is not allowed because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a news release.

“Trunk or treating” events where children trick-or-treat from cars are also not allowed. 

Under the guidance, gatherings or parties with non-household members are prohibited even when conducted outdoors. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions are also prohibited.

The county’s public health department is encouraging alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year, including online parties and car parades that comply with public health orders. Individuals must remain in their vehicles during these drive-thru events.

As the nation’s most populous county with over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County remains in the first tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system.

To date, Los Angeles County has reported a total of 249,241 Covid-19 cases and 6,036 deaths.

California university confirms nearly 400 Covid-19 cases in growing outbreak

In this March 18 file photo, students and their parents move their belongings from their dormitories at San Diego State University.

San Diego State University (SDSU) in California has confirmed nearly 400 Covid-19 cases among students since the first day of fall semester, according to data from the university’s website.

“On Sept. 6, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) confirmed additional COVID-19 cases within the on- and off-campus student population, bringing the total of four (4) probable and 396 confirmed cases,” SDSU said on its website.

All in-person instruction was immediately paused last Friday after the university confirmed 120 positive cases, in addition to 64 cases previously reported since the start of fall semester on August 24. 

The university has not received any reports of faculty and staff who have tested positive.

San Diego County is currently in the second tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system, which represents “substantial” spread of the coronavirus. Under this tier, indoor businesses may reopen with 25% capacity.

Mexico reports nearly 5,500 new Covid-19 cases 

A health worker prepares to collect a swab sample to test a patient for Covid-19 in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico state on July 13, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexico’s Health Ministry reported 5,351 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday and 703 new virus-related deaths.

That brings the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 642,860 and at least 68,484 fatalities.

Mexico has reported the world’s fourth-highest number of coronavirus deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and India respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

The country is listed eighth by JHU in terms of the highest total number of coronavirus cases. 

Standards for emergency vaccine approval would be much higher than for convalescent plasma, health expert says

Dr. Mark McClellan.

The US Food and Drug Administration would use a different standard to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use than it would for a treatment like convalescent plasma, Dr. Mark McClellan, a professor of business, medicine and policy at Duke University said Tuesday.

Standards for emergency use approval of a vaccine would be much higher, said McClellan, a former FDA commissioner.

Convalescent plasma is “a treatment where we’ve seen it used in many, many other conditions and in literally thousands of patients with serious Covid infections. It’s intended for people who are hospitalized or seriously ill, not for a broad, healthy population,” McClellan said during the Research! America 2020 Summit.

McClellan said that the FDA and other agencies have plans in place to ensure transparency in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, including review by an independent advisory committee, data reported from the vaccine makers, review by FDA staff and public discussion.

“The FDA has made clear in its guidance that a vaccine is not going to be approved, even for emergency use, unless there is a clear clinical signal that it meets that standard of effectiveness,” he said. 

Brazil's Federal District governor tests positive for Covid-19

Brazilian Federal District Gov. Ibaneis Rocha delivers a speech at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil on August 28, 2019.

Ibaneis Rocha, the governor of Brazil’s Federal District where the capital Brasilia is located, has tested positive for Covid-19, CNN affiliate CNN Brasil reported, citing his press team.  

The diagnosis was reported late Tuesday, and according to his press team, Rocha showed mild Covid-19 symptoms. Rocha has a low fever and cough, CNN Brasil reported.  

Rocha will remain isolated at home for the next few days and will continue to work remotely.

It comes as Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 14,279 new Covid-19 infections and 504 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday.

Brazil reports more than 14,000 new Covid-19 cases

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 14,279 new Covid-19 infections and 504 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday.

That brings the country’s total number of cases to 4,162,073 and raises the death toll to 127,464.

Brazil has recorded the third-highest coronavirus case numbers in the world, behind the United States and India. 

In terms of coronavirus deaths, Brazil has the second-highest number of fatalities, after the US.

Trump goes maskless during speech in North Carolina

President Trump made his third visit to North Carolina in as many weeks on Tuesday, pushing a new end-in-sight message on coronavirus.

Whether the situation on the ground there helps him is an open question; the state still has a mask requirement in place, and many businesses — including bars and movie theaters — remain closed.

But the President did not wear a mask during his speech in Winston-Salem.

And while many supporters visible in stands directly behind Trump were wearing masks, most individuals higher up on the stands away from Trump and most supporters on the ground in front of Trump’s podium were not sporting masks.

Before Tuesday’s event, the Republican chairman of the local county commission said the President should wear a mask during his speech, a virtually unimaginable prospect for a President who has been mocking his rival for wearing one and who demanded reporters remove their face coverings when asking him questions on Monday.

“The President of the United States sets the example for everybody else. You can hear it: if the President of the United States says I don’t have to wear it, I’m not going to wear it. And I can guarantee you that will be done,” said David Plyler, the chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

Keep reading.

Connecticut adds 4 nearby states to its travel advisory list

Gov. Ned Lamont 

The state of Connecticut has added four states — Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia — to its travel advisory list.

“They have a higher infection rate, which is the criterion we have for whether you can fly in without quarantining or not,” Gov. Ned Lamont explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’re a small state, we’re a region that’s got a very low infection rate. And so far we’ve been at less than 1% for over three months. We want to keep it that way.”

Amid the Covid-19 global pandemic, Connecticut joined neighboring New York and New Jersey in a regional approach to protecting against the virus. Lamont pointed to air travel as a key component in this strategy.

“They fly into Kennedy [International] Airport, they fly into LaGuardia [Airport,] they drive up here to Connecticut. And it makes sense for us to do this together,” the governor told the host of CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “Obviously Newark International Airport gets people from all over the world. It made good sense for us to do this.”

Meanwhile, on the first Tuesday after Labor Day, Lamont noted the challenges facing children as they look to return to the classroom.

“We’ve opened up our schools. Many of them full-time, some of them on a hybrid basis. These kids hadn’t been to school for many months,” he said. 

“We’re going to do this, but we’re going to do it very, very carefully,” he said of the educational plan, adding “we’re going to walk before we run.”

As the number of Covid-19 deaths continues to rise, Lamont assured his state is taking every precaution to keep kids and their teachers safe.

“Look, we’re requiring the masks, we’ve got all the toughest disinfecting standards,” he said. “Some of those school districts that are a little more crowded, they only have half days or half classes just to spread people out.”

Testing "as many people as possible" key to controlling coronavirus, NIH directors say

University Health Sciences Spokane administer COVID-19 tests to students at a mobile testing site on campus, Wednesday, September 2, in Pullman, Washington.

Testing “as many people as possible” is vital to helping fight the coronavirus pandemic, 11 directors of some of the various National Institutes of Health said Tuesday.

Their joint blog post contradicts recently changed guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates that not everyone who believes they have been exposed needs to be tested. 

“Get tested if you believe you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19,” the NIH heads write in the blog post. “Testing, particularly of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, is key to interrupting this spread.”

CDC guidance about testing was changed last month to indicate that not everyone who has been near or with someone with coronavirus needs to be tested. A senior federal health official told CNN this was because of pressure from the Trump administration.

“Unfortunately, there still is a lot of confusion about where to get a test and who should get tested,” the NIH directors said.

“It is becoming clear that for a person to test positive, they have to have a significant amount of the virus in their system. This means that if you have no symptoms but think or were told that you were in contact with a person with COVID-19, you should isolate yourself immediately, call your health care provider, and then get a test.”

Testing is the cornerstone of the basic public health approach for controlling disease outbreaks: contact tracing. “Testing can help people determine if they are infected with SARS-CoV-2 – regardless of whether they have symptoms – and whether they are at risk of spreading the infection to others. Taking measures to prevent the spread of infection will be the most effective strategy for getting us safely back to work and school,” the directors wrote.

Those signing the blog post include the directors of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Library of Medicine; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute on Aging; National Institute of General Medical Sciences; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research; National Institute of Nursing Research; and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Arkansas using $4 million to purchase 120,000 antigen tests

Governor Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that Arkansas is using $4 million to purchase 120,000 antigen tests. 

Hutchinson said that the state had joined a multi-state purchasing agreement led by the Rockefeller Foundation partnered with the National Governors Association.

“The Department of Health has worked very diligently with our procurement team to follow up on this commitment and today I am pleased to announce that we are using 4 million dollars to purchase 120,000 antigen tests to be used throughout the state as a result of this multi-state purchasing agreement, that is our commitment. This will not require any state funds since this will be using CARES Act funding already approved for testing,” Hutchinson said in the news conference. 

Hutchinson also reported that Arkansas recorded 294 additional Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. He also said the state has 409 Covid-19 hospitalizations, which is an increase of 10, and nine additional Covid-19 deaths, for a total of 917.

Remember: These numbers were released by the Arkansas public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial after unexplained illness in volunteer

A man receives an injection as UCLA and AstraZeneca begin phase three trials in a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Drug giant AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had paused a trial of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.

It’s a standard precaution in vaccine trials, meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among volunteers.

“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN.

“This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the statement added. 

“In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.”

Earlier Tuesday, AstraZeneca joined eight other companies in signing a pledge promising they would not seek premature government approval for any coronavirus vaccine. They promised they would wait until they had adequate data showing any potential vaccine worked safely to prevent infection.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of three coronavirus vaccines in late-stage, Phase 3 trials in the US.

It was not immediately clear if the pause involved only US trial sites or all of the company’s trial sites around the world. A Data and Safety Monitoring Board usually monitors trials for adverse events and can order a pause or halt to a trial, but AstraZeneca did not say who had stopped the trial.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson later said the illness affected a participant in Britain, but said all of the company’s trials of the vaccine globally would be paused.

UK's Boris Johnson will lower limits on social gatherings to control coronavirus spread

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on September 8, in London.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce new measures on Wednesday to reduce the number of people legally allowed to socially gather from 30 to six in England to control the coronavirus spread.

The new lower limit, due to take effect starting Monday, will make it easier for police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings of more than six people unless it meets one of the exemptions.

Exemptions include, a household or support bubble larger than six, if gatherings are for work or education purposes, weddings, funerals, or organized team sports.

“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” Johnson said in a statement.

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”

The statement added the new measures are supported by the government, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance after the UK has seen the number of daily coronavirus cases rise to almost 3,000.

On Tuesday, Britain recorded an increase of 2,460 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 352,560.

Colorado governor announces partnership with Apple and Google to allow Covid-19 exposure notifications

Gov. Jared Polis

Colorado will launch a partnership with Apple and Google to allow for Covid-19 exposure notifications on cellphones for contact tracing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday.

“We want to use every tool in the toolbox to contain the virus and limit community spread,” Polis said during a news briefing.

The technology, called EN Express Opportunity, will roll out at the end of September. It will be available for iOS users who opt-in to use the service, and for Android users as an app.  

Using Bluetooth technology, the service or app will exchange anonymous tokens between phones of people who’ve been within a certain distance of each other, according to Sarah Tuneberg, director of the Colorado Coronavirus Innovation Response Team.

If a person using the service or app has been near someone who tests positive for coronavirus, the person will receive a push notification about exposure to the virus. People who are using the service and test positive for the virus need to report it. 

Both Polis and Tuneberg both emphasized no personal information is obtained from users.  

“Data security and privacy are of the utmost importance to us. This is a completely anonymized service that contains no personal health information,” Tuneberg said.

University of Iowa athletics resumes voluntary and mandatory workouts

The University of Iowa Athletics Department has announced it is resuming voluntary and mandatory student-athlete workouts.

Eight days ago, the university had halted all sports programs after reporting 93 positive Covid-19 tests within the athletics community. In the most recent testing period of Aug. 31-Sept. 6, Iowa reports 21 positive tests and 276 that were negative.

As a member of the Big 10 football conference, Iowa’s fall football season was postponed last month by the conference’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors, which cited health and safety concerns related to coronavirus.

University of Tennessee is having a "significant issue" with Covid-19 stemming from fraternities

University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman gives a Covid-19 update via a Zoom call on Tuesday.

The University of Tennessee is having a “significant issue” with a small portion of its study body, particularly fraternities, in combating the spread of Covid-19 on campus, University Chancellor Donde Plowman said Tuesday in her coronavirus livestream. 

Plowman detailed the disturbing reports of irresponsible behaviors that had been reported stemming from the fraternities. 

“Fraternities leaders communicating to houses how to have parties and avoid being caught, avoid the police. Stories of a fraternity renting space off campus to have their party, crammed with lots of people in close quarters. Telling fraternity members not to get tested or how to get tested so the results aren’t shared with the university,” Plowman said. 

What the numbers look like: The school reported 600 active Covid-19 cases, 592 of which are among students, eight are among employees, and a total of 2,112 people— 1,939 of whom are students — are now in quarantine or in isolation. 

“Our case counts are going up way too fast and we will need more drastic measures to stop the upward trajectory,” Plowman said, adding that the school will need more isolation spaces over time, and is in the process of creating more of that space. 

Plowman said that the school was considering a range of options for enforcement, and that “everything is on the table at this point.” She promised additional announcements on specifics in the days ahead. 

Coronavirus has disrupted care for other diseases globally, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks remotely during the Research! America 2020 Summit.

Covid-19 has interfered with care and prevention efforts for other diseases around the world, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, it’s been disruptive across the board, not only in the United States but globally,” Fauci said during the Research! America 2020 Summit.

People are missing screening for things “that you need to pay attention to,” such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. And they’re missing follow-up appointments for other conditions. 

“You can wind up getting into a situation where diseases that have nothing to do with Covid, diseases of different types, infection, cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory, they might get neglected and routine checkups that you would need tend to get neglected,” he said.

Fauci said that it is known in the HIV community that disruption of services and availability of drugs can really be a problem.

More than half a million US children have been diagnosed with Covid-19

More than 513,000 US children have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

The groups found that 70,630 new child cases were reported from Aug. 20 through Sept. 3. This is a 16% increase in child cases over two weeks, bringing up the total to at least 513,415 cases, the groups said in their weekly report on pediatric coronavirus cases.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Sally Goza. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities,” she added.

“A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.” 

Children represent nearly 10% of all reported cases in the US, according to the report. The child cases are likely underreported because the tally relies on state data that is inconsistently collected.

“This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, the vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. 

“Now we are heading into flu season. We must take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help. That includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and maintaining social distance. In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children.” 

Fauci says vaccine unlikely to be ready by Election Day

A lab technician sorts blood samples as part of a Covid-19 vaccine study in Hollywood, Florida.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday he is cautiously optimistic that a vaccine will be proven safe and effective by the end of the year. But he said that’s unlikely to happen by Election Day. 

President Trump has said he thinks a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by Election Day, Nov. 3, but Fauci said this is unlikely.

“The only way you can see that scenario come true, is if there are so many infections in the clinical trial sites that you get an efficacy answer sooner than you would have projected,” Fauci said during an event sponsored by Research! America.

“It’s unlikely that we’ll have a definitive answer at that time,” he added. “More likely by the end of the year.”

There are currently three vaccine candidates in large-scale, Phase Three clinical trials in the US.

“You have a lot of candidates in play, which really is the reason why we’re optimistic that we will be successful with one or more, and that will likely start taking place by the end of the calendar year 2020,” said Fauci.

We should continue to encourage people to get the flu vaccine, Fauci says

A man gets a flu shot at a health facility in Washington, DC, in January.

People can hope for a mild flu season like that just experienced in the southern hemisphere, but they need to get vaccinated, too, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.

“One of the things we can say is that we should continue to encourage people to get vaccinated with the influenza vaccine,” Fauci said during an event sponsored by Research! America. 

Australia had “one of the lowest rates of influenza infection in memory,” Fauci said. “If we can do that, I think that would be very favorable,” he added.

“If what happened in the southern hemisphere happens here, that would be a very good and favorable thing,” Fauci added. 

Mask use, social distancing and hand washing have not only helped prevent the spread of coronavirus, but they likely helped stop the spread of flu, too, he said.

If the US does have what Fauci calls a “full-blown” flu season without getting control over the coronavirus, doctors, hospitals and others will struggle to tell the two infections apart. Plus, the sheer number of sick people could overwhelm the healthcare system.

“That’s the reason why, when you have two coexisting infections during the winter months, it becomes problematic,” he said. 

House Democrat and consumer advocacy group call on Trump to let generic drug makers produce remdesivir

Vials of remdesivir are seen in Hamburg, Germany, in April.

To increase the supply of remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 in the United States, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas, and the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen are calling for President Trump to let generic drug makers produce the drug. 

Gilead, the California company that makes remdesivir, has exclusive rights to sell the drug in the US.

The situation is different in other countries. 

“There are manufactures in India and Pakistan and the United Kingdom that have been safely producing generic remdesivir in over 100 countries. Unfortunately, we’re not one of them,” Doggett said during a virtual news conference hosted by the advocacy groups PrEP4All Collaboration, Public Citizen and Social Security Works.

About the supply in the US: About 38 hospitals in 12 states have reported shortages of remdesivir since July, according to a report by Public Citizen.

Doctors on the call expressed concern over shortages of remdesivir in the US.

“We do not have enough remdesivir nationally,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a CNN medical analyst. “There simply is not enough of it to go around. 

Dr. Thomas Patterson, chief of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio, said his hospital faced shortages of remdesivir during a surge of Covid-19 in August.

“We received enough remdesivir to treat less than a third of the admitted patients — so a really woefully inadequate supply,” Patterson said.

US hospitals do not directly purchase remdesivir the way they do other drugs. Because there isn’t enough to go around, the US Department of Health and Human Services regularly ships remdesivir to states, which then deliver the drugs to hospitals.

College students should be isolated on campus, Fauci says

Colleges and universities should try their best to isolate students infected with Covid-19 on campus rather than sending them home, so that they don’t infect other students or take the virus home with them, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday.

With students coming from all over the country, colleges and universities can be especially important in spreading the virus, Fauci said during an event sponsored by Research! America.

“You send them back to their community, you will in essence be reseeding with individuals who are capable of transmitting infection, many communities throughout the country,” Fauci said. “So it’s much, much better to have the capability to put them in a place where they could comfortably recover.”

Colleges and universities are handling Covid-19 in different ways, he said, with some going completely online. Several he has spoken with are testing everybody once, the first time they come onto the campus, so that they start off with a baseline. Then they are doing surveillance testing at various intervals.

“The ones who are doing that and who have the capability of handling students who ultimately get infected seem to be successfully being able to open,” he said. Colleges that cannot sequester students tend to be doing much more virtual or online teaching.

K-12 schools are much more of a local issue, Fauci said. The prudent approach, he said, is to decide how to reopen depending on whether the community is in a green, yellow or red zone.

Green zone schools are able to open for in-person teaching with “relative impunity” as long as they are able to identify and make accommodations for infected students. Yellow zone schools have to be able to adjust and adapt, doing things like modifying the schedule. In red zone schools “you really better be very careful before you bring the children back because you don’t want to create a situation where you have a hyper-spreading event, as you might have in the school,” he said.

Fauci on Covid-19 vaccines: "We’ve got to regain the trust of the community"

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks Tuesday during an event organized by Research! America.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today discussed the importance of letting people know what’s going on with development and approval of Covid-19 vaccines.

He said it’s important to engage communities in vaccine education, including with public service announcements broadcast on radio and television as well as in-person efforts.

“That’s with PSAs, that’s with getting out into the community yourself, boots on the ground, speaking to people, getting them involved,” Fauci said during an event organized by Research! Amerca. “It is not an easy process, but it is definitely worthwhile.”

Fauci added that it’s important that more minority people are included in the clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines. 

“We want to make sure that when we say that something is safe and effective, we mean it’s safe and effective for everyone,” he said. 

Some World Cup qualifying games moved to 2021 because of the pandemic

Honduras' Alberth Elis, in white, battles Panama's Alberto Quinteros for the ball during a World Cup qualifier in 2016.

The governing body for soccer in North America has announced that it is rescheduling qualifying games for the 2022 FIFA World Cup that were slated for this fall. 

The Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football, also known as CONCACAF, said first-round qualifiers scheduled for October and November will now be played in March of 2021. 

“Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision,” CONCACAF said in a statement Tuesday. “Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult.”

CONCACAF will provide a new 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying schedule after consulting with FIFA, the global governing body for soccer.