White House Covid-19 outbreak "could have been prevented," Fauci says
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
The White House coronavirus outbreak could have been prevented and is proof the pandemic is not a hoax, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday.
“Take a look at what happened this week at the White House. That is a reality right there. And every day that goes by more people are popping up that are infected,” Fauci said in a conversation with students and families at American University.
“It's not a hoax. It's an unfortunate situation, when you see something like that, because that could have been prevented.”
When asked by a student how to handle family members and others who do not believe the pandemic is real, Fauci suggested appealing to rationality and statistics.
“Right now we have 210,000 people who have died and 7.3 million people (who) have been infected. Globally, there are over 1 million people who have died. That is not a hoax,” Fauci said.
"You can’t say that people all over the world and American allies are all lying and calling it a hoax."
7:09 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
All US hospitals must now report flu numbers to federal government, HHS says
From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman
US hospitals must start reporting flu data to the federal government or face losing federal funding, Health and Human Services Department officials said Tuesday.
Hospitals currently report positive and suspected cases of Covid-19, fatalities and admissions on a daily and weekly basis and will now be required to report the same numbers for influenza, HHS said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently tracks flu hospitalizations in just 14 states and uses modeling methodology to estimate how many people are infected, hospitalized and killed by influenza across the country every flu season.
But now the US is facing the threat of two deadly respiratory viruses – flu and coronavirus – circulating at the same time.
Collecting more in depth information on flu from hospitals will help officials track it better, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “(The) new data will give us a fuller picture of what is happening hospital-to-hospital regarding influenza in the hospital, in the hospital regardless, and may help us produce more accurate estimates of the burden of influenza each season,” Redfield told reporters.
The CDC is not sure what’s going to happen this flu season, Redfield said. “However, CDC is preparing for there to be a COVID-19 and seasonal influenza at the same time," he said.
More on this: If hospitals don’t provide complete and accurate information on Covid-19 and flu, they will face “termination” of their Medicare and Medicaid services, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.
Verma said the 6,000 hospitals in the system will have “ample opportunity to come into compliance,” beginning Wednesday, when all facilities will receive an initial notice as to whether they’re meeting current reporting requirements.
Hospitals will be required to report daily and weekly Covid-19 and influenza admissions, confirmed and suspected cases, fatalities and data on personal protective equipment.
Daily and weekly reporting on Covid-19 cases has improved, said White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. “We've gone from 86% to 98% of all hospitals reporting at least weekly, and we've gone from 61% to 86% of hospitals reporting daily,” Birx said.
“We track test positivity cases, but also daily hospital admission data, as well as fatalities from around the United States down to the level of communities and counties to really ensure that we’re triangulating all data to understand where this epidemic is, how it's moving through different populations and ensuring that we're meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities as well as working from the same data and information,” she said.
Now we want to collect flu information from hospitals “to have a comprehensive understanding of influenza in the community,” Birx said.
Receiving timely and complete information is really crucial in battling the coronavirus epidemic, she said.
7:08 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
Restaurants warn of more closures without stimulus
From CNN's Cristina Alesci
The restaurant industry warns that delaying stimulus – even by several weeks— will cause even more independent restaurants to fail.
"If Congress and the President walk away from negotiations, even more of our neighborhood restaurants will go out of business,” the Independent Restaurant Coalition said in a statement Tuesday in response to President Trump's decision to halt stimulus talks.
“We cannot afford five or six more weeks of decreased revenue, more debt, and uncertainty about colder weather,” wrote the group, noting that earlier on Tuesday Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell had underscored the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on industries with high in-person contact, like restaurants and bars.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition represents 500,000 independent restaurants in the United States, employing more than 11 million restaurant workers.
6:29 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
US Chamber of Commerce calls delay of stimulus talks "disappointing"
From CNN's Matt Egan
The US Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday called President Trump’s decision to stop negotiating with congressional leaders on a new stimulus package until after the November election "disappointing."
“Washington’s failure to enact additional COVID relief will be felt on Main Streets and at kitchen tables across the United States," said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, in a statement. "It is especially disappointing given that less than a month ago a bipartisan group of Members of Congress outlined a reasonable compromise that would have provided the economy with the support it needs while helping our nation recover from this pandemic. Republican and Democratic leaders should follow their example.”
5:25 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
NIH director says he is "optimistic" a coronavirus vaccine will be proven safe and effective by 2021
From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said he's optimistic that the US will have a vaccine by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.
“I'm one of those who's optimistic we will have one or more vaccines that turn out to be safe and effective by sometime around the end of this year, maybe a little bit into January,” he said.
The politicization of the vaccine development process has been a distraction, one that has polarized many people, Collins noted during a Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington virtual symposium on vaccine development.
“Putting all that aside and dealing with the fact that we have this huge problem of vaccine hesitancy that needs to be dealt with, I am still guardedly optimistic that come 2021, we're going to be on a path – over many months, let's not talk about this being a quick solution, but on a path – where we can eventually put Covid-19 in the rear view mirror, although we will be changed by it, and I think he will be around us globally for quite a long time to come,” said Collins.
5:16 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
New York governor says local governments must enforce new Covid-19 cluster restrictions
From CNN's Julian Cummings
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said local governments will be responsible for enforcing the new Covid-19 cluster restrictions announced today.
Cuomo said that the lack of enforcement has contributed to the current problems being seen in Covid clusters in New York state.
“If we had enforced the rules, we would not be there today,” Cuomo said.
All local governments will be required to assign people to a state enforcement task force, he said.
New York City will be required to assign 400 personnel to the enforcement task force.
“The state does not have the resources to do enforcement, it must be done by the local level. I have no problem doing it. I just don’t have the resources to do it," Cuomo said.
3:56 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
Updated FDA guidelines close door on vaccine manufacturers getting an EUA before Election Day
From CNN's Maggie Fox
The US Food and Drug Administration posted guidance Tuesday for companies hoping to get emergency use authorization (EUA) for coronavirus vaccines, and said they will have to include at least two months of follow-up after volunteers get their second dose of vaccine.
That would mean no company could seek an EUA before mid-November, because the vaccines furthest along in clinical trials – those made by Pfizer and Moderna – both require waiting either 21 or 28 days between doses.
“Data from Phase 3 studies should include a median follow-up duration of at least two months after completion of the full vaccination regimen to help provide adequate information to assess a vaccine’s benefit-risk profile, including: adverse events; cases of severe COVID-19 disease among study subjects; and cases of COVID-19 occurring during the timeframe when adaptive (rather than innate) and memory immune responses to the vaccine would be responsible for a protective effect,” the FDA said in the guidance.
"Being open and clear about the circumstances under which the issuance of an emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine would be appropriate is critical to building public confidence and ensuring the use of COVID-19 vaccines once available,” said Dr. Peter Marks, who directs the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“The FDA's new guidance on emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines underscores that commitment by further outlining the process and recommended scientific data and information that would support an emergency use authorization decision. In addition to outlining our expectations for vaccine sponsors, we also hope the agency's guidance on COVID-19 vaccines helps the public understand our science-based decision-making process that assures vaccine quality, safety and efficacy for any vaccine that is authorized or approved."
The FDA earlier Tuesday posted discussion documents for vaccine advisers with similar language.
3:52 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
A Vermont apple orchard reported an outbreak of 27 Covid-19 cases
From CNN’s Anna Sturla
Vermont is battling a Covid-19 outbreak among migrant workers at an apple orchard, state officials announced Monday.
Champlain Orchards in Addison County had 27 workers test positive over the weekend, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday. The commissioner had previously announced 26; one more test result came in after the initial announcement.
The first positive case was discovered last week. The case came toward the end of the migrant workers' quarantine period after arriving in the state in mid-September, and the person is believed to have become ill outside of Vermont, according to Dr. Levine.
State officials said that the orchard owner was complying with guidance and that apples were disinfected before being sold.
Vermont has had the fewest Covid-19 cases of any state, with only 1,821 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The state saw no Covid-related deaths or ICU admissions in September, according to state Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak.
3:53 p.m. ET, October 6, 2020
Berlin issues nighttime restrictions as Covid-19 cases rise in Germany
From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin
Bars, restaurants and stores in the German capital Berlin will have to shut down between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting Saturday, the city’s senate decided on Tuesday.
The move comes as coronavirus infections in several districts have been soaring.
Pharmacies and service stations are exempt from the new rules which the senate says will be in place until at least Oct. 31, according to Berlin’s official website.
The number of people allowed to gather in a group in the night hours between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be limited to five and no more than ten people at a time will be allowed to attend gatherings indoors.
The move comes as coronavirus infections in Germany remain on the rise.
The country recorded more than 2,600 new cases on Tuesday according to Germany’s center for disease control.
The number of patients requiring intensive medical care is also steadily rising, official data shows.