Breaking News

COVID News: Trump owes $28M to USPS; China vaccine by Nov, Dec

Adrianna Rodriguez and Grace Hauck USA TODAY

Published 2:33 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020

The timeline for a coronavirus vaccine gets murkier by the day as political leaders and pharmaceutical companies can’t seem to agree on when a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for public use. 

President Donald Trump said on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready “in a matter of weeks.” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CBS News the company will know if its candidate vaccine works by the end of October. And the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a vaccine could be ready for public use in November or December, according to state TV. 

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday he sees a slim chance drugmakers might get enough data by the end of October to apply for emergency approval for their COVID-19 vaccines, the Associated Press reported. But he expressed confidence that several vaccines would get approval by the beginning of 2021.

Meanwhile, Northeastern University researchers found if a COVID-19 vaccine was hoarded by rich countries instead of distributed equally based on population proportions, it could cause twice as many coronavirus deaths. 

Some significant developments:

  • Travelers from California and five other states will no longer have to quarantine upon arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the latest list released Tuesday.
  • Even as thousands of their employees fell ill with COVID-19, meatpacking executives pressured federal regulators to help keep their plants open, according to a trove of emails obtained by USA TODAY.
  • Hong Kong’s government tested nearly 1.8 million people in a mass coronavirus testing drive, only finding 38 positive cases. 
  • Holiday sales are expected to increase between 1% and 1.5% from Nov. to Jan. as compared to last year because of the pandemic.

 Today’s numbers: New case records were set in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Monday. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and Guam. The U.S. has reported more than 6.5 million cases and more than 195,000 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 29 million cases and more than 930,000 fatalities.

 What we’re reading: An $864 COVID-19 test? Labs may be taking advantage of congressional mandates that require insurers to pay the full cost of COVID-19 testing, possibly charging hundreds of dollars for one test. With 85 million tests administered so far, is there room for lab regulation? Read more.

️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

Six states removed from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut quarantine order

Travelers from California and five other states will no longer have to quarantine upon arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the latest list released Tuesday.

New Jersey and Connecticut confirmed the nation’s most-populous state is no longer included in the tri-state travel order, which requires anyone traveling from states with moderate-to-high rates of positive COVID-19 cases to isolate for 14 days, unless they’re passing through or arriving for essential work.

The quarantine list now stands at 30 states and territories after Maryland, Ohio, Nevada, Hawaii and Minnesota were also removed. Puerto Rico was re-added after it was removed last week.

– Jon Campbell, New York State Team

Disneyland, Universal Studios call on governor to reopen theme parks

After shutting down for six months, Disneyland and Universal Studios are asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow theme parks in the state to reopen.

The California Attractions and Parks Association, which represents popular theme parks like Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Disneyland and Universal Studios, called on the governor Monday to implement COVID-19 regulations to allow the parks to get back to business.

“California’s amusement parks urge the Governor to issue amusement park guidelines expeditiously so these vital community attractions can reopen their doors in a responsible manner and get residents back to work,” Erin Guerrero, CAPA’s executive director, said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.

– Rasha Ali

NYC lockdown led to 70% drop in COVID-19 spread, study finds

Mandated stay-at-home measures contributed to a roughly 70% reduction in the transmission of COVID-19 in New York City during the spring pandemic wave from March to June, according to scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the city’s public health department.

Widespread use of face coverings contributed to an additional 7% reduction in transmission and a 20% reduction among those aged 65 and older during the first month face covering was mandated in public places.

“Overall, our study supports the need for multiple interventions,” said lead author Dr. Wan Yang, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School. “We need to implement all of those simultaneously in order to effectively mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The study appears ahead of peer review in the preprint server medRxiv, however, researchers said it falls in line with previous modeling studies estimating lockdowns reduced transmission in Wuhan, China, Italy and France.

Experts predict more death if rich countries hoard COVID-19 vaccines

Researchers found if rich countries monopolize COVID-19 vaccines instead of distributing them equally, it could cause twice as many coronavirus deaths, according to models by Northeastern University’s MOBS Lab.

The models found 61% of deaths could be averted if the vaccine was distributed to all countries proportional to population, while only 33% of deaths would be averted if high-income countries got the vaccines first.

There are many confounding factors in this model, including how many people will be immune to the virus in the upcoming months, how efficient the vaccine actually will be and what will countries’ distribution resources look like.

But researchers still say the results are clear: “When countries cooperate, the number of deaths is cut in half,” said Matteo Chinazzi, senior research scientist.

Coronavirus vaccines developed in China may be ready by November

An official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said four COVID-19 vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials could be ready for the general public in November or December, according to Reuters.

CDC chief biosafety expert Guizhen Wu said in an interview with a state TV program Monday she had taken one of the experimental vaccines in April and didn’t experience any adverse effects, but she didn’t specify which vaccine she took.

At least three Chinese candidate vaccines already have been offered to essential workers under an emergency-use program in July.

Trump admin. still owes USPS $28M for COVID-19 postcards

The Trump administration has not yet repaid the United States Postal Service more than six months after the agency sent out COVID-19 guidelines on postcards prominently featuring the president’s name. 

USA TODAY reported earlier this year the total cost of printing and mailing the postcards was $28 million, with a total printing cost of $4.6 million, and the Trump administration was negotiating the reimbursement with the Postal Service for the cost. 

The postcards were sent to more than 138 million residential addresses. 

“President Trump’s coronavirus guidelines for America” was emblazoned on one side of the postcard in uppercase letters. The other side of the card included social distancing recommendations, encouraging Americans to avoid restaurants and bars, forgo discretionary travel and cancel social gatherings with more than 10 people.

– Nicholas Wu

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY

  • On Facebook: A lot is still unknown about the coronavirus. But what we do know, we’re sharing with you. Join our Facebook group, Coronavirus Watch, to receive daily updates in your feed and chat with others in the community about COVID-19.  
  • In your inbox: Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic from the USA TODAY Network. Sign up for the daily Coronavirus Watch newsletter. 
  • Tips for coping: Every Saturday and Tuesday we’ll be in your inbox, offering you a virtual hug and a little bit of solace in these difficult times. Sign up for Staying Apart, Together.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Published 2:33 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *