Covid-19 Live Updates: White House Embraces ‘Herd Immunity’ Declaration

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

Many experts say “herd immunity” — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition entitled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

The declaration has more than 9,000 signatories from all over the world, its website says, though most of the names are not public. The document grew out of a meeting hosted by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian-leaning research organization.

Its lead authors include Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at Stanford University, academic home of Dr. Scott Atlas, President Trump’s science adviser. Dr. Atlas has also espoused herd immunity.

The declaration’s architects include Sunetra Gupta and Gabriela Gomes, two scientists who have proposed that societies may achieve herd immunity when 10 to 20 percent of their populations have been infected with the virus, a position most epidemiologists disagree with.

Last month, at the request of The New York Times, three epidemiological teams calculated the percentage of the country that is infected. What they found runs strongly counter to the theory being promoted in influential circles that the United States has either already achieved herd immunity or is close to doing so, and that the pandemic is all but over. That conclusion would imply that businesses, schools and restaurants could safely reopen, and that masks and other distancing measures could be abandoned.

“The idea that herd immunity will happen at 10 or 20 percent is just nonsense,” said Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which produced the epidemic model frequently cited during White House news briefings as the epidemic hit hard in the spring.

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Trump holds first public event at White House since testing positive for COVID-19 – watch live stream today

President Trump is scheduled to hold his first public event since testing positive for COVID-19 a little over a week ago. He plans to speak from the South Lawn balcony on Saturday about “law and order,” in what the White House is calling a “peaceful protest” expected to draw hundreds of people.

Mr. Trump’s address comes two weeks after the president nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden, a ceremony that Dr. Anthony Fauci described as a “super spreader” event. Several White House officials, including the president, tested positive for the virus after the ceremony, as well as some senators and other guests.


How to watch President Trump’s speech Saturday

  • What: President Trump delivers his first in-person address since testing positive for COVID-19
  • Date: Saturday, October 10, 2020
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • Location: South Lawn, White House, Washington, D.C.
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above or on your mobile streaming device.

The event is coordinated with Candace Owens’ Blexit group and will be attended by conservative activists.

A source familiar with planning for the event told CBS News that 2,000 invitations had been issued. All attendees are required to bring a mask and will be instructed to wear it on the White House complex. All attendees must also complete a COVID-19 screening, consisting of a temperature check and brief questionnaire. 

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS News’ Steven Portnoy on Friday that the event at the White House two weeks ago shows how important it is to wear a mask.

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a super-spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

Mr. Trump plans to resume campaign travel on Monday, 10 days after he announced his COVID-19 diagnosis. He tweeted that he’ll be in Sanford, Florida, for a “very BIG RALLY” on Monday.

Fin Gomez and Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.

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2020 Election Live Updates: Despite Concerns of Health Experts, Trump Plans Rallies at White House and in Florida

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump is planning to host hundreds of people on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday for his first in-person event since he announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, three people familiar with the plans said on Friday, and his campaign announced that he would hold a rally in Florida on Monday.

The president was expected to make remarks from one of the balconies at the White House to the crowd, which was expected to include people attending an event elsewhere in Washington staged by a Trump supporter, Candace Owens, one of the people familiar with the plans said. The event, which was first reported by ABC News, continues Mr. Trump’s pattern of using the White House for political events, as he did with his speech to the Republican National Convention.

Some in the White House and on the Trump campaign expressed concern about what the president might say in his remarks at the Saturday event, and feared the entire event would serve to underscore existing criticism that Mr. Trump has been cavalier about a virus that has killed over 210,000 Americans.

The event will come just two weeks after a Rose Garden celebration of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, an event that White House officials are looking at as the possible source of an outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected Mr. Trump, the first lady and at least two dozen other people.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, told CBS News Radio Friday that there had been “a superspreader event in the White House,” noting that people had crowded together there without wearing masks.

One person familiar with the planning for the White House event said that all attendees would be required to bring and wear a mask, and that they would have to submit to a temperature check and a fill out a questionnaire.

And Mr. Trump is planning to hit the campaign trail again, even as outside medical experts caution that doing so could pose risks to himself and others: The campaign announced that he would deliver remarks at a “Make America Great Again” event at Orlando Sanford International Airport on Monday at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Attendees at the Florida event will be asked to sign a disclaimer stating that “you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19.”

In a meeting after the Republican National Convention, where the president staged his acceptance speech on the South Lawn in front of supporters — many of whom had not been tested — the president joked about the agitation he had caused among his critics about how he may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on the job,

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Coronavirus live news: WHO daily cases set new record at more than 350,000 | World news





Trump again calls for in-person debate, citing doctor’s letter

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What we know so far: Trump expected to return to public engagements on Saturday

Updated





Donald Trump added more turbulence on Thursday to the US presidential race by refusing to participate in the next presidential debate with Joe Biden after it was changed to a virtual event to guard against the spread of Covid-19, prompting both campaigns to propose postponing it a week.

On Thursday morning, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said that the next presidential debate, due on 15 October, would be a virtual affair, with the candidates appearing remotely.

“In order to protect the health and safety of all, the second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” it said.

But Trump, who was hospitalized for three days after disclosing last Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, blasted the format change announced by the nonpartisan commission in charge of the debates and expressed concern that his microphone could be cut off at the event:

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White House Floats $1.8 Trillion Stimulus Offer in Last-Ditch Effort: Live Updates

Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

The White House, seeking to revive stimulus talks that President Trump called off just days ago, planned on Friday to put forward its largest offer for economic relief yet, as some Republicans worried about being blamed by voters for failing to deliver needed aid ahead of the election.

The new proposal, for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to present to congressional Democrats, would increase the White House’s plan for coronavirus stimulus to $1.8 trillion.

The president “would like to do a deal,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said on the Fox Business Network on Friday, in the latest head-snapping turn in the on-again-off-again negotiations. The overall price tag of the offer was confirmed by two people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose details of the talks.

Fanning the sense of optimism, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

The prospects of a compromise remained remote, however, given the opposition of many Republicans to another large infusion of federal virus aid. Speaking to reporters in Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, cast doubt on the chances of a deal, saying political divisions remained too deep less than a month before Election Day.

“The situation is kind of murky and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage,” Mr. McConnell said. “I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”

Yet the White House was working to resuscitate negotiations that Mr. Trump himself cut off in a series of indignant tweets on Tuesday, amid deep concern among some vulnerable Republicans that his abrupt abandonment of the talks would hurt them politically.

Mr. Kudlow said that the president met with Mr. Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, on Friday and that the Treasury secretary would speak with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California later Friday afternoon.

Without an agreement, the collateral damage across the country has continued to mount in the absence of federal funding, with more than 800,000 Americans filing new applications for state benefits, before adjusting for seasonal variations.

Even if Ms. Pelosi were to accept the administration’s latest proposal, which is lower than the $2.2 trillion package she pushed through the House this month, Senate Republicans remain divided over the scope of another coronavirus relief package.

Most of them opposed the original $1 trillion offer Mr. McConnell presented in July, after days of haggling with the White House, in part because they were concerned about adding to the national debt. Mr. McConnell has since scaled back the offer considerably, proposing a $350 billion “skinny” plan that Democrats blocked, calling it inadequate.

A

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Coronavirus live news: doctor clears Trump to return to public events on Saturday; record global case rise | World news





Trump again calls for in-person debate, citing doctor’s letter

Updated





What we know so far: Trump expected to return to public engagements on Saturday

Updated





Donald Trump added more turbulence on Thursday to the US presidential race by refusing to participate in the next presidential debate with Joe Biden after it was changed to a virtual event to guard against the spread of Covid-19, prompting both campaigns to propose postponing it a week.

On Thursday morning, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said that the next presidential debate, due on 15 October, would be a virtual affair, with the candidates appearing remotely.

“In order to protect the health and safety of all, the second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” it said.

But Trump, who was hospitalized for three days after disclosing last Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, blasted the format change announced by the nonpartisan commission in charge of the debates and expressed concern that his microphone could be cut off at the event:

Read more

Coronavirus live news: record global case rise; Washington health officials ask Rose Garden guests to get tested | World news













Trump doctor says he anticipates president’s ‘return to public engagements’ on Saturday

Updated





Washington warns those at White House super-spreader event

In an extraordinary step, the Washington, DC, Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a September 26 event in the Rose Garden and inside the building to mark the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court to seek medical advice and take a Covid-19 test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two US senators, among others, The Associated Press writes.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.

It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to Covid positive individuals.”

It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”

The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.





Summary

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Watch reporter fend off a raccoon before his live shot outside the White House

They crash garbage cans, gardens and now live television shots.

CNN reporter Joe Johns isn’t going to take it anymore.

Johns’ CNN colleague, Alisyn Camerota, shared a funny behind-the-scenes video of him shooing away an aggressive raccoon near the White House while he was trying to do a live shot.

“Frickin’ raccoons, man,” Johns said on Wednesday outside the White House.

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“This is what a consummate professional @joejohnscnn is,” Camerota tweeted. “Seconds before his @NewDay live shot, he fends off a raccoon attack! Just another day in the nutty news cycle.”

Johns can be seen throwing a large object at the critters at one point, yelling “Get!” He grew more exasperated when the animal came back a second time.

“So it’s the 2d time in two weeks a raccoon has shown up shortly after the @NewDay open,” Johns tweeted. “I think they’re attracted to the lights. No animals were harmed. I threw something to scare it off. #CrazyOuttakes”

TODAY’s Craig Melvin applauded Johns’ professionalism in the face of the critter assault.

“Always knew @joejohnscnn was a topnotch reporter,” Craig tweeted. “Today i learned he’s staunchly anti-raccoon. Needed this today. Thanks, Joe for keeping us informed and safe.”

The raccoon constituency seems to be demanding to have its voice heard at the White House, as Johns isn’t the only member of the press who has tangled with them.

NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted that he had his own encounter with a raccoon this week.

“BREAKING: Sources tell me it’s a family of raccoons – including the one that walked under my legs right before my @TODAYshow live shot yesterday,” he wrote with an accompanying video of the Secret Service trying to wrangle a raccoon.

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Why the Rose Garden COVID-19 fiasco was dismal news for the return of live entertainment

At the celebratory judicial nomination event for Amy Coney Barrett, scores of maskless, prominent Americans–elected officials, high-ranking staffers, the President of the University of Notre Dame–were seen hugging, kissing and other examples of the up-close-and-personal behavior most ordinary Americans are avoiding in service of personal and community safety. It looked like no one at the Sept. 26 event in the White House Rose Garden had paid any mind whatsoever to the potential ravages of COVID-19 at a nomination celebration for a member of the United States Supreme Court.

Although it certainly fits the broader political narrative on both sides, this wasn’t entirely true.

Attendees were actually given rapid Coronavirus tests, developed by Abbott Laboratories of Lake Bluff, prior to admittance. As the Wall Street Journal and others have reported, a guest took Abbott’s so-called ID NOW test, waited around for a few minute for the result, and, in the event of their negativity, was told that they could make their way into the event without worrying about infection. In an apologetic subsequent homily, Rev. John I. Jenkins of Notre Dame said he had removed his mask (the regulations on his own campus notwithstanding) because he had been told by the White House it was safe to do so.

Wrong choice. In hindsight.

While it rarely has been entirely clear who infected whom where in this crisis, and that is true here, the evidence of multiple infections at this event suggest that the hopeful idea that rapid tests could be used as a kind of instant pandemic metal detector, a notion that has been floated well beyond the White House, is not a viable plan. The virus appears to be way too tricky a beast for that hopeful solution to our current problem.

These rapid tests have been especially beguiling to producers of indoor live entertainment.

The Rose Garden debacle last weekend did not help the crisis in that sector.

For most indoor live entertainment, social distancing is impossible. It’s not just that seats are very close together and rowdy crowds encouraged–although both of those things are typically true–it is that blocking off seats and rows so disrupts the economic models on which such events are built as to make them impossible to pull off as we have known them.

So in their search for a solution, producers of music, comedy, opera, you name it, have looked hopefully toward cheap and reliable testing as a potential solution.

Here is how the speculative thinking has gone.

Perhaps someone would take a test at home on the morning of an event and then hand some kind of digital certificate over to an usher, perhaps on their phone. Or maybe instead of taking a temperature–which people have learned to tolerate in bars and restaurants–an usher at a venue might actually be able to deliver some kind of test in the lobby, only allowing through those who test negative. In the many discussions on the logistics of reopening venues, pinpoint rapid testing has

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Trump and Coronavirus White House Outbreak: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump is incurring significant risks, physically and politically, by leaving the protective care of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a White House that is less a safe space than a hot zone.

Yet sitting still — much less resting in bed — was never really an option for a president who often equates mobility, the power to control his own movement and hence his message, with survival.

By midday Monday, Mr. Trump made it clear he would soon be moving on from Walter Reed, and moving forward with his campaign, even as medical experts warned that the course of his illness is unpredictable in a man of his age and weight.

Hours before he left the hospital, Mr. Trump’s campaign spokesman said he “intends to be ready” to appear at the presidential debate next week, a town hall-style event that demands stamina from even a healthy candidate.

And this is what he typed out on Twitter shortly before flying the short helicopter flight from Walter Reed to the South Lawn late Monday:

Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”

But will he, really? If he does return to the trail, will he be in any kind of shape to match the relentless back-to-back barnstorming effort that he credits for pushing him over the top in the waning days of his 2016 campaign?

And who on his virus-ravaged campaign and West Wing staffs will come along for the ride?

Mr. Trump chafed at the confinement imposed on him by the pandemic even before he came down with Covid-19 himself — one of his darkest days in a beclouded 2020 came when he insisted on staging an indoor rally in Tulsa over the summer, even as the infection spread over the summer.

For months, he mocked former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (who is now very much out and about) for quarantining in his “basement,” then he balked at going to the hospital when his blood-oxygen level dropped on Friday — and when medical professionals were advising recuperative isolation, for his own good and for the safety of those around him.

For the moment, at least, Mr. Trump is planning to stay put.

“THE PRESIDENT has no public events scheduled,” read his official schedule for Tuesday.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump is hardly the first president confronting a crush of last-minute pressures and obstacles in the closing weeks of a re-election campaign. Jimmy Carter was saddled with the hostages in Iran. Barack Obama had to recover from a weak first debate. George W. Bush had to overcome deep reservations about the war in Iraq.

But it seems

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