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


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


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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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


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.


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US Futures Rise As President Trump’s Medical Team Suggests Monday Return To White House

U.S. futures spiked on Sunday night as of President Donald Trump’s healthcare providers expressed optimism over his timely return to the White House.

What Happened: Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a member of Trump’s medical team, said the President could be discharged from the Walter Reed Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment for COVID-19, as early as Monday, and be back in the White House, CNN reported.

Garibaldi’s comments came amid uncertainty over Trump’s health, with contradicting reports. The president’s physicians had revealed earlier in the day that he was being treated with dexamethasone, a powerful steroid reserved for extreme COVID-19 cases, CNBC reported.

Dr. Vin Gupta, a faculty member at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told CNBC that the disclosure indicates the president may be suffering from pneumonia.

Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley said that Trump had suffered two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation, according to CNN.

“It was a determination of the team based on the timeline from the initial diagnosis that we initiate dexamethasone,” said Conley.

The president left the hospital briefly on Sunday — to be driven around in an SUV in order to greet his supporters, CBS News reported.

Why It Matters: Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious disease specialist at the Boston University School of Medicine, told CNBC that she would not discharge someone who was just put on steroids.

Conflicting accounts of the president’s treatment have emerged since Saturday as his doctors remain evasive on key health parameters including on whether he required supplemental oxygen.

Meanwhile, several members of the president’s inner circle at the Republican party have tested positive for COVID-19, including three senators.

Price Action: S&P 500 futures rose 0.77% to 3,365, while Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures gained 0.78% to 22,779. Nasdaq futures traded 1.06% higher at 11,352.50 at press time.

Photo courtesy: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia

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Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

Stocks rose Wednesday as House Democrats and the Trump administration traded offers for another round of coronavirus stimulus.

Nancy Pelosi wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

© Bonnie Cash – Greg Nash
Stocks rise as White House, Democrats trade stimulus offers

Both sides are seeking an elusive deal on coronavirus relief before the election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a gain of 350 points, rising 1.3 percent. The S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq composite rose 1 percent shortly after the market opened.

The strong start to Wednesday trading came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Republicans will propose a $1.5 trillion stimulus bill after he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) restarted negotiations last week. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also told House Democrats that he plans to bring a $2.2 trillion offer to the floor Wednesday.

While both parties remain far apart on the preferred size of a stimulus bill, the monetary difference between Democratic and Republican offers has narrowed considerably since the spring.

Democrats and Republicans are attempting to break a months-long stalemate over a follow-up to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus and pandemic response bill signed by President Trump in March. Key elements of that bill, such as a boost to unemployment benefits and emergency loans for small businesses, expired this summer without replacement.

The House in May passed a roughly $3 trillion bill that Republicans dismissed immediately, and Republicans have been reluctant to approve more than $1 trillion in aid.

The pace of the recovery from the coronavirus recession slowed notably over the summer and into fall, and the U.S. is still reeling from immense economic pain. More than 10 million people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have not yet found work again, and thousands of small businesses have folded as the spread of the virus hinders the economy from fully reopening.

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House Republicans Recommend Stiffer Response to China’s Rise

(Bloomberg) — Congressional Republicans are urging key industries to shift supply chains away from China and calling for stricter limits on some China-related investments, according to a report out Wednesday.

people walking in front of United States Capitol: A person runs past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. Negotiations on a new coronavirus relief bill edged toward the brink of collapse after a meeting Thursday between White House officials and top congressional Democrats ended with each side accusing the other of being unwilling to compromise and the biggest issues far from resolved.

© Bloomberg
A person runs past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. Negotiations on a new coronavirus relief bill edged toward the brink of collapse after a meeting Thursday between White House officials and top congressional Democrats ended with each side accusing the other of being unwilling to compromise and the biggest issues far from resolved.

The China Task Force, composed entirely of GOP House members after Democrats declined to join what was supposed to be a bipartisan committee, called China a “generational threat” akin to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


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The group also criticized the Chinese Communist Party for human rights violations and an early coronavirus response that relied on “coverups, arrests and blame-shifting, rather than transparency.”

“For decades, the United States and its allies have been asleep at the wheel,” said Task Force Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican. “Covid created an awakening experience for the American people and the sleeping giant has finally awoken.”

The report’s conclusion — that the last 40 years of diplomatic engagement with China has been a failure — comes as both parties in Congress increasingly support a tougher stance on Beijing. But the focus on China’s role in the spread of the coronavirus is viewed warily by Democrats, who don’t want to absolve President Donald Trump of any culpability for the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. before the Nov. 3 election.

What Hong Kong Losing Its U.S. ‘Special Status’ Means: QuickTake

Most of the report’s 400 policy recommendations are bipartisan, according to a task force aide. Some proposals, particularly those related to protecting intellectual property and shifting U.S. supply chains away from China, have broad agreement in Congress.

Rebuking China has been a rare source of bipartisanship in the Trump era, including when the Trump administration was trying to finalize a trade deal with the communist nation. Congress this year angered Beijing by passing legislation to impose sanctions on Chinese officials found to be undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and oppressing Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.

Lawmakers have shown some hesitation regarding the imposition of tight controls on the flow of capital between the two nations. But the House GOP report does recommend some restrictions on investment in Chinese firms, including for certain retirement accounts.

The task force also calls on the House to approve a Senate-passed bill to de-list Chinese companies on U.S. exchanges if they fail to comply with U.S. accounting standards. A companion measure has been introduced in the House, but has yet to be taken up by the Financial Services Committee.

The report’s criticism of China’s coronavirus response echoes some of Trump’s complaints, which Democrats warned were intended to distract from his administration’s missteps in managing the pandemic.

The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths,

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UK house price rise speeds up in September: Nationwide

FILE PHOTO: An apartment block is constructed behind a row of traditional properties in central London December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices rose by the most in four years in September when they jumped by an annual 5.0%, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday as a sharp rebound in the country’s housing market accelerated.

The increase was stronger than the median forecast of a 4.5% rise in a Reuters poll of economists and average prices hit a fresh record high.

Britain’s housing market has boomed since the coronavirus lockdown with a rush by some buyers for bigger houses outside of urban areas in the new work-from-home age combining with pent-up demand.

Nationwide said about 10% of people it surveyed in September were in the process of moving as a result of the pandemic, rising to 15% in London. A further 18% of those asked said they were considering moving due to the pandemic.

“Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown,” Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said.

Housing industry officials have warned that the mini-boom could run out of steam soon with unemployment expected to rise sharply and COVID-19 cases on the rise again.

Nationwide said prices rose by 0.9% in September from August compared with a forecast of a 0.5% increase in the Reuters poll.

Nationwide said the housing market had also been boosted by finance minister Rishi Sunak’s tax cut on house purchases which he introduced in July as he sought to boost the broader economy after its record 20% contraction between April and June.

Bank of England data published on Tuesday showed mortgage approvals hit their highest in almost 13 years in August.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by William Schomberg

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UK house prices rise at fastest rate since 2016, says Nationwide | Money

House prices rose in September at the fastest annual rate since the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, according to the UK’s biggest building society, as buyers continued to take advantage of a benign market despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The average UK house price rose by 5% in September compared with the same month last year, to £226,129 – a record high, Nationwide reported.

The pandemic has shaken up the housing market, with the return of demand after the UK-wide lockdown and temporary cuts to stamp duty helping to sustain sales even as economists forecast a significant increase in unemployment over the coming quarter.

Prices rose by 0.9% month on month in September after jumping by 2% in the previous month as housing market activity surged, Nationwide said. Separate data published on Tuesday by the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals during August had risen to the highest level in almost 13 years and the rival mortgage lender Halifax also reported record high UK prices in August.

Price jumps were evident across the UK, with the south-west of England and the commuter towns surrounding London recording increases of more than 5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier. Only in Scotland and the north-west of England did the pace of annual growth slow during the quarter.

Average prices within London hit a record high of £480,857 in September, leaving them 57% above their 2007 levels, shortly before the global financial crisis.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The rebound [in UK prices] reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing.

“The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

However, some economists predict that the boom in house prices may run out of steam in the coming months as the government’s support for the job market diminishes significantly, and unemployment is expected to hit 8% by the end of the year, according to independent forecasts collated by the Treasury.

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The stamp duty holiday for properties below £500,000 will also expire on 31 March 2021, unless the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, chooses to extend it in a delayed budget.

One economic forecaster, the EY Item Club, suggests that house prices could be about 5% lower than now by mid-2021 as the economy worsens.

Hansen Lu, an economist at Capital Economics, a consultancy, said: “Price gains are likely to slow as the pent-up demand driving the market now is expended. Looking ahead, we think a weak underlying economy and the end of the stamp duty cut will slow house price growth to a standstill by the end of 2021.”

The “mini boom” in house prices may partly reflect the shift to working from home during

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UK property prices rise at fast rate in 4 years in September

Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

UK house prices are surging at their fastest rate in four years, as pent up demand post-lockdown and a temporary Stamp Duty cut fuel a buying boom.

Nationwide’s closely-watched House Price Index found prices jumped by 5% on an annual basis in September, the biggest increase since September 2016.

Prices grew by 0.9% between August and September. Both the annual growth figure and the month-on-month growth were ahead of City forecasts.

The average UK house price now stands at £226,129 ($288,167), Nationwide said.

Watch: Why house prices are rising despite COVID-19 and a recession in the UK

“The rebound reflects a number of factors,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.

“Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

Gardner said the pandemic was encouraging people to move. Lockdowns and working from home have spurred many people to look for new properties with more space and a garden, with less concern about commuting distance.

READ MORE: UK mortgage approvals hit highest level since 2007

25% of people surveyed by Nationwide in London said they were moving as a result of the lockdown, while another 15% of residents in the capital were thinking about moving.

All regions of the UK saw house prices grow between July and September. The highest growth was in the South West of England, where annual price growth was 5.5%.

Nationwide’s price data comes a day after the Bank of England said mortgage approvals hit a 13-year high in August, underlining the strength of the property boom.

Experts believe the property market could loose steam in the coming months as the government’s economic support measures unwind.

“Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as tighter restrictions dampen economic activity and the furlough scheme winds down,” said Gardener.

“While the recently announced jobs support scheme will provide some assistance, it is not as comprehensive as the furlough scheme it replaces.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “We continue to expect the official measure of prices to peak in October, and then to reverse all of its gains since March over the following 12 months.”

Estate agents Hamptons expects house prices to fall across much of the UK next year.

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‘Vegetable Garden City’ to rise in Tondo

A 1.5-hectare idle lot within the premises of the Saint John Bosco Parish in Tondo, Manila will be transformed into a “vegetable garden city” in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

DAR Secretary John Castriciones

The program aims to serve the daily subsistence of people in the surrounding communities.

“The DAR will provide the farm inputs – seeds, seedling trays, garden tools, fertilizer, and pesticide. Kailangan lang natin volunteer garden workers. (We just need volunteer garden workers),” DAR Secretary John Castriciones said, adding that the barangay officials readily volunteered to be the garden workers.

“So, there’s no more problem. May magbubungkal na ng lupa. (Someone will already plow the land). It’s a deal,” he added.

The Saint John Bosco Parish said the “vegetable garden city” is a “very good project,” as it hopes that the vegetables to be harvested would be distributed to the constituents of the participating barangays.

Castriciones raised the idea of a vegetable garden after the vast idle lot caught his attention while distributing relief packs to the poor families in Tondo, Manila.

The food packs contained cabbage and high-breed round-shaped raddish sold at a bargain price by an agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization in Nueva Vizcaya, which enjoyed bountiful harvests, many of them are rotting because of over production.

“Instead of going to waste, we might, as well, make use of these vegetable surplus to feed the hungry,” Castriciones said.





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The rise of White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, a lockdown skeptic who increasingly has Trump’s ear and is worrying experts like Fauci

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

  • President Donald Trump brought Dr. Scott Atlas, a vocal anti-lockdown critic, onto his coronavirus task force in August.
  • Atlas is a healthcare-policy expert who works at the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. He is not an infectious-disease expert.
  • Yet the White House has increasingly brought him out to speak at recent coronavirus briefings instead of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx.
  • He appears to be worrying top US health experts: CDC Director Robert Redfield was overheard saying “everything” Atlas says “is false,” and Fauci called him an “outlier” in his coronavirus views.
  • In response to Redfield and Fauci’s comments, Atlas told Business Insider: “Career government public health officials do not have a monopoly on knowledge.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Scott Atlas has only been on the White House’s coronavirus task force for a month, but appears to already have President Donald Trump’s ear and is worrying top experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Atlas was brought onto Trump’s coronavirus task force in August, after appearing on Fox News for several months, where he often echoed the president’s views — including an opposition to lockdowns.

He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University.

Unlike the other experts on the task force, Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, Atlas does not have a specialty in either infectious diseases or public health. Instead, he focuses on healthcare policy and has a background in neuroradiology, which is the reading of X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Nonetheless, Atlas has become a favorite of the president, appearing often at the White House’s coronavirus briefings. Birx and Fauci have not spoken in those briefings as much in recent weeks.

Fauci, Redfield wave red flags

On Friday, an NBC News reporter overheard CDC Director Robert Redfield referring to Atlas in a phone conversation, saying “everything he says is false.” Redfield confirmed to the reporter after the flight that he was indeed talking about Atlas.

Robert R. Redfield wearing a suit and tie: CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that "everything" Atlas says "is false." ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty

CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that “everything” Atlas says “is false.” ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty

And in a Monday interview with CNN, Fauci described Atlas as an “outlier” when it came to his opinions on the virus.

“You know my differences with Dr. Atlas, I’m always willing to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolve those differences,” Fauci said.

In response to Redfield and Fauci’s remarks, Atlas told Business Insider: “All of my policy recommendations to the President are directly backed by the current science, and they are in line with what many of the world’s top medical scientists advise, including Martin Kulldorff and Katherine Yih of Harvard Medical School;

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