Argentina surpasses 900,000 COVID-19 cases, virus spreads to the interior

FILE PHOTO: Men recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) donate convalescent plasma, at the Hemotherapy Institute in La Plata, Argentina October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina surpassed 900,000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with strong growth of infections in large populated centers in the interior of the country after months of the virus’ being concentrated in Buenos Aires and its suburbs.

The government late last week tightened restrictions on the movement of people in 18 provinces for two weeks due to the growth of COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the Health Ministry said the death toll reached 24,186 and the number of infections totaled 903,730. During the previous 24 hours, 318 deaths and 9,524 new cases were reported.

As an example of the virus’ spreading outside of Buenos Aires, in areas untouched by the virus in the early days of the pandemic, more than 90% of the intensive-care beds at the Centenario hospital in the city of Rosario, 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, are occupied by COVID-19 patients, hospital staff told Reuters.

Rosario is the main ports hub carrying agricultural commodities from the Pampas farm belt to export markets. Argentina is a major global soybean, corn and wheat supplier.

“Hopefully we continue as we are, with 95% to 97% occupancy (of ICU beds) and that narrow margin will allow us to have a reasonable turn-over of beds,” Rosario intensive care doctor Juan Pendino, 62, told Reuters.

Over the last week Argentina registered almost 100,000 new cases, with a positive rate of 72.5% as of Sunday, one of the highest levels in the world.

“We are not going to have normalcy again – neither in the short- nor medium-term – until we have a high rate of immunization of the population, either naturally or through a vaccine,” Gerardo Laube, an infectious disease doctor at the Muniz Hospital in Buenos Aires, told local radio on Monday.

Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Juan Bustamante; writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Leslie Adler

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POLITICO Playbook PM: White House floats a Trump speech as the outbreak spreads

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering having President DONALD TRUMP address the nation. He returned from the White House on Monday night after a weekend at Walter Reed. NYT’s Maggie Haberman had this as well

ALYSSA FARAH — the White House comms director — suggested to White House reporters that we will “hear from” TRUMP “at some point today.”

— FARAH on FOX NEWS this morning, about whether TRUMP will attend the next debate: “He’s looking forward to it. He is ready and I think he’s going to go in with an even new mindset on the coronavirus. He’s firsthand lost friends to this, he’s grieved with Americans, but now he himself is coming as a survivor and I think you’re going to hear that in his debate.”

— ON WORKING AT THE W.H. NOW: “We feel comfortable working here, those of us who are still here. We are taking precautions in the West Wing.”

THE PRESIDENT’S DOCTOR, SEAN CONLEY, said TRUMP reported no symptoms today, and had a “restful first night at home.” His oxygen saturation is between 95% and 97%, CONLEY said. Conley’s memo

FORMER A.G. ERIC HOLDER to us during a Playbook virtual event this morning, via CAITLIN OPRYSKO: “Former Attorney General Eric Holder accused one of his Trump-era successors, William Barr, of ‘going beyond politicizing’ the Justice Department, saying that the current attorney general had instead ‘weaponized’ the department in an unprecedented way.

“‘The way he has talked about everything from voting to social issues, he has clearly put the Justice Department on the side of this president,’ Holder told POLITICO Playbook authors Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman in an interview Tuesday. Holder, who served as the first attorney general in the Obama administration, also pointed to Barr’s intervention in cases involving Trump’s allies, and called the attorney general an ‘integral part of the president’s reelection effort.’

“‘People gotta understand this is inconsistent with the way attorneys general and the department have acted in the past — and that means Republican as well as Democratic Justice Departments,’ he argued.”

— HOLDER quipped that he would run for Senate if D.C. became a state.

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP JIM CLYBURN, who also joined us for the Playbook event, talked about his former aide JAIME HARRISON’S chances in South Carolina: “Things are breaking in his favor.” More from Caitlin Oprysko

HOUSE DEMOCRATS have a caucus conference call at 2 p.m. today, and we anticipate Speaker NANCY PELOSI will give an update on the status of her talks with Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN.

Good Tuesday afternoon.

SCOOP, via NAHAL TOOSI: The State Department has decided to grant Indonesian Defense Minister PRABOWO SUBIANTO a visa to enter the U.S., according to a person familiar with the department’s actions. Subianto is expected to visit sometime later this month. He had long been

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Kamala Harris and Mike Pence Set to Debate as Virus Spreads at White House

(Bloomberg) — Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will take the stage Wednesday night under extraordinary circumstances that will elevate the oft-forgotten vice presidential debate to the highest-stakes running mate matchup in years.

With President Donald Trump fresh out of the hospital but still battling the coronavirus, both Pence and Harris will have to reassure voters that they can step into the presidency if either of the septuagenarians who top the tickets become incapacitated.

A week after Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden squared off in a combative and chaotic debate, Pence and Harris will meet at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City under dramatically different circumstances. Not only have the safety precautions become stricter since at least 10 people who live or work at the White House have become infected, but the tone is expected to be more civil as well.



Mike Pence, Kamala Harris are posing for a picture: Pence Harris duo


© Source: Bloomberg
Pence Harris duo

Mike Pence and Kamala Harris

Source: Bloomberg

The debate will be divided into nine discussion categories, each lasting about 10 minutes.

Although the Trump campaign opposed it, Harris’s staff won an argument to have a plexiglass shield separating her and Pence, who has tested negative for the virus that sent Trump to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days. The candidates will be a little more than 12 feet (3.7 meters) apart, and the moderator, Susan Page of USA Today, will also be that distance, the Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday.

Read More: Pence Urges Trump’s Re-Election With Law-and-Order Battle Cry

Anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be “escorted out,” the commission said. The first family and some of Trump’s guests refused to wear masks at last week’s debate.

“This VP debate will get a lot more attention than they usually do,” said Charlie Black, a veteran Republican strategist. “So it’s an opportunity for both candidates. I actually expect a good debate. Pence does a good job of presenting the president’s case, his accomplishments and his ideas in a calm, measured manner. Harris has proved to be a good debater.”

The candidates are also less likely to sling the ad hominem attacks that highlighted the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland between Trump and Biden. Harris will have to restrain the punches she used in her own presidential run.

She has re-upped some of her lines since joining the Biden ticket, including calling Trump a “predator.” But with the president just a day or so out of the hospital, she is expected to shelve those attacks. That doesn’t mean she’ll hold back on criticizing the administration for what Democrats say is a gross mismanagement of the pandemic, especially given that Pence leads the White House coronavirus task force.

“It’s the perfect microcosm for the failure of the Trump administration on coronavirus,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne said. “They became their own super spreader. They didn’t follow best practices. Harris can really effectively use this last week as exhibit A of why Trump and Pence are dangerous and

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