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NBC Says Trump Will Hold Town Hall Meeting Thursday, Competing Against Biden

President Trump may not be debating Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the same stage on Thursday night as originally planned. But the two candidates will still face off head-to-head.

NBC News confirmed on Wednesday that it would broadcast a prime-time town-hall-style event with Mr. Trump from Miami on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern, with the president fielding questions from Florida voters.

The event will directly overlap with an already-scheduled ABC televised town-hall meeting with Mr. Biden in Philadelphia, which will begin at the same time.

Mr. Biden’s town hall has been on the books since last week, after Mr. Trump, who had recently contracted the coronavirus, rejected plans to convert the second formal presidential debate into a virtual matchup; the debate was eventually canceled.

The NBC event, to be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie, had been contingent on the Trump campaign providing independent proof that the president would not pose a safety risk to the other participants — including NBC crew members, voters and Ms. Guthrie herself.

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As late as Tuesday afternoon, NBC executives were waiting for that proof, but the network determined late Tuesday that it would be comfortable moving forward, according to two people familiar with the planning.

On Wednesday’s “Today” show, the NBC anchor Craig Melvin said the town hall would occur “in accordance with the guidelines set forth by health officials” and proffered a statement from Clifford Lane, a clinical director at the National Institutes of Health.

In the statement, Dr. Lane said he had reviewed medical data about Mr. Trump’s condition, including a so-called P.C.R. test — a widely used diagnostic test for the coronavirus that is considered more reliable than a rapid antigen test — that the N.I.H. “collected and analyzed” on Tuesday. Dr. Lane concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that the president is “not shedding infectious virus,” NBC said.

The network did not explicitly say that Mr. Trump had received a negative result from the P.C.R. test.

Mr. Trump and his aides have not shared extensive details about the president’s medical condition with the public, and over the past few days, NBC executives were no exception. Until late Tuesday, the network had been prepared to cancel the event if the president’s team did not present convincing evidence that Mr. Trump would not potentially infect those around him, one of the people said.

The town hall on Thursday will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and audience members will be required to wear face masks, the network said. Ms. Guthrie and Mr. Trump will be seated at least 12 feet apart.

NBC officials began discussing the possibility of a town hall with the Trump campaign last week, after Mr. Trump pulled out of the second planned presidential debate. The network made clear at the start that it needed outside proof of the president’s medical condition.

NBC officials did not say exactly what testing

Biden, Harris Split on Coronavirus Vaccine at Vice Presidential Debate | America 2020

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday kicked off the first and only vice presidential debate by highlighting their divide over the coronavirus pandemic.

Surveys have shown a significant number of people would not be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. Harris indicated she would be eager to get a vaccine if it were recommended by experts.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pence accused Harris of sowing doubt over the vaccine.

“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence said.

Harris, like her running mate Joe Biden during the previous presidential debate, painted the Trump administration as not having a plan for the pandemic, which has infected over 7.5 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 211,000.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said.

The seven-day average for new coronavirus infections is over 43,000 cases, according to government statistics compiled by USAFacts. That average for fatalities is about 680 deaths. While cases and deaths are below what they were during their previous peaks, they are still elevated.

(Courtesy of USAFacts)

(Courtesy of USAFacts)

Pence said that it is a “great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made” to say efforts over the last eight months haven’t worked.

Pence, in response to a question from moderator Susan Page, also defended the event in the Rose Garden 11 days ago where social distancing was not observed and very few were seen in masks. President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus following the event.

“Many of the people who were at that event, Susan, actually were tested for coronavirus, and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise,” Pence said.

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COVID-19 vaccine as Trump, Biden face Election Day? Not impossible

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Approving a vaccine in the U.S. usually takes years, but COVID-19 vaccines are moving through in record time. What does that mean?

USA TODAY

Could an approved coronavirus vaccine be released prior to Election Day on Nov. 3? It’s extremely unlikely – but not impossible – experts say. 

President Donald Trump on Monday said, “vaccines are coming momentarily,” and he has promised on multiple occasions that one will be ready before the election, now less than a month away.

For that to happen, though, three things would be necessary:

  • First, extremely positive data from ongoing Phase 3 clinical trials would have to be released showing a candidate vaccine to be extraordinarily effective. 
  • Second, the vaccine manufacturer would have to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its approval.
  • And third, the FDA likely would have to ignore its own guidelines for companies seeking authorization.

On Tuesday, the FDA updated those guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations, requiring at least two months of follow-up data after trial volunteers take the necessary doses.

“This is a scientific agency applying scientific standards,” said Gillian Woollett, a senior vice president and expert on FDA guidance and regulatory issues at the health care consulting firm Avalere Health.

Pfizer is furthest along in US Phase 3 vaccine trials after starting July 27

The updated guidance makes it a long shot that a vaccine could be approved for use before the election.

The timing is tight. There are four COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States. The candidates from the two companies that started first, Moderna and Pfizer, both require two doses. Of those, the furthest along is the Pfizer vaccine. It requires two doses given 28 days apart.

Pfizer launched its U.S. Phase 3 trials on July 27. The second shots would have begun on Aug. 24. Two months of follow-up after that second shot would be Oct. 23. 

President Donald Trump says COVID-19 vaccines are coming ‘momentarily.’ Scientists say they’re not.

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U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during a stop in Texas Monday that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready as soon as the end of this year or early 2021. But he isn’t saying when Americans might be able to get it. (Sept. 28)

AP Domestic

It’s not clear, however, how many volunteers were immediately enrolled in the clinical trial but it likely started small. Such trials tend to start slowly so potential problems can be addressed. 

It could take several weeks or months for Pfizer, or any COVID-19 vaccine maker, to have enough volunteers go through both doses followed by the two-month follow-up to have enough data to present to FDA.

That’s when the real countdown begins. Only when a company, in this case, frontrunners Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson, applies for either a license or the more rapid emergency use authorization that the FDA can begin evaluating whether to allow a vaccine’s release.

This Aug. 2, 2018, file photo

Rudy Giuliani’s cough kept interrupting him while he tried to attack Biden on Fox News

While waiting to receive the results of a coronavirus test, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox News Monday night, where he coughed throughout his interview with host Martha MacCallum.

Giuliani is President Trump’s personal lawyer and one of his most ardent supporters. He helped Trump prepare for last week’s debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and several people Giuliani came in close contact with, including Trump, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump aide Hope Hicks, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have all tested positive for the coronavirus.

Giuliani shared with MacCallum that he recently tested negative for COVID-19, but two hours before his appearance, he took a second test, “one of those all the way in the back of the nose tests,” The Daily Beast reports. MacCallum told Giuliani she hopes he receives “a negative on that one,” and then asked him about Biden urging people to wear masks and listen to scientists about how the coronavirus works.

Biden, Giuliani declared, doesn’t “really understand what scientists are,” adding that people should listen to their doctors because “they know your personal history. Doctors really aren’t scientists. Scientists almost always have competing opinions. That’s what science is about.” He scoffed that Biden is making “a political statement to scare people, wearing that mask,” and mocked him for donning a face covering “when you are standing at a podium,” saying the “only thing you can infect is the teleprompter that’s near you.”

Before saying goodbye to her guest, MacCallum told Giuliani, “I hope that cough is not anything bad, you’re waiting for your test to come back. We hope you’re going to be healthy and well.” Giuliani responded, “I hope so, too. I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

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The pandemic wake-up call America needs
Trump is sick. So is the GOP.

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Health Insurers Lay Groundwork For Biden And ‘Medicare Advantage At 60’

Health insurance companies are expanding Medicare Advantage health plan offerings to seniors in hundreds of new counties for 2021 as new regulations allow for new benefits and the program becomes more popular.

But these health plans could also be establishing a beachhead for perhaps an even bigger draw of seniors if a Joe Biden White House successfully convinces Congress to lower the eligibility of Medicare to 60.

As the presidential campaign heats up in its final month, Biden is stepping up talk about his healthcare proposal that includes allowing Americans between the ages of 60 and 64 the option of buying into Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly. The proposal is considered less costly than earlier versions proposed by Democrats in the U.S. Senate to lower Medicare eligibility to as young as 55 or even 50 and is expected to allow private insurers to offer Medicare Advantage at a younger age just as they do now for existing eligible Medicare beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration supports Medicare Advantage but doesn’t have a plan to lower the age of eligibility. Health insurers aren’t weighing in on a general election presidential endorsement, but advocates and lobbies to expand Medicare Advantage see potential to expand if eligibility widens to more Americans.

“With Medicare Advantage’s steady growth in enrollment and the increasing evidence of its value through better costs and better outcomes for beneficiaries, it would be our expectation that any proposal to extend Medicare to more beneficiaries would include a strong role for Medicare Advantage,” says Allyson Y. Schwartz, who is president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance, which includes an array of business, community, health groups and insurers like Humana, CVS Health, parent of Aetna, and UnitedHealth Group.

Insurers began last week announcing their expansions in new regions ahead of the annual open enrollment period when seniors eligible for Medicare can choose new benefits or stay with their existing plans. Such changes can be made during Medicare’s open enrollment, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines with some also offering vision, dental care and wellness programs.

Every state in the U.S. offers Medicare Advantage and choices of plans are soaring with practically every major plan offering options that include “$0 Medicare Advantage 2021 premiums.” 

Among those that have already announced their Medicare Advantage expansions include Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and newer companies like Alignment Healthcare, which said last week it is offering 36 Medicare Advantage options

Biden to get test; Chris Christie in hospital

President Donald Trump will face a critical turning point in his battle with COVID-19 in the coming days as he remains at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday. He announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus.

Saturday brought a number of mixed messages about Trump’s health. After White House physician Sean Conley said he was “extremely happy” with Trump’s progress, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told The Associated Press that Trump’s condition in the past day had been “very concerning.”

On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted a video of himself telling the American people that he’s “starting to feel good,” but he acknowledged the coming days would be “the real test.” Doctors say that’s because an imbalanced immune response during this time can have life-threatening consequences. 

Trump worked “most of the afternoon” Saturday and was moving around his medical suite “without difficulty,” Conley said in a memo Saturday night. Conley’s team “remains cautiously optimistic,” though they were “not yet out of the woods.”

The latest news you need to know: 

  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie checked himself into the hospital Saturday with mild symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. He did debate prep with Trump and said no one wore masks.
  • It’s not just the White House dealing with an onslaught of cases: Friday’s nationwide case count was the highest daily total in nearly two months.
  • “Operation MAGA”: The Trump campaign announced Saturday that despite the president’s illness, it plans to resume in-person events, leaning on Vice President Pence and Trump’s children.

📆 Countdown: 30 days until Election Day, three days until the vice presidential debate, 108 days until Inauguration Day, 89 days left in 2020.

🙋Got questions about Trump and COVID?Ask us. You can use this form to submit your own.

🗳️ Voting: See USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues.

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Trump previously had stake in drug companies

President Donald Trump previously reported that he earned capital gains from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences Inc., the manufacturers of two of the medicines he is taking as part of his COVID-19 treatment plan.

According to a 2017 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump had a capital gain of $50,001 to $100,000 for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and $100,001 to $1 million for Gilead Sciences Inc. The form notes the information being noted was as of April 15, 2017.

Trump’s subsequent disclosure forms including his 2020 form signed July 31 did not list Regeneron or Gilead.

Trump received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, according to his physician Sean Conley. The antibody cocktail is being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, the company said on its page. 

Could Trump Have Infected Biden?

The variability around both the tests and the disease itself makes it hard to reconstruct a firm timeline of what happened to Trump and those close to him. For example, Hope Hicks, a senior adviser, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, a day before Trump did. But this timing doesn’t mean that Hicks gave the virus to him, or even that she was infected before he was. Trump could have been infected first but slower to develop symptoms. He might have had several false-negative test results, while Hicks was first to have a true positive. Hicks might have been tested more frequently than Trump: Anyone in proximity to the president is tested daily, and although the White House says the president is tested “multiple times a day,” Trump himself has said he is tested only once every two or three days. “This visceral response that he got it from Hicks—we can’t say that,” says Saskia Popescu, an infection preventionist at the University of Arizona. “We can only loosely understand the general timeframes.”

Both Hicks and Trump could have caught the virus from a third person, or from completely different people. Indeed, there are plenty of candidates. Many of Trump’s supporters and aides have been vocal about not wearing masks, and frequently came into close contact with other people in indoor spaces. Melania Trump has also tested positive, as have Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, and the University of Notre Dame president, John Jenkins. Many of them were at the Rose Garden event on September 26, when Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Others in the White House, at Trump’s rallies, and at Tuesday’s debate could have been exposed. Contact tracing in these situations will be extremely difficult.

“Everyone who was at the debate should now be quarantining as much as possible, monitoring themselves closely for symptoms, wearing masks, and keeping their physical distance as much as possible,” says Eleanor Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University. That goes for Biden, too, despite today’s negative test. After being exposed to the virus, half of the people who go on to show symptoms are symptomatic by day five—that would be Sunday for Biden, if he was exposed during the debate. About 98 percent of people are symptomatic by day 12, which would be next Sunday. If Biden is still testing negative a week from now, “it’ll be a good sign that there’s little likelihood of having been infected,” Murray says. Until then, he has to wait.

The image of Trump shouting at Biden on a national stage raises the specter of the former infecting the latter. But as ever, the pandemic says as much about the world we live in as the behavior of individuals. That we are even weighing the possibility of the incumbent president inadvertently infecting his opponent with a pandemic virus during a nationally televised event should be an indictment of America’s laxity in dealing with

Trump’s attack on Hunter Biden underscores ‘harmful stigma’ of addiction

Remarks like these perpetuate “a harmful stigma,” said Mark Sutton, spokesman for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for the decriminalization of drug use.

“At a time when we have approximately 70,000 people in the United States dying per year from accidental overdose, it is unconscionable that someone vying for our highest elected office would be so willing to throw people struggling with substance-use disorder under the bus,” he added.

Federal data shows that roughly 1 in 10 American adults — or 23 million people — have struggled with a drug-use disorder at some point in their lives. Such a diagnosis is “based on a list of symptoms including craving, withdrawal, lack of control, and negative effects on personal and professional responsibilities,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Drug abuse is not necessarily illicit — many people addicted to opioids obtain them legally through a doctor’s prescription, for instance.

Drug and alcohol abuse often inflict suffering on the affected person’s family members. “By the time most families reach out for help and drug treatment, the disease of addiction has typically progressed to a crisis stage for the addict and family alike,” according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. The number of Americans with firsthand experience with addiction and dependency is probably much larger than official statistics show.

Drug and alcohol abuse are devastating disorders. Drug overdoses killed approximately 72,000 people in 2019, while excessive drinking is “responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year, or 261 deaths per day,” according to the CDC, a figure that includes deaths from chronic alcohol-related illnesses, suicides, alcohol poisoning and drunken-driving crashes.

But according to many experts, the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol abuse is even more deadly.

“I think the biggest killer out there is stigma,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in 2019. “Stigma keeps people in the shadows. Stigma keeps people from coming forward and asking for help. Stigma keeps families from admitting that there is a problem.”

Writing this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow, said that stigmatizing people who use drugs “may be the equivalent of an electric shock in the cycle of drug addiction: it’s a powerful social penalty that spurs further drug taking … respect and compassion are essential.”

Hunter Biden has been open about his substance abuse, chronicling his history of alcohol and drug use — as well as his attempts to get those behaviors under control — for Adam Entous of the New Yorker in 2019. The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

For many people with a drug or alcohol problem, the support of family members is critical. At the debate, Biden’s response to Trump illustrated what that support looks like.

“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked

Trump, Biden Butt Heads on U.S. Coronavirus Response, Vaccines and Mask-Wearing | America 2020

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden unsurprisingly presented vastly different views of the status of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. during the first general election debate Tuesday night.

Trump attempted to blame China for the outbreak, saying that his administration has done a “great job” responding to the pandemic. He claimed that if Biden were in charge, millions instead of hundreds of thousands would have died across the nation.

“We’ve done a great job,” Trump said. “But I tell you, Joe, you could never have done the job we’ve done. You don’t have it in your blood.”

Biden, meanwhile, tried to paint Trump as an uncaring leader with no plan.

“Forty thousand people a day are contracting [COVID-19]. In addition to that, about between 750 and 1,000 people a day are dying,” Biden said. “When he was presented with that number he said, ‘it is what it is.’ Well, it is what it is because you are who you are.”

Biden’s numbers are correct according to government statistics compiled by USAFacts. While cases and deaths are below what they were during their previous peaks, they are still elevated.

(USAFacts)

(USAFacts)

Like much of the debate, the candidates frequently talked over each other and laced their answers with insults and misstatements.

The two clashed on vaccines and mask wearing, with Trump saying that vaccine development is a “very political thing.” The president acknowledged his disagreements with scientists in his own administration, including his past clash with Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over the vaccine timelines and the effectiveness of wearing face coverings.

Trump repeated his claim that a vaccine announcement could come in just weeks, though public health experts have said it will take some time to be made available to the public. He also said it would be delivered to the public “right away.”

Biden appeared to address viewers as he countered: “Do you believe for a moment what he’s telling you, in light of all the lies he’s told you about the whole issue relating to [COVID-19]?”

The former vice president cited comments Trump made to journalist Bob Woodward back in February that the virus is “deadly stuff” and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” Trump has repeatedly tried to minimize the backlash he received over his statements to Woodward related to the pandemic.

Trump was also questioned on his view of wearing masks to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said he thinks masks are OK, adding that he puts one on when he feels he needs it. However, Trump earlier this month claimed that masks are a “mixed bag.”

Biden said masks “make a big difference,” citing statements from Redfield who has said they are “the most important, powerful public health tool we have.”

The U.S. topped 7 million cases of the coronavirus and 200,000 deaths last week. It’s the most reported infections and fatalities of any country. Public health officials have

Factbox: Trump, Biden Healthcare Differences in Spotlight Amid Pandemic, Supreme Court Fight | Top News

(Reuters) – Healthcare, always a top concern for U.S. voters, has taken on even greater importance amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 205,000 Americans and cost millions more their jobs.

The death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, meanwhile, has raised the stakes of the upcoming legal battle over Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, when the high court hears the Trump administration’s effort to repeal the law days after the Nov. 3 election.

Here is a look at some of the vast differences on healthcare policy between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden:

Trump has ceded much of the response to the pandemic to the states, rather than pursuing a national effort to expand testing, coordinate contact tracing and acquire protective equipment in bulk. He has also sent mixed messages on masks, which public health experts have said are crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.

Since the spring, Trump has pressed governors to reopen their states and has called on public schools to return to in-person instruction, arguing that the “cure cannot be worse than the disease.” He has often downplayed the deadliness of the virus and at times publicly undermined his administration’s own experts.

Trump signed into law several relief bills that have delivered trillions of dollars to individuals and businesses, though congressional Democrats have demanded more spending. The administration also launched “Operation Warp Speed,” an effort to support development of a coronavirus vaccine.

Biden has vowed to “listen to the science,” even saying he would consider another national economic shutdown if experts recommend it. He has called for a national mask standard, though he has acknowledged he may not have the authority to mandate their use.

His coronavirus plan calls for scaling up testing and contact tracing and promises to appoint a “supply commander” to oversee supply lines of critical equipment.

Biden has also proposed reopening insurance marketplaces for people who lost coverage through their jobs, expanding paid sick leave, and increasing pay for frontline workers. He has questioned whether Trump may try to politicize the vaccine process to boost his own re-election chances.

After years of failed attempts by Republican lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump has turned to other tools to undermine the sweeping healthcare law: executive power and the courts.

The Justice Department is backing a lawsuit brought by several Republican-led states seeking to overturn the entire ACA, a case the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear on Nov. 10 – one week after Election Day.

Justice Ginsburg’s death has deepened concerns among Democrats that the court, which previously upheld the law 5-4 in 2012, might rule against the ACA. Under the law, more than 20 million Americans have gained insurance coverage.

The Trump administration has not proposed a comprehensive replacement, despite Trump’s vow to deliver a better, less-costly healthcare system. On Thursday, he signed two executive orders as part of what he called