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Bill Gates: ‘U.S. still has time to do a far, far better job’ on coronavirus

Gates went on to say that “now we’re engaged in something where we’re attacking the government’s top scientists” and “undermining the credibility of the person who’s the most knowledgeable,” referring to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

President Donald Trump has undermined coronavirus warnings from health experts and his own administration since the early days of the pandemic. Trump has also repeatedly cast doubt on Fauci’s credibility in offering advice on the pandemic.

“Fortunately, Dr. Fauci has risen above the noise level, in talking about masks and best practices, and so the fact that they’re trying to undermine him for some reason, that just blows the mind,” Gates said on Tuesday.

Gates said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had also been targeted by the federal government and “not been allowed to speak out” since the start of the pandemic.

In early September, a Trump administration official pressured the CDC to alter a scientific report on the coronavirus. The president has also contradicted the CDC director on when a vaccine might become available.

“You couldn’t make a movie where the CDC was so undermined, that whether that director should stay in that job or not or just resign over it is a serious discussion,” Gates said.

When directly asked to grade Trump’s response to the pandemic, Gates criticized the administration for a lack of willingness to admit wrongdoing.

“Pretending that it’s just total lockdown versus total openness, that does no one any favors,” he said. “There are activities that should continue depending on your intensity. And let the experts articulate what’s going on here.”

But Gates also applauded the federal government for its $2 trillion economic stimulus package in March and the funding of research and trials for Covid-19 vaccines. He said the U.S. is “the exemplar” in this area, noting the nearly $10 billion that the White House’s Operation Warp Speed has thrown behind finding a vaccine and developing monoclonal antibody treatments.

Gates’ foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a major funder of the World Health Organization and has given more than $350 million to support the global response to Covid-19.

Gates said the foundation is currently working on funding a second-generation set of vaccines and making deals with high-volume manufacturers that could lead to greater vaccine distribution globally.

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Bill Gates says Trump’s coronavirus treatment won’t work for everyone, shouldn’t be called ‘cure’

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Sunday that the Regeneron antibody cocktail administered to President Trump to treat a case of COVID-19 shouldn’t be referred to as a “cure.”

“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it doesn’t work for everyone,” Gates told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But yes, of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising.”

Although an effective vaccine is an ultimate goal for putting an end to the pandemic, Gates noted that monoclonal antibodies allow for treatment that doesn’t require admission to a high percentage of the population.

“With the monoclonal antibodies, it’s only once somebody tests positive, show symptoms and they’re old enough they’re at risk,” Gates said. “That’s the target for this therapeutic.”

He added that if the monoclonal antibody treatments can be approved for an emergency use authorization in a timely manner, they will “save more lives than the vaccine will,” particularly if given in low doses.

“The president got eight grams and we’re trialing things that are down at more like 0.7 grams, and 0.3 grams,” Gates said. “Of course, that changes the cost and capacity a lot but that’s also unproven at this point, but it’s important that we explore.”

REGENERON CEO SAYS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ANTIBODY COCKTAIL TREATMENT IS ‘CASE REPORT’

Gates is optimistic that antibody treatments, including those developed by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, could potentially earn an emergency use authorization within the next few months, but warned against the president’s recent push for the regulators to accelerate the approval timeline. 

“You don’t want politicians saying something should be approved because it’s wrong to think of political pressure as needing to be appropriate in these cases,” he said.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
REGN REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS INC. 602.07 +2.19 +0.37%
LLY ELI LILLY & COMPANY 156.88 +3.38 +2.20%

As for vaccines, Gates said the majority of vaccines will likely get emergency use authorizations by early next year, with Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine potentially being an exception with a possible authorization by the end of this year.

“The phase three data is the key thing, particularly for the safety, making sure we’re not seeing side effects. So the tool is ramping up and, over the course of the first half of the year, those volumes will get to the point where we really will be asking Americans to, you know, step forward,” Gates said. “The effectiveness could range, you know, could be as low as 50% or as high as 80 [percent] or 90% and, different of the vaccines, some will fail completely and others will hit a very high bar. But we don’t know yet.”

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He added that almost all of the vaccines will

Bill Gates on Trump virus treatment: The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said Sunday that the monoclonal antibodies treatment President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE received for his coronavirus infection is not a “cure,” but is the most promising option thus far.

“The word ‘cure’ is inappropriate because it won’t work for everyone,” Gates said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But of all the therapeutics, this is the most promising.”

Gates added that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has “been working with companies doing antibodies, we reserved factory capacity back in the spring, and now we’re partnered with Eli Lilly, who with Regeneron, has been the fastest to get these antibodies ready.”

“They could reduce the death rate quite a bit … adding this to the tools would be a great thing,” he added.

“They call them therapeutic, but to me it wasn’t therapeutic,” Trump said in a video he tweeted last week, five days after receiving the experimental treatment from the biotech company Regeneron

Trump said that he felt better immediately after taking the drugs.

“I call that a cure,” he said. “It’s a cure.”

Bill Gates on Sunday also warned against politicians opening large venues without social-distancing measures.

“I guess politicians will show what their value system is there,” he said. “Society should be able to have things like schooling that get a priority, vs. certain more entertainment-related things.”

“The only way we’ll get completely back to normal is by having … a vaccine that is super effective and that a lot of the people take,” he said.

Gates went on to express confidence that ” it’s likely that by early next year that several of these vaccines” currently in development “will get that emergency-use authorization.”

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Pelosi introduces bill related to the 25th Amendment

House Democrats introduced a bill Friday to establish an independent commission under the 25th Amendment to evaluate a president’s health and oversee the transfer of power to the vice president if the president becomes incapacitated while in office.

The provision would not apply to President Trump during his current term, but could be invoked in a second term if he is reelected.

The 25th Amendment was adopted in 1967 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to address what happens when the president of the United States is removed, dies, is incapacitated or is otherwise unable to fulfill the powers and duties of the office.

It provides for the vice president to serve as “acting president” if the president is incapacitated — during surgery, for example. It also allows for a transfer of power if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet find the president unable to function in his office, a provision that has never been invoked. But it also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted, “empowers Congress to set up an independent body to confront such a crisis.” 

Pelosi unveiled the legislation on Capitol Hill Friday, a week after President Trump was hospitalized after falling ill from COVID-19.

The bipartisan commission would consist of 17 “top former elected officials and medical experts” with the authority to request a medical exam of the president.

Pelosi was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a constitutional law expert who introduced a similar measure in 2017.

“This legislation applies to future presidents,” Pelosi said. “But we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday while still undergoing treatment for the coronavirus, which included supplemental oxygen, an experimental antibody and the therapeutic drug remdesivir, as well as steroids.

On Thursday, Pelosi suggested Trump’s seemingly erratic behavior since his release could be due to side effects from his drug regimen.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now,” Pelosi said. “I don’t know how to answer for that behavior.”

Pelosi and Raskin dismissed questions about the timing of the announcement of a bill — which has virtually no chance of passing the Senate — so close to an election.

“This is not about President Trump,” Pelosi said. “He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”

“There’s never really a good time to do it,” Raskin said, but he added that Trump’s health has “focused everybody’s mind on the need for following through on this suggestion in the 25th Amendment that Congress set up its own body.”

Harold Hongju Koh, a professor of international law at Yale Law School, agreed.

“It is good to have a standing congressional commission of experts capable of making this critical constitutional

The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Dems ruffle feathers with POTUS fitness bill

NEWS THIS MORNING

Oh this should go over well. Swimmingly, even!:

 

 

House Democrats unveiled a bill this morning to create a 17-member panel to assess the president’s “capacity” to perform the job. https://bit.ly/3iST44p

Is the panel designed just for Trump?: Well, the commission would be permanent but is definitely a shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, whose capacities have been questioned amid his coronavirus treatment.

Where Pelosi stands: “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now ‘working out’ | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits Trump retweets reporter saying 25th Amendment is not equivalent to a ‘coup’ Trump responds to Pelosi bringing up 25th Amendment: ‘Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation’ MORE (D-Calif.), a sharp critic of the president, has fueled those questions in the days since Trump returned to the White House after three nights in the hospital, floating the idea that Trump’s drug regimen — which includes a steroid linked to mood swings — might be affecting his decisionmaking.” 

Pelosi told reporters this morning: “This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.” 

Reaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus Human Rights Campaign unveils its congressional scorecard ahead of election MORE (R-Ky.): “Look, that’s absurd. Absolutely absurd. Again, right here in this last three weeks before the election, I think those kinds of wild comments should be largely discounted.”

Chances of a coronavirus relief bill before the election? Unlikely:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said a COVID-19 relief package passed before the Nov. 3 elections is “unlikely.” https://bit.ly/30R2dnF

In McConnell’s words: “I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage. I’d like to see us rise above that … but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”  

Back story: “Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now ‘working out’ | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits House Democrats to unveil bill to create commission on ‘presidential capacity’ Trump’s new Iran sanctions raise alarm over humanitarian access MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall

Pelosi Introduces Bill to Form 25th Amendment Commission to Rule on President’s Fitness

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday introduced a bill to establish a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office.

The bill, which Pelosi introduced along with Congressman Jamie Raskin, would form a congressionally-appointed body called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, which would serve as “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the offices of Pelosi and Raskin said in a statement.

On Thursday, Pelosi expressed doubts about President Trump’s health after his coronavirus diagnosis and announced that over the next day she will be discussing the constitutional measure that allows the vice president to take over if the president becomes incapacitated.

The measure is meant to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” regarding the presidency.

Pelosi stressed Friday that she is unaware of Trump’s current mental fitness but said some medical professionals have cautioned that certain drugs could alter a patient’s state of mind. Trump has been prescribed several drugs since he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of voters. But he shows the need to create a process for future presidents,” Pelosi said.

“We have to give some comfort to people that there is a way to do this,” the speaker continued, “based on a medical decision again, with the full involvement of the vice president.”

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Dems introduce bill addressing president’s fitness

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin are introducing a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.



US-POLITICS-PELOSI


© NICHOLAS KAMM
US-POLITICS-PELOSI

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday.

At the conference press conference announcing the bill on Friday morning, Pelosi insisted that the bill was not intended to determine President Trump’s fitness of office.

“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of voters. But he shows the need to create a process for future presidents,” Pelosi said.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

“The 25th Amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office,” Raskin said in the conference announcing the bill, noting that it was ratified on a bipartisan basis after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“In the age of COVID-19, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and now ravaged the White House staff, the wisdom of the 25th Amendment is clear,” Raskin continued, referring to the multiple White House officials who have tested positive for the virus. Raskin noted that the commission would be bipartisan, with members chosen by both Republicans and Democrats, and could only act in concert with the vice president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several

Watch live: Democrats introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin are introducing a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday.

At the conference press conference announcing the bill on Friday morning, Pelosi insisted that the bill was not intended to determine President Trump’s fitness of office.

“This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of voters. But he shows the need to create a process for future presidents,” Pelosi said.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

“The 25th Amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office,” Raskin said in the conference announcing the bill, noting that it was ratified on a bipartisan basis after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“In the age of COVID-19, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and now ravaged the White House staff, the wisdom of the 25th Amendment is clear,” Raskin continued, referring to the multiple White House officials who have tested positive for the virus. Raskin noted that the commission would be bipartisan, with members chosen by both Republicans and Democrats, and could only act in concert with the vice president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing

House Democrats will introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin will introduce a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday. They will formally announce the bill at a press conference on Friday morning.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing Pelosi for appearing to consider implementation of the 25th Amendment.

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Bill Gates Says Antibody Drugs Could Sharply Reduce Covid-19 Death Rate

Antibody drugs that are in testing and were administered to President Trump could significantly reduce the death rate from Covid-19 once they are approved by regulators and more widely available, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday.

The drugs, in a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies, have shown promise in early-stage patients with Covid-19. “That’s actually pretty exciting,” Mr. Gates told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “The reduction in death rate there could be pretty high, and those will be out in volume by the end of the year, at least in the rich countries.”

The drugs, developed by

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.,

Eli Lilly

and others, are designed in laboratories to mimic antibodies that the immune system produces to fight off viruses and other pathogens. They are injected intravenously and have the potential to work soon after a person is infected and only mildly ill. Scientists believe they also hold promise as a preventive tool, blocking infection temporarily.

President Trump received Regeneron’s antibody drug cocktail late last week under a compassionate use program.

Mr. Gates also expressed optimism about vaccines in development. An effective vaccine could help return life to “pretty close to normal” by late next year in the developed world, he said. Eliminating or stopping virus transmission completely would take two to three years, he said.

Progress on both drugs and vaccines will take longer in the developing world, he said, emphasizing a divide that his foundation and other global players are seeking to close.

Some public health experts are concerned that misinformation, along with any rush by governments to approve vaccines before testing is complete, will make people hesitant to receive one. If only a small percentage of populations are vaccinated, the new coronavirus will continue to spread.

Covid-19 has put a spotlight on how misinformation on social media can be harmful. Bill Gates discusses why and how to best control it, at the WSJ CEO Council Summit. Photo: Qin Lang/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Mr. Gates said U.S. political and business leaders should speak out and help explain the value and safety of the vaccines to their constituents and employees, to lead by example and ease concerns. For example, he said, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked with religious leaders in northern Nigeria to persuade parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio.

“Here in the U.S., we should already be thinking about which voices will help reduce the hesitancy,” he said.

“The CDC that normally speaks out on these things hasn’t yet had that much visibility,” he added, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If the data on the safety and efficacy of vaccines are clear, he said, “I think enough people will be interested and then you’ll build up that confidence as more and more people are taking the vaccine and getting good results.”

The Microsoft co-founder acknowledged that misinformation amplifies quickly on digital platforms, and said he doesn’t yet see a solution.

Covid-19 Medical