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Pauses of coronavirus antibody and vaccine trials are routine, doctor says

Two setbacks have been reported in 24 hours in the fight against the coronavirus. On Tuesday, drugmaker Eli Lilly halted human testing of a COVID-19 treatment citing a potential safety concern. A person familiar with the trial told CBS News the pause will last approximately two weeks.

The treatment, which uses COVID-19 antibodies, is similar to a therapeutic given to President Donald Trump that he touted as a cure. “It was like unbelievable,” Mr. Trump said. “I felt good immediately.”

This comes as Johnson & Johnson said its vaccine trial, the largest to date, is also stopping temporarily while it investigates if an unexplained illness was caused by its vaccine.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said these pauses are routine and reassuring.

“So this is not unusual,” Agus said. “I hope that Americans see news like this and have comfort that we are investigating every single issue with these drugs and with these vaccines to make sure they are safe for the American people.”

Thirty-seven states are seeing a rise in average new cases; only one state — South Carolina — is down. A key driver is gatherings. A recent CDC report found that a 13-year-old girl infected 11 people staying at the same house during a family vacation, without masks or social distancing.

With many Americans resisting guidelines, the death toll continues to grow. Leanna Richardson lost her mother — a third-grade teacher from North Carolina — in just 10 days.

“And if anything else, let her death be a reminder that COVID-19 doesn’t care,” Richardson said. “COVID-19 is serious. This is a pandemic. This is not a joke.”

School officials at her mother’s school said they do not believe she contracted the virus at work where she was teaching students in person. 

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Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden’s mental fitness for office

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician-turned-GOP congressional candidate, suggested on Tuesday that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is mentally unfit for office, citing what he called cognitive decline.



a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden's mental fitness for office


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Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden’s mental fitness for office

The remarks from Jackson, who has not evaluated Biden, came during a phone call organized by President Trump’s campaign and are part of a sustained effort by Trump’s allies to highlight Biden’s gaffes on the campaign trail, arguing they make him mentally incapable of serving as commander in chief.

Jackson said Tuesday that he was speaking as a “concerned citizen” and not as a Republican congressional candidate.

“As a citizen of this country, I watch Joe Biden on the campaign trail and I am concerned that he does not – am convinced that he does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability to serve as our commander in chief and head of state,” Jackson told reporters on the call.

“I really think that he needs some type of cognitive testing before he takes over the reigns as our commander in chief, if that is in the cards,” Jackson added.

Jackson later acknowledged, in response to a question from a reporter, that he has never treated or evaluated Biden and said he was not making a medical assessment of Biden’s mental health.

“I am not making a medical assessment. I actually don’t even practice medicine at this point. I am not doing that,” Jackson said. “I am not trying to remotely diagnose him with anything. I have not accused him of having Alzheimer’s or anything of that nature. I have not made that statement.”

Jackson mentioned a handful of instances from Monday when Biden, who was campaigning in Ohio, could not remember the name of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and mistakenly said he was running for the Senate, not the White House.

In a response to Jackson’s comment, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, “I refer you to the first debate.”

Trump and his campaign have been targeting Biden’s mental fitness for months, during which time Biden has built a sizable lead in national polling and an advantage in key battleground states. Trump, meanwhile, has little time to turn his campaign around as Republicans grow concerned about potentially losing the White House and Senate.

Trump’s performance in the first debate against Biden was widely panned by Republicans as a missed opportunity that put scrutiny back on the president instead of Biden. Doug Heye, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee, said the attack on Biden’s gaffes would have been more effective if Trump had executed it during the debate.

“If this is going to be a central part of your theme for your campaign, then you have to attack this tactically. There is no better opportunity for that than the first debate,” Heye told The Hill. “Doing that on a conference call is not going to move the needle.”

On Monday evening, Trump, who

How to Gain Research Experience as a Premed Student as Coronavirus Restrictions Continue | Medical School Admissions Doctor

For premed students hoping to gain some research experience before applying to medical school, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic poses a challenge to that goal. At a time when so much medical research has taken off, it is hard for students to find places on research teams. Hospitals and other clinical facilities are limiting entry into buildings, as are research labs at universities.

Since research experience can be an important part of a medical school application, figuring out where your application stands in terms of research and whether it makes sense to pursue opportunities at this time is imperative.

As a 2020-2021 applicant to med school, you will likely find yourself in one of three applicant categories.

First are students who already have robust research experience. These students may wish to strengthen their skills further or may have had research projects interrupted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Second are students who have some research experience, but this research may not be related to science or health care and it may have involved few participation hours.

Finally, some students may have no research experience at all, and they face the prospect of applying to medical school without having had these opportunities.

Students With Robust Research Experience

If you are part of the first category of students, take a deep breath. You have had quality research experiences and have had the chance to hone the research skills that med schools value.

While you can still ask around about furthering your experience, do not worry if you cannot find another research opportunity. Instead, think about other activities that will meaningfully add to your application – like an online class or volunteering to deliver groceries to those at risk for complications from the coronavirus – and pursue those.

Students With Less or No Research Experience

If you are in the second or third groups of students, do not panic. While research is a good thing to have on your med school application, it is not the sole determinant of your admissions worthiness.

For example, I had no research on my med school application and I was admitted to med school. If you find yourself barred from in-person research environments due to the pandemic, reach out to a mentor or faculty member involved in an interesting project and offer to help with literature reviews or data analysis. Both of these types of work are critical to the research process, and they can be done remotely.

If you are unable to secure a research position, think about other means of strengthening your application. And if you are absolutely sure you want to do research prior to enrolling in med school, you always have the option to delay your application to a later cycle. The option to apply to med school will exist whenever you are ready to take it.

Remember that medical schools are sensitive to the disruptions resulting from the coronavirus. While it is important to present the most complete application

Trump doctor says president ‘has tested negative’ for COVID-19 on consecutive days, won’t reveal when

President Donald Trump tested negative for COVID-19 at some point in the “recent” past, his personal doctor said Monday, though he didn’t specify what that meant.

Dr. Sean Conley, the White House doctor who has continued to offer misleading or incomplete information about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, offered the latest confusing update in a memo released shortly before the president was set to hold an evening campaign rally in Florida.

“In response to your inquiry regarding the president’s most recent COVID-19 tests, I can share with you that he has tested NEGATIVE, on consecutive days,” Conley wrote in the memo.

A White House spokesman did not return a request for clarity.

Conley wrote in the memo that Trump’s negative results came back using the so-called “Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card” — a rapid test known to not be as accurate as more sensitive swab tests.

However, Conley said the team of White House physicians also relied on “clinical and laboratory data” in assessing that “the president is not infectious to others.”

Since Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 1, Conley and White House officials have refused to say when he took his last negative test.

The obfuscation has raised concern that Trump could still be contagious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 patients who experience severe symptoms — which Trump did — can be contagious for “up to 20 days.”

Nonetheless, Trump was not wearing a face mask as he boarded Air Force One on Monday afternoon for a rally in Sanford, Florida — his first public campaign event since being diagnosed with the virus that’s killed more than 215,000 Americans.

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Doctor says Trump no longer a transmission risk to others

The White House did not say, however, if the president has tested negative for the virus

On Saturday night, a little over a week after President Donald Trump announced his COVID-19 diagnosis, White House physician Sean Conley released a memo stating that the president “no longer poses an infection risk” to others.

The White House did not say, however, if the president has tested negative for the virus.

“This evening I am happy to report that, in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” Conley wrote in the memo.

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According to The Hill, the White House has not provided the exact date when the president last tested negative for COVID-19. But Conley’s memo gives Trump permission to resume holding public gatherings.

Read More: Trump makes 1st public appearance since his hospital stay

On Saturday, the president spoke from a balcony to hundreds of supports standing on the South Lawn of the White House. At the event, social distancing guidelines were ignored and mask-wearing was minimal at best, showing that Trump’s approach to the virus has not changed, despite being personally stricken by the disease that has killed almost 215,000 in the country at Sunday afternoon’s check of Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that most patients should isolate for at least 10 days after the start of their symptoms, and can end isolation at the point where their symptoms ebb and they have gone at least 24 hours without a fever. However, the agency says that some severely ill patients may need to isolate for 20 days.

Read More: Trump to give White House balcony speech on ‘law and order’

In the memo, Conley also said that Trump has been “fever-free for well over 24 hours and all symptoms improved,” but he did not specify the last time the president had a fever.

Conley wrote that diagnostic tests indicated “there is no longer evidence of actively replicating virus.” Conley said that moving forward, he will continue to clinically monitor the president as he returns to an active schedule.

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Trump No Longer a COVID-19 ‘Transmission Risk,’ White House Doctor Says

President Trump is no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus, his doctor said Saturday evening, nine days after the president first tested positive for the virus.

“This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said in a memo.

“Now at day 10 from symptom onset, fever-free for well over 24 hours and all symptoms improved, the assortment of advanced diagnostic tests obtained reveal there is no longer evidence of actively replicating virus,” Conley added.

Conley’s announcement came hours after Trump held his first public event since his October 1 diagnosis, which had been followed by a three-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Ahead of the event, the White House would not say whether Trump had yet tested negative for the coronavirus.

Trump delivered remarks in a brief 18-minute address on law and order from the White House balcony to a crowd of several hundred mostly- masked supporters on the South Lawn.

“I’m feeling great,” Trump told the crowd, only briefly mentioning his health.

He said he was thankful for the good wishes and prayers he received and said the pandemic was “disappearing,” though it has killed more than 210,000 Americans and shows no signs of slowing down.

Conley issued a statement Thursday evening saying that he anticipated Trump would be able to hold public events again by Saturday.

“Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects,” Conley wrote, adding that, “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagement at that time.”

The president has also announced he would hold a campaign rally on Monday in Florida, as well.

More than two dozen coronavirus cases have been tied to the White House or people who spent time with Trump, according to NPR. A number of attendees of the White House’s ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett have tested positive, including the president, several top staffers, senators and military officials. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday called the September 26 event in the Rose Garden, in which most attendees closely mingled mask-less, a “super-spreader” for the coronavirus.

Ahead of Trump’s Saturday remarks on law and order, in a show of newfound concern over the virus, guests were asked to wear a mask on the White House grounds and told they would be subject to temperature checks and a brief questionnaire about recent symptoms, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Hours after Trump’s dark and divisive White House speech, his doctor still won’t say if he’s tested negative

Seven hours after a defiant President Donald Trump resumed public events Saturday with a divisive speech from a White House balcony in front of hundreds of guests, his doctor released a memo clearing him to return to an active schedule.



President Donald Trump speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House to a crowd of supporters, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump’s Saturday event, which featured little social distancing, came just two weeks after a large White House gathering that has since been called “a superpreader event” and potentially put lives at risk once again, just nine days after the President revealed his own Covid-19 diagnosis.

The latest memo from Trump’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, said that the President has met US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for “the safe discontinuation of isolation.” But it does not say Trump has received a negative coronavirus test since first testing positive for the virus, although that is not a criteria for clearing isolation, according to the CDC.



a group of people that are standing in the grass: Judge Amy Coney Barrett walks to the microphone after President Donald Trump, right, announced Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
Judge Amy Coney Barrett walks to the microphone after President Donald Trump, right, announced Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” the memo from Conley reads in part.

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That’s welcome news for Trump, who’s been itching to return to the campaign trail and has already planned three rallies for next week.

But the memo’s opacity, the inability for reporters to question the doctor and the fact that the White House still will not say when Trump last tested negative before his positive diagnosis only adds to the confusion over his case, which Trump has been eager to distract from.

After being sidelined from the campaign trail for more than a week, Trump leaned into his law-and-order message in a speech threaded with falsehoods on Saturday that was clearly a campaign rally disguised as a White House event.

Trump claimed that if the left gains power, they’ll launch a crusade against law enforcement. Echoing his highly inaccurate campaign ads that suggest that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would defund 911 operations and have a “therapist” answer calls about crime, Trump falsely claimed that the left is focused on taking away firearms, funds and authority from police.

With just three weeks to go until an election in which he’s trailing badly in the polls, and millions of voters already voting, Trump is deploying familiar scare tactics.

Biden has not made any proposals that would affect the ability to answer 911 calls. As CNN’s Facts First has noted many times, Biden has repeatedly and explicitly opposed the idea of “defunding the

Trump no longer poses infection risk, White House doctor says

President Donald Trump “no longer poses an infection risk” to others and can safely end his isolation period, according to a memo released Saturday night by White House physician Sean Conley, just over a week after the president announced his Covid-19 diagnosis.

The doctor’s memo came hours after Trump made his first public appearance since his three-day hospital stay — and released an ad touting his recovery from the coronavirus.

Tests of samples taken Saturday morning from the president show that “by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk,” Conley wrote. At ten days after he first developed symptoms, and after going fever-free for more than 24 hours, Trump met “CDC criteria” for ending isolation, the doctor added.

The CDC says that most patients should isolate for at least 10 days after the start of their symptoms, and can end isolation at or beyond that point when their symptoms ebb and they have gone at least 24 hours without a fever. But some severely ill patients may need to isolate for at least 20 days, the agency says.

Early in his illness, the president was given oxygen treatment as well as dexamethasone, a steroid normally reserved for severely ill Covid-19 patients with lung damage.

Conley also said the president’s medical team could not find any evidence that the coronavirus is replicating in his body, and the amount of virus present in Trump’s body has decreased over time.

But Conley did not say whether the president had tested negative for the virus, which could still be present in his body. And there is no FDA-authorized or approved test that can tell when a person is no longer contagious, making it hard to gauge the reliability of the tests that Conley cited in his memo.

The latest information still leaves out some crucial information for judging Trump’s health — such as the condition of his lungs, and whether he has any lingering damage from the virus.

Over the course of his infection, Trump received a combination of treatments that few if any other coronavirus patients have taken together. Although the FDA has authorized broad emergency use of one drug — the antiviral remdesivir — and dexamethasone has been on the market for decades, Trump also received an unproven antibody treatment made by Regeneron.

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Trump says he wants to hold a rally on Saturday after his doctor cleared him to resume public events.

President Trump’s doctor said on Thursday that the president had completed his treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the coronavirus and that he anticipated Mr. Trump would be able to resume “public engagements” on Saturday.

The forecast about Mr. Trump’s condition came from the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, in a note updating people on his health.

As of Friday morning, it has been one week since Mr. Trump announced that he had tested positive for the virus, though neither he nor White House officials have disclosed when he last tested negative before that announcement.

Thursday night, the president called in to Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and said he wanted to hold a rally in Florida on Saturday and another in Pennsylvania on Sunday. He went on to say he was in “great shape” — even as he paused on a few occasions and seemed to cough or clear his throat — and again presented the monoclonal antibody treatment he received as a miracle cure, even though there is no final clinical trial data to evaluate its effectiveness.

Mr. Trump did not give a clear answer when Mr. Hannity asked if he had tested negative for the coronavirus: He first said he wouldn’t get an “actual test” until Friday — today — then suggested that he had already had a test and that it had found “very little infection or virus, if any,” and then said: “I don’t know if they found any. I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”

In the note on Thursday, Dr. Conley said Mr. Trump had remained “stable” and “devoid” of symptoms that would suggest the illness was progressing.

“Saturday will be Day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” Dr. Conley said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say those who test positive for the coronavirus should isolate themselves from others for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive, or for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear. Some people with a moderate or severe case of the virus can stay infectious for 20 days or perhaps even longer, according to the C.D.C.

Shortly after Dr. Conley’s memo, Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign released a statement calling for the second presidential debate to take place as originally scheduled. “There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it or otherwise alter it in any way,” the statement said.

On the Fox News show, Mr. Hannity suggested that Mr. Trump should organize his own debate.

“Well, I might,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he would want a “fair anchor” — perhaps, he said, Sean Hannity.

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Trump’s doctor says he’s completed his Covid-19 treatments and can return to ‘public engagements’ on Saturday.

President Trump’s doctor said on Thursday that he’s completed his treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the coronavirus and that he anticipates that the president will be able to resume “public engagements” on Saturday.

The forecast about Mr. Trump’s condition came from the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, in a note updating people on his health. Mr. Trump announced shortly before 1 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the virus; White House officials have declined to say when he last tested negative.

He was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday afternoon. Officials initially described the president’s symptoms as mild, but The Times and other news organizations reported Saturday that Mr. Trump had been administered supplemental oxygen because his blood oxygen dropped to a level that was concerning. His lung scans had “expected findings,” Dr. Conley said on Sunday, although he declined to say what that meant.

In the note on Thursday, Dr. Conley said that Mr. Trump has remained “stable” and “devoid” of symptoms that would suggest the illness was progressing.

“Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” Dr. Conley said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who test positive for the coronavirus should isolate themselves from others for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive, or for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear. Some people with a moderate or severe case of the virus can stay infectious for 20 days or perhaps even longer, according to the C.D.C.

Shortly after Dr. Conley’s memo, Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign released a statement calling for the second presidential debate to take place as originally scheduled. “There is therefore no medical reason why the Commission on Presidential Debates should shift the debate to a virtual setting, postpone it, or otherwise alter it in any way,” the statement said.

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