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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

Trump to Hold White House Rally as Fauci Says Superspreader Event Occurred There | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

SATURDAY, Oct. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Even as the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Friday that the White House experienced a “superspreader” event in the Rose Garden last month, President Donald Trump announced he will hold his first public event at the White House since testing positive for the coronavirus a week ago.

The Saturday event, which will have Trump speaking from a balcony to a crowd of supporters on the South Lawn, has already caused concern among some officials in the White House, which has been rocked by an outbreak following Trump’s diagnosis, the Washington Post reported.

Trump’s medical team has not yet released the results of Trump’s latest COVID-19 test, so it was unclear whether Trump is still contagious, the Post reported. But Trump has ignored his advisers’ calls for caution, the newspaper reported, instead playing down the virus and using his own battle with it to argue that the nation has already overcome the pandemic.

“I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested,” he said. “And I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.” He added that he has been tested for the virus “every couple of days or so.”

The lack of a negative test did not stop Trump from claiming to be cured and working from the Oval Office on Friday afternoon. Trump has been eager to escape the confines of the White House and return to his crowded rallies with the election just over three weeks away, the Post reported.

Despite Trump’s defiant stance, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News Friday night that, “I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

Upper Midwest hit hard by coronavirus

Meanwhile, the new coronavirus is striking the Upper Midwest with a vengeance, as Wisconsin and the Dakotas became COVID-19 hotspots and health officials scrambled for hospital beds on Thursday.

After months where residents of those states downplayed the virus and rejected mask requirements, all three now lead all other states in new cases per capita, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Melissa Resch, a nurse at Wisconsin’s Aspirus Wausau Hospital, which is working to add beds and reassign staff to keep up with a rising caseload of seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

“Just yesterday I had a patient say, ‘It’s OK, you guys took good care of me, but it’s OK to let me go,'” Resch told the AP. “I’ve cried with the respiratory unit, I’ve cried with managers. I cry at home. I’ve seen nurses crying openly in the hallway.”

What is unfolding in the Upper Midwest mirrors what has happened in other parts of the country since the pandemic began. In the spring, New York City hastily built field hospitals as

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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‘Love Hormone’ Could Hold Key to Treating COVID | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The so-called love hormone, oxytocin, may be worth investigating as a treatment for COVID-19, a new study suggests.

One of the most serious complications of infection with the new coronavirus is a “cytokine storm,” in which the body attacks its own tissues.

There are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for COVID-19, which means that “repurposing existing drugs that can act on the adaptive immune response and prevent the cytokine storm in early phases of the disease is a priority,” according to the researchers.

Previous research suggests that oxytocin — a hormone that’s produced in the brain and is involved in reproduction and childbirth — reduces inflammation.

In this new study, researcher Ali Imami, a graduate research assistant at the University of Toledo in Ohio, and colleagues used a U.S. National Institutes of Health database to analyze characteristics of genes treated with drugs closely related to oxytocin.

The investigators found that one drug in particular, carbetocin, has similar characteristics (called a signature) to genes with reduced expression of the inflammatory markers that trigger cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.

Carbetocin’s signature suggests that the drug may trigger activation of immune cells called T-cells that play an important role in immune response. In addition, carbetocin’s signature is also similar to that of lopinavir, an antiretroviral medication under study as a treatment for COVID-19.

All of these factors indicate that oxytocin may have potential as a targeted treatment for cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients, the researchers said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.

“Understanding the mechanisms by which oxytocin or the oxytocin system can be a new immune target is crucial,” the authors concluded in their report, which was published online recently in the journal Physiological Genomics.

However, they added that “safety and efficacy of intravenous oxytocin in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 remains to be assessed.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Supreme Court puts on hold Trump administration request to reimpose medication abortion restrictions

“While COVID-19 has provided the ground for restrictions on First Amendment rights, the District Court saw the pandemic as a ground for expanding the abortion right recognized in Roe v. Wade,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Alito said the court has “stood by” while officials imposed restrictions on religious activities and “drastically limited speech, banning or restricting public speeches, lectures, meetings, and rallies.”

The court’s action in this case cannot be squared with that, Alito wrote.

Chuang ruled in July that requiring an in-person visit to obtain the medications needed to induce abortion was unduly burdensome. There is no requirement that a woman take the medication in a clinic setting, and most take the pills that end a pregnancy in its early stages at home.

At the request of abortion providers and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Chuang imposed a nationwide injunction against the Food and Drug Administration directive.

After a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit refused to put Chuang’s order on hold, acting solicitor general Jeffrey B. Wall went to the Supreme Court.

Instead of agreeing with the government’s petition, the court’s order issued Thursday night directed Chuang to “promptly consider a motion by the government to dissolve, modify, or stay the injunction, including on the ground that relevant circumstances have changed.”

The case took on added significance because it was the first abortion order issued after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s most outspoken advocate for abortion rights.

The unsigned order and compromise decision may indicate the court was deadlocked, although only Thomas and Alito declared their views.

Wall told the court that, even in the pandemic, the government had not changed its views on how the drugs should be dispensed.

“The FDA has made, and continuously adhered to, the judgment that these requirements mitigate serious health risks associated with the drug, which can increase if the patient delays taking the drug or fails to receive proper counseling about possible complications,” Wall wrote.

Abortion providers told the court that there was no reason an in-office visit was necessary.

The rules “force patients seeking early abortion care and their health care providers to unnecessarily risk exposure to a life-threatening disease by mandating that patients travel to a health center for the sole purpose of picking up a pill and signing a form,” Julia H. Kaye of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a brief to the court.

Medication abortions require taking two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. They have been in use since 2000, and in 2016 the FDA eliminated the requirement that the first drug be administered in a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. FDA experts said it was just as safe for a woman to take the medications at home.

But the FDA did not relax the requirement that women pick up the pills in person and sign for

Trump suggests he may hold weekend rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania after receiving green light from doctor

President Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an exclusive interview Thursday that his campaign is trying to make last-minute arrangements for holding weekend rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania after White House physician Dr. Sean Conley cleared him for public engagements earlier in the day.

“I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night if we have enough time to put it together,” Trump said on “Hannity”.

WH DR: TRUMP CAN RETURN TO PUBLIC ENGAGEMENTS THIS WEEKEND

“We want to do a rally probably in Florida on Saturday night. I might come back and do one in Pennsylvania the following night,” he said, adding that “it’s incredible what’s going on. I feel so good.”

Dr. Conley sent out a memorandum Thursday evening stating that Trump will be able to return to public engagements this weekend, noting that Saturday will mark ten days since he was first diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Conely’s memo stated that Trump has responded “extremely well to treatment” and added there is no sign of “adverse therapeutic effects.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people “with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset. People with more severe symptoms can remain infectious for longer.”

TRUMP ACKNOWLEDGES HE WAS ‘VERY SICK’ WHEN HE WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR COVID 

Trump said he will “probably” take a test on Friday to be sure of a negative result, but claimed his doctors “found very little infection or virus, if any,” in a previous unspecified test.

“I don’t know if they found any,” he said. “I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors. We have these great doctors at Walter Reed, and you do rely on them, they are really fantastic talents and they came in from Johns Hopkins also and other places.

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Trump said he was being closely monitored, telling Hannity that he “never saw so many doctors looking over me.

“I think I’m the most analyzed human being in the world right now,” he said.

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U.S. Government Asks Vaccine Makers To Hold Filing for Authorization Until They Have Enough Doses to Distribute

President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development
President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development

Moncef Slaoui, head of the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” project to develop a coronavirus vaccine, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump deliversremarks about vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit – Drew Angerer—Getty Images

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its 10th month, the pressure to develop an effective vaccine, or vaccines, continues to mount. Speaking at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington Vaccine Symposium online, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed—the government organization funding and supporting development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines—provided the latest updates on when a vaccine (and how many doses) might be available in coming months.

Perhaps most strikingly, Slaoui said that the government has told vaccine manufacturers not to seek authorization of their drugs from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until they have enough doses to provide to a desperate public. “We have recommended to companies that if they achieve efficacy demonstration while no vaccine doses are available at industrial scale of several million doses to at least immunize a relevant fraction of the population, then they should refrain or consider refraining from filing an emergency use authorization, because the populations would have a major disappointment [over] expectation of the availability of the vaccine,” he said.

Emergency use authorization (EUA) is an accelerated review and authorization process by the FDA that would allow vaccine makers to distribute vaccines that are safe and effective but not fully approved by the agency.

Slaoui also supported the FDA in its recent conflict with the White House over stringent guidelines proposed by the agency for evaluating data from vaccine studies, which include a recommendation that all vaccine trial volunteers be followed for two months for any potential side effects. Vaccine makers supported the guidelines, but after initially rejecting them, arguing they would delay availability of the vaccines, the White House has accepted them.

At this point, meeting demand would not be a problem if an EUA were given to the two vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer, that are currently furthest along in testing. The companies began late-stage testing for these vaccine candidates in the summer, and Slaoui said the manufacturers have been manufacturing doses at large scale in parallel to testing. The government began stockpiling doses of these unapproved but promising vaccines “in the single digit millions” in September, and will continue to do so in October, he said, and both Moderna and Pfizer will likely have 20 to 30 million doses produced by November and December this year.

Two of the other most promising vaccines in development are from AztraZeneca and J&J, both of which are quickly enrolling participants in late stage studies outside of the U.S., and may deliver first hints of safety and effectiveness by late October or early November. However, even if those results prove positive, these companies would likely have to consider waiting until their manufacturing capabilities

Antimatter Particles Hold Key In Timely Attack Against Growing Tumors

KEY POINTS

  • A timer invented by experts permits PET scanners to attack  cancer cells in their weakest
  • The invention may pave the way to less invasive radiation treatment for cancer patients
  • Inventors hoped the technology can be made more affordable in a decade

Doctors may soon kill cancer tumors with less invasive side effects of radiation treatment. This is after a team of experts designed a scanner that can time the antimatter particles that are significant in detecting the levels of the oxygen concentration in cancer tissues. For years, medical experts have witnessed how low levels of oxygen prevented the timely killing of rapidly growing cancer cells. 

A team of Japanese atomic physicists and nuclear medicine experts designed a timer that can detect the oxygen concentration of tissues growing throughout ta cancer patient’s body. Specifically, the timer permits the positron emission tomography (PET) scanners to know when to attack the cancer cells in their weakest before they can grow to be more aggressive. 

In a study published in Communications Physics, the team of experts from the University of Tokyo and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Japan explained that positrons are the positively charged antimatter particles that are extremely low in mass. With how tiny their sizes are, these antimatter particles pose no risk in medical applications. They produce gamma rays that have shorter wavelengths than the electromagnetic waves from X-rays. 

Treatment tool for colon cancer A cinnamon-derived compound may help treat colorectal cancer, researchers said. Photo: Reuters

“We imagine targeting more intense radiation treatment to the aggressive, low-oxygen concentration areas of a tumor and targeting lower-intensity treatment to other areas of the same tumor to give patients better outcomes and fewer side effects,” Dr. Miwako Takahashi, a nuclear medicine physician from NIRS and co-author of the research, said in a press release.

Detecting the amount of oxygen flow in body tissues could tell doctors when to attack the cancer cells. At present conditions, experts are only able to detect tumors when they already have low levels of oxygen which means they have already developed into a hardened lump of tissues or mass.  

Hence, low oxygen levels in tumors indicate that the cells are already aggressive and have become harder to kill. At this stage as well, cancer cells grow to be more resilient against radiation treatment. 

The experts hoped that in less than a decade, their findings could lead to better and less invasive cancer treatments that could also be available economically.

Dr. Christian Hinrichs (R), an investigator at the National Cancer Institute in immunotherapy for HPV+ cancers, shows a survivor of metastatic cancer the difference between his CT scan showing cancerous tumors and a clean scan after treatment Dr. Christian Hinrichs (R), an investigator at the National Cancer Institute in immunotherapy for HPV+ cancers, shows a survivor of metastatic cancer the difference between his CT scan showing cancerous tumors and a clean scan after treatment Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

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Way to Go! New Hyde Park students hold virtual blood drive

Two students from New Hyde Park Memorial High School have been combating the shortage of blood because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Aarti Devjani and Preesha Mody, both seniors, coordinated a seven-week virtual blood drive through the New York Blood Center in which individuals could schedule appointments to give blood through the center’s website. The drive allowed participants to stay safe and socially distance while helping their community, the students said.

As of late September, about 35 people had donated blood to the students’ drive, which ends Oct. 15. The duo has also raised more than $3,600 for the center through a GoFundMe page.

“This idea started in the middle of quarantine when we realized no one’s going anywhere,” Mody said. “Then my dad actually sent me this article about how there’s a shortage of blood, so we though ‘let’s do something about it.'”

The students then spread the word through social media — including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat — and hung flyers in “every grocery store that would let us,” Mody said.

Devjani and Mody are members of their school’s National Junior Honor Society, Science Honor Society and Science Olympiad Club. Devjani has also volunteered at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, and Mody has volunteered at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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Hold Off Radiotherapy After Prostate Cancer Surgery

Most men who undergo radical prostatectomy can skip adjuvant radiotherapy and can be followed with observation alone. They can undergo early salvage radiotherapy if the disease shows sign of progressing, say experts reporting results from three similar clinical trials.

This approach would allow most men to avoid radiotherapy and its side effects altogether, the investigators emphasize.

The studies were published online September 28 in The Lancet and The Lancet Oncology.

“There is a strong case now that observation should be the standard approach after surgery and [that] radiotherapy should only be used if the cancer comes back,” commented Chris Parker, MD, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom.

“Results suggest that radiotherapy is equally effective whether it is given to all men shortly after surgery or given later to those men with recurrent disease,” he said in a statement.

Parker was lead investigator on the largest of the studies, the phase 3 RADICALS-RT trial, published in The Lancet. Preliminary results were reported at a meeting last year. Similar results from two other trials were published in The Lancet Oncology. A preplanned meta-analysis of the three trials was published in The Lancet.

Despite a number of limitations to each of the studies, they represent “an important step forward” and support the use of early salvage radiotherapy for many patients following radical prostatectomy, write experts in an accompanying comment. The editorialists are Derya Tilki, MD, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, and Anthony D’Amico, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

However, the editorialists question whether the results apply to all men who have undergone a radical prostatectomy.

One possible exception are men at high risk for progression, such as patients with a Gleason score of 8 to 10 or whose tumor is of grade pT3b or higher. Such patients made up fewer than 20% of participants in the three clinical trials. For high-risk patients, the editorialists think it would be “prudent” to consider adjuvant radiotherapy rather than early salvage therapy.

Results From RADICALS-RT

The RADICALS-RT trial involved 1396 patients who were followed for a median of 4.9 years. Participants had to have at least one risk factor for biochemical progression. These factors included disease of pathologic T-stage 3 or 4, a Gleason score of 7 to 10, positive margins, or a preoperative prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level ≥10 ng/mL.

Half of the men were randomly assigned to receive adjuvant radiotherapy (delivered within 6 months of study enrollment for 90% of patients). One quarter of this group also received either neoadjuvant or adjuvant hormone therapy, the investigators note.

The other half were followed with observation and received salvage radiotherapy group only if they showed biochemical progression within 8 years following randomization.

There was no evidence of a difference in biochemical progression-free survival (bPFS) between the adjuvant and salvage groups, Parker and colleagues report. At 5 years, bPFS rates were 85% for men in the adjuvant radiotherapy group and 88%