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Trump Holds Florida Rally After White House Physician Reports Negative COVID-19 Tests

On Monday, White House physician Sean Conley said that President Trump had registered consecutive days in which he’s tested negative for COVID-19. The news came on the same date that Trump headed to a packed campaign rally in Sanford, 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, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,” said Conley. He added that those tests occurred “in context with additional clinical and laboratory data.”

Speaking of this data, Conley wrote that it was made up of “viral load, subgenomic RNA and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data.”

The letter concluded that the president is “not infectious to others,” which echoes a similar message that Conley issued on Saturday. He also stated, on Saturday, that the president is cleared for an “active schedule.” 

CNN adds that it’s not clear what consecutive days Trump tested positive, while also noting that the Abbott BinaxNOW test he reportedly took may lack precision, as it’s only proven accurate in people being tested within the first week of their symptoms starting to show. The FDA has also said they’re not certain of how accurate Abbott BinaxNOW results are. 

Trump’s positive test was first announced on Thursday, October 1. The White House has not said when the president last tested negative prior to that announcement. 

As for that aforementioned rally, a large crowd gathered for the event. The campaign was issuing temperature checks and distributed masks/hand sanitizer, but social distancing remained absent. 

Trump also claimed to be “immune” and offered to kiss anyone in the crowd daring enough to chance it:

On a related note, this all comes on the same day that Dr. Anthony Fauci said that holding large rallies “was asking for trouble” due to the virus’s surge in several states. 

“We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that,” Fauci said of Trump’s decision to re-up a full campaign rallying schedule, according to The New York Times. “We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are

Calif.’s positivity holds at all-time low as virus surges in some counties

California’s COVID-19 numbers are looking good, but experts warn that we shouldn’t let our guard down as some pockets of the state struggle with outbreaks.

California has reached an all-time high for COVID-19 testing, and the percentage of those tests coming back positive has reached its lowest point since the start of the pandemic.

Across the past two weeks, the state has tested an all-time high average of 122,000 tests a day, and the percentage of those tests coming back positive has held at 2.6% since Tuesday, the lowest point since the start of the pandemic and less than half the positivity rate of when the virus surged across the state in July.

What’s more, the death rate has steadily decreased in California since this summer, reaching a 14-day average of 142 in August and a low of 70 over the weekend.

UCSF’s Dr. George Rutherford said on KCBS this morning the numbers are good news, but warned, “This is not a time to take a victory lap.”


“There are hot spots around the state, including Sonoma County close to the Bay Area, and possibly some more activity in Marin and Solano,” Rutherford added of the local counties that are struggling to control the virus.

Sonoma is the only county in the Bay Area still in the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s reopening structure, meaning the virus is widespread and certain businesses are restricted from reopening.  As of Monday, the county’s adjusted case rate is 10.8 cases per 100,000 residents, and the positivity rate is 5%.

Rutherford also noted Shasta County has experienced the state’s worst outbreak in recent weeks with a positivity rate of 6.9% and 13 cases per 100,000 residents.

These numbers may be surprising in this pocket of Northern California known for vast open spaces and endless forests, but COVID-19 outbreaks across the country have shown that the virus can spiral out of control anywhere. The spike in Shasta County is being driven by spates of cases at an evangelical school and a nursing facility in Redding, the county’s largest city (pop. 91,000).

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13-year-old holds exercise class to benefit kids’ mental health

As 13-year-old Sadie Feingold prepared for her bat mitzvah project this year, she had one goal in mind: to stop the stigma.

The eighth-grader from Port Washington knew she wanted to focus on mental health for her community service project ahead of her bat mitzvah, or Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. She wanted to encourage kids and teens to talk about mental health struggles and help normalize it.

She said she was inspired to focus on this topic because of her own previous struggles with mental health.

“The whole point was to raise awareness to it and normalize it,” Sadie said.

So after doing some research with her mom about the connection between exercise and children’s mental health, they came up with a plan: She would host an exercise class at their synagogue for local teens and families, and raise money to support the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights, a mental health agency that treats children and families.

The Guidance Center said her efforts have raised nearly $2,000.

“People don’t really talk about mental health as they do with physical health,” Sadie said. ”I think that some people feel like it’s not important, and I want people to feel like they should be able to talk about their emotions, as they would talk about like how they feel physically.”

The idea originated back in the winter — before the pandemic took hold. She and her mom read a piece in The New York Times that reported how even a moderate amount of exercise in adolescents can raise their endorphin levels, and in turn, help improve their mental health. Endorphins are hormones that promote feelings of natural well-being.

Sadie continued doing research on the topic, and once restrictions lifted and they could congregate outside, her class came together.

They invited family, friends and others to congregate in the parking lot of The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, and on Sept. 13, about 35 kids, teens and adults participated in the 45-minute class of individual exercises, led by a fitness instructor they knew.

They took donations at the class to support the Guidance Center — and encouraged those who couldn’t attend to donate as well. Sadie also gave out T-shirts with “#StopTheStigma” printed on them.

“I think it’s important … that kids feel comfortable, and so they’re not alone in dealing with these issues,” Sadie’s mom Jessica Feingold said. “It’s just something that tons of people deal with now more than ever, and I think it’s important to get that message out there.”

Sadie’s bat mitzvah had been originally scheduled for June, and was postponed to Sept. 26 because of the pandemic. But her mitzvah project only grew in relevance during this period.

Regina Barros-Rivera, associate executive director at the Guidance Center, said their work at the center has become

Immune system holds clues to virus reaction

One of COVID-19’s scariest mysteries is why some people are mildly ill or have no symptoms and others rapidly die — and scientists are starting to unravel why.

An international team of researchers found that in some people with severe COVID-19, the body goes rogue and attacks one of its own key immune defenses instead of fighting the coronavirus. Most were men, helping to explain why the virus is hitting men harder than women.

And separate research suggests that children fare better than adults thanks to robust “first responder” immune cells that wane with age.


They’re the latest in a list of studies uncovering multiple features of the immune system’s intricate cascade that can tip the scales between a good or bad outcome. Next up: Figuring out if all these new clues might offer much-needed ways to intervene.

“We have the knowledge and capability of really boosting many aspects of the immune system. But we need to not use the sledge hammer,” cautioned Dr. Betsy Herold of New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who co-authored the child study.

Adding to the complexity, people’s wildly varying reactions also reflect other factors, such as how healthy they were to begin with and how much of the virus — the “dose” — they were exposed to.

“Infection and what happens after infection is a very dynamic thing,” said Alessandro Sette, a researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, who is studying yet another piece of the immune response.

IMMUNE PRIMER

There are two main arms of the immune system. Innate immunity is the body’s first line of defense. As soon as the body detects a foreign intruder, key molecules, such as interferons and inflammation-causing cytokines, launch a wide-ranging attack.

Innate immune cells also alert the slower-acting “adaptive” arm of the immune system, the germ-specific sharpshooters, to gear up. B cells start producing virus-fighting antibodies, the proteins getting so much attention in the vaccine hunt.

But antibodies aren’t the whole story. Adaptive immunity’s many other ingredients include “killer” T cells that destroy virus-infected cells — and “memory” T and B cells that remember an infection so they spring into action quicker if they encounter that germ again.

A MISSING PIECE

Usually when a virus invades a cell, proteins called Type I interferons spring into action, defending the cell by interfering with viral growth. But new research shows those crucial molecules were essentially absent in a subset of people with severe COVID-19.

An international project uncovered two reasons. In blood from nearly 1,000 severe COVID-19 patients, researchers found 1 in 10 had what are called auto-antibodies — antibodies that mistakenly attack those needed virus fighters. Especially surprising, autoimmune disorders tend to be more common in women — but 95% of these COVID-19 patients were men.

The researchers didn’t find the damaging molecules in patients with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19.

In another 660 severely ill patients, the same team found 3.5% had gene mutations that didn’t produce Type I interferons.

Each