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Gov’t Bows to Vax Makers’ Demands? 2nd Wave Hits Europe; FDA Wants Makena Pulled

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The White House is blocking new FDA guidelines that would stiffen requirements for authorizing COVID-19 vaccines, after manufacturers reportedly objected to the guidance. (New York Times, Politico)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Pastor Greg Laurie of the Harvest Christian Fellowship megachurch were the latest attendees at a recent White House event to report a positive coronavirus test. MedPage Today has a running list here.

Perhaps the most at risk White House staffers, however, are the 100 members of the White House’s residence staff. (The Atlantic)

Finally: the CDC acknowledges the potential for airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

As of 8:00 a.m. ET Tuesday, the estimated U.S. COVID-19 toll reached 7,459,102 cases and 210,196 deaths — up 40,364 and 462, respectively, since the same time Monday.

The Northeast and Midwest are experiencing surges, and new cases have risen for at least two weeks in a row in 21 states. (Reuters)

Lockdown measures make a comeback in Europe. (The Guardian)

WHO official said roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19 and that we are now heading into a “difficult period.” (Reuters)

Three doctors met with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Trump advisor Scott Atlas, MD, to push the herd immunity hypothesis. (The Hill)

European drug regulators are investigating reports of acute kidney injury in some COVID-19 patients who were on remdesivir. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Moderna failed to enroll enough people of color in its vaccine trial and slowed enrollment to ensure more minority volunteers were recruited. (Reuters)

Trump issued an executive order establishing a Coronavirus Mental Health Working Group to respond to “mental-health conditions induced or exacerbated by the pandemic, including issues related to suicide prevention.”

Texas universities have plenty of tests, but participation rates are far lower than expected, prompting one school to offer prizes to students volunteering to be tested. (Texas Tribune)

PBS is airing a segment tonight on the nationwide scramble for personal protective equipment in the first wave of the pandemic.

In other news:

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    Elizabeth Hlavinka covers clinical news, features, and investigative pieces for MedPage Today. She also produces episodes for the Anamnesis podcast. Follow

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Trump’s doctors grapple with competing demands from public and patient, experts said

The chief White House physician was facing heavy scrutiny over the weekend for obscuring aspects of President Donald Trump’s health after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, focusing attention on the vexing challenge he faces navigating the demands of an anxious nation and a commander-in-chief who favors rosy assessments.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.


© Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.

“When you’re in a complicated situation like this, you can only go so far,” said Dr. Benjamin Aaron, the chest surgeon who in 1981 removed the bullet from President Ronald Reagan, and said he and his colleagues “felt a sense of duty to level with the American people.

“It’s appropriate to be open, but there has to be a certain amount of implied trust” with his VIP patient,” he said.

MORE: An unusual patient, an unusual treatment: Trump and the risks of ‘VIP syndrome’


a group of people standing in front of a building: Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.


© Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.

The man standing at the crossroads of these competing interest now is Dr. Sean Conley, an Afghan War veteran and military physician who has addressed reporters twice over the weekend about the president’s battle with the novel coronavirus, a diagnosis he received late last week.

Conley offered conflicting statements about the president’s health status and treatment timeline, prompting a crisis of credibility emanating from the esteemed hospital’s medical staff. On Saturday, Conley said he and his staff were “extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” and described his symptoms as mild. But after the briefing concluded, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows offered a vastly more dire prognosis, calling the president’s vitals on Friday “concerning.”

MORE: Trump adviser defends campaign virus precautions despite packed events, maskless attendees

Conley attempted to clean up the diverging takes on Sunday, telling reporters that Meadows’ comments had been “misconstrued,” but acknowledged he was “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team and the president, over the course of the illness, has had,” in describing the president’s status.

“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said, “and in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”



a man sitting at a table using a laptop: U.S. President Donald Trump works in a conference room while receiving treatment after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. October 3, 2020.


© White House/via Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump works in a conference room while receiving treatment after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. October 3, 2020.

The president’s critics have accused the White House of deliberately misleading the American people. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, issued a call on Sunday for the full details of Trump’s health status to be released, along with the names and health status of everyone who has tested positive at recent related events.

“When you don’t have full transparency, when there’s