Without masks and a vaccine, we could reach herd immunity from COVID-1

9, but death would skyrocket. We break down the science of it.


The federal government unveiled a plan Wednesday that will ensure that vaccines for COVID-19 are available free of charge to all Americans.

The campaign is “much larger in scope and complexity than seasonal flu or other previous outbreak-related vaccination reactions,” said the playbook for states from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the agency is under strong scrutiny today as a US TODAY investigation revealed how the CDC did not disseminate important information to local health authorities during the start of the pandemic and even downplayed the threat of the virus.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night denied that he downplayed the threat of coronavirus, even after telling Bob Woodyard during a recorded interview that he knew the virus was more deadly than the flu.

“Well, I did not downplay it. I actually played it in many ways in terms of action,” Trump said during a televised speech by ABC News on Tuesday night. Trump said once again that the virus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine through what he called a “herd mentality,” referring to herd immunity.

Some important developments:

  • Texas is approaching 700,000 confirmed infections. The state would become the country’s second after California to reach the total amount.
  • India surpassed 5 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 82,000 deaths.
  • Pfizer, one of the frontrunners in the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine, reported that its candidate had “potential” after expanding its trial over the weekend.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that Parliament will remain in session until a breakthrough on a coronavirus stimulus bill is implemented.

Tal Today’s numbers: Alabama, North Dakota and Wisconsin set records for new cases, while Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and Tennessee set records for the number of reported deaths, according to a U.S. TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data at the end of Tuesday. The United States has reported more than 6.6 million cases and 195,900 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 29.5 million cases and 935,900 deaths.

📰 What we read: Even as thousands of their employees fell ill with COVID-19, meat-packing executives pushed federal regulators to help keep their plants open, according to a series of emails the United States has received today. Read more.

M️ Coronavirus mapping: Track the US outbreak, state by state

This file is updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

The Fed outlines a plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans

The federal government outlined a comprehensive plan Wednesday to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all Americans free of charge.

In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Department of Defense outlined complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year, eventually ramping up to reach every American who wants a shot.

The Pentagon is involved in the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones giving shots.

Some of the highlights of the plan include:

  • For most vaccines, people need two doses at 21 to 28 day intervals.
  • Vaccination of the American people is not a sprint, but a marathon.
  • The vaccine itself will be free and patients will not be charged out of pocket for administering shots.

CDC failed health departments, downplayed virus at start of pandemic: USA TODAY survey

A study in the United States today showed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not consistently perform its most basic job: providing local public health agencies with the guidance needed to save American lives during a pandemic.

Instead of responding, the public health departments received slow, confusing and conflicting information from the agency – if they received any response at all. Communities were allowed to make life or death decisions about testing, personal protection, and reopening.

Journalists reviewed 42,000 pages of emails and memos from local health departments and interviewed more than 100 community leaders and public health experts.

During this period, the agency downplayed the potential damage from the virus in dozens of press conferences, congressional hearings and other public statements between January and April. The investigation comes as the CDC continues to receive broad scrutiny to give in to political pressure from the White House.

– Brett Murphy and Letitia Stein

India surpasses 5 million COVID-19 cases, including 90K in the last 24 hours

India’s coronavirus confirmed that cases crossed 5 million on Wednesday and still rose, testing the country’s weak health system in tens of thousands of poor towns and villages.

The Ministry of Health reported 90,123 new cases during the last 24 hours, increasing the country’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, approx. 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants. It said 1,290 more people died in the last 24 hours, a total of 82,066.

India’s total coronavirus caseload closes in on the United States’ highest figure of more than 6.6 million cases and is expected to exceed it within a few weeks.

India reported a record high of 97,570 cases daily on September 11 and has added more than 1 million cases this month alone.

Anti-masks ordered to dig graves for coronavirus victims in Indonesia

Eight people in Indonesia who refused to wear masks in public were ordered by a local official to dig graves for COVID-19 victims. As Indonesia faces an uptick of COVID-19 cases, leaders in Cerme, a district in East Java, established stricter enforcement of social distancing and mask-wearing policies.

For the eight people who violated the local mask mandate, it meant digging graves. The district leader, identified by Indonesian news site Tribun News as Suyono, proposed the punishment for the lack of grave diggers in the area.

“There are only three gravediggers available at the moment, so I thought I might as well put these people to work with them,” he told Tribun News. “Hopefully this can create a deterrent effect against violations,” he said.

– Joshua Bote

DOJ: Texas woman fraudulently received nearly $ 2 million In PPP loans

A Texas woman who received nearly $ 2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was arrested Tuesday by federal authorities on fraud charges.

Lola Shalewa Barbara Kasali of Houston was charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud and being involved in illegal monetary transactions, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officials say Kasali, 22, allegedly filed two false PPP loan applications for two companies – Lola’s Level and Charm Hair Extensions – and claimed to have multiple employees and large payroll expenses.

“According to the charges, however, neither the unit has employees nor pays salaries that are commensurate with the amounts required in the loan applications,” according to the statement.

After receiving more than $ 1.9 million in loans, Kasali transferred the funds to four additional bank accounts, officials said. Kasali is expected to appear before U.S. Judge Christina Bryan in Houston on Wednesday.

Trump denies having downplayed coronavirus during ABC News town hall

President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused to downplay the threat from the coronavirus, telling a TV town hall that he “played it up” despite his claim in an interview earlier this year that he “would always downplay it.”

Trump made the remarks during a 90-minute city hall hosted by ABC News on the Pennsylvania battlefield.

“Well, I did not downplay it. I actually played up in many ways in terms of action,” Trump said in response to a question about an interview with journalist Bob Woodward in which he said he knew coronavirus. was more deadly and contagious than the flu, but went on to compare the two.

– John Fritze and David Jackson

Pfizer reports ‘potential’ with COVID-19 vaccine candidate, extends trial

Pfizer, one of the frontrunners in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, said its candidate vaccine looks safe and the company expects to have data next month on how well it protects people against coronavirus.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that he deliberately reveals more information about the COVID-19 candidate vaccine than he would about any other vaccine under development because he wants the process to be open and transparent.

“Transparency is a must, especially given this situation and the politicization of the vaccine,” he said in a question and answer session with reporters.

The company had said Saturday it was expanding its trial from 30,000 to 44,000 people to include teens ages 16-18 as well as people with diseases such as HIV and hepatitis A, B or C. On Tuesday, Bourla said the expansion took place because the vaccine appeared to be extremely safe, and the experiment could be extended without delaying the timeline for completion.

– Karen Weintraub

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2.3 million Americans lost health insurance before the COVID-19 pandemic

During Donald Trump’s first three years in office, 2.3 million people became uninsured, according to a Capital & Main analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

They include hundreds of thousands of people in battlefield states such as Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio as well as Michigan and Minnesota. The number of uninsured grew by nearly 1.6 million people in 13 states identified as swing states by The Cook Political Report.

During his campaign in 2016, Trump promised to abolish and replace Obamacare, and once elected, he promised that everyone would have health insurance.

Health care was a major topic in the midterm elections in 2018 and could remain a prominent one in the overall election just seven weeks away. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive job losses in a country where 55% of health coverage is tied to employment. A study estimated that 5.4 million U.S. workers lost their health insurance between February and May 2020.

Tuesday’s data release makes it clear that U.S. residents already had soft health insurance, even before COVID. By far the largest growth in the number of uninsured was in Texas, where the count swelled by 689,000 between 2016 and 2019.

– Jessica Goodheart, Capital & Main

Nancy Pelosi: House will remain in session to reach coronavirus stimulus agreement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House will remain in session until a breakthrough on a coronavirus stimulus proposal is implemented, while moderate lawmakers pressured leaders to come up with an emergency deal before the November election.

“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi told CNBC on Tuesday.

Her words signaled emergency talks between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump’s White House can be saved, even if the two sides do not take a closer look at an agreement. Pelosi has not shot out of his desire for a multi-trillion-dollar sweeping plan to help schools, the unemployed and cash-strapped local governments. And Republican leadership no longer seemed open to recent Democratic proposals Tuesday.

– Christal Hayes, Nicholas Wu and Ledyard King

COVID-19 resources from the USA TODAY

Contribution: Associated Press

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