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Thread: Trumps positive for COVID-19

  1. #176
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced last week that it would review whether the CDC’s and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated, as well as whether those policies are being properly implemented to assure scientific integrity throughout the agencies. The review is being conducted at the request of several U.S. Senators “in light of public reports that the Trump Administration has improperly exerted political influence on the CDC and FDA” since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-Mich), and Patty Murray (D-WA), told the GAO in their request:

    The CDC’s and FDA’s independence as scientific agencies is crucial to safeguarding the public health and saving lives. These agencies must be able to develop, review, and disseminate public health data, guidelines, and other information that are based on science, facts, and medical principles – not the political imperatives and moods of a president and his advisors.

    Yet, they charge that

    the Trump Administration has reportedly pressured the CDC and FDA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, repeatedly applying political pressure and imposing orders on career scientists that undermine the agencies’ credibility and independence.

    Citing reports from major media organizations, agency announcements, and Mr. Trump’s Twitter account, the Senators’ letter catalogued numerous instances of putative political interference in CDC and FDA decision-making, interference they say “seeds confusion, erodes public confidence, and diminishes the agencies’ credibility”. (SBM’s David Gorski lamented this erosion of trust in a recent post, “In the age of COVID-19 pandemic, can we trust the CDC and FDA anymore?“, citing a number of the same public reports relied upon by the Senators in their request to the GAO.)

    Offenses against scientific integrity on the Senators’ list include:

    The White House’s allegedly overruling CDC officials who wanted to recommend, in March, that elderly and physically fragile people not fly on commercial airlines due to the coronavirus.
    Reported interference, in April, by Vice President Pence, and again by the White House this month, in an extension of the CDC’s “No Sail” order prohibiting cruise ship voyages, despite evidence that cruise ships have been a major source of outbreaks.
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, of which the CDC and FDA are a part) political appointees’ reported “significant efforts to edit, water down, and caveat CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports”.
    In May, the White House’s blocking the publication of the CDC’s “Opening Up America Again Framework”, eventually published only after the White House required substantive changes.
    HHS officials accusing the CDC of “undermining the President” when it released information on pregnant women and COVID-19.
    HHS political appointees excoriating a CDC official for remarks she made about the U.S. needing to take its virus response seriously, accusing her of being “duplicitous” and undermining the President.
    In July, the White House ordering the CDC to stop collecting certain COVID-19 data, “instead filtering the data through a third-party contractor at HHS” resulting in “significant issues with the quality, completeness, and transparency of data”. [Although it was not cited in the list, NPR has reported on apparent irregularities in HHS’s awarding the contract and the contractor’s financial connections to Mr. Trump.]
    Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence exerting “considerable public pressure on the CDC to revise its guidelines for schools”. This resulted in new guidance, which the White House reviewed and substantially edited.
    The appearance of “highly-criticized” testing recommendations for asymptomatic patients (since reversed) on the CDC website, not written by CDC scientists but dropped there by HHS, “flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process” and containing “elementary errors”.
    The FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine (since revoked), a drug highly touted by Mr. Trump for COVID-19 but widely criticized for lack of quality evidence.
    In August, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and National Institutes of Health head Dr. Francis Collins reportedly voiced concerns that data did not support the FDA’s EUA for convalescent plasma and the authorization was put on hold. Mr. Trump called Dr. Collins and told him to “get it done by Friday” and suggested to reporters that the FDA wanted to limit its use until after the election. On August 23, the FDA issued an EUA for convalescent plasma.
    HHS Secretary Alex Azar allegedly overruling the FDA when he revoked the agency’s ability to regulate lab-developed diagnostic tests, including COVID-19 tests.
    In August, Mr. Trump made a “clearly spurious” claim that the “deep state” at the FDA is delaying potential COVID-19 treatments and vaccines until after the election.
    After remarks by the lead career official in charge of FDA vaccine review suggested that the FDA’s forthcoming guidance will set a higher bar for a vaccine EUA, Mr. Trump said it “sounds like a political move” and that the White House “may or may not” approve the guidance. After a news report that the White House had actually blocked the guidance, the Administration reversed course.
    The review is grounded in the GAO’s jurisdiction to investigate and evaluate, at the request of Congress, federal programs and activities, and provide “information, analyses, options, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make effective policy, funding, and oversight decisions”. The GAO has already issued three reports on the federal government’s response to the pandemic, the most recent of which criticizes the CDC on an issue raised by the Senators’ letter — guidance on reopening schools:

    Portions of CDC’s guidance on reopening K-12 schools are inconsistent, and some federal guidance appears misaligned with CDC’s risk-based approach on school operating status. CDC should ensure that its federal guidance on reassessing schools’ operating status is cogent, clear, and internally consistent.

    In this case, authority for the GAO review is grounded in the CDC’s and FDA’s policies on scientific integrity and the premise that those policies are being violated by the Trump Administration. According to the request, the CDC’s “Guidance on Scientific Integrity” requires that CDC employees “affirm a commitment to ensure that research and services are based on sound science, meet real public needs, and help achieve public health goals” and states that the “CDC has a responsibility to conduct the best science and is committed to disseminating scientific findings and results without being influenced by policy or political issues”. Likewise, according to the FDA’s policy on scientific integrity, the agency promotes an environment where “scientific decisions are protected from political influence”. The FDA policy requires “shielding the agency’s science and its scientific staff from political influence” and “maintaining a firm commitment to science-based, data-driven decision-making” and is “committee

  2. #177
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is suggesting that he will fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election, as his rift with the nation’s top infectious disease expert widens while the nation sees its most alarming outbreak of the coronavirus since the spring.

    Speaking at a campaign rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Trump expressed frustration that the surging cases of the virus that has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far this year remains prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters.

    “Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump replied to thousands of supporters just after midnight Monday, adding he appreciated their “advice.”

    Trump’s comments on Fauci less than 48 hours before polls close all but assure that his handling of the pandemic will remain front and center heading into Election Day.

    It’s the most direct Trump has been in suggesting he was serious about trying to remove Fauci from his position. He has previously expressed that he was concerned about the political blowback of removing the popular and respected doctor before Election Day.

    Trump’s comments come after Fauci leveled his sharpest criticism yet of the White House’s response to the coronavirus and Trump’s public assertion that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.

    Fauci has grown outspoken that Trump has ignored his advice for containing the virus, saying he hasn’t spoken with Trump in more than a month. He has raised alarm that the nation was heading for a challenging winter if more isn’t done soon to slow the spread of the disease.

    In an interview with the Washington Post this weekend, Fauci cautioned that the U.S. will have to deal with “a whole lot of hurt” in the weeks ahead due to surging coronavirus cases.

    Fauci said the U.S. “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to stem rising cases as more people gather indoors during the colder fall and winter months. He says the U.S. will need to make an “abrupt change” in public health precautions.

    Fauci added that he believed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective.” Fauci, who’s on the White House coronavirus task force, said that perspective emphasizes “the economy and reopening the country.”

    In response, White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump always puts people’s well-being first and Deere charges that Fauci has decided “to play politics” right before Tuesday’s election. Deere said Fauci “has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy” but instead is “choosing to criticize the president in the media and make his political leanings known.”

    Trump in recent days has stepped up his attacks on Biden for pledging to heed the advice of scientists in responding to the pandemic. Trump has claimed Biden would “lock down” the nation once again. Biden has promised to heed the warnings of Fauci and other medical professionals but has not endorsed another national lockdown.

    Trump has recently relied on the advice of Stanford doctor Scott Atlas, who has no prior background in infectious diseases or public health, as his lead science adviser on the pandemic. Atlas has been a public skeptic about mask wearing and other measures widely accepted by the scientific community to slow the spread of the virus.

    Other members of the White House coronavirus task force have grown increasingly vocal about what they see as a dangerous fall spike in the virus.

  3. #178

  4. #179
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    U.S. voters went to the polls starkly divided on how they see President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in places where the virus is most rampant now, Trump enjoyed enormous support.

    An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas.

    Most were rural counties in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin — the kinds of areas that often have lower rates of adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing and other public health measures, and have been a focal point for much of the latest surge in cases.

    Taking note of the contrast, state health officials are pausing for a moment of introspection. Even as they worry about rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, they hope to reframe their messages and aim for a reset on public sentiment now that the election is over.

    “Public health officials need to step back, listen to and understand the people who aren’t taking the same stance” on mask-wearing and other control measures, said Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

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    “I think there’s the potential for things to get less charged and divisive,” he said, adding that there’s a chance a retooled public health message might unify Americans around lowering case counts so hospitals won’t get swamped during the winter months.

    The electoral divide comes amid an explosion in cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. and globally.

    The U.S. broke another record in the 7-day rolling average for daily new cases, hitting nearly 90,000. The tally for new cases Thursday was on track for another day above 100,000, with massive numbers reported all around the country, including a combined nearly 25,000 in Texas, Illinois and Florida. Iowa and Indiana each reported more than 4,000 cases as well.

    The AP’s analysis was limited to counties in which at least 95% of precincts had reported results, and grouped counties into six categories based on the rates of COVID-19 cases they’d experienced per 100,000 residents.

    Polling, too, shows voters who split on Republican Trump vs. Democrat Joe Biden differed on whether the pandemic is under control.

    Thirty-six percent of Trump voters described the pandemic as completely or mostly under control, and another 47% said it was somewhat under control, according to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 110,000 voters conducted for the AP by NORC at the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, 82% of Biden voters said the pandemic is not at all under control.

    The pandemic was considered at least somewhat under control by slim majorities of voters in many red states, including Alabama (60%), Missouri (54%), Mississippi (58%), Kentucky (55%), Texas (55%), Tennessee (56%) and South Carolina (56%).

    In Wisconsin, where the virus surged just before the election, 57% said the pandemic was not under control. In Washington state, where the virus is more in control now compared to earlier in the year, 55% said the same. Voters in New York and New Hampshire, where the virus is more controlled now after early surges, were roughly divided in their assessments, similar to voters nationwide.

    Trump voters interviewed by AP reporters said they value individual freedom and believed the president was doing as well as anyone could in response to the coronavirus.

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    Michaela Lane, a 25-year-old Republican, dropped her ballot off last week at a polling site at an outdoor mall in Phoenix. She cast her vote for Trump.

    “I feel like the most important issue facing the country as a whole is liberty at large,” Lane said. “Infringing on people’s freedom, government overrule, government overreach, chaos in a lot of issues currently going on and just giving people back their rights.”

    About half of Trump voters called the economy and jobs the top issue facing the nation, roughly twice the percentage who named the pandemic, according to VoteCast. By contrast, a majority of Biden voters — about 6 in 10 — said the pandemic was the most important issue.

    In Madison, Wisconsin, Eric Engstrom, a 31-year-old investment analyst and his wife, Gwen, voted absentee by mail in early October.

    Trump’s failure to control the pandemic sealed his vote for Biden, Engstrom said, calling the coronavirus the most immediate threat the nation faces. He and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, in January and fear “the potential of one of us or both of us being sick when the baby is born,” he said.

    Engstrom called Trump’s response to the virus abysmal. “If there was any chance that I was going to vote for Trump, it was eliminated because of the pandemic,” he said.

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    The political temperature has added to the stress of public health officials, Plescia said. “Our biggest concern is how long can they sustain this pace?” he said.

    Since the start of the pandemic, 74 state and local public health officials in 31 states have resigned, retired or been fired, according to an ongoing analysis by AP and Kaiser Health News.

    As the election mood dissipates, rising hospitalizations amid colder weather create “a really pivotal moment” in the pandemic, said Sema Sgaier, executive director of the Surgo Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that worked with Harvard University-affiliated Ariadne Labs to develop a tool for estimating vaccine needs in states.

    “We really need to get our act together. When I say ‘we’ I mean collectively,” Sgaier said. Finding common ground may become easier if one of more of the vaccine candidates proves safe and effective and gains government approval, she said.

    “The vaccine provides the reset button,” Sgaier said.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci may be another unifying force. According to VoteCast, 73% of voters nationwide approve of the way Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been handling the pandemic.

    Even among Trump voters, 53% approve of Fauci’s performance. About 9 in 10 Biden voters approve.


    Johnson reported from Washington state. Deshpande reported from Chicago and Fingerhut reported from Washington, D.C. AP reporters Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, and Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed.

  5. #180
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    Mark Meadows tested positive for COVID-19

    White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, NBC News confirmed Friday.

    He becomes only the latest person in President Donald Trump’s orbit to come down with Covid-19, after an outbreak hit the president, his family and campaign and administration advisors last month. Meadows attended an election night gathering on Tuesday and stood by, wearing no mask, when Trump spoke at a Republican Party office earlier that day.

    News of his positive test came a day after the U.S. set another record for new daily coronavirus infections with more than 120,000.

    This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

  6. #181
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    An adviser for President Donald Trump's campaign, David Bossie, has tested positive for coronavirus only days after he was tapped to oversee the campaign's legal challenges contesting the outcome of the election, two sources confirmed to CNN.

    Bossie did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has been in the campaign headquarters in Virginia several times in the last week and has also traveled extensively.

    Bloomberg News first reported the diagnosis.


  7. #182
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    . WASHINGTON (AP) — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator and third in the line of presidential succession, said Tuesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Grassley, 87, had announced earlier Tuesday that he was quarantining after being exposed to the virus and was waiting for test results. On Tuesday evening, he tweeted that he had tested positive.

    “I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home,” he tweeted.

    Grassley said he looks forward to “resuming my normal schedule soon.”

    The Iowa Republican, who was in the Senate and voting on Monday, did not say how he had been exposed. His office said that he was not experiencing any symptoms and was isolating in his Virginia home.

    The announcement from one of the Senate’s most prominent members — and one of its oldest — underscored concerns across the Capitol about the safety of lawmakers, staff and other workers in the sprawling complex as cases have spiked across the country and members have traveled back and forth from their states. At least three members of the House have tested positive in the last week, and several more are quarantining.

    The increase in cases also threatens the progress of legislation and other work as the Republican Senate, in particular, tries to wrap up business in the remaining weeks of President Donald Trump’s term. Grassley’s absence on Tuesday helped Democrats block the nomination of Judy Shelton, Trump’s controversial pick for the Federal Reserve. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida was also absent as he is in quarantine after an exposure.

    This virus is hitting rural and urban areas alike,” Grassley said. “No community is immune. I ask every Iowan to continue to do their part to keep their family and neighbors safe.”

    Although he was not wearing a mask while he spoke, Grassley encouraged Americans to “wash your hands, limit your activity outside your household, social distance, wear a mask.”

    Grassley also attended leadership meetings with other Republican senators on Monday, according to Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, another member of GOP leadership. Blunt told reporters Tuesday evening that he “was like 12 feet away” from Grassley in the meeting, which he said was in a large room.

    Blunt said Grassley “has been great about wearing his mask, and I think great about taking care of himself, so I think he’s done everything he can.”

    While most members of the Senate have consistently worn masks in hallways and meetings, members of both parties often take them off when the cameras are on — either on the Senate floor or when talking to press. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also took their masks off when speaking on the Senate floor Monday.

    Still, some Democratic members have started to push back on that practice. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, interrupted a floor speech Monday afternoon to ask Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, to put on his mask as he presided over the Senate, noting that he could be exposing staff nearby.

    “I don’t wear a mask when I am speaking, like most senators,” Sullivan responded, snapping that he would put the mask on but that “I don’t need your instruction.”

    After the exchange, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted his support for Sullivan, saying that Brown was being “a complete ass” and that his request of the Alaskan was “an ostentatious sign of fake virtue.”

    A spokesperson for McConnell did not return a request for comment on whether he would encourage testing for senators who may have come into contact with Grassley. McConnell has maintained that regular testing is not needed in the Senate, though the Capitol physician announced this week that there would be testing available for members of the House and their staff who had recently traveled to Washington.

    Grassley’s announcement comes as the longest-serving Republican in the House, Alaska Rep. Don Young, said he was recovering from the coronavirus. In a statement Monday, Young said he had been hospitalized and “I had not felt this sick in a very long time.”

    Young, also 87, said he had been discharged and is now “on the road to recovery.”

    By missing votes Tuesday, Grassley broke a 27-year streak of not missing a single Senate vote. According to his office, the last time he missed a vote was in 1993, when he was in Iowa assisting with relief efforts after severe flooding.

    He said in a statement Tuesday that he had voted 8,927 times without skipping a vote — a record in the Senate.

    “I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to vote today in the Senate, but the health of others is more important than any record,” he said.

    Grassley was first elected to the U.S. House in 1974 and then to the Senate in 1980. He is chair of the Senate Finance Committee and is expected to become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee when a new Senate session begins in January.

  8. #183
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    Rick Scott Tested Positive for COVID-19

    U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has tested positive for coronavirus and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” the Florida Republican announced Friday morning.

    Scott’s office believes he contracted the virus last Friday night when he came into contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. After learning about the potential exposure, Scott went into quarantine at his Naples home Saturday morning.

    Two rapid tests came back negative for COVID-19 but on Tuesday, Scott was administered a more accurate polymerase chain reaction screening, commonly referred to as a PCR test. That test result came back positive Friday morning.

    In a statement, Scott, 67, said he was “feeling good” and will continue to work from home until it is safe to return to Washington. The Senate is in recess until Nov. 30.

    “I want to remind everyone to be careful and do the right things to protect yourselves and others,” Scott said. “Wear a mask. Social distance. Quarantine if you come in contact with someone positive like I did.”

    Scott has missed several key votes while in quarantine, including the successful confirmation of President Donald Trump’s controversial pick to serve in the Tampa division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 33-year-old attorney Kathryn Kimball Mizelle.

    Without Scott and Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassley, who also tested positive for coronavirus this week, Republicans couldn’t muster the support to confirm Trump’s nominee to the federal reserve, Judy Shelton. Her approval failed on a vote of 47-50. Democrats and several Republicans oppose Shelton because of her past support of a return to the gold standard and her writings that questioned the Fed’s political independence.
    Throughout the pandemic, Scott has opposed mandatory mask mandates, telling Fox News in June that governments should “stop telling us what to do.” But Scott has been more vocal than other Republicans in encouraging people to follow public health guidance and he is often spotted in public wearing a mask.
    On Nov. 12, Scott wore a mask at an indoor campaign rally in Georgia for the states two Republican senators. He removed the mask to speak but then put it back on to take a selfie with Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, neither of whom wore a mask. Scott then briefly shook hands with supporters, and leaned into kiss one on the cheek through his mask.

    Scott is the ninth U.S. Senator to test positive for COVID-19 or for antibodies and he is the most notable Florida politician to become afflicted with a virus that is rapidly spreading around the country. The United States has surpassed 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus as it grapples with a third wave of infections. Florida cases are on the rise as well.

    Scott encouraged Floridians to “listen to public health experts and follow their guidance” as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people to stay home this year as outbreaks worsen nationwide.

    “We will beat this together, but we all have to be responsible,” Scott said, adding: ”I pray that by next Thanksgiving, COVID-19 will be a thing of the past.”

  9. #184
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    Trump Jr. is tested positive for COVID-19

    President Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19, two Trump family associates confirmed to CBS News. A spokesman for Trump Jr. said he tested positive at the start of the week and has been "quarantining out at his cabin since the result."

    "He's been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines," the spokesman said.

    Trump Jr. is the latest in the Trump orbit to test positive for COVID-19, following the president's diagnosis on October 2. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew, who is a special assistant to the president, announced he had tested positive for the virus. CBS News has confirmed at least four other White House aides have tested positive for COVID-19. Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis said she and Rudy Giuliani had tested negative.

    Trump Jr. is the first of Mr. Trump's children to test positive, although his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for the virus in July.

    Weijia Jiang and Caroline Linton contributed to this report.

    This is a breaking story. It will be updated.

  10. #185
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    Andrew Giuliani, a special assistant to President Donald Trump and the son of Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, said he tested positive for coronavirus Friday, a day after attending a crowded press conference where his father and other campaign attorneys did not wear masks.

    ?I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including being in quarantine and conducting contact tracing,? the younger Giuliani said in a tweet disclosing his Covid-19 positive test.

    Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, another top lawyer on the Trump campaign team, both tested negative for the coronavirus, Ellis said in a tweet posted later Friday.

    ?The entire legal team will continue to follow the advice and protocols of our doctors,? Ellis wrote.

    Andrew Giuliani works as a sports liaison at the White House, with an annual salary of $95,000, according to government documents.

    His Twitter profile says he is ?Currently serving the American public as Special Assistant to President Donald J. Trump until January 20, 2025.?
    watch now
    Trump legal team holds wild press conference filled with false allegations and conspiracy theories

    A campaign official told NBC News that Andrew wore a mask while in the audience of the press conference Thursday led by his father, the former New York City mayor, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.

    At that nearly two-hour event, Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers for the Trump campaign spoke at length, without wearing masks, as they claimed without evidence that widespread voting fraud had rigged the presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden.

    The Trump campaign and allies have failed to convince any judges of such fraud in multiple court actions, and Biden?s campaign has blasted what it calls baseless claims.
    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference about lawsuits related to the presidential election results, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursd
    Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference about lawsuits related to the presidential election results, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday Nov. 19, 2020.
    Sarah Silbiger | The Washington Post | Getty Images

    During the press conference, Rudy Giuliani was profusely sweating, to such a degree that hair dye dripped conspicuously down his cheeks.

    Rudy Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    More than three dozen people connected to the White House and events there have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent months, including the president himself, first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and campaign chief Bill Stepien.

  11. #186
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    Georgia’s two U.S. Senators will temporarily leave the campaign trail after a COVID-19 scare.

    On Saturday, Senator Loeffler’s office announced Loeffler is quarantining after "inconclusive COVID-19 tests".

    According to the statement, Senator Loffler took two COVID-19 tests on Friday morning, the day Vice President Pence campaigned with Senator Loeffler and Senator Perdue in Georgia.

    On Saturday, Senator Loffler's campaign released the following statement:

    "Her rapid test results were negative and she was cleared to attend Friday’s events. She was informed later in the evening after public events on Friday that her PCR test came back positive, but she was retested Saturday morning after conferring with medical officials and those results came back inconclusive on Saturday evening."

    On Sunday, Senator Loeffler's office announced:

    Senator Loeffler’s previously inconclusive PCR results were retested overnight and the results thankfully came back negative.

    Out of an abundance of caution, she will continue to self-isolate and be retested again to hopefully receive consecutive negative test results. We will share those results as they are made available. She will continue to confer with medical experts and follow CDC guidelines.”

    Senator Perdue’s office announced on Sunday morning that Senator Perdue will remain at home until Senator Loeffler receives confirmation of her test results.

    Senator Loeffler’s office wrote Loeffler has no symptoms and she will continue to follow CDC guidelines by quarantining until there is a conclusive test.

    (CNN) -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Friday he became "desperately ill" from Covid-19, but now believes he is "out of the woods" after receiving an antibody treatment.

    Carson, 69, was among the latest Trump administration officials or campaign advisers who have tested positive for Covid-19. Carson tested positive last Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    In a Facebook post Friday giving an update on his condition, Carson shared that he was "extremely sick" with the virus and that he initially saw "dramatic improvement" from a product he took, which is not FDA-approved or a proven treatment for Covid-19.

    "However, I have several co-morbidities and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill," Carson wrote.

    Carson claimed that President Donald Trump was monitoring his condition and cleared the secretary to receive a monoclonal antibody therapy given to Trump in October when he was diagnosed with Covid.

    Carson wrote that he believes the treatment saved his life.

    "President Trump, the fabulous White House medical team, and the phenomenal doctors at Walter Reed have been paying very close attention to my health and I do believe I am out of the woods at this point," he added.

    When Trump had Covid-19 last month, he received Regeneron's experimental antibody treatment, which is still in large-scale clinical trials but has been available for compassionate use -- something the FDA has to approve on an individual basis, as it did for the President. The company in October applied to the FDA asking for emergency use authorization of its antibody treatment.

    It's not clear how the President could have cleared Carson to take the antibody treatment or if Carson got Regeneron's treatment. Eli Lilly, which also makes a monoclonal antibody treatment, declined to comment when CNN asked if Carson had been given their treatment. CNN has also asked Regeneron if Carson received their treatment. CNN has reached out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for more information on Carson's treatment.

    On Friday, Carson thanked people for their support and prayers and urged people to "stop playing politics with medicine and instead combine our efforts and goodwill for the good of all people."

    "While I am blessed to have the best medical care in the world (and I am convinced it saved my life), we must prioritize getting comparable treatments and care to everyone as soon as possible," he wrote. "There are a number of promising treatments that need to be tested, approved, and distributed (sooner rather than later) so that the economy can be re-opened and we can all return to a semblance of normalcy."

    Carson, a former neurosurgeon and member of the coronavirus task force, said Americans should recognize that there are several steps necessary to widely release a vaccine and that suggesting "dangerous shortcuts were taken only serves to stoke fear."

    Carson is just one of several people in Trump's orbit -- including the first lady, their son, the White House press secretary and multiple top aides -- who tested positive for Covid-19 this fall.

    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, after attending debate prep sessions with Trump, had tested positive for the virus and spent a week in an intensive care unit, before recovering from Covid-19 and imploring others to take the virus seriously.

    Carson attended an election night party where White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and nearly every other attendee was not wearing a mask. Meadows, a Trump campaign aide, and three White House staffers subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 that week.

    CNN's Jen Christensen, Greg Wallace, Jeremy Diamond, Betsy Klein and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.

  12. #187
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    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) ? A Pennsylvania state senator abruptly left a West Wing meeting with President Donald Trump after being informed he had tested positive for the coronavirus, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press on Sunday.

    Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano had gone to the White House last Wednesday with like-minded Republican state lawmakers shortly after a four-hour-plus public meeting that Mastriano helped host in Gettysburg ? maskless ? to discuss efforts to overturn president-elect Joe Biden?s victory in the state.

    Trump told Mastriano that White House medical personnel would take care of him, his son and his son?s friend, who were also there for the Oval Office meeting and tested positive. The meeting continued after Mastriano and the others left, the person said.

    The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private session because the matter is politically sensitive.

    Positive coronavirus cases are surging across the United States and the nation?s top infectious disease expert said Sunday that the U.S. may see ?surge upon surge? in the coming weeks. The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States topped 200,000 for the first time Friday.

    Everyone who will be in close proximity to the president must take a rapid test. Trump was himself hospitalized in October after he contracted the virus. Dozens of White House staffers and others close to the president have also tested positive, including the first lady and two of the president?s sons.

    All participants in Wednesday?s meeting took COVID-19 tests, but the positive results were not announced until they were in the West Wing of the White House, the person said.

    ?The president instantly called the White House doctor in and he took them back to, I guess, the medical place,? the person said. The meeting with Trump was to strategize about efforts regarding the election, the person said.

    After Mastriano and the others left, the discussion with Trump continued for about a half-hour. Mastriano did not return to the meeting.

    Mastriano sought the meeting of the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Policy Committee earlier Wednesday that drew Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a second Trump lawyer, several witnesses and a crowd of onlookers. Only a few of them were masked.

    The committee let Giuliani and others, for several hours, air their beliefs that there had been problems with how the Pennsylvania vote was conducted and counted. All claims were baseless; no evidence was presented to support any of the allegations they made.

    Trump even participated, calling from the White House while one of his lawyers held a phone up to a microphone. He reiterated the same unfounded claims of fraud he?s been tweeting about for weeks.

    Those beliefs have persisted despite Trump losing repeatedly in state and federal courts, including a Philadelphia-based federal appeals court?s decision Friday that said the Trump campaign?s ?claims have no merit,? and a state Supreme Court decision Saturday that threw out a legal challenge to the election and effort to stop certification of its results.

    Mastriano, a conservative from a rural district in central Pennsylvania and outspoken Trump supporter, did not return several messages left Sunday seeking comment.

    Republican state Sen. Dave Argall, who chairs the policy committee, declined Sunday in a text message to discuss Mastriano?s medical condition and the White House visit.

    ?I?ve received some conflicting information that I?m trying to resolve,? Argall said in the text. ?It?s my understanding a Senate statement later today will help us all to understand this better.?

    Argall said he would not talk publicly about the matter ?until I know more.?

    Senate Republican spokeswoman Kate Flessner declined comment, describing it as a personnel matter.

    The person with knowledge of the White House visit said several people rode in a large van from Gettysburg, where the policy committee met in a hotel, to the White House. Mastriano, his son and his son?s friend drove in another vehicle.

    It?s not clear why Mastriano?s son and his friend accompanied the state senator to the meeting, which the person said was also attended by Trump and the president?s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who tested positive in early November.

    Mastriano has aggressively opposed policies under the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and keep people safe.

    He has led rallies where he advocated to reopen businesses despite the risk of infection and he has repeatedly and sharply denounced Wolf?s orders. Mastriano also spoke to a few thousand Trump supporters who gathered outside the Capitol on Nov. 7, hours after Democrat Joe Biden?s national win became evident.

  13. #188
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    Update Rudy Giuliani has been tested positive for COVID-19

    Washington — Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney who has been traveling the country raising unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, tested positive for COVID-19, the president said Sunday.

    ".@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!" Mr. Trump tweeted.

    The former New York City mayor is the latest person close to the president to become infected with COVID-19, including campaign aide Boris Epshteyn, Donald Trump Jr. and Andrew Giuliani, Giuliani's son. Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump contracted the coronavirus in October, while the virus spread throughout the White House for a second time just after the election, with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows among those infected.

    Giuliani has spent the weeks after the November 3 election appearing in front of Republican state lawmakers, claiming the 2020 presidential race was rife with fraud and that GOP election watchers were deliberately denied the chance to observe the vote-counting process, allowing millions of illegal votes to be cast. But legal challenges brought by Giuliani and the Trump campaign have largely been dismissed, with federal and state court judges finding no evidence to support their claims.

    Giuliani appeared maskless before a Michigan House panel Wednesday and then traveled to Atlanta, where he participated in a Georgia state Senate hearing on election integrity Thursday.

  14. #189

  15. #190
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    WASHINGTON - A second member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, attorney Jenna Ellis, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Her diagnosis came days after she attended a White House holiday party without a mask, according to two administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak about her condition publicly.

    Another member of Trump’s legal team, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was hospitalized Sunday with the virus.

    Giuliani and Ellis have traveled across the country in recent weeks as part of Trump’s futile effort to subvert the Nov. 3 election, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.

    RELATED: COVID-19 exposure at Giuliani testimony in Lansing results in mandatory quarantine for many attendees

    Ellis attended the White House holiday party on Friday night. Trump has continued to host large gatherings with hundreds of largely maskless guests despite the pandemic and his own administration’s warnings against them.

    Giuliani defended Ellis when he called into his radio show Tuesday from a Washington hospital. “All you can go by is the test you take,” Giuliani said. “If you are invited to a place and they test you and test you as negative, you go in. You don’t know you have it.”

    Ellis’ diagnosis was first reported by Axios.

  16. #191
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    LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Four days after testifying in front of Michigan's House Oversight Committee, Rudy Giuliani, president Donald Trump's personal attorney, has been hospitalized with COVID-19. Now the Ingham County Health Department says anyone who did not wear a mask during the hearing and anyone who came within six feet of him must quarantine.

    The health department says it's extremely likely Giuliani was contagious when he brought witnesses to testify to alleged voter fraud at the TCF Center in Detroit. “Unfortunately, Mayor Giuliani has been hospitalized with COVID-19. His hospitalization comes only days after being in a confined conference room in Lansing for several hours without a mask,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “Adding to my concern is that many attendees were also unmasked. This is the highest level of risk. Those who were present without a mask and those who were within 6 feet of Mayor Giuliani must quarantine for the safety of others. I wish Mayor Giuliani a full and speedy recovery.”

    "Not only was that hearing a danger to our democracy but it was a threat to our health," said Democratic State Rep. Darrin Camilleri. He says he wore a mask but that Giuliani and many others didn't during the four-hour testimony.

    "It really proved to be true the likelihood of how fast COVID can spread. For me, I was scared, I was nervous. Nervous not just for myself but for the health of people I work with but for everybody who is potentially in contact with Rudy Giuliani," Camilleri said.

    House speaker Lee Chatfield says Giuliani reported he was negative during his visit.

    A statement from Chatfield reads in part, "Even if mayor Giuliani was COVID-positive while in Michigan, legislators, staff and members of the audience in the committee room were far more than six feet away from him. The only people within six feet for an extended period of time in the committee room were his own legal team and witnesses who traveled with him. Under those circumstances, the CDC does not recommend quarantine for other individuals."
    Meanwhile, Camilleri says leaders in Lansing haven't taken the pandemic seriously from the beginning. He says they could mandate masks and do more regular testing but right now they don't.

    "This was the clearest example of how little they’ve been taking this COVID-19 pandemic seriously and this just really showcased all of it in one event," Camilleri said.

    FOX 2 reached out to every Republican on the House Oversight Committee. They either did not respond or declined an interview.

    The House is back in session on Tuesday.

  17. #192
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    I believe this is the lady he farted on in the hearings the day before he was diagnosed with COVID.

    Michigan state representative confirms Rudy Giuliani farted during an election hearing

    The fart heard around the political universe from Rudy Giuliani this week was no deep fake, according to a Michigan lawmaker.

    President Donald Trump's personal attorney went viral overnight Wednesday over a clip in which he appeared to pass gas during an election hearing. Later, a second video seemed to show a different fart.

    —Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) December 3, 2020

    State Rep. Darrin Camilleri, a Democrat from Dearborn, Michigan, who represents Brownstown in the legislature, tweeted about the incident Friday morning.

    Making a joke about being featured on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" for his questioning of Giuliani, Camilleri said the fart was real.

    —Darrin Camilleri (@darrincamilleri) December 4, 2020

    Camilleri told Insider in an email that beyond the comic relief, the lack of evidence presented at the hearing concerned him.

    "From the moment we found out that House Republicans were really going through with the blatantly partisan act of allowing Rudy Giuliani and other members of the Trump legal team to testify before an official committee of the Michigan House of Representatives, this whole thing has seemed surreal," Camilleri said.

    He added: "In normal times, using our time and taxpayer dollars to investigate illegitimate claims of election fraud would be wasteful, but in the middle of a pandemic, it's cowardly and cruel."

    Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

  18. #193
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    Update now an Oregon Doctor is under investigation for appearing in a Trump rally and violating COVID-19 regulations at his clinic.

    The Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of an Oregon doctor who said he refuses to wear a mask in his clinic while also encouraging others to not wear masks.

    Dr. Steven LaTulippe told a pro-Trump rally in November that neither he nor his staff wears a mask while working in their Dallas, Ore. clinic. That violates a state order requiring health care workers to wear a face-covering in health care settings.

    Members of the medical board voted Thursday evening to suspend LaTulippe’s license immediately. According to a statement on the Oregon Medical Board website, the suspension was issued “due to the board’s concern for the safety and welfare of licensee’s current and future patients.”

    The indefinite suspension prevents LaTulippe from practicing medicine anywhere in the state. LaTuilippe ran a family practice clinic called South View Medical Arts in Dallas, Ore.

    His anti-mask comments came during a “Stop the Steal” election rally in Salem on Nov. 7. The video was posted on YouTube by the Multnomah County Republican Party.

    “I and my staff, none of us, not once, wore a mask in my clinic,” LaTulippe said at the rally. He also encouraged others to not wear a mask, saying people should “take off the mask of shame.”

    The statements counter guidance from state, federal and private medical experts.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federation of State Medical Boards both urge health care professionals to always wear face masks while inside health care facilities.

    In a report updated in late November, the CDC reiterated that multiple studies have shown that widespread use of cloth masks controls the spread of COVID-19.

    "Each analysis demonstrated that, following directives from organizational and political leadership for universal masking, new infections fell significantly," the CDC said.

    LaTuilppe did not answer a phone call on Friday morning to ask for his reaction to the suspension. He also declined to give an interview when KGW first broke the story earlier this week.

    He has said publicly that he has treated about 80 patients for COVID-19, but incorrectly equated the virus to the “common cold.”

    Despite his public statements urging people to not wear masks, LaTulippe told NBC News that he does ask patients who have suspected cases of COVID-19 to wear a mask in his clinic. He said he treats them after other patients have left for the day, and in a back room that is disinfected before and after use.

  19. #194
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    LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man is facing charges after writing a threatening Facebook post about Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, court records obtained by the I-Team show.

    Steven Feeder faces a charge of “publishing matter inciting breach of peace,” according to court records.

    The court documents reveal Feeder posted to the governor’s official Facebook page with “one or more comments that threatened [Sisolak] with acts of violence.”

    The post, which was made in May, said in part, “The tyrant has declared war on the people and like Hong Kong protesters we need to arm ourselves and form a militia and fight back.” According to the criminal complaint, Feeder made the post “no less than 34 times.”

    The Attorney General’s Office says in court filings that the comments are not protected by the First Amendment because they incite violence.

    A detective with the Nevada Department of Public Safety visited Feeder’s home in late May to ask him about the posts, court documents said.

    “His response was that his wife called him an idiot, and that when I had showed up at his house that I was there for his rant,” the officer told the court. “He described himself basically as very angry and upset regarding the state’s action in the COVID-19 response.”

    Feeder’s attorney said in a November hearing that prosecutors failed to show his client intended to act.

    “He was upset. Absolutely. He used some very pointed language. Absolutely,” attorney Jay Maynard said. “But he was protesting the fact that we had been in a quarantine for, as he put it at the time, 60 days, and that is well within his First Amendment right.”

    According to the transcript, Feeder was offered a plea deal of a $1,000 fine and a 120-day suspended sentence. A hearing in the case is scheduled for next year.

  20. #195
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    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than 90% effective, is planned to be shipped to UC Davis Health in Sacramento as early as Monday, Dec. 14, UC Davis Health said in a press release.

    It is not known how much of the vaccine will be delivered in this first round, or when it will arrive at the hospital, but UC Davis Health said that some of the first people who will receive the vaccine in the state will be UC Davis Medical Center employees who have been working on the front lines.

    UC Davis Health is one of at least seven California hospitals receiving a vaccine shipment. San Joaquin County is also getting an influx of vaccines for first responders as well. In an interview with ABC10, the county’s public health officer Dr. Maggie Park said that officials are expecting 4,875 doses of Pfizer's vaccine on Monday or Tuesday, and then expecting roughly 6,000 more doses of Moderna's vaccine once it is approved by the FDA.

    "It's not that we are requesting the amounts and the state is approving, the state is allocating to us what they feel we deserve to get as a county," Dr. Park said.

    Since this is still Phase 1A of vaccine distribution and there are a limited number of doses, Dr. Park said healthcare workers will be getting the first vaccines. The number of doses a county gets for this first round depends on how many healthcare workers the area has to vaccinate.

    "All the details are getting worked out very quickly," Dr. Park said. "This is a very quickly-moving issue. I do believe that there are people in the general public who will be in that first phase one."

    Dr. Park said essential workers in critical infrastructure could see vaccines as early as January or February. She added that as time goes by, California health officials will know more about the exact timeline of bringing the vaccine to the general public. Some prioritized groups that Dr. Park said could be part of critical infrastructure vaccinations could include teachers and agricultural workers.
    UC Davis Health said it has been planning how exactly to distribute the vaccine for several weeks, taking into consideration those who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.

    "In the emergency department, for example, custodial workers, physicians, nurses, first responders, and clerks are among the job classifications included in the top tier for vaccination priority," UC Davis Health said in the press release. "We are prepared to inoculate up to 400 employees per day, depending on the availability of supplies and other factors."

    Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require second doses to be effective. Pfizer's vaccine requires a second dose 21 days after the first inoculation, and Moderna's vaccine requires the second dose 28 days later. The vaccine's effects only kick in after that second dose. Research is still ongoing as to how this process works and the amount of time a person who has been vaccinated will remain immune to COVID-19.

  21. #196
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    A doctor who has questioned federal vaccine mandates and promoted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 is slated to testify before a Senate committee this week on early at-home coronavirus treatments.

    Jane Orient is the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group that opposes government involvement in medicine, has promoted discredited medical theories and opposes mandatory vaccines.

    Orient was invited by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to testify during a Tuesday hearing on early outpatient treatment for the virus. The hearing comes as health experts and government officials work to promote an upcoming vaccine as a way to contain a pandemic that has killed more than 280,000 in the U.S.

    The Tucson, Ariz.-based doctor was on a list of hundreds of physicians who in May urged President Trump to reopen the American economy despite growing coronavirus case counts at the time.

    “We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients. The downstream health effects of deteriorating a level are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error,” a letter from the group stated.

    Last year, she provided statements to Congress questioning the efficacy and morality of federal vaccine mandates.

    "A public health threat is the rationale for the policy on mandatory vaccines. But how much of a threat is required to justify forcing people to accept government-imposed risks?" Orient wrote to a Senate panel in February 2019.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted Republicans and committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for giving Orient a platform.

    At such a crucial time, giving a platform to conspiracy theorists to spread myths and falsehoods about Covid vaccines is downright dangerous and one of the last things Senate Republicans should be doing right now," Schumer said in a statement to The Hill.

    In a statement to The Hill, Johnson said vaccines are only one area of focus of Tuesday's hearing.

    “As Dr. McCullough pointed out in our first hearing, there are four pillars in fighting a pandemic. Early treatment and vaccines are two of them," Johnson said. "I continue to support development of a safe and effective vaccine. Had others been as supportive of early treatments, thousands of lives could have been saved. Our hearing tomorrow will again focus on early treatments as an essential part of a COVID-19 solution.”

    Orient called Schumer's comments "odd."

    "I have been asked to testify about the urgent need for early out-patient treatment for COVID-19, which might already have prevented 100,000 deaths," Orient said. "This is needed now and will be needed even if and when we have widespread use of the promised "safe and effective" vaccine. Vaccines are not the subject of this hearing."

    In an interview with The New York Times, Orient said she rejects the title "anti-vaxxer" but remains resistant to government mandates on vaccines.

    “It seems to me reckless to be pushing people to take risks when you don’t know what the risks are,” Orient said. “People’s rights should be respected. Where is ‘my body, my choice’ when it comes to this?”

    Orient told the Times she would use her appearance at the hearing to promote hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug touted by Trump — as a treatment for the coronavirus. Despite the president's backing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year withdrew its emergency use authorization for the drug and a number of studies have shown it to be ineffective and potentially harmful.

    There has been no public discussion among government officials of a federal mandate when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, and last week, president-elect Joe Biden said he would not consider or support one.

    "But I would do everything in my power — just like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide — I'll do everything in my power as president of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing," Biden said.

    Leading public health experts have said herd immunity through mass vaccination is the surest way to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. Several coronavirus vaccine candidates have completed clinical trials and are close to gaining emergency approval from the FDA.

    On Monday, the Trump administration announced the president would sign an executive order prioritizing Americans over citizens from foreign nations when it comes to getting the coronavirus vaccine.

    FDA panel votes in favor of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    The logistics of transporting the COVID-19 vaccine
    “The priority is to make sure we distribute these vaccines to Americans before we start shipping them around the world to get international access,” an administration official told Fox News.

    Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said the country's worst months of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still ahead before most Americans can expect to have access to the vaccine.

    "The cavalry is on its way," Fauci said last month. "It's not here yet, but it's going to come. We have an even better than expected efficacy signal on two vaccines. We're likely to already start having distribution of doses, hopefully by the end of December but certainly no later than at the beginning of January. If we can hang on and implement the public health measures, help is really on the way."

  22. #197
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    . The doctor heading a controversial physician’s advocacy group opposing government involvement in medicine has been announced as a leading witness at a US Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee hearing on Tuesday.

    Jane Orient has rejected any “anti-vaxxer” label but her criticism of coronavirus vaccines has drawn scathing rebukes from some senior politicians infuriated by her invitation to testify to Congress.

    “At such a crucial time, giving a platform to conspiracy theorists to spread myths and falsehoods about Covid vaccines is downright dangerous and one of the last things Senate Republicans should be doing right now,” the Senate minority leader and New York Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement released on Sunday.

    Critics have cited Orient’s promotion of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment as well as her organization’s view that federal vaccine mandates are a violation of human rights.

    In a statement provided to the Senate last year, Orient called vaccine mandates “a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy and parental decisions”.

    “The regulation of medical practice is a state function, not a federal one,” she wrote. “Governmental pre-emption of patients’ or parents’ decisions about accepting drugs or other medical interventions is a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy, and parental decisions about child-rearing.”

    Orient is one of four medical professionals set to testify in the hearing in which federal health officials will weigh vaccine mandates and other initiatives to combat a worsening coronavirus pandemic that, so far, has killed more than 282,000 Americans.

    The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is a fringe group of fewer than 5,000 doctors that offers advice experts say isn’t “consistent with evidence-based medicine”. It had even been cited by Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale when explaining why the president had taken hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.

    At that time, Orient told the Guardian she believed the drug “should be prescribed more often”, and in a statement claimed the drug offered “about 90% chance of helping Covid-19 patients”.

    That claim was based on a flawed database.

    As infections surge towards 15m confirmed cases, Orient has opposed government plans for all Americans to be vaccinated, noting that those emerging vaccines currently awaiting approval by US regulators, one made by the Pfizer and BioNTech partnership and the other by Moderna – use a new scientific method.

    There is currently no plan for a federal mandate that Americans be inoculated against Covid-19.

    In a phone interview on Sunday with the New York Times, she called it “reckless to be pushing people to take risks”.

    “People’s rights should be respected. Where is ‘my body, my choice’ when it comes to this?” Orient said, adding she would not get a coronavirus vaccine, telling the Times that she has an autoimmune condition.

    Republicans have presented mixed messages on support for government vaccine mandates, with many expressing concerns about the legality of businesses requiring them and infringements on individual liberties.

    Meanwhile, even as some Republicans questioned the CDC on the safety of the vaccine, Ivanka Trump – White House adviser and daughter of the president – as well as former Republican president George Bush have both confirmed they would publicly take the vaccine.

    Dr. Jane Orient who is labeled as an antivax doctor by critics face a congressional hearing.

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