Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.
We’ll be watching for the coronavirus and health policy to come up at the vice presidential debate tonight (featuring plexiglass!)
Meanwhile, President Trump is back working in the Oval Office after his COVID-19 diagnosis. His doctor says he feels great and is showing no symptoms. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the U.S. :
Trump works from Oval Office six days after COVID-19 diagnosis
President Trump worked from the Oval Office on Wednesday, less than a week after his coronavirus diagnosis, as his doctor said in a memo Trump was feeling “great” and experiencing no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that coronavirus patients self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms. Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and spent three days at Walter Reed Military Medical Facility receiving care over the weekend, returning to the White House on Monday evening.
A White House spokesman said that Trump is being briefed on stimulus talks and Hurricane Delta. A Marine stood outside the entrance to the West Wing, a sign that the president is at work inside.
Why it matters: In working from the Oval Office, Trump may be increasing the risk that others in the West Wing catch the virus. It was not clear who was briefing Trump Wednesday afternoon.
No questions: Trump’s doctor has not briefed reporters in person since Monday, before Trump left the hospital. Instead, he has been releasing memos outlining the president’s condition.
The memo from White House physician Sean Conley on Wednesday did not contain specific information about what medication the president is currently taking. While Conley said Trump showed “demonstrated level of antibodies,” he did not address whether antibodies were detected because Trump recently received an experimental antibody cocktail as part of his treatment, which is likely the case.
Read more here.
Republicans frustrated by Trump’s messages on COVID-19 aid
There’s some dissent in the ranks of House Republicans over President Trump’s decision to end negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on a COVID stimulus package.
Some worry the move will hurt them in the 2020 elections.
The president’s decision to pull out of negotiations, which was not broadly supported by House Republicans, flipped the narrative the GOP has been hitting Democrats with – that Pelosi was blocking the deal. Instead, multiple GOP lawmakers described the tweet as a “disaster” that served as a self-inflicted wound ahead of Election Day.
One GOP lawmaker told The Hill that he believes the party would have been better served if Trump received more input from lawmakers and actually listened to them.
“I believe that President Trump’s decisions would be improved, as would his political standing, if he actively sought and listened to members that represent communities in this country,” the lawmaker said.
A number of Republicans acknowledged Trump is right to feel frustrated over the negotiations with Democrats, but that Trump’s announcement compounded the image problem of a White House that Democrats say is not acting urgently enough to combat the virus that has infected more 7.5 million and killed more than 210,000 in the U.S. alone.
Read more here.
Some progress on the treatment front
Eli Lilly said Wednesday it has requested emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody treatment for the coronavirus.
The company said it had submitted an initial request to the FDA for its antibody treatment, which was derived from a blood sample of a patient who recovered from the coronavirus. The treatment essentially injects a manufactured version of one of the body’s tools for fighting the virus into patients.
Video: Trump has ‘no symptoms,’ returns to downplaying virus (Associated Press)
The company is asking for emergency authorization for higher-risk patients who have recently been diagnosed with “mild to moderate COVID-19.” The company said last month that data from a phase two study showed the treatment reduced the hospitalization rate for people who received it.
Big picture: Antibody treatments are viewed as promising, and President Trump received a similar treatment last week made by a competitor company, Regeneron. Approval of antibody treatments could help serve as a bridge until vaccines are ready.
Read more here.
A daunting number
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, said Tuesday that as many as 400,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if action isn’t taken in the fall and winter.
Fauci told attendees of a virtual event held by American University that between 300,000 and 400,000 could die from coronavirus in the country.
“The models tell us if we don’t do what we need to in the fall and winter, we could have 300,000-400,000 COVID-19 deaths,” American University quoted the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as saying.
As of Wednesday morning, the U.S. has recorded 210,918 deaths and more than 7.5 million confirmed infections of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And a striking quote about himself: “Maybe 50 percent of you hate me because you think I’m trying to destroy the country, but listen to me for six weeks or so, and do what I say, and you’ll see the numbers go down,” Fauci said, according to the university.
Read more here.
Wisconsin activates field hospital amid COVID-19 surge
Wisconsin health officials will activate a field hospital located at the state’s fairgrounds in order to help relieve the strain on medical facilities overwhelmed by a massive influx of COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Wednesday said the 530-bed facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee will begin accepting coronavirus patients within the next week.
Evers said that hospitals across the state are worried about reaching capacity and the field site is opening at the request of hospital leaders.
Wisconsin in the past month has become a hot spot for COVID-19 infections. Officials reported an average of nearly 2,500 new cases a day in the last week alone, a 28 percent increase over 14 days.
On Sept. 7, there were 289 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wisconsin. One month later, hospitalizations have nearly tripled, with 853 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Read more here.
Meanwhile, in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned of a tough few weeks ahead after an increase of new cases. Read more on that here.
It’s not just Wisconsin and New York. Cases are on the rise across the nation. The U.S. is averaging about 44,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, an increase of 6 percent from the average two weeks earlier largely because of outbreaks in the midwest and west, according to a New York Times tracker.
What we’re reading:
‘We need to take away children,’ no matter how young, Justice Dept. officials said (The New York Times)
How much would Trump’s coronavirus treatment cost most Americans? (The New York Times)
8 questions we still have about Trump’s case of Covid-19 (Stat)
‘Infectious disease icon asks CDC director to expose White House, orchestrate his own firing (USA Today)
State by state
Hard lives made harder by COVID: Homeless endure a ‘slow-moving train wreck’ (California Healthline)
Pa., N.J. report highest COVID-19 case levels since late spring (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Virus Surges in North Dakota, Filling Hospitals and Testing Attitudes (New York Times)
The Hill op-eds
The confidentiality of Trump’s medical information has limits
Trump’s illness doesn’t absolve him of responsibility
Restoring the American Dream will make America healthier
Important COVID-19 science the public should know