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Trump defenders will be specifically questioned on Sunday.

White House officials and Republicans struggled to respond to sharp questions from the Sunday morning news show hosts about why President Trump knowingly downplayed the coronavirus in the crucial early months of the pandemic, as journalist Bob Woodward wrote in his new book, Rage. ”

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro claimed on CNN's State of the Union program that "nobody knew" how dangerous the virus was when the president spoke to Mr Woodward in February and March. In fact, Mr Navarro himself wrote a memo in late January warning Trump administration officials that the virus could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of disease or death.

Jake Tapper, the host of the show, aggressively pushed back during the interview.

"He knew it was more deadly than the flu, and he lied to the American public two weeks later," said Tapper, referring to the remarks Trump made on Feb. 26. People? "

Ronna McDaniel, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, provided another defense for the president, saying that Mr. Trump understood the serious threat posed by the coronavirus in early February but was "calm and steady and methodical" because he did not want to panic .

"Think about what would have happened if he went out and said," This is terrible. We should all be scared. We don't have a plan, "Ms. McDaniel said on NBC's Meet the Press program." It would have been a run on the banks. It would have been a run in the hospitals. It would have been a run in the grocery stores. "

The host, Chuck Todd, characterized the president's defense lawyers as saying, "You don't scream a fire when you're in a crowded movie theater."

"It's true," he said. "But you do when the theater is actually on fire."

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under Trump, suggested on the CBS Face the Nation program that the president may have chosen to underestimate the severity of the virus in part because he received bad information early on from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities. Dr. Gottlieb pointed out that the C.D.C. botched its first diagnostic test for the virus and prevented government laboratories from testing for the virus for weeks in February.

The difficulties of the C.D.C. were well documented early on in monitoring the spread of the virus. The agency's plan to conduct a national surveillance measure – by testing samples from people with flulic symptoms – to see if the virus was spreading undetected also failed this month.

"In that regard, I think the leadership of the White House has been failed by health officials," said Dr. Gottlieb the hostess, Margaret Brennan. "We didn't have a diagnosis on site so we couldn't look for it."

"I had a lot of conversations with the White House during this time because I feared it would spread," said Dr. Gottlieb, "and they kept telling me that they heard from top agency officials that it was them." I'm pretty sure it didn't spread here. "

Independent scientists and public health experts have criticized vaccine companies for a lack of public transparency and, in particular, for their refusal to disclose their criteria for deciding whether to stop a trial for safety reasons.

The outcry grew after it was revealed that AstraZeneca's CEO was at a private meeting held by investment bank J.P. Morgan announced why his company recently abandoned its vaccine study – an issue where the vaccine exhibited serious neurological symptoms.

AstraZeneca announced on Saturday that an external body had cleared its trial in the UK to start over, but the company had not yet provided details of the subject's health. And no transcript of the executive's statements to investors, reported by the STAT news agency and later published by an analyst for J.P. Morgan were confirmed.

Another front runner in the vaccine race, Pfizer, made a similarly terse announcement on Saturday: The company plans to expand its clinical trial to thousands more participants, but disclosed few more details about its plan.

Critics say American taxpayers have a right to know more because the federal government has allocated billions of dollars to research vaccines and buy the vaccines after they are approved.

Greater transparency could also help increase public confidence in vaccines when a growing number of Americans fear President Trump will pressurize federal regulators to approve a vaccine before it's proven safe and effective.

"Trust is in short supply," said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, cardiologist and health researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who for years led corporations and academic researchers to share more experimental data with outside scientists. "And the more you can share, the better we are."

When outbreaks hit the U.S. campus, a Georgia college president died of Covid-19.

The president of North Georgia Technical College, a public two-year college in Clarkesville, Georgia with approximately 2,700 students, has died "after losing his battle with Covid-19," the school said on Sunday.

Mark Ivester, 57 years old (not 58 as stated in an earlier version of this briefing) and who had been college president since 2016, has been in the hospital since Aug. 16, according to The Northeast Georgian, a local newspaper. The paper also reported that Amy Hulsey, vice president of community relations for the college, met during a prayer vigil for Dr. Ivester said he was on continuous dialysis at North Georgia Medical Center in Braselton.

"With incredibly heavy hearts, we are so sad to say that Dr. Mark Ivester passed away around midnight last night after losing his battle with Covid-19," the college said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday . “Please pray again for Eleanor” – his wife – and his entire family. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown them and each other over this time. We are all devastated and will miss him terribly. "

A survey by the New York Times found that American colleges and universities registered more than 36,000 non-all new virus cases in the past week, bringing the total number of campus infections since the pandemic started to 88,000. Only about 60 of the cases on campus resulted in deaths, mostly in the spring and among college staff, not students.

It wasn't immediately clear where or how Dr. Iverson contracted the virus.

"He was always so careful and wore a mask as much as possible," Ms. Hulsey said in an email. "Even though he was in intensive care for 4 weeks, we are all still in shock at his death."

The North Georgia Technical College website states that it provides "a safe, clean, and protective environment for everyone on campus," including plexiglass signs in areas where students and staff frequently interact face-to-face and the requirement to do so Students in classrooms and at school must wear masks in common areas.

With cases falling in most of the country, they are on the rise in the Midwest, raising alarms in places that have avoided the worst pandemic yet.

"Our community is experiencing its first sustained, significant epidemic since this terrible pandemic began," said Joe Parisi, the district manager for Dane County, Wisconsin, which also includes Madison. "We are going to have some incredibly difficult and sad weeks ahead of us if we don't get together now and stop this deeply disturbing trend."

As of Friday, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, and Iowa had added newer cases per capita than any other state.

Case numbers aren't the only sign of problems. Test positivity rates, which measure the percentage of positive results among all people tested, are high in much of the Great Plains, a sign of uncontrolled spread and inadequate monitoring.

The surge in infections in the Midwest is different from what Brooklyn saw in March or South Texas in July. So far, hospital stays have not increased. Morgues were not overrun. Locks were not ordered.

Young adults, who often have milder cases of the virus, are helping to fuel the current surge. Thousands of infections have been linked to Midwestern universities, some of which have struggled to enforce social distancing rules.

"We knew this was coming," said Mayor Brandon Bochenski of Grand Forks, N.D., where more than 600 infections – or roughly one in 24 cases in the state – have been linked to the University of North Dakota.

“If we could control students,” said the mayor, “we would have found out about 200 years ago. We did our best. "

Many cases in multiple states have also been linked to a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S. D., attended by thousands of people from across the country. Hundreds of people were infected in a prison in Wichita, Kan. In parts of rural Iowa and North Dakota, case numbers have risen with no apparent college connection.

The day before England and Wales put stricter restrictions in place, the UK recorded 3,330 new infections, bringing it to more than 3,000 cases for the third day in a row.

Infections in the UK have reached levels not seen since May, prompting a member of the government's Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats to warn the country must act quickly.

"I think everyone agrees that we really need to act very quickly now to keep this from growing exponentially," the advisor, Professor Peter Openshaw, told Sky News.

He warned that failure would "put the country back in a harsh state in a short time."

To curb the spread of the virus, the UK government cut the limit on the number of people allowed to meet from 30 to six as of Monday.

Despite various costly mistakes in setting up testing systems and tracking contacts, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the UK's performance at various points in the pandemic. Earlier this week, Mr. Johnson launched Operation Moonshot, a mass testing plan that aims to run 10 million tests a day by early next year – enough to test every individual in the country once a week for $ 130 billion.

However, the current test rate is far below.

The government says it ran around 200,000 coronavirus tests a day for the past week, and officials claim the testing capacity is the highest yet. However, people across England have reported that they cannot get tests in their area or have been asked to travel hundreds of miles to get tested. A health ministry spokeswoman confirmed in a statement that there was significant demand for tests.

The Sunday Times reported that UK laboratories are so congested that there are 185,000 swabs backlog and the country is sending swabs to laboratories in Europe for processing.

There has also been an increase in cases in other European countries.

France saw a record daily increase with 10,561 newly diagnosed cases and an increase in the number of people being hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units. Spain and the Czech Republic also had new outbreaks.


Israel is returning to a nationwide lockdown.

Israel will revert to a nationwide lockdown for at least three weeks starting Friday, the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday.

The public and private sectors will continue to work – at least under strict conditions – but citizens' movements will be restricted to 500 meters from home. It wasn't immediately clear whether the airport would be closed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the drastic measure in a televised address on Sunday evening after the per capita infection rate of the coronavirus in Israel rose to one of the highest in the world. More than 1,100 people in the country have died from the virus.

The restrictions come more than four months after the country emerged from the last lockdown.

On the previous Sunday an ultra-Orthodox minister resigned from the Israeli government over lockdown plans. Yaakov Litzman, the Minister of Housing and Construction, was furious that it coincided with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the day of fasting and reconciliation, and that worshipers would only be allowed into synagogues in limited numbers.

Dr. Ronni Gamzu, the country's virus czar, argued that blocking the Jewish holidays would do less economic damage and prevent large family gatherings where the virus could spread. But Mr Litzman said the government acted earlier for fear of spoiling the Israelis' summer vacation plans.

Mr. Netanyahu said Dr. Gamzu and other health professionals would have "set a red flag on the health system's ability to meet the challenges we face and the need to take the necessary steps as a result."

Other developments around the world:

  • Ireland supports a proposal that all E.U. Countries adopt common rules for international travel restrictions. If the measures are approved, Ireland's quarantine requirements will be replaced with an emphasis on testing and systems assessment of low to high risk countries. The initiative would require some travelers to be tested for the virus prior to entering Ireland, Prime Minister Michael Martin told state broadcaster RTE on Sunday.

  • India According to a New York Times database, 94,372 new cases were reported on Sunday, the fourth straight day that more than 90,000 cases have appeared in the country. India has the second highest number of cases in the world after the US. On Monday, members of parliament were supposed to gather for a session with socially distant precautions.

  • Officials in South Korea said on Sunday that social distancing measures in metropolitan Seoul would be eased for the next two weeks, although new cases remain in the triple digits every day. The relaxation includes the lifting of a ban on eating on site after 9 p.m. and reopening of gyms and internet cafes. Stronger measures include the return on September 28 before the autumn break in Chuseok, when many people travel.

Ethiopia is opening a test kit factory in collaboration with a Chinese company.

Ethiopia, which has some of the most virus cases and deaths in Africa, has partnered with a Chinese company to increase testing capacity across the country.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheaded the opening of a commercial test kit manufacturing facility in the country's capital to produce kits for the local market and for export, with a focus on African nations.

The facility, operated by BGI Health Ethiopia, a subsidiary of genome sequencing company BGI Group based in Shenzhen, China, is also expected to provide laboratory services for travelers at Ethiopia's Bole International Airport, one of the continent's largest and busiest airports.

Mr Abiy said the facility should produce other types of test kits for post-pandemic diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis. He also highlighted a field hospital in the country that can accommodate up to 200 Covid-19 patients.

In recent years, China has expanded its influence worldwide, including in Africa, through trading companies. Now the virus offers new possibilities. The country has also used the promise of a vaccine as a diplomatic carrot to mend tense bonds and fuel engagement. This helps him distinguish himself as a responsible actor when the United States pulls back from global leadership.

Although Ethiopia lags behind South Africa – the hardest-hit African country – more than 63,000 cases have been reported with nearly a thousand deaths, according to a New York Times database. Experts say those numbers are low for a nation of over 110 million people, and authorities recently saw an increasing number of cases after launching a nationwide testing campaign.

Virus data collection in Texas was inconsistent.

Inconsistencies and data collection issues in Texas have tarnished the picture of the pandemic in that state. This is the latest of many examples of how real-time reporting of data by states has made efforts to understand the virus difficult.

Texas missed thousands of coronavirus cases only to report weeks after infection. It has made significant adjustments to its case and death numbers, defining them one way or another, and sometimes suddenly reporting numbers for some counties that were very different from those of the local health department.

Other states have also grappled with data issues, including glitches and backlogs in California and a debate over transparency in Florida. But Texas was troubled by several problems.

Public health officials and researchers blame Texas’s outdated data systems for the state’s data problems and rely on faxed test results that limit the state's ability to track every infection and death in many of its 254 counties. They also say the decentralized structure of the state – with many local governments, some of whom are tiny and run their own public health operations – is ill-equipped to deal with the Covid-19 swarm.

"It's a colossal endeavor, and since it happens in real time, there will inevitably be situations where we need to update or correct something," said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of Health.

"Texas has these 57 strong, independent organizations that do what they do," he said, referring to the state's local health departments. "That is exactly the situation we are in."

The coronavirus spread around the world, and officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development were eager to expedite humanitarian assistance to nations in need. But first they had to have a debate about the branding of the packages.

White House and State Department officials wanted the aid agency's logo to appear on all packages to show the world how much the United States is sending overseas, even as it grapples with its own outbreak.

Career Associate at U.S.A.I.D. argued that the logo and other American symbols could endanger people who have provided or received aid in countries hostile to the United States where trademark exemptions are usually granted.

At the end of the debate this spring, aid workers were allowed to distribute aid without branding in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the discussion delayed assistance to some of the world's most vulnerable communities for several weeks and served as a cautionary note of political interventions angering an agency that prides itself on leading the humanitarian response to global disasters, conflicts and other emergencies.

"Since I've been working on these programs, the USA.I.D. was truly an exceptional, respected leader in global health and humanitarian aid, ”said Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York and Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. "Skewing this mission is an insult and, to me, really outrageous."

As President Trump campaigns for re-election and the virus has claimed more than 193,000 lives in the US, evidence has emerged of his administration's meddling in many agencies dealing with the pandemic.

For example, political officials from the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise, delay, and even sink reports of the coronavirus that they believed did not flatter Mr. Trump.

And the president personally pressured the director of the National Institutes of Health to expedite the review of the convalescent plasma for the treatment of Covid-19. Although the review of this agency was ongoing, on the eve of the Republican National Convention, Mr Trump announced that the F.D.A. had approved plasma therapy for wider use and greatly exaggerated what the data had shown about the benefits.

When students return to colleges around the world to socialize after months of coronavirus restrictions, they're paying a price for a previously common aspect of student life: parties.

In the UK, police recently fined £ 10,000 (about $ 12,800) a university student who organized a party of over 50 people in his off-campus dorm. The fine – the maximum penalty for violating the country's 30-person restriction on gatherings – was imposed when England and Wales agreed to reduce the size of allowable gatherings to just six as of Monday.

In the United States, six Miami University students at a house near campus in Oxford, Ohio, received quotes fined $ 500 each over Labor Day weekend when they hosted a party that many students in attendance found positive tested for the virus.

Penalties for attending illegal gatherings were common. 11 Northeastern University students have been dismissed for violating public health regulations, and hundreds of Ohio State University students have been suspended, in addition to suspensions from Purdue University, Syracuse University, and New York University.

Some institutions admitted that it would make little sense to contain the parties as a whole. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a comprehensive plan to control the virus was considered, according to which the school's more than 7,000 students would attend parties three times a week. What was not calculated was that if tested positive, some would attend meetings.

Still, many take virus restrictions seriously. Oxford University and other colleges have experimented asking students to sign "accountability agreements," and Yale University has set up hotlines for reports of hazardous activity.

Although many students have said the idea of ​​shedding the whistle on their classmates made them uncomfortable, more than 4,000 people signed a petition launched by college students to revoke a freshman's admission to Cornell University after posting a video of a party taunting security precautions.

The coverage was by Christopher Cameron, Damien Cave, Abdi Latif Dahir, Tess Felder, Lazaro Gamio, Abby Goodnough, Lara Jakes, Lisa Waananen Jones, Isabel Kershner, Sarah Kliff, Dan Levin, Dan Powell, Roni Caryn Rabin, Anna Schaverien and Mitch written by Smith, Kate Taylor, Katie Thomas, Pranshu Verma, Amy Schönfeld Walker, and Will Wright.


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