Kaiser Health News Answers Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines

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Congress 

  • The House of Representatives passed a Democrat-led COVID-19 relief bill. Specifically, Democrats passed a smaller ($2.2 trillion) version of the $3 trillion HEROES Act. Bipartisan negotiations on a compromise relief bill continued over the weekend and today but little progress has been reported. 
  • Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee produced a report on COVID-19 racial health disparities. 
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar testified at a Congressional hearing about the agency’s COVID-19 response efforts. 

White House and Federal Agencies

  • In the early hours of Friday morning, President Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19. Later in the day, President Trump travelled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for treatment. On Monday, he announced he will return to the White House that evening. 
    • Vice President Pence, who was in contact with President Trump while he was infected, tested negative for the virus for three consecutive days. 
    • Several White House aids and three Senators also tested positive over the weekend. 
  • FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn provided more information about how the FDA will review COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates 

  • The CDC published updated guidance intended to help college and university administrators protect students, faculty, and staff from COVID-19 infections and slow the spread of the virus. This document includes considerations for expanded and widespread testing; provides a tiered approach to testing in the context of an outbreak; gives examples of successful entry and periodic screening strategies; and discusses the likelihood of off-campus transmission. 
    • The CDC also published new guidance for how institutions of higher education can implement contact tracing and case investigations. 
  • The CDC acknowledged that COVID-19 is airborne and can be spread indoors at distances of greater than six-feet depending on the room’s ventilation. 
  • CDC announced the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through October 31, 2020. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Economy, Vaccine, Treatment and Testing

  • Kaiser Health News published an article answering common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines being developed. 

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