Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Calls His Aggressive, Experimental Treatment ‘Pretty Routine’
President Trump said in an interview on Fox News on Sunday that he was taking “pretty routine” medicine to treat his coronavirus infection, though some of his treatments were aggressive and experimental, and added that he was immune and now “totally free of spreading” the virus.
When he repeated the claim that he was immune and unable to spread the virus on Twitter, the platform added a label saying that the tweet violated Twitter’s rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.
The president spoke about his treatments with Maria Bartiromo on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” adding that he was prepared to resume campaign travel on Monday, when he has a rally planned in Florida.
“The medications that I took were standard, pretty routine,” Mr. Trump said. In fact, he received cutting-edge combination treatment: remdesivir, an antiviral medication; dexamethasone, a steroid only recently shown to reduce death rates in severe cases; and an experimental cocktail of monoclonal antibodies, designed to turn back the virus shortly after infection.
Mr. Trump insisted that he was now immune to the virus. “It does give you immunity,” the president said, although he acknowledged it’s unclear for how long.
Scientists do not yet fully understand how long immunity to the coronavirus may last following an infection, nor how strong it may be.
Mr. Trump pointed out that he was on a balcony for an event on Saturday at the White House attended by a few hundred people who gathered on the South Lawn, and therefore posed little threat of infecting others.
“I think on the whole, it is probably a safe assumption he is no longer contagious,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, citing some of the data released about the president’s test results.
“I think the question now is, has his health been restored?” Dr. Gottlieb said. “And we know that a lot of patients have lingering effects from Covid.”
Mr. Trump tried to raise questions about whether his opponent in the upcoming presidential election, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., could be sick, claiming he had been coughing “horribly” yesterday.
The Biden campaign released results of the candidate’s coronavirus testing, which so far are negative. The White House has declined to do for the president, even in a doctor’s memo on Saturday declaring him no longer at risk of transmitting the virus.
There is not nearly enough of the experimental Covid-19 drug that President Trump called a “cure” after receiving it — and promised to distribute for free — to treat the many Americans who may need it, the chief executive of Regeneron, the drug’s maker, said on Sunday.
Currently, there are enough doses of the drug to treat 50,000 patients, the company has said. There were more than 51,000 new infections reported in the United States on Saturday alone, according to a New York Times database.
“We have to figure out ways to ration this,” said Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, the co-founder and C.E.O. of Regeneron, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
He said that the company was still in discussions with the administration about who might be first to receive the monoclonal antibodies and when. The treatment has not been approved by the F.D.A., but the White House is pushing the agency to grant an emergency use authorization and speed the drug to market.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, also on the program, noted a resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks in the Midwest and Northeastern states, and faulted the Trump administration for failing to ramp up manufacturing of potential treatments last spring.
Monoclonal antibodies have long seemed promising, he added. “It is too late for this year,” Dr. Gottlieb said. “We can take steps now to do it in 2021.”
Mr. Trump touted the treatment as a “cure” for Covid-19 in a video last week, in which he extolled the benefits he felt after receiving it. But it is impossible to know whether or to what extent the drug may be responsible for his apparent recovery.
Both Mr. Trump and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, called Dr. Stephen Hahn, the F.D.A. commissioner, several days ago to urge that the agency approve the treatment quickly. Eli Lilly, which also makes an antibody treatment, has applied for emergency authorization as well.
Dr. Hahn told Mr. Trump that the agency’s scientists must fully review the data before approval, according to an F.D.A. official.
Obese Americans are more likely to become dangerously ill if they are infected with the new coronavirus. Now public health officials are warning that a much broader segment of the population also may be at risk: Even moderately excess weight may increase the odds of severe disease.
The warning, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, may have serious implications. The World Health Organization says excess weight is a problem around the world, affecting 1.9 billion people in 2016.
In the United States, about 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and another 32 percent are simply overweight — rates that are among the world’s highest and mean that nearly three-quarters of Americans may be at increased risk of severe Covid-19 if infected.
“It’s important to make sure the public and individuals are aware of this potential risk,” said Dr. Brook Belay, a medical officer at the C.D.C.
Other medical conditions for which there is limited or mixed evidence of increased Covid-19 severity include asthma, cerebrovascular disease and cystic fibrosis, the C.D.C. said. Medical conditions clearly shown to increase the risk of Covid-19 include cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart disease and sickle cell disease, among others.
Doctors observed early on in the pandemic that excess weight appeared to pose an extra risk to patients. But since obesity is often accompanied by other medical problems, it took some time for researchers to learn whether excess fat, in and of itself, was the culprit. Many studies now indicate that it may be, at least in some patients.
Adipose tissue — the fat accumulated by the body — is itself biologically active, causing metabolic changes and abnormalities. Adipose promotes a state of chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, even without an infection.
In addition, abdominal obesity — which is more common in men — may cause compression of the diaphragm, lungs and chest cavity, restricting breathing and making it more difficult to clear pneumonia and other respiratory infections
The coronavirus is roaring back across much of Europe, where countries are reporting daily infection numbers comparable to — and sometimes far beyond — those of the pandemic’s first peaks.
France, which has placed Paris and five other cities on maximum alert, reported 26,896 new infections on Saturday, a record daily high. The country reported 20,000 cases the day before, and as of Saturday had averaged just 16,000 daily cases over the previous week.
Daily cases have risen on average 32 percent over the past two weeks, and daily deaths are up by 14 percent, according to a New York Times database.
Britain, which recorded over 15,000 cases on Saturday, is expected to announce a new plan on Monday that would rank areas in tiers; places where the virus is spreading would require tighter restrictions.
The nation is at a “tipping point,” Jonathan Van-Tam, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer said. “This time is different,” he said, “as we are now going into the colder, darker winter months.”
In Spain, two more regions on Sunday ordered new restrictions after the government used emergency powers on Friday to enforce a partial lockdown in the Madrid area — despite protests from the region’s leaders. The country reported over 12,000 new cases on Friday, and it’s seven-day average of daily deaths has risen 14 percent.
Even Germany, much praised for its testing and contact-tracing capabilities, reported a record 8,000 new infections on Saturday, by far its highest single-day number. But the country’s seven-day average of new daily cases remains far below its spring peak of almost 5,600.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that more restrictive measures would follow local ones, including a curfew of 11 p.m. on bars in some places, if infections did not slow in urban hot spots.
“We will go back to partying, to having fun without corona restrictions,” she said. “But right now, other things are more important.”
The Israeli military began treating civilian coronavirus patients for the first time on Sunday, deploying to an overstrained hospital in the port city of Haifa and opening two Covid-19 wards in a previously unused fortified underground facility.
The move is another expansion of the military’s contribution to the country’s fight against the virus. The civil defense force has been running “coronavirus hotels” where infected people can isolate themselves and providing food to hard-hit areas. In August, the force formed a task force, headed by a decorated major general, to expand testing and contact tracing, and to offer local logistical assistance.
Israel has been under a second national lockdown since mid-September, after its coronavirus daily infection and death rates soared to among the highest in the world. The infection rate has begun to decline in recent days, from a peak of 9,000 daily confirmed cases to under 4,000.
About 100 doctors, nurses and paramedics of the Israel Defense Force’s medical corps are joining civilian staff to operate the two Covid-19 wards beneath the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. Wearing ordinary hospital scrubs under their masks and gowns, officials said that they would be indistinguishable to patients from the civilian medical staff.
Rambam’s fortified facility was constructed in 2014. Located 16.5 meters, or about 54 feet, underground in a space that doubles as a parking lot, it was designed as an emergency hospital that could withstand chemical, biological and conventional attacks during wartime.
The new wards will initially have the capacity to treat a few dozen patients who are not in need of ventilation, according to Col. Dr. Noam Fink, the military’s deputy chief medical officer. The first two patients were admitted on Sunday.
Israeli hospitals have so far managed to cope with the coronavirus crisis, but Dr. Avi Weissman, the deputy manager of the Haifa hospital, said that the caseload had forced hospital staff to be pulled from other departments and that close to a third of the elective surgery the hospital would ordinarily perform had been delayed.
Nepal, a country of 30 million people sandwiched between India and China, is enmeshed in a public health crisis.
Coronavirus infections have surpassed 100,000, about a third of which are currently active. That is a modest caseload compared with the United States and neighboring India, which lead the world in total infections, but more than the 94,000 cases reported in Nepal’s other neighbor of more than a billion people, China, where the virus first emerged late last year.
Cases in Nepal are increasing sharply, with a record 5,008 new infections recorded on Saturday. The Health Ministry counts fewer than 400 patients in intensive care, but even that has left I.C.U.s overflowing. Frontline doctors have also been infected, raising fears that health institutions’ staffing will be hollowed out.
To avoid system collapse, the government has asked Covid-19 patients to stay in home isolation — with the possibility of imprisonment if they venture outside — and to go to hospitals only if their condition turns critical. Almost 16,000 infected patients are in home isolation, according to the Health Ministry, and more than 11,000 others are in institutional isolation or hospitals.
But by the time infected people become seriously ill, it may be too late. Dr. Rabindra Pandey, a public health expert, said that some patients had died in ambulances while searching for I.C.U. beds, others in home isolation, and still others while waiting for I.C.U. beds in isolation wards. More than 600 people have died in Nepal since the pandemic began, a relatively low death rate but one that is likely to rise since the explosion in cases was so recent.
“We are already in critical condition in terms of controlling coronavirus,” Dr. Pandey said. “But darker days are yet to come.”
On Sunday, health experts warned that if the virus continued to spread in the countryside it would be impossible for the health care system to handle the influx of cases. Most facilities are in Kathmandu, the capital, which is the center of the country’s outbreak.
The situation has raised alarm about two major approaching festivals. During Dashain, a 15-day Hindu and Buddhist festival that takes place later this month, Nepalis living abroad and the country’s urbanites normally travel to villages in the mountains and plains to see relatives. Similar celebrations take place during Tihar, a five-day Hindu festival that is akin to the Diwali festival of lights in India and that falls next month.
The Health Ministry has urged Nepalis not to go out for Dashain shopping and to keep their distance from older people, even if it means canceling holiday plans.
In other global developments:
South Korea said on Sunday that it was easing social-distancing restrictions, lifting a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and more than 100 outdoors. Under the new guidelines, which take effect on Monday, high-risk facilities like nightclubs, bars, karaoke parlors and buffet restaurants can open for business and spectators will be allowed into sports stadiums. South Korea tightened restrictions in August amid a second wave of infections but appears to have brought the outbreak under control, with daily new cases mostly down to double digits in the past two weeks.
A curfew in Berlin closed bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. on Saturday, curbing the German capital’s renowned nightlife. Berlin was following in the footsteps of Frankfurt, where a curfew had already been imposed, but starting an hour earlier.
Lebanon will close bars and nightclubs indefinitely to help contain the virus, Reuters reported. The virus has killed more than 450 people in a country reeling from financial crisis and an explosion in Beirut two months ago.
The White House continued to express optimism on Sunday that a stimulus package could be signed before Election Day, even as Senate Republicans panned the idea of passing another multitrillion-dollar relief bill and President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi traded blame for the impasse.
Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, suggested that skeptical Senate Republicans would follow President Trump’s lead if Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ms. Pelosi could reach a deal.
“If an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” Mr. Kudlow said on CNN.
Mr. Kudlow’s remarks, however, seemed to be starkly at odds with the sentiment expressed by many Senate Republicans, who dashed hopes that the White House’s $1.8 trillion offer would have sufficient support in their party in a conference call on Saturday.
In a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Sunday, Ms. Pelosi said Republicans were once again at odds over their own position, and she continued to hammer away at the White House for what she called a “wholly insufficient” proposal for greater testing, contact tracing and treatment.
“Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse,” she wrote. “However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to work toward a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families and will do so soon.”
But Mr. Trump, who abruptly halted talks earlier this week before reversing his position to demand a large package, claimed on Sunday that Ms. Pelosi of California remained the sole impediment to the legislation.
“Republicans want to do it — we’re having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Trump said on Sunday, speaking on Fox News. “We’re ready to go. We’re all ready to go. We can’t get Nancy Pelosi to sign the documents.”
It was unclear what documents he was referring to.
Republicans senators have expressed some support for smaller, targeted legislation to help stricken industries. And in a letter to Congress on Sunday, Mr. Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, called on lawmakers to approve a bill that would repurpose funds from the lapsed Paycheck Protection Program as negotiations continued. (Democrats have previously rejected passing piecemeal legislation instead of a broad, comprehensive package.)
“This all-or-Nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” the two men wrote.
The president has been largely ignoring those concerns, saying on Friday that he wants a stimulus package that is larger than what Democrats or Republicans have proposed.
Asked on Sunday if Mr. Mnuchin would in fact be proposing a package that would cost more than $2 trillion, Mr. Kudlow paused and said, “He may.”
Despite the uncertain path to getting anything passed in the next three weeks, Mr. Kudlow insisted that the economic recovery was on track and that Democrats were to blame if nothing got done.
“I think if we could get this thing settled on a Democrat side, we will get it settled on the Republican side,” Mr. Kudlow said, adding that negotiations would continue.
As President Trump continued to trail by double digits in polls, several of his surrogates tried on Sunday to shift attention away from the details of his coronavirus infection and his administration’s handling of the pandemic.
In interviews on the morning talk shows, the president’s son Eric Trump; his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump; and the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, repeatedly deflected or responded dishonestly when asked about the president’s flouting of public health guidelines and other matters.
Ms. McDaniel said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that voters were “frustrated by the corrupt debate commission, that they would cancel a second debate.” The commission didn’t cancel the debate; it announced that it would be virtual to avoid the possibility of coronavirus transmission, and Mr. Trump withdrew.
Ms. Trump, asked on “Fox News Sunday” why she and others in the president’s family had disregarded the mask requirement at the first debate, said no officials had told them to put masks on, even though there is video of an official doing so.
And Eric Trump said on ABC’s “This Week” that his father had received a coronavirus vaccine, which he didn’t; he received treatments for the virus. He also said falsely that Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris wanted to defund the police.
He and Lara Trump both insisted that the administration had done its due diligence by testing attendees at White House events, including the Rose Garden nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett — even though the tests it relied on weren’t meant to be used that way, and even though health experts’ conclusion that Judge Barrett’s nomination was a superspreader event showed the ineffectiveness of that strategy.
When pressed on these and other points, Mr. Trump and Ms. McDaniel berated their interviewers for what they said was insufficient focus on the violence at racial justice protests and on Mr. Biden’s refusal to say whether he would support adding justices to the Supreme Court.
“This is all the media should be focusing on,” Ms. McDaniel said of the court-packing issue, deflecting from a question about whether the president would resume in-person fund-raisers after his illness and, if so, whether his campaign would require masks.
Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, was in fact questioned sharply on court-packing on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“This is a hypothetical that they want to throw out right now to distract from the fact that they are trying to ram through a nominee — who, as I said, is going to change the makeup of the court — against the will of the American people,” she said, adding that Mr. Biden’s focus was on preventing Republicans from confirming Judge Barrett, though there is little Democrats can do to prevent that.
When pressed further, Ms. Bedingfield said: “He’s probably answered this question 15 times over the course of the last week. The answer is, I am not going to play Donald Trump’s game. I am not going to allow the terms of this debate to shift to a hypothetical that assumes, by the way, that the Democrats are going to lose here. That’s what’s at the core of this argument they’re making. It assumes that we’re going to lose. Vice President Biden doesn’t accept that.”
After contracting the coronavirus in March, Michael Reagan lost all memory of his 12-day vacation in Paris, even though the trip was just a few weeks earlier.
Several weeks after Erica Taylor recovered from her Covid-19 symptoms of nausea and cough, she became confused and forgetful, failing to even recognize her own car, the only Toyota Prius in her apartment complex’s parking lot.
It’s becoming known as Covid brain fog: troubling cognitive symptoms that can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, dizziness and grasping for everyday words. Increasingly, Covid survivors say brain fog is impairing their ability to work and function normally.
“There are thousands of people who have that,” said Dr. Igor Koralnik, chief of neuro-infectious disease at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, who has already seen hundreds of survivors at a post-Covid clinic he leads. “The impact on the work force that’s affected is going to be significant.”
Scientists aren’t sure what causes brain fog, which varies widely and affects even people who became only mildly physically ill from Covid-19 and had no previous medical conditions. M.R.I. scans don’t indicate brain damage.
Leading theories are that the fog arises when the body’s immune response to the virus doesn’t shut down or from inflammation in blood vessels leading to the brain.
Confusion, delirium and other types of altered mental function, called encephalopathy, have occurred during hospitalization for Covid-19 respiratory problems, and a study found that such patients needed longer hospitalizations, had higher mortality rates and often couldn’t manage daily activities right after hospitalization.
Dr. Serena Spudich, chief of neurological infections and global neurology at Yale School of Medicine, spoke to the possibility that inflammation in blood vessels, or cells lining the vessels, was involved. Inflammatory molecules, released in effective immune responses, “can also be sort of toxins, particularly to the brain,” she said.
Tiny strokes may cause some symptoms. Other possible causes are autoimmune reactions “when antibodies mistakenly attack nerve cells,” Dr. Spudich said.
The National Football League has indefinitely postponed Monday’s game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, the latest reshuffling of the league’s schedule to accommodate the rash of positive tests for the coronavirus.
The N.F.L. had already pushed back the game from Sunday to Monday after Stephon Gilmore, the team’s star defensive back, tested positive. The team returned to practice on Saturday, but another presumptive positive test on Sunday forced the league to act before the Broncos left Denver for Foxborough, Mass.
The league has not said when or if the game will be made up. Because this week will now serve as the bye week for both teams, there are no other openings on their schedule unless other games are moved, or the league adds an additional week to the season for makeup games.
The Patriots were originally scheduled for a bye in Week 6, and the Broncos had a bye in Week 8.
The Tennessee Titans, who have been grappling with the biggest outbreak in the league, shut down their team facility on Sunday after another staff member tested positive, according to the N.F.L. Network, throwing in doubt the team’s upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills, already pushed back to Tuesday.
The Titans have reported two dozen positive cases among its players, coaches and staff members in the past several weeks. The league has already pushed the Titans-Steelers game back three weeks, to Oct. 25.
The N.F.L. told teams this week they would risk severe penalties, including the loss of draft picks, stiff fines and potentially the forfeiture of games if they do not follow the league’s safety protocols.
Without in-person company meetings during the pandemic, many chief executives have become regulars at a new type of meeting: the family dinner. For some of the busiest people in the world, the new normal has reshaped life at home.
John Foley, the chief executive and founder of Peloton, and his wife, Jill, a vice president at Peloton, used to leave the house each morning by 7:45 a.m. and not come home until 7:30 p.m. By then, their nanny had already fed and readied their two children — an 8-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son — for bed.
In March, everything changed. Not only were the Foleys having dinner together every night, they were together all of the time.
Mr. Foley said he credited family dinners for helping his daughter become more mature. “Her personality has blossomed,” he said, “and that’s partly because we’re together as a family, learning from each other.”
Homayoun Hatami, a managing partner at McKinsey & Company in Paris, surveyed chief executives for a report on leadership during the pandemic and found that many, like Mr. Foley, had begun to set aside time for family dinners.
Decades of research have shown the benefits of regular family meals for children across the socioeconomic spectrum. Children who eat with their parents have bigger vocabularies, receive higher grades and have lower rates of obesity.
Sara Blakely, the chief executive and founder of Spanx, which sells sculpting bodysuits and pants, said her family of six now eats dinner together every night, up from three to four nights a week before the pandemic. Spending more time at home has given her children new insights into who she is not only as their mother, but also as the creator of a business empire, she said.
She realized recently that her children had not known she was an inventor, with several patents in her name.
“They were like, ‘Well, what do you mean you’re an inventor?’ They think of an inventor as only a man — as being Einstein or Edison,” she said.