Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Healthcare. The Trump administration announced it will send 100 million rapid COVID-19 to states by the end of the year. The CDC found adolescents are twice as likely than young children to test positive for COVID-19. And the CDC director was overheard blasting Scott Atlas, one of President Trump’s coronavirus experts. Let’s start with testing news:
Trump announces plan to distribute 100M rapid COVID-19 tests to states
President Trump on Monday announced a plan to distribute 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests to states this week, strongly urging governors to use them to help schools reopen.
The Abbott tests, which are cheaper and faster than lab tests, return results in about 15 minutes and are already widely used in nursing homes under a program set up by the Trump administration.
“In the old days when we just started this you remember we’d go out and we’d have to find these massive laboratories with tremendously expensive equipment. Now we’re down to something that you’ll see that is really from a different planet,” Trump said at a press conference from the Rose Garden.
The Trump administration’s announcement comes as experts warn of a surge of new coronavirus cases in the fall and winter, when the cold weather drives people indoors, aiding the virus’s spread.
Already, 32 states are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases, pushing the U.S. to an average of 43,000 new cases per day – a 23 percent increase from the average just two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker.
Read more here.
Quite a thing to overhear….CDC director blasting Trump health adviser: ‘Everything he says is false’
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was overheard blasting Scott Atlas, a new member of the White House coronavirus task force who appears to have the ear of President Trump, according to a report by NBC.
“Everything he says is false,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said during a phone call on a flight that was overheard by a journalist working for NBC News.
After the flight, Redfield was was approached by NBC News and confirmed he was speaking about Atlas.
Atlas, a Stanford neuroradiologist, was brought on the task force in August.
He has come under criticism for a push to reopen schools and some skepticism about the science of wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Read more here.
Trump seeks boost from seniors with $200 drug discount coupons
There’s a key campaign constituency that would benefit from President Trump’s announcement of $200 drug discount cards: seniors.
But the move raises legal questions, given that Congress has not authorized the roughly $7 billion in spending, and Democrats and some health experts said it would be an unprecedented use of the Medicare program for political gain ahead of the election.
Trump made no effort to disguise the fact that he sees the move as a political benefit with seniors, a key voting bloc, ahead of the election.
“These cards are incredible,” Trump said during a health care speech in North Carolina last week. “The cards will be mailed out in coming weeks. I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens. Joe Biden won’t be doing this.”
Where’s the money coming from? The White House did not provide a clear explanation for the source of the program’s funding. A White House official said Thursday evening that the spending would be offset by a program to lower drug prices by tying them to lower prices in other countries, a plan called “most-favored nation.” But that plan, while it has been proposed, has not gone into effect yet, meaning that there currently are no savings from it.
The Wall Street Journal then reported on Friday that the money would be coming from the Medicare Trust Fund, which appears to be a more realistic source of funds.
Read more here.
Swing-state voters cite pandemics as top concern, less worried by China threat: poll
Voters in 12 battleground states rank fighting global pandemics as a greater concern than standing up to China, according to a survey by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin.
Forty-five percent of likely voters in the survey called protecting against pandemics their top priority, compared to 25 percent who said the same in March.
Twenty-nine percent, including 41 percent of Republicans, named terrorism as a top concern in the election, making it the second-highest concern.
The poll was conducted for the anti-Trump advocacy group National Security Action.
“The fact that terrorism’s been replaced in this way, at least for this election, by keeping Americans safe from pandemics is a very significant development,” Garin told NBC News.
Read more here.
Adolescents twice as likely as young children to test positive for COVID-19
Adolescents are twice as likely as young children to test positive for COVID-19, according to a new analysis released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between March 1 and Sept. 19, more than 277,000 children tested positive for COVID-19; 63 percent were between the ages of 12 and 17 while 37 percent were between the ages of 5 and 11.
“Incidence among adolescents was approximately double that among younger children throughout the reporting period,” the authors wrote in the analysis.
From May to September, the average weekly incidence among adolescents was 37.4 cases per 100,000 compared to 19 cases per 100,000 for younger children, the report reads.
Hispanic and Black children were disproportionately more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than their white peers.
Read more here.
What we’re reading
CDC’s credibility is eroded by internal blunders and external attacks as coronavirus vaccine campaigns loom (Washington Post)
‘It’s not in my head’: They survived the coronavirus, but they never got well (New York Times)
A layperson’s guide to how – and when – a COVID-19 vaccine could be authorized (Stat News)
State by state
‘We need to get to the bottom of these clusters’: Cuomo warns as coronavirus cases increase throughout state and NYC (New York Daily News)
N.J. set to receive millions of rapid coronavirus tests from feds. It could be a ‘game-changer,’ Murphy says. (NJ.com)
State reports nearly 22% positive coronavirus tests as outbreak in northeast Wisconsin worsens (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The Hill op-eds
US public health service needs reform
Signature requirements needlessly delay Social Security Disability benefits for neediest Americans