President Donald Trump on Tuesday night denied playing down the threat of the coronavirus, even after telling Bob Woodyard in a taped interview that he knew the virus was deadlier than the flu.
“Well, I didn’t play it down. In fact, in many ways, I played it in terms of action,” Trump said during an ABC News televised town hall Tuesday night. Trump, once again, said the virus would “go away” with or without a vaccine thanks to what he called a “herd mentality,” referring to herd immunity.
Meanwhile, Texas is approaching 700,000 confirmed infections. The Lone Star State would become the second in the country, after California, to reach that total. As of Tuesday evening, the state had 668,746 infections and 14,343 deaths.
Some significant developments:
- India has passed 5 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 82,000 deaths.
- Pfizer, one of the pioneers in creating a COVID-19 vaccine, reported that its candidate had “potential” after expanding its trial over the weekend.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that the House would remain in session until a breakthrough is made on a coronavirus stimulus bill.
📈 The numbers of the day: New case records have been set in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through Monday night. A record number of deaths have been reported in Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and Guam. The United States has reported more than 6.6 million cases and 195,900 deaths. Worldwide, there have been more than 29.5 million cases and 934,000 deaths.
📰 What we read: Even as thousands of their workers fell ill with COVID-19, meat packaging executives pressured federal regulators to help keep their factories open, according to a multitude of emails obtained by USA TODAY. Read more.
🗺️ Coronavirus mapping: Track the US epidemic, state by state
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India surpasses 5 million COVID-19 cases, 90K of which in past 24 hours
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in India topped 5 million on Wednesday, still skyrocketing and testing the country’s weak healthcare system in tens of thousands of poor towns and villages.
The health ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, or about 0.35 percent of its population of nearly 1.4 billion. According to the report, 1,290 more people have died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066 people.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India is approaching the highest number of cases in the United States with more than 6.6 million cases and is expected to surpass it within a few weeks.
India reported a daily record of 97,570 cases on September 11 and added more than one million cases this month alone.
Anti-masks ordered to dig graves for coronavirus victims in Indonesia
Eight people in Indonesia who refused to wear masks in public were ordered by a local official to dig graves for victims of COVID-19. As Indonesia faces rise in COVID-19 cases, leaders in Cerme, a district in east Java, have implemented stricter enforcement of social distancing and mask-wearing policies .
For the eight people who violated the local mask’s mandate, it meant digging graves. The district chief, identified by Indonesian news site Tribun News as Suyono, proposed the punishment due to the lack of gravediggers in the area.
“There are only three gravediggers available at the moment, so I thought I might as well have these people work with them,” he told Tribun News. “I hope this can create a deterrent effect against violations,” he said.
– Joshua Bote
DOJ: Texas woman fraudulently received nearly $ 2 million in PPP loans
A Texas woman who received nearly $ 2 million in paycheck protection program loans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday on fraud allegations.
Lola Shalewa Barbara Kasali, of Houston, has been charged with making false statements to a financial institution, bank wire fraud, bank fraud and participating in illegal money transactions, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
Officials say Kasali, 22, allegedly submitted two fraudulent PPP loan applications for two companies – Lola’s Level and Charm hair extensions – and said he had multiple employees and significant payroll costs.
“According to the charges, however, no entity has employees or pays salaries in line with the amounts claimed in loan applications,” the statement said.
After receiving more than $ 1.9 million in loans, Kasali transferred the funds to four additional bank accounts, officials said. Kasali is scheduled to appear before US Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan in Houston on Wednesday.
Donald Trump denies playing down the coronavirus during ABC News mayor
President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied playing down the coronavirus threat, telling TV Town Hall he had “played on the rise” despite claiming in an interview earlier this year that he “still wanted to minimize it” .
Trump made the remarks during a 90-minute town hall hosted by ABC News in Battlefield State of Pennsylvania.
“Well, I didn’t downplay it. In fact, in many ways, I played it in terms of action,” Trump said in response to a question about an interview with reporter Bob Woodward in which he said he was aware of the coronavirus. was more deadly and contagious than the flu, but continued to compare the two.
– John Fritze and David Jackson
Pfizer reports ‘potential’ with COVID-19 vaccine candidate, expands trial
Pfizer, one of the pioneers in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, said its vaccine candidate appeared safe and the company expects to have data next month on how it is protecting people against the coronavirus.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Tuesday he was intentionally revealing more information about the vaccine candidate COVID-19 than he would about any other vaccine in development because he wants the process to be open. and transparent.
“Transparency is a must, especially given this situation and the politicization of the vaccine,” he said in an interview with journalists.
The company said on Saturday it was expanding its trial from 30,000 to 44,000 people to include adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18, as well as people with conditions such as HIV and hepatitis A, B or C. Tuesday, Bourla said the expansion. took place because the vaccine appeared to be extremely safe, and the trial could be expanded without delaying the completion schedule.
– Karen Weintraub
2.3 million Americans lost health insurance before COVID-19 pandemic
In Donald Trump’s first three years in office, 2.3 million people became uninsured, according to Capital & Main analysis of US Census Bureau data released Tuesday.
They include hundreds of thousands of people in battlefield states such as Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio, as well as Michigan and Minnesota. The number of uninsured people has increased to nearly 1.6 million people in 13 states identified as swing states by the Cook Policy Report.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare and, once elected, he vowed that everyone would have health insurance.
Healthcare was a major issue in the 2018 midterm elections and could remain a major issue in the general election in just seven weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in massive job losses in a country where 55% of health care coverage is linked to employment. A study estimated that 5.4 million American workers lost their health insurance between February and May 2020.
Tuesday’s data release clearly shows that U.S. residents already had hemorrhaging health insurance even before COVID. By far, the largest growth in the number of uninsured people has been in Texas, where the number increased by 689,000 between 2016 and 2019.
– Jessica Goodheart, Capital and Main
Nancy Pelosi: House will remain in session to strike coronavirus stimulus deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that the House would remain in session until a breakthrough is made on a coronavirus stimulus bill, while moderate lawmakers urged leaders to propose a relief deal ahead of the November elections.
“We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement, an agreement that meets the needs of the American people,” Pelosi told CNBC on Tuesday.
His words signaled that relief talks between Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump’s White House could be saved even if the two sides do not appear to be closer to a deal. Pelosi has not budged on his desire for a massive, multi-trillion dollar plan to help schools, the unemployed and cash-strapped local governments. And Republican leaders no longer seemed open to recent Democratic proposals on Tuesday.
– Christal Hayes, Nicholas Wu and Ledyard King
US COVID-19 Resources TODAY
Contribute: The Associated Press