34 COVID-19 cases tied to White House; Wisconsin to open field hospital amid surge — 5 COVID-19 updates

Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., sparred over the White House's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic at Wednesday's vice presidential debate, reports The New York Times.

Ms. Harris called the government's response "the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country," and said she doesn't trust President Donald Trump when it comes to vaccine safety. Mr. Pence stood by the Trump administration's response efforts, commended the president's decision to place a travel ban on China early in the pandemic and said Ms. Harris was "undermining confidence in a vaccine." For more takeaways from the debate, click here. 

Five more updates:

1. States have varying definitions of what qualifies as a COVID-19 outbreak, which some health experts say may complicate national containment efforts, reports The Washington Post. For example, Michigan constitutes a COVID-19 outbreak as two COVID-19 infections in the same workplace. In Iowa, a cluster of cases is not considered an outbreak until 10 percent of employees contract the virus. 

2. President Trump has been symptom-free for more than 24 hours and fever-free for four days, White House physician Sean Conley, DO, said in an Oct. 7 memo. Dr. Conley said the president's oxygen saturation and respiratory rate have remained stable and that he has not needed supplemental oxygen since being hospitalized at Bethesda, Md.-based Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment. 

3. Regeneron has applied for FDA emergency use authorization of its antibody cocktail, reports CNN. The biotech company confirmed Oct. 7 it had submitted the application for its experimental monoclonal antibody therapy, which President Trump received after he was diagnosed with the virus.

4. Thirty-four COVID-19 cases have been tied to the outbreak at the White House, according to an internal memo viewed by ABC News. The outbreak has infected "34 White House staffers and other contacts," according to a government memo dated Oct. 7 and distributed among senior leadership at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

5. Wisconsin will open a field hospital after statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations nearly tripled within a month's time. The field hospital near Milwaukee is slated to open Oct. 14 and will admit COVID-19 patients from across the state who need care but are not seriously ill. On Sept. 7, there were 289 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Wisconsin. A month later, hospitalizations have nearly tripled with 853 patients hospitalized across the state and more than quadrupled in some regions.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 7,551,715
Deaths: 211,844
Recovered: 2,999,895

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CDT Oct. 8.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 8
21 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 8
40% of pregnant women didn't get flu vaccine last season, CDC says

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 8
7 states see record hospitalizations; CMS gives hospitals 14 weeks to report COVID-19, flu data — 9 updates
40% of pregnant women didn't get flu vaccine last season, CDC says

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