Top officials push back on FDA vaccine standards; Trump isolates at White House — 7 COVID-19 updates

President Donald Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Oct. 5 after three days of treatment for COVID-19, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The president is expected to continue his isolation in the White House residence. President Trump's condition is improving, but he "may not entirely be out of the woods yet," White House physician Sean Conley, DO, said during an Oct. 5 media briefing. The president's medical team also said he had normal oxygen levels and no fever as of Oct. 5. 

President Trump said he was "feeling great" on Twitter the morning of Oct. 6. In a seperate tweet, the president also compared COVID-19 to seasonal flu, falsely stating that "sometimes over 100,000" people die from the flu every year. An estimated 35,900 people have died from the seasonal flu annually over the past 10 years, according to CDC data. The most lethal season of the past decade was the 2017-18 flu season, when as estimated 61,000 people died. Twitter flagged the president's tweet for violating rules about spreading misleading or potentially harmful information about COVID-19.

Six more updates:

1. COVID-19 can spread via airborne transmission, the CDC clarified in a guidance updated Oct. 5. The update comes two weeks after the agency erroneously posted — and promptly removed — a draft the CDC said had not been properly reviewed.

2. Ten percent of the world's population may have been infected with COVID-19, Mike Ryan, MD, executive director of World Health Organization's emergencies program, said Oct. 5. Dr. Ryan, speaking to the WHO's 34-member executive board focused on the pandemic, said the number reflects the agency's best estimates, which is more than 20 times the number of confirmed global cases. Figures may vary by location, but ultimately "the vast majority of the world remains at risk," according to Dr. Ryan. 

3. Top White House officials are blocking the FDA's efforts to set stricter emergency use authorization requirements for a COVID-19 vaccine, sources told The New York Times. The new standards would make it more challenging to clear a vaccine before Election Day.

4. President Trump issued an executive order Oct. 3 aimed at improving mental health services amid pandemic. The order will establish a new cabinet-level working group that will assess the mental health needs of vulnerable individuals. The order will also provide grant funding to support mental health treatment services including telehealth and safe in-person services.  

5. The national COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 210,000, according to data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.

6. The White House will not conduct contact tracing for its Rose Garden event, a U.S. official told The New York Times. The Sept. 26 nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been tied to at least eight COVID-19 cases, including President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The White House is instead notifying individuals who had been in close contact with President Trump in the two days before his COVID-19 diagnosis Oct. 2. The CDC will not be involved in the process, according to the NYT.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 7,459,101
Deaths: 210,195
Recovered: 2,935,142

Counts reflect data available as of 8:20 a.m. CDT Oct. 6.

More articles on public health:
25 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Oct. 6
ER visits for COVID-19 jump in Midwest, Mountain region: 4 CDC findings
COVID-19 survivors, families of deceased pay tribute in remembrance day

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