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Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021

The Hill logo The Hill 10/30/2020 Peter Sullivan and Nathaniel Weixel
Mitch McConnell wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 © Getty Images Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021

Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care.

Four days ahead of Election Day, a House Democratic report slammed the Trump administration's COVID-19 response. Another antibody drug trial was stopped, and Mitch McConnell said the Senate won't take up coronavirus relief until next year.

We'll start in the House:

House Democratic report calls Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history'

House Democrats on the committee overseeing the coronavirus crisis released a report Friday calling the Trump administration's response "among the worst failures of leadership in American history."

The report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis comes four days before Election Day, in a campaign where Democrats have hammered President Trump over his response to a virus that has killed more than 228,000 people in the U.S.

Some key points:

  • It pointed to the administration's failure to "implement a national plan on testing, contact tracing, public health measures, and protective equipment," instead shifting much responsibility to the states that were competing with each other for testing supplies and protective equipment early on in the pandemic.
  • The White House's own findings that it sent to states, but did not release to the public, have shown the number of "red zone" states increasing from seven on June 23 to 31 on Oct. 18, the committee found, in contrast to Trump's continued public downplaying of the severity of the virus.
  • The report also highlighted instances of the administration having "injected politics into public health decisions," such as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August that said asymptomatic people do not need to be tested, which eventually was walked back somewhat amid a firestorm.

GOP response: It's about politics "Democrats' latest partisan report issued just days before the election underscores how they've used the Select Subcommittee to attack President Trump and politicize the pandemic to the detriment of the American people," said House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (La.), the top Republican on the panel.

Read more here.

Regeneron halts trial of COVID-19 antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said Friday it has paused a clinical study of its antibody drug to treat some of the sickest COVID-19 patients because of a potential safety concern.

The recommendation from an independent monitoring board marks the second time a clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus antibody drug has been paused because of safety issues.

Regeneron said it is pausing enrollment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients receiving mechanical ventilation or intense oxygen after the independent monitoring committee observed "a potential safety signal and an unfavorable risk/benefit profile at this time."

The monitoring board recommended collecting additional data on the patients already enrolled.

But, there could be more cause for optimism in using the treatment in less-severe patients. The pause does not impact other studies of Regeneron's antibody drug, which is under consideration for emergency use authorization in mild-to-moderate outpatients at high risk for poor outcomes.

Read more here.

Early 2021 for a coronavirus response package? That seems to be McConnell's plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he expects Congress to move another coronavirus relief package "right at the beginning" of 2021, breaking from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who told reporters Thursday she wants to get a deal in the lame-duck session.

"We probably need to do another package, certainly more modest than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi package. I think that'll be something we'll need to do right at the beginning of the year," McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday.


Gallery: 4 Ways the Vice Presidential Debate Will Look Very Different Due to COVID (Best Life)

"We could target it particularly at small businesses that are struggling, and hospitals that are now dealing with the second wave of the coronavirus, and of course the challenges for education, both K-12 and college," the GOP leader said.

McConnell offered a slower timeline than other lawmakers, who expect a deal to move after the election but before the end of the year or before the end of President Trump's first term in January.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday of her expectation of reaching an agreement with the Trump administration in the lame-duck session.

Read more here.

US hits daily record of nearly 90K coronavirus cases

The United States on Thursday hit a new record for a single-day increase in coronavirus infections with nearly 90,000 new cases reported, according to data collected from Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, the U.S. had 88,521 new coronavirus cases, an increase of 9,540 from the number of new infections recorded Wednesday.

The Johns Hopkins University data shows that since the pandemic first hit the U.S., there have been a total of 8,948,099 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country and at least 228,696 deaths.

The university recorded 971 deaths on Thursday.

"This is the hardest point in this pandemic right now - the next two months," Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. "We can't give up our guard right now."

Read more here.

Trump teases Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask at his rally

President Trump is again mocking the idea of wearing a mask.

Trump on Friday teased Fox News host Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask at his Michigan campaign rally, chiding her for being "politically correct."

"I do believe Laura Ingraham is here some place. Where is Laura? Where is she?" Trump said, scanning the crowd for the Fox News host.

"I can't recognize you. Is that a mask?" Trump said, appearing surprised. "No way. Are you wearing a mask? I've never seen her in a mask.

"She's being very politically correct," he added.

The president's comments are the latest example of him mocking others for wearing masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump has previously swiped at Democratic nominee Joe Biden for wearing masks, and he accused a journalist earlier this year of wanting to be "politically correct" when he would not remove his mask to ask a question in the Rose Garden.

Read more here.

What We're Reading

Internal documents reveal COVID-19 hospitalization data the government keeps hidden (NPR)

If they sweep on Election Day, Dems still face a challenge meeting health promises (Kaiser Health News)

The pandemic is uncharted territory (The Atlantic)

State by state

Mass. takes close look at cluster origins to stop coronavirus spread (WBUR)

Hospitalized? You can still vote in most parts of the country (California Healthline)

Iowa reports second straight day of record high COVID-19 cases on Friday (KCRG)

Five days in Wisconsin: More than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests, nearly 200 deaths (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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