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The Trump administration has invited vaccine manufacturers, drug distributors and government officials to a COVID-19 Vaccine Summit next week at the White House, Stat News reported on Tuesday, citing an invitation obtained by the news organization.

It is scheduled for Dec. 8 and will be attended by President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and private-sector executives, the report said https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/01/white-house-to-host-covid-19-vaccine-summit-as-trump-seeks-to-burnish-record.

The meeting would take place days ahead of reviews of vaccine candidates from Moderna Inc and Pfizer-BioNTech SE Inc by two separate panels of outside experts to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Industry officials familiar with the plans for the summit interpreted it as an opportunity for the White House to pressure the FDA to quickly issue emergency use authorizations for the two vaccines candidates, the Stat report said.

Invitees include Pfizer, Moderna and drug distributors, pharmacies, and logistics companies including McKesson, Walgreens, CVS Health, United Parcel Service , and FedEx, the report said, citing three health industry people familiar with the event.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

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COVID-19

Virginia bars must close by 10, while Tennessee bars across street in small border town remain open

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Bars on the Virginia side of the street in the small border town of Bristol are allowed to remain open only until 10 p.m. due to state COVID-19 restrictions while bars on the other side of the street, governed by the state of Tennessee, are free to serve customers until 2 a.m. 

The imaginary line on State Street separates the livelihoods of small business owners by just about 40 feet.

Residents and merchants on the Virginia side of the town – population 45,000 – argue the strict rule is being handed down by lawyers in northern Virginia, more attuned to the ways of Washington lawmakers, just across the Potomac River.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s two totally different areas of the country,” business owner J.J. Gillenwater said in a recent podcast

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. Gillenwater added that at 9:30 every night, he and other keepers must inform customers that they will soon be closing. Customer then make their way across the street to Tennessee , he said, where they are able to continue their night until 2 a.m.

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“We are consistently losing money because of these restrictions,”Gillenwater’s co-owner Blair Jones said. “Live entertainment has been curtailed which has impacted our late-night sales having to shut down at 10 p.m. It’s been a real killer for us.”

While the Tenn. Republican Gov. Bill Lee has lifted restrictions over time, Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam has extended an executive order restricting bars and restaurants from normal operations until at least the end of February. 

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Biden will honor 500K US COVID-19 deaths with candle lighting ceremony

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President Biden plans to mark 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the US with a candle lighting ceremony Monday, according to the White House.

The president will deliver a heartfelt speech at sundown at the White House’s Cross Hall to commemorate the grim death toll milestone, Biden’s press schedule said Sunday.

“The president will deliver remarks on the lives lost to COVID-19 in the Cross Hall,” the schedule states.

“[He will then] hold a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at sundown in the South Portico.”

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Biden will honor the lives lost to the illness — which on Sunday hovered just under 500,000, according to state health officials — alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden and Harris also held a somber ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial a day before taking office last month to honor the 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus.

“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said at the time.

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Dr. Fauci: Trump Let ‘Terrible Things’ Happen After Our COVID-19 Disagreements

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Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to open up about his experiences working under the Trump administration, revealing the moment he began to lose influence with former President Donald Trump.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Telegraph, the infectious disease specialist recalled a marked shift in his professional relationship with Trump in April or May of last year, once the president began to publicly side with anti-lockdown protesters and back states’ efforts to lift stay-at-home orders.

“My influence with [Trump] diminished when he decided to essentially act like there was no outbreak and focus on re-election and opening the economy,” Fauci, who is now serving as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, recalled Friday. “That’s when he said, “It’s going to go away, it’s magical, don’t worry about it.”’

Immediately thereafter, he added, “my direct influence on him was negligible. It became more conflictual than productive.”

Over the course of the past year, Fauci has enjoyed broad support from both Democrats and Republicans, and continues to be seen as a touchstone of scientific wisdom amid the ongoing pandemic.

But as the 2020 election drew to a close, Trump publicly lashed out at him and other medical experts even as the COVID-19 death toll continued to spike.

In an October phone call with campaign staffers, the former president deemed Fauci “a disaster.” Weeks later, he told supporters at a Florida rally he was considering firing Fauci “a little bit after” the election.

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In his interview with The Telegraph, Fauci didn’t touch on specific incidents but said having to correct the president’s numerous coronavirus falsehoods, often on live television, led to a gradual falling-out.

“When it became clear that in order to maintain my integrity and to get the right message [across] I had to publicly disagree with him, he did things — or allowed things to happen — that were terrible,” he said.

On the flip side, he offered faint praise for former Vice President Mike Pence, who “really tried his very best to address the outbreak.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Fauci ― who has worked alongside six presidents ― drew parallels between Trump’s handling of the coronavirus to the ways former President Ronald Reagan neglected to deal with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Still, he said, they were “significant differences.”

Reagan “never did anything to obstruct what I was trying to do,” he recalled, while Trump “was putting as much stock in anecdotal things that turned out not to be true as he was in what scientists like myself were saying.”

“That caused unnecessary and uncomfortable conflict where I had to essentially correct what he was saying,” he added, “and put me at great odds with his people.”
(The Huffington Post)

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