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Coronavirus live updates: CDC tells officials to be ready for vaccine by November; steroids can help severely ill patients

Clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine can be legitimately cut short and could allow a vaccine to become available more quickly than previously expected if results are overwhelming, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. And the CDC is telling some health officials  to be ready to start distributing a vaccine by November, according to one report. 

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is confident the experts making the call on a vaccine would not be swayed by political pressure as Election Day approaches.

The Trump administration announced a nationwide ban on evictions until December to ease financial pressures fueled by the pandemic. The federal edict came down after some states, including California and Nevada, announced similar protections against evictions.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney apologized on Twitter after a photo of him eating in a Maryland restaurant made the rounds on social media. And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi faced criticism for visiting a hair salon in San Francisco despite the city's current guidelines intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Some significant developments:

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday defended the Trump administration’s controversial decision not to participate in a global alliance to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel, part of the National Institutes of Health, said Wednesday that there’s no solid evidence for or against recommending convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • Antibodies produced after infection by the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis, longer than previously believed, a new study finds.
  • Who should be the first to get the coronavirus vaccine? Front-line health care workers, paramedics, firefighters and police, all of whom are at higher risk of contracting the virus, according to a new report from the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering.

📈 Today's numbers: A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Tuesday shows four states set records for new cases in a week while two states had a record number of deaths in a week. New case records were set in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and West Virginia. Record numbers of deaths were reported in Arkansas, Hawaii and Guam. The U.S. has 6 million confirmed cases and over 184,000 deaths. Globally, there are 25.8 million cases and more than 858,000 people have died.

📰 What we're reading: California, the first state to reach 700,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, announced a new tiered plan for reopening businesses that some critics say has inequities

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.

First COVID-19 death linked to massive Sturgis biker rally

The first COVID-19 death associated with a massive biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota has been reported weeks after the event attracted more than 400,000 vehicles and drew widespread concern from public health officials.

The death was reported by Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann at a Wednesday briefing. Minnesota — South Dakota's neighbor to the east — is tracking an ongoing outbreak of 50 cases tied to the August event, Ehresmann said. That outbreak only includes people who attended the event.

A Minnesota man who died was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions.  The rally went forward despite fears it could become a super-spread event. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem welcomed bikers and the tourist dollars they spend.

– Joel Shannon

Report: CDC says vaccine could be ready by November

The CDC is telling some health officials around the country to be ready to start distributing a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus by November, the New York Times reports.

That would be on the early side of what officials have laid out as a best-case scenario: that a vaccine will be ready by the end of the year. A COVID-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if ongoing clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, told Kaiser Health News.

"Limited COVID -19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020, but COVID-19 vaccine supply will increase substantially in 2021," reads the CDC document. 

At least two clinical trials of 30,000 volunteers are now expected to conclude by the end of the year, but Fauci said an independent board has the authority to end the trials weeks early if interim results are overwhelmingly positive or negative.

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