The reported U.S. death toll from COVID-19 tops 148,000. President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has become the highest-ranking U.S. government official to test positive. O’Brien abruptly left the White House on Thursday, but his staff reportedly only learned why from media reports on Monday. It is unclear when O’Brien was last with President Trump.
In related news, the world’s biggest Phase 3 clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine study began in the United States on Monday. The vaccine was developed by the biotech firm Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Thirty thousand people are expected to participate in the trial. On the same day, Trump traveled to North Carolina to visit a Fujifilm facility working on a COVID-19 vaccine and pushed states to reopen despite the recent surge in cases.
President Donald Trump: “I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they’re not opening, and we’ll see what happens with them. But a lot will have to do with the fact that, therapeutically, I think you’re going to have some great answers, vaccine-wise likewise.”
Overnight, Trump retweeted to his more than 80 million followers a video that said , “I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need a mask.”
The University of Notre Dame has announced it will not host the first presidential debate on September 29 due to the pandemic. The debate will now take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, co-hosted by The Cleveland Clinic.
This comes as schools across the country are deciding whether to resume in-person classes. In Florida, over 300 children have been hospitalized from COVID-19. The number has increased by 23% over the previous week.
Meanwhile, in California, the COVID-19 death toll at San Quentin State Prison has reached 19.