On Tuesday, the European Continent reopened to visitors from 14 countries but not the U.S., where some of the states that pushed hardest and earliest to reopen their economies are now in retreat because of an alarming surge in confirmed coronavirus infections.
The European Union’s decision came a day after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks, and officials in Republican and Democratic strongholds alike mandated the wearing of masks.
In Washington, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said vaccine developers will be expected to study COVID-19 shots in racial minorities, the elderly, pregnant women and those with other health conditions. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn outlined the guidelines for potential vaccines at a Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces.
Hahn says “while the FDA is committed to help expedite this work, we will not cut corners in our decision-making.”
The agency has come under criticism for granting emergency authorization to a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a treatment for coronavirus. The agency revoked that designation earlier this month after studies found the drug was ineffective against the virus.
The U.S. is set to begin a 30,000-person trial of a government-created shot starting next month. Under the Trump administration’s program dubbed “Operation Warp Speed,” health officials aim to have 300 million doses on hand by January.
About 15 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of testing worldwide. There is no guarantee that any will prove effective.
Also, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden planned to blister Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic as he tries to demonstrate to voters how he’d handle the public health and economic crisis if he were in the White House.
In an outline released ahead of Tuesday address, Biden’s campaign called it “impossible” to predict the state of the pandemic on Inauguration Day next January, but said Biden “won’t wait to take action,” and promised one of his first actions would be to ask Fauci to continue serving.