Official says coronavirus vaccine trial starting Monday

National Institutes of Health reportedly is funding the trial

A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday, according to a government official.

The first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine Monday, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the trial has not been publicly announced yet. The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Washington state, the official said.


Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Earlier Sunday, the government's top infectious disease expert said he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down even more to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci said travel restrictions within the United States, such as to and from hard-hit Washington state and California, probably will not be needed any time soon.

Fauci, the public face of the administration’s messaging during a round of morning TV interviews, said the country should do as much as “we possibly could,” even if officials are criticized for “overreacting.” He said he raised the issue of measures such as a shutdown with the Trump administration and said it has been open to his ideas.

“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” said Fauci, a member of the White House task force on combating the spread of coronavirus. He heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

'Social Distancing' May Be Needed , to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus.Some health experts are recommending that people stay further away from each other than ease the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases around the globe.From a cough or sneeze, studies say the disease can travel up to eight feet.The single most important thing you can do to avoid the virus is to reduce your face to face contact with people, Dr. William Schaffner, via CNN.Schaffner, a longtime CDC adviser, says 'socia

Fauci said the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions should already be hunkering down, but other Americans, too, should consider “much more” restrictions on outside activity, from work and travel to possibly eating at restaurants.

“Everybody has got to get involved in distancing themselves socially,” Fauci said.

“Everything is on the table,” he said. “Right now, myself personally, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant. I just wouldn’t because I don’t want to be in a crowded place. ... I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m going to be all of a sudden self-isolating for 14 days.” The virus has an incubation period of anywhere from two days to 14 days before symptoms emerge.

Governors in Illinois and Ohio are ordering the closure of bars and restaurants in their states, according to news reports.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is asking bars on Lower Broadway and throughout Davidson County to close until further notice, according to a reporter.

On Sunday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked residents over the age of 65 to isolate themselves from others and told neighborhood bars and pubs to close their doors as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state continued to rise.

Newsom did not, though, mandate the closure of all restaurants in the state. In an afternoon briefing with reporters, he said 335 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in California with six people having died.

The governor said the request of older Californians was made in hopes of limiting their exposure to the virus, given that health officials have pointed out higher dangers for those who are older.

"We are prioritizing their safety," Newsom said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The worldwide outbreak has sickened more than 156,000 people and left more than 5,800 dead. The death toll in the United States has reached more than 60, while infections neared 3,000 across 49 states and the District of Columbia.

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Most people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would be in favor of a 14-day national shutdown to stem the virus.

Credit: Alex Brandon

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Credit: Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump last week announced a sweeping travel ban for much of Europe. On Saturday, he added the United Kingdom and Ireland to a list of countries that would face travel restrictions during the next 30 days. The State Department on Sunday said it would allow U.S. personnel to leave their diplomatic or consular posts worldwide if they or family members were medically determined to be at a higher risk of falling very ill if exposed to the virus.

Trump also has pledged broadened U.S. testing for the virus as major employers such as Apple Inc. have sent workers home to telework and several states and big cities, including Los Angeles and Boston, shuttered schools for a week or more.

»What is coronavirus? Symptoms, prevention and who is most at risk

In the nation's capital, White House officials said Trump tested negative for the virus during the weekend after he was recently in contact with three people at his Florida resort who tested positive, and several lawmakers in recent days have said they were self-quarantining out of an abundance of caution.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Congress has started work on a new aid package after the one just approved by the House early Saturday. The new one would provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have already begun work to develop a third emergency response package,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues.

With the U.S. Capitol among the many iconic landmarks closed to tours, Pelosi also urged lawmakers to have most of their Washington staff telework from home, as health officials urge social distancing. House lawmakers are away on weeklong recess, and many have already curtailed office visits at their local offices, as well.

Marines from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall run past cherry trees in Washington. Social distancing is key to stemming the coronavirus outbreak, according to health officials, and a 14-day national shutdown is being discussed.

Credit: Andrew Harnik

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Credit: Andrew Harnik

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday said a former staff member tested positive for the virus. The staffer, Daniel Goldman, the attorney who led Democratic questioning during the House impeachment hearings, had left the office 10 days ago and he’s believed to have contracted the virus after his departure.

“We will still be taking additional precautions over the next few days,” Schiff said. “The former staffer is feeling better, and no current staff have reported any flu-like symptoms at this time.”

NIH reported Sunday that one of its staff working in its division on arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases had tested positive for COVID-19, its first case. NIH said the person was not involved in patient care and was now quarantined at home and “doing well.”

Trump has suggested that restrictions on travel within the U.S. to areas hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic could be next. But Fauci on Sunday played down that or having major national lockdowns on the level now seen in European countries such as Italy and Spain.

“We feel that with rather stringent mitigation and containment, without necessarily complete lockdown, we would be able to prevent ourselves from getting to where, unfortunately, Italy is now,” Fauci said.

“With regard to domestic travel bans, we always talk about it, consider everything. But I can tell you that has not been seriously considered, doing travel bans in the country. ... I don’t see that right now or in the immediate future.”

At the White House, Trump on Sunday held a call with more than two dozen grocery store and supply chain executives to discuss their response to the coronavirus outbreak. Retailers have reported seeing a crush of shoppers flocking to stores to stock up on food and other essentials. Consumers have expressed frustration that some items — such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper — are becoming more difficult to find. During the call, Trump expressed appreciation for their work to ensure food stocks are "constantly available" so "Americans feel calm and safe when shelves are stocked with the items they need," according to White House spokesman Judd Deere.

“Supply chains in the United States are strong, and it is unnecessary for the American public to hoard daily essentials,” Deere said.

Trump, who declared Sunday a National Day of Prayer, said he tuned in to the livestream from the Free Chapel, a Gainesville, Georgia. evangelical church led by Jentezen Franklin.

“I am watching a great and beautiful service by Pastor Jentezen Franklin. Thank you!” Trump tweeted.