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U.S. adds 37K COVID-19 cases; CDC head concerned about Trump adviser

By
Don Jacobson
St. Louis Cardinals ownership group of Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. (R) and his son, team president Bill DeWitt III, watch their team play the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
St. Louis Cardinals ownership group of Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. (R) and his son, team president Bill DeWitt III, watch their team play the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Several states have seen record COVID-19 cases and deaths and there's a new report that the Trump administration is feeding misleading figures to the public.

Updated data from Johns Hopkins University early Monday showed an addition of 36,900 cases on Sunday and 266 deaths. The case count is the lowest in more than a week and the death toll hasn't been lower, other than Sept. 20, since July 4.

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Since the start of the health crisis, there have been 7.12 million cases and 204,800 deaths in the United States. USA Today reported that Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all saw record numbers of cases and record deaths were reported in Alaska and North Dakota.

NBC News reported Monday that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield is voicing new concern about the impact of the federal coronavirus response, saying White House medical adviser Dr. Scott Atlas is giving President Donald Trump misleading information.

RELATED Experts warn of 'huge surge' in COVID-19 cases in fall, winter

"Everything he says is false," Redfield said of Atlas, a Stanford University neuroradiologist who joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force in August.

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The report said Redfield was overheard on a phone call aboard a commercial flight on Friday.

Redfield later acknowledged that he was speaking about Atlas, who before joining the task force frequently appeared on television calling for an end to lockdowns, favoring allowing young people to be exposed to the virus to achieve "herd immunity" and dismissing the effectiveness of face masks.

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Redfield and other health officials worry that Atlas is misrepresenting what what they tell Congress in sworn testimony, the NBC News report said.

"Everything I have said is directly from the data and the science," Atlas told the network. "It echoes what is said by many of the top medical scientists in the world, including those at Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford."

Nearly 80 former colleagues at Stanford Medical School said in an open letter this month that Atlas is spreading "falsehoods and misrepresentation of science."

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In New York City, a union representing school principals is supporting a vote of "no confidence" for Mayor Bill de Blasio and urged the state to take control of city schools. The city is planning to allow some schools to reopen this week.

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators said its executive board gave unanimous support to a resolution Sunday citing "failure" of de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza to "lead New York City through the safe and successful reopening of schools."

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"School leaders have lost trust and faith in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to support them in their immense efforts and provide them with the guidance and staffing they need," CSA President Mark Cannizzaro said in a statement.

"Quite simply, we believe the city and [New York City Department of Education] need help from the state education department, and we hope that the mayor soon realizes why this is necessary."

De Blasio's plan to reopen schools has twice been delayed and has undergone frequent changes. They call for K-5 and K-8 schools to open Tuesday and middle and high schools to open Thursday. Teachers will be allowed to work remotely, however.

In Hawaii, researchers are working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine that would not have to be kept frozen, which would allow for a wider distribution.

Dr. Axel Lehrer, of the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, said the vaccine candidate is now in the pre-clinical development stage and would be available as a powder -- which he said gives it an advantage over other vaccines.

"We use a platform where we can seal our proteins in and then thermal stabilize it, so that then we can actually dry it down to a powder and have it in a vial sitting on the shelf, rather than having to refrigerate or freeze the protein," Lehrer told KHON-TV.

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The researchers have previously shown the feasibility of using the same platform to develop a "thermostable" Ebola virus and vaccines against filovirus infections.

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