© ReutersCDC releases illustration of the Coronavirus.
In yet another stunning example of President Donald Trump scorning science and rejecting advice from his own health officials, he insisted Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready ahead of the November election and minimized the usefulness of wearing masks, directly contradicting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Robert Redfield. © Fahmi Dolli/AFP/Getty ImagesA man caught without a face mask lies in a mock coffin as part of punishment by authorities in Jakarta.
On the same day, Redfield told a Senate subcommittee that he did not expect a vaccine to be "fully available to the American public" until the middle of 2021 at the earliest, and said that wearing masks may be a more effective means of protecting against the virus.
But the Trump administration is continuing to promote its own rapid timeline, announcing plans on Wednesday to have the first shots ready within 24 hours of a vaccine's approval and available to Americans at no cost.
And as concerns grow over the politicization of the pandemic, Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the US Department of Health and Human Services will take a leave of absence after delivering a conspiracy theory-laden Facebook rant over news reports that he had interfered with official virus reports.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: When will we get enough vaccines?
A: While a vaccine could be approved as early as the end of this year, health experts say it will take many months for it to be distributed to the American public -- and we won't start seeing results from widespread inoculation until the second or third quarter of 2021. Rolling it out to the world will take even longer.
On Monday, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, predicted there may not be enough Covid-19 vaccine until 2024. "It's going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet," Poonawalla told the Financial Times.
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WHAT'S IMPORTANT TODAY
Coronavirus is #1 global security threat
The coronavirus pandemic is out of control and is the "number one global security threat in our world today," United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said Wednesday at a news conference detailing his messages for this year's General Assembly, which is largely being held virtually due to the pandemic.
Guterres is pushing for more global cooperation to develop and distribute an affordable vaccine, and warned against "deadly misinformation" that could deter people from taking it.
Antibody treatment shows promising signs
An antibody therapy has reduced levels of the coronavirus in infected patients and prevented hospitalizations, the drugmaker Eli Lilly said on Wednesday. The findings, which are the preliminary results of an ongoing trial, have yet to be vetted independently or published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The experimental drug is a monoclonal antibody, a lab-engineered copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19 -- a new twist on the use of convalescent plasma. Scientists are hopeful that monoclonal antibodies will be a potent treatment for the coronavirus, and provide a bridge to longer immunity conferred by vaccines.
India is second only to the US for infection numbers. But its leader seems immune from criticism
India is in crisis. Its economy has crashed, at the cost of millions of jobs. Its already fragile health care system is buckling under the weight of soaring coronavirus cases. With more than 5 million cases, India ranks only behind the United States for confirmed infections.
But whereas other populist leaders are feeling the political heat from their handling of the pandemic -- President Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for instance -- Indian PM Narendra Modi has largely escaped scathing headlines and crushing opinion polls, CNN's Vedika Sud and Nectar Gan write.
Seniors are having second thoughts about where to live
Some people who had planned to move to senior housing are now choosing to live independently rather than communally. Others wonder whether transferring to a setting where they can get more assistance might be the right call.
These decisions, hard enough during ordinary times, are fraught with uncertainty as the economy falters and Covid-19 deaths climb, including tens of thousands in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
ON OUR RADAR
- Indonesians who refuse to wear masks are being forced to dig graves for victims of Covid-19, in an attempt to engender empathy.
- Australian airline Qantas is offering a seven-hour "scenic joy flight" around Australia for people who miss flying.
- Almost 30 teenagers must be quarantined after parents sent their child to a Massachusetts school despite knowing they were positive with Covid-1
- World Health Organization warns of "very serious" Covid-19 situation in Europe.
TODAY'S TOP TIP
If you traveled outside of the US, the CDC still recommends you stay home for 14 days after returning home. During that period, be sure to take these steps:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and monitor for a fever. You can use this temperature log to monitor your temperature. And watch for coughing or trouble breathing.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
- Do not use public transportation, taxis, or ride-share services.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
"The demand for N95s is greater than not only our production capacity, but the entire industry. So we're still facing a challenge to meet that demand." -- 3M CEO Mike Roman
Until six months ago, some of 3M's best-known products were Post-It Notes and Scotch Tape. Now, the company has gained global attention for being the world's largest manufacturer of N95 respirator masks. In this episode, CNN anchor Poppy Harlow has an exclusive interview with Roman. Listen Now.