Covid-19 Live Updates: G.O.P.’s Scaled-Back Stimulus Bill Fails in Senate

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A scaled-back Republican stimulus plan fails in the Senate, dimming prospects for a deal before the election.

Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to advance their substantially scaled-back stimulus plan amid opposition by Democrats who called the measure inadequate, underscoring the rapidly dwindling chances that Congress will enact another economic recovery measure to address the toll of the pandemic before November’s elections.

After months of struggling to overcome deep internal divisions over the scope of another relief package, Republicans presented a near-united front in support of their latest plan, while Democrats opposed it en masse, denying it the 60 votes it would have needed to advance. The result was never in doubt, and Republicans held the vote largely in an effort to foist blame on Democrats for the lack of progress on a compromise.

The 52-47 vote was mostly along party lines, with Democrats uniformly in opposition and one Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, joining them in seeking to block the measure from advancing.

“They can tell American families they care more about politics than helping them,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said of Democrats. “Senators who want to move forward will vote yes. They will vote to advance this process so they can shape it into a bipartisan product and make a law for the American people.”

The plan, which Republicans were calling their “skinny” bill, slashed hundreds of billions of dollars from their original $1 trillion proposal unveiled in July. It included federal aid for unemployed workers, small businesses, schools and vaccine development.

But Democrats, who have refused to accept any proposal less than $2.2 trillion, argued that it did little to address the economic devastation of the pandemic. It did not include another round of stimulus checks for taxpayers or aid to state and local governments facing financial ruin, omissions that cut down the overall price tag of the legislation in an effort to appease fiscal conservatives. And while it would have revived weekly federal jobless benefits that lapsed at the end of July, it set them at $300 — half the original amount.

Democrats are pressing to reinstitute the full payment.

“This bill is not going to happen because it is so emaciated, so filled with poison pills — it is designed to fail,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, on the Senate floor. “It’s insufficient. It’s completely inadequate.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been a point man in negotiations with Democrats on a recovery package, cast doubt Wednesday on whether any agreement could be reached, saying he was not sure whether there was still a chance.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there.”

The study, which was peer reviewed and published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Wednesday, looked at young adults discharged from more than 400 hospitals in the United States between April 1 and June 30. Over all, just over one-third were obese, and one quarter extremely so. Roughly one in five had diabetes, and about one in seven had hypertension.

The senior author of the research letter, Dr. Scott D. Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard, emphasized that despite the rise in coronavirus cases among young people, the proportion who become so sick that they require hospitalization remains low.

At the same time, he said, some will become seriously ill, and Black and Hispanic people are overrepresented among them.

“We talk a lot about how young people can transmit the disease to others who are more vulnerable, but we want to make the point that some young people — it’s not a huge number compared to those getting infected — but a finite number are going to have serious consequences of this disease,” Dr. Solomon said.

Those with chronic health problems are at greater risk, but some with no apparent vulnerabilities also become acutely ill, he said.

“There are factors that we don’t understand that put people at risk with this disease,” Dr. Solomon said. “They may be genetic, they may be environmental, they may be the other viruses we’ve been exposed to in our lives. There is a randomness there.”

And researchers know very little about the long-term consequences for the young adults who recover “What are the effects they are going to have weeks, months, even years down the line?” Dr. Solomon asked.

The federal government next week will halt its policy of screening international travelers for coronavirus symptoms at 15 designated airports across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Passengers from regions of the world that were previously deemed hot spots for the virus will also no longer be funneled to those airports, beginning Monday.

The C.D.C. said that the federal government would instead commit resources to a different — and vague — set of procedures, including “health education” before, during and after flights, “illness response” at airports, and “potential testing.”

In a statement, the C.D.C. said that the health screenings, which involved temperature checks and interviews about possible symptoms of the coronavirus, were no longer a sound way of detecting infections in the “current phase of the pandemic.”

“We now have a better understanding of Covid-19 transmission that indicates symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with Covid-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of screening, or only mild symptoms,” the agency wrote.

A federal official familiar with the policy change said that another component of the health screenings at American airports would also be eliminated: the collection of contact information in case a passenger is discovered to have been exposed to the virus on a flight. But the official said that the C.D.C. can still gather passenger information from airlines to help local health departments with contact tracing efforts.

Airlines for America, a trade group that represents major airlines, said on Thursday that it supported the policy change. “We continue to support spending scarce screening resources where they can best be utilized and, given the extremely low number of passengers identified by the C.D.C. as potentially having a health issue, agree that it no longer makes sense to continue screening at these airports,” said Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for the group.

Dr. Atlas, a radiologist and senior fellow at the university’s conservative Hoover Institution, has become a proponent of controversial ideas on how to combat the virus. He has gone against recommendations put forward by top government doctors and scientists like Anthony S. Fauci, Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, promoting instead ideas embraced by Mr. Trump that have not been proven scientifically.

Dr. Atlas has argued that the science supporting mask wearing is uncertain and that children cannot pass along the virus. He was part of the decision in early September to modify C.D.C. testing guidelines to exclude asymptomatic people — despite the fact that research shows that people with no symptoms can still carry a high virus load.

He also has supported purposefully creating “herd immunity,” a questionable strategy that would require mass exposure to the virus.

The letter refutes his assertions point by point.

Encouraging unchecked virus transmission to reach herd immunity would create “a significant increase in preventable cases, suffering and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations, such as older individuals and essential workers,” the faculty members wrote. The safest path to herd immunity, they said, “is through deployment of rigorously evaluated, effective vaccines that have been approved by regulatory agencies.”

“Failure to follow the science — or deliberately misrepresenting the science — will lead to immense avoidable harm,” the authors wrote.

As school year starts, calculating the toll of the virus on educators.

Before the end of that first week, Ms. Bannister, 28, had tested positive for the coronavirus. On Monday, a week after the first day of school, she died.

Ms. Bannister had last been at school on Aug. 28 for a teachers’ work day; others who were at the school at the time have been notified, the school district said in a statement. Her parents, with whom she lived, found out they had tested positive on the day that she died, her uncle, Heyward Bannister said. Her mother is in the hospital.

“She felt lost not being able to interact with the kids one on one,” Mr. Bannister said. “She missed that, she missed that.”

Ms. Bannister was just one of a number of educators who died from Covid-19 as the 2020-21 school year began.

The virus has taken teachers in Missouri and Iowa. In Mississippi, a 42-year-old football coach died in August while self-quarantining with coronavirus symptoms, and a 53-year-old history teacher died of the virus earlier this week. A woman who taught special education at an Oklahoma high school for 26 years died of a heart attack in late August, three days after learning she had the virus.

The toll over the course of the pandemic includes hundreds of educators. The New York City Department of Education reported that 75 school-based employees had died of Covid-19 by late June, 31 of them teachers. A list in Education Week of educators, retired and still working, who had succumbed to the virus runs to more than 400 names.

As schools weigh when — and how — to reopen — the deaths offer the grimmest reminders of the stakes for educators and students alike.

A clear majority of American adults are worried that political pressure from the Trump administration will lead the Food and Drug Administration to rush to approve a coronavirus vaccine without making sure it is safe and effective, and nearly half hold at least one serious misconception about coronavirus prevention and treatment, according to a new poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The poll, which tracks public attitudes about a range of issues, found that Americans are feeling more optimistic. More than six months into the pandemic, 38 percent now say “the worst is yet to come,” down nearly half from 74 percent in early April. And another 38 percent say “the worst is behind us,” up from 13 percent in April.

The poll, a nationally representative random sample of 1,199 adults, was conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It found that 62 percent of adults are worried about political pressure on the F.D.A. to approve a vaccine, with Democrats being far more worried than Republicans.

At the same time, Americans hold misconceptions about prevention and treatment of Covid-19. One in five believe wearing a face mask is harmful to your health, and one in four say hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump — is an effective treatment for coronavirus infection, despite clear evidence to the contrary and the F.D.A.’s decision to revoke an emergency waiver for use of the medicine.

At the same time, trust in some official sources of information on the coronavirus is declining. About two in three adults — 68 percent — now say they have at least a fair amount of trust in Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, down from 78 percent in April. An equal 68 percent say they now have trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, down 16 percentage points from April.

In other U.S. news:

global roundup

The pandemic collides with Europe’s migrant crisis to set off calamity in Greece.

Around 1,000 residents will be temporarily housed on a passenger ferry, and hundreds more will be placed on two naval vessels. It was unclear where the remaining 10,000 migrants would go.

In other developments around the world:



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