Former White House adviser and South Jersey native Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19
Kellyanne Conway, a South Jersey native and former White House senior adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a post on her Twitter account.
“Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19. My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine,” Conway wrote on the social media platform. “I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians. As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic.”
Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19. My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians.
As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic. ❤️
President Trump was given ‘monoclonal antibodies.’ Here’s what that means
President Donald Trump was given an experimental “cocktail” of monoclonal antibodies — potent immune-system proteins derived from the blood of patients who already have recovered from the disease.
The idea was to give him a head start in fighting off the virus before his immune system learns to make its own antibodies. But not all antibodies are created equal. Some are able to neutralize the virus to varying degrees, almost like gumming up a key so that it no longer fits into a lock. Other antibodies merely bind to the virus but do not prevent it from infecting more cells.
To turn antibodies into a drug, researchers identify and purify the ones that are best at neutralizing the virus in question, then culture them in a bioreactor. At least two companies, Eli Lilly and Regeneron, are testing such drugs in humans.
Trump reportedly received the Regeneron treatment. Early results of the clinical trials for the two drugs appear promising, though in theory such drugs could interfere with the patient’s own immune response.
Trump heads to Walter Reed hospital after COVID-19 diagnosis
The White House says President Donald Trump will spend a “few days” at a military hospital on the advice of his physicians after contracting COVID-19.
Trump is to depart the White House by helicopter early Friday evening for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The White House says that the visit is precautionary and that Trump will work from the hospital’s presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to continue his official duties.
Earlier Friday the White House said Trump remains “fatigued” and had been injected with an experimental antibody drug combination for the virus. The coronavirus has been blamed for killing more than 205,000 Americans and has spread to the highest reaches of the U.S. government.
Lehigh U. scales back campus activities, suspends athletics, amid rise in COVID-19 cases
Lehigh University is scaling back activities on campus, including suspending all athletic trainings and practices, amid "a concerning increase” in the number of COVID-19 cases at the school, according to an email from the university.
The email, addressed to members of the campus community and Lehigh families, said that 22 new caseswere reported Friday and that 250 students are in quarantine after coming into close contact with thoseknown or suspected to have the coronavirus.
Surveillance testing on asymptomatic students revealed that about 4% had the virus, up from 1% in previous weeks, according to the email.
The university announced measures Friday that include:
Suspending athletic team practices and training
Closing Taylor Gym and the EWFM and Linderman libraries.
Limiting the number of people at on-and-off campus meetings to five, whether indoors or outdoors
Shifting most undergrad and graduate classes to remote instruction
Shifting all dining to takeout
Encouraging remote work for faculty and staff, when possible
The university will also increase its testing and make additional resources available for those experiencing symptoms.
The mandates are expected to remain in place until at least Oct. 16, the email said.
West Chester U. says it will comply with borough’s emergency order
West Chester University, which is in the heart of the borough that declared a state of emergency Friday due to a surge in cases among young adults, is offering largely remote instruction this semester for its more than 17,700 students. Still, about 500 students moved onto campus at the start of the semester and many more — university officials couldn’t say how many — live off campus in the community.
The university said 103 students reported to the school that they tested positive for COVID-19 from mid-August to Sept. 27. Eleven of them reside on campus, said spokesperson Nancy Gainer.
But unlike some other universities that are regularly testing students for the virus — including Penn State, Swarthmore, and Ursinus — West Chester, a state university, is not. The university is relying on students to self report.
Gainer said the university stands ready to comply with the emergency order.
“The university will wholeheartedly support it and strictly enforce it and push the messaging out to students,” she said. “We consider ourselves good partners.”
West Chester declares state of emergency as COVID-19 cases more than triple among young adults
West Chester has declared a state of emergency beginning at 6 p.m. Friday after the number of COVID-19 cases doubled in the borough over the last month, and more than tripled among young adults, ages 18 to 22.
In a release, Mayor Dianne Herrin said the infections are concentrated in a rental community, but did not detail which one.
According to data from the Chester County Health Department, from August to September the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the borough rose from 202 to 437. In the 18-to-22 age category alone, cases more than tripled from 88 in August to 299 in September. That age group makes up 68% of all COVID-19 case in the borough.
Under the state of emergency, Herrin said all social gatherings at private residences must be limited to 10 people or less. If there are already more than 10 people living in a house, no other people are permitted to gather at the residence, either inside or outside, the release said.
Those who violate the mandate will be cited $300 per person for each individual gathered at a residence, including the host.
The declaration also mandates that anyone in West Chester must wear a face mask when within six feet of other people when they are:
inside public buildings
using public transportation and ride shares
waiting to enter buildings or board public transportation
coming into contact with any member outside of their household when indoors or outdoors.
Those found in violation of the face-covering mandate will receive a $300 citation, the release said.
Pennsylvania now averaging over 1,000 new cases a day as spike continues
Pennsylvania reported 1,161 new coronavirus cases on Friday. The commonwealth is now averaging 1,012 new cases a day over the past seven days, according to an Inquirer analysis, continuing a sharp increase over the past week.
The Department of Health said 189,493 coronavirus tests were administered between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, with 6,726 positive cases — a positive test rate of about 3.5%. Overall, 161,284 Pennsylvania residents have tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
At least 8,179 Pennsylvania residents have now died after contracting the coronavirus, with 19 new deaths reported on Friday. Of the state’s deaths, 5,479 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.
Trump campaign suspends all planned events following positive COVID-19 test
Following President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus test, the campaign postponed all scheduled campaign events involving Trump and his family.
“All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement Friday. “Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who tested negative Friday morning, is campaigning in Michigan on Friday.
10 Penn State students suspended for rest of school year for breaking coronavirus rules
Ten students have been suspended from Pennsylvania State University for the rest of the academic year and another 17 have lost their housing for failing to follow safety rules in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the university said this week.
Since students returned Aug. 17, the university has issued 1,277 sanctions for refusing to wear a mask in public, violating quarantine and isolation rules, and attending prohibited gatherings on and off campus.
“We will continue to hold accountable those students who threaten our community by violating our clearly stated expectations,” Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, said in a statement.
Coronavirus cases at the state’s flagship university have risen to 2,678 as of Friday, up 203 from Tuesday, according to the university’s dashboard. The university, which continues to hold some in-person classes, reported that 638, or nearly a quarter of the cases, are active.
Of the violations, 1,046 received warnings and 204 were put on probation, the school said. The ten students who were suspended can’t take courses or live on campus for the rest of the academic year.
Seventeen students lost housing, largely for violating gathering rules and no-guest policies, the university said. They will get a refund for the rest of their housing, but can’t live on campus for the rest of the year, the school said.
N.J. reports most new daily cases since June, driven by spike in Ocean County
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy again urged anyone who attended President Donald Trump’s fundraising event in Bedminster this week to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.
“If you just get tested today, you won’t give the virus enough time to incubate,” he said. Ideally, he said, anyone who was at the event should self-quarantine and wait five to seven days before getting tested. Even those who test negative should consider remaining home for a full 14 days and take another test to prevent spreading the virus, he said.
Murphy spoke from a roundtable discussion held in Bayville, Ocean County, where a recent spike in cases has drawn concern from state health officials in recent weeks. He was joined by local elected officials, school officials, and community and religious leaders.
The state added 796 new cases and four deaths. Almost 200 of the new cases are in Ocean County. Statewide, New Jersey’s positivity rate is 2.47%, but Ocean County’s positivity rate is 15.85%.
“It’s time to pin ourselves back down between the science, the data and the facts,” Murphy said, urging residents to double down on their efforts to wear masks, wash hands and stay distanced.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the state has recorded 1,214 new coronavirus cases in Ocean County over the last week. She said 840 of those came from Lakewood, home to a large Orthodox Jewish community.
While she said there was no single event associated with the spike, she and other officials said large religious observances in recent days may have resulted in close contact between people. State officials have also received reports of weddings and funerals where attendees were unmasked and did not follow social distancing recommendations.
The state is increasing testing in the area, and Persichilli encouraged families with sick people to contain it by wearing masks and having the patient stay in a separate room as much as possible.
Religious leaders urged residents to take precautions, saying they have given masks out at synagogues, businesses and schools.
Pelosi anticipates reaching deal on more coronavirus relief, says Trump diagnosis ‘changes the dynamic’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Friday she anticipates striking a bipartisan economic relief deal with the Trump administration, suggesting that President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis could speed up an agreement. She called on airlines to hold off on imminent furloughs pending a deal.
“This kind of changes the dynamic because here they see the reality of what we have been saying all along — this is a vicious virus,” Pelosi said on MSNBC.
“I’m optimistic, I’m always optimistic,” she said, “We always have to find a path, that is our responsibility to do so, and I believe that we will.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday that Trump had inquired about the status of talks this morning, just a few hours after the president announced his positive coronavirus test.
Philadelphia reports 141 new cases, 3 additional deaths
Philadelphia announced 141 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.
The city also announced three additional deaths due to the coronavirus. A total of 1,815 Philadelphia residents have now died of the virus, and there have been 37,299 confirmed cases.
The number positive test results reported Friday was higher than in recent days, and there the rate of positivity in Friday’s test results was also higher than it has been, said Matt Rankin, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
“We don’t know if this is indicative of a rise, or is just a one-day outlier,” he said. “It’s something we’re keeping an eye on.”
The city reported 131 tests Thursday, but noted that it had received an unusually large batch of delayed test results. Rankin said the positivity rate of Friday’s tests was higher than in Thursday’s batch. Last week, the city had an average of 74 cases per day.
Joe Biden and Jill Biden test negative for COVID-19
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, tested negative for COVID-19, their family doctor Kevin O’Connor announced Friday.
“Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected. I am reporting this out in my capacity as both Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden’s primary care physician," O’Connor said in a statement released by Biden’s campaign.
Biden celebrated the negative test on Twitter, urging his followers to “wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID. Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.
Pandemic delivers a blow to Center City Philly’s weekday lunch scene
The pandemic has swept the workers out of Center City office buildings, upending the weekday downtown lunch trade, from street carts to high-end restaurants, particularly those west of City Hall.
Three large lunch options — Coventry Deli at 2000 Market St., Le Bus Bakery at 129 S. 18th St., and the Marathon Grill location at 1818 Market St. — have closed after a quarter century each.
Coventry owner David Rovner, who shut down in September, said he was targeting a return in January 2021 after his business had plunged by 80%, while Marathon’s Cary Borish said this location’s lease was up for renewal.
Le Bus owner David Braverman said in late August that his losses were too hard to absorb. Devon & Blakely, a Washington, D.C.-based chain, has closed its location at 1801 Market St., at least temporarily.
The Center City District, which uses six pole-mounted counters to gauge pedestrian traffic mainly between 12th and 18th Streets, said lunchtime volume had begun to recover in the last two months but was still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.
For the week ending Sept. 26, foot traffic was less than half of last year’s volume, an average of 23,729 pedestrians a day, compared with 49,420 in 2019. The traffic along west Market Street and around JFK Boulevard was at 22% of 2019 levels, the district said.
“The commonwealth at this point has no formal recommendations for anybody who attended those rallies,” Wolf said, “but anybody who has been in any crowd of any sort for any reason, and they find that there are people who have tested positive for COVID-19, you need to be very, very careful.”
A Department of Health spokesperson encouraged anyone who attended Trump’s campaign event in Middletown to download the COVID Alert PA app.
“If you test positive, you can alert those you came in close contact with anonymously through the app,” the spokesperson said.
Wolf, other Pa. lawmakers send well wishes to president and first lady
Pennsylvania’s Democratic leaders on Friday put aside partisan politics and sent well wishes to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, who late Thursday were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“I just want to wish the President and First Lady the best of health,” Gov. Tom Wolf said at a morning news conference in Harrisburg. “I just wish them both a speedy recovery. This can’t be easy.”
Sen. Bob Casey put out a statement, saying: “COVID-19 is a serious illness that has impacted millions of American families. I wish President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump a speedy recovery following their positive test. I will keep them in my prayers.”
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey also sent "best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on a full and speedy recovery.
White House learned about Hope Hicks testing positive before N.J. event, top official says
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, confirmed to reporters that President Donald Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” and said doctors treating both Trump and First Lady Melania Trump would offer updates throughout the day.
Meadows also said the White House learned that Hope Hicks, a close Trump adviser, tested positive to COVID-19 on Thursday just prior to the president’s fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.
“In terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows told reporters Friday morning. “We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is we had already started the contact tracing just prior to that event.”
“To hold this event is not just misguided, it is dangerous, it is manipulative, and it is wrong,” Wolf said in a statement at the time. “I would ask Pennsylvanians to think of the health and safety of their families and their communities before attending this event or any rally put on by the Trump campaign. And I would ask the president, for once, to put the health of his constituents ahead of his own political fortunes.”
The Trump campaign said they took temperatures of all rally attendees and gave them face masks, which many chose not to wear.
What are Trump’s risk factors for serious illness after testing positive for COVID-19?
Although President Donald Trump said he was in great health after his latest physical exam, the president’s age, 74, and weight, which qualifies as obese, put him at high risk.
People aged 65 and up account for about 80 percent of reported COVID-19 deaths. Many of them already had age-related chronic illnesses that have damaged their lungs, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys — organs that COVID-19 can attack. The mortality rate for infected people age 70 and up is estimated to be about 5%, according to the CDC.
But obesity — defined as a Body Mass Index of 30 or more (174 pounds for a 5-foot-4 woman) — is a risk factor that transcends age. A French study of COVID-19 patients in intensive care found those with a BMI over 35 had a sevenfold higher chance of needing mechanical ventilation than those with a BMI in the healthy range. A study of COVID-19 patients under age 60 who were hospitalized in New York City found that a BMI over 35 almost quadrupled the chance of needing critical care.
Exactly why is not clear, but the virus appears to exploit a number of weight-related abnormalities, as explained in a review of eight studies published recently in the journal Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
Being male is also a risk factor for more serious COVID-19. White people have been at lower risk, but it’s hard to know how much of that is behavioral or socioeconomic.
Those three states recently released their own versions of the app, which will work in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s COVID Alert PA and send users notifications if for 15 minutes or longer they come within six feet of someone who later tests positive for the virus, commonwealth officials said.
“States throughout the region have been working together to combat this pandemic,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement, “and this is one more tool for our interstate cooperation.”
About 180,000 of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents have downloaded the app, officials said, and it is unclear how many need to download it in the commonwealth and in neighboring states for the technology to be effective.
Trump came in contact with about 100 people at his Somerset County golf course Thursday, an attendee told the Times.
The president chose to attend the New Jersey event despite knowing Hope Hicks, a close adviser to Trump, began feeling symptoms following a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night and was isolated from other passengers aboard Air Force One. Hicks ultimately tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, which was first reported by Bloomberg News, not announced by the White House.
Murphy urges Trump supporters who attended N.J. fundraiser on Thursday to self-quarantine and get tested
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said health officials have begun the contact tracing process following a fundraiser in Bedminster, N.J., Thursday attended by President Donald Trump.
“The contact-tracing process is underway. We urge everyone who attended yesterday’s event in Bedminster to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested," Murphy said in a statement Friday morning.
Prior to testing positive for COVID-19, Trump flew to his golf course in Bedminster on Thursday to attend the fundraiser, which put him in close contact with a number of people, including campaign supporters and his immediate staff. The New York Times reports the president came in contact with about 100 people and seemed “lethargic.”
The president did not wear a mask Thursday, including at the events at his golf course and on the plane, officials told the Washington Post. Trump departed Morristown Airport in Air Force One at 4:40 p.m, according to pool reports.
“Tammy and I send our best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a speedy and complete return to good health,” Murphy and his wife, Tammy, wrote in a joint statement. “If there is one thing we have learned in New Jersey over these months, it’s that we pull together and support everyone fighting this virus.”
Job creation slowed in September, but jobless rate falls to 7.9%
America’s employers added 661,000 jobs in September, the third straight month of slower hiring and evidence from the final jobs report before the presidential election that the economic recovery has weakened.
With September’s hiring gain, the economy has recovered only slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that were wiped out by the viral pandemic. The roughly 10 million jobs that remain lost exceed the number that the nation shed during the entire 2008-2009 Great Recession.
The unemployment rate for September fell to 7.9%, down from 8.4% in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Since April, the jobless rate has tumbled from a peak of 14.7%.
Pence tests negative for COVID-19, according to spokesperson
Both Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence have tested negative for COVID-19 Friday morning, his press secretary Devin O’Malley announced on Twitter:
As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.
Chris Christie says no masks were worn during Trump’s debate prep
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped President Donald Trump prepare for Tuesday’s debate, said he tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning but plans to get tested again Friday.
During an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday, Christie said he was at the White House from Saturday through Tuesday afternoon, and that Trump’s debate team — including himself — didn’t wear facial coverings.
“No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president at that period in time,” Christie said. “The group was about five to six people in total.”
President Donald Trump had been expected to visit Philadelphia on Sunday to thank the local firefighters union for an endorsement that has divided its membership and sent shockwaves through the union’s international structure, which endorsed Joe Biden 17 months ago.
Mike Bresnan, president of Local 22 of the International Firefighters and Paramedics Union, surprised many of his union’s members Tuesday with the endorsement, praising Trump and criticizing the IAFF leadership in Washington for an endorsement process he called “undemocratic.”
Trump met with supporters and attended N.J. fundraiser on Thursday
Prior to testing positive for COVID-19, Trump flew to his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday to attend a fundraiser that put him in close contact with a number of people, including campaign supporters and his immediate staff.
The president did not wear a mask Thursday, including at the events at his golf course and on the plane, officials told the Washington Post. Trump departed Morristown Airport in Air Force One at 4:40 p.m, according to pool reports.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s odds of recovery are ‘very much on the president’s side,' says CNN’s Gupta
CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta called the news that Trump has contracted COVID-19 “shocking,” but pointed out that despite the president’s age and comorbidities, he’s still likely to recover from the virus.
Here’s what Gupta said Friday morning on CNN:
The odds statistically are very much on the president’s side in terms of recovering from this… He’s 74 years old, we know he’s defined as clinically obese — those are both things that increase your risk. Even with that, [there’s] greater than a 90-95% chance that he will recover from this still, so that’s important to keep in mind.
But he’s going to need to be monitored. We don’t know if he has symptoms. If he does, we don’t know how sick he may become, and we don’t know all the people he may have had contact with and spread this virus.
President Trump, first lady test positive for the coronavirus
President Donald Trump said Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, just a month before the presidential election and after having spent much of the last year largely downplaying the threat of the virus.
Trump’s positive test came just hours after he confirmed that senior aide Hope Hicks, who had traveled with him several times this week, had come down with the virus. Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 205,000 people nationwide.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden declares bankruptcy
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden sought federal bankruptcy protection Thursday, citing a loss of revenue due to COVID-19 and the more than $8 million it has paid to victims of clergy abuse.
“If it were just the pandemic, or just the costs of the Victims Compensation Program, we could likely weather the financial impact; however, the combination of these factors has made that impracticable,” Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan said in a statement on the diocesan website.
In his letter to the faithful, Sullivan said he approved the move in hope that by reorganizing the diocese’s finances, it could continue to serve South Jersey’s 1.2 million Catholics while also assuring that abuse survivors receive fair compensation.
The bankruptcy is not expected to affect diocesan schools, parishes, or pension plans, he said. Parishes are separate legal entities under state law and not included in the bankruptcy filing.