Approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has hit a new low, with just 32 percent of Americans saying they support his strategy, according to a poll released Sunday.
Notably, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found support for the president’s handling of the pandemic has dipped among Republicans, with 68 percent now approving of his handling of it.
The poll also found that 81 percent of Republicans approve of the president’s overall job performance, contradicting a claim Trump repeatedly makes — including in a tweet Friday — that his approval within his own party remains steady at 96 percent.
Trump's overall approval rating remains fairly constant at 38 percent, although just 2 in 10 of those polled said the country is heading in the right direction, a new low for the Trump presidency.
The poll found approval of the president’s handling of the economic crisis has dipped, too — with just 38 percent of Americans now saying the economy is good, down from the 67 percent in January, before the pandemic's spread.
It’s sometimes hard to determine whether President Trump is being willfully misleading or if he truly believes what he’s saying. But an astonishing interview clip from Axios appears to show that Trump has genuinely managed to convince himself that his response to the coronavirus pandemic has been effective—because he only considers partial and deceptively flattering statistics to be true.
Brandishing childishly simplistic, brightly colored COVID-19 graphs presumably provided to him by aides trying to keep him happy, Trump proudly tells Axios’ Jonathan Swan that the U.S. is “lower than the world,” without elaborating. When Swan looks at the chart, it becomes clear Trump is only considering death as a proportion of coronavirus cases—not as a proportion of population, which shows the U.S. is faring very badly.
Trump snaps back: “You can’t do that.” Holding out his charts, he goes on: “You have to go by where... look, here is the United States... You have to go by the cases.” Asked why South Korea has lower deaths by population, Trump hints that he believes the country is faking its stats, without providing any evidence to support himself.
There have been plenty of hilarious reactions to Donald Trump’s ridiculous interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan in the 48 hours since it first aired on HBO. But Seth Meyers may have had the funniest riff to date on Wednesday night in response to the colorful chart the president held up to make his case that he was doing a good job on the coronavirus.
“You just knew this interview was going to be insane from the get-go, even before Trump sat down when he walked into the room holding a stack of papers,” the Late Night host said. “You knew it was going to be batshit crazy,” he added, joking that “loose paper projects strength.”
“Those printouts were like the Chekhov’s gun of the interview,” Meyers said. “You were just waiting for them to make an appearance, and when they did it was somehow worse than you were expecting.”
After Swan brought up the rise in COVID-19 deaths across the United States, Trump said, “If you look at death…” and pulled out a chart that he claimed showed that America was “lower than the world” in “numerous categories.” An exasperated Swan replied, “Lower than the world? What does that mean? In what?”
A saliva-based laboratory diagnostic test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health to determine whether someone is infected with the novel coronavirus has been granted an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The method, called SalivaDirect, is being further validated as a test for asymptomatic individuals through a program that tests players and staff from the National Basketball Association (NBA). SalivaDirect is simpler, less expensive, and less invasive than the traditional method for such testing, known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing. Results so far have found that SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and yields similar outcomes as NP swabbing.
With the FDA’s emergency use authorization, the testing method is immediately available to other diagnostic laboratories that want to start using the new test, which can be scaled up quickly for use across the nation — and, perhaps, beyond — in the coming weeks, the researchers said. A key component of SalivaDirect, they note, is that the method has been validated with reagents and instruments from multiple vendors. This flexibility enables continued testing if some vendors encounter supply chain issues, as experienced early in the pandemic.
“This is a huge step forward to make testing more accessible,” said Chantal Vogels, a Yale postdoctoral fellow, who led the laboratory development and validation along with Doug Brackney, an adjunct assistant clinical professor. “This started off as an idea in our lab soon after we found saliva to be a promising sample type of the detection of SARS-CoV-2, and now it has the potential to be used on a large scale to help protect public health. We are delighted to make this contribution to the fight against coronavirus.” The preprint on the development and validation of SalivaDirect was recently posted on medRxiv1.
Development of SalivaDirect as a means of rapidly expanding SARS-CoV-2 testing was spearheaded this spring by Nathan Grubaugh and Anne Wyllie, assistant professor and associate research scientist, respectively, at Yale School of Public Health. After finding saliva to be a promising sample type for SARS-CoV-2 detection, they wanted to improve the method further.
“With saliva being quick and easy to collect, we realized it could be a game-changer in COVID-19 diagnostics,” said Wyllie. With testing urgently needed, the Yale team was determined to decrease both testing times and costs, to make testing widely accessible.
“Wide-spread testing is critical for our control efforts. We simplified the test so that it only costs a couple of dollars for reagents, and we expect that labs will only charge about $10 per sample. If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine,” said Grubaugh.
One of the team’s goals was to eliminate the expensive saliva collection tubes that other companies use to preserve the virus for detection. In a separate study led by Wyllie and the team at the Yale School of Public Health, and recently published on medRxiv2, they found that SARS-CoV-2 is stable in saliva for prolonged periods at warm temperatures, and that preservatives or specialized tubes are not necessary for collection of saliva.
NBC News’ Ron Allen speaks to Dr. Anthony about COVID-19 vaccine development, the spread of the virus on college campuses and the need for diverse medical students.
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he is confident an approval for a coronavirus vaccine won’t be motivated by politics.
The Food and Drug Administration has been “very explicit” that it is going to make a decision based on data from clinical trials, Fauci said in an interview with CNN. The trial results will also be reviewed by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent group of experts who observe patient safety and treatment data, he said.
“We can have some confidence and some faith in what the FDA is saying,” said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked governors and health departments to prepare to distribute a vaccine as soon as Nov. 1. In a letter dated Aug. 27, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said states will soon receive permit applications from medical supply company McKesson, which the Department of Health and Human Services tapped to help distribute the vaccine. He said they may need to waive some licensing and permit requirements that could delay the process.