September 24, 2014

President Obama on Wednesday called on the international community to join together in defeating religious extremism through force and vocal condemnation.

In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Obama warned of the "cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world." And he suggested a four-part plan to combat extremism by destroying existing terrorist groups with military force while encouraging future generations to reject extremist teachings.

"It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL," he said, using another acronym for ISIS, the Sunni militant group that has claimed parts of Iraq and Syria.

"The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day," he added.

Speaking about ISIS in particular, he warned that there could "be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil," because "the only language understood by killers like this is the language of force." And he called on the world to join the U.S. and its fledgling coalition of some 40 partners that are directly engaging with ISIS. Jon Terbush

10:00 a.m.

Data shows the drug remdesivir significantly reduced the risk of death in severely sick COVID-19 patients, biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced Friday.

Remdesivir reduced the risk of death by 62 percent when compared to normal care, Gilead claims its data shows. Gilead noted this is an "important finding that requires confirmation in prospective clinical trials." Shares of Gilead rose close to three percent before the market opened upon the news.

Gilead developed remdesivir as a potential treatment for Ebola and has been testing it on coronavirus patients for months. Late last month, Gilead said each dose of remdesivir will cost $520, totaling more than $3,000 over the course of a typical coronavirus treatment. The Trump administration has since bought up Gilead's remdesivir supply. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

President Trump has apparently not been briefed by the country's top infectious disease expert for months, even amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to the Financial Times in an interview published Friday, in which he revealed that it's been more than a month since he actually saw the president in person at the White House; that last happened on June 2, he said. Additionally, Fauci said that it's been at least two months since he briefed Trump, though he's "sure" his messages are being relayed to the president. If that's the case, "Trump is evidently not listening," the Financial Times writes.

After all, Fauci in the interview had to offer a fact-check of Trump's recent false claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are harmless.

"I'm trying to figure out where the president got that number," Fauci said. "What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 per cent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 per cent is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case."

And Fauci noted that despite Trump's assertion, since COVID-19 has such a "broad range of manifestations," "even if it doesn’t kill you, even if it doesn’t put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill."

It's not just Trump who's been seeing less of Fauci lately, as he's also been making fewer TV appearances in recent weeks as CNN reports the White House has blocked some interview requests with him. Fauci himself seems to have a theory as to why.

"I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things," Fauci told the Financial Times. "And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately." Brendan Morrow

9:40 a.m.

President Trump's campaign against mail-in voting relies on a fundamental misunderstanding of what the process even is.

Even amid a global pandemic that makes it dangerous to gather in public and definitely dangerous to vote in person, Trump has railed against the safer option of mass mail-in voting. He repeated his false claims that mail-in voting is wracked with fraud in a Friday tweet, but then decided "absentee ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege." There's one big problem with that: Absentee and mail-in ballots are the same thing.

Despite what Trump says, getting a ballot by mail — an absentee ballot, one might say — in most states requires filing an application complete with one's signature. Five states have all-mail elections and haven't faced any major issues or fraud throughout the years.

Trump has made this false inequivalence between absentee and mail-in voting many times in the past. He's often used it to justify why he has voted by mail many times in the past even when there was no global health threat keeping him from going to the polls. Administration officials have also tried to claim mail-in voting is problematic despite using the process several times themselves. Kathryn Krawczyk

8:13 a.m.

The CEO of Pfizer is expressing confidence in the company's coronavirus vaccine candidate, which he says could potentially receive approval from the FDA this October.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla spoke with Time this week after the pharmaceutical company recently released the first clinical data on its COVID-19 candidate, which showed it generated neutralizing antibodies at levels 1.8 to 2.8-times the levels found in patients who recovered from COVID-19. There were, however, some side effects including fevers.

"What we learned is that this vaccine can neutralize the virus," Bourla told Time. "...For me, it was the moment when I saw the data, plus many other data that we haven't published yet, [that] made me say that until now I was thinking if we have a vaccine. Now I'm discussing when we're going to have a vaccine."

Bourla added that "we have a lot of indications that make me feel that really it should make it," noting that it won't be until "we have the final study" that it's clear whether the vaccine candidate works but saying that this answer should come around September.

"So for a potential approval in October, if we are lucky," he said. "It's feasible."

If that happens, Bourla says "we will have already manufactured doses that will be readily available" as soon as the FDA approval comes. In announcing its recent data, Pfizer said it's looking to "manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021." Brendan Morrow

8:12 a.m.

Two-thirds of Americans now disapprove of President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and race relations, two of the biggest issues roiling the U.S. in the lead-up to November's election, ABC News and Ipsos find in a national poll released Friday morning. Roughly mirroring the U.S. COVID-19 case count graph, Trump's disapproval numbers on his coronavirus response held relatively steady from April until June, then rose sharply through July.

Overall, 67 percent of Americans say they disapprove of Trump's coronavirus response while 33 percent approve. Trump saw some slippage among Republicans — 78 percent approve of his response, down from 90 percent in June — but his numbers among independents tanked. In mid-June, 40 percent of independents approved of Trump's COVID-19 oversight and 59 disapproved; now, only 26 percent approve and 73 percent disapprove. Men (66 percent) and women (67 percent) equally disapprove of the president's response, and even white Americans without a college degree narrowly disapprove, 50 percent to 49 percent approving.

The percentage of American who said the economy was being pushed to open too quickly rose 3 percentage points, to 59 percent, ABC News/Ipsos found, versus 15 percent who said it is opening too slowly. On Trump's handling of race relations, 59 percent of white Americans, 92 percent of Black Americans, and 83 percent of Latinos disapprove.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted July 8-9 among 711 U.S. adults in English and Spanish. The poll's margin of sampling error is ±4.1 percentage points. Peter Weber

7:41 a.m.

Starbucks announced Thursday that it would require customers in its company-operated coffee cafés in the United States to wear masks starting July 15, Yahoo Finance reports. The policy is intended to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection as COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S. The company said it was "prioritizing the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers" despite resistance to wearing masks by many Americans.

In some states and cities, authorities have made masks mandatory in places where social distancing is impossible, such as enclosed restaurants and stores. "It is our responsibility to protect our partners and comply with local public health mandates," the company said. "As such, our partners have the right and responsibility to refuse service to customers who are not wearing facial coverings." Harold Maass

7:33 a.m.

Authorities across the United States reported another day of record new coronavirus infections on Thursday, marking the sixth new high in 10 days, The New York Times reports. The surge of about 60,000 new cases was driven by spiking infections across the South and the West, mostly in states that eased lockdowns and reopened their economies early after the first spike in the spring.

At least six states — Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, and Texas — reported single-day infection records. At least two states saw their biggest death toll increases yet, with Florida reporting 120 deaths and Tennessee 22. Hospitalizations rose sharply in some areas, too, forcing many hospitals across the South and West to open up beds by canceling elective surgeries and discharging patients early. Harold Maass

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