News Brief: Delta Variant, Upcoming Vaping Decision,…

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President Biden is predicted to announce a brand new technique to take care of the delta variant. The FDA is deciding which e-cigarettes might be banned. The ex-CEO of Theranos is on trial for fraud.


President Biden will discuss to the nation at the moment a couple of course correction.


Yeah. He is anticipated to unveil a brand new technique to battle the delta variant of the coronavirus that has put so many unvaccinated folks in danger. The plan comes after a sequence of setbacks and potential missteps within the administration’s battle towards COVID.

KING: NPR well being correspondent Rob Stein has a number of the particulars of what we’re anticipating at the moment. Hey, Rob.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: What do we all know in regards to the president’s plan?

STEIN: The White Home describes it as a six-pronged technique that may contain each the federal government and the personal sector. No particulars but, however a supply accustomed to the announcement tells NPR it will contain new steps geared toward vaccinating the unvaccinated and furthering safety for people who find themselves vaccinated. The president may also deal with methods to maintain faculties open safely, improve testing and require masks, in addition to shield the financial system and enhance take care of folks with COVID-19. You realize, I’ve talked to some public well being consultants who hope the administration will lastly take some extra aggressive actions like, you understand, mandating vaccines for journey and get behind some type of uniform nationwide vaccination verification system.

KING: Six prongs seems like an try to reset after this era during which we’re watching instances rise. We’re watching deaths rise.

STEIN: Proper, proper. You realize, I have been listening to type of a rising sense of disappointment and frustration. The administration will get actually excessive marks for lots, particularly for shortly ramping up the large vaccination marketing campaign and getting tens of tens of millions of individuals vaccinated. However then the vaccination marketing campaign misplaced steam, and the administration’s response began to stumble, like again in Might, when the CDC abruptly dropped the advice that everybody maintain masking. That type of despatched a message that the pandemic was over. And the nation just about minimize free. I talked about this with Dr. Leana Wen, a public well being professor at George Washington College.

LEANA WEN: It’s straight because of the CDC’s actions again in Might and the Biden administration’s lack of management that we’ve got the surge that we’re seeing now. What let delta acquire a foothold? It was due to folks’s actions that have been straight enabled by the Biden administration’s response.

STEIN: You realize, and now we’re seeing hospitals across the nation being overwhelmed.

KING: Confusion about masks – hospitals are overwhelmed. And there is additionally plenty of questions round whether or not folks want boosters or not.

STEIN: Proper, proper. You realize, first, no want for boosters, then everybody’s going to get a booster on September 20.

KING: Yeah.

STEIN: Then perhaps you will not have to attend eight months after your second shot to your booster. Now, effectively, perhaps solely individuals who bought the Pfizer vaccine will get boosters to begin. So, you understand, there’s plenty of concern that the administration is sending head-spinning messages that increase doubts about how effectively the vaccines work and whether or not the White Home is basically letting the FDA and CDC paved the way like they promised. I talked about this with Dr. Celine Gounder at New York College. She suggested the administration in the course of the transition.

CELINE GOUNDER: It shouldn’t be a political resolution. It needs to be coming down by the scientific and regulatory companies. To imagine that they’d agree or rubberstamp such a plan, I believe, is simply mistaken.

STEIN: And there are different issues. You realize, why is testing nonetheless so onerous to get? Why is the U.S. counting on Israeli and British information to make essential selections? Why’s the CDC not monitoring and analyzing all of the vaccinated folks with breakthrough infections far more carefully? Here is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on the College of Pennsylvania. He is one other former Biden adviser.

EZEKIEL EMANUEL: The CDC has not executed the job it ought to do for monitoring genetic variants in addition to breakthrough. I imply, Might, we stopped recording breakthrough infections systematically. That is not an excellent place to be.

STEIN: So folks hope the administration’s new plan will assist get the nation again on observe. However they’re apprehensive, you understand, particularly due to the unrelenting resistance to masks from so many Republican governors and widespread misinformation in regards to the vaccines.

KING: NPR well being correspondent Rob Stein. Thanks, Rob.

STEIN: You guess, Noel.


KING: All proper. The issue with e-cigarettes is that whereas they have been geared toward adults attempting to give up common cigarettes, in reality, they grew to become extremely popular with children.

MARTIN: So the FDA blocked the sale of lots of the flavored vaping merchandise. Since then, the company’s been weighing whether or not e-cigarettes, the good thing about them to adults outweighs the dangers to children. And at the moment we count on to listen to whether or not extra vape merchandise might be banned.

KING: NPR’s Allison Aubrey has been following this one. Good morning, Allison.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: What precisely is the FDA within the technique of deciding?

AUBREY: Positive. Nicely, I imply, many individuals know the model title Juul, however there are different – a whole lot of different corporations that market e-cigarette merchandise, and plenty of youngsters and younger adults proceed to make use of them. Corporations have identified for some time that the FDA was within the technique of reviewing their merchandise to find out if they might stay available on the market. However this course of was going fairly slowly, so advocacy teams sued the FDA. Backside line – the courtroom gave the FDA one yr to make some selections. That one yr is up as of at the moment. Here is Matt Myers, the president of the Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Children.

MATT MYERS: Right now FDA is required to take a look at every product to find out whether or not the continued advertising of that product will proceed to place children in danger.

AUBREY: …And whether or not the product can assist grownup people who smoke give up. However Myers factors to a 2020 surgeon basic report that concludes there’s simply not sufficient proof to make a willpower.

KING: So that is actually a narrative about unintended penalties. The justification…


KING: …For e-cigarettes is that they are supposedly much less dangerous, they could assist folks give up. However now the priority is that they are, in reality, luring younger folks to nicotine.

AUBREY: That is precisely proper. And as soon as younger folks begin, it is onerous to cease as a result of nicotine, whether or not it is in a cigarette or a vape stick, could be very addictive. The e-cigarette maker Juul says it’s attempting to fight underage utilization. The corporate says it is targeted on hurt discount for grownup people who smoke. Now, information exhibits gross sales have been ticking up once more, and Matt Myers argues now could be the time for the FDA to take decisive motion.

MYERS: Over 80% of youngsters who use e-cigarettes use flavored merchandise. Eliminating these merchandise could be probably the most important factor you would do to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic.

AUBREY: He says he would additionally wish to see the FDA take away merchandise that ship a lot increased ranges of nicotine in comparison with cigarettes.

MARTIN: Proper. A few of the flavors are issues like cotton sweet. They appear straight designed to attraction to children. So do you assume it is potential that the FDA might take some merchandise off the market, however simply go away others there?

AUBREY: Yeah. The company is more likely to proceed to crack down on the flavored merchandise. They’ve already denied functions for corporations that market flavors akin to apple crumble and cinnamon toast crunch, clearly designed to attraction to children. However it’s unclear what the company will do about menthol, which could be very standard. Juul markets a menthol product, and plenty of well being organizations have requested the FDA to reject Juul’s software. Here is Erika Sward of the American Lung Affiliation.

ERIKA SWARD: We’d oppose any Juul product remaining available on the market. The historical past and their actions are clear that they are curious about addicting a brand new technology. And no Juul product, whether or not or not it’s tobacco flavored or menthol flavored, needs to be allowed to stay available on the market.

AUBREY: Now, the FDA might announce its resolution anytime now.

KING: OK. NPR’s Allison Aubrey. Thanks, Allison.

AUBREY: Thanks, Noel.


KING: At first of her trial yesterday, prosecutors described Elizabeth Holmes as a villain motivated by greed.

MARTIN: Holmes is the founding father of Theranos. This can be a biotech firm that promised a blood check that will rework the trade. Holmes stands accused of defrauding buyers of tens of millions of {dollars} and deceiving sufferers. She, although, maintains her innocence.

KING: NPR’s Bobby Allyn was within the courtroom yesterday. Good morning, Bobby.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: Inform me about Elizabeth Holmes’ protection.

ALLYN: Yeah. In opening statements, her protection group stated being a startup CEO is a troublesome job. You realize, Holmes was working 12 hours a day, seven days per week. She considered herself as type of this visionary, and she or he based an organization when she was 19 years outdated as a Stanford dropout and hustled for 15 years to develop Theranos right into a $9 billion firm earlier than it imploded.

Now, relating to the fraud she’s accused of, her protection legal professionals did some wide-ranging finger-pointing. They stated the No. 2 on the firm, Sunny Balwani, had extra oversight than she did over a number of the extra doubtful elements of the corporate and that laboratory managers, not her, have been finally answerable for the corporate’s blood testing, which was uncovered to be flawed and generally simply downright inaccurate.

One of many protection legal professionals, Lance Wade, stated, quote, “Ms. Holmes made errors, however errors should not crimes. A failed enterprise doesn’t make a CEO a prison.”

KING: OK. That is the protection. And what does the prosecution say?

ALLYN: Yeah, they zeroed in on a second when Theranos was burning money and on the verge of chapter. Prosecutors stated Holmes bought actually determined. They stated she cast a pretend report from Pfizer that made it seem like the drug firm authorized of Theranos, written even on Pfizer letterhead, when, in reality, Pfizer had stated the precise reverse. Holmes then used this doc to boost numerous cash and get numerous glowing media protection. In the meantime, prosecutors say Holmes’ underlying know-how, these blood analyzers, they have been a complete fable. Prosecutor Robert Leach informed the jury that Holmes lied and cheated to get cash and, quote, “It is a crime on Important Avenue, and it is a crime in Silicon Valley.”

KING: Why does this trial really feel like it’s larger than Elizabeth Holmes, regardless that it is extremely a lot about Elizabeth Holmes?

ALLYN: Yeah, that is proper. Look; you understand, millionaires are minted on a regular basis in Silicon Valley. And you understand, many of those persons are chasing that type of cash to inform a narrative about themselves, a couple of product, you understand, one thing attempting to alter the world for the higher. However that may put them at odds with regulators and the legislation. And lots of people out right here in Silicon Valley, you understand, assume it is OK to type of push towards boundaries. And Elizabeth Holmes was doing this in her personal manner. However prosecutors stated the important thing distinction right here is that she broke the legislation within the course of. Historically, you understand, the norm in Silicon Valley is to type of transfer quick and break issues. That is a motto you hear so much round right here. However you understand, perhaps relying on how this trial seems – if the jury, you understand, returns a verdict that claims that Elizabeth Holmes is responsible, then perhaps it is going to mood a few of that habits.

KING: Might be fascinating, yeah. How lengthy’s the trial going to final? Any thought?

ALLYN: Yeah, the choose says we must always count on a three-month trial. So a parade of witnesses – Theranos whistleblowers, consultants, sufferers and even maybe Holmes herself – might be taking the stand to testify. On the finish of the yr, the jury ought to begin deliberating over Holmes’ guilt or innocence. And if convicted, she faces as much as twenty years behind bars.

KING: NPR’s Bobby Allyn in Silicon Valley. Thanks, Bobby.

ALLYN: Thanks a lot.

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