ABC - Health News

Meyer & Meyer/iStockBy SONY SALZMAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- People who were vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine still had elevated antibodies three months after their second dose, according to new data published Thursday as a letter to the editor in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

"These data give us further optimism to expect that the high level of efficacy recently demonstrated by mRNA-1273 to prevent COVID-19 disease will be durable," Dr. Tal Zaks, chief medical officer of Moderna, said in a press release.

Moderna's vaccine has already demonstrated it's more than 94% effective in a massive phase 3 trial, but those results only show the vaccine is safe and effective for roughly two months after the last dose.

Moderna's vaccine could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration later this month, based on the strength of those results.

But data published Thursday is promising because vaccine experts still don't have a good understanding of exactly how long a COVID-19 vaccine might protect you from infection.

Thursday's data came from volunteers from Moderna's phase 1 trial. Researchers kept tabs on them after the initial results were published, measuring the amount of antibodies in their blood as time went on.

Three months after getting their second dose, 34 healthy adults still had relatively high levels of neutralizing antibodies -- one of the tools your immune system has to fight the virus.

Antibody levels did dip a little, and they were more likely to drop off in older volunteers. But overall, researchers said the results were encouraging.

"The 90-day durability is quite good, although there are more declines in antibody titers in the elderly compared with younger individuals," said Dr. Dan Barouch, the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"This is terrific news and very reassuring," said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, professor of medicine and global health at Emory University.

Del Rio described the findings as "very important," and further evidence that the "vaccine is not only effective but also durable."

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(NEW YORK) -- As companies race to create vaccines to alleviate the devastation caused by COVID-19, two companies -- Pfizer and Moderna -- say their vaccines are more than 90% effective in adults. But they don't know if their vaccines work in children, meaning the expected, imminent authorizations won't apply to children.

"Since we've had these really quite phenomenal results reported at least in the press releases, the companies are shifting the focus to younger age groups," said Dr. David Kimberlin, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Alabama.

In November, Pfizer broadened its trials to start testing children as young as 12, with Moderna following suit this month.

Doctors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, predict that there could be a vaccine available for children by mid-to-late 2021. Typically, childhood vaccines are approved after being tested and showing promise in adults. Vaccine specialists say that ethically, it's appropriate to test a vaccine in adults before testing in children.

"That's the key: they have to show that the vaccine works in adults and then they can move down into kids," said Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who specializes in infectious diseases and researches experimental vaccine trials.

COVID-19 risks facing children

Despite the higher mortality among adults, children have not been immune to the ailments caused by the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel, explains that the point of vaccinating children is to prevent the asymptomatic spread to high-risk adults and to prevent the profound immune reaction seen in some pediatric COVID-19 cases.

"I know there's interest in doing trials in children, because this vaccine should be given to children. Children can still suffer and be hospitalized and die from this virus -- albeit less frequently than adults -- and children can asymptomatically or symptomatically transmit this virus to other people, so there should be a vaccine for children," he said.

Getting the vaccine to high-risk adults as soon as possible still remains the priority, with the goal of mitigating the number of deaths and spread of the virus.

Durbin points out that the age requirement for the childhood vaccine will also have to be determined through the studies.

"You'll have to look at the numbers of transmission to determine whether to vaccinate children below 5, for example, and then make a determination whether or not you'd need to vaccinate children under that age," Durbin explained.

More data is needed and on the way

The press releases from Moderna and Pfizer show promise in preventing infection and spread, but vaccine specialists are still waiting for full data to be revealed during the authorization process, which will provide a better understanding of the results and their safety profiles.

"We expect to get access to those data by about mid-December and these data will help us anticipate what the safety results would be for children," said Kimberlin. "I'm hearing quite reassuring things with respect to safety. And if it's safe in adults, I would have a pretty good confidence level that it will also be safe in children as well, although it has to be studied in children to know that."

Since a majority of infected children do not show symptoms, Durbin believes that the studies will likely focus on whether children have reactions to the vaccine and build robust immune responses. Studies in adults, meanwhile, have focused on adults who show symptoms to infection.

"It would be harder to detect a COVID-like illness in children since they are less symptomatic in general," she said. "There will likely be a control group that gets a different vaccine so you can compare side effects."

Among the ongoing adult trials, there has been ample time to assess the immediate side effects of the vaccine as long-term side effects are not as common from vaccine administration.

"I think that with so many of these trials going at the same time, and with the follow-up that's being done currently as well, as will continue to be done, I don't think people should be concerned about potential long-term side effects," explained Kimberlin.

Skeptics are concerned that the vaccine is a novel approach using different molecules, like messenger RNA, as opposed to a more traditional vaccine approach.

But Offit explained that messenger RNA is not a novel or foreign molecule, as it is already in our body making proteins all the time.

"Side effects [in children] may be very similar to the side effects they're seeing in adults, which are fatigue, headache, low-grade fever, muscle aches, chills. Which, you know, is a little debilitating, but is probably less debilitating for a child," he said.

What's next

Once deemed safe for children, Offit said further research is required to determine when during the childhood vaccination schedule the novel vaccine can be administered.

"Typically, when the FDA licenses a vaccine for children, they do concomitant use studies. So, if you're giving the vaccine with other vaccines, you have to show that your vaccine doesn't interfere with the safety or immunogenicity profile of the other vaccine(s) and vice versa," Offit said.

Once this can be established, doctors believe that the vaccine will be given outside the time frame of the other common vaccines given during early childhood.

As the vaccine begins to be distributed among adults, Durbin believes that schools will become safer and should continue instruction, despite a child vaccine not being available.

"I don't think you need to vaccinate children to get children back to school. I think if the adults and the teachers are vaccinated, even if we aren't at the point where we can vaccinate children, kids can still go back to school because the people who are at risk will have been vaccinated," she said.

Once emergency authorization from the FDA is obtained and vaccine distribution begins this month, doctors and scientists alike are hopeful that the vaccine will halt the spread and minimize the number of lives lost from COVID-19.

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(NEW YORK) -- After a federal advisory committee recommended this week that health care workers, nursing home residents and staff be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines, discussions turned to who should be next in line, as initial supplies remain limited.

Prisoners should be high on the list, according to the American Medical Association, the nation's largest physician group, which this month called for incarcerated people to "be prioritized in receiving access to safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines in the initial phases of distribution."

Myriad factors make prisons outbreak hotspots. Many prisons are chronically overcrowded, and feature dormitory settings with shared toilets and showers. Basic hygiene is harder to uphold, making infectious disease outbreaks more likely. The risk of getting COVID-19 in prison is 5.5 times higher than for the general population, according to JAMA, the AMA's peer-reviewed journal.

Some of the United States' worst COVID-19 outbreaks have been in prisons, such as at California's San Quentin state facility, where COVID-19 ripped through this summer, infecting 75% of the incarcerated population and killing 28.

"It's a very important group, because jails and prisons have repeatedly been a focus for outbreaks of infection, not only among inmates but among people who care for them," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Since the start of the U.S. outbreak, at least 197,659 people in prison have contracted COVID-19 and 1,454 have died, according to The Marshall Project, which is tracking prison data from all 50 states and from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

In addition to risks from crowded living conditions, prisons house vulnerable people. Incarcerated people have higher rates of underlying conditions than the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning prisoners are more at risk of experiencing severe complications or death if they contract the virus. Life sentences have contributed to an older incarcerated population, another group at greater risk. About one in five federal prisoners is 51 or older, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"Patients in nursing homes are being put in the front of the line for vaccine access, which makes sense," said Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University. "But lots of people in prison are of same age and same health status as people in nursing homes."

"People," Beletsky added, "have actually called them 'nursing homes with bars.'"

Still, some decision makers recoiled at the idea of giving people behind bars priority access to the vaccine.

"There's no way it's going to go to prisoners before it goes to people who haven't committed any crime," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told reporters on Tuesday. "That's obvious."

Public health experts maintain that the call to vaccinate people in prisons is logical and backed by science.

"I see prisons as akin to meatpacking plants and long-term care facilities," Schaffner said. "They bring people together for prolonged periods of time indoors."

Additionally, prisons are porous -- a corrections officer infected by a prisoner could quickly spread the virus at home -- and usually located in rural areas with fewer hospitals, where health care resources are already strained.

The case for vaccinating prisons seems to be gaining ground. According to more than 40 draft proposals reviewed by The Covid Prison Project and The Marshall Project, at least six states included incarcerated people in phase 1 of their vaccine distribution, along with health care and essential workers. Many other states included incarcerated people as a "critical population" that would receive vaccines in phase 2.

"It's flat-out ethics," added Arthur Caplan, the founding director of New York University's Division of Medical Ethics. "People say they don't deserve it. They are prisoners. They have lost their rights to be protected. I don't buy that."

"In most states," he added, "nobody said that these people had to die. They were just supposed to serve a prison sentence."

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(NEW YORK) -- Although front-runner COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna boast efficacy rates of greater than 90%, scientists say it is crucial to continue to study new vaccines, which could be even better than the first-generation shots.

As these vaccines near the finish line, scientists will face a predicament: Successful authorization of the first vaccines will make it difficult, if not impossible, to continue to study COVID-19 vaccines of the future.

Now, a group of researchers say they are zeroing in on a possible solution. By studying monkeys, they say they've identified a clue in our immune systems -- a signature that could show if a vaccine is working. If their results pan out in humans, the findings could help researchers side-step the need for massive, phase 3, placebo-controlled clinical trials, like the ones that are being conducted today for the current COVID-19 vaccines.

Under the lead of Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a team of scientists have found that for monkeys given a specific set of antibodies, those antibodies alone can protect them from future infection. Moreover, the amount of those antibodies required for full protection is relatively low. The results were published Friday in the scientific journal Nature.

Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have been racing to identify a signal that can be used to assess whether a vaccine is working. Now, Barouch feels relatively confident that these antibodies -- proteins produced in response to infection -- could be that signal.

Barouch and colleagues demonstrated this by giving COVID-19 antibodies to monkeys who had never before been infected, then exposing them to the virus. They did this to isolate the effect of those antibodies compared to other parts of the immune system.

If Barouch's data in monkeys holds up in humans, doctors in the very near future can use a simple blood draw to reliably determine if a recently vaccinated person is indeed protected. Right now -- because so little is known about this novel virus -- researchers are relying on massive clinical trials comprised of tens of thousands of people, half of whom get a placebo shot, to determine if a vaccine is working.

But these blood tests -- used as a vaccine efficacy litmus test -- are already widely used in clinical practice for diseases like the chicken pox and hepatitis B.

Barouch's findings "are cutting on the heels of good prior data that these [monkey] models do translate well into humans," said Dr. Paul Goepfert, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an expert in vaccine design.

The virus used in Barouch's monkey research is nearly "the same virus as in the pandemic," said Goepfert, who was not involved in the study.

These findings also come at a critical time as the first round of vaccines are just about to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration -- welcome news that could paradoxically jeopardize scientists' quest to develop new and even better vaccines.

"After vaccines become widely available to the public, it will be very difficult to perform placebo studies both from an ethical perspective and also from a practical perspective," said Barouch.

Once we have a vaccine that is approved, it will be ethically unacceptable to continue to test future vaccines against fake injections known as placebos. But scientists argue that we must continue developing new vaccines to make them safer, more effective and longer lasting than the first ones.

To do that, scientists will first need to find an easier way to conduct experiments -- a process that will hinge on finding a well-defined and easy-to-obtain proxy for vaccine protection -- typically from a blood test. Scientists call this proxy an "immune correlate."

"Moving forward, vaccines will have to be licensed based on immune correlates if such a correlate exists," Barouch said. His studies hint that such a correlate does indeed exist, and they could help chart a path forward for future vaccine trials.

This discovery of a sign that vaccines are working will also help save valuable time in the span of weeks, months or even years as their identification will help bypass the large, phase 3 randomized clinical trials currently used to test the vaccines for efficacy.

Researchers also found that the T cell branch of immunity is an important player in protection against COVID-19, yet another finding that Barouch said is further "insight into the immune mechanism of protection against the virus and can be useful for the development of future vaccines as well as public health strategies."

These findings were studied in a small number of monkeys, each group consisting mostly under 10 total, and were assessed in the span of days to weeks.

But according to Goepfert, scientists are now zeroing in on that important goal of a so-called "antibody titer" -- and will soon be able to test patients' blood to see if they are protected months, even a year, after vaccination.

"This is hopeful," Goepfert said.

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(NEW YORK) -- The man who is leading Operation Warp Speed said there is one thing that keeps him up at night: the possibility of making coronavirus vaccines available to people who then don't bother to get them.

"We get vaccines to the American people and they don't take them," Gen. Gus Perna told CBS' 60 Minutes of his worst nightmare in November. "Shame on us. 'Hey, I was already sick, I don't need it.' Shame on us. 'Hey, I don't believe in vaccines.' Shame on us."

Pfizer and Moderna have submitted requests to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA is set to review Pfizer's request on Dec. 10 and Moderna's on Dec. 17. Both companies have announced vaccine efficacy rates of more than 90%.

The government's Operation Warp Speed has said there will be "shots in arms" within 24 hours of authorization.

But a Gallup Panel survey, which was conducted in late October before Pfizer and Moderna released results about the likely effectiveness of their vaccines, found that 58% of Americans would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a decrease from July, when 66% said they would.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar pointed to the fact that the United Kingdom's regulatory agency recently approved the Pfizer vaccine.

"While the FDA completes its review, the approval of another independent regulatory body should give Americans additional confidence in the quality of such a vaccine," Azar said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Facebook announced Wednesday it would take steps to combat misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines in order to keep users safe and informed.

"For example, we will remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn't on the official vaccine ingredient list," Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin wrote in a statement. "We will also remove conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines that we know today are false: like specific populations are being used without their consent to test the vaccine's safety."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also announced a new strategy to "educate and promote vaccination," a CDC spokesperson told ABC News. In the vein of "I Voted" stickers, the agency plans to give health providers a template for buttons and stickers people can wear to declare they have been "vaccinated for COVID-19."

As of Thursday, there were more than 14 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 275,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States.

ABC News spoke to three experts about the American public's confidence in getting the vaccine and what they think needs to be done to ensure people get vaccinated once it's available to them.

Why is confidence in getting this vaccine so low?

Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association: We have been in this pandemic for less than a year, and development of COVID-19 vaccines has been on an accelerated timeline. And it's natural for people to be suspicious of things they don't know about.

Jessica Malaty Rivera, M.S., infectious disease researcher and science communication lead at the COVID Tracking Project: The science community has been bracing itself for hesitancy for many months. It's an epidemic of misinformation. From the beginning, we had a lot of bad actors creating misinformation about the vaccine and conspiracy theories.

Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The biggest hurdle we have to overcome is the concern that the systems we have to make sure that vaccines are appropriately tested for safety and effectiveness have been politicized. Politics has interfered with science and public health too many times during this pandemic. That has led to a deep erosion of trust -- particularly in communities of color that have been hit hardest by this virus.

How important is it that doctors and nurses get on board?

Malaty Rivera: We are seeing people in health care-adjacent roles express their distrust. I don't think they realize the ripple effect that can have. Their biases and misinformation can impact everyone. It's a matter of making sure of making these people in positions of leadership and leadership in science don't discredit the process that we look for. What should make them come around is the data. The only thing that should be informing the process -- its all about the safety and efficacy of the data.

Besser: As a pediatrician, I have long relied on the recommendations of FDA and CDC to ensure my patients are properly vaccinated. The FDA and CDC have established independent advisory commissions -- which include some of the world's leading medical and public health experts -- to ensure that science and public health informs recommendations on which vaccines should be approved and which populations should receive them. I trust those institutions. If they're free to operate with complete transparency and without political pressure, I will have full confidence recommending approved vaccines to my patients and getting vaccinated myself.

What about the name Operation Warp Speed, what impact that does have?

It's a catchy title, and my concern about this has been that it has the potential to imply that speed has been more important than safety or efficacy. But that couldn't be further from the truth.

Malaty Rivera: People think the vaccine was rushed -- it wasn't rushed. It was an incredible collaborative process on a global level, fully financed, no red tape, no bureaucracy, and we had a running start. We had been researching coronaviruses since SARS, and we hit the ground running.

The idea of "warp speed" makes people think they are cutting corners. That is the opposite of what has happened. Safety has not been compromised in this process.

Besser: It is true that the follow-up period in these vaccine trials has been short. For some people, that will make them uncomfortable. That is why it is imperative that the FDA's advisory committee -- a vital part of this process -- be given the time and space needed for its medical and public health experts to do a thorough evaluation of the data being submitted. If they approve these vaccines for emergency use, they must ensure that there is continued follow-up of study participants so that any longer-term side effects are detected.

When it comes to public messaging, what has to happen to increase confidence?

The CDC has some of the world's leading scientists and public health experts. If we let them lead and then follow their guidance and recommendations without political interference, I believe we can clear the way for improved trust in the process and any approved vaccines. The science that informs our pandemic response is not controversial. Vaccines are a stunning and effective advancement in the history of human health.

Bailey: I think it's an all-hands-on-deck project. We need culturally appropriate education for different parts of our population. We need positive messaging that is honest and transparent.

Do you feel confident that people will eventually come around?

Malaty Rivera:
I feel confident that we can get close to 70% to get the vaccine. One thing that is encouraging is that we were hoping for 50% efficacy -- we are seeing that its potentially 90% effective. That changes the game. It gives people more confidence it will work for them.

Bailey: There is a desire amongst health care workers in actually seeing the data about the vaccine trials. Up until now, we have seen press releases and news reports that have been encouraging, and we want to see the data ourselves. And that is coming very quickly. The public will have access to the data that the FDA has, and we will be able to review that. I'm confident that once we see the data, that confidence will soar.

How big of a challenge will this be for the Biden administration?

We are currently experiencing the worst moments of this pandemic: Cases are soaring, Congress is deadlocked over providing much-needed aid and respiratory viruses like COVID-19 tend to thrive during the colder winter months. The expected vaccines will not quickly change the trajectory of this pandemic -- for most Americans, a vaccine is at least several months away. What we do now will determine whether tens of thousands of Americans live long enough to get vaccinated. I am encouraged that the incoming administration is assembling a team of experts that values science and will follow a public health roadmap to getting the virus under control and our economy back on track. But it is incumbent on each of us to wear masks, socially distance and wash hands -- even after a vaccine is approved.

Malaty Rivera: It's not impossible, but it's going to require an enormous investment. We are going to need as big of a communications campaign as well. We can't distribute massive amount of vaccines without also having the proper communication about them that goes along with it. It's going to require a large amount of investment from the federal government to ensure that people are getting the right messaging. There also needs to be investment and involvement from the community level. There is a lot of distrust about the vaccine from communities of color. To rebuild that trust is going to involve community leaders.

Bailey: I think the experts that are working on this -- the current people in the FDA, and individuals that are on the Biden-Harris COVID team are more than up to the challenge. They are accomplished professionals who know how to do this. It's also important to remember that most of the work that is being done is by career scientists, by the FDA and CDC who don't come and go with administrations. They have dedicated themselves to the health of our country. We need to understand that this process has not been politicized at all. We continue to hold our leaders accountable for providing honest information.

These interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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(ATLANTA) -- If there are "I Voted" stickers, why not "Vaccinated for COVID-19" buttons?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to offer health care providers a template they can use to print buttons or stickers that would advertise a person's vaccination status. The idea is that the button would be handed out to patients after they receive their vaccination shots.

The effort is part of a "toolkit" that the CDC plans to provide healthcare systems to "educate and promote vaccination," a CDC spokesperson told ABC News.

"These toolkits should be available soon," said spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

Dr. Amanda Cohn, a senior CDC official who has been working with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, said the idea was part of a broader effort to build confidence in the vaccine.

"We think it's really important that when an individual is vaccinated we make it visible they've been vaccinated," she said Thursday during an agency webinar.

A federal advisory board is meeting Dec. 10 to discuss possible authorization of what's expected to be the first COVID-19 vaccine available to Americans. If allowed for distribution, the vaccine made by Pfizer would be available in limited quantities initially and offered first to health care workers and people in long-term care facilities.

It's expected that the broader public will have access to the vaccine next spring, possibly April.

In a vaccine roundtable on Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield urged politicians, business leaders and medical professionals to help encourage Americans to get vaccinated to help end the pandemic. Health officials have warned that if people are reluctant to get immunized, the pandemic will be slower to come to an end.

"One of the things I can ask all of you to play a key role in helping us over the weeks ahead -- helping us to create a culture in this nation that's grounded in vaccine confidence," Redfield said.

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Blue Planet Studio/iStockBy KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With two COVID-19 vaccines possibly being authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month, the question remains when pregnant people will be able to access a vaccine.

Pregnant people have not been actively included in the late-stage clinical trials for any COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the United States. As a result, the CDC's independent advisory council said Tuesday that when the vaccines are authorized in the U.S., they will not be recommended for people who are pregnant.

"We just don’t have any data to say that’s OK yet, because [pregnant people] weren’t included in the trials," Dr. Rashmi Rao, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, told "Good Morning America." "It's an important population subset."

Not recruiting parents-to-be in clinical trials and medical research is nothing new, according to both Rao and Dr. Ruth Faden, the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and a bioethicist who studies the ethics of pregnancy and vaccines.

"For a very long time, pregnant women were not included in biomedical research evaluation efforts or clinical trials, both for concerns about fetal development and what would be the implications of giving a pregnant women an experimental drug or vaccine and also for legal liability worries from manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies," Faden told GMA. "There’s a huge gap between what we know about the safety and effectiveness of a new drug or a new vaccine for the rest of the population and what we know about it specific to pregnancy."

In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, health experts have only one of the three sources of evidence that are used to evaluate safety and efficacy during pregnancy: the data on non-pregnant people who were enrolled in the clinical trials, according to Faden.

From that, Faden said health experts can try to glean what side effects may happen to people who are pregnant, but it is not an exact science.

However, it's considered typical -- and many argue ethically appropriate -- to study an unknown substance first in healthy adults, and then progressively in broader and broader populations. Pregnant people and children are often tested later down the line because of concerns about potential long-term harm.

Meanwhile, while ongoing COVID-19 vaccine clinical studies don't include pregnant people directly, some of the volunteers who sign up may become pregnant during the trial, which will give researchers some insights about the vaccine's safety among this group.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said Tuesday that the agency does plan to look at that data.

"In the clinical trials, we did not require a pregnancy test for entry into the clinical trials, which means that when we look at the data, there are likely going to be women of childbearing age who have gotten pregnant," Hahn told ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton in an interview on ABC News' Instagram Live. "So we are likely to be able to see data. I can't prejudge those data, but it's one of the things we'll have to look at."

"Will that be enough data for us to have confidence and say pregnant women should be vaccinated? I think that's something that we'll have to take a look at," he added.

Neither Pfizer nor Moderna have publicly released a timeline yet for including pregnant people in clinical trials.

Pfizer began opening its clinical trial to children as young as 12 earlier this fall. Moderna said in a filing Tuesday that they plan to start recruiting children 12-18 years-old to participate in their clinical trial.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, which uses pieces of genetic material to coax the body into developing defenses against future infection. If authorized, they would be the first mRNA vaccines, which are theoretically safer during pregnancy because they do not contain a live virus.

What should pregnant people do?

The question of whether an expecting parent should receive a COVID-19 vaccine will eventually come down to a number of factors, including everything from the trimester, risk factors for COVID-19, ability to remain socially distanced in their lifestyle and occupation, guidance from federal and state officials and recommendations from a person's own physicians, according to both Faden and Rao.

Overall, people should feel comfortable that a COVID-19 vaccine is safe once authorized, but parents-to-be might need to wait a bit before receiving one, Rao said.

"The message right now is that once it gets cleared from the FDA and vaccinations become available, if it’s safe to do so for the public, then I would recommend that you get your vaccination when you’re eligible," she said. "However, if you’re pregnant, you will likely have to wait until you’re no longer pregnant or until we gather more data regarding safety and pregnancy."

Similar to the flu vaccine, which was not tested on pregnant people in clinical trials, health experts will need to rely on continuously incoming data to make decisions around how safe the COVID-19 vaccines are during pregnancy. Officials are doing the same for the general population, considering the speed at which the COVID-19 vaccines were developed, according to Faden, who noted that people who are pregnant should not be "unnecessarily alarmed."

"Vaccines are coming, and they're coming before we have all of the information that we would like to have to make recommendations for pregnant people," she said. "But this is the context in which decisions are being made and recommendations are being made for the general population, without all of the evidence we would like to have, which is why the studies will continue."

Dr. Christopher Zahn, vice president of practice activities for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), told ABC News in a statement there is no "simple answer" when it comes to pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccines.

“There isn’t a simple answer to questions about whether pregnant people, or those considering pregnancy, should take the COVID-19 vaccine, especially since no vaccine is currently approved," he said. "When the vaccines do become widely available, unfortunately, we have no data on the safety of the vaccine in pregnant and lactating individuals because they were excluded from Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for all of the COVID-19 vaccines in development."

"So, certainly the lack of safety and efficacy data will need to be part of the conversation that patients who are pregnant or considering pregnancy will need to have with their obstetrician-gynecologist or other health care professional," Zahn added. "Any decisions made should be based on any available data and recommendations for use in pregnancy, patients’ individual risk factors and the potential benefits, and their unique needs, desires, and values.”

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released a statement Tuesday encouraging expecting parents to "engage in shared decision-making" about the vaccine with their doctors.

"In general, SMFM strongly recommends that pregnant women have access to COVID-19 vaccines in all phases of future vaccine campaigns, and that she and her health care professional engage in shared decision-making regarding her receipt of the vaccine. ... mRNA vaccines, which are likely to be the first vaccines available, do not contain a live virus but rather induce humoral and cellular immune response through the use of viral mRNA," the society said in its statement. "Health care professionals should also counsel their patients that the theoretical risk of fetal harm from mRNA vaccines is very low."

Even now, nearly one year into the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., many questions remain about how pregnant people are impacted by COVID-19.

The CDC has shared data showing that people who are pregnant have a significantly greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to nonpregnant people, but they are not at a greater risk for death.

"What I tell my patients is the one thing I know for sure is that pregnant women can get COVID," Rao said. "We’re not seeing huge rates of any adverse fetal outcomes yet, but, again, that’s still to be determined, because we have a long way to go with collecting information."

Rao said everyone, including pregnant people, needs to remain on guard when it comes to COVID-19 by continuing to follow safety protocols, including face mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.

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(PITTSBURGH) -- Nurse Carly Thomas was among the first health care workers assigned to her western Pennsylvania hospital's COVID-19 unit in March.

"That day, those nurses prayed," Thomas, who has worked at Excela Westmoreland Hospital for nine years, told ABC News Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE-TV. "Then they just instantly started to plan what we were going to do and how we were going to take care of these patients."

Today, the 15-bed COVID-19 unit Thomas works in is full, and nurses are faced with an emotionally taxing responsibility: video-calling dying patients' families so they can say goodbye.

"I've held the patient's hand while they die," Thomas said. "I've FaceTimed with families so they could say goodbye to their loved ones. We just sit there and hold their hands. They want you to limit to 15 minutes in a room, but how do you walk away from someone that's saying they want to die?"

The hospital, located just outside of Pittsburgh, currently has 107 hospitalized patients, the highest number since the pandemic started. On the state level, hospitalizations, new COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising in Pennsylvania, according to an ABC News analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.

"Every day COVID continues to spread in the commonwealth, every day our numbers continue to rise, and that puts our health care system and our health care workers at greater risk,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, Pennsylvania had reported 375,431 infections and 10,757 deaths from COVID-19, according to the state health department.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


2k Studio/iStockBy SOPHIE TATUM, ABC News

(ATLANTA) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced alternatives to its two-week recommended quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19.

The CDC's 14-day guidance has been one of the more notable standards on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after a potential exposure, along with other basic public health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, and Wednesday's announcement could mark a shift in recommendations from local health departments on how individuals should handle a potential exposure.

Dr. Henry Walke, the COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, told reporters on Wednesday that although the CDC continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine as the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, the agency has two new alternatives. Quarantine can end after 10 days without a COVID-19 test if the individual has not reported any symptoms or after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test and no reported symptoms, Walke said.

As far as testing goes for the seven-day quarantine option, an individual must complete the full seven days of quarantine regardless of the test result, according to Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC's COVID-19 response.

They can also receive the test any time within the 48 hours prior to when they expect to be done with the quarantine, Brooks said.

If the test doesn't come back by the end of the seven days, the individual must continue to quarantine until they receive their negative test result, Brooks said.

Walke said the move "may make it easier for people to take this critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time."

However, Walke also said individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days after being exposed to the virus "especially if quarantine is discontinued early."

People should also follow the specific guidelines outlined by local public health officials, he said.

"I want to stress that we are sharing these options with public health agencies across the country, so that they can determine how long the quarantine period should last in their jurisdictions, based on local conditions and needs," Walke said. "Everyone should follow this specific guidance from their local public health authorities about how long they should quarantine."

The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases across the country rise following the Thanksgiving holiday and the CDC continues to advise against traveling during the upcoming holiday season.

"The safest thing to do is to postpone holiday travel and stay home," said Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the traveler's health branch at the CDC.

"Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving, and even if only a small percentage of those travelers were asymptomatically infected this can translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections, moving from one community to another," she said. "Travel is a door-to-door experience that can spread virus -- during the journey and also into communities that travelers visit or live."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Dayka Robinson and Dr. Soyini Hawkins are two of the approximately 80% of women who develop fibroids by age 50.

They are also two Black women who, as studies show is common, experienced more severe symptoms, which can range from heavy bleeding to anemia, pelvic pain and abdominal bloating.

"It's a lot of anxiety to be honest, to not know when your cycle is going to come and know it's going to be a problem if it comes unexpectedly," said Robinson, of Georgia, who said her life for years revolved around managing her fibroid symptoms.

Fibroids are usually benign, muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. They can range in size from an apple seed to a grapefruit and are most common in women in their 40s and early 50s, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.

Not all women with fibroids have symptoms, but women with symptoms can experience everything from pain and heavy menstrual bleeding to frequent urination or abdominal bloating.

Black women are more likely to develop fibroids than white women. Other risk factors can include age, family history, obesity and eating habits, according to the Office on Women's Health.

Hawkins' experience with fibroids led to her career today as a Georgia-based minimally invasive gynecological surgeon, offering alternative treatments and hope to women suffering from fibroid symptoms.

"My fibroid journey was quick, short and it was very, very miserable," Hawkins told ABC News' Janai Norman. "Because I was later in my diagnosis and my uterus was so large, I didn't have the options of minimally invasive surgery."

Research shows Black women are more likely to be treated for fibroids with hysterectomies at higher rates than white women, and often during their childbearing years, something Hawkins is trying to correct by educating women about their options, particularly Black women.

"There's not enough known about it that we're missing the impact we could have on this very, very large population," she said. "I wish that we as a community of women, and very specifically Black women, will just even talk to each other more and then take all of that knowledge to your doctor and say, 'What can I do?'"

Symptoms and treatment options depend largely on the size and location of the fibroid, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent and a board-certified OB-GYN.

Treatment options can range from temporary hormonal treatment to surgery, according to Ashton.

"There are more options today than ever before," she said. "When women go for their treatment options, they need to ask about all options, not just the one that surgeon can do himself or herself."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Keke Palmer has been struggling to control her acne for her entire adult life and, only now, found out what was triggering her persistent breakouts.

After a series of failed medications and treatments, the 27-year-old actress took matters into her own hands and discovered she has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS a common hormone abnormality that affects around 1 in 10 women and, while being a treatable cause of infertility, can affect women's overall health and appearance. According to the National Institute of Health, the causes of PCOS are very complex, with lifestyle, genetics and health all being factors that affect PCOS.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can result in reproductive and metabolic problems as well as acne -- like in Palmer's case -- or excess body hair. For more information on the hormonal disorder, click here.

Palmer opened up about her health Tuesday, sharing a series of unfiltered selfies to give fans a hard look at the breakouts currently covering her forehead, cheeks and chin.

"Poly Cystic Ovarian [sic] Syndrome has been attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea," the True Jackson, VP star explained. "My acne has been so bad that people in my field offered to pay for me to get it fixed. I tried EVERYTHING."

Palmer said treatments included two rounds of Accutane, a medication that is viewed among dermatologists as a last resort to cure severe acne due to the potential side effects, as well as dietary changes.

"I did all that, I ate all the 'right' things, my blood tests were fine. But it took ME taking a personal look into my family that has a history of diabetes and obesity, to understand what was ACTUALLY happening with me," the Scream Queens star explained.

Palmer discouraged fans from trusting everything they read on medical websites, but advised the importance of doing independent research to find potential answers because "no one can help us like we can help ourselves."

"The least harmful thing PCOS can bring is acne. To all the people struggling with this please know you’re not alone," the Hustlers actress concluded. "I’m not afraid to show myself to the world and you shouldn’t be either."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Baby-led weaning is a method of parents allowing babies to feed themselves hand-held food starting at six months old, as defined by one research report. The method made sense to Graca Walters who grew up in the Congo and said that's how babies are weaned there.

"Basically my daughter will eat whatever I give her," Walters told Good Morning America. She said she started baby-led weaning at six months with the approval of her daughter's pediatrician. Walters feeds her daughter foods she loves from Africa and the Caribbean -- along with fruit and vegetable staples -- and posts the dishes to Instagram and TikTok.

But recently, Walters has received criticism on the dishes she feeds her now 13-month-old. From threats to call child protective services to comments calling images of her dishes, "dog food," the New York mom has been under fire -- and she's firing back in a series of video responses.

One of the dishes that received the most criticism, Walters said, was the lamb curry her daughter loves. "I don't make it spicy," she said. "But [some of the comments] were calling it a form of abuse. I was shocked."

Walters said that she was initially "really hurt" by the negative comments and even considered not to continue posting her content to social media. But it was the support she found that made her decide to keep posting.

"People say they get ideas from me on what to feed their little ones and it keeps me going," she said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


XiXinXing/iStockBy LAURA ROMERO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As numerous states continue to see an uptick in coronavirus cases, some hospitals are being forced to hit pause on elective surgeries -- a measure that was last seen in the early spring as cases and hospitalizations climbed dramatically.

"Hospital capacity is now the state's top concern," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday after announcing that elective surgeries will be suspended in Erie County due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Catholic Health, one of the hospitals affected by the governor's orders, had already suspended elective surgeries two weeks ago. The hospital is expected to take a financial hit of about $40 million per month, similar to the loss the hospital system saw in the spring, according to Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan.

In the spring, the hospital furloughed about 1,200 employees.

"It was a very difficult decision to make," Sullivan told ABC News. "But we also knew that we needed to be prepared for the increase that we are seeing now. We need the beds and we need the staff."

Now, Sullivan said, the goal is to preserve resources -- from hospital beds to protective equipment -- as the hospital faces rising coronavirus caseloads.

"Seeing the staff having to go through this again is horrible," said Sullivan. "But there are many things we learned from the spring that will make things easier."

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice also announced Monday that elective surgeries will be reduced statewide to ensure there is enough hospital space for coronavirus patients.

"Our state health experts are genuinely concerned about the possibility of our hospitals becoming overrun if things get worse," Justice said.

But Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and public health researcher at Brown University, said that while the measure is "essential for many reasons," elective surgeries are necessary on many occasions.

"Someone that needs to have a gallbladder surgery may end up in the ER if their surgery is canceled or postponed," said Ranney. "These things can happen. There are some very real potential negative consequences of delaying these elective surgeries."

Dr. Jason Kemp, the OR medical director at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center, also told ABC News that there are consequences to delaying certain surgeries. For some patients, a delay could impact their ability to function and live a quality life.

"The most common surgeries that are being delayed right now are knee or hip replacements," said Kemp. "These are patients that are in a lot of pain and they've been waiting months for their surgery."

"Delaying the procedure is not life-threatening," said Kemp, "but it certainly affects the quality of their life."

By suspending some elective surgeries until Christmas, Kemp said, the hospital can repurpose hospital beds and staff.

"These are all surgeries that people need," said Kemp. "But we don't want to put our patients or our staff at increased risk while patients are recovering from surgery."

For Dr. Jay Bhatt, a practicing internist and ABC News contributor, the suspension of elective surgeries again has made things difficult for patients who need surgical care that will help them be better and improve their mental health.

"We didn't need to be here again," Bhatt said.

"I am having trouble getting patients the surgical care they may need in the near future because hospitals are canceling elective surgery in some cases," he added. "This is deja vu."

A spokesperson for UC Health in Cincinnati told ABC News that the hospital is canceling elective surgeries that require hospitalization.

"Our health care workers can't continue at this pace, and there's only so many of them to deal with this surge," said Amanda Nageleisen, spokesperson for UC Health. "We are taking these necessary steps to help preserve the ability of our people to continue to provide both COVID and non-COVID care."

"Hospitalizations in our community have grown exponentially over the past month," added Nageleisen. "Today, one in four patients within hospitals in southwest Ohio are COVID-positive."

Sullivan, the CEO of Catholic Health, is urging people to stay home and follow CDC guidelines.

"The greatest gift you can give your health care heroes this holiday season is to not spread the virus," he said. "Hospitals around the country cannot go through this again."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rattankun Thongbun/iStockBy DR. STEPHANIE E. FARBER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague society, many have noticed that it is also plaguing their skin.

'Maskne,' the nickname given to the many skin plights arising from prolonged mask wear, is a common concern dermatologists are getting.

Dr. Kimberly Jerdan, a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic and laser surgeon in Oklahoma City, said she gets asked about maskne "daily, usually two to three times a day."

Dr. Suzan Obagi, associate professor of dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that there are actually three different skin issues that she sees due to mask wear:

1. Acne
The first is acne, which she said can be caused by layering heavy moisturizers and makeup beneath an occlusive mask. "You've already covered your pores with whatever makeup or moisturizer you're putting on and then when you layer the mask on top of that, you're sealing it in even more," Dr. Obagi said. When combining pore-clogging lotions and makeup with an occlusive or humidifying mask, "people are going to have a greater tendency toward breaking out," she noted.

2. Irritant dermatitis

The second is irritant dermatitis, which happens when the skin becomes irritated by chemicals in the mask. These can be chemicals used in the manufacturing of a disposable mask or chemicals used when cleaning a cloth mask. These irritants cause the skin to become itchy, red and flaky, and some may even develop tiny red bumps.

3. Seborrheic dermatitis
The final mask-induced skin issue is seborrheic dermatitis. Dr. Jerdan describes this as an "overgrowth of yeast" which is caused by a combination of humidity and occlusion. These factors lead to "redness, dryness and sometimes a little itching," though the skin will not be as chafed and raw as it is with irritant dermatitis, Dr. Obagi said.

Each of these skin problems is treated differently, so Dr. Obagi said the first step is to know what you're dealing with.

If it's acne

If acne is, in fact, causing your blemishes, Dr. Obagi has some helpful advice. She recommends starting your day by cleansing your skin well and applying a light lotion containing an alpha hydroxy or polyhydroxy acid, such as salicylic acid "to keep the pores exfoliated and open rather than clogged."

She also suggests avoiding makeup, but Dr. Jerdan said that wearing either a fresh or a clean mask should be enough to avoid a pore-clogging effect.

During the day, if the humidity beneath the mask has made your skin sweaty or oily, Dr. Obagi said to use a no-rinse, salicylic acid-containing wipe to "calm inflammation, keep the pores unclogged, and hopefully minimize the acne flare by keeping the skin free of oils, free of environmental pollution or dirt, and free of sweat."

For existing breakouts, Dr. Jerdan recommends "washing with a benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid wash" or applying a "retinoid-like, over-the-counter adapalene to the face daily."

If it's itchy irritant dermatitis

If you are suffering from itchy irritant dermatitis, Dr. Obagi recommends that you "eliminate things that could be the most common triggers."

If you are wearing a cloth mask, this could be due to a detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheet.

With a disposable mask, it could be a chemical contained in the mask, so switching brands could be helpful.

When washing your cloth masks, she suggests "washing them in a fragrance-free, sensitive-skin type of detergent" and "not putting in a fabric softener or a dryer sheet."

If it's seborrheic dermatitis

Finally, for seborrheic dermatitis, Dr. Obagi suggests that people "wash their faces with a dandruff shampoo" to help kill the yeast causing the skin irritation, which Dr. Jerdan said can also be accomplished with a topical antifungal prescribed by a doctor.

Because these three conditions can be difficult for an untrained individual to differentiate, Dr. Jerdan cautions that "it's important to see a board-certified dermatologist to help distinguish the cause of your breakouts and [recommend] what necessary treatments would be best."

Skin tips to treat any of these skin issues

Still, Dr. Obagi has some skin tips that can help treat any of these skin issues: "Wash that face first the minute you get home. Don't just take your mask off and let the bacteria and the oil sit there and feed off each other."

"When you get home, immediately take your mask off, wash your hands, and wash your face," she said. This habit can help keep both you and your skin healthy.

So the next time your skin is acting up beneath your mask, try these tips. If you're still suffering from a mask-related skin issue, it's time to see a dermatologist.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ksenia Shestakova/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The day before Thanksgiving, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock urged his constituents to remain in their households and refrain from travel during the holiday if they could.

That same day, he boarded a plane to join his wife and daughter in Mississippi.

The decision ignited calls of hypocrisy, and the mayor issued a public apology to those "angry and disappointed" in his decision.

"I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel," he said.

Hancock is one of several elected officials facing criticism recently for not following their own health advice during the coronavirus pandemic -- in particular around Thanksgiving and other gatherings.

On Tuesday, the mayor of San Jose, Texas, issued a public apology for attending a Thanksgiving meal with more households than currently allowed under state regulations.

In a statement posted on social media, Mayor Sam Liccardo said the gathering at his parents' house consisted of eight people from five households. Restrictions issued Nov. 13 limit gatherings at a private household to three, he acknowledged.

"I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules," he said. "I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them."


I apologize for my decision to gather for Thanksgiving with my family, contrary to the rules. I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance w/ public health orders, & not to ignore them. I commit to do better. My statement:

— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) December 1, 2020


Liccardo noted that he and his family took precautions such as wearing masks when not eating and sitting with their own household at distanced tables on a backyard patio.

"I commit to do better," he added.

As the United States experiences an exponential surge in cases and record hospitalizations, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that this type of mixed messaging can be "detrimental."

"Wherever the mixed message comes from, particularly when it comes from a person in authority, is not only not helpful, it can actually be detrimental," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a press briefing with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday when asked about Hancock's travels.

In his apology, Hancock said he was acting "as a husband and father" and asked people to "forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head."


I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. (1/5)

— Michael B. Hancock 😷 (@MayorHancock) November 25, 2020


The holidays are forcing many people to make difficult decisions -- politicians included. For weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had implored New Yorkers to celebrate Thanksgiving with only their immediate households. So it came as a surprise to those following his daily briefings when he said during a Nov. 23 radio program that his mother and two daughters would travel to Albany for the holiday.

"His arrogance and hypocrisy knows no bounds," Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik said on Twitter. "Do as I say, not as I do."

At a press briefing the following day, Cuomo discussed a change in his Thanksgiving plans, saying his daughter in Chicago and his mother would no longer be coming.

"It's hard to do, and it's so much easier just to say, 'We'll do it the way we normally do it,'" he said during the briefing. "That's the easy way. 'Come over. We'll be careful.' It's a mistake."

"It's hard, but sometimes hard is smart," he added.

Austin, Texas, mayor: 'It was a lapse in judgment'

Another mayor is being called out this week for traveling while urging constituents to say home.

During a Facebook video message posted Nov. 9, while he was in Mexico, the mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler said, “We need to stay home if you can, do everything you can to try to keep the numbers down. This is not the time to relax.”

Adler had traveled to Cabo San Lucas via private jet, according to the Austin-American Statesman, which first reported on the trip Wednesday. One Austin restaurant used that to lambast the mayor.

"Politicians be like 'Stay home unless you have a private jet," El Arroyo wrote on its restaurant signage Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, Adler apologized for his "confusing" behavior of traveling while urging others to be cautious.

"I want you to know that I regret that travel," Adler said during a Facebook Live update. He noted that the trip didn't violate any state rules at the time, but that he feared "it could lead to some taking riskier behavior now."

"I recognize that my travel set a bad example," he said. "I know that in my position, I need to send a clearer message."

"I'm sorry I took that trip. It was a lapse in judgment," he added.

Dining has also been a source of controversy for leaders. California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced backlash following reports that the Democrat attended a large dinner at a restaurant in Napa Valley. The event was attended by several couples outside his household, said Newsom, who has urged constituents to avoid social gatherings that mix households.

In a statement, he said he and his family followed the restaurant's health protocols but added they "should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner."

"I made a bad mistake," Newsom said during a press briefing a few days later.

"The spirit of what I'm preaching all the time was contradicted, and I got to own that," he said during the apology. "I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice, and I've done my best to do that. We're all human. We all fall short sometimes."

Another California official has also been under the microscope for dining out during the pandemic.

On Nov. 24, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to prohibit outdoor dining for three weeks, effective the next day. Following the vote, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who voted in favor of the ban, dined outdoors at a restaurant, her spokesperson confirmed with ABC News. FOX 11 in Los Angeles first reported on the meal.

"She ate there, taking appropriate precautions, and will not dine there again until our Public Health Orders permit," her spokesperson said in a statement.

During the board meeting, Kuehl said outdoor dining was "probably more dangerous in terms of contagion than any other kind of business," according to a report by Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV.

"The hypocrisy on display from Democrat elected officials all across the country is unreal," Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said on Twitter following reports of Kuehl's meal.

The outdoor dining ban was in response to a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the county. Hospitalizations have also doubled since Nov. 13, health officials said this week. A modified stay-at-home order went into effect on Monday, additionally prohibiting all public and private gatherings with those not in someone's household and closing playgrounds and card rooms.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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This Morning 12/1/20 Carroll Broadcasting picked a random winner from all our  Rifle Season entries! That winner was Marcus Doan of Tawas City.  He bagged his 7 point buck in Gratiot County!  Congratulations Marcus,

You win a Savage Lightweight Varminter 204 Ruger Rifle from Clouse Family Ace Hardware, a Ameristep Silent Brickhouse Ground Blind from Jay's Sporting Goods, a $50.00 Gift Certificate from Fairview Hardware, a $100 Gift Certificate from M-65 Bait Shop, A World Class Tassco Gun Scope from Bob's Gun Shoppe in Alpena,a Night Scout Hunter Cap from Winjammer Gifts and a Buddy Heater w/propane, Gloves, Attractants, Deer Cam, three legged Seat A Hunter Bucket from Tawas Hardware Store!.

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This Morning 11/16/20 Carroll Broadcasting picked a random winner from all our bow hunter entries! That winner was Donna Nowak of Rogers City.  She bagged her 6 point buck in Presque Isle!  Congratulations Donna!  Donna won lots of prizes including a new  Darton Archery Toxin 100 crossbow package and a Predator traditional bow.  We still Have lots of hunting left in Firearm Season and we have lots more prizes to give away.  To Register or to get more information just fiollow the link below.


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