Dr. Anthony Fauci mildly scolded CNN’s Jim Acosta for taking him out of context while responding to his question at the White House press briefing on Tuesday. Acosta asked the coronavirus response team doctors if the United States could have prevented more deaths by acting against the virus sooner with social distancing and shelter-in-place policies. 

“If there was no virus in the background, there was nothing to mitigate. If there was a virus there that we didn’t know about, then the answer to your question is probably yes,” he said.

Fauci added, “The only trouble with that is that whenever you come out and say something like that, it always becomes almost a soundbite that gets taken out of context.”

Both Birx and Fauci said it was unclear precisely when the virus was infecting people in the United States, even though cases were not apparent. “In a perfect world, it would have been nice to know what was going on there, and we didn’t,” he said. “But I believe, Jim, that we acted very, very early in that.” President Donald Trump added that he acted early to stop travel from China at the end of January to help prevent the virus from spreading.“We were very early, and I also think we were very smart,” he said.

China was very secretive in the early stages of the outbreak and many people including me still question their numbers. In the city where the outbreak began, that has approximately 11 million people to only have 48,000 cases seems far-fetched. 

British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI) 

BTI working on a Coronavirus vaccine 

A screen shot of a computer monitor
Description automatically generated

A London-based tobacco company said Wednesday that it is working on a potential coronavirus vaccine made from proteins extracted from tobacco. They could possibly have their first batches ready by June.

British American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI) said it’s biotech sub, Kentucky BioProcessing or “KBP”, could churn out between 1 million and 3 million doses of the vaccine by that time, according to Reuters.

KBP would develop the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, according to the company. They also noted that in order to do that, they would require support from government agencies and the right manufacturers.

The vaccine is currently undergoing pre-clinical testing, which means no humans yet. The vaccine would trigger antigens buy using a cloned part of the virus. Antigens are substances that spark an immune response in the body. They would be inserted into tobacco plants for reproduction, then harvested, and extracted.  Then purified and then inserted into the human body to fight the virus, the company said. British American Tobacco said it was working with the Food and Drug Administration and with British health authorities on launching clinical studies as soon as possible.

Trump and Fauci Clash…But so What?!?

A person wearing a suit and tie
Description automatically generated

Investing doesn’t have a political party. True investors and active traders don’t act on party affiliation, but on what’s best for their own portfolio. The media can’t say the same thing. 

ABC news put out a story pointing out that President Trump doesn’t always agree with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is on the President’s virus response team and is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Shockingly, Fauci doesn’t always agree with the president. This is news?!?! Disgraceful. 

Who really finds it surprising that a well respected and almost revered physician, who’s one job is to stop this virus, argues with the person who has several jobs. The President of the United States is not only responsible for saving as many lives as he can, that are affected by the virus, he also needs to save lives from people who may become financially destitute and die from hunger, cureable diseases brought on by poverty, suicide and drug addiction from triggered depression.  This is news?

It’s divisive, obvious, and not a all important. A doctor’s job is to rule out every possibilty. They actually diagnose medical issues through a  process of elimination. If insurance companies weren’t so tight on what they will and won’t cover, you wouldn’t believe the amount of tests you’d get on your average visit to your doctor. If all decisions were made by the medical team in the White House, there would be far fewer infections but a much worse economic situation. 

Early on in the crisis, Fauci admitted to stil using Washington’s subway system to get to the White House each day. “When the White House heard that, they went completely nuts,” Fauci said with a heavy laugh. Of course they went nuts! Someone who is justifiably sounding alarm bells about how bad things could be, riding the subway everyday surrounded by people? That’s odd messaging, not a fued in the White House virus team.  Fauci is a hero, the media is not even close. 

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD)

A person in a blue shirt
Description automatically generated

Biotech Giant Gilead Sciences is moving to expanded access programs to get more people it’s experimental COVID-19 treatment, Remdesivir. Remdesivir was previously under testing as a vaccine for the Ebola virus and has been in the earliest stage human studies as a treatment for the novel coronavirus. 

Remdesivir is being used in the United States for the treatment under federal rules that allow the use of unapproved drugs on really sick people who request it and understand it is experimental. This is called “compassionate use”. There has been a massive rise in compassionate use requests for remdesivir, so Gilead has decided to offer the drug under an expanded-access program to try and make it more widely available to severely ill patients and to be able to  collect the data from patients to see if it’s working. 

Remdesivir has shown promising results in infected patients, and it’s being reflected in GILD’s stock price. Many people think they will be first to come up with a treatment. Initial data from the current studies are expected in the a few weeks.

Gilead has asked the FDA to fast-track remdesivir, but they’ve also faced some criticism for trying to benefit financially from a global health crisis.

112-year Old Man Spends His Birthday in Isolation  

A picture containing person, man, window, table
Description automatically generated

Bob Weighton lived through the 1918 Spanish flu and two world wars but said nothing could prepare him for life in the coronavirus era.

Weighton, of Hampshire in southern England, turned 112-years old on Sunday, but he couldn’t have a party with friends and family because of isolation for the elderly and shelter-in-place measures for everyone else in England. Like millions of people, he was in isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It is bizarre. I’ve never experienced anything like coronavirus before,” he told the paper. “I’m a bit frustrated but then again I’ve been in situations where you just had to accept what was happening.”

He did get happy birthday sung to him from a distance while he watched from his room’s balcony. As a b-day gift, he received the Guinness book of world records oldest living male plaque. 

Weighton happily accepted the Guinness plaque, but turned down a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth. “I had about 10 and I don’t see why I should require the Queen to keep giving me cards.” 

Happy Birthday, Bob.