Senior Clinical Research Nurse Ajithkumar Sukumaran prepares the COVID 19 vaccine to administer to a volunteer, at a clinic in London on Aug. 5.

Senior Clinical Research Nurse Ajithkumar Sukumaran prepares the COVID 19 vaccine to administer to a volunteer, at a clinic in London on Aug. 5. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Coronavirus Roundup: Trump Administration is ‘Quietly’ Planning for Vaccine Distribution; NIH Enrolls Participants in Critical Phase of Two Antibody Trials  

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

President Trump said during a briefing on Monday evening that he still believes children are immune from the coronavirus and, “They don’t get very sick. They don’t catch it easily.” However, a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association found there was a 90% increase in the number of coronavirus cases among children nationwide in the last four weeks. The age range varied by state, but the majority used ages 0 to 19. “We all have to take this virus seriously, including taking care of our children," Dr. Sean O'Leary, vice chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, told CNN. This comes amid the debate of how schools, colleges and universities should handle classes in the fall. Here are some other recent headlines you might have missed. 

The New York Times published a profile on Monday about Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn’s management of the agency during the pandemic. “Many medical experts — including members of his own staff — worry about whether Dr. Hahn, despite his good intentions, has the fortitude and political savvy to protect the scientific integrity of the F.D.A. from the president,” said the report. However, he “defended his record as F.D.A. chief. All of his decisions have been guided by the data, he said, and sometimes, rapidly evolving science has led to policy changes.” 

The FDA plans to keep its biological labs closed for longer than other government labs. The agency told staff the labs would stay closed until there are fewer than 10 coronavirus cases per 100,000 individuals in the counties around its campus in White Oak, Md., according to internal documents obtained by STAT News. 

The National Institutes of Health announced on Monday that it is enrolling participants in two Phase 3 clinical trials for antibody treatment for the coronavirus. Phase 3 is the stage when experimental drugs are tested on large groups of people, typically 1,000-3,000, to determine their effectiveness and safety prior to licensing. These tests are part of the COVID-19 Prevention Network, which was established in July to consolidate NIH’s four clinical trial testing networks to boost enrollment for coronavirus tests. 

The Trump administration is “quietly” working on a pilot program in California, Florida, North Dakota and Minnesota to prepare for vaccine distribution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pentagon and the administration's “Operation Warp Speed” are all involved, Roll Call reported on Monday. This comes as many are raising questions on who will be first to get the vaccine if and when one is approved.

The Trump administration is considering a new regulation that would temporarily ban American citizens and legal permanent residents from entering the United States from abroad if authorities suspect they are infected with the coronavirus, using authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Federal agencies have been asked to submit feedback on the proposal to the White House by Tuesday, though it is unclear when it might be approved or announced,” The New York Times reported on Monday.

The Transportation Security Administration said this past July air travel was down 75% compared to July 2019, yet the rate of guns found per passenger at screening checkpoints was three times higher than last year. Eighty percent of guns were loaded and that number doesn’t include guns potentially found in checked bags. “Travelers must understand that firearms are prohibited items at airports and in the passenger cabins of aircraft," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. "As hard as we are working to mitigate other risks at this time, no one should be introducing new ones,” CNN reported on Monday. 

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., asked congressional leadership on Monday to include funding in the next economic relief package to address the coronavirus outbreaks in federal prisons. “We are concerned that [the Federal Bureau of Prisons] has not yet implemented universal testing or onsite testing for inmates and staff to stop the spread of the virus throughout the prison system or within our communities,” they wrote. “We therefore urge you to work swiftly to ensure the necessary funds are made available to better equip the BOP in handling this crisis. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, with $200 million for the BOP to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, over 10 weeks ago. Our communities cannot afford further delays.”

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service's Center for Presidential Transition spoke with Federal Transition Coordinator Mary Gibert for its recent podcast about presidential transition planning amid the pandemic. “COVID has not impacted our transition planning,” Gibert said. “Before (the pandemic), everything was large gatherings in-person. Now we go to Zoom and Google Hangouts...One of the other key features that we provide to candidates…is a secure Internet…through pre-election or post-election. They (the Biden team) will be able to operate wherever they are using the same suite of tools that we have within the government.” She also said that if former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wins, “There will be an option for in-person meetings” at the agencies “as long as it’s safe.”

Upcoming: President Trump will hold a news conference at 5:30 p.m.

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode talks about the use of data in government operations, such as during the coronavirus response. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at