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Global COVID-19 death toll tops 1 million

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous, Brian Sozzi, and Anjalee Khemlani discuss the latest coronavirus news.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Over 1 million people across the globe have now died since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, just nine months since the first reported death in China in January. And more than 7 million people in the US have been infected with the virus. Joining us now for an update is Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani.

So Anjalee, reports out that the top White House officials were pressuring the CDC to play down the risk of sending kids back to school. What else do you know?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's correct, Alexis. So we're hearing about what basically took place over the summer before schools were, in fact, reopening and what the White House was trying to achieve with that, basically making it seem like there is very little risk to kids and that the idea of children being in school is actually not harmful and we shouldn't be working off that fear. I have to point out that that's something that we've heard Scott Atlas, who's the advisor to Trump on COVID, that Stanford felt that many health experts are concerned about his rhetoric and the, sort of, message that's going on.

So this all wraps up to kind of point out that the White House continues to push for schools to reopen. Meanwhile, the CDC has done some reports and some studies, and they have, in fact, discussed what the risks are. And there's a number of factors, really, to look at.

So on one hand, while kids do not necessarily show symptoms or get as sick, they do-- they are not completely void of risk. They do end up in hospitals and do end up having the virus, and they are sources of transmission as well to adults, which has been really the point and the focus of the pushback that we've seen from teachers that have gone on strike in school districts that have, you know, really pushed against in-person learning.

And the CDC has said that in hot spots, it would be really hard to do this. But there's also the mental health aspect. We know that, you know, there are children who rely on the school system for meals for the services that they provide. And so that's been a factor in the arguments.

So right now, as it stands, we saw the CDC actually timingly release a report yesterday pointing to some of these and noting, just at the bottom, that schools should just take the precaution. So not really saying whether or not they should be open or closed, but just that they should take the precautions. And we also heard from the Trump administration yesterday that rapid antigen test from Abbott were being sent out.

They bought 150 million in August once the FDA approved those tests, and now they're being sent up to states with the hopes that it will help reopen more schools. So that's where things stand right now. Still something that we have to keep an eye on, especially to learn more. You know, this is one of those things that we're going to be learning as it unfolds, whether or not children are a source of transmission for adults and how widespread they can-- the virus can be in that age group.

BRIAN SOZZI: And Anjalee, what are you hearing about the race for a vaccine?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So right now, as it stands, we know that we're still waiting for details on the phase three results. The other day, we saw Inovio, one of those latecomers to the race, have to delay their phase three trial just to answer some questions that the FDA had. And that company has really been just hammered throughout the process with multiple lawsuits that it's also fighting, related to the vaccine. So that's another one.

But we also know that we have four candidates still in the US, including Johnson & Johnson, the latest to jump into phase three. So the end of this month is approaching, the start of October, and that's when we're hoping to hear some more details about-- at earliest, about some of the vaccine candidates and when they might starting to hit those high-priority individuals and be distributed in that list.