The world came together for a vaccine summit - but where was Trump?

LONDON— World leaders came together in a virtual summit Monday to pledge billions of dollars to quickly develop vaccines and drugs to fight the coronavirus.  Missing from the roster was the Trump administration, which declined to participate but highlighted from Washington what one official called its “whole-of-America” efforts in the United States and its generosity to global health efforts. ____________________________________________________ More on coronavirus: ____________________________________________________ With the money came soaring rhetoric about international solidarity and a good bit of boasting about each country’s efforts and achievements, live and prerecorded, by Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Boris Johnson, Japan’s Shinzo Abe — alongside Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed,” said Johnson, who was so stricken by the virus that he thought he might never leave the intensive care unit alive last month. “The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes.” A senior Trump administration official said Monday the United States “welcomes” the efforts of the conference participants. “Many of the organizations and programs this pledging conference seeks to support already receive very significant funding and support from the U.S. government and private sector,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under White House rules for briefing reporters. “It’s the first time that I can think of where you have had a major international pledging conference for a global crisis of this kind of importance, and the U.S. is just absent,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who worked on the Ebola response in the Obama administration. “Against that kind of uncertainty we should be trying to position ourselves to be supporting — and potentially benefiting from — all of them,” said Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. “And instead we seem to be just focused on trying to win the race, in the hopes we happen to get one of the successful ones.” Conference participants expressed a need for unity. Related: Coronavirus crisis around the world (Photos) Footballers of the U-10 age group of SV Loschwitz train on the pitch at large intervals, on May 5, in Saxony's capital city of Dresden, Germany. “We can’t just have the wealthiest countries have a vaccine and not share it with the world,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Chinese premier Li Keqiang was replaced at the last minute by Zhang Ming, Beijing’s ambassador to the European Union. The U.S. official said the United States “is the single largest health and humanitarian donor in world. And the American people have continued that legacy of generosity in the global fight against covid-19.” “And we would welcome additional high-quality, transparent contributions from others,” he said.  Asked three more times to explain why the United States did not attend, the official said he already had given an answer. The official said the United States is in the process of giving about twice that amount in additional funding. There was one major American player at the virtual summit: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which promised to spend million in the fight. The World Health Organization says eight vaccines have entered human trials and another 94 are in development. When it’s discovered, infectious disease experts are predicting a scramble for limited doses, because there won’t be enough to vaccinate everyone on Day One. Those that have begun human trials include a research project at Oxford University in England, which hopes to have its vaccine ready in the fall. “In normal times,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “reaching this stage would take years.” Other scientists are sprinting to create antiviral drugs or repurposing existing drugs such as remdesivir, which U.S. infectious diseases chief Anthony S. Fauci said he expected would be the new “standard of care.”  Other approaches now in trial include treatments such as convalescent plasma, which involves taking blood plasma from people who have recovered from covid-19 to patients who are fighting the virus, in the hope that the antibody-rich fluid will give the infected a helping hand. Conference participants expressed hope that by working together, the world will find solutions more quickly — and they can then be dispersed to all countries, not only the wealthy, or those that developed vaccines first. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well. The virus that cause COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. Make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance of at least 1 metre from others and frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Bydoing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. President Trump announced last month he was cutting off U.S. funding for the WHO because he said it had sided too closely with China, where the coronavirus arose. Trump says Chinese leaders underplayed the threat and hid crucial facts. The country invested .8 billion in neglected diseases in 2018, according to Policy Cures Research, more than two-thirds of the worldwide total. Hotez said the United States shoulders the burden of investing in global health technologies, while countries such as China do not step up. “I’m not very confident that some of the cutting-edge technologies going into clinical trials, which have never led to a licensed vaccine before, are going to filter down to low- and middle-income countries anytime soon,” Hotez said.