Trump doubles down on vaccine timeline, contradicts top expert

first_imgRedfield tweeted his support for a potential vaccine Wednesday evening, but cautioned Americans to be vigilant about mitigating viral spread in the meantime. “The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds. #COVID19″The contradiction between Trump and health experts on an issue that has become a focal point of the 2020 election campaign highlighted the lack of trust Biden said he and the public have in the president’s handling of the pandemic, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.”When I said I trust vaccines, and I trust the scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump — this is what I meant,” Biden tweeted after Trump’s remarks.Barely an hour earlier the Democratic nominee said Trump’s refusal to take key steps to tackle the pandemic, like instituting national guidelines on social distancing and testing, were “utterly disqualifying” for the presidency.The Democratic nominee, speaking after receiving a briefing by public health experts, said he supported a rapid Covid-19 vaccine to help American life return to normal, but said the process should be guided by science and safety, not politics. “We’re very close to that vaccine as you know… We think we can start sometime in October” or shortly thereafter, Trump said.”I believe he was confused,” he said of Redfield. “I am just telling you we are ready to go as soon as the vaccine happens.”Redfield told lawmakers Wednesday that a “very limited” distribution to priority groups including first responders could begin in November and December, but that full implementation would take many more months at least.”I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021″ before a safe and effective vaccine would be available to the general public, he added. ‘He’s the president’ On Tuesday Trump accelerated his own already optimistic predictions, saying a vaccine may be available even before the November 3 presidential election.”We’re within weeks of getting it, you know — could be three weeks, four weeks,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC.Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is pressuring government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help his uphill bid for reelection.Trump also raised eyebrows when asked at the town hall why he had downplayed the gravity of the pandemic in its early months.”I didn’t downplay it,” Trump replied. “I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”But Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, told the town hall that “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think masks are good.”The comment caught wide flak, including from Biden, who also knocked Trump for saying the Democrat declined to institute a mask mandate.”I’m not the president, he’s the president,” Biden whispered into the microphone.Trump’s anti-mask message got a dressing down of sorts by Redfield too, as the CDC director held up a medical mask to senators and said “I might go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”Trump rejected the assertion outright, and noted that he called Redfield to ask him what he meant.”I think there are a lot of problems with masks,” Trump said. “It’s not more effective than a vaccine.”Biden routinely appears at campaign events wearing a mask, and usually takes it off to deliver a speech. Trump, who is trailing in pre-election polling, has mocked Biden for wearing a mask. Polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Topics : President Donald Trump expressed renewed confidence Wednesday that a viable Covid-19 vaccine would be ready by October, directly contradicting a top administration health expert and facing fierce criticism from his Democratic election rival Joe Biden.Trump sowed confusion about the issue with an extraordinary public rebuke of one of his top health experts who said masks were a leading weapon for fighting the pandemic and that a vaccine was unlikely to be widely available until mid-2021.”I think he made a mistake when he said that. That’s just incorrect information,” Trump told reporters referring to Senate testimony by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield.last_img read more

Roy Halladay: Thoughts, stats and unforgettable moments ahead of Hall of Fame induction ceremony

first_imgIn his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Roy Halladay received 85.4 percent of the 425 votes cast — the same percentage as Edgar Martinez, who was in his last year on the ballot — and easily cleared the 75 percent threshold necessary for enshrinement. The induction ceremony is Sunday in the field next to the Clark Sports Center, just about a mile from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. This year’s ceremony will have a feeling of sadness, though. Halladay, of course, died in a plane crash in November 2017 and will be represented by his family in Cooperstown. His wife, Brandy, will give Halladay’s acceptance speech.  MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNHere are a few Halladay thoughts and stats ahead of the ceremony. One Cooperstown voteI’m blessed to have a vote for the Hall of Fame, and I voted for Halladay as one of my 10 choices. As part of a way-too-brief overview of Halladay’s career, here’s some of what I wrote:From 2001 through 2012, Halladay won two Cy Young awards — one in each league — and finished in the top five of the Cy Young vote five other times. He fashioned a 3.07 ERA and 3.12 FIP, with an excellent 4.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He had eight seasons with a bWAR of at least 5.3, including three over 8.0. He led his league in innings pitched four times and in complete games seven times. Halladay threw a no-hitter in the first playoff start of his career and finished with a 2.37 ERA in five postseason starts.Because of his relatively late arrival as an ace and his relatively early career exit because of injuries, Halladay’s overall numbers fall a bit short of the average Hall of Fame starting pitcher. The average Hall starter has a 73.4 bWAR and 61.8 JAWS, and Halladay finished at 64.3 and 57.5. Those numbers, though, are far above the “worst” starting pitchers in the Hall.Playoff no-hitterIn any circumstance, a playoff no-hitter would be an incredible feat. When Halladay turned in his brilliant performance — in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds — he wasn’t pitching in ordinary playoff circumstances. Halladay was 33 years old, a veteran in his 13th MLB season. The first 12 years, his seasons ended short of October, and Halladay had made no secret of his desire to finally pitch in the postseason. He would have preferred that it happen in Toronto, but as his time in a Blue Jays uniform rolled toward a finish, he wanted to be traded to a playoff contender (Toronto won just 75 games in 2009 despite a brilliant season from Halladay.). The Jays granted him that wish at the 2009 Winter Meetings, shipping him to Philadelphia — a team that won the 2008 World Series and reached the final round again in 2009. And even with those heavy expectations, Halladay was brilliant in the Philadelphia spotlight. He allowed a total of three runs in his first four starts for the Phillies, then threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29 (more on that in a moment). He was dominant the entire season, leading the NL in complete games (nine), K/BB ratio (7.30) and innings (250 2/3) while fashioning a 2.44 ERA and walking just 30 hitters all season. After the postseason, it was announced that he won the NL Cy Young award, garnering all 32 first-place votes. Yeah. He was that good, and all of that built expectations toward that first playoff start.So what’d he do? Doc threw a damn no-hitter. Jay Bruce drew a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning, and that was it. No other Reds player reached first base safely. Halladay’s gem was only the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history; the other was Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.  Perfect gameHalladay allowed at least five earned runs in a start five times in 2010. He followed up four of those five hiccups with brilliant outings that ended with a 0 in the opponents’ run column when Halladay left the mound. One of those in particular stands out. Pitching at home on May 18, Halladay allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, a game the Phillies lost 8-3. His next start was on the road in Miami. The first batter of the game, Chris Coghlan, worked the count to 3-2 and thought he’d drawn a walk with the sixth pitch of the at-bat, but home-plate ump Mike DiMuro called it strike three and Coghlan’s at-bat was done. Jorge Cantu nearly had a hit in the eighth inning, but third baseman Juan Castro made a nice play on a sharply hit one-hopper to record the out. And Mike Lamb hit a long fly ball in the ninth, but that fell just short, too. Aside from those oh-so-close moments, the Marlins would have had the same level of success with Whiffle Ball bats at the plate against Halladay. The Phillies didn’t do much at the plate against Josh Johnson, either, scoring their lone run with the help of a third-inning error by Cameron Maybin, but that one tally was plenty for Halladay.  No free passesIn his disastrous 2000 season — you know, when he posted a 10.64 ERA in 19 games (13 starts), the worst ERA for any pitcher with at least 65 innings in a season — Halladay walked 42 batters in 67 2/3 innings, an average of 5.6 walks per nine innings. But he spent the next several months completely revamping his approach to pitching — mentally and physically — and returned to the majors as a different pitcher.In his first Cy Young season, 2003, Halladay pitched 266 innings — the most in the bigs since 1991 and a number nobody has reached since — and walked just 32 hitters. Think about that. In nearly 200 more innings, Halladay walked 10 fewer hitters. He had 14 starts of at least six innings during which he didn’t walk a single batter. And that year wasn’t a fluke. Far from it. It was a new path to success. Halladay pitched at least 220 innings eight times in his career, and he walked fewer than 42 batters in six of those seasons.last_img read more