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Ben Carson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in a Facebook post Friday that he "became desperately ill" with the coronavirus, but he is now "out of the woods."

Why it matters: Carson tested positive for the virus on Monday. He had attended the White House’s largely mask-free election night party alongside other officials in President Trump's Cabinet, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, who also tested positive.

What he's saying: Carson said he was "extremely sick," but saw "dramatic improvement" from taking oleander, a treatment that not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Trump has previously praised the experimental botanical extract.

  • Carson said his symptoms later deteriorated, and the president "cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life."
    • According to CNN, it is unclear how the president could clear Carson to take the monoclonal antibody treatment or if Carson received Regeneron's experimental antibody treatment. In October, Trump credited his own COVID-19 recovery to the experimental antibody drug made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
  • Carson said he hoped "we can stop playing politics with medicine."
    • "While I am blessed to have the best medical care in the world (and I am convinced it saved my life), we must prioritize getting comparable treatments and care to everyone as soon as possible."
    • "There are a number of promising treatments that need to be tested, approved, and distributed (sooner rather than later) so that the economy can be re-opened and we can all return to a semblance of normalcy," Carson wrote.
    • He encouraged people not to "cause alarm" by suggesting there have been "dangerous shortcuts" taken in developing a coronavirus vaccine.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 30, 2020 - Health

Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is ramping up, with three major candidates now reporting efficacy rates of more than 90%.

Why it matters: Health experts say the world can't fully return to normal until a coronavirus vaccine is widely distributed. But each potential vaccine has its own nuances, and it's likely that multiple vaccines will be needed in order to supply enough doses for universal vaccination.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
14 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.