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Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks, whose company has a coronavirus treatment in Phase 3 of clinical trials, told "Axios on HBO" that it'd be smart to share with other countries rather than going America first.

The big picture: 66% of Americans don't want to share a vaccine right away with the rest of the world if the U.S. gets there first, according to a recent Harris poll, Axios' Sam Baker reported last week.

  • Ricks, incoming chair of the industry group PhRMA, told Mike Allen the goal would be to "protect as much of the planet as we can, versus looking after only one country by itself — creating an island, which would be, I think, illusory."

But Ricks made a 2-part case for why that is shortsighted.

  • Reason 1: "[I]f an individual country exceeds, let's say there's a category of people ... that have the highest risk and we vaccinate all of them. Should we go to the next category of risk or share it with others who have that same, I think humanitarian principles would say we should share at that point."
  • Reason 2: "[W]e have to recognize back to the point on public health that this is a shared risk, not an individual risk. So if in an imaginary world we had protected our risk groups A, B and C, but no one else had protected any of theirs, meaning other countries, we still run the risk of people traveling to the US and infecting more and more people.

Between the lines: Ricks noted that the FDA is using a "low bar" for evaluating COVID-19 vaccines, which he defended as "probably appropriate" because of the urgency of the pandemic.

  • "[T]he FDA standard ... for vaccine effectiveness is a 50 percent response, meaning that half the people have an adequate response to retain antibodies and mount their own immune response to the disease without getting sick initially."

The bottom line: "I think the strongest global interest is to vaccinate as many high risk people as possible," Ricks said.

Go deeper

Dec 4, 2020 - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
Dec 4, 2020 - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.