Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien tested positive for the coronavirus, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: O'Brien, who is isolating at home and working remotely, is the closest official to Trump to test positive thus far.

  • One of Trump's personal valets tested positive in May, and Vice President Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive in May — highlighting the difficulty of keeping the virus at bay even in the White House.

The big picture: The White House uses a method of contact tracing and rapid testing by utilizing a 15-minute Abbott Labs test in order to protect Trump and Pence — and that is precisely what many experts say could allow life to return to normal if executed at scale.

What they're saying: "He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site. There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted," the White House said in a statement confirming Bloomberg's reporting.

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Updated 11 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

A coalition of 156 countries agreed Monday to a "landmark" agreement aimed at the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the globe, the World Health Organization announced Monday.

The big picture: 64 higher-income countries, including European Union members, are among the signatories to the deal, known as "COVAX." The U.S. is not participating in the scheme.

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure

The career scientists involved in the approval process will not be swayed by politics, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Why it matters: Gottlieb's comments come amid fears that the Trump administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine.

Sep 20, 2020 - Health

Trump's health secretary asserts control over all new rules

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and President Donald Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wrote a memo this week giving him authority over all new rules and banning any of the health agencies, including the FDA, from signing any new rules "regarding the nation’s foods, medicines, medical devices and other products," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The story further underscores reporting that health and scientific agencies are undergoing a deep politicization as the Trump administration races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, as Axios' Caitlin Owens has reported. Peter Lurie, a former associate commissioner of the FDA, told the Times that the Azar memo amounted to a "power grab."

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