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Trump just received Regeneron's experimental COVID-19 treatment. Here's the inside story of the biotech and its 2 billionaire founders.

  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is at the front of the pack in the race to develop a coronavirus treatment.
  • President Donald Trump received an injection of the experimental treatment Friday after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the president's doctor said.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved the treatment, which is still in clinical trials that started in June.
  • A description of early data released on September 29 suggested the antibody drug holds promise as an early treatment option. But the ongoing studies will need to confirm that potential.
  • The drug, called an antibody cocktail, was built in record time, using technology developed over the New York biotech's 32-year history.
  • Here's the inside story of how Regeneron rose to the drug industry's top ranks, led by founders Leonard Schleifer and George Yancopoulos.
  • For more stories like this, sign up here for our healthcare newsletter Dispensed.

 

One of our best hopes for fighting the coronavirus pandemic may have started with a signed napkin in 1988.

On that napkin, a neurologist named Leonard Schleifer scribbled the basics of a deal to start a new biotechnology company. His dinner companion, George Sing, a banker at Merrill Lynch, agreed to give Schleifer a million dollars in funding to launch the business.

Thirty-two years later, that company, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is a leader in the race to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Its experimental COVID-19 treatment was injected into President Donald Trump, the White House's physician said Friday. 

Regeneron began testing its coronavirus drug in people in June. The drug is based on the disease-fighting proteins known as antibodies, and Regeneron quickly developed it using technology it's been honing for more than two decades and previously used to successfully treat Ebola.

A description of early data released on September 29 suggested the antibody drug holds promise as an early treatment option. But ongoing studies will need to confirm that potential.

Regeneron hopes the drug will not just help the sick recover from COVID-19 but can also protect healthy people from getting infected, acting like a short-term vaccine. If the drug works, Regeneron aims to have hundreds of thousands of doses available by the end of 2020.

Producing a successful coronavirus treatment in under a year would be the latest validation of the unusual approach that Regeneron and its executives have taken to the biotech industry. Over the past three decades, the biotech's cofounders have pushed Regeneron into the drug industry's top ranks, developing seven approved medicines, employing more than 8,000 workers, and making themselves billionaires.

They've also taken a long-term mindset and spent decades building their own research tools, a marked contrast to rivals that quickly get gobbled up by giant pharma suitors.

"From the very beginning, as long we could support it financially, we were intent on being very broad-minded about our work and our technology development," said Neil Stahl, Regeneron's executive vice president of research and development in a July interview. "Because you never really know exactly where the big successes are going to come from."

Read more: Customized drugs designed to prevent and treat the coronavirus are storming into the clinic. Here are the top drugmakers crafting antibody treatments, which are set to play a key role in halting the pandemic.

'If you're so smart, why do you make so little?'

Schleifer was working as a neurologist in New York City when he got the idea for Regeneron. He wanted to study brain diseases at a basic, genetic level and craft drugs using those findings. The name was a portmanteau of the company's initial goal: regenerating neurons to tackle brain disorders.

After securing his first million dollars, he turned to finding a partner and came across a young biology professor at Columbia University. George Yancopoulos graduated at the top of his class at Columbia and was valedictorian at The Bronx High School of Science, where Neil deGrasse Tyson happened to be a classmate.

The 28-year-old scientist had recently landed a $2.5 million grant to jump-start his own lab. But his father — a Greek immigrant who raised his son in working-class Queens, New York — implored him to look beyond academia. "Exactly how much of that $2.5 million goes into your pocket?" Yancopoulos later recalled his father asking him in Greek. "If you're so smart, why do you make so little?"

That's when Schleifer called. By 1989, Yancopoulos had bailed on Columbia to join Schleifer as Regeneron's chief scientific officer, setting up shop in Tarrytown, New York, about 20 miles north of Manhattan.

Regeneron was also cofounded by Eric Shooter, a Stanford University neuroscientist who served on the biotech's board until 2014.

Regeneron suffers early failure with ALS drugs

From the beginning, the biotech took a different approach to science. While many biotechs are secretive, Regeneron's researchers were encouraged to publish early and often, said Stahl, who joined in 1991. That allowed scientists at the company to build their reputations, while also attracting more young talent.

Its early research helped the company gain some attention and raise $91 million in a 1991 initial public offering.

Dr. Betty Diamond, the director of molecular medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, described Yancopoulos as "an extraordinary guy."

"I think people recognized early on, both in academia, the venture-capital world, and anywhere else, that he's somebody who you put your money on," she told Business Insider in July. "And it's paid in dividends."

Diamond has followed Regeneron's work for decades as a longtime antibody researcher who runs her own lab in New York.

But creating medicines wasn't as easy as they hoped, particularly in aiming to treat neurological disorders like ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Two of its early drug candidates failed to help patients in clinical trials.

The company cold-calls an industry legend, persuading Roy Vagelos to join

The company soon shifted its focus, prodded by an industry legend.

In 1994, Merck CEO Roy Vagelos was looking for his next opportunity, as the drugmaker required executives to retire at 65.

Roy VagelosWikimedia Commons

Vagelos was an icon in the Greek community and among pharmaceutical firms. When Yancopoulos was pursuing a career in academia, his father brought him articles about Vagelos, who was also the son of Greek immigrants.

Prodded by Yancopoulos' father, Schleifer cold-called Vagelos. The Merck CEO didn't pick up, and Schleifer left a message, Yancopoulos recalled.

"I said, 'Len, you know we're never going to hear back,'" Yancopoulos said. "And sure enough, a week later, he comes to me and says, 'George, Roy called back.'"

Vagelos, who's still Regeneron's chairman at age 90, steered the company to focus on research outside the brain, where it was easier to develop treatments.

Regeneron was also building its own technology that became the engine of its labs. Through the 1990s and the 2000s, Regeneron developed a way to genetically engineer mice, effectively giving them human-like immune systems. Researchers could use these mice to identify potent antibodies, or virus-fighting proteins that could be harnessed as treatments.

Science experiments like these caused many investors to scratch their heads, SVB Leerink biotech analyst Geoffrey Porges said in July, as they wondered how these findings would actually make medicines that could be sold.

A biotech gets its blockbuster, as Regeneron soars and mints billionaires

By 2010, Regeneron had more than 1,000 employees and a market value north of $1 billion. But it still didn't have a blockbuster drug, a medicine that can rake in $1 billion or more in annual sales.

That came in November 2011, when Eylea was approved to treat an eye disease that often causes blindness in the elderly. Regeneron turned a profit for the first time in 2012. The drug brought in $1.4 billion in US sales in 2013 and has kept growing since then.

"In the early days, really through much of the company's existence, I think they would have been happy to have been sold," Porges said. "But when Eylea came along and they saw it was truly better, I think they had more confidence about their long-term value."

The US Department of Justice is suing Regeneron, accusing it of making kickback payments to a patient charity to boost Eylea sales. In a June 24 complaint, the DOJ said top executives knew about the scheme and lied about it. Regeneron says the claims are meritless and plans to fight them.

Regeneron's stock has soared over the past decade, and it's grown from 1,200 workers in early 2010 to 8,100 at the beginning of this year.

That explosive growth made Schleifer, Yancopoulos, and Vagelos into billionaires. Schleifer made $672 million in salary and cashed-out stock from 2009 to 2019 and still holds about $3.7 billion in Regeneron stock, a Business Insider review of regulatory filings found. Yancopoulos made $462 million in that same period and holds a company stake valued at $1.6 billion.

A company spokesperson said all full-time employees receive stock-based pay, mainly through option awards. 

"Many employees have done very well under this model, rewarding and reflecting their contributions to the long-term success of the company," the spokesperson said in a July statement.

Research projects that began decades ago started to pay off. Regeneron's first few approved drugs, including Eylea, were discovered using what it called trap technology, which it pioneered in the 1990s. Its most recent drugs come from another idea conceived in the '90s: its engineered mice.

Ebola and MERS serve as a 'warm-up' for the coronavirus

Regeneron used its customized mice to respond to previous viral outbreaks, building experimental medicines to treat MERS, a disease caused by a coronavirus that first broke out in the Middle East in 2012, and Ebola, a particularly deadly disease that has affected parts of central and western Africa over the past six years.

It took about 10 months for Regeneron to have a drug ready for human trials in Ebola, which proved to be successful in reducing deaths. It took just five months to reach the same stage for its coronavirus treatment.

"MERS and Ebola were kind of a warm-up to prepare us for what we are doing now with COVID," Christos Kyratsous, Regeneron's vice president of infectious disease and viral vector technologies, said in a June 17 interview.

When the first New York coronavirus cases were reported in Westchester County, where Regeneron is headquartered, the company found itself at the epicenter of the crisis. In working in the middle of a pandemic, Regeneron dealt with a "logistical nightmare," Kyratsous said, requiring researchers to come in staggered shifts throughout the day and night.

The labs were running 24/7 at peak times, Stahl said. He shared one photo of a late-night celebration among scientists after running a successful experiment.

To come up with its prospective coronavirus treatment, Regeneron turned back to its mice. Scientists attached a critical chunk of the coronavirus onto another type of virus to infect the mice and then sorted through thousands of antibodies, screening them in lab experiments to see how well they combat the virus.

It took Regeneron about 75 days to go from infecting mice to selecting antibodies. Then, it passed on information about the antibodies to its manufacturing plant in upstate New York. 

Some effective treatments have emerged six months into the outbreak. Clinical trials have found the antiviral drug remdesivir speeds up recovery times for hospitalized patients, and the steroid dexamethasone lowers the risk of death for the critically ill needing oxygen support. 

Read more: How 13 top drugmakers are sprinting to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment that can halt this pandemic

But these repurposed drugs carry modest benefits — they weren't designed to fight this specific virus. Antibody drugs are custom-built against this coronavirus and could also address the massive need to treat patients earlier before they wind up in the hospital.

Scientists are also investigating other treatments based on the blood of survivors, like plasma transfusions. If these are effective, they will be limited by the amount of donated blood available from COVID-19 survivors. Producing antibody drugs doesn't rely on donations.  

Vaccines — the gold standard in halting infectious diseases — face a higher regulatory bar, since they will be used by millions of healthy people. Antibody drugs could be a "bridge to a vaccine" by being ready by the end of 2020.

While many other drug companies have brought similar speed to developing antibody-based drugs, Stahl touted the company's ability to work on both research and manufacturing as an advantage. Several hundred people across the company worked to accelerate the program, working on everything from immunizing mice, to testing antibodies, to scaling up manufacturing, and working with regulators, Kyratsous said.

Right now, the company is enrolling several thousand volunteers to test its antibody cocktail. The drug is being tested in infected people and to see whether it can prevent infection in people who have most likely been exposed to the virus, like someone living with a sick person. Regeneron aims to have results before the end of this year and to have hundreds of thousands of doses available if it works.

Regeneron is facing intense competition

The race for coronavirus therapeutics underscores the intense competition Regeneron is facing, as more biotechs and pharmaceutical companies have become experts at working on antibody-based treatments.

Eli Lilly beat Regeneron to the clinic in June with its own antibody drug. Other companies like Vir Biotechnology and AstraZeneca are expected to test antibody therapies this summer.

That's playing out beyond the coronavirus, too. The drugmaker Sanofi has had a partnership with Regeneron to discover and bring new drugs to market. The duo's work produced the anti-inflammatory treatment Dupixent, which they project will become one of the top-selling drugs of all time.

But last year, Sanofi announced it would wind down the partnership, which had existed for more than a decade. Sanofi executives said they were confident in their own antibody capabilities.

The biggest question facing Regeneron is common in biotech: What's next? Last year, as Regeneron kept sliding down to a valuation close to $30 billion, the SVB Leerink analyst Porges questioned whether the company was at risk of becoming "the TiVo of biotech."

Regeneron was excellent at making antibodies in the way TiVo excelled at recording TV shows. But competition was catching up, he said.

Investors are betting on Regeneron, sending the stock soaring

For now, investors are betting on Regeneron. Thanks to a bump for companies work on coronavirus treatments, the stock is up about 50% this year, reaching a $60 billion valuation.

Some of that increase is thanks to a setback that hit a key competitor to Eylea. Proposals to reform Medicare, which would have hurt Eylea sales, fell by the wayside amid the pandemic.

Schleifer and Yancopoulos are both in their 60s, and Stahl said they'd given no hint of a plan to retire anytime soon. Still, he said he wasn't worried about the next chapter of Regeneron, because the company is stocked with talented scientists.

At the same time, Porges said some of Regeneron's unique approach to innovation should be credited to the cofounders, and he does think it would fade if they departed.

"They are having the times of their lives," Porges said. "If there ever was a case for cryopreservation, it's Len and George."

This story was originally published on July 8 and updated on October 2 to include President Donald Trump's use of the experimental drug.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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World News

Fed Up Chris Wallace: 'Wear a Damn Mask! Follow the Science'

Following the news that President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, Fox’s Chris Wallace seems determined to push aside some of the pro-Trump agenda of his on-air colleagues and focus on truth-telling instead.

On Friday morning, Wallace told the Trump propaganda-spewing panelists on Fox and Friends about how, during this week’s debate that he moderated, the first family and other Trump surrogates entered the debate hall wearing masks but then removed after they were seated.

Wallace said that his own family, as well as Joe Biden’s family and campaign staff, wore masks throughout, but the first family and other Trump surrogates “waved away” on scene health officials offering masks — an obvious nudge to get them to adhere to the rules set forth by the Cleveland Clinic requiring attendees wear a mask.

Also on Friday Wallace discussed the same topic on Fox’s Outnumbered. The veteran journalist shared his personal experience of the aftermath of being in close quarters of the president, relaying that his doctor surmised that Trump had likely contracted the virus before the debate.

“My doctor is telling me that I shouldn’t get a test today because it takes five days for the virus to load up enough. And that I could have a test, but it might well be a false negative. The significance of that to me is that if the president had a test yesterday and it tested positive, then I think he had the coronavirus during the debate,” Wallace said while emphasizing that he is only repeating the advice of his doctor, who also recommended he get tested on Monday.

Wallace continued by saying that Trump’s positive test “puts [Covid-19] right to the top of the political agenda again and makes it a very important issue in this campaign” for both the president and Biden.

Fox host and panelist Melissa Francis seized on the mention of Trump’s opponent and asked Wallace if the Biden campaign should continue its plan to do doorknocking canvassing.

Wallace seemed a bit bewildered by the question and went on to answer by going back to the way both campaigns have dealt with the pandemic from the start of the election season.

“These two campaigns have dealt with Covid very differently,” he said. “President Trump has been out without a mask. He’s been holding these big rallies. Thousands of people. Tremendous, enthusiastic Trump supporters crowding into outdoor spaces, airports, but without masks in many cases and very close together. No social distancing.” Wallace added that Biden “has been much more cautious wearing a mask. Much smaller events… this is going to cause a reexamination, I suspect, on both sides about what’s the right way to handle it.”

Wallace went further and brought up how Trump made light of mask-wearing during the debate.

“You know, we talked about it in the debate,” he said. “I asked the president about the fact that Biden has worn a mask, he hasn’t. President took a mask out and said, you know, ‘I’ve got a mask here, but I don’t think I have to wear it.’ And frankly, he mocked Joe Biden and said he’s always wearing a mask and he always has these small crowds.”

Wallace then returned to what he told the Fox viewers earlier Friday morning about Trump’s entourage disregarding safety protocols during the debate. Francis tried to interrupt Wallace, saying, “I heard you make that point before.”

But, Wallace continued undeterred:

“If I may, please. Because they were taking it so seriously, members of the Cleveland Clinic came up to them and said, ‘You know, if you need a mask’ and they waved them away. And I can tell you, people in the hall noticed that the first family wasn’t wearing a mask. Mrs. Biden was. People in the Biden camp were. My wife was. My children were, and they noticed that the first family wasn’t wearing a mask against the protocol of the Cleveland Clinic.”

Francis again told Wallace that she heard him tell that story earlier today, and acknowledged that it is “impactful.” But she seemed determined to put the focus on how Biden’s campaign might handle things going forward. Francis even said that Wallace was making a point of it when he did no such thing.

Francis: “You know, I understand that — I heard you tell that story earlier today, and I think it is impactful. But if I may just say. So, your point is, though, that the Biden camp, if they’re going to stick to the way that they have run this campaign. And stick to the things that you just said and pointing out when people are wearing masks, and aren’t, they can’t begin their grassroots doorknocking today, or else that would be hypocritical, right?”

Wallace answered by saying that he didn’t know, and acknowledged that the Biden campaign might be able to campaign that way if they “socially distanced.” But Wallace kept his focus on what he thought was the important subject of the day: “The health of the president. And the question of the safety.”

“I don’t know that that’s the key story today,” Wallace said of Francis’ rather odd focus on doorknocking, adding, “It seems to me, the key story is the health of the president. And the question of the safety.”

Wallace then got fed up and made it clear what he thought should be the topic at hand: safety and following science during the pandemic.

“You know, to me, the take away of this whole thing is the follow the science. We’ve made the masks a political issue. We haven’t. The candidates have,” He said, “And it’s not a political issue. It’s a public health issue.”

Wallace continued by doing something that loyal Fox viewers are not accustomed to. Unlike the president and the hosts on the network, the veteran journalist spoke directly to the audience and told them the truth: “And if I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching. Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue. The president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world, in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test. And he still got it. So where the damn mask! And follow the science.”

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World News

How to add DuckDuckGo to a Google Chrome browser to get a privacy-focused default search engine

  • You can add DuckDuckGo to Google Chrome as an extension to make it your default search engine and begin searching the web with greater privacy.
  • You can also make DuckDuckGo your default search engine in Chrome's settings menu, without installing the extension.
  • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that doesn't track you, store personal information, or use cookies when you perform a web search.
  • It's easy to switch back to Google or any other search engine at any time.  
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you're a fan of the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, you might want to make it your default search engine or add its browser extension to Google Chrome. Installing the extension automatically makes DuckDuckGo your default search engine when using Chrome.

How to make DuckDuckGo your default search engine on Chrome

1. Click the three-dot menu icon at the top right of the Chrome window. In the dropdown menu, choose "Settings."

2. On Chrome's Settings page, click "Search engine" at the left side of the page. 

3. In the Search engine section of the main page, click the dropdown menu to the right of "Search engine used in the address bar." 

4. Click "DuckDuckGo." 

How to add the DuckDuckGo extension to Chrome

1. Open the DuckDuckGo webpage in Chrome. 

2. In the upper right corner of the webpage, click the three horizontal lines (DuckDuckGo's hamburger menu). In the dropdown menu, choose "App and Extension."

3. On DuckDuckGo's app page, click "Add to Chrome."

4. The Chrome Web Store page should appear. Click "Add to Chrome" again. Confirm you want to do this by clicking "Add extension" in the pop-up window. 

5. The extension is now installed. If you don't see it, you can pin it to the browser's toolbar by clicking the "Extensions" icon (shaped like a puzzle piece) and then clicking the pin to the right of DuckDuckGo.

6. You can click the extension icon to see additional search settings and statistics about your DuckDuckGo searches.

How to remove the DuckDuckGo extension from Chrome

If you decide you don't want to keep the DuckDuckGo extension, here's how to delete it from Chrome.

1. Click the Extensions icon in Chrome's toolbar – it's shaped like a puzzle piece.

2. In the dropdown menu, click the three dots to the right of DuckDuckGo. 

3. In the pop-up menu, choose "Remove from Chrome…" and then confirm you want to do this by clicking "Remove" in the pop-up window. 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

  • How to change your default search engine on Microsoft Edge, and search with the website you like best

  • How to make Google your default search engine on any major web browser

  • How to remove Google Chrome extensions from your browser, or disable them

  • 'Why does my search engine keep changing to Yahoo?': How to reset your browser settings to remove a potential virus

  • How to change your default search engine in Firefox on a computer or mobile device

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World News

CNN anchor Max Foster lip syncs to Madonna while explaining what happens if Trump becomes ‘incapacitated’

Trump has 99% chance of a complete cure, recovery doing absolutely nothing: Dr. Marty Makary

The sobering news of President Trump testing positive for coronavirus inspired CNN anchor Max Foster to hop on social media and make light of the situation while lip syncing to Madonna.

Trump announced early Friday that both he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 and would quarantine at the White House. A White House source told Fox News that the president and the first lady are “fine,” but Foster wanted to clear a few things up just in case Trump becomes “incapacitated.”

Foster, a London-based anchor and correspondent who hosts “CNN Newsroom” on CNN International, posted a video on his verified TikTok account lip syncing to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and claimed he was trying to predict the unpredictable.

“Max, what happens if the President becomes incapacitated,” appears on the screen as Foster puts his hands together in a position of prayer and mouths the line, “heaven help me.”

TRUMP RECEIVES WELL WISHES FROM TOP CRITICS AFTER CORONAVIRUS DIAGNOSIS

Trying my best to predict the ##unpredictable | ##news ##learnontiktok

As the CNN anchor pretends to belt out the lyrics to the 1989 pop classic, more text appears on the screen that answers the question.

U.K.-based CNN anchor Max Foster in an undated photo. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

“Vice president takes over … party elects new candidates … but ballots are out … and many voted – they might not support a new candidate,” Foster wrote in the text that appears on screen. “Could end up in court … election could be delayed … or something else I haven’t thought of.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

CNN did not immediatly respond to a request for comment.

According to the network's website, Foster has "played a pivotal role in CNN's coverage of major world events, often anchoring live from the scene."

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Markets

XPO Restarts Sale of European Supply Chain Business

XPO Logistics Inc. is reviving a sale of its European supply chain business, according to people familiar with the matter, after the process had paused during the coronavirus pandemic.

The business, which does contract logistics, could fetch between $4 billion and $4.5 billion in a potential sale, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The company has reached out to potential private equity and strategic buyers in recent weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

No final decisions have been made and XPO could still opt to keep the businesses, the people said. A representative for XPO declined to comment.

XPO retained advisers to review strategic options, including sales or spinoffs, of business units in Europe and North America, Bloomberg News reported at the start of the year.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based XPO is one of the world’s largest freight brokerage providers and helps companies arrange the movement of goods. Customers include retailers, e-commerce sites and food and beverage companies. It’s a top trucking group in Europe, where it has a strong position in the delivery of online orders.

XPO is led by Chief Executive Officer Bradley Jacobs, a serial dealmaker. In recent years, Jacobs has slowed on acquisitions to focus on stock buybacks, citing the high prices of potential takeover targets.

Shares of XPO have risen 9% this year, giving it a market value of $7.9 billion.

— With assistance by Liana Baker

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Business

The best hotels for enjoying the fall foliage in the Northeast

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Although COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation, many travelers in New England and the Northeast are seeking getaways to enjoy the annual foliage display.
  • Autumn is a stunning time of year in this part of the country as the trees explode with colorful pops of pumpkin, crimson, and gold.
  • We selected hotels ranging from $95 to $329 in prime areas for leap-peeping that prioritize social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols to protect the health and safety of guests.

Crisp autumn days have arrived and if you live in New England or the Mid-Atlantic states, you know that fall is the season for leaf-peeping. The leaves turn vivid shades of scarlet, yellow, and orange, offering a kaleidoscope of changing colors.

If you're craving a getaway that reminds you of nature's restorative power, we rounded-up hotels immersed in leafy landscapes across the Northeast region. Having lived and traveled in the Northeast my entire life, I used my own extensive knowledge of the area and carefully curated the below list of hotels based on the following criteria:

  1. While located throughout the Northeast, all are in areas with ample fall foliage for prime leaf-peeping opportunities.
  2. You don't just have to take my word that these hotels, inns, and resorts are great. All are well-rated and reviewed on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com, with a minimum of 4 out of 5 stars on the former and an 8.2 out of 10 on the latter.
  3. All of the hotels make it easy to engage in outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, and kayaking, which is extra appealing for those seeking social distancing getaways.
  4. Every hotel is a well-appointed stay, but I also looked for properties with extra touches and above-and-beyond amenities that stand out from the pack, from hotels with unique themed rooms to those with in-room fireplaces and exceptional views. 
  5. I choose affordable properties to suit a range of price points, from $95 to $329.

Additionally, we've noted the best times to book your trip for prime foliage, according to the Farmers' Almanac predictions for the 2020 season.

Looking for more fall vacation ideas?

  • The best tree-house rentals in the US
  • The best hotels near national parks
  • The best US mountain resorts for all seasons
  • The best Airbnbs in New England

And, if you're wondering if it's safe to travel right now, we talked to experts about the risks, as well as the best precautions to take. Additionally, each hotel on this list is committed to rigorous new cleaning protocols in an effort to mitigate the risks associated with contracting COVID-19. We outlined these measures below, which include extra efforts to sanitize room keys, providing complimentary masks, and contactless check-in, to mention a few.

However, it is important to note that there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and therefore there is never a guarantee of safety. We recommend following CDC, WHO, and other reputable organizations' safety guidelines, and to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and maintain social distancing. Also, consider your own level of risk, and whether you're traveling from or to a hotspot, so as not to increase the rate of infection.

Additionally, be sure to research the individual state's travel restrictions before you book. Since the situation is constantly evolving, it's wise to read up on hotel cancellation policies in case your plans may need to change.

These are the best hotels for fall foliage vacations, sorted by price from low to high.

The Roxbury, Contemporary Catskill Lodging – Roxbury, New York

Book The Roxbury starting at $95 per night

The Catskill Mountains in New York offer outdoor options like biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking and zip-lining, with phenomenal leaf-peeping to sweeten the deal.

The Roxbury Motel and the Roxbury at Stratton Falls are just down the road from each other and under the same ownership. Their design-forward rooms are highly thematic and imaginative, with no two rooms quite the same. There are 43 rooms and suites, and 36 have exterior access doors, meaning most guests will not need to come in contact with anyone else in enclosed spaces. Some rooms are spread over two levels for added space, while others have screened-in porches for a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery.

Book "Genie's Bottle," inspired by the television show "I Dream of Jeannie," and you'll enjoy a shimmery silver sofa, spherical bathroom with glittery mosaic tiles, and a Japanese soaking tub. For extra whimsy, "Cinderella's Gown" has an 18-foot ball gown doubling as a bed canopy and an enormous morphing pumpkin. In other words, these rooms are far from crash pads.

Peak foliage dates for New York: September 28 to October 28

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 1 in Roxbury

Booking.com Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Pros: Tree-laden private nature trails lead to waterfalls. 

Cons: If you prefer simple or traditional decor, you may suffer from sensory overload.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open with new guidelines in places including: 

  • Leaving rooms empty for 24-48 hours between guests.
  • Throw pillows, bed shams, and other extraneous design elements have been removed.
  • Hospital-grade cleaning with the ProKlean disinfecting system.
  • Guests are provided with wipes, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray.
  • Complimentary customizable breakfast bags have replaced the morning buffet.
  • See more info here.

The Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa – Saratoga, New York

Book the Gideon Putnam Resort starting at $109 per night

Saratoga is a small town in Upstate New York with a big arts and culture scene. Summer sees large crowds who visit in high season for famed horse-racing, leaving autumn as a quieter option to explore.

The serene Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa is located inside Saratoga Spa State Park, which includes a pleasant maze of hiking paths, tennis courts, and seasonal swimming pools, plus natural mineral springs. For added indulgence, The Roosevelt Baths & Spa is right nearby.

The hotel's in-park location provides an idyllic backdrop for reconnecting with nature just minutes from the town center. Rocking chairs on the front porch give the hotel a Norman Rockwell feel and rooms were recently refreshed with new carpet, paint, and blinds, as well as renovations to the bathrooms. They're decked out with stately wood furniture, high-speed internet, and bottled Saratoga mineral water.

Peak foliage dates for New York: September 28 to October 28

Trip Advisor Ranking: 22 out of 35 hotels in Saratoga

Booking.com Rating: 8.2 out of 10

Pros: The courteous staff works hard to make guests feel at home and the in-park location is a major perk.

Cons: Some may find the hotel's Grande Dame style stuffy.

COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open with a new Rest Assured commitment that is a comprehensive plan to bolster hygienic practices and exceed best-practice guidelines issued by the CDC including:

  • Operating with reduced guest capacity.
  • The removal of communal objects, such as throw pillows.
  • Bulk amenities replaced with single-serve.
  • See more info here.

The Stowehof – Stowe, Vermont

Book The Stowehof starting at $138 per night

Ringed by Alpine scenery, Stowe looks like a page straight from a fairy tale. Though it's known for downhill skiing, it also shines for its glimpses of Mother Nature's autumn show. Cycle or walk the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path and you'll see that Stowe's Northern latitude offers colorful leaves galore.

The Stowehof resembles a Swiss chalet and is a lovely base for exploring the area. The hotel is set on 26 acres with mountain views, a sauna, tennis courts, fire pits, and a rotating art exhibit in the lobby.

Rooms are individually decorated with traditional rustic furnishings that add a hint of nostalgia. Some even offer clawfoot tubs, separate dressing areas, or Green Mountain vistas. 

Peak foliage dates for northern Vermont: September 24 to October 10

Trip Advisor Ranking: 9 out of 25 hotels in Stowe

Booking.com Rating: 8.4 out of 10

Pros: The hotel offers good value in what is considered a pricey part of Vermont. 

Cons: It's located outside of Stowe village, so you'll have to drive to reach town.

COVID-19 status and policies: The Stowehof is open with new enhanced cleaning protocols including:

  • Guest rooms and public spaces are sterilized with a fog machine utilizing an organic broad-spectrum disinfectant.
  • Guest rooms are left empty for at least 24 hours after check-out.
  • Countertops, front desk, and other high-touch areas are wiped after each interaction.
  • Daily housekeeping and complimentary breakfast is unavailable.
  • See more info here.

Hotel Northampton – Northampton, Massachusettes

Book Hotel Northampton starting at $140 per night

The Pioneer Valley is nestled in the rolling hills of Western Massachusetts, a prime location for leaf-peeping. In the center of the valley sits Northampton, a compact college town with a laidback vibe. To immerse yourself in the foliage, rent a bike at Northampton Bicycle and cycle the 11-mile Norwottuck Rail Trail to Amherst. In autumn, it's fringed with a canopy of colorful fall leaves and lined with farm stands selling fresh apple cider doughnuts. 

The historic Hotel Northampton has 106 guest rooms, inviting public spaces, and gracious hospitality. Guest rooms offer flat-screen televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, plush terry robes, and Gilchrist and Soames bath products. The decor is pure Americana with floral curtains, vintage wood furniture, and two-poster headboards.

Bob Dylan, Stephen King, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt have all rested their heads on the hotel's comfy pillows, so you know you're in good company.

Peak foliage dates for inland Massachuessettes: October 5 to 21

Trip Advisor Ranking: 2 out of 5 hotels in Northampton

Booking.com Rating: 8.8 out of 10

Pros: The hotel is walking distance from most everything in town, including the terrific Smith College Museum of Art.

Cons: Bathrooms are on the small side.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open with new upgraded cleaning measures that include:

  • Hand sanitizing dispensers positioned throughout the hotel.
  • All high-touch spaces, including door handles, handrails, and restrooms, are sanitized frequently.
  • Clear signage to promote social distancing.
  • See more info here.

Harraseeket Inn – Freeport, Maine

Book the Harraseeket Inn starting at $178 per night.

The Harraseeket Inn offers distinct accommodations in Freeport, which sits on the shores of Casco Bay, and is just minutes from trendy Portland. This tidy town has been home to L.L. Bean for over a century, but there's more to do than shop.

Admirers of the great outdoors will appreciate the beauty of Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, or a hike on the Casco Bay Trail to watch the resident osprey fly through the colorful treetops.

Rooms at this hotel are spacious with antique furnishings, fireplaces, and Whirlpool tubs. Some feature Chilton wood furniture, a family-owned Maine furniture business that blends Shaker simplicity with spare Scandinavian style. For visitors seeking extra space and privacy, nine duplex townhouses are available along a tree-lined path and feature full kitchens and multiple bedrooms.

The inn's Broad Arrow Tavern serves traditional New England-style cuisine is particularly mouth-watering. Don't miss their award-winning Maine lobster stew or the plump bacon-wrapped scallops.

Peak foliage dates for coastal Maine: October 5 to 21

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 11 hotels in Freeport

Booking.com Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Pros: You can take Amtrak's Downeaster train to Freeport, stroll over to the Harraseeket Inn, and walk to all attractions, making Freeport an excellent car-free getaway.

Cons: Some guests who stay in the townhouses complain about the walk to the main inn.

COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open with some new social distancing and cleanliness measures being taken that include:

  • Contactless check-in.
  • No housekeeping or turndown service unless requested.
  • Sanitizing stations throughout the property.
  • See more info here.

Hampton Terrace Inn – Lenox, Massachusetts

Book Hampton Terrace Inn starting at $199 per night

Located in a mansion built in 1897, Hampton Terrace Inn evokes the elegance of the Gilded Age when families with surnames like Morgan and Vanderbilt owned magnificent Berkshire estates they humbly called cottages.

This property's 14 upscale rooms and suites are spread over three buildings, so physical distancing is easy to maintain. Currently, only nine rooms are being utilized, ensuring even more personal space.

Period decor such as a 1929 Steinway grand piano, merge with modern nods like excellent Wi-Fi, Jacuzzi tubs, HD TVs, and a Tesla charging station. Fresh floral arrangements in every room are an additional bonus.

Situated in the center of the Berkshires, the town of Lenox offers a wealth of autumn possibilities, including hiking nearby Pleasant Valley's miles of trails bordered by streams and a hummingbird garden. It is also home to The Mount, literary great Edith Wharton's legendary residence. Wharton's house is currently closed, but the leafy grounds are open to enjoy.

Peak foliage dates for inland Massachussetts: October 5 to 21

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 17 hotels in Lenox

Booking.com Rating: Not rated

Pros: The warm and welcoming owners live onsite and their personal touch is everywhere. The inn is just a short walk from town.

Cons: A few guests disliked out-of-date decorative accents, such as patterned wallpaper.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and some of the safety measures the inn has implemented include:

  • Individually wrapped toiletries.
  • Linens sanitized in a high-temperature wash.
  • Rooms left empty at least 24 hours between guests.
  • Contactless check-in.
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for any staff member with symptoms.
  • Daily housekeeping services and breakfast have been halted. A welcome basket with snacks and masks is given at check-in.
  • Reservations may be changed or canceled with 24 hours advance notice with no penalty.
  • See more info here.

Hotel Fauchère – Milford, Pennsylvania

Book Hotel Fauchère starting at $225 per night

As the birthplace of the American conservation movement, Milford's abundance of pristine woodlands and waterfalls is well known. Located only 90 minutes from both New York City and Philadelphia, it's an easy weekend trip.

There are dozens of hikes to choose from or rent a canoe and paddle down the Delaware River; the brilliant red, amber, and rust leaves are stunning when reflected in the water.

Hotel Fauchère is in the heart of the quaint village and an excellent spot to post up in the fall. This 16-room Relais & Châteaux property is suited to city folk who crave country but don't want to sacrifice creature comforts. Room amenities include high-speed wireless Internet, Nespresso coffee machines, Frette bath and bed linens, Carrara marble, and Pennsylvania bluestone accents in the bathrooms.

The public spaces feature works by prominent artists including contemporary photographer Christopher Makos' iconic image of Andy Warhol kissing John Lennon. And, an enclosed garden and conservatory bring fall foliage right to the doorstep. The wide porch is a good spot for a light bite or a glass of wine, with plenty of room between you and other patrons.

Peak foliage dates for Pennsylvania: October 5 to 21

Trip Advisor Ranking: 2 out of 6 hotels in Milford

Booking.com Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Pros: A delectable continental breakfast, featuring home-baked pastry, is included in the rate. The staff goes out of its way to please.

Cons: Rooms on the second floor require a walk up a steep staircase.

COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open and the owner is also the town's mayor and he has been at the forefront of developing a comprehensive sanitation plan to keep residents, guests, and staff safe. The hotel has enlisted the guidance of an infectious disease doctor to advise on appropriate steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Wearing masks in public areas is require for staff and guests.
  • High-touch surfaces are being cleaned frequently.
  • Guest rooms are aired out with the windows open prior to cleaning and new industry cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been implemented.
  • Protective barriers have been installed between the booths in Bar Louis and protective curtains in the Delmonico Room and 403 Broad.
  • Ongoing training for all staff members.
  • See more info here.

Hanover Inn – Hanover, New Hampshire

Book the Hanover Inn starting at $253 per night

Home to Dartmouth College, Hanover is the quintessential Ivy League town. Located on the banks of the Connecticut River with the Appalachian Trail cutting right through, there are recreational opportunities on land and water. Outdoor lovers should consider a hike to Velvet Rocks or renting a kayak to paddle downriver.

The Hanover Inn overlooks the town green and campus, an excellent position to glimpse the changing leaves and soak up the college's youthful energy. There are 108 cozy rooms that include strategically-placed Dartmouth memorabilia and splashes of green, which is Dartmouth's school color. Traditional New Hampshire-crafted furniture gives the hotel a nice sense of place.

While there's plenty to do outdoors, complimentary Wi-Fi and morning newspapers make it easy for guests to stay connected if they want, too.

Peak foliage dates for inland New Hampshire: September 28 to October 9

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 2 hotels in Hanover

Booking.com Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Pros: The on-site restaurant, Pine, wins rave reviews.

Cons: Some rooms are dark and could benefit from additional windows.

COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open with enhanced cleaning measures that include:

  • Contactless check-in.
  • Strategic placement of furniture to promote social distancing.
  • Enhanced cleaning of public areas.
  • Increased focus on disinfecting in guest rooms, including all high touch areas.
  • Reduced paper and other non-necessary amenities in guest rooms.
  • See more info here.

 

The Sagamore Resort – Bolton Landing, New York

Book The Sagamore Resort starting at $299 per night

The Sagamore is on the shores of Lake George, which is known as the Queen of American Lakes. This southern section of the Adirondacks is under four hours from New York City and Boston, so it's an easy driving vacation for many East Coasters. This area is a particularly excellent spot to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the lake and the mountains, and in autumn, the tall trees explode in striking bursts of crimson color.

Originally opened in 1883, The Sagamore's white-clapboard-with-green-shutters exterior is an American classic. In its early years, it was a favored summer vacation spot of industrialist tycoons and robber barons.

Today, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with 390 rooms merging modern conveniences and more rustic Adirondack decor. Some rooms feature expansive lake views and the property is sprawling, so there's plenty of room to roam. In addition to the historic main hotel, there are seven lodge buildings with spacious suites for those who want even more privacy.

Peak foliage dates for New York: September 28 to October 28

Trip Advisor Ranking: 3 out of 8 hotels in Bolton Landing

Booking.com Rating: Not rated

Pros: The Sagamore benefits from magnificent lake views and beautiful grounds. The friendly staff bring this large resort to a human scale.

Cons: Some guests complain that rooms in the main building are outdated.

COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open and new cleaning and safety measures include:

  • Hand sanitizer stations dispersed throughout the grounds.
  • Signage reminding guests to wear masks.
  • Rigorous additional cleaning of high-touch spaces.
  • Housekeeping services are suspended. 
  • See more info here.

Four Chimneys Inn – Bennington, Vermont

Book Four Chimneys Inn starting at $329 per night

Four Chimneys Inn is a charming New England oasis set on nearly a dozen acres just a short walk from town. There are 11 guest rooms, each individually appointed with wood-burning fireplaces, glassed-in porches, hardwood floors, and jetted bathtubs. The feel is upscale without being ostentatious.

A hearty meal is served every morning and included in the room rate, helping to justify the higher price point. Select your breakfast choice the night before and feast in the morning at a private table placed at least six feet from other diners.

Bennington sits in Southern Vermont, a state known for maple syrup, covered bridges, and stunning autumn leaves. The town is also home to the Bennington Museum with the largest public collection of works by Grandma Moses. Not to be missed is the adjacent George Aiken Wildflower Trail, which showcases native wildflowers nestled in a backdrop of colorful leaves.

Peak foliage dates for southern Vermont: October 5 to 14

Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 9 B&Bs in Bennington

Booking.com Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Pros: Four Chimneys Inn benefits from the personal touch of the dedicated owners and innkeeper.

Cons: More expensive than many other great hotels for seeing fall foliage.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open. Additional cleaning measures include:

  • Disinfectant wipes are available to clean your keys, phones, and other personal items.
  • Surfaces in the common areas are wiped down very frequently.
  • A grab-and-go breakfast option is available.
  • No one, including housekeeping, will enter your room for the duration of your stay.
  • See more info here.

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Business

Lululemon could be about to resume its rally. A trader lays out a way to catch the upside

Onetime high flyer Lululemon has run into trouble over the past month.

The stock has fallen 17% from a Sept. 2 high with losses accelerating even after an earnings report that topped analysts' estimates. The stock remains more than 40% higher for the year.

Todd Gordon, founder of TradingAnalysis.com, says strong demand should help Lululemon recapture upside momentum.

"Lulu is well positioned to benefit from the work-from-home, stay-at-home environment. Comfort clothes are really, I think, second to none … But I also think they'll benefit if and when the work-from-home, stay-at-home environment ends, because gyms and yoga classes will open back up and the demand will stay strong," Gordon told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday.

He sees strength on three fronts: e-commerce, international expansion and its acquisition of Mirror, a augmented reality interactive fitness company.

"They're looking to grow at a compound rate of 40% per year in China and … their e-commerce is also a big focus, their margins are a lot better on the e-commerce side compared to their in-store sales," said Gordon.

Lululemon reported a 157% increase in online sales for its quarter ended Aug. 2. In-store sales fell 51%. As for Mirror, Gordon anticipates the offering could help boost sales for its workout clothes.

Lululemon gapped down below $300 in mid-September. Gordon now expects the stock to close that gap to move back toward $360. To capture that move, he is buying a 340 call with Nov. 6 expiration and selling the 360 call. At the time of filming Thursday, that $20 call spread cost $7.80, or $780, with maximum profit of $2,000 — giving a maximum potential gain of roughly $1,200.

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World News

Trump team thinks Nevada is in play. Is it?

Fox News Flash top headlines for October 1

The Trump campaign has been hitting Nevada harder than ever this election season, and officials seem to believe the state might be President Trump’s for the taking this November.

Nevada hasn’t elected a Republican president since George Bush in 2004, but could that change this year?

Trump lost the Silver State, which has six votes in the electoral college, in 2016 to Hillary Clinton by 2.4%, a lower margin than Barack Obama won the state in the previous two elections.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has consistently led the state in polling. FiveThirtyEight’s current polling average has Biden up by 6.5%–slightly lower than his national polling average lead according to FiveThirtyEight, which is 7.3%.

Yet Rep. Mark Amodei, Nevada's only Republican in the House, seems optimistic.

"I kind of chuckle, I don't think Governor Sisolak called the legislature into special session 90 days before the election to change a bunch of election rules because they thought it was a slam dunk for Joe Biden," Amodei told Fox News in an interview.

"Especially when governors historically are loath to call the legislature into special session," he continued.

In August, Nevada's Democrat-controlled state legislature overhauled its mail-in voting system, approving a plan to send absentee ballots to every registered voter in the state.

Trump, valiantly defying Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak’s coronavirus orders, has held two rallies in the state.

“Fifty-two days from now, we’re going to win Nevada, and then we’re going to win another four years,” Trump told supporters in the state.  The president’s children have held events in the state in the past week- Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

"They put their money where their mouth is in terms of organization– North, South, rural…" Amodei said.

"Last time a Republican played in the state till the end he did okay, and that was the Bush folks," he continued, noting that Sen. Mitt Romney, the presidential nominee in 2012, and Sen. John McCain, the nominee in 2008, gave up on campaigning in the state well before the election.

“President Trump has spent his first term delivering wins for the Silver State, and with a campaign that’s had a permanent presence in Nevada for years, the president has all the momentum heading into November,” Samantha Zager, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, told Fox News.

The Trump team boasts that they’ve made over 2.5 million voter contacts in the state this election cycle. Nevada Trump Victory has held over 1,000 Trump Victory Leadership Initiative and over 950 MAGA meetups. They said they've registered 9,600 voters.

The Nevada Democrats scoffed at the idea Trump could take the state this year.

"While Trump lied about the seriousness of the pandemic, Nevada's Democratic leaders have filled the void and made the tough decisions needed to keep residents safe, responsibly reopen the economy and get people back to work. This is why Nevada Democrats are confident voters will once again reject Trump this fall," Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Madison Mundy said in a statement to Fox News.

According to Christina Ladam, professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, whoever woos the state’s independent voters could take home the electorate.

“As of August, there are more than 90,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. That said, there are over 390,000 Nevadans registered as nonpartisan,” Ladam told Fox News. “This suggests that is a pretty large number of voters up for grabs.”

But Ladam said the coronavirus pandemic may swing the state in former Vice President Biden’s favor.

“Unemployment due to coronavirus has hit the nation hard, and Nevada even more so. As of August, the unemployment rate is 13.2% in the state, as compared to the 8.4% at the national level,” Ladam said.

“If we relate this to the approval numbers of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus (which are quite low, lower than the general approval numbers), we might expect these unemployment numbers to hurt Trump especially hard in Nevada,” the professor continued.

But Trump seems to think pressing against lockdowns could help win over Nevada residents.

“Open up your state!" Trump said at a rally near Las Vegas, calling Sisolak a "political hack" for keeping it closed.

Richard Ganzel, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, said Trump will have to overcome demographic factors– "The exodus of largely southern California conservatives that initially countered the service-based labor majority since the mid-1980s being matched and then exceeded by primarily Mexican/Latino numbers who will retain loyalty" to Democrats.

The state's Latino numbers have grown by double digits in the last 10 years to comprise one-third of the population.

The Culinary Union in Nevada, known for its influence in the state’s politics, has endorsed Biden. The union has an active get-out-the-vote program that drives voter turnout in the state. Still, the pandemic may mean that members and others they drive to vote will be less able to due to disruptions.

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“Nothing is promised,” Culinary Union communications director Bethany Khan said of Biden’s chances in the state. “That’s why the Culinary Union is running the largest political effort we have ever run. We were out early — started August 1st. We have 200 canvassers right now and we are scaling up every week.”

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World News

Lincoln Project wishes Trump well, hopes coronavirus diagnosis "sends a signal" to his supporters

Trump announces he and the first lady have tested positive for coronavirus

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy reports.

The Lincoln Project, a group of current and former Republicans who oppose President Trump, wished him and the first lady well Friday after both tested positive for COVID-19, while also saying that they hope the diagnosis "sends a signal" to his supporters to take the pandemic seriously.

“The Lincoln Project wishes the President, First Lady, and the many White House, campaign staff, and those exposed to COVID-19 a swift recovery," the group said in a statement.

President Trump announced shortly after midnight Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and will begin the quarantine process. The White House said they are both experiencing mild symptoms.

TRUMP, FIRST LADY EXPERIENCING 'MILD SYMPTOMS' AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS

While wishing the president well, the Lincoln Project also criticized him for what they perceive as poor handling of the pandemic.

“The Lincoln Project sincerely hopes Trump's infection with COVID sends a signal to the Americans who follow him to take this deadly disease seriously," the group's statement continued. "From the start, the President and his media cheerleaders have amplified dangerously irresponsible messages about the transmissibility, seriousness, and fatality rates of COVID."

The Lincoln Project also cited interviews from February that were recently released by journalist Bob Woodward in which the president said he downplayed the seriousness of coronavirus in order to not create a panic.

"We hope the president's followers will take heed," the group said. "This disease is not a hoax; it is a killer."

TRUMP HARD AT WORK, IN GOOD SPIRITS AFTER POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TEST, MCENANY SAYS

The Lincoln Project was formed last December by current and former Republicans who have declared it their mission to "defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box."

The president and first lady tested positive for COVID-19 just hours after news broke that one of Trump's closest advisers, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.

As of Friday afternoon, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Barron Trump tested negative. Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence, as well as many of the president's cabinet members and senior administration officials, tested negative.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whom the president debated Tuesday night, announced Friday that he and his wife, Jill Biden, also tested negative.

The United States has 7,260,465 confirmed cases and 207,302 deaths from coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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World News

White House Grapples with COVID-19: Who Has and Has Not Recently Tested Positive

The news that senior White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) set off a flurry of contact tracing and other tests.

Overnight Friday, the White House announced that President Donald Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, had tested positive for the virus and would begin quarantining immediately.

The White House maintains it became aware that Hicks was sick on Thursday, shortly before the president decided to go ahed and attend a fundraiser in New Jersey.

"We had already started the contact tracing just prior to that event," Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday. "Last night even in the early hours of this morning, the minute we got a confirmatory test on the president we felt like it was important to get the news out there."

As of Friday afternoon, at least half-a-dozen members of the administration (plus several non-officials who recently visited the White House and several journalists) had tested positive for the virus.

Others, however, have tested negative — though if someone is tested too early in the course of infection, it can result in a false negative.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace noted this caveat on Friday when saying he would be tested in the coming days, after being on stage with Trump at Tuesday's presidential debate. His doctor told him a more accurate test would require waiting, Wallace said.

Much remains unclear about the unfolding coronavirus situation at the White House, which aides tried to cast as inevitable, given how contagious the virus is — while critics said it only underlined how negligently the administration had handled the virus the whole time.

The president and first lady were so far showing "mild symptoms" as of Friday, according to the White House, but further information has not been released and officials have not confirmed how the Trumps became infected.

The White House physician said Friday that the president was suffering from fatigue but was in "good spirits" while the first lady had a couch and headache.

Below is a roundup of what is known so far concerning those who have recently tested positive and those who have tested negative in the White House and in President Trump's orbit.

Positive Cases

President Donald Trump: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight Friday. In recent days, the president has made appearances and had crowded campaign events in both Florida and Virginia. On Saturday, he spoke at the White House Rose Garden to announce his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The White House canceled all of the president's scheduled engagements for Friday except for a phone call on COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors, which the president reportedly did not attend.

First Lady Melania Trump: Like her husband, Mrs. Trump's diagnosis was announced early Friday. In a series of subsequent tweets, she urged her followers to "stay safe" and said she was experiencing mild symptoms.

Hope Hicks: The former White House communications director and current adviser to the president — one of his longest-serving political aides, who left and then returned to his administration — was reported Thursday to have tested positive, though CNN reported that some White House officials were aware as of Thursday morning. Hicks was with Trump as recently as Wednesday, heading to a campaign rally in Minnesota. She was also on Air Force One with Trump when he traveled to the presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Lee: The Republican lawmaker from Utah attended the Supreme Court announcement at the Rose Garden last Saturday. Video from that event shows Lee speaking in close proximity to, and hugging, several other individuals. As Politico reported, Lee also recently attended committee meetings and party lunches.

Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: The GOP chair received a positive diagnosis on Wednesday, according to a report in The New York Times. A spokesperson said she was last with President Trump on Sept. 25.

Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins: The In a letter to students, the Notre Dame head announced that he had contracted the virus after learning that a colleague had also tested positive. Writing that he had "mild" symptoms, he said he would be "entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials." Like Lee, Jenkins attended Barrett nomination announcement on Saturday. (Barrett previously contracted and recovered from the virus, The Washington Post reported.) In May, Jenkins wrote an op-ed for the Times titled, "We’re Reopening Notre Dame. It’s Worth the Risk."

White House Reporters: CNN reported that at least three reporters who work at and cover the White House all tested positive on Friday. (An unnamed White House aide who spends time in the press area also tested positive, according to CNN.)

Negative Cases

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden: In a statement Friday, the Bidens' physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said the couple "underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected. I am reporting this out in my capacity as both Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden’s primary care physician." The former vice president and Trump debated one another in Cleveland on Tuesday night, in the first of what had been three scheduled face-offs ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Neither wore masks, though the candidates stood more than six feet apart and did not shake hands.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence: Pence's spokesman, Devin O'Malley, said early Friday that the vice president and Second Lady Karen Pence had both tested negative after the president was infected. O'Malley said Pence is tested daily. In a memorandum released Friday afternoon, his physician, Jesse T. Schonauu said the vice president would not need to be in isolation, as he had not come into close contact with any infected individuals: "Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine. Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities."

Barron Trump: The president and first lady's 14-year-old son tested negative and "all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy," the first lady's spokeswoman said Friday.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were tested again for COVID-19 and both are negative," Carolina Hurley, Ivanka's spokeswoman, said in a brief statement to PEOPLE. Hurley said Ivanka and her husband, also a senior White House aide, were tested Friday. Later Friday, the White House said the rest of the first family, including the president's sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, had also tested negative.

Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris: In a Friday afternoon tweet, the California senator said she and her husband, attorney Doug Emhoff, had both tested negative. "Both @DouglasEmhoff and I were tested for COVID-19 this morning and thankfully we tested negative. This virus is still very much active across our country, please continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing."

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