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Trump’s physician will provide an update soon

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A person waits in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a city test site in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park on October 05, 2020 in New York City. 
A person waits in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a city test site in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park on October 05, 2020 in New York City.  Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has again updated its guidance about how Covid-19 spreads to include information about potential for airborne spread. 

“CDC continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19,” the agency said in a statement on Monday. 

“Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles.”

Some background: Last month, the agency updated its guidance to say Covid-19 could spread through the air, then abruptly reverted to its previous guidance days later.

At the time, the agency said a draft version of proposed changes had been posted in error, and once the scientific review process was completed, the new language would be posted.

CDC said people can protect themselves from the coronavirus by staying six feet away from others, wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth, washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces and staying home when sick.

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Crypto fans rejoice: Bitcoin rallies to the brink of $12,000

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The world’s largest digital currency rose as much as 3.4 percent on Monday to about $11,835.

Bitcoin’s biggest rally in more than a week has pushed it to the brink of $12,000, a key level watched by chartists and technicians.

The world’s largest digital currency rose as much as 3.4% on Monday to around $11,835. Crypto fans are closely watching the $12,000 level as a major hurdle to cross before it can embark on a bigger rally.

The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the largest digital coins, also rose, gaining 4.5% at one point. Dash and Monero were among the biggest advancers, each rising more than 5%.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund hosted a virtual panel on cross-border payments and digital currencies which featured BIS General Manager Agustin Carstens as well as the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, among others. Powell said the central bank is evaluating the costs and benefits of a digital currency but has not decided yet on whether to issue one. He also nodded to Facebook Inc.’s Libra as a catalyst for focusing more attention on the issues.

The discussion at least partly helps explain Bitcoin’s move higher as it was closely watched by the crypto community, said Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics.

“Comments from Jerome Powell and the other participants made it clear just how far apart the various countries are when it comes to CBDCs,” said Greenspan, referring to central bank digital currencies. “Many on social media were quick to point out that a truly global and decentralized digital currency already exists.”

The coin’s trading Monday also helped it buck a recent trend of moving in tandem with U.S. equities, whereby it was often rising when they were and falling on risk-off days. The S&P 500 Index dropped as investors weighed the latest progress on a new government spending bill meant to help shore up the economy.

Many analysts remain bullish on the cryptocurrency, heartened by its limited supply and comforted by greater institutional acceptance in recent weeks. Square Inc., for instance, said earlier this month that it has made an investment of about $50 million in Bitcoin.

“We see Bitcoin emerging as a relative oasis of calm and outperformance,” wrote Mike McGlone, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, in a note. “There should be little doubt technology and digitization will continue advancing, yet Bitcoin’s supply will keep shrinking, supporting its price.”

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States have their Covid-19 vaccine plans filed — but no money to pay for them

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A participant for a COVID-19 vaccine trial receives a dose at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on August 13.
A participant for a COVID-19 vaccine trial receives a dose at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on August 13. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Friday was the deadline for states to file their plans for distributing any coronavirus vaccine, but they still don’t have the needed federal money to help them do it, state health officials said Monday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked states to file their plans by last week. 

“As it stands now, we do not have any capability to fund the imminent implementation of the plan,” James Blumenstock, senior vice president for pandemic response and recovery at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), told reporters on Monday.

He said the CDC has distributed $200 million to states for preparedness and planning. “That certainly would not be sufficient at all for a campaign of this magnitude and duration that we are thinking of,” Blumenstock said.

ASTHO has asked Congress for $8.4 billion to help states distribute and administer vaccines to people, once they became available.

“Even if the money was appropriated today, it would take time for those funds to reach the jurisdictions that in turn would need it,” Blumenstock said.

He compared the current response to the rollout of vaccines for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009. What’s been provided now compared to what was provided then seems “woefully inadequate,” he said.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said his state and likely others could probably get started vaccinating frontline health care workers once a vaccine became available, because they will be in easy-to-reach places such as hospitals and clinics. 

What will be more difficult, he said, will be reaching the people designated as high risk of severe complications for coronavirus who are not frontline medical and emergency workers, such as people with underlying health conditions.

States will face considerable difficulties distributing coronavirus vaccines, especially as some require special ultra-cold handling conditions. Record-keeping will also be complicated because some vaccines will require two doses. The vaccines made by different companies have very different formulations, so if more than one is authorized, clinics will have to keep careful note of which vaccines patients get so they get a second dose of the same brand of vaccine.

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Earn 60,000 bonus points with this American Express Gold card

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(CNN) —  

CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through The Points Guy affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

If you’re in the market for a credit card that earns a ton of rewards at both restaurants and grocery stores, this new card offer is sure to whet your appetite.

The American Express® Gold Card is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on the card within the first six months of card membership. This is the highest welcome bonus offer we’ve ever seen publicly available on this card, and it’s nearly double the usual 35,000-point bonus.

Based on the valuations of CNN Underscored’s partner The Points Guy, American Express Membership Rewards points are worth about 2 cents apiece, which makes these 60,000 points equal to about $1,200 of travel value. Compared to many other popular travel rewards credit cards on the market today, that’s one of the top bonus offers available right now.

Now, you may be thinking that the $250 annual fee on the Amex Gold is too high to stomach, but the statement credits you earn annually with this card practically cover the cost every year. First, you’ll get up to $100 in airline credits each year, which can be used to cover incidental airline fees such as checked baggage or in-cabin pet fees.

Then you’ll also get up to $120 in dining credits, provided in $10 monthly increments over the course of the year. The credits can be used for a number of popular dining options, such as Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

If you can take full advantage of both the airline and dining credits throughout the year, your out-of-pocket cost for the Amex Gold is effectively a mere $30 annually, which makes it a steal given the number of bonus points you can earn with it.

Click here for the bonus offer on the American Express Gold card.

Earning American Express Membership Rewards points

With the Amex Gold card, you’ll earn an impressive 4 points for every dollar you spend at restaurants worldwide, and at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases annually (then 1x thereafter). Plus, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines and at amextravel.com, which will be useful when travel restrictions ease. You’ll also earn 1 point per dollar on all your other purchases.

Those earning rates make the Amex Gold one of the best credit cards for your restaurant and US supermarket purchases. Since The Points Guy values these points at 2 cents each, at 4 points per dollar spent, you’re earning an 8% return in these two categories. And for your eligible airline purchases, you’re getting a promising 6% return.

Better yet, most food delivery services will code as restaurants on the Amex Gold, so if you order from Grubhub, Seamless, Uber Eats or DoorDash, you’ll still earn the same 4 points per dollar as if you had gone to the restaurant itself.

Related: Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

With the American Express Gold card, you
With the American Express Gold card, you’ll earn 4 points for every dollar you spend on food delivery services like Grubhub.
PHOTO: Grubhub

Outside of the bonus categories, you’re earning only 1 point per dollar spent on everything else, which is a 2% return based on The Points Guy’s valuations. While this is similar to what you’d earn with CNN Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll be earning points for a future trip with the Amex Gold card versus cash in your pocket now. So you’ll want to decide what your priority is when it comes to credit card rewards — travel points or cash back.

Start earning bonus rewards at restaurants and US supermarkets with the American Express Gold card.

Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points

Since the Amex Gold card earns highly useful Membership Rewards points, there are many options when it comes to redeeming your points. You can use your points for a statement credit or to purchase gift cards, but these options won’t get you maximum value for your points (though on occasion, Amazon runs promotions that offer discounts for using Amex points to pay at checkout).

Related: Get up to $50 off at Amazon with targeted American Express cards.

But the best way to maximize the points you’ll earn with the Amex Gold is to use them for booking travel through American Express’ own Amex Travel booking site, or by transferring them to one of Amex’s 21 airline and hotel partner programs.

Redeeming points through Amex Travel

One of the easiest and most flexible ways to redeem your Amex Gold points is to book travel directly through American Express by using Amex Travel, which allows you to book flights at 1 cent per point, and other travel options at a lower value.

Even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost of a trip, you can cover just a portion of the flight and pay for the rest with your Amex card. The only caveat is you must redeem at least 5,000 points for a reservation.

You’ll also sometimes see Membership Rewards Insider Fares listed at the Amex Travel website. These opportunities offer around a 10% discount on the price of a flight, which lowers the number of points required for it. That makes your points worth more, although with this option, you must pay for your entire flight with points — a partial option is not available.

Redeeming points by transferring to partners

But if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck by getting 2 cents per point in value — or possibly even more — when redeeming your Amex Gold points, you’ll want to consider transferring your points to the issuer’s airline and hotel partner programs.

American Express has partnerships with 21 different airlines and hotels, including Delta, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Marriott, Hilton and many others. While you’ll need to do some research and homework to learn how to take advantage of these individual programs, you’ll find that it’s possible to get outstanding value for your points this way, especially if you’re looking to fly in a premium first or business class cabin.

You can transfer points earned with your American Express Gold card to airline partners such as Delta, and even redeem them for flights in premium cabins.
You can transfer points earned with your American Express Gold card to airline partners such as Delta, and even redeem them for flights in premium cabins.
PHOTO: iStock

Of course, you’re probably not doing a lot of traveling at the moment. But it’s likely that travel restrictions will begin to lift at some point in 2021, which makes now an ideal time to be accumulating travel points so that you have them ready to use when planes return to the skies and hotels reopen their doors.

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s complete American Express Gold credit card review.

Is the American Express Gold card right for you?

With a strong welcome offer, bonus points on popular food categories and annual statement credits, the Amex Gold is a card that should be in every foodie’s wallet. While travel points may not be useful right at the moment, they’re likely to become much more valuable as travel resumes in the months ahead, so socking away some points today can serve you extremely well tomorrow.

So if you’re spending a good portion on your monthly household budget on picking up groceries, dining out or ordering food for delivery, you may want to take this opportunity to pick up a haul of 60,000 bonus points while you can by grabbing an American Express Gold card, and start scoring bonus points on your food purchases today.

Learn more about the American Express Gold Card.

Check out CNN Underscored’s list of the best credit cards of 2020.

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