By ABC News
(CLEVELAND) — President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden face off in the first presidential debate of 2020 Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Topics include Trump’s and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election.
Below, ABC News will fact check what both candidates say throughout the 90-minute debate, moderated by Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday.”
Please refresh for the newest information.
A vaccine is not likely weeks away, despite Trump’s claim
TRUMP’S CLAIM: “And now, we’re weeks away from a vaccine.”
FACT CHECK: Most prominent public health experts have said that a vaccine will not be widely available until mid-2021.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has said it may have data from its late-stage trial by October. Moderna has said it could have data from its late-stage trial by November or December. From there, the data will need to be analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether the vaccine is both safe and effective. Other companies in late-stage trials are further behind. AstraZeneca’s late-stage trial is still on hold, and Johnson and Johnson only just started its late-stage trial this month.
Even if a vaccine is authorized by the end of the year, that does not mean it will be widely available. At first, only limited supplies will be available, and they will be prioritized for the most vulnerable. “By the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations and you get the majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen until the mid- or end of 2021,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier this month.
In a recent Senate hearing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield echoed those sentiments, “I think there will be [a] vaccine that will initially be available sometime between November and December, but very limited supply, and it will have to be prioritized,” but, he said, “If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
There are over 100 million Americans in the US with preexisting conditions, studies show
CLAIM: Biden says 100 million Americans have preexisting conditions, Trump says he’s wrong
FACT CHECK: 100 million or more people have preexisting conditions in the U.S.
Biden said during the debate that “100 million people” have preexisting conditions, while Trump said that number was “totally wrong.”
“There aren’t 100 million people with preexisting conditions,” Trump said. The two candidates were debating about the path forward for health care in America.
Biden, who was arguing that Trump and Republicans would kick people with preexisting conditions off of health care if they rescinded the Affordable Care Act, is correct that somewhere around 100 million Americans have preexisting conditions, according to studies.
One study by the Health and Human Services Department in 2017 found that a large percentage of non-elderly Americans have preexisting health conditions, ranging from 61 million to 133 million.
The study found that “at least 23 percent of Americans (61 million people) using a narrow definition based on eligibility criteria for pre-ACA state high-risk pools, or as many as 51 percent (133 million people) using a broader definition closer to the underwriting criteria used by insurers prior to the ACA” could have been denied health care or offered it at a high price before the Affordable Care Act passed because of preexisting conditions. The study was published under the Obama administration.
There is a difference, however, between the absolute number of people with preexisting conditions and the number of people who would be denied coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Experts point out that 54 million non-elderly Americans would’ve been denied insurance before the ACA, but confirmed that 100 million or more Americans have preexisting conditions.
“54 million non-elderly adults have a preexisting condition that would have led to a denial of insurance before the ACA. 100 million or more have a preexisting condition that would have led to higher premiums or limited benefits,” tweeted Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, referring to a study by the organization.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.