CDC tells officials to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccine by early November

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined how officials should prepare to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups this fall.
4:26 | 09/03/20

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Transcript for CDC tells officials to prepare to distribute COVID-19 vaccine by early November
And good evening, thanks for being with us on this Wednesday night. I'm Tom llamas, in for David. We begin with the coronavirus pandemic and the new letter from the CDC urging state vaccine distribution facilities to be prepared for a vaccine by November 1st. Some taking issue with that state, just two days before the election. The urgency very real. Covid now taking more than 185,000 lives. And the concern about schools spreading the virus. Tonight, James Madison university in Virginia, the latest college to send students home. That's what Dr. Anthony Fauci says is the worst thing they could do. This troubling image from a high school in Florida. Students close together, some not wearing masks. Potential cases could take some time. Tonight, we've learned of the first death linked to last month's motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, as well as 260 cases in 11 states. And with the labor day holiday on the way, health officials issuing strong warnings to take care. ABC's Victor Oquendo leads us off tonight from Florida. Reporter: Tonight, the CDC director urging governors in all 50 states to get ready by November 1st to deliver a possible vaccine. Dr. Robert Redfield saying in a letter obtained by ABC news, the government is "Rapidly making preparations to implement large scale distribution of covid-19 vaccines in the fall of 2020." That letter dated on the same day the president promised a vaccine at the Republican convention. We are delivering life-saving therapies and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner. Reporter: Critics worry a vaccine might be rushed, but the white house says the timing has nothing to do with the election. Earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he thins that a safe vaccine will be identified by the end of the year. I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine. Reporter: The virus has killed 185,000 Americans and is now triggering new outbreaks. Colleges quarantining thousands of students across the country. I believe I'm on day six of quarantine. Reporter: Some schools like North Carolina state and James Madison are sending students home. We did feel a little blindsided due to the fact that we didn't know. Reporter: But Dr. Fauci warns, it's the wrong approach. That's the worst thing you can do. Keep them up at the university in a place that's sequestered enough from the other students, but don't have them go home, because they can be spreading it in their home state. Reporter: Jmu freshman Jacob Seefried found himself in class in this crowded ballroom. I'd say, like, 20 students on each corner sitting within an eight-by-eight foot radius all huddled tonight on the ground because there were no seats left. Reporter: In volusia county, Florida, this crowd of students at a high school, some not wearing masks. That district says this crowd quickly dispersed. Alicia duke, a teacher's assistant there, tells us she took emergency leave before the start of the school year because she didn't feel safe. You've watched the movie "The titanic," where the band played on the top of the deck as the ship sunk. That's my analogy. That's exactly how I felt. Reporter: As the country heads into labor day weekend, doctors are warning about the risks. Backyard barbecues are fine, as long as they're not massive. You have to have a plan. What if it starts raining? Don't have everyone come indoors, because that becomes risky. Go to the beach but don't go out to an indoor dining restaurant afterwards. Reporter: Tonight, word of the first death traced to last month's motorcycle rally that drew a crowd of 400,000 in south Dakota, many without masks. That patient, a 60-year-old biker from Minnesota, with underlying conditions. So far, 260 cases across 11 states have been traced to the event, but experts suspect there are many more. All right, Victor joins us now live. I want to go back to that breaking news, the CDC getting ready for a possible vaccine by November. Do we have anymore details and some tonight, I know, are urging caution about that letter? Reporter: Tom, new tonight, senate Democrats are calling on the heads of the fda and the CDC to urgently testify and answer questions about possible political interference. With the timing so close to election day, the director of the CDC insists that the safety of the vaccine will not be compromised. There's no evidence that a vaccine will be ready by November 1st, but the CDC wants states to be ready for distribution. All right, victoroquendo, thank you. Next, to the race for 2020 that is heating up.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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