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Donald J. Trump Has Failed In His Response To Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Page 4
*** Trump is the swamp. ***

Money that should be going to needy Americans is going to Trump's friends and cronies. If anything, the swamp is bigger than ever.
Kurt Bardella Opinion columnist

Whatever happened to “drain the swamp” — one of the original promises from then-candidate Donald J. Trump? At the time, it was a powerful rhetorical refrain that harnessed a widespread sentiment that Washington had sold out the American people in favor of special interest influence. It was an effective rallying cry that created a tangible contrast between the outsider insurgency that was Donald Trump juxtaposed with the ultimate insider that was Hillary Clinton. And yet four years later, Trump has become the swampiest of swamp creatures, giving the Joe Biden campaign a very real opening to do to Trump what Trump did to Clinton.

If you’re among the 36.5 million Americans who have filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March, you might be asking yourself, “What happened to all of that money Congress passed to shore up the economy and keep small businesses afloat?” The answer: Too often, it went to donors, supporters, allies and former aides of President Donald J. Trump, aka The Swamp.

The friends of Trump that hit the jackpot
Clay Lacy Aviation, a private jet company founded by a Trump campaign and Republican National Committee donor, received $27 million in government funding through the $2 trillion coronavirus package known as the CARES Act. Phunware, a data firm that is doing work for the Trump re-election campaign, received $2.85 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — the average loan distributed through this program is $206,000. CloudCommerce, a company whose largest shareholder is Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, received nearly a million dollars through the PPP. Ronald Gidwitz is the president’s ambassador to Belgium and was the Trump campaign finance chair for Illinois. Gidwitz’s family is the largest shareholder in a company called Continental Materials Corp. They were approved for a $5.5 million PPP loan.

It is worth noting that Congress gave a much-needed "booster shot" to unemployment benefits by allowing some to receive an additional $600 a week, however, the influx of unemployment claims has created a massive backlog, delaying support from reaching millions of Americans. On top of that, emergency relief dollars intended to support small businesses are instead going to publicly traded companies with more than 500 workers. All the while, dozens of lobbyists with direct ties to the Trump administration and Trump campaign are cashing in, receiving tens of thousands of dollars from private companies to leverage their relationships and access to deliver a piece of those taxpayer dollars.

Norman Eisen and Aryeh Mellman

One of President Trump’s most famous campaign pledges was that he would come to Washington and “drain the swamp.” Our new paper details his failure—and the challenges that other oversight authorities have faced—doing just that when it comes to the flood of coronavirus spending. In recent weeks, the need for oversight of Trump administration coronavirus spending has reached an inflection point. There have been reports that 27 clients of Trump-connected lobbyists have received up to $10.5 billion of coronavirus relief funds; that beneficiaries have also included multiple entities linked to the family of Jared Kushner and other Trump cronies and political allies; and that up to $273 million was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to Trump’s election efforts. In addition, unnecessary blanket ethics waivers have been applied to potential administration conflicts of interest and many other transactions meriting further investigation have occurred.

This inflection point is worsened by the Trump administration’s resistance to oversight. During negotiations on the CARES Act, the president claimed that he personally would “be the oversight.” He backed up that assertion with a signing statement after passage of the CARES Act stating that he would not treat some of the inspector general reporting requirements as mandatory. The Treasury Department followed his lead by initially refusing to disclose the recipients of Paycheck Protection Program funds. They only relented in the face of crushing public and congressional pressure, resulting in a bevy of startling disclosures that call out for oversight. In “Addressing the other COVID crisis: Corruption,” we assess the challenges that the new coronavirus oversight authorities have faced in getting up and running, including from the White House. We explain the relative strengths and weaknesses of those authorities, and lay out a strategy for how they can do robust oversight in connection with the pandemic.

By David Matthews New York Daily News

The American government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is roughly split along partisan lines, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday. The poll found that 31% of registered voters thought the U.S. death toll of 176,000 was “acceptable” when evaluating the U.S. efforts against the coronavirus pandemic,” a number that is buoyed by a 57% majority of Republican voters. Only 10% of Democrat voters thought the death toll was “acceptable” and 67% of independents said it was “unacceptable.”

When asked “overall, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in its efforts to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus,” 62% said “somewhat badly” or “very badly.” The poll also found that 40% of Republicans think the death toll is inflated despite public health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying the current death toll is most likely lower than the actual number.

Adam Payne

President Donald Trump reportedly wants to fast-track approval of an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed in the UK so it can be used in the US before the presidential election. In a bid to secure a coronavirus vaccine before November 3, Trump wants the US Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization to the vaccine being developed by Oxford University in the weeks leading up to the election, even if it does not yet have full regulatory approval, the Financial Times reports, citing unnamed sources.

The Oxford vaccine, being developed in partnership with the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, is set to be trialed on 10,000 volunteers in the coming weeks; however, US health authorities have indicated a vaccine must be successfully trialed on 30,000 volunteers to receive authorization. Two senior figures in the Trump administration last month told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a meeting that the president wanted to bypass these requirements by granting the vaccine emergency use authorization, an unnamed source briefed on the meeting told the Financial Times.

By Kashmira Gander

President Trump announced on Sunday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed for the emergency use of an unproven treatment known as convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients, stating it can reduce the chances of dying in some by 35 percent. But scientists were quick to cast doubt on the claim, with one calling it "outrageous." Convalescent plasma therapy involves extracting blood from people who have been infected with the coronavirus, and removing components including red and white blood cells and platelets to leave behind a straw-coloured liquid which contains antibodies. It is hoped that injecting this liquid into COVID-19 patients could help them recover. Trump said during a press conference regarding the FDA's emergency use authorization (EUA) that a study on the treatment launched by the Mayo Clinic and the federal government had "proven to reduce mortality by 35 percent."

Donald Trump announces FDA emergency authorization for blood plasma as a coronavirus treatment.
Martin Pengelly and agencies

After expressing frustration at the slow pace of approval for coronavirus treatments, and causing controversy by publicly linking the Food and Drug Administration to the “deep state” conspiracy theory, Donald Trump on Sunday announced the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma, a method which has been used to treat flu and measles, for Covid-19 patients. Covid-19 has killed more than 175,000, cratered the economy and upended the president’s hopes of re-election. The White House has sunk vast resources into an expedited process to develop a vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed, which aides hope will produce an “October surprise” before the presidential election on 3 November.

Making the announcement at a press conference, and with FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn standing with him, Trump added to days of White House officials suggesting politically motivated delays in approving a vaccine and therapeutics. Coronavirus: Trump authorizes plasma treatment amid attacks on FDA “This is what I’ve been looking to do for a long time,” Trump told reporters on Sunday at the White House. “I’m pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives.” Critics say that name for the virus, based on where it originated, is racist. Furthermore, though more than 64,000 Covid-19 patients in the US have already been given convalescent plasma, a go-to tactic for new diseases, there is no solid evidence that it fights the virus.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after 3 November. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!” The “deep state” conspiracy theory holds that a permanent government of bureaucrats exists to thwart the president’s agenda. Former Trump campaign manager and White House adviser Steve Bannon, an enthusiastic propagator of the theory, has also said it is “for nut cases” and “none of this is true”. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s tweet “scary” and “beyond the pale”.

Unsupported: Large randomized controlled clinical trials in several countries have found no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in terms of mortality rate or clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Large clinical trials are currently evaluating the effect of zinc supplementation in COVID-19 patients. Until the results from these studies are released, the use of zinc supplementation for treating or preventing COVID-19 is not supported.

Lacks context: Studies suggest that hydroxychloroquine may cause cardiac toxicity in some COVID-19 patients, particularly in those with underlying medical conditions. This evidence advises against a generalized use of the drug, but not against its medically supervised use for treating chronic rheumatic conditions, such as lupus. Furthermore, the doses of hydroxychloroquine used to treat these chronic diseases are lower than those tested in COVID-19 clinical trials and are carefully adjusted for any underlying health conditions.

‘This is a disease everyone should take seriously,’ says director of the Coastal Health Department
James Crump

A seven-year-old boy from Georgia with no underlying health conditions became the youngest person in the state to die from coronavirus, a day after president Donald Trump said children are “almost immune from the disease”. The Georgia Department of Public Health announced on Thursday that the seven-year-old from Savannah, Georgia, had died after suffering a seizure in response to the virus, but did not release the date of the unnamed child’s death. In a statement to Fox5 in Atlanta, Dr Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health Department, said that “every Covid-19 death we report is tragic, but to lose someone so young is especially heart-breaking.”

He added: “We know that older individuals and those with underlying conditions are at higher risk of complications, but this is a disease everyone should take seriously.” A six-year-old girl from Tennessee and a six-year-old boy from Nebraska also died from coronavirus this week. The previous youngest person to die in Georgia from Covid-19 was a 17-year-old, according to Fox News. The child’s death came a day after president Trump falsely claimed that children are “almost immune” to the disease when he called in and spoke to the hosts of Fox & Friends. Mr Trump said on Wednesday morning that “schools should be open. If you look at children — I would almost say definitely — they are almost immune from this disease.” He added: “They’ve got stronger, hard to believe, I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem.”

The U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world: ‘The numbers don’t lie,’ Dr. Fauci says
Noah Higgins-Dunn

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed on Wednesday that the United States has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, pointing to the nation’s high number of Covid-19 infections and deaths. “Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don’t lie,” Fauci said when asked during an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta whether the U.S. had the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak. The U.S., which accounts for less than 5% of the world population, leads all other countries in global coronavirus infections and deaths. The nation represents more than 22% of global coronavirus deaths and more than 25% of infections as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Every country has suffered. We, the United States, has suffered ... as much or worse than anyone,” Fauci said during the interview with CNN and the Harvard School of Public Health. “I mean when you look at the number of infections and the number of deaths, it really is quite concerning.” When the U.S. was hit with the coronavirus earlier this year, it didn’t respond in a coordinated effort, Fauci said. The nation was able to bring cases down to a plateau of 20,000 new infections per day, which Fauci said wasn’t an adequate “baseline” figure and allowed the virus to resurge in some states across the country as they reopened. “We can do much better, and we can do much better without locking down and I think that strange binary approach, either you lockdown or you let it all fly, there’s some place in the middle when we can open the economy and still avoid these kind of surges that we’re seeing,” Fauci said.

By Nikki Schwab, Senior U.s. Political Reporter and Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died from the coronavirus. The news was posted on his personal website and reported by Newsmax, a conservative media company he had recently joined. He had been in an Atlanta-area hospital for COVID-19 all month, two days after testing positive for the virus. Cain attended Trump's disastrous June 20th rally in Tulsa, where eight members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus and the campaign staff had to self-isolate afterward in case of infection.

'Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit,' tweeted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany Thursday. 'Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith.' Cain was 74.    

By Sophie Lewis CBS News

Both California and Florida — the two states with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country — set new records for single-day coronavirus deaths on Wednesday. The heartbreaking milestones come as the U.S. surpasses 150,000 deaths from the virus. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said 197 people in the state died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the state's highest in a single day. The state also reported 8,755 new positive cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, California has the highest number of confirmed cases in the U.S., with at least 473,785. If California were its own country, it would have the fifth-highest number of cases behind only the U.S., Brazil, India and Russia. "Please — WEAR A MASK," Newsom tweeted. Florida's Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that 216 people died from the virus on Tuesday, a new single-day record for the state just one day after setting its previous record of 186 new deaths. An additional 9,448 people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state's total to at least 451,423 confirmed cases.

By Manuel Bojorquez CBS News

Florida on Tuesday hit a new statewide record high for number of coronavirus deaths reported in a single day since the pandemic began — 186 residents. And while there are signs hospitalizations may be leveling off, the virus continues to upend life there and across the country. Nearly half of all states are now part of the government's so-called "red zone" due to rising cases, including Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Dr. Deborah Birx on Tuesday said hot spots threaten regions where cases are controlled. "We can see the virus moving North," she warned."What we're seeing across the South right now is both rural infections, as well as small metros and major metros, simultaneously." Birx said.

This week, Dr. Birx was in five states where cases are on the rise and recommended that some states close bars and limit capacity. Kentucky ordered all bars to close at 5 p.m., but the governor of Tennessee refused to close bars. Birx also recommended that multi-generational families that live together where masks inside their homes. The outbreak among the Miami Marlins has reportedly grown to as many as 17 players and staff — putting their season on hold until at least Sunday. NFL players reporting to camp this week will be subjected to a slew of testing just to get practices going. CBS Sports writer R.J. Anderson wonders how either league can function without creating a true safety bubble. "So, if baseball can't pull this off without a bubble, I'm not really sure how football is going to pull it off," said Anderson.

The president is pushing the coronavirus theories of a Houston doctor who also says sexual visitations by demons and alien DNA are at the root of Americans’ common health concerns.
Will Sommer

A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video. Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams. Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens. Immanuel gave her viral speech on the steps of the Supreme Court at the “White Coat Summit,” a gathering of a handful of doctors who call themselves America’s Frontline Doctors and dispute the medical consensus on the novel coronavirus. The event was organized by the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots, which is backed by wealthy Republican donors.

In her speech, Immanuel alleges that she has successfully treated hundreds of patients with hydroxychloroquine, a controversial treatment Trump has promoted and says he has taken himself. Studies have failed to find proof that the drug has any benefit in treating COVID-19, and the Food and Drug Administration in June revoked its emergency authorization to use it to treat the deadly virus, saying it hadn’t demonstrated any effect on patients’ mortality prospects.

DeVos has falsely claimed the children are "stoppers" of COVID-19.
By Libby Cathey

As coronavirus cases surge across the country, President Donald Trump is ramping up his push for schools to open for in-person instruction in the fall following weeks of downplaying the risks of children spreading the virus. "Every district should be actively making preparations to open," Trump said at Thursday's coronavirus-focused press conference. "This is about something very, very important. This is not about politics." But Trump and Cabinet officials like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have made several misleading claims in their pitch to reopen schools, with DeVos even claiming that children are "stoppers" of the virus, despite health officials saying there’s no evidence of that. On the question of whether kids spread the virus less than adults, task force Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci have cautioned that the issue needs more study before drawing conclusions. Notably absent from the podium at the last three briefings on coronavirus, health care experts have been sidelined to separate media interviews to qualify the president's misleading claims. While severe illness from coronavirus is rare among children, and those under 10 don't seem to contract or spread the virus as often as adults, the question of transmission is widely unanswered since schools across the country closed in March.

Alana Wise

President Trump on Wednesday placed much of the blame for the swell in coronavirus cases on recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality, ignoring in large part his administration's push to reopen the national economy before the virus had been fully contained. "Cases started to rise among young Americans, shortly after demonstrations — which you know very well about. Which presumably triggered a broader relaxation of mitigation measures nationwide," Trump said, also acknowledging increased congregations at beaches and bars over the summer holidays. "We're also sharing a 2,000 mile border with Mexico, as we know very well, and cases are surging in Mexico, unfortunately," Trump said, implying that the nation's southern border neighbor was also in part to blame for the United State's spike in cases.

Trump's Wednesday briefing comes as cases of the virus continue to surge across the United States, particularly the U.S. South, and as Americans' faith in his ability to manage the pandemic sinks, according to recent opinion polls. The Wednesday news conference was the president's second this week. He had said on Monday he planned to make briefings on the pandemic a regular fixture from the White House briefing room, after a months-long hiatus of the daily response updates.

By Maegan Vazquez, Dana Bash and Kaitlan Collins, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump tweeted an image of himself wearing a face mask and indirectly called the act "patriotic" on Monday -- a clear pivot away from his earlier reluctance to wear a facial covering in public. "We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance," Trump tweeted on Monday -- nearly three months after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing masks in public. "There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!" he added. The image appears to show Trump wearing a mask with the presidential seal at his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month -- his first and only time so far donning a facial covering in public after months of refusing to be seen doing so in public amid the coronavirus pandemic. The shift to encouraging mask-wearing was primarily motivated by floundering poll numbers, a source familiar with the President's thinking told CNN. For months, aides tried to get Trump to wear a mask, saying they could have "MAGA", "Trump-Pence 2020" or even the American flag printed on them. But he steadfastly refused and only wore a mask once in public. But it wasn't until a meeting with campaign aides at the White House last week, where aides bluntly told him even internal numbers showed Americans didn't approve of his response, that Trump relented, according to an official who attended that meeting.

In what was framed as an effort to streamline the reporting process, the federal government ordered hospitals to send patient information to a centralized database operated by HHS.
Jessica Lee

In July 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration established new guidelines for hospitals to report COVID-19 patient information that eliminates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the leader of data collection. Since the beginning of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak in January 2020, Americans relied on hospital patient data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop emergency plans that aimed to lessen the chances of deadly bottlenecks in the country’s health care system during the pandemic. The CDC’s system for collecting COVID-19 data from more than 25,000 health care systems nationwide, called the National Healthcare Safety Network, compiled reports that served to help local politicians, epidemiologists, teachers, and everyone else make responsible decisions to curb the virus’ spread.  But in mid-July 2020, tweets and news reports alleged that — under the direction of U.S. President Donald Trump — the federal government changed what had become the standard data-collecting system during the global health crisis and stripped the CDC of its role managing  COVID-19 hospital information. Numerous readers contacted Snopes to investigate the legitimacy of such a claim, which was first reported by The New York Times on July 14, 2020.

By Zack Budryk

The National Governors Association (NGA) on Thursday called on the Trump administration to postpone planned alterations to hospital reporting requirements for 30 days. “The administration has stated that they plan to utilize this data to better allocate supplies and drugs to states,” the NGA said in a statement. “To ensure the accurate reporting of this data, governors are requesting a 30-day delay of these new requirements, in order for hospitals to learn a new system, as they continue to deal with this pandemic. In addition, governors urge the administration to make this information publicly available,” the NGA added. Earlier this week, the Trump administration changed its reporting rules for hospitals, instructing them to send data on hospital bed and intensive care unit availability directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rather than to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as before. Public health experts raised concerns with the change, although the administration argued that while the HHS database is not public, it will make patient data compilation more efficient. HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Michael Caputo said the CDC was directed to make the data available again after it disappeared from the CDC’s website.

By Betsy Klein, CNN

(CNN) An unpublished document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom, recommends that 18 states in the coronavirus "red zone" for cases should roll back reopening measures amid surging cases.
The "red zone" is defined in the 359-page report as "those core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) and counties that during the last week reported both new cases above 100 per 100,000 population, and a diagnostic test positivity result above 10%." The report outlines measures counties in the red zone should take. It encourages residents to "wear a mask at all times outside the home and maintain physical distance." And it recommends that public officials "close bars and gyms" and "limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer," which would mean rolling back reopening provisions in these places. The report comes despite President Donald Trump's insistence that states reopen and a push to send the nation's children back to school, even as cases increase. "Now we're open, and we want to stay open and we will stay open. We're not closing. We'll put out the fires as they come out," Trump said at a White House event earlier this month. The following 18 states are in the red zone for cases: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Washington Post

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on July 16 said it is “perfectly safe” for children to return to school amid the coronavirus pandemic even as some public health experts warned against it. *** “Science should not stand in the way of this“ is another in a long list of  dumb things coming from this White House. What century is this White House living in that sounds like something the flat earth people would say. ***

By Timothy Bella

A line of Goya Foods products lay on the Resolute desk, symbolic as the seat of power inside the White House, as President Trump flashed a smile and offered a double thumbs-up in a photo shared to his Instagram account on Wednesday. The image — the latest show of support from the administration for a company facing boycott calls after its chief executive praised Trump — was a breaking point for CNN host Chris Cuomo, who noted Wednesday night that the president’s Goya promotion comes as coronavirus cases continue to spike nationwide. “You tell me how a president, in the middle of a pandemic, has got time for this b-------. Are you kidding me? Hawking products?” Cuomo asked, with the expletive airing unedited. He added, “Resolute desk! This is what he’s resolute about.” Questioning the president’s “pandemic priorities” on “Cuomo Prime Time,” the CNN host showed the viral photo of presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump holding up a can of Goya black beans earlier this week, which prompted concerns about whether she was using her government position to endorse a private business. Cuomo accused the administration of “marketing for a brand,” while the number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. now stands at nearly 3.5 million. “On your dime, in the middle of a pandemic, they’re selling beans,” said Cuomo, who recovered from covid-19 in the spring. “Are you kidding me? Seriously? Seriously?”

By Ted Johnson

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked Monday to explain why President Donald Trump retweeted former game show host Chuck Woolery’s claim that “everyone is lying” about the coronavirus, including the Centers for Disease Control, as a way to keep the economy coming back before the election. A reporter asked McEnany, “The president retweeted something this morning … saying that the CDC is lying about the coronavirus in order to hurt his chances of getting re-elected. Does the president believe that the CDC is lying about COVID-19?” McEnany tried to explain what the intent of Trump’s retweet was — blaming his displeasure on CDC leaks and “some rogue individuals.”


President Trump retweeted a conspiracy from ex-game show host Chuck Woolery attempting to discredit the CDC and doctors' warnings about the coronavirus.


US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci is being targeted by the Trump administration as tensions rise between the health expert and the president. The White House has been increasingly critical of Dr Fauci, and on Sunday, an official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments. Dr Fauci's changing advice on masks and remarks on Covid-19's severity are among the points from the White House. The move to undercut him comes as the US continues to see surges in Covid-19. There are over 3.3 million cases confirmed and more than 135,000 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. Dr Fauci has contradicted President Donald Trump's comments on the pandemic a number of times, pushing back on the president's claims that the outbreak is improving and attributing hasty state re-openings to the recent surges. The White House memo leaked over the weekend had noted "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr Fauci has been wrong on things". Though the White House said Dr Fauci and Mr Trump have a "good working relationship" on Monday, Trump adviser Peter Navarro told CBS News: "When you ask me if I listen to Dr Fauci's advice, my answer is only with caution." *** Of course Trump and the White House are trying to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci because he is telling the truth that we are doing a good job on stopping the Trump virus and we have more work to do that gets in the way of Trump opening the economy which risk putting more American lives at risk. The White House forgot Trump said we only have 15 cases and it would go away or the virus would go away when summer came and other false statements Trump has made. ***

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) Internal documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would be the "highest risk" for the spread of coronavirus, according to a New York Times report, as President Donald Trump and his administration push for students and teachers to return in-person to classrooms. The 69-page document obtained by the Times marked "For Internal Use Only" was among materials for federal public health response teams deployed to coronavirus hotspots to help local public health officials handle the outbreak, the newspaper reported. The document was circulated this week, the Times reported, as Trump slammed the CDC guidelines around reopening schools and he, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos increased their pressure on schools to fully reopen by the fall. It is unclear whether the President viewed the CDC document, according to the Times.

By Jennifer Henderson, CNN

(CNN) Three teachers who shared a summer classroom at a school in Arizona all contracted coronavirus last month, leaving one of them dead. Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, died June 26, less than two weeks after she was hospitalized. The other two teachers -- Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings -- said they're still struggling with the effects of the virus that has killed nearly 135,000 people nationwide. All three teachers wore masks and gloves, used hand sanitizer and socially distanced, but still got sick, according to school officials at the small community in the eastern part of the state. Kimberley Byrd had worked at the Hayden Winkelman School District for 38 years -- so long that she'd started teaching the children of her former students. "Losing Mrs. Byrd in our small rural community was devastating. She was an excellent educator with a huge heart," said Pamela Gonzalez, principal of Leonor Hambly K8. "We find comfort in knowing her story may bring awareness to the importance of keeping our school employees safe and our precious students safe in this pandemic." *** RT is a Russian propaganda news organization. ***

John Bacon, Elinor Aspegren - USA TODAY

As the pandemic reached new highs in Florida and across the world, New York City provided a glimmer of hope: zero deaths for the first time in four months. Total confirmed cases across the nation surpassed 3.3 million – about 1% of all Americans have now tested positive since the outbreak began racing across the nation just a few months ago. More than 135,000 Americans have died. In Washington, President Donald Trump showed little faith in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, retweeting a social media post accusing the agency of "outrageous lies." In France, the wife of a bus driver who was beaten to death after he asked four passengers to wear face masks aboard his vehicle called Saturday for “exemplary punishment” for his killers. The bus driver had been hospitalized in critical condition after the July 5 attack, and his death was announced Friday.

NBC News

President Trump complained that CDC guidelines for schools were too stringent, and tied re-openings to the November election.» Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC

By Bloomberg

The top U.S. education official downplayed the risk of reopening schools in the fall, a high priority of President Trump, and repeated a threat to cut funding to schools that don’t fully resume in-person learning as educators wrestle with the risk of the coronavirus. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on “Fox News Sunday” that “nothing in the data” suggests children being in school is “in any way dangerous” — an assertion challenged by a top public health official on the same program. “Parents are expecting that this fall their kids are going to have a full-time experience with their learning, and we need to follow through on that promise,” DeVos added. DeVos’ comments come as U.S. education policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has moved to the forefront. Trump and DeVos last week began to forcefully advocate that public elementary and high schools as well as universities reopen fully to students in the fall despite a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the U.S., and suggested that funding could be pulled from schools that don’t comply. “If schools aren’t going to open they shouldn’t get the funds,” DeVos said on Fox. “Give it to the families.”

Lisa Shumaker

(Reuters) - Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen and anti-mask protests were planned in Michigan and Missouri. If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis. Florida’s daily increases in cases have already surpassed the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the pandemic there. It has also broken New York state’s record of 12,847 new cases on April 10 when it was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. The latest rise was reported a day after Walt Disney World in Orlando reopened with a limited number of guests who were welcomed with a host of safety measures, including masks and temperature checks.  

'Kids don't go to schools by themselves'
By Dakin Andone, CNN

(CNN) -- After months out of the classroom, Sarah Gross, a high school English teacher in New Jersey, is eager for schools to reopen in the fall. But she's skeptical about how that could happen safely as Covid-19 cases rise across the country. "I desperately want to go back to my classroom," Gross told CNN. "But I think that a lot of people who call for schools to reopen -- especially because we need childcare or the economy to restart -- don't have any idea of what schools look like today." Teachers who spoke to CNN said they are trying to puzzle out an avalanche of unanswered questions about schooling amid a global pandemic. As coronavirus case numbers rise, they are weighing the risks to students and colleagues, their families and themselves. Decisions about whether schools will reopen, and in what capacity, have mostly been left to school districts, with some guidance from state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Abigail Feldman

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley criticized Betsy DeVos’ plan to reopen schools amid spiking cases of coronavirus on Sunday, saying the US secretary of education has “no plan.” Pressley took to Twitter to air her disapproval, retweeting a CNN video of an interview earlier in the day with DeVos, who threatened to cut funding to schools that do not fully resume in-person learning.

William Cummings USA TODAY

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Sunday there was no danger in sending children back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic and stood by a threat to withhold federal funds from schools that do not resume in-person classes. "There's nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous," DeVos told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. "We know that children contract and have the virus at far lower incidence than any other part of the population, and we know that other countries around the world have reopened their schools and have done so successfully and safely." President Donald Trump has also pointed to other countries that had successfully reopened their schools, specifically citing Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden in a tweet last week. Wallace pointed out that those countries have far fewer daily cases of COVID-19 than the U.S. "Is it really fair, is it reasonable to compare the situation in countries that have 20 new cases in a day with a country that has 68,000 new cases in a day?" he asked. "Well, we're talking about schools and other countries' experiences with reopening schools. And it has been shown to be very successful," DeVos said.

By Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) As coronavirus cases surge in the United States, the White House is taking aim at the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. In a statement Saturday, a White House official told CNN that "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things." The official went on to provide a lengthy list of examples, citing Fauci's comments early in the pandemic and linking to past interviews. These bullet points, which resembled opposition research on a political opponent, included Fauci downplaying the virus early on and a quote from March when Fauci said, "People should not be walking around with masks," among other comments. The move by the White House comes as President Donald Trump and Fauci are not speaking. The tension between the two men has grown publicly as the two have responded to one another through interviews and statements. In a recent series of newspaper and radio interviews, Fauci -- who has worked under six US presidents from both parties -- has at times openly disagreed with Trump.

Analysis By Maeve Reston, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Saturday finally did the one thing that public health experts and even his own aides have begged him to do to save lives. He wore a mask in public during a visit to wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Given his intransigence for so many months, it was a small but significant gesture at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in the US and the President has failed to grasp the depth of the crisis or offer any coherent strategy to control the spread of the virus. While he was willing to wear the mask to protect US service members, Trump made it clear this week that he viewed the hospital setting as a unique one -- clinging to his insistence that there is a "time and place" for masks amid a raging pandemic that has claimed the lives of at least 134,815 Americans. His concern about safety does not apparently extend to schools, which he's pressuring to reopen, potentially putting millions of Americans at risk. His delusional view of the virus -- mainly that it's "harmless" -- serves his political agenda of getting the economy moving and the country back to "normal" ahead of the fall election. But if he's going to win back any of the suburban moms the Republican Party lost so badly in the 2018 midterms, he may want to reconsider using America's children as chips in his political games.

By Rob Picheta, CNN

London (CNN) The director-general of the World Health Organization has condemned a "lack of leadership" in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and made an emotional plea for global unity, as cases soar in multiple countries and the world struggles to contain the devastating virus more than six months after it was first identified. "My friends, make no mistake: The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a passionate speech in Geneva on Thursday. "Rather, it's the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels." His intervention will be seen as a thinly veiled swipe at leaders including US President Donald Trump, who has waged a public battle against WHO while failing to suppress the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak in his own country. "This is a tragedy that is forcing us to miss many of our friends, losing many lives. We cannot defeat this pandemic as a divided world," Tedros said, his voice trembling as he spoke.

President wears face covering during visit to military hospital as cases of coronavirus surge across the United States
Joanna Walters and Bryan Armen Graham in New York

Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time during a visit to a military hospital a short helicopter ride from the White House on Saturday evening. The president’s decision to wear a mask came as cases of coronavirus surged to record levels in the US and after aides and experts urged Trump to follow his own government’s guidelines on face coverings. Trump flew to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington DC to meet wounded service members and health care providers caring for Covid-19 patients. As he left the White House, Trump told reporters: “When you’re in a hospital, especially … I think it’s expected to wear a mask.” The only other time Trump was spotted wearing a mask was behind the scenes during a tour of a Ford plant in May, from which a picture emerged. At the time he refused to wear a mask in public because he said he didn’t want to give the gathered press the pleasure. In recent weeks, several people working in proximity to the president have tested positive for coronavirus. His son Donald Jr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for Covid-19 before Trump’s rally at Mount Rushmore on 3 July, and the couple had to go into quarantine. America is breaking records for new coronavirus cases almost every day, and hospitals in the new hotspots in southern and western states are under severe strain. Many believe businesses in those areas reopened too soon, following repeated urgings to do so by the president, without the virus being under control.

Will Feuer, Nate Rattner

Reported coronavirus-related deaths appear to be on the rise in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona and some other states that are struggling to contain rapidly expanding outbreaks, a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows. After peaking at an average of more than 2,000 deaths per day just three months ago, primarily driven by New York and New Jersey, fatalities in the U.S. have been slowly declining — falling to an average of less than 600 fatalities a day from June 23 through July 8. Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. have declined or remained relatively stable for weeks, even though cases have more than doubled since mid-May. But the daily death toll appears to be on the rise again in the U.S., epidemiologists say. Covid-19 fatalities have steadily ticked up across the nation with the average number of fatalities a day rising over the last three straight days to over 600 on July 9, based on a seven-day average of daily reported deaths, driven by surges in several hot spots. Epidemiologists say it is cause for concern that deaths are beginning to accelerate again, even if it’s just a few days of data. U.S. officials and the general public should have seen the rise in deaths coming, Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC. Deaths tend to lag new cases because it can take weeks for a patient to get sick enough to be hospitalized and eventually die.

Brett Murphy, Letitia Stein USA TODAY

President Donald Trump’s attack on his own health experts’ guidance for safely reopening schools cracked open for public display a power struggle within the administration that has been building for months. Trump blasted the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday as “very tough & expensive” and “asking schools to do very impractical things.” But CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said on Thursday the guidance would stand, and his staff would provide some new documents to clarify the recommendations. Wednesday’s flare-up punctuates a conflict escalating for months, with the nation’s top scientists publicly sidelined in the Trump administration’s initial coronavirus response. Earlier disagreements delayed the release of the reopening guidance for schools and businesses. Public health leaders who worked at the CDC under prior presidents said they had never seen anything like this week’s open discord. Those signals can impair the guidance and the White House coronavirus task force itself, the experts said. "It undermines leadership for everyone involved,” said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health at Emory University and a former CDC director, who bristled at the idea that expense should drive school decisions. "I don’t remember hearing that for the airports and bars.”

It was “a wake-up call that showed the true nature of this man,” said the MSNBC host.
By Lee Moran

President Donald Trump’s widely criticized handling of the relief effort after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 was “the canary in the coal mine” foretelling how he would respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Chris Hayes said Thursday. “Even before the pandemic, there were moments in the presidency of Trump where all of it — the self-serving incompetence, the utter lack of empathy, the disregard of human life, all of it — was laid bare,” noted the host of MSNBC’s “All In.” Trump lashed out at the Puerto Rican people “because the disaster made him look bad” and relentlessly downplayed the death toll, Hayes pointed out. The president has used similar tactics during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 130,000 people in the United States. “That was the canary in the coal mine, a wake-up call that showed the true nature of this man, of this administration, what would happen if another natural disaster were to strike,” said Hayes. It foreshadowed Trump’s “callous and incompetent response to the coronavirus crisis,” he added.

Savannah Behrmann - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that states need to face problems with their coronavirus responses because "if you don't admit it, you can't correct it." In an interview with "The Journal," a podcast from the Wall Street Journal, Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, discussed the alarming rates of coronavirus cases that are surging in some states that reopened quickly. More:Anthony Fauci warns US is 'knee-deep' in first wave of coronavirus cases and prognosis is 'really not good' "What we're seeing is exponential growth, it went from an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That's doubling,” Fauci said. Fauci told Congress last week that new coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get its surge of cases under control. During the interview, he discussed conversations the White House coronavirus task force has been having with governors and health officials from states where cases are spiking. "Among the states, and there is admission from within," the doctor explained. "Some states went too fast, some states went according to what the time table was, but the people in the state didn't listen, and threw caution to the wind."

By Patrick McGreevyStaff Writer

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that a decision on reopening California schools this fall will be made by local education and health officials weighing the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasized that he won’t be swayed by statements from President Trump urging campuses to bring back students quickly. The governor’s comments came as he warned that the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in California is continuing to surge, rising 44% in the last two weeks, and that another 111 Californians died from the virus in the last 24 hours. In recent days, Trump has called on the country’s public schools to reopen “quickly and beautifully,” but Los Angeles County’s top health official said earlier this week that the surge in new cases may require continued distance learning in the county. On Wednesday, Newsom said he will not be moved by the president’s criticism on social media of states moving carefully.

By Tami Luhby, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's threat Wednesday to cut off federal funding for schools if they don't open in the fall is the latest stress for schools already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. The President can't unilaterally cut current federal support of schools, and the federal government provided only 8.3% of funding for public elementary and secondary schools in 2015-2016, the last year for which a detailed funding breakdown was available. But Trump could try to restrict some recent pandemic relief funding or refuse to sign future education grants and bailouts, and any reductions in federal funding would hit schools hard. The shuttering of schools across the country resulted in the loss of more than 737,000 local education jobs between March and May, though districts added roughly 70,000 positions last month. Meanwhile, the average district may have to spend an additional $1.8 million to institute and adhere to health and safety protocols, according to a joint estimate by the School Superintendents Association (AASA) and the Association of School Business Officials International.

By Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) After President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he disagreed with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safely reopening schools because they are "very tough" and "expensive," the agency said it would issue new recommendations next week. The move came as the Trump administration makes a concerted push for schools to reopen by the fall, even as cases surge in some parts of the country. After Trump voiced displeasure at the CDC's handling of the issue, the agency's director said his recommendations shouldn't be used as an excuse for not returning children to classrooms. Instead, Dr. Robert Redfield and other members of the White House coronavirus task force said every effort must be made to bring students back to schools, suggesting doing otherwise would harm their health and development. Trump has pushed to reopen schools as a way to allow parents to return to normal work, a step that could further fuel an economic resurgence. On Wednesday morning, he also threatened he "may cut off funding" to schools that do not reopen, though the bulk of public school funding comes from state and local governments. "I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!" the President tweeted. During a press briefing a few hours later, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week. Both he and the CDC's director said the agency's recommendations should not be viewed as a barrier to returning children to classrooms. "Remember it's guidance, it's not requirements, and its purpose is to facilitate the reopening and keeping open the schools in this country," CDC Director Robert Redfield said

Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, said Tulsa County had reported nearly 500 new cases of Covid-19 in the past two days.
By Maggie Astor and Noah Weiland

A surge in coronavirus cases in and around Tulsa, Okla., is probably connected to the campaign rally President Trump held there last month, the city’s top health official said on Wednesday. Tulsa County reported 206 new confirmed cases on Tuesday and 261 — a record high — on Monday, and Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, said at a news conference that it was reasonable to link the spike to the rally and related events. “The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,” Dr. Dart said. “So I guess we just connect the dots.” The county has more infections right now than any other in Oklahoma, and “we’ve had some significant events in the past few weeks that more than likely contributed to that,” he added. Dr. Dart spent much of the news conference pleading with Tulsans to wear face masks — which most attendees at Mr. Trump’s rally did not — and said the department would recommend requiring masks “if we continue to see an exponential rise in cases, which frankly we expect over the next few days.” Asked whether contact tracing had confirmed a link between the rally and the increase in cases, Leanne Stephens, a spokeswoman for the health department, said it “will not publicly identify any individual or facility at risk of exposure, or where transmission occurred.”

By Kay Jones and Brian Ries, CNN

(CNN) The city of Tulsa is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, a little over 2 weeks after President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in an indoor arena there. Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a press conference on Wednesday there are high numbers being reported this week, with nearly 500 new cases in two days and trends are showing that those numbers will increase. There had been a 20% decline in new Covid-19 cases the week of June 28 through July 4. The Tulsa Health Department reported 266 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number in the county to 4,571. There are 17,894 cases in Oklahoma and 452 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States. When asked if the cases in Tulsa are going up due to the rally on June 20, Dart said that there were several large events a little over two weeks ago. "I guess we just connect the dots," Dart said. In a statement to CNN, Leanne Stephens of the Tulsa Health Department said, "Our epidemiologists and contact tracers are inundated with following up with Tulsa County residents who are confirmed positive as the numbers have been extremely high in recent days. Yesterday, we set a new single day case high and you can see on our website where the trends are moving." This coronavirus has a lengthy incubation period -- the time between when someone gets infected to when they start showing symptoms (if they get symptoms at all).The incubation period is about three to 14 days, with symptoms typically appearing "within four or five days after exposure," according to Harvard Medical School.

President Trump spearheaded an administration-wide push to pry open the nation’s elementary and secondary schools, the next phase of his effort to get the economy on its feet.
By Peter Baker and Erica L. Green

WASHINGTON — President Trump demanded on Tuesday that schools reopen physically in the fall, pressing his drive to get the country moving again even as the coronavirus pandemic surged through much of the United States and threatened to overwhelm some health care facilities. In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House, the president, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other senior officials opened a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors and others to resume classes in person months after more than 50 million children were abruptly ejected from school buildings in March. Mr. Trump and his administration argued that the social, psychological and educational costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself. But they offered no concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure academic settings, staffs and programs that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or cope with the requirements of combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans. “We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Mr. Trump said at a forum at the White House. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.” Education has long been a local issue, controlled by district school boards and state superintendents. Indeed, Mr. Trump campaigned in 2016 against efforts to nationalize education through programs like the Common Core State Standards. So beyond jawboning, it was unclear what power Mr. Trump had to force policymakers’ hands. He stopped short of threatening to withhold federal funding, a potentially effective but risky lever. *** How many Americans will die because of Trump’s stupidity and arrogance? ***

CBS News

President Trump is pushing governors to reopen schools and allow for the return of all students despite potential safety concerns due to COVID-19. CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid joined CBSN with the latest.

By Melanie Mason, Seema Mehta

To George Fuller, mayor of McKinney, Texas, his recent decision seemed a no-brainer: Require everyone in his city to wear a mask inside businesses to stem the spread of the coronavirus and avert a full economic shutdown. Some constituents in his Dallas exurb saw it differently. They pelted him with profane emails, calling him a “pathetic, cowardly little dictator,” even disparaging his teenage daughter for contracting the virus. The vitriol toward masks, Fuller said, reflected President Trump’s refusal to fully embrace them as a tool to stop the spread. “It’s from the top — it’s why we have the problem we have,” said Fuller, a nonpartisan mayor who has long voted Republican. “It’s unbelievable to me that it’s become the political thing that it is. Our president could have shifted this or diverted from this path, easily.” With the COVID-19 pandemic bearing down on red states that had previously been spared, officials in these hot zones are finding their efforts to combat the outbreak undermined by the leader of their own party. Many GOP politicians followed the president’s lead in the early months of the crisis by embracing a swift reopening of their economies. Now, as infection rates are surging in several states, these same leaders are ratcheting up their efforts to curb the contagion. But doing so while not contradicting Trump, who continues to forgo wearing a mask in public and broadly downplays the threats of the virus, has proven difficult. “The dilemma is they were playing politics with it for so long and trying to be loyal to the president for so long that they’ve now painted themselves into a corner and cannot get out,” said Mike Madrid, a Republican consultant who works with The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump campaign group.

Published Wed, Jul 8 20209:09 AM EDTUpdated 2 Hours Ago
Will Feuer, Nate Rattner

The United States reported more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, setting a fresh record for new cases reported in a single day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The country reported 60,021 newly confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours as outbreaks continue to expand across a number of states, mostly across the American South and West. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have accounted for nearly half of all new cases in the U.S. in recent days. The record spike comes after daily new cases fell below 50,000 over the past few days, though some public health officials warned there could be a backlog of reporting due to the July Fourth holiday weekend. The U.S. has reported about 51,383 new cases on average over the past seven days, a record high seven-day average, up nearly 24.5% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins.

By Holmes Lybrand, CNN

Washington (CNN)In the last two days Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has had to address his state's continued surge in new coronavirus cases while also trying to tamp down concerns. On Monday, DeSantis said he thought the outbreak in Florida had "stabilized" but that he wanted to get back to case numbers seen in May or early June. On Tuesday, the governor danced around questions over when Florida officials would provide data on daily hospitalization rates in the state, which his office had said would start last week. DeSantis pointed to a report from the state's Department of Health, saying "they have so much raw data on there," suggesting that the information could be pulled out of the report.

Facts First: DeSantis' suggestion that Florida's caseload has somehow stabilized doesn't square with the data. Over the weekend it set a state record for the most cases reported in a single day (11,458) and Florida officials still have not provided statewide data on daily hospitalization numbers for the virus. On Tuesday morning the state's Department of Health reported an increase of 7,347 cases, with 2,066 of those coming from Miami-Dade County. The report also showed a state record of 16.27% of all coronavirus tests coming back positive. That's more than double the national seven-day moving average, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

BBC News

Mr Trump formally began the pull out on Tuesday after signalling the move in May. He said the WHO was under China's control during the coronavirus crisis. The process could take at least a year. Mr Trump currently trails Mr Biden in the race for president by a margin of more than 10 percentage points. Analysts have urged caution in interpreting the polls, but Mr Biden's lead is far greater than that of Mr Trump's 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton at the same point in the campaign. Many voters are concerned by the administration's handling the pandemic and its economic fallout. There have been almost three million confirmed cases of the virus in the US and more than 130,000 deaths, far more than in any other country. Meanwhile, tens of millions have lost their jobs.

What did Mr Biden and others say?
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Mr Biden said the US was better off working within the international community on global health issues. "Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health," he said. "On my first day as President, I will rejoin the @WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage." Democrats in Congress confirmed that the legislature had been notified of the president's decision.

By Kevin Liptak and Vivian Salama, CNN

(CNN) For months, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's hair kept growing. As the coronavirus pandemic kept barbershops closed to customers, his tidy trim grew into a wave that evolved eventually into a mop with bangs. For some, the mane came to embody the shared sacrifices that Trudeau -- quarantined at his home in Ottawa -- was asking fellow Canadians to endure to stop the spread of coronavirus. Things progressed differently 450 miles south in Washington. President Donald Trump's hair has appeared unchanged during the crisis as he makes no attempt to model the guidelines and recommendations his government is recommending to stay safe -- including wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds and limiting travel to essential business only. On Wednesday, the differences in the two approaches will be front and center as Trump marks the official beginning of the new North American trade agreement that is a signature achievement for all three participating governments: the United States, Mexico and Canada. While Mexico's President accepted Trump's invitation to participate in the ceremony, Trudeau did not. "We wish the United States and Mexico well at Wednesday's meeting," the prime minister's office said. "While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the Prime Minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament." Last week, Trudeau himself said he was still in discussions about whether a trip to the United States "makes sense," saying while he was troubled by the threat of new US tariffs on steel and aluminum, "we're also concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries."

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump's new push to open schools shows he's learned nothing from calamities sparked by his demands for premature state openings. The coronavirus pandemic is again rearing out of control, rising in a majority of states as a new warning comes that more than 200,000 Americans could be dead by Election Day. The United States on Tuesday recorded 60,021 new cases of the virus, a new single day record. But Trump barreled forward anyway, failing to offer detailed proposals or planning on the imminent question of how schools could open safely as soon as next month even as he admitted he intended to crank up pressure on governors to do what he wants. "I would say that when we talk about the fall, that seems like a long time. It's a long time," Trump said in an interview Tuesday with Nexstar Media Group. His attitude mirrored the way that the President disregarded details on another vital issue: the reopening of the economy. From April onwards, Trump pressured states to open up, often when cases were rising in many regions and his own government's recommendations on how to safely reopen were not being observed.

Top public health expert urges further action as new cases surge to record highs of around 50,000 a day across country
Oliver Laughland in New Orleans

The United States is “still knee-deep in the first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the country’s top public health experts has warned, as the country approaches 130,000 Covid-19 deaths and new polling indicates Donald Trump’s approval rating over his handling of the crisis has remained low. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday that America’s grasp of the pandemic was “really not good” and urged further action as new cases of the virus continue to surge to record highs of about 50,000 a day across the country. “We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline,” Fauci said during an interview on Facebook Live. Fauci’s stark warnings come as the White House continues to falter in its messaging and response to the pandemic. The public health expert, a leading physician on Trump’s coronavirus taskforce, cautioned that the surge was linked to certain cities and states that had reopened too quickly.

By Lori Robertson and Jessica McDonald

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that through May 30, 14% of confirmed coronavirus cases led to hospitalizations — including 2% in intensive care units. But President Donald Trump falsely claimed “99%” of cases “are totally harmless.” The president, according to his press secretary, was referring to the case fatality rate, and he claimed the amount of testing the U.S. has conducted showed this. The testing actually shows a case fatality rate of 4.5%, but not everyone who has contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has been tested. Some estimates say the fatality rate among those infected is likely around 1%. Asked whether cases that don’t result in death are “harmless,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “The president was noting the fact that the vast majority of Americans who contract coronavirus will come out on the other side of this.” “Some estimates do place the mortality at about 1%,” Columbia University epidemiologist Stephen Morse told us in an email, noting that we don’t have a solid figure for the total number of people who have been infected. “However, 1% mortality is not the same as ‘99% … totally harmless’. I wish that were true. ‘Totally harmless’ suggests that the infection doesn’t do any harm.” In addition to patients who get sick enough to need hospitalization, some who have recovered from COVID-19 report experiencing long-term effects, “including lung damage but also other symptoms, and we don’t know how common these sequelae (the term for aftereffects of disease) are,” Morse said. Trump made his claim in July 4 remarks at the White House.

Barbara Sprunt

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. "We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion at the White House Tuesday afternoon. "Get open in the fall. We want your schools open," Trump said. Trump spoke alongside first lady Melania Trump, administration officials and teachers as part of planned programming from the White House to push for the reopening of schools. Despite Trump's comments, senior administration officials said on a background call with reporters Tuesday morning that the decision to reopen public schools remains a local one. "Our goal right now is to work hand in hand with the local jurisdictions now to help let them see the best ways to reopen these schools in a safe way and get back to where we would have really preferred to have been through the spring of this year, which was to have that active educational component available to the students," one official said. On Monday, Trump tweeted, "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" but during Tuesday's event, the president said said that he doesn't want to see the issue politicized.

Joe Biden correct that Trump administration delayed, scaled back CDC reopening guidelines
Samantha Putterman

Joe Biden berated President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying in a recent speech in Delaware that Trump failed to take the necessary steps to get the virus under control. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said the administration stifled and scaled back the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s initial guidelines on reopening the country.  "The CDC tried to develop clear guidelines about what the stages of reopening should look like — the administration delayed and scaled them back," Biden said June 30. Did they? Here’s what we found out.

CDC asked to revise guidelines
Biden’s campaign pointed us to a May 7, 2020, Associated Press report, which found that the Trump administration shelved part of a CDC document that contained step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen businesses and public areas amid the pandemic. The 68-page CDC report, titled "Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework," was supposed to publish on May 1, according to the AP, but the White House called it "too prescriptive." The White House told the agency revise its guide because it didn’t align with Trump’s strategy of giving states the final say.

By Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) While new Covid-19 infections keep soaring in most states, some hospitals are close to running out of beds. But by the looks of packed holiday crowds this weekend, many Americans don't care -- threatening to infect others and set the economy back even further. "We are in free fall," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. "You see the footage of what happened this past weekend. And people are either naive to the influence of their actions, or they're simply resigned to ignore it." This virus is notorious for how contagious it is -- and how easily people can infect others without symptoms. "We know of the 50,000 cases this past day -- a single day of this (holiday) weekend," Walensky said. "If they're young people, it could be 500 people who die from that. If they're older people, it could be 7,500 people who die from that -- just from a single day of infection."

Calling the United States an "outlier" among nations that otherwise have been successful in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that it was a mistake to reopen public spaces, like bars, early, and that the country is paying for that mistake with dramatic spikes in cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Tom Frieden, the president and CEO of Resolve To Save Lives (an initiative that works to prevent epidemics), also responded on"CBS This Morning" to President Donald Trump's comments this weekend that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are "harmless," saying that complications from the virus are not fully understood. "I think that part of the challenge here is that we've lost the nuance," Dr. Frieden told co-host Gayle King. "Some people are saying this is a hoax, it's fake, it's not serious. Other people may be saying it's the worst thing in the world, a zombie apocalypse. It's neither. This is a terrible pandemic. It has killed 130,000 Americans. It has sickened many, many more. And we don't yet know what the long-term complications of some of the illness [are]. But it is true that 99% of people who get it will survive. "We need a more nuanced approach. Right now, the virus has the upper hand throughout much of America, most of America. We can regain the upper hand if we work together. If we work together, we can get our kids back to school in the fall, we can restart our economy, and we can prevent deaths. But we'll only do that by coming together to stop the virus. It's not going to stop on its own; we have to stop it." He said that to do so we must follow the "Three Ws:" "Wear a mask; wash your hands; watch your distance."

By David Brennan

A Chinese state-controlled newspaper has hit out at President Donald Trump's administration for its mishandling of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, describing the disease as a "U.S. epidemic" and warning that the administration's failure poses a threat to the rest of the world. Global Times, owned by the People's Daily newspaper which is the official publication of the Chinese Communist Party, said in an editorial published Friday that that the U.S. outbreak is "completely out of control." The U.S. recorded more than 55,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a new record for the pandemic which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. U.S. cases are skyrocketing amid a fractured national response, hamstrung by politicization of response measures plus a confused White House approach.

Connor Perrett

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said Sunday that the state of Arizona opened up too quickly and criticized the federal government's response as Arizona battles the current highest infection rate per capita in the US. "We opened way too early in Arizona," Gallego told Martha Raddatz during a Sunday appearance on ABC's "This Week". "We were one of the last states to go to stay-at-home and one of the first to reemerge. And we reemerged at zero to sixty." Gallego, a Democrat in office since 2019, blamed the increase, in part, on "crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne" and not requiring face masks. "I think when nightclubs were open, it sent the signal that we had, again, defeated COVID and, obviously, that is not the case," Gallego said.

By Justin Wise

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Sunday that he would not make a prediction about when a coronavirus vaccine would be available after President Trump claimed that a vaccine or therapeutic would be ready "long before the end of the year." In a Fourth of July address in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Trump said that the U.S. was unleashing its "scientific brilliance" toward developing treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "And we'll likely have a therapeutic and/or vaccine solution long before the end of the year," Trump said. Asked about the comments Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Hahn said that the FDA is currently overseeing 141 clinical trials of potential COVID-19 therapeutic treatments. However, he said that he was not in a position to make a judgment about timelines for a vaccine. "I can’t predict when a vaccine will be available," he said, noting that the agency issued guidance about the development process last week.

Bryan Armen Graham in New York (now) and Tom Lutz and Martin Pengelly (earlier)

Austin’s Democratic mayor Steve Adler decried Donald Trump’s “ambiguous” messaging on the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, calling on the governor to empower local governments to order residents to stay home amid an alarming surge in statewide case numbers. “It makes me angry,” Adler said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “You know, I understand he has a tough job, but it is dangerous not to be sending a clear message to Americans.” “When they start hearing that kind of ambiguous message coming out of Washington, there are more and more people that won’t wear masks, that won’t social distance, that won’t do what it takes to keep a community safe,” he added.

Washington — Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday that the United States is "right back where we were" when the country experienced its first peak in coronavirus infections earlier this year. "We're right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation." "The difference now is that we really had one epicenter of spread when New York was going through its hardship. Now we really have four major epicenters of spread: Los Angeles, cities in Texas, cities in Florida and Arizona. And Florida looks to be in the worst shape, and Georgia is heating up as well, and that's concerning." Forty states have reported a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases as they began to lift restrictions on residents and proceeded to phased reopenings of their economies. But amid the spikes, states like Texas and California have put their plans on hold, instead closing bars and limiting indoor dining at restaurants, while mandating residents to wear masks indoors. Despite the jump in cases, President Trump has downplayed the latest surge, saying many of those newly infected are young and at lower risk of serious illness from the coronavirus. Mr. Trump has also attributed the rise in cases to increased testing and said Thursday following the latest jobs report showing the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% and the economy added 4.8 million jobs that the "crisis is being handled." But Gottlieb warned that in the next two weeks, the death toll from the coronavirus — which currently stands at more than 129,000, according to Johns Hopkins University — is going to increase.

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Sarah Westwood, CNN

(CNN) The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday declined to defend President Donald Trump's unfounded claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless" and repeatedly refused to say whether Trump's remark is true or false. "I'm not going to get into who is right and who is wrong," Dr. Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." During his remarks Saturday at the White House Independence Day event, Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless." The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35% of cases are asymptomatic, but even people with mild or no symptoms can spread the virus to others. While the World Health Organization has said the global fatality rate is likely less than 1%, the WHO also said about 20% of all people who are diagnosed with coronavirus are sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care. "I totally support the CDC and the information that they're putting out with respect to this pandemic," Hahn said Sunday. Hahn said the coronavirus pandemic is "a rapidly evolving situation" but stressed that the US "absolutely must take this seriously." Pressed by Bash on the program whether the President's comment is true or false, Hahn again did not defend the President's claim. "What I'll say is that we have data in the White House task force. Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously," Hahn said.

President’s White House speech capping 4 July celebrations says US coronavirus strategy is ‘moving along well’
David Smith

Donald Trump has celebrated independence day with a string of false and misleading claims attempting to play down the coronavirus pandemic and warning that China will be “held accountable”. The US president staged a “Salute to America” jamboree on the south lawn of the White House with flyovers by military jets, parachute jumps and patriotic songs, but little effort among guests to physical distance or wear face masks. The country has undergone staggering changes unthinkable when Trump hosted the first such event a year ago on 4 July with tanks and other military hardware at the Lincoln Memorial. The coronavirus has infected 2.8m Americans and killed nearly 130,000, the worst tallies in the world. Saturday’s national celebration was inevitably more subdued, but the president refused to let the pandemic or dismal poll figures rain on his parade, waving with his wife, Melania, from a White House balcony then walking the south lawn to ripples of applause and a cry of: “Four more years!”

By Ali Main, Betsy Klein and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) The National Park Service says it did not require employees who worked the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on Friday to get tested for coronavirus, despite the record-high new cases in the US and President Donald Trump's attendance at the event. "None of the Incident Management Team members for the event have reported exhibiting any symptoms or feeling unwell," agency spokesperson Dana Soehn said in a statement Saturday. CNN reported that some Park Service staff were wearing masks and others were not at the Friday event in South Dakota. There was no social distancing at the event as attendees were clustered together in stadium seating. Soehn said face masks were available to all Park Service employees who worked the event and use was recommended at all times when social distancing could not be maintained.

Florida says confirmed cases up by record 11,458 while president claims US on the way to ‘tremendous victory’ over coronavirus
Tom Lutz and Martin Pengelly in New York

On the Fourth of July national holiday, a day after the US reported a third straight day with a more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases and as Florida reported another record rise there, Donald Trump claimed “a tremendous victory” was at hand. “It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen big,” the president said in a message to the nation. “Our country will be greater than ever before.” In fact, as a weekend of socially distanced fireworks and face-masked barbecues began, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported at least 51,842 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Florida, one of the worst-hit states, confirmed cases there had risen by a record 11,458, the second time in three days the caseload had gone up by more than 10,000. North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Missouri, Idaho and Alabama also registered new daily highs while Texas hit a new peak for hospitalizations.

By Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Kimberly Guilfoyle -- the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign -- has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a top official for the committee she leads. "After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure," said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. "She's doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she's asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self isolating and is canceling all public events."

By Maggie Fox, Andrea Kane, and Elizabeth Cohen, CNN

(CNN) A surprising new study found the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped patients better survive in the hospital. But the findings, like the federal government's use of the drug itself, were disputed. A team at Henry Ford Health System in southeast Michigan said Thursday their study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die. Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March. "Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug," the team wrote in a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Tom Porter

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was denied permission by the White House to brief the public about the coronavirus crisis, a source at the agency told Yahoo News. As the coronavirus swept through the US, it was the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, and fronted with increasing frequency by President Donald Trump, that took the lead in briefing the public about the crisis. Earlier in the year the CDC had given frequent briefings on the pandemic. But then it fell abruptly silent, with no public briefings held between March 9 and June 12. A CDC spokesperson, speaking anonymously to Yahoo, confirmed that the agency "slowly but surely took a backseat" to the coronavirus task force. "We continued to ask for approval" from the White House to hold briefings, the CDC spokesperson told Yahoo News. "We were not given approval. Finally, we just stopped asking." In a briefing on February 25, Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, had issued a stark warning about the likely impact of the disease. "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen," she said. The message contrasted sharply with Trump's attempts at the time to downplay the likely impact of the disease.


In an interview with Fox Business, President Donald Trump says he's "all for masks," despite never being seen in public wearing one.

By Viral News

Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the extreme Right Wing media consistently share Trump’s lies and misrepresentations as fact. With the Coronavirus deaths in the US now passing 130,000 and total cases approaching 3 million (remember when Trump said it would soon go down to zero?), Right Wing media must shoulder their share of the blame due to all of their parroting of Trump’s lies and dangerously ignorant ramblings about the deadly virus. The Fox News network and its hosts have shown they are willing to put their own audience at grave risk just to remain in Trump’s good graces. A news network has one responsibility to its viewers: Keep them informed by telling the truth. We’ll let you be the judge: But Fox News… isn’t a news network. It’s a Trumpist propaganda machine masquerading as a journalistic enterprise. Even so, you would hope that a global pandemic bearing down on America would trigger some moral sense of responsibility among its hosts. Wrong. The opposite happened. Worse yet, the Murdoch family, which owns Fox News, took precautions against the new coronavirus as the network’s hosts downplayed the risk posed by the pandemic on TV.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) This is what President Donald Trump's "handled" pandemic looks like. The United States, the world leader in Covid-19 infections and deaths, is reeling from an out-of-control resurgence of the virus that is racking up record numbers of 50,000-plus new infections each day now. Texas, Florida and Arizona -- Republican-run states that most aggressively embraced Trump's impatient demands to get the economy open again -- are heading into what one expert warned is a viral threat that is approaching "apocalyptic" levels. all over the country, including in rule-resistant Texas, authorities are imposing mask mandates that Trump will still not endorse and are slowing or reversing economic opening plans as a Covid-19 summer becomes reality. It now seems certain that a predicted fall spike of the virus will simply become an extension of relentless months of sickness and death. Even Vice President Mike Pence, who rarely pauses his praise of Trump's "leadership," is beginning to see reality -- ditching his previously misleading claims that the US has "slowed the spread" as he instead vows to "flatten the curve." Meanwhile, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who as co-chair of Black Voices for Trump was one of the surrogates at Trump's recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is now in the hospital with coronavirus.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A journalist who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa last week said Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19. Oklahoma Watch reporter Paul Monies said he was notified Friday of his positive diagnosis. “I’m pretty surprised,” Monies wrote on Twitter. “I have zero symptoms (so far) and I feel fine. In fact, I ran 5 miles this morning.” Monies said he was inside the rally for about 6 hours on Saturday at the BOK Center and that he wore a mask and mostly practiced social distancing, except for when he went to the concourse to get a snack. He said he was never close to the president. An epidemiologist at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department who notified Monies of his positive result said it’s difficult to determine if he contracted the coronavirus at the rally. “I can’t say definitively that I got it at the rally,” Monies said. “But it’s someone I’ve been in contact with in the last two weeks.” Monies said he hasn’t yet been contacted by contact tracers to try and determine everyone he’s been in contact with, but he has taken it upon himself to reach out to anyone he has been close to in the last two weeks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is being treated for the coronavirus at an Atlanta-area hospital, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account Thursday. It’s not clear when or where Cain was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He did not meet with Trump there, according to the campaign. Cain, 74, was hospitalized after developing “serious” symptoms but is “awake and alert,” according to the statement.

By Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's refusal to set an example by wearing a face covering, despite growing evidence that it may be one of the most effective ways to slow America's increasingly disastrous coronavirus pandemic, was always a political statement. Now, as the clinical and electoral damage builds from a resurgent virus that is close to racing out of control after another record day for new cases on Wednesday, the President may be edging, very slowly, toward a rethink. By going barefaced when everyone around him masked up, Trump created a false impression that the worst was behind us, that normality was about to come roaring back. He cemented his bond with grassroots supporters who see mask-wearing mandates as a sign of servitude to government and elites and an impediment to their rights. Yet Trump's position has left him increasingly isolated even from the Republican leaders who have facilitated his unchained presidency, as public health officials and local and state leaders of all political stripes plead with Americans to cover up in public so the country can heal itself.

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Using National Center for Health Statistics data, researchers at Yale University compared the number of excess U.S. deaths from any causes with the reported number of weekly U.S. Covid-19 deaths from March 1 through May 30. The numbers were then compared with deaths from the same period in previous years. Researchers found that the excess number of deaths over normal levels also exceeded those attributed to Covid-19, leading them to conclude that many of those fatalities were likely caused by the coronavirus but not confirmed. State reporting discrepancies and a sharp increase in U.S. deaths amid a pandemic suggest the number of Covid-19 fatalities is undercounted, they said. “Our analyses suggest that the official tally of deaths due to Covid-19 represent a substantial undercount of the true burden,” Dan Weinberger, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health and a lead author of the study, told CNBC. Weinberger said other factors could contribute to the increase in deaths, such as people avoiding emergency treatment for things like heart attacks. However, he doesn’t think that is the main driver. The study was supported by the National Institute of Health.

By Christina Maxouris and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

(CNN) Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases compared to last week: Connecticut and Rhode Island. A rise was reported in a staggering 36 states, including Florida, which some experts have cautioned could be the next epicenter for infections. Officials there and across the US are also warning of an increase in cases among younger people. Florida reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a single-day record since the start of the pandemic. The number rivals those of New York's peak in early April (New York's new case tally Saturday was about 6% of Florida's). On Sunday, Florida's Department of Health reported another 8,530 new cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state's surge in cases in the past week was the result of a "test dump," echoing an assertion from the White House that an increase in testing is resulting in the higher numbers. The ex-head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contended the increase was actual, not an anomaly related to testing numbers, and warned more spread and deaths were in the country's future.

Alex Azar points to recent spike in infections, particularly in the south and says people have to ‘act responsibly’ in hot zones
Bryan Armen Graham and agencies

US health secretary Alex Azar has warned that “the window is closing” on the country’s chance to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases surpassed 2.5m. The Health and Human Services secretary pointed to a recent spike in infections, particularly in the south and said people have “to act responsibly” by social distancing and wearing face masks especially “in these hot zones”. For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed US cases rose by more than 40,000. In Arizona, cases have risen by 267% so far in June and jumped by a record 3,857 cases on Sunday, the eighth record-breaking increase this month. Overall, US deaths from Covid-19 have surpassed 125,000 with more than 2.5m confirmed cases, according to compiled by Johns Hopkins University, far more than any other country in the world. The fresh surge in Covid-19 cases has been most pronounced in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively, with the support of the Trump administration, despite warnings by health officials to wait to see a steady decline in cases. Texas and Florida were among the states that reversed course on parts of their reopening plans last week as cases continue to increase.

By Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb

Five months after the novel coronavirus was first detected in the United States, a record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the country’s historic failure to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils. President Trump — who has repeatedly downplayed the virus, sidelined experts and misled Americans about its dangers and potential cures — now finds his presidency wracked by an inability to shepherd the country through its worst public health calamity in a century. The dysfunction that has long characterized Trump’s White House has been particularly ill-suited for a viral outbreak that requires precision, focus and steady leadership, according to public health experts, administration officials and lawmakers from both parties. As case numbers began rising again, Trump has held rallies defying public health guidelines, mused about slowing down testing for the virus, criticized people wearing masks and embraced the racially offensive “kung flu” nickname for a disease that has killed at least 123,000 Americans. - The American version of coronavirus Trump Flu has killed more Americans than anywhere else in the world.

State shuts down again after seven weeks with coronavirus cases soaring, after ignoring inconvenient data and fighting party-political turf wars
By Tom Dart in Houston, Texas

When Donald Trump welcomed Texas governor Greg Abbott to the White House in May, the US president hailed his fellow Republican as “one of the great governors” and lauded the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and predicted boom times ahead. “When you look at the job he’s done in Texas, I rely on his judgment,” Trump said. Seven weeks later, as the state once again closes businesses with virus cases skyrocketing and hospitals running out of intensive-care beds, Texas indeed appears to be a model: for how to squander a hopeful position through premature reopening, ignoring inconvenient data and fighting party-political turf wars. On 7 May, the day of Abbott’s visit to Washington, the state reported 968 new cases among its 29 million residents. Daily numbers have soared this week – to 5,996 on 25 June – prompting doctors in Houston to sound the alarm. On Friday, Abbott ordered a halt to Texan experiences such as bar-hopping along Austin’s raucous Sixth Street and floating lazily on an inner tube along a tree-lined river. Bars – which were open at up to 50% capacity – must close again, restaurants must reduce from 75% to 50% capacity and rafting operations must close. Harris County, which includes Houston, moved to its highest Covid-19 threat level, signalling a “severe and uncontrolled” outbreak. “The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future,” Lina Hidalgo, the county judge, said at a press conference on Friday. “We opened too quickly.”

US president heads to Virginia a day after saying he’d stay in Washington DC to ‘make sure law and order is enforced’ amid ongoing anti-racism protests

Guardian staff

Donald Trump visited one of his own private golf courses in Virginia on Saturday as America continued to see fallout from a rapid surge in coronavirus cases. The trip came a day after the US president said he would stay in Washington DC to “make sure law and order is enforced” amid ongoing anti-racism protests. The president has been frequently criticized for the scale of his golfing habit while in office. CNN – which tallies his golfing activities – said the visit to the Trump National course in Loudon county, just outside Washington DC, was the 271st of his presidency – putting him at an average of golfing once every 4.6 days since he’s been in office. His predecessor, Barack Obama, golfed 333 rounds over the two terms of his presidency, according to NBC. The visit comes as the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the US hit an all-time high of 40,000, according to figures released by Johns Hopkins on Friday. Many states are now seeing spikes in the virus with Texas, Florida and Arizona especially badly hit after they reopened their economies – a policy they are now pausing or reversing. Trump has been roundly criticized for a failure to lead during the coronavirus that has seen America become by far the worst hit country in the world. Critics in particular point to his failure to wear a mask, holding campaign rallies in coronavirus hot spots and touting baseless conspiracy theories about cures, such as using bleach.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the Trump administration's latest attempt to end Obamacare in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
By Sean Neumann

Nancy Pelosi did not mince her words about the Trump administration's latest attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty," the House Speaker said in a statement late Thursday night. The Trump administration filed a late-night request to the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking to end the healthcare plan introduced under President Barack Obama's administration. Known as "Obamacare," the Democrat-backed healthcare plan has been a contentious political issue in the U.S. since before it was signed into law in 2010. Trump, 74, made the removal of Obamacare one of his top political priorities since he set out to become president during the 2016 election. Trump promised again last month to end the ACA, calling it "lousy health care," according to the Washington Post. Thursday's request was the third time the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to end the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reports. The two previous attempts failed, and the AP notes that Thursday's request comes the same day the federal government reported that nearly half a million people in the U.S. received health insurance under Obamacare after losing their benefits because of the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

By Ted Johnson

Vice President Mike Pence put a rosier picture on the U.S. response to the coronavirus than that of a number of health officials, saying that states are “opening up safely and responsibly,” even as health officials reported a single-day record of 39,327 new infections on Thursday. Pence made the remarks as the White House coronavirus task force held its first briefing in two months, an acknowledgement of the alarming rise in new outbreaks in a number of states, including Texas and Florida. He insisted that the shutdowns of the economy and social distancing measures, followed by states gradually reopening public places, had worked. “We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives,” he said. But the renewed concern in some states was apparent as Florida, which reported nearly 9,000 positive cases on Thursday, and Texas, which also has seen a spike, placed new restrictions on bars.

By Dominic Rushe and Amanda Holpuch

Millions of Americans who have survived Covid-19 or face future infections could lose their insurance or be barred from getting coverage should the Trump administration successfully repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration asked the supreme court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act – a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance reform law popularly known as Obamacare. Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Its abolition would mean millions of Americans who have had or have cancer, multiple sclerosis or other diseases would struggle to find insurance. Anyone applying for insurance who subsequently contracts Covid-19 could also find their insurance invalidated or be denied coverage in the future. If they were allowed to keep their insurance, they could still be charged higher premiums or have future treatment for coronavirus turned down. “Abolishing the ACA would cause tremendous damage and cause chaos throughout the country,” said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Anyone buying health insurance who subsequently contracted the coronavirus would face loss of coverage, she said. “If you bought the insurance and then caught the virus, you would be out of luck,” she said. The abolition of pre-existing condition coverage is especially difficult for those who have has Covid-19, because so little is known about the long-term health impact of the disease. There is evidence that the respiratory illness causes permanent damage in some patients. Those who have had the disease and recovered would have to disclose their status to apply for insurance, and could be turned down for coverage.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump appears ready to move on from a still-raging coronavirus pandemic -- skipping the first White House task force briefing in months and moving the event out of the White House itself. But the measures meant to protect him from catching the virus have scaled up dramatically. As he seeks to insert rival Joe Biden's health into the presidential campaign, Trump has voiced escalating concern about how it would appear if he contracted coronavirus and has insisted on steps to protect himself, even as he refuses to wear a mask in public and agitates for large campaign rallies where the virus could spread. When he travels to locations where the virus is surging, every venue the President enters is inspected for potential areas of contagion by advance security and medical teams, according to people familiar with the arrangements. Bathrooms designated for the President's use are scrubbed and sanitized before he arrives. Staff maintain a close accounting of who will come into contact with the President to ensure they receive tests. While the White House phases out steps such as temperature checks and required mask-wearing in the West Wing -- changes meant to signal the country is moving on -- those around the President still undergo regular testing. And even as Trump attempts to put the pandemic behind him by encouraging reopening and downplaying the new surge, there are signs of the still-raging pandemic even within his orbit. This week, the virus again struck members of the President's staff, this time a collection of campaign aides and US Secret Service personnel who had been working on Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa.


WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials believe as many as 20 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus, suggesting millions had the virus and never knew it. That's nearly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed and comes as the Trump administration works to tamp down nationwide concern about the COVID-19 pandemic as about a dozen states are seeing worrisome increases in cases. The administration also looks to get its scientific experts back before the public more as it tries to allay anxieties about the pandemic while states begin reopening. Since mid-May, when the government began stressing the need to get the economy moving again, the panel's public health experts have been far less visible than in the pandemic's early weeks. Twenty million infections would mean about 6% of the nation's 331 million people have been infected, leaving a majority of the population still susceptible to the virus. Previously, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the nation's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that as many as 25% of infected people might not have symptoms.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Washington (CNN) Members of the Texas congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle are asking the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to halt direct funding to several coronavirus testing sites in the Lone Star State, where there has been a surge of Covid-19 cases. The transition away from these federally funded sites began in April, but the latest debate over federal funding comes after President Donald Trump on Saturday lamented the rise in coronavirus cases in the US, blaming increased testing. At a campaign rally over the weekend, he said coronavirus testing was "a double-edged sword." "I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please,' " the President added. Administration officials have said that slowing down testing has not been requested and his comments were made "in jest," but Trump maintains that he wasn't kidding. The federally funded testing program was intended to jump-start initial capabilities in critical areas across the US, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given Food and Drug Administration approval for individuals to self-administer nasal swab tests at sites, the demand for personal protective equipment and trained health care providers will be reduced, a FEMA spokesperson said in a statement in April, when the administration began its transition away from the program.

The actions by the close allies of President Trump speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country.

A pair of GOP governors on Friday moved to impose new mitigation measures in their states amid record numbers of new coronavirus infections, with both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering bars closed and Texas placing new restrictions on other businesses the governor said were linked to the virus's resurgence. Texas and Florida are among around a dozen other states that have hit the brakes on reopening their economies amid a resurgence of the virus across the South and West affecting more than half of the states in the country. That both governors — who are close allies of President Donald Trump and were criticized for resisting calls to lock down their states in the pandemic's early days — have not only pressed pause on reopening but reimposed some restrictions, speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country. The country as a whole on Thursday registered another single-day record of more than 39,000 new infections, with fears that hospitalizations and the nationwide death toll could soon follow. The new spikes come as the White House has attempted to play down the increase and press forward with reopening the economy after coming to a standstill for months this spring. Signs are emerging, however, that the White House has begun to take the threat more seriously, with its coronavirus task force set to hold its first public briefing since April 27.

Ron DeSantis angrily dismisses allegation from fired scientist that officials are massaging figures to hide true impact of coronavirus
By Richard Luscombe in Miami

Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s faltering response to soaring new coronavirus numbers in his state is descending into acrimony, after an accusation his administration is “cooking the books” in an effort to hide the true impact of the devastating pandemic. More than 20m Americans could have contracted Covid-19, experts say The claim from the state’s former leading Covid-19 data scientist comes as Florida smashed its own one-day record for new cases of the disease on Friday with 8,942, after two successive days above 5,000 – by far the highest figures since the pandemic began. The situation in Florida is part of a widespread surge of infections across broad swathes of the US, especially in states – often run by Republicans – which have rushed to reopen their economies.

So far this month, Florida has seen confirmed cases more than double from 56,000 to above 114,000, and set daily records on seven of the last 13 days. Meanwhile, the number of deaths among Florida residents has climbed to almost 3,400. Rebekah Jones, who says she was fired from her job in charge of the state’s official Covid-19 database in May for refusing to manipulate its figures, claimed on social media to have evidence that employees at Florida’s department of health “have been instructed this week to change the numbers and begin slowly deleting deaths and cases so it looks like Florida is improving next week in the lead-up to July 4, like they’ve ‘made it over the hump’.” “They’re only reporting all these cases now so they can restrict reporting next week to make everyone think it’s over,” she said. DeSantis, a Donald Trump loyalist who has refused to slow Florida’s reopening or implement a statewide mask mandate, angrily dismissed the claim, calling a reporter from the Miami Herald who asked him about it “embarrassing”.

By Steven Nelson

More than 1 million dead people received coronavirus stimulus checks this year, according to a report from a government watchdog agency. The payments to nearly 1.1 million people totaled $1.4 billion, the Government Accountability Office revealed Thursday. Treasury Department officials said that the late March CARES Act mandated that they distribute the money as “rapidly as possible,” the report says. The revelation follows anecdotal reports of dead people getting stimulus checks — and comes as Congress begins to consider a new coronavirus package that may include more direct payments. The CARES Act sought to blunt the economic devastation of the pandemic by sending checks of up to $1,200 to taxpayers, with an extra $500 per dependent child. The bill also gave a federal boost of $600 per week to unemployment insurance.

By Glenn Kessler

“We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration. The cupboards were bare, as I say often.”

— President Trump, remarks at the White House, April 30, 2020

“You know, if you remember where we started, we had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 15

“He took a ventilator job where the country basically had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 18

“We had none, essentially. We had very few, and they were obsolete. They were broken.”

The Facts
Our colleagues at FactCheck.org published on June 22 details from two statements it received from the Department of Health and Human Services — that there were 16,660 ventilators in the SNS available for distribution at the start of the pandemic and that the federal government had distributed 10,640 of them as of June 17. (Another 2,425 ventilators were in maintenance as of March, HHS says, though the New York Times reported in April that 2,109 were unavailable because the government had let a maintenance contract lapse.)

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) It's a "public health train wreck in slow motion," in the words of one health expert, and the best President Donald Trump cares to offer the thousands more Americans projected to shortly die of Covid-19 is the unsubstantiated prospect of a "beautiful surprise." The US just hit its third highest ever peak of new coronavirus cases, multiple states are registering their own daily records and three are now taking the extraordinary step of imposing quarantines for citizens from pandemic hotspots. The world's most powerful nation lacks a coherent national strategy to meet another cresting viral crisis, the capacity or even the willingness to take steps that might stop it. It is also led by a man who is suggesting by his actions and attitudes that he doesn't care that much about the unfolding tragedy. Trump, who has previously predicted a "miracle" would occur or the virus would just disappear in the warmer weather, again declared falsely Wednesday that the danger had passed -- even with the nation racing towards another deadly summit of infection. In his latest misleading effort to create a picture of normality, Trump welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda to the Oval Office. "This is the first after Covid, after the start of the plague as I call it," Trump told his visitor, who was happy to play along after being given a huge political gift of a visit a few days before a national election and approvingly noted "the end of the coronavirus."

Funding for 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, will end this month – a move officials warn could cause further spread
By Adam Gabbatt

Officials in states across the US have reacted with alarm to the Trump administration’s plan to end federal support for some Covid-19 testing sites, warning it could cause further spread of a disease that is already surging back and calling the move “irresponsible”. The White House confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer fund 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, despite that state reporting record highs in the number of coronavirus cases. Funding and support for the sites will end this month, even as Covid-19 cases surge across the US. The sites are in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Hospital admissions hit record highs in seven US states on Tuesday, including in Texas, which reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new cases on Tuesday. Four US congresspeople from Texas urged the government to reconsider defunding the testing sites in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). The move would be “harmful and irresponsible”, they wrote in the letter. “We need the support of Fema now more than ever as our communities and the state of Texas see unprecedented growth in cases of the coronavirus disease,” added the members of Congress, including Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat whose district covers much of east Houston. “At this time, we must expand the number of people tested per day to prevent further spread of the virus. “We must continue to protect our vulnerable communities and the capacity of our healthcare system.”

By D'Angelo Gore

Contrary to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he inherited a Strategic National Stockpile with “empty” or “bare” cupboards, the federal government had more ventilators in stock than it ended up distributing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FactCheck.org has learned. The SNS had 16,660 ventilators “immediately available for use” when the federal government began deploying the breathing machines to states to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in March, according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson. None of those ventilators was bought by the Trump administration, the spokesperson told us. In a separate email to us on June 17, another HHS spokesperson said the federal government has distributed 10,640 ventilators during the pandemic. Both HHS representatives said we could attribute their responses to an “HHS spokesperson.” That affirms what we previously wrote in early May: that there were “likely thousands” of ventilators in the federal stockpile of emergency medicines and equipment that Trump inherited from his predecessor. We could not provide the exact numbers – until now. In defending his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has frequently made the false claim that, when he took office, the SNS was “bare,” or “empty,” and lacked ventilators, which help individuals breathe when they can’t do so on their own. He has also taken credit for preventing deaths by refilling the stockpile. On April 30, Trump falsely claimed, “We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration.”

By Savannah Behrmann - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Department watchdog, seeking an investigation into President Donald Trump's claim he asked "his people" slow down testing for the coronavirus. During his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, Trump reiterated that increased coronavirus testing leads to a higher number of cases identified in the United States, calling testing a "double-edged sword." "Here's the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases," Trump said. "So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please.'" His declaration was met with widespread criticism, while White House staff and Trump campaign staff dismissed the remarks as humor. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that was "tongue in cheek."

By Morgan Chalfant

President Trump said Tuesday that he doesn’t “kid” when asked whether he was joking when he said at a campaign rally that he asked aides to slow down coronavirus testing. “I don’t kid,” Trump said when asked whether the remarks were made in jest, undermining statements from his own White House that the comments were a joke. Trump also told CBN News in an interview a day prior that he did not ask staff to slow down testing but did not deny doing so in the exchange with reporters on Tuesday. “Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world and we have the most of them,” Trump said, adding that more tests allows the United States to detect more cases. “By having more cases it sounds bad, but actually what it is is finding more people.” The president said he believed testing was a “double-edged sword,” echoing his comments at Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., that sparked controversy. Trump described testing as having both advantages and disadvantages. “Testing is a double-edged sword. In one way, it tells you you have cases, in another way you find out where cases are and you do a good job,” the president told reporters. - Trump is trying to keep the number of cases lower than the actual number of cases; he does not want the American people to know the true number of people infected. Less testing does not make us safer. Less testing will not reduce the number of people infected nor will it help to find out who is infected and how many are infected.

More than 120,000 Americans have now perished from Covid-19, surpassing the total number of U.S. dead during World War I.  Had American leaders taken the decisive, early measures that several  other nations took when they had exactly the same information the U.S.  did, at exactly the same time in their experience of the novel  coronavirus, how many of these Covid-19 deaths could have been  prevented? That isn’t a hypothetical question. And the answer that emerges from a  direct comparison of the fatalities in and policies of the U.S. and  other countries — South Korea, Australia, Germany, and Singapore —  indicates that between 70% and 99% of the Americans who died from this  pandemic might have been saved by measures demonstrated by others to  have been feasible. At least three factors enable meaningful comparisons of these nations  with the United States. First, we scaled up their population sizes and  Covid-19 deaths to match those of the U.S. Second, in each of these  countries, roughly 80% or more  of the population lives in urbanized, transmission-prone areas, similar  to the U.S. Third, the pandemic took root earlier in these other  countries than here, as measured by the date of the 15th confirmed case  in each, meaning that foreign leaders had to act with less information to guide their decisions than did U.S. leaders.

By Barbara Sprunt

The White House is scaling back temperature checks for those entering the complex as tents stationed along the north entrance to the building for conducting screenings were removed Monday morning. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the move follows Washington, D.C.'s entry into phase two of reopening. "In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19," Deere's statement said.

Staffers and visitors who come in close contact with the president and vice president are still having their temperature checked and being questioned about coronavirus symptoms.
By Shannon Pettypiece and Monica Alba

WASHINGTON — The White House has stopped conducting mandatory temperature checks for all staffers and visitors entering the grounds, removing another layer of safeguards put in place after two officials became ill with the coronavirus last month. While those who come in close contact with the president and vice president are still having their temperature checked and being questioned about symptoms, the steps are no longer being taken for others who enter the White House campus, said spokesman Judd Deere. Tents that had been manned for the past month by staffers with thermometers were being taken down on Monday. “In conjunction with Washington, D.C., entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,” Deere said in a statement. “In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19.”

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray are calling on the administration to immediately free up the funds.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has been sitting on nearly $14 billion in funding that Congress passed for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, according to Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington. The top Democrats said in a letter Sunday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that the Trump administration has "still failed" to distribute more than $8 billion out of $25 billion appropriated by Congress to expand testing and contact tracing. The letter indicated that Congress passed these funds as part of a coronavirus relief bill in April. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also hasn’t awarded nearly $4 billion for surveillance and contact tracing at the state and local levels and tribal territories, they said, and little of $2 billion set aside for free testing for uninsured people has been disbursed. "While it has been months since these funds were first appropriated, the Administration has failed to disburse significant amounts of this funding, leaving communities without the resources they need to address the significant challenges presented by the virus," they wrote. Schumer and Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said that the Trump administration will "put our country at grave risk if it tries to declare an early victory" and leaves resources untouched.

By Benjamin Fearnow

White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro rebuffed criticism over President Donald Trump asking to slow coronavirus testing down, instead saying China "created" COVID-19 and sent "hundreds of thousands" of its own citizens abroad to spread the virus. The Trump administration official responded Sunday morning on CNN's State of the Union to Trump telling Tulsa, Oklahoma rally-goers Saturday that he directed his health officials to "slow the testing down, please," in order to discover fewer cases. Navarro insisted the president was only joking in a "tongue-in-cheek" fashion, before redirecting the conversation and culpability for the pandemic toward the Chinese government.

Heard on Morning Edition
By Tim Mak

The Transportation Security Administration withheld N95 masks from staff and exhibited "gross mismanagement" in its response to the coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic, a senior TSA official alleges in a new whistleblower complaint. On Thursday evening, the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints, said it had found "substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" in the complaint and ordered the Department of Homeland Security to open an investigation. TSA Federal Security Director Jay Brainard is an official in charge of transportation security in the state of Kansas and has been with the agency for almost 20 years. He told NPR that the leadership of his agency failed to protect its staff from the pandemic, and as a result, allowed TSA employees to be "a significant carrier" for the spread of the coronavirus to airport travelers. "We did not take adequate steps to make sure that we were not becoming carriers and spreaders of the virus ourselves," Brainard says. "I believe absolutely that that contributed to the spread of the coronavirus."

Study shows treatment does no harm, but provides no benefit

A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been stopped by the National Institutes of Health. A data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19. After its fourth interim analysis the DSMB, which regularly monitors the trial, recommended to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH, to stop the study. NHLBI halted the trial immediately. The Outcomes Related to COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine among In-patients with symptomatic Disease study, or ORCHID Study, was being conducted by the Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury (PETAL) Clinical Trials Network of NHLBI. The data from this study indicate that this drug provided no additional benefit compared to placebo control for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The first participants enrolled in the trial in April at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, one of dozens of centers in the PETAL Network. The blinded, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial aimed to enroll more than 500 adults who are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 or in an emergency department with anticipated hospitalization. More than 470 were enrolled at the time of study’s closure.

Feds built huge stockpile before FDA withdrew emergency authorization
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff

(Newser) – The US now has more hydroxychloroquine than it knows what to do with following a series of studies that concluded the drug is an ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for COVID-19. The federal government, which started stockpiling the drug in March, now has 63 million surplus doses of the drug, donated by companies including Novartis, and another 2 million doses of chloroquine, the New York Times reports. Some 31 million doses from the Strategic National Stockpile were distributed before the FDA withdrew its emergency authorization of the drug to treat the coronavirus. President Trump championed the drug for months, hailing it as a possible "game-changer" and announcing that he was taking it himself.

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