The Hill's 12:30 Report - Fauci predicts significant 'drop' in COVID cases as vaccinations near threshold

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Vaccinations near 40 percent threshold | Fauci predicts significant ‘drop’ in COVID cases | State Dept. urges Americans to leave India amid devastating COVID wave | FDA unveils menthol cigarette ban | GDP roars to 6.4 percent | Five takeaways from Biden’s address | Sights and sounds | Pelosi, Harris elbow bump | Dems caught on hot mic






Via The Wall Street Journal’s Robbie Whelan and Jon Kamp, with more than 37 percent of Americans fully vaccinated from COVID-19, cases are starting to significantly drop. https://on.wsj.com/331nWKc

Good news from Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Overnight Health Care: Biden announces 1M have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period | Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins | Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines Average US daily COVID-19 cases below 40K for first time since September MORE, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert: “When you get to somewhere between 40 and 50%, I believe you’re going to start seeing real change, the start of a precipitous drop in cases … When you do, that’s when people are going to be able to start doing things that they’ve been craving.” 

Why 40 percent is the threshold?: That’s based on countries, such as Israel, that are ahead of us in vaccinations.  

Are any states in that 40 percent threshold yet?: Yes! “More than 40% of adults currently are vaccinated in at least 17 states from Hawaii to the Dakotas and several states in the Northeast, federal data show. In several of these places, including New Jersey, Vermont, New York and Connecticut, newly reported cases have begun falling again after increases earlier this spring.”  

The full storyhttps://on.wsj.com/331nWKc


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 32,233,258

U.S. death toll: 574,355

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 235 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 2.67 million doses 

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million. 

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH

Happy Thursday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Menthols and marijuana are doing a little switcheroo:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just unveiled a plan to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors of cigars in the U.S. https://bit.ly/2SeVpPm 

Keep in mind: “The move is one of the most aggressive actions against tobacco the FDA has taken since it gained regulatory authority in 2009, but the ban is likely to take years to implement and will surely face immense opposition from the tobacco industry and its advocates in Congress.”

Just announced — Americans, please leave India for now:

As India is grappling with a deadly wave of COVID cases, the U.S. State Department is urging Americans to leave the country. https://bit.ly/2Px1Ps0 

Why: Its health care system is so stretched that it’s nearing a breaking point. 

Details: “In a level 4 travel alert, the highest level that can be issued by the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in India sounded the alarm over the availability of medical care and pressed Americans to take advantage of the daily flights that are available out of India back to the U.S.”

The roaring 20s are coming! I can feel it.:

“The economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.” https://bit.ly/3u4FWzq 

What that means: “The figure is up from 4.3 percent in the previous quarter and an early indication that the economy could reach annual growth levels this year not seen since the 1980s.”


Yep, it was a bit eerie to watch:

Via The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, “The last time House and Senate lawmakers gathered together in the chamber was Jan. 6, when Republicans tried unsuccessfully to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory — an effort that led to a deadly attack on the Capitol by a mob of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE's loyalists.” https://bit.ly/2R7JX7J 

“The echoes of that harrowing rampage were tough to miss Wednesday night, when Biden, on the eve of the 100th day of his presidency, delivered his first joint address to Congress in the same House chamber, with many of those same lawmakers sitting in the audience.” 

The full storyhttps://bit.ly/2R7JX7J


  1. A calm case for big action:Biden proposed major proposals with moderate rhetoric 
  2. Pictures spoke a thousand words: Think of all the empty seats
  3. The barely mentioned elephant in the room: Trump hardly came up
  4. The big idea — a test of democracy:  America has “to prove that democracy works,” Biden said.
  5. Biden proves elusive target for GOP: “Republicans have struggled to get traction against Biden, and nothing he said Wednesday made their job any easier.” 

Context and details for eachhttps://bit.ly/2SeN0eP


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) and Vice President Harris greeted each other with elbow bumps: Here’s video: https://bit.ly/3dYFBZn 

Overheard on hot mics: The Hill’s Reid Wilson tweeted, “The mic on the PBS feed is picking up a few Dems talking about what Obama did, though no real clear context. I just keep hearing ‘what Obama did.’” https://bit.ly/2RdVdQ0 


Vice President Harris's motorcade



Welcome, Chief Justice Roberts: Photo of Roberts entering the chamber: https://bit.ly/3nvmQjz 

Spotted: Here’s a group of Senate Democrats huddling together on the House floor. Photo from C-SPAN’s Craig Caplanhttps://bit.ly/3dZMRUX

What a cool photo


Harris walks through the Capitol to Biden's Congressional address


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3t4ztmP

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/2Rb8KI0


I bet this is a scary feeling:




Tidbit — President Biden stopped to pick a flower for Jill:





The Senate is in. The House is out. President Biden is in Georgia today. Vice President Harris is in Baltimore. 

9 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief. 

10:10 a.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenJennifer Garner to travel to West Virginia with Jill Biden Biden honors his mom on Mother's day: 'She was the quintessential lady' Jill Biden commends moms on Mother's Day for being 'strong and resilient' amid pandemic MORE left for Georgia.

11:30 a.m. EDT: Up to four roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda todayhttps://bit.ly/3nBesPl 

1:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris travels to Baltimore. 

1:25 p.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden meet with former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterObama calls on governments to 'do their part' in increasing global vaccine supply Weird photo of Carters with Bidens creates major online buzz Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter MORE and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga.  

1:45 p.m. EDT: A roll call vote in the Senate.

2:20 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris tours a COVID vaccination site. 

4:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris returns to Washington, D.C.

6 p.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden participate in a drive-in car rally in Duluth, Ga. 

9:20 a.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden return to the White House.


2:55 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris delivers remarks on the progress made in Biden’s first 100 days. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2R7iZx0


Today is National Shrimp Scampi Day.

Wow, this is insane.:

His reaction is pretty funny. 


Trick golf shot into a moving car



And because you made it this far, here is one. jealous. pet: https://bit.ly/3vxibA7