The Hill's Coronavirus Report: WHO vs. Trump; Bernie's out

VIEW BREAKING NEWS ON CORONAVIRUS                                     



> Pandemic totals may not reach worst fears

> U.S. military medical intelligence officials predicted “cataclysmic” virus event arising from Wuhan in November

> African Americans disproportionately dying from coronavirus 

> Signs of optimism in slowing hospitalizations and ventilator demands in NYC 

> CDC removes dosage guidance in drug touted by President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE 

> Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey commits $1 billion to coronavirus relief 

Trump, WHO trade blows on handling of virus. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hit back at President Trump’s criticism of the organization on Wednesday, saying countries should avoid politicizing the virus issue “if you don’t want to have many more body bags.” His comments came after Trump on Tuesday threatened to withhold funds from the U.N. agency, saying it “seemed to be very China-centric” and accused the WHO of “missing the call.” (Washington Post)



Epicenter of pandemic ends 76-day lockdown. Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus almost certainly originated, lifted its 11-week lockdown Wednesday. After restrictions on movement were lifted, thousands of people went outdoors and boarded the first trains and planes leaving Wuhan. A positive sign that there is life after COVID-19, although many fear a reemergence of the virus could be just as deadly. (AP)


Bernie OUT, but not conceding on “Medicare for All.” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump leaves changed nation in his wake Cori Bush dismisses concerns of being 'co-opted' by establishment The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (I-Vt.) on Wednesday dropped out of the race but indicated he will continue to fight for Medicare for All, citing the pandemic. Sanders’s proposal is opposed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE, who now has a clear path to winning the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (The Hill)


Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word. Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the materials are going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. (LA Times)



Dr. Leana Wen says COVID-19 is unmasking systemic racism that has long plagued U.S.




“There are two major failings. One is the failure in the first place to invest in public health, recognizing that public health often works when it's invisible, and so it is challenging to put in that investment in the first place into something that doesn't look like there's a face to it. But I think the second thing and this part is the one that I think is the least forgivable, which is that even after we realized how big of a crisis this is, and even after there were calls and continued to be calls by local officials about the desperate need for things like personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators and tests. Even after these desperate calls were made so public that the federal government still has not acted with the urgency that's required. And I think that is the part that I think we get a failing grade on and continue to get a failing grade on.”

Watch the full interview here.

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Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Wednesday, April 8.

A major disturbing headline for us today is that coronavirus is exploiting the racial inequities in our society by causing disproportionate deaths among the black community in America. As The New York Times has reported, “43 percent of people who have died from the disease and 28 percent of those who have tested positive are African-Americans, a group that makes up just 15 percent of the state’s population.” The disparities and high black mortality and infection rates are evident in New York, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and elsewhere around the nation. American health and financial crises are the times when the political and policy world rewire the system to perform better, to mitigate risk — and in big cases, like the Great Depression, to redesign the social contract between citizens and their government, employers and financial institutions. The role of equitable health care in America’s social contract hasn’t been resolved — but it’s out there waiting as we witness the uneven and unfair impacts of the COVID-19 virus on our country.


New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDe Blasio: New York City will run out of COVID-19 vaccine this week without resupply Overnight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February Health workers refusing vaccine is new growing US problem MORE (D) on Wednesday vowed to ramp up coronavirus testing in minority communities and investigate the racial disparities in deaths from COVID-19. Cuomo told reporters during his daily presser he will focus on learning more about racial disparities in infection rates adding, “Why are more African Americans and Latinos affected? It always seems that the poorest people pay the highest price. Why is that?” (The Hill)


Your Coronavirus Report team includes Steve Clemons, editor-at-large of The Hill, and researcher Andrew Wargofchik. Follow us on Twitter at @SCClemons and @a_wargofchik. CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit TheHill.com and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.


In coming weeks, we will share with you our new 3D journalism platform, The Hill Virtually Live, to take stock of what is happening around the nation — for instance, empathy and building resilience across generations, acts of heroism, the way learning and credentialing are being reinvented, and how health delivery is going even more digital. Follow @TheHillEvents to stay up to date on our upcoming virtual programs.


Global coronavirus “confirmed” cases now stand at more than 1.45 million people but are thought to be much higher given inadequate and incomplete testing globally. More than 85,000 people have died around the world. But more than 315,000 people have recovered.


The U.S. now has about 28 percent of all officially recognized cases with nearly 403,000 people infected — and more than 13,000 deaths nationally. Italy has reported at least 17,669 deaths. Spain 14,673. France 10,343. Iran 3,993. China 3,337. South Korea 200. India 178. Japan 93. New Zealand 1.


New York continues to lead in both infections and confirmed deaths with 140,386 cases and 5,489 deaths. A sampling of other U.S. states shows mortality levels for New Jersey at 1,232. Michigan 845. Louisiana 582. California 452. Florida 309. Colorado 179. Virginia 66. Missouri 86. Oklahoma 67. Iowa 26. Montana 6. Alaska 6.





Pelosi, Schumer want aid to states, hospitals in GOP small-business bill. The Democratic response comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump has talked to associates about forming new political party: report McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment MORE (R-Ky.) said he would ask for unanimous consent on the Senate floor Thursday to approve an additional $250 billion in funding for the popular small-business Paycheck Protection Program. Now the ball is in McConnell’s court. He must decide whether to agree to the Democratic demands or refuse, which could delay additional funding for small businesses until after Easter weekend. (The Hill)

Signs of optimism in coronavirus fight. The first moderately hopeful signs are emerging regarding the coronavirus crisis — but those will also bring new challenges, both in public health and in politics. (The Hill)


Models show fewer deaths than earlier predicted. Even as deaths mount, officials see signs pandemic’s toll may not match worst fears. Coronavirus deaths continue to rise, but health officials see indications that the pandemic’s toll may be less devastating than the most pessimistic estimates. (Washington Post)


Cataclysmic threat. U.S. intelligence officials warned in November that the coronavirus spreading in China’s Wuhan region could become a “cataclysmic event,” ABC News reported Wednesday. (The Hill)


Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.)

@NydiaVelazquez People of color are among the hardest hit in this crisis. #COVID19 has further laid bare structural health and economic inequalities our nation has failed to address for far, far too long.


Rep. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Congress eyes 1-week stopgap, longer session to reach deal Alabama Republican becomes third House member to test positive for COVID-19 this week MORE (R-Ala.)

@Robert_Aderholt Two weeks ago I wrote about the critical need for rural broadband funding. Now, we have it: $200 million for FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program, $100 million to the ReConnect Program, $25 million for Distance Learning & Telemedicine, $15 million for Rural Telehealth.


Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellDemocrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor Growing number of lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege Democrats offer bill fining lawmakers who don't wear masks in Capitol MORE (D-Mich.)

@RepDebDingell Right now we're seeing the effects of decades of policies that incentivized offshoring at the cost of domestic manufacturing. Our supply chains are so dependent on other countries that we don't have the ability to respond rapidly in a time of crisis.


Iowa health care workers infected at alarming rate. More than 1 in 5 confirmed cases in Iowa are health care workers, the state’s Department of Health announced. The nationwide shortage of critical protective equipment for medical staff could particularly hamper more rural areas of the country, like parts of Iowa, where 23 percent of those infected are health care workers. (The HIll


Former congressman Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder Dent22 retired GOP members of Congress call for Trump's impeachment Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 The magnificent moderation of Susan Collins MORE says coronavirus is serious. Coughing into his arm as the interview began, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) detailed his COVID-19 symptoms: a cough, body aches and chills, fever and persistent fatigue. (ABC 27)


Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) now “virus-free” after tough battle with coronavirus. The second lawmaker on Capitol Hill to test positive for the coronavirus says he is now “virus-free.” McAdams said that he lost 13 pounds during his hospital stay but that he is now “back on my feet and back at work.” (The Hill)

Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus. Members of Congress, dispersed across the country until at least April 20, are leaning in to social media and video conference calls as they try to keep in contact with constituents and colleagues. (The Hill)





Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is using humor to make city residents stay at home. The mayor is somber and business-like during her briefings, but in the past few weeks she has developed a different persona online. Through satirical videos on Twitter, memes on Facebook and even a DJ party thrown on her Instagram account, she has played against type in a way that is drawing many residents’ attention and appreciation. (Washington Post)


Boris Johnson “critically stable” on third day in ICU. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “responding to treatment” and breathing without a ventilator, according to Downing Street. (Washington Post)





New Zealand emerges as paradigm of virus response. Less than two weeks since New Zealand imposed one of the world’s strictest nationwide lockdowns, the country is showing signs that their curve is being not just flattened, but squashed entirely. (Washington Post)

The brightside? India stunned by clean air, blue skies, nighttime stars. In New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities on earth, residents are stunned by how blue the sky actually is. With few cars on the road and most factories shut down, city residents are getting their first glimpse of clear, blue skies and nighttime stars. (NY Times)


CDC removes dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed guidance from its website regarding drugs touted by President Trump as possible treatments for the coronavirus amid disputes over their effectiveness. The CDC had initially included guidance regarding dosage for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, the drugs recommended by Trump, noting that anecdotal evidence existed for their effectiveness. (The Hill)


NASA says pandemic could prepare us for life on Mars. NASA experts say that knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe and healthy will help us prepare for landing on another planet. Space exploration requires a level of care and caution that humans haven’t had to exercise in our daily lives — until now. (CNN)


GM to supply 30,000 ventilators. The United States on Wednesday awarded automaker General Motors Co. a contract worth $489.4 million to make ventilators needed to treat severely sick coronavirus patients. (Yahoo)


3D printing faces hurdles in coronavirus response. Shortages of medical devices and protective equipment driven by the coronavirus pandemic have led medical workers and manufacturers to turn to 3D printing to fill the void. However, the new technology still faces technical and legal hurdles before it can be fully deployed to address the shortfall. (The Hill)


Contemplating a post-coronavirus world: Something better than what we lost, perhaps? If we are fortunate enough to be survivors, it should not be enough to just reopen the business operations of America; rather, we should contemplate how work and family might be rebalanced. (Douglas Kmiec for The Hill)

Getting ready to give birth amid a pandemic. COVID-19 has made having a bundle of joy a bundle of uncertainty, fear and frustration in an already vulnerable time for pregnant women around the world. As I walk into the hospital for an OB-GYN appointment that had me almost in tears a day earlier, I’m greeted with wide smiles by a pair of workers conducting coronavirus screenings. Perhaps they say this to everyone – but they yelled to me as I ever so slowly wobbled my way to the office elevator: “We’re all going to get through this!” (The Hill)


Home Run! Chef José Andrés and the Washington Nationals are using the baseball stadium to cook and distribute free meals to needy residents. Two large kitchens at the park will be used to prepare hot meals that will be delivered to neighboring communities by Uber Eats drivers. (Eater DC)


Jack Dorsey kicks in $1 billion to provide COVID-19 relief. Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Tuesday he will set aside $1 billion, just under 30 percent of his net worth, in his Square equity to support relief efforts for COVID-19 and other causes once the pandemic is over. (CNBC)


Vapers help with ventilators and masks. Philip Morris International is producing and donating ventilators, testing kits, masks, face shields, gloves and other personal protective equipment in factories and labs around the world and announced in a company wide email financial donations and in-kind contributions of $24 million.



Rachel Tyree, from South Pasadena, California, shared some photos from her daily walks around her neighborhood. She writes that the calming effect of the beauty around her is a daily reminder that everything is going to be alright. 


Thanks for sharing, Rachel! We’re with you

SEND US YOUR OWN PICS – from your own walks or adventures – during this time of physical distancing but social connection. And SEND US YOUR STORIES of how teleworking is going, what you have learned from homeschooling, new ways to exercise, and special moments or standout heroism you want to share. What’s working for you? What’s comic in these dark days? 


Send to YourStories@TheHill.com. Our thoughts are with you, our readers, and we hope and trust that no matter the weight of burdens on you now — and it’s not a good story for everyone we know — that we all stand together, resilient and confident, on the other side of this. There will be another side.


CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit TheHill.com and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.