The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Wenstrup rips China and WHO; Congress seeks to pass new aid bill this week

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Wenstrup rips China and WHO; Congress seeks to pass new aid bill this week

VIEW BREAKING NEWS ON CORONAVIRUS

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

> Congress inches closer to deal on small-business aid 

> Governors under fire to reopen as testing capacity remains slim

> White House extends travel restrictions to Canada, Mexico  

> Ex-FDA chief says U.S. won’t have mass-scale testing until September

> Impact of crisis on economy collapses oil futures into negative prices for first time in history  

 

      

 

 

The weekend that was. From Colorado to Maryland, state capitals across the country were flooded with demonstrators this past weekend who are protesting their respective states’ lockdown measures. Many fear these gatherings could be counterintuitive and that congregating in protest will spread the virus and force stay-at-home measures to be extended. After all, there is a clear oxymoron among protesters carrying signs warning that the coronavirus is a “hoax” as they take to the streets in masks to protect against a virus they argue is not deadly enough to warrant economic ruin. As President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE takes to Twitter in apparent support of the protests, governors across the country are under new political pressure. The nation’s governors — and the president — now find themselves grappling with a choice that pits two calamities against one another: the death of the economy or the death of Americans. 

 

Senate sets up Tuesday session to try to pass coronavirus relief deal. The Senate will try to pass a forthcoming agreement on coronavirus aid as soon as Tuesday if negotiators are able to reach a deal. The Tuesday meeting will give the chamber another chance to pass a deal on an "interim" coronavirus relief bill, and keep the House on track with House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day MORE's timeline of voting as soon as Wednesday. (The Hill)


Ex-FDA Chief says U.S. not likely to have mass testing until September. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NBC News’s “Today” that he thinks some lesser-impacted states are ready to start reopening, but when asked about the status of U.S. testing capability said, “We won’t have the testing we want until September, I think, in the kind of broad coverage.” (NBC News)



THE INTERVIEW

Wenstrup blasts China and World Health Organization for deceit; says America needs to rethink its supply chains

 

 

 

Watch the full interview here



THE HILL'S CORONAVIRUS REPORT

Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Monday, April 20

Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Monday, April 20.

Editor's Note. 

 

The footprint of COVID-19 in the United States is staggering compared with any other nation. There are now more than 760,000 confirmed cases, more than 40,000 dead, and 7,800 in critical condition in America today. We hear from numerous experts that the curve is flattening. But this level of infection raises the legitimate question of how workers will trust the health standards of their workplaces, their colleagues, and those of shops they frequent while encountering people they don’t know on buses and subways. 

 

I should begin by noting that as a journalist, it’s highly unusual for me to pretend to be someone I am not. But, we find ourselves in times that are just that: unusual and confusing. So, in an effort to bring you, our readers, a glimpse into the difficulty of finding a COVID-19 test – I made a few calls this morning to try to track one down. 

 

I tried in Washington, D.C., which is still under strong shutdown measures ordered by Mayor Muriel Bowser, but I told several doctor’s offices that I was an essential worker and needed to get tested to be allowed into my workplace. I got nowhere as I reported I’m showing no symptoms and had had no contact with anyone I believed had COVID-19, but I said “everyone knows the dangers of this are from asymptomatic people — not infected people.” It didn’t help. 

 

I did the same calling Detroit. I pretended that I wanted to open my small business. Nothing. I just got off the phone from a testing center in Cleveland. I called Tallahassee, Fla., to see how I could get guidance, as a small-business owner, on following the president’s lead and trying to get tests to reopen my business. I got no help and heard a lot of frustration on the other end of the line. My last call was to Minneapolis where the person I spoke to said they would try hard to get me access to tests for my employees, but I could tell this person was trying to make me feel good about the process and probably couldn’t deliver.

 

There may be places out there better organized and prepared to give guidance to the firms the president wants to reopen. But I couldn’t find them. I tried hard. While many are probably right that we need orders of magnitude more tests, almost omnipresent in our lives, daily or weekly tests to establish high-trust contacts and high-trust environments, the other missing parts of this equation are not swabs and reagents but simple messaging guidance to those out there in communities across America who are going to be looked to for guidance as millions of businesses try to come back online in a responsible way. That guidance is missing. What I did feel was overwhelming the system was frustration and chaos.

 

– Steve Clemons


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.

 

On April 29, our new 3D journalism platform The Hill Virtually Live will host an online event – Safeguarding Seniors: Healthcare in a Health Crisis. We’ll be looking at how Medicare is stepping up to support seniors, what it will take to protect underserved communities and the role of telemedicine. Watch this space as we announce registration details and program speakers. Follow @TheHillEvents for updates.



CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

The U.S. has surpassed 760,000 COVID-19 cases and the virus has killed more than 40,000 in the country. While many urban centers are now reporting that they feel they’re on the back end of the curve, meaning that the number of new infections is slowing and thus the future death rate will come down as well, that doesn’t appear to be the case for many Midwest states and rural areas where numbers are now surging. Even Wyoming, which had among the lowest number of cases in the nation, is now posting official infections at 426 (including confirmed and probable cases), up 113 in a day.  West Virginia is at 890 confirmed cases and 20 deaths. Texas at 19,411 cases and 500 deaths. Pennsylvania at 32,991 cases and 1,276 deaths. Kansas has 1,949 cases. Iowa is now at 2,902 cases. Indiana at 11,211. Idaho at 1,672. Colorado has 9,730 cases. New York continues to lead with the huge incidence numbers of 248,431 confirmed cases and 18,298 deaths. And next door New Jersey is at 85,301 cases and 4,362 dead. Massachusetts is now at 38,077 cases and 1,706 dead. 


Given these numbers and the pain and stress behind the spread of this disease, it is surprising to hear some leaders such as Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro say that COVID-19 is not serious enough to disrupt the functioning of their economy.  Brazil’s cases are surging and are now at 39,548. As we think about developing resilience and hopefully “herd immunity” to this disease, it’s also important to remember that COVID-19 started with one “patient zero” in Wuhan, China. And many others have been their own version of “patient zero” in cities, towns and villages across the world. If nations fail to stop the spread and contain the disease, they remain dangerous to the rest of the world until vaccines and treatments are developed. Cameroon has 1,017 confirmed cases. Belgium is at 39,983 cases. Austria at 14,795. Bahrain at 1,895. Ecuador at 10,128. Kuwait at 1,995. Malaysia at 5,425. Pakistan at 8,418. Israel at 13,654. 



WASHINGTON WATCH

House prepares to vote on coronavirus aid package as soon as Wednesday. The House is preparing to vote as soon as Wednesday on a new coronavirus aid package as the White House and congressional negotiators near an agreement. "Members are further advised that at this time, a recorded vote on the interim legislation is likely in the House this week. Members will be given sufficient notice about the exact timing of any votes and when they will need to return to Washington, DC," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wrote in a notice to members. (The Hill

 

Ocasio-Cortez comes out against interim coronavirus relief bill. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichelle Obama, Sanders, Kasich to be featured on first night of Democratic convention: report Democratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Ethics Committee orders Tlaib to refund campaign ,800 for salary payments MORE (D-N.Y.) said Monday that she opposes an interim coronavirus relief package as it has been publicly reported. "It is insulting to think we can pass such a small amount of money in the context of not knowing when Congress is even going to reconvene and pass such a small amount of money, pat ourselves on the back and then leave town again," she added. (The Hill)

 

White House announces extended travel restrictions with Mexico, Canada. The United States, Canada and Mexico will extend restrictions barring nonessential travel across their respective shared borders for another 30 days amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration announced Monday. (The Hill


Fauci says protests are “hurting”; economic recovery is “not going to happen” until the virus is under control. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPublic health expert: 50 percent effective coronavirus vaccine would be 'better than what we have now' Overnight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically Fauci's DC neighbors put up 'thank you' signs in their yards MORE said Monday morning, “The message is that clearly this is something that is hurting, from the standpoint of economics and the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus,” Fauci told “Good Morning America.” 



LAWMAKERS TWEET

Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Obama reunite for socially distanced conversation MORE (R-N.Y.)

@RepStefanik Thank you to the McGuire brothers from Sackets Harbor for their hard work in 3-D printing ear savers for healthcare workers to wear with their masks!

 

Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive House fails to override Trump veto of bill blocking DeVos student loan rule The Hill's Coronavirus Report: BIO CEO Greenwood says US failed for years to heed warnings of coming pandemic; Trump: Fauci won't testify to 'a bunch of Trump haters' MORE (R-N.C.)

@virginiafoxx From the volunteer pilots shuttling patients to hospitals to those sewing and producing masks, those assisting Meals on Wheels to health professionals volunteering at local clinics, thank you for all that you do! We will win this fight together. #NationalVolunteerRecognitionDay

 

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure MORE (D-Del.) 

@ChrisCoons Among the many stories of Delawareans helping one another, I want to highlight the team at @NERDiTNOW in Newport. Their team has provided IT support to local nonprofits and students as they transition to work or study remotely due to #COVID19. Thank you for all your work!



ACROSS THE NATION

 

Mile-high clash! Health care workers block protesters challenging stay-at-home order in Denver. Health care workers blocked protesters challenging stay-at-home orders in Denver on Sunday, according to video and photos shared on social media. Workers in scrubs and masks were seen standing with arms crossed in the street, blocking the protesters in a powerful counterdemonstration. (The Hill

 

Facebook reveals county-level COVID-19 symptom map. The social media behemoth with more than 2 billion global users partnered with the Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center to conduct a survey that has collected responses from more than 1 million people in the past two weeks. The map is intended to help policymakers and researchers predict outbreaks and will be updated daily. (Washington Post)



WORLD VIEW

Nations credited with fast response to coronavirus moving to gradually reopen businesses. Germany and South Korea — both role models in handling the outbreak in their respective regions — are slowly reversing some of the restrictions put in place weeks ago. (Washington Post

 

Singapore seemed to have the virus under control, until cases doubled. Singapore did almost everything right. After recording its first coronavirus case on Jan. 23, the prosperous city-state meticulously traced the close contacts of every infected patient, while keeping a sense of normalcy on its streets. (New York Times

 

Saudi Arabia donates $500 million to WHO. The World Health Organization thanked Saudi Arabia's King Salman for donating $500 million to support the international efforts in preventing the coronavirus’s spread. (Arab News)

 

Chile to issue coronavirus “immunity cards” to those who recover. Chile is set to become the first country to issue “immunity cards” to those who have recovered from the coronavirus, allowing holders to return to work, despite questions about whether those who have recovered are in fact immune, how long any immunity might last, and the accuracy of antibody tests. (New York Times



SCIENCE

FDA allows Novartis to test hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration and Novartis have reached an agreement to allow the Swiss pharmaceutical company to proceed with a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients. Phase III of the clinical trial is set to begin in the new few weeks. (The Hill


Available antibody tests lack scrutiny and are unreliable. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed about 90 companies, many based in China, to sell tests without undergoing the usual government vetting. The early reviews have not been favorable. (NY Times)



BUSINESS

U.S. oil prices settle in negative territory for first time in epic rout. West Texas Intermediate futures for May delivery, which expire Tuesday, plunged more than 100% to -$37.63 a barrel. That means sellers have to pay someone to take the oil off their hands. Brent crude oil prices fell 9% to $25.58 per barrel. (Investor’s Business Daily)

 

Casino exec calls for Las Vegas Strip to reopen by the end of May. The CEO of Wynn Resorts is calling for the Las Vegas Strip to slowly begin reopening in May with restrictions in place. Matt Maddox released a 23-page plan along with an op-ed published in The Nevada Independent urging officials to consider reopening certain Las Vegas businesses now closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The Hill


Shake Shack giving funds back. Shake Shack executives announced in a statement on LinkedIn that they will be returning the $10 million loan received through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Founder Danny Meyer and CEO Randy Garutti wrote that the program “came with no user manual and was extremely confusing.” (The Hill)



ISSUES, CAUSES, PASSION

Government should be limited – even during a pandemic. In this metaphorical war against the novel coronavirus — as with literal wars against America’s military enemies — we have been willing to sacrifice aspects of our individual liberty for the collective goal of defeating the immediate threat. Yet all restrictions on liberty, even ones motivated by a desire to save lives, can be taken too far. (Charlie Grow and Michael Dimino for The Hill

 

Coronavirus presents challenges to international order and global trust. We need to look at the world as it is, recognizing that the United States is a vital part of the international order, not separate or alone. If we abdicate American leadership, abandon our alliances, and betray the trust and admiration many once held for our country, what replaces it will almost certainly be worse, not just for our country, but the world as a whole. (Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHillicon Valley: Tech CEOs brace for House grilling | Senate GOP faces backlash over election funds | Twitter limits Trump Jr.'s account The Hill's Coronavirus Report: INOVIO R&D Chief Kate Broderick 'completely confident' world will develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine; GOP boxed in on virus negotiations The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Barr's showdown with House Democrats MORE and Glenn Nye for The Hill



GENEROUS SPIRITS

“One World: Together at Home.” The world’s biggest stars took over the major networks Saturday evening for a Global Citizen event celebrating essential workers and supporting the World Health Organization. The virtual concert sought to strike a balance between the vast magnitude of the pandemic and glimmers of hope. It couldn’t make any promises. (New York Times)



ICYMI, STEVE'S INTERVIEWS, 15 MINUTES EACH

> Steve interviews Miami Mayor and coronavirus survivor FRANCIS X. SUAREZ 

> Steve interviews Rep. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-Mich.) 

> Steve interviews APHA Executive Director DR. GEORGES BENJAMIN 

> Steve interviews former Senate Majority Leader BILL FRIST 

> Steve interviews Pennsylvania acting Secretary of Banking and Securities RICHARD VAGUE 



Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.



YOUR WORLD, YOUR STORIES

 

 

Hope on the horizon. Ken Garrison from Virginia shared his view of the weekend sunset from a drive along the state’s Blue Ridge Parkway. With Americans holed up at home, even a quick road trip and a picturesque sunset can be a glimmer of hope for better days that lie ahead. 



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.

 

VIEW ALL – CORONAVIRUS REPORT ARCHIVE