The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Trey Hollingsworth says we must mitigate risks but we must also get back to a 'normal' America; US jobless claims top 30 million

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Trey Hollingsworth says we must mitigate risks but we must also get back to a 'normal' America; US jobless claims top 30 million


> US jobless claims top 30 million 

> Intelligence agency says COVID-19 ‘not manmade or genetically modified’ 

> LA becomes first major US city to provide free coronavirus testing 

> Cuomo suspending NYC subway service at night to disinfect cars 

> Pentagon moves to double output of testing swabs

> DC health chief breaks with Trump, says city may not reopen for another three months in worst-case scenario






Watch the full interview here


Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Thursday,


Editor’s Note.  


Richard Edelman’s special coronavirus edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer is packed with insights (see interview here), some quite obvious but they deserve repeating. One of the most important takeaways is that people around the world, but also those in the U.S., are looking to scientists for leadership and direction and less to politicians and presidents. If I were President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE, I would surround myself with physicians and doctors such as White House coronavirus task force members Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci: COVID-19 vaccine could lead to 'breakthrough' in HIV fight GOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' Trump bemoans lack of vaccine credit amid mask news MORE, Deborah Birx, Jerome Adams and others.


Trump has tapped those excellent advisers, but rather than posturing in a way where he signals that he is hearing them, he contradicts them. On Wednesday, Trump told business executives that America could wipe out the coronavirus without drugs. He said, “If you don't have the vaccine, if the virus is gone, we're like we were before, but having a vaccine would be a great thing."  


Trump continued to assert, “It's gonna go, it's gonna leave, it's gonna be gone, it's gonna be eradicated, and it might take longer, it might be in smaller sections, it won't be what we had.” But as Fauci and many others have said, this virus will not go away on its own. 


I think the American public is distinguishing today between government officials like Fauci, Birx, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn on one hand and politicians on the other. Their trust in government direction and leadership may be solid while politicians, rightly or wrongly, are looked at as another tribe. Hopefully, leaders in both political parties will look at what Edelman has shown about their tarnished brands and whether craven or not, at least position themselves so they appear allied with science and the desperate needs of citizens today rather than an opponent of it.


– 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 Wednesday, our 3D journalism platform — The Hill Virtually Live hosted Safeguarding Seniors: Healthcare in a Health Crisis with House members Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiHillicon Valley: US, UK authorities say Russian hackers exploited Microsoft vulnerabilities | Lawmakers push for more cyber funds in annual appropriations | Google child care workers ask for transportation stipend Lawmakers push for increased cybersecurity funds in annual appropriations Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J MORE (D-Calif.), Bill JohnsonWilliam (Bill) Leslie JohnsonSix ways to visualize a divided America Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel jumps into Senate race READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Ohio) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Overnight Energy: Michigan reps reintroduce measure for national 'forever chemicals' standard |  White House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill MORE (R-Mich). 


Dr. Patrice Harris of the American Medical Association, AARP’s Nancy LeaMond, Karen Freeman-Wilson of the Chicago Urban League and Alliance for Aging Research’s Sue Peschin also joined us for a discussion on supporting seniors, tackling disparities and the role of innovation in the age of COVID-19. Watch the full program video here

Keep the conversation going using #TheHillVirtuallyLive and follow @TheHillEvents for news on upcoming programs.




There are 3,247,648 reported cases of coronavirus cases around the world. 230,615  have died from the virus. 61,547 have died in America.


The U.S. is reporting 1.053,036. Spain 239,639. Italy 205,463. 166,628 cases in France. 166,443 in the U.K. 120,204 in Turkey, Russia is now reporting 106,498 cases. Iran 94,640. China 83,944. 16,117 in Pakistan. 3,037 in Bahrain. 2,954 cases in Thailand — where daily infections have stayed in the single digits for four consecutive days. 


New York is reporting 304,372  cases. New Jersey 116,365 cases. Massachusetts 60,265. 50,538 in Illinois. 48,870 in California. 46,458 in Pennsylvania. Iowa is reporting 7,147 cases. 6,950 in Alabama. 6,520 in Wisconsin. 5,136 in Minnesota. Nevada reports 5,025. 

With testing capabilities now at the center of the national reopening debate, the U.S. has conducted 6,065,570 coronavirus tests. 124,449 in the US have reported full recoveries from COVID-19.


US intelligence agency says COVID-19 “not manmade or genetically modified.” The top U.S. spy agency in a rare public statement Thursday said it agreed with "the widespread scientific consensus" that the coronavirus was "not manmade or genetically modified," but also said it was investigating whether it emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. (The Hill)


Pentagon moves to increase production of coronavirus testing swabs. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Mike Andrews said in a Wednesday statement, Puritan Medical Products “will quickly establish a new manufacturing facility capable of doubling its current monthly output of 20 million to 40 million swabs." (The Hill)


Bipartisan group of lawmakers back efforts to expand telehealth services for seniors. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are throwing their support behind efforts to expand telehealth services, especially for elderly patients, to help combat the coronavirus. Speaking at The Hill’s first virtual event on Wednesday, Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) highlighted how telehealth allows elderly patients to receive proper medical care and checkups during the pandemic while staying at home. (The Hill)


Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas) 

@JohnCornyn Little bit of encouraging news: 46% of confirmed #COVID__19 cases in Texas have recovered so far.


Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Biden adds pressure to congressional talks with self-imposed deadlines Shining a light on COINTELPRO's dangerous legacy MORE (D-Calif.)

@RepKarenBass Pregnant women who are incarcerated should not be in tiny prison cells during a global pandemic. Andrea Circle Bear should not be dead right now and neither should the 30 other federal prisoners who have passed away due to COVID-19.


Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenLobbying world Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve Fox hires former GOP lawmaker Greg Walden as political consultant MORE (R-Ore.) 

@repgregwalden For rural healthcare providers, #COVID19 and the ban on elective procedures have been a financial one-two punch. I'm grateful to

@HHSGov for pushing out $394,606,116 from the CARES Act to Oregon hospitals and providers.





All LA County residents, even those without symptoms, can now get tested for COVID-19. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has long characterized expanding COVID-19 testing to all Angelenos, including those without symptoms, as a critical milestone that needed to be met before leaders could consider lifting some restrictions. And now, he says, that milestone is a reality. (Los Angeles Times


D.C. health chief says city may not reopen for another three months in worst-case scenario. A top Washington, D.C., health official said late Wednesday that it could be another three months before the city resumes normal operations in a worst-case scenario. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, said in a virtual town hall that the “most stringent” plan for stemming the spread of the coronavirus would prevent the city from reopening for at least three months, NBC4 Washington reported. (The Hill


Michigan court rules governor’s stay-at-home order does not violate constitutional rights. A Michigan court on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) stringent stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus outbreak does not violate residents' constitutional rights, denying a motion for a preliminary injunction. Five Michigan residents filed a lawsuit against the governor and other state officials claiming that the quarantine measures infringed on their constitutional rights to procedural and substantive due process. (The Hill


How might coronavirus reshape society? Will the commercial real estate market collapse as more people work from home? Will elbow bumps replace handshakes and hugs? Or, more darkly, will there be rampant discrimination against people wrongly thought to be carriers of the pathogen? Medical historians and experts say humanity's past experiences with diseases have shaped the world we know today, from the way our cities are constructed to modern privacy laws and even the way people think about sex. (The Hill)


Trump: Sweden paying “heavily” for not locking down nation. President Trump defended his decision to support social distancing measures and states that have implemented stay-at-home orders on Thursday, pointing to coronavirus deaths in Sweden, which has largely allowed businesses to remain open during the pandemic. (The Hill)


Anger rises among Russia's doctors as coronavirus hospitals get put on lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on the risks faced by front-line health workers, and Russia is no exception. Medical facilities in the country have emerged as one of the main breeding grounds for COVID-19, and two dozen hospitals have had to shut down for long quarantines, with many doctors falling sick. The numbers are stark. On Thursday, Russia's total number of reported coronavirus cases surpassed the 100,000 mark, exceeding numbers reported from Iran and China. (CNN)


Chile backtracks immunity claims amid outcry over “passports” for recovered patients. Health Minister Jaime Mañalich is backtracking earlier remarks that suggested most people who recover from coronavirus infections will remain immune for a “minimum of three months” — a claim that directly contradicts the World Health Organization and other experts who say it is far too early to determine whether all recovered patients will gain immunity and, if they do, for how long. (Washington Post)


VA still using hydroxychloroquine. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert WilkieRobert WilkieBiden's nominee for VA secretary isn't a veteran — does it matter? Biden VA pick faces 'steep learning curve' at massive agency Two headstones with swastikas removed from Texas veterans cemetery MORE defended the department's use of an unproven anti-malaria drug for treating patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, saying the drug was only being administered to high-risk veterans. (The Hill)


3.8 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits. Initial unemployment claims reached 3.8 million last week, the sixth consecutive week with millions of new claims as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy. The new figure brings the six-week total of new claims to more than 30 million, by some estimates one-fifth of the entire American workforce. (The Hill)


Only half way there on job losses? McKinsey says 57 million jobs vulnerable in U.S. and 59 million in Europe to coronavirus shock. While leisure and hospitality accounted for most of the earliest layoffs and furloughs, the share from industries such as retail trade, manufacturing, nonessential healthcare and professional services has been growing. McKinsey Global Institute estimated that up to 57 million U.S. jobs are now vulnerable, including more and more white-collar positions. By way of context, some 59 million jobs are at risk in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, which have a considerably larger population. (McKinsey Global Institute)


Liability shield for businesses emerges as new fight over reopening. The business community is pressuring the White House and Congress to shield companies from lawsuits as they seek to reopen. Democrats, labor unions and trial attorneys have voiced fierce opposition to a liability shield for employers. But top Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration appear eager to extend businesses of all sizes a layer of legal protection from any coronavirus-related litigation. (The Hill)


We need to take a cold hard look at the World Health Organization. The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO, so the loss of America’s assessed dues or voluntary donations means a lot. Doesn’t that mean that the United States should get its way and that the WHO should change its tune when the U.S. says it must? (Roger Cochetti for The Hill

COVID-19 crisis: Wake-up call for the world to go digital. More than 26 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past four weeks due to COVID-19. Digitalization and automation are filling some gaps, but when the dust settles, will digital agents and robots have replaced those jobs for good? Was COVID-19 the wake-up call for the world to go digital? (Mark Minevich and Chetan Dube for The Hill)


British veteran promoted by the Queen on his 100th birthday after raising millions to fight coronavirus. The veteran known as "Capt. Tom," who raised tens of millions of dollars for the British National Health Service, turned 100 Thursday, receiving a promotion from the Queen to the rank of colonel and a special flyover to commemorate his achievements. (Good Morning America

You better watch out, you better not cry — Santa Claus is coming to FaceTime. Santa Claus is taking some time out of his busy list-checking schedule to host virtual meetings with children across the nation, reminding them to stay positive and well-behaved during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Fox News)


> Steve interviews NATO Deputy Secretary General MIRCEA GENONA 

> Steve interviews Vanda Pharmaceuticals President and CEO MIHAEL POLYMEROPOULOS

> Steve interviews Seattle Mayor JENNY DURKAN

> Steve interviews Pfizer’s chief scientist MIKAEL DOLSTEN 

> Steve interviews UAE Ambassador to U.S. YOUSEF AL OTAIBA 

> Steve interviews Sen. CHRISTOPHER COONS (D-Del.) 

> Steve interviews Edelman Public Relations CEO RICHARD EDELMAN 

> Steve interviews Rep. DONNA SHALALA (D-Fla.) 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.




Wedding bells, reimagined. Congratulations to our reader Joseph Casavecchia and his wife, Emma, who – despite their long-anticipated wedding being canceled due to the pandemic – were still able to tie the knot at an audience-free destination wedding in the Grand Canyon. Read the full story here. 

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CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus 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.