Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve'

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve'

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

> Trump says coronavirus task force will ‘evolve’ 

> China hits back at Pompeo, Washington for claims virus leaked from lab

> House pushes forward with $2T more in relief, McConnell calls for ‘pause’ 

> Former top vaccine scientist files whistleblower complaint 

> Sound familiar? Congress weighing aid to auto industry as car sales continue to plummet 

> Where is Surgeon General Jerome Adams? 

> Former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek Hallegere MurthyBill Clinton to launch podcast Buttigieg, former officials added to Biden's transition team The Hill's Convention Report: Biden's big night | Steve Bannon's fall | Pelosi weighs in on Mass. Senate primary MORE says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19, says public health infrastructure underfunded to defend against pandemic

 

“There will be more death.” The decision to reopen is likely to define a generation. ABC News' David Muir interviewed President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE Tuesday in Arizona, a rare sit down with the president not on Fox News. When pressed on how to find the delicate balance between saving American lives and jumpstarting the plummeting economy, Trump conceded that “it’s possible there will be some” deaths as states roll back restrictions and work toward reopening their economies. The president also acknowledged that there will be some who are “affected badly” by the decision to reopen. Trump urged Americans to view themselves as “warriors,” telling a country riddled with fear and uncertainty: “I love you. I want to say that we’re doing everything we can.” 



Trump says coronavirus task force will remain “indefinitely” but will evolve. President Trump signaled Wednesday that the White House coronavirus task force would not be dissolved entirely but would evolve, saying it would remain in place “indefinitely” but that he may “add or subtract” officials. The president said that the task force will now focus on safety and reopening the United States amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Trump did confirm that Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Health officials tell public to trust in science | Despair at CDC under Trump influence | A new vaccine phase 3 trial starts Health officials tell public to trust in science Fauci scolds Rand Paul during tense exchange at hearing MORE and Deborah Birx will still be involved in the administration’s efforts to combat the virus. 



In a series of tweets on the issue, the President said that he “may add or subtract people” to the task force:

 

 

 

 



THE INTERVIEW

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19, calls on administration to find trusted voices and social media influencers outside main channels to convey seriousness of this pandemic, notes U.S. underfunded and cut funding for the infrastructure needed to protect Americans from a widely predicted pandemic

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the full interview here. 



THE HILL'S CORONAVIRUS REPORT

Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Wednesday, May 6.

Editor's Note. 

 

Where is Surgeon General Jerome Adams? He is one of the key voices that the nation needs to hear from. Along with White House coronavirus task force members Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, Adams’s voice matters. He experienced some whiplash in the past couple of months — tweeting to the public to stop buying masks because that demand was interfering with front-line health workers being able to access the much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) material. Shortly after his statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House advised people to wear masks in stores, when walking in neighborhoods, and when interacting with anyone other than one’s sheltering pals. At that moment though, the surgeon general was right. The U.S. government had failed to lead and coordinate PPE distribution and thus many localities, states and health care systems had to go to the open market to secure their masks. Adams was right THEN that health care workers and caregivers needed priority access.

 

Adams also said, “The chronic burden of medical ills is likely to make people of color, especially, less resilient to the ravages of COVID-19. And it is possible, in fact, likely that the burden of social ills is likely contributing.” It has been reported that these comments about the susceptibility of communities of color to the novel coronavirus got Adams in hot water, and we’ve barely heard a word from him since. 

 

The left had problems with Adams’s language and message to communities of color. Progressives accused him of toadying up to Trump by slurring the African American and Hispanic communities with gratuities references saying, “Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs. ... We need you to do this, if not for yourself, then for your abuela. Do it for your granddaddy. Do it for your Big Mama. Do it for your Pop-Pop." 

 

As the nation’s top doctor, Adams should tell every American that smoking, drugs, perhaps alcohol and various endemic underlying conditions make them more vulnerable than those with less incidence. Certainly, the drug comment could easily apply to the broad swath of desperate white American men who are dying in record numbers from opioid abuse. All that aside, systemic racism in America and the drivers of substance abuse won’t be turned over in a night — and reaching them to try and engage in behaviors now that will save their and their family’s lives is not a mistake.

 

The Hill’s Daily Coronavirus Report has tried hard to secure time with Adams, but has thus far not succeeded though his team has not said no. Again, from our vantage point, the surgeon general has made statements that were constructive and are consistent with the role of his office. The White House should stop squelching him and other members of the Coronavirus task force from speaking publicly.

 

Take the Navy rank off. Take the fancy suit of the surgeon general off. Adams shared an intimate detail of his personal vulnerability. On April 10, trying to encourage members of the Native American, African American, Hispanic and Asian communities to take COVID-19 seriously and to understand some of their respective health vulnerabilities, he said: “African Americans and Native Americans develop high blood pressure at much younger ages, and it’s less likely to be under control, and does greater harm to their organs. Puerto Ricans have higher rates of asthma and black boys are three times as likely to die of asthma as their white counterparts. As a matter of fact, I’ve been carrying around an inhaler in my pocket for 40 years out of fear of having a fatal asthma attack. And I hope that showing you this inhaler shows little kids with asthma all across the country that they can grow up to be surgeon general one day.”

 

This is what needed to be said because of systemic racism in this country and certain types of jobs are disproportionately occupied by people of color. It had to be said because of the disproportionate share of those incarcerated coming from the black community and the black maternal mortality in the U.S. has been surging. It had to be said because chronic illnesses of all sorts are clustered in dense urban environments among the poor. What Adams said was on target and true. It is those kind of comments, the sort that Fauci makes about the dangers of reopening America before the carnage of the coronavirus has stopped growing, or CDC Director Robert Redfield makes that the second wave of this virus could be devastating, that secures trust and confidence from the American people when a horrible storm is hitting.

 

Who knows when the surgeon general will be allowed to speak to the media again. We are waiting. His words were valuable — and his silence has been noted.

 

Today, we interviewed former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and explored themes in his new book, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.”

 

–  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.



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Follow @TheHillEvents and watch this space for news on upcoming virtual programs. And keep the conversation going using #TheHillVirtuallyLive 



CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

There are 3,711,425 reported cases of coronavirus in the world. 259,796 have died due to the virus. 

 

The U.S. is reporting 1,212,123 cases and 71,526 deaths as of the time of this newsletter. Spain continues to have the most cases in Europe with 219,329. Italy is close behind with 214,457. The U.K., which has surpassed Italy for the most European deaths, is reporting 202,355 cases. France 170,694. Germany 167,372. Russia 165,929. 31,938 in Saudi Arabia. 31,881 in Ecuador. 26,182 in Portugal. Mexico 26,025. 20,198 in Singapore. 16,314 in Israel. 12,438 reported cases in Indonesia. 10,806 in South Korea. 

 

321,192 cases are being reported in New York. 130,593 in New Jersey. 70,271 in Massachusetts. 65,889 in Illinois. 58,794 in California. 54,513 in Pennsylvania. 44,451 in Michigan. 20,257 cases in Virginia. Tennessee 13,690. 10,404 in Iowa. 10,205 in Rhode Island. 

 

7,544,328 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the U.S. More than 1.2 million people have reported full recoveries from the coronavirus around the world.



WASHINGTON WATCH

 

 

 

House hits gas, Senate pumps brakes on $2T more in relief. Congress is under the gun to pass yet another massive round of coronavirus relief, as small-business funds dry up, state budgets are ravaged and unemployment claims soar to record highs. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHoyer: House should vote on COVID-19 aid — with or without a bipartisan deal Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court McCarthy threatens motion to oust Pelosi if she moves forward with impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats are planning to unveil an enormous CARES 2 package in the coming days, with a possible floor vote as early as next week. (The Hill

 

Battle brewing over how to get more relief money to Americans. A fight is emerging in Washington over how best to get more money into people’s pockets to weather the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump is making a payroll tax cut a priority for a future recovery package, but Democrats, as well as some Republicans, are not keen on that idea. (The Hill


Rick Bright, former top vaccine scientist, files whistleblower complaint. The federal scientist who was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. In the complaint, Bright alleges a range of government wrongdoing by Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, and others. (NPR)



LAWMAKERS TWEET

Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers Lawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Mich.) 

@RepLawrence Our nation’s nurses have shown us time and time again what true dedication, compassion and hard work really mean. In times of crisis, true heroes rise to help those in need. Happy #NationalNursesWeek to the dedicated Americans protecting our communities. Thank you.

 

Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannDemocrats may bring DHS bill to House floor GOP-Trump fractures on masks open up Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve' MORE (R-Tenn.)

@RepChuck Renee Mills, a Chattanooga nurse, has sewn 225 masks for people in her community. God bless people like Renee who have gone above and beyond to help the community.

 

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroFlorida Democrat asks FBI to investigate anti-Semitic, racist disinformation Hispanic Caucus members embark on 'virtual bus tour' with Biden campaign Hispanic caucus report takes stock of accomplishments with eye toward 2021 MORE (D-Texas) 

@JoaquinCastrotx It's unconscionable that hardworking Americans who desperately need this assistance simply won't receive it just because they're married to an immigrant. I'm fighting this injustice so that all mixed-families get what they deserve.



ACROSS THE NATION

Native health center says it received body bags after it asked for supplies to fight coronavirus. The Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center that services the Native American population in Seattle and King County in Washington state, said it received an order of body bags earlier this year when it asked for more medical supplies. NBC News reports. (The Hill


Over half of workforce at Iowa Tyson plant tests positive for coronavirus. More than half of the workforce at a Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Perry, Iowa, has tested positive for COVID-19. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported on Tuesday that a total of 730 workers at the plant had contracted the virus, representing 58 percent of its staff, according to local news reports. (The Hill)



WORLD VIEW

/ China assails United States over Wuhan lab leak allegations. A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry delivered a scathing criticism on Wednesday of Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTreasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities Navalny released from hospital after suspected poisoning Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE over his assertion last weekend that the coronavirus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world originated in a Chinese laboratory. (Washington Post

 

Forecasts predict Europe’s worst depression ever. The European Union’s economy is set to shrink by 7.4 percent this year, investment is expected to collapse and unemployment rates, debts and deficits will balloon in the brutal aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission said Wednesday. (New York Times

 

Britain surpasses Italy with most reported coronavirus deaths in Europe. Britain reported the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe on Tuesday, surpassing Italy, even as officials cautioned that it was difficult to compare figures across nations. (Washington Post)



SCIENCE

Scientist whose coronavirus model is used by CDC warns states may have to close again. A scientist whose coronavirus model is cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned Tuesday that states may have to close again if cases jump following the easing of guidelines meant to prevent the spread. Youyang Gu told CNN that states should not rush their reopenings because “by the time you realize what’s happened, it’ll be too late to reverse the decision.” (The Hill


Coronavirus vaccine enters human testing in U.S. Researchers have begun giving healthy volunteers in the U.S. an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, the latest study exploring a potential defense against the respiratory disease. (Wall Street Journal



BUSINESS

Another auto bailout? A massive drop in car sales sparks new push in Congress to aid the industry. A precipitous decline in car sales amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak has caught the attention of Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are now urging Congress to authorize new aid for the auto industry. (Washington Post


Uber to layoff 3,700 employees amid coronavirus pandemic. Uber is laying off 3,700 employees as the coronavirus pandemic drives down demand for its service, the company announced Wednesday. (The Hill)



IDEAS, CAUSES, PASSION

Individual choice will be the key to economic recovery after the crisis. In the interim, our best hope may be an ancient legal doctrine that extends back to Roman law in the 6th century. “Volenti non fit injuria” means “no wrong is done to one who consents," and it became the foundation for what we know today as “assumption of the risk.” The doctrine encapsulates the concept of personal responsibility and choice. That is precisely what an economic reopening will require: not liability, but choice. (Jonathan Turley for The Hill)  

 

 

 

 

A virtual Congress? America’s founders would have approved. Tens of millions of Americans are working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. Not Congress. The House of Representatives recently abandoned a plan to allow lawmakers to cast votes remotely. Yet the nation’s founders confronted a similar crisis when a yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia almost caused a constitutional crisis — and they left behind a blueprint for Congress to do its job safely and effectively in spite of contagious illness. (National Geographic)



GENEROUS SPIRITS

During Teacher Appreciation Week, students, parents and many others are finding creative ways to honor their teachers. A group of students banded together to bid their teacher farewell after her course was discontinued for distance learning. Sophomore Bella Watkins,16, of Bryant High School in Bryant, Ark., invited 11 of her friends to share selfie footage as they said goodbye to Heather Hare. (Good Morning America)



ICYMI: STEVE'S INTERVIEWS, 15 MINUTES EACH

> Steve interviews BIO CEO JIM GREENWOOD 

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

> Steve interviews Edelman Public Relations CEO RICHARD EDELMAN

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

> Steve interviews Rep. TREY HOLLINGSWORTH (R-Ind.) 

> Steve interviews former Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT 

> Steve interviews Rep. ROSA DELAURO (D-Conn.)

> Steve interviews BIO President and CEO JIM GREENWOOD 



Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.



YOUR WORLD, YOUR STORIES

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 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