The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Zeldin says Congress must help states; Fauci's warning; Dems unveil $3T bill

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Zeldin says Congress must help states; Fauci's warning; Dems unveil $3T bill


> Senate HELP Committee hearing: Fauci says reopening too soon will have ‘really serious’ consequences 

> House Democrats unveil $3 trillion coronavirus relief package 

> Trump, Pence to distance from one another out of abundance of caution; West Wing staffers asked to wear masks 

> New clusters emerge in countries once praised for successful coronavirus fights 

> Wuhan to test all 11 million residents amid fears of the virus reemerging 

> CNN poll: Majority of Americans fear the worst of the pandemic is still ahead of us 

> Mental Health Awareness Month: Expert tips on how to stay sane during isolation 

> Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinMajority of New York voters say Cuomo should not be reelected: poll GOP lawmaker 'actively exploring' run for New York governor Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in on Trump impeachment trial; Biden administration eyes timeline for mass vaccinations MORE says it’s absolutely imperative that Congress shores up finances of state and local governments that should not be blamed for pandemic consequences





President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump vows 'No more money for RINOS,' instead encouraging donations to his PAC Federal judge rules 'QAnon shaman' too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE touted his response to the pandemic at a Monday press conference he later stormed away from. But the numbers tell a far different story.  Another day of growing fears about the virus’s potential spread throughout the West Wing comes after President Trump abruptly ended yesterday’s press conference following a contentious exchange with a reporter. Weijia Jiang of CBS asked Trump, who frequently compares the United States's testing ability and mortality rate with those of other countries, why the statistics surrounding the virus are a "global competition" to him. Trump responded to the question, “Don't ask me. Ask China that question, OK?” The president continues to tout his administration’s response to the pandemic as top-notch when compared with our global counterparts, but the numbers tell a different story. There are two categories the U.S. is leading the way in — confirmed cases and fatalities. 


And in other big news out of the White House ... 


Trump and Pence to distance themselves from one another. President Trump and Vice President Pence plan to keep some distance from one another out of an abundance of caution after one of the vice president's top aides tested positive for the coronavirus. The two leaders plan to maintain their distance for the "immediate future" after consulting with the White House medical unit, an administration official said. The decision is the latest step put in place by the White House to try to mitigate the spread of the virus after two staffers working in the building tested positive last week. The White House also announced Monday evening that West Wing staffers will be asked to wear masks throughout the day. Remember in February when now White press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox Business that “we will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here?” Well, it did come to America, in devastating fashion — and now it has come to the very White House that claims to have the spread of the virus under control. 

This just in from Capitol Hill: House Democrats unveil $3 trillion coronavirus relief package. House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled their latest round of legislation to provide Americans with economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The House is expected to pass the $3 trillion bill on Friday along party lines as Democrats seek to put pressure on Republicans to start negotiations for additional measures to contain the impact on workers. The legislation  provides additional funding for food assistance and state and local governments, among other provisions. (The Hill)


Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) tells The Hill’s Steve Clemons that it is absolutely imperative that Congress moves further to shore up finances of state and local governments that should not be blamed for pandemic consequences. He also argues the U.S. must rethink supply chains and dependence on Chinese manufacturing and technology.





Watch the full interview here.

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Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Tuesday, May 12.

Editor's Note. 


I spoke with Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump ramps up battle with Republican leadership GOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Sunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate MORE (R-Wyo.) on Monday about how to get a geographically large state with a low density population back and functioning again. Barrasso shared that with smart precautions in place, common sense distancing, and lots of testing, communities could get back to near normal — particularly those that have less dense populations than some of the harder hit high density centers in the country.


But what if you are a mayor of a small city packed in a densely populated area? And let’s add a few more realities to the mix. Your population is 86 percent African American and about 12 percent Hispanic — two communities hit very hard by COVID-19 both health-wise and economically. The city I’m talking about is Seat Pleasant, Md., which has a population of 4,721 people. It sits in Prince George’s County, just east of Washington, D.C.


Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant has been pushing to get his residents back into safe work environments. Everyone I have interviewed for this daily report wants safe working conditions that both workers and consumers can trust. And just about everyone I have spoken to, and we heard the same in Senate testimony from Anthony FauciAnthony FauciReaching immunity: A path forward Republicans call for investigation into impact of school closures on children with disabilities The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble MORE on Tuesday, has said we must have robust, ever-present testing for both the well and the ill, as former Trump homeland security adviser Tom Bossert put it to me. Grant wants “point of care testing for antibodies” for his community. That means you test on the spot and get results there on the same spot. Imagine something as accessible, reliable, quick and cheap to use as a pregnancy test.


But earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has constrained “antibody testing” to be done only in laboratories. According to the mayor whose team reached out to me, point of care testing uses only a finger stick of blood and costs a fraction of what laboratory tests do. I should add that the issue at hand is not only cost in dollars but also cost in time for results if working exclusively through labs. The FDA is worried about testing procedures and standards, worried about low quality tests, and more. But building a testing apparatus around laboratories for the nation as it struggles to reopen drives up costs and drives down access for vulnerable communities, especially some communities of color that are already on the ropes because of economic hardship.  


There is always more to a story, and I’m sure there is here as well. But when I heard of a mayor of fewer than 5,000 people trying to get his people the kinds of tests that work in the realities they have and being told no, it occurred to me that this needs some scrutiny, some debate, and perhaps some capacity-building to get Grant and the tens of thousands of other American mayors just like him the resources they need. 


– 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 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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There are 4,229,074 reported cases of coronavirus throughout the world and 289,349 reported deaths from COVID-19. 


The U.S. is reporting 1,356,037 cases and 81,571 deaths as of the time of this newsletter.  Russia is continuing to see its cases spike and is now reporting 232,243 cases, passing Spain for the second most cases in the world, behind the U.S. 227,736 in the U.K. Spain is reporting 227,436 cases. 221,216 in Italy. 177,547 in France. 172,812 in Germany. 172,243 in Brazil. 84,011 cases in China – where a new cluster of cases in Wuhan is raising serious concerns and all 11 million of the city’s residents will be tested. 68,822 in Peru. 43,183 in the Netherlands. 42,925 in Saudi Arabia. 31,721 cases in Chile. 24,873 in Belarus. 24,671 in Singapore. 1,465 cases in Slovakia. 1,089 in Somalia. 


New York is reporting 337,055 cases. New Jersey 140,917. 79,007 in Illinois. 78,462 in Massachusetts. 69,417 in California. 61,086 cases in Pennsylvania. 47,552 in MIchigan. 40,642 reported cases in Texas, where one city, San Antonio, is expanding testing to asymptomatic people. 19,879 cases in Colorado. 17,122 in Washington. 11,736 in Arizona. 10,418 in Wisconsin. 10,261 in Alabama. 634 in Hawaii. 


In the U.S., 9,382,235 COVID-19 test results have been reported and 232,733 have reported full recoveries from the virus.





Senate HELP Committee hearing: Fauci warns of “really serious” consequences if nation reopens too quickly. Anthony Fauci, in a highly anticipated hearing on Tuesday, warned the Senate Health Committee of "really serious" consequences if states ignore federal guidelines and reopen too early during the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci said the danger of new spikes of coronavirus cases from reopenings is both real and dangerous. “The consequences could be really serious,” said Fauci, who is self-isolating after being in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case at the White House. (The Hill 


Trump testing czar says hope is for 40 million to 50 million coronavirus tests a month by September. Adm. Brett Giroir,  who is overseeing the administration's coronavirus testing efforts, said he hopes the country will be testing tens of millions of people a month by the fall. "So by September, taking every aspect of development, authorization manufacturing and supply chain into consideration, we project that our nation will be capable of performing at least 40 [million] to 50 million tests per month if needed at that time," Giroir said. (The Hill)


Pandemic roils GOP views on trade with China. Key Republican senators urged President Trump on Monday not to let rising tensions with China upset bilateral trade at a time when the U.S. economy is reeling from the coronavirus. (The Hill)


Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyEnergy Department announces million toward carbon capture, industrial assessment centers Bottom line Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-La.) 

@SenBillCassidy #COVID19 has interrupted our lives & the impacts will persist. Although most children don't appear to be at physical risk from the disease itself, the collective response to the disease promotes an environment that increases the vulnerability of children. https://pediatricnursing.org/article/S0882-


Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Murray blasts GOP measure on transgender athletes: 'Have a little bit of heart' Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session MORE (D-Wash.) 

@PattyMurray @SecGeneScalia needs to stop dragging his feet, do his job, and issue a rule to ensure that employers are making workers' health and wellbeing their top priority.


Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneTrump's Slovenia Ambassador Lynda Blanchard jumps into Alabama Senate race Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat Ex-Rep. Mike Conaway, former aide launch lobbying firm MORE (R-Ala.) 

@RepByrne Instead of drafting a partisan wish list behind closed doors, @SpeakerPelosi needs to get serious and call Congress back to Washington so the people's representatives can sit at the table to discuss how to fight the #coronavirus. The American people want their voices heard!


CNN Poll: Negative ratings for government handling of coronavirus persist. Most Americans (54 percent) continue to say the U.S. government is doing a poor job preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. And, while a growing share of the public feels the worst of the outbreak is behind us (44 percent, up from 17 percent in April), a majority (52 percent) still sees the worst on the horizon. (CNN


Michigan sheriff says he won't enforce Whitmer's stay-at-home order. A county sheriff in Michigan said Monday that his office will not enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) stay-at-home order intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which data shows has resulted in more than 47,000 cases in the state and more than 4,500 deaths. (The Hill


Pennsylvania governor pushes back on counties threatening to step out of line, with some early signs of success. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) pushed back forcefully — and with some apparent success — Monday on a brushfire of opposition in central and eastern Pennsylvania counties to his ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown. (PennLive Patriot News)


  New clusters emerge in countries once praised for successful coronavirus fights. Several nations in Asia have been hailed for curbing the spread within their borders. But in the face of the coronavirus, victory can be elusive and fleeting. Singapore, once a model for its speed and efficiency in tracing the contacts of infected people, has seen its cases balloon to more than 24,000 as the virus spread in dormitories for foreign workers. Officials in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began and which celebrated its recent emergence from more than two months in lockdown, said it would test all 11 million residents after six new cases were confirmed this week. (New York Times


  Japan raises travel alert for 13 countries over virus pandemic. Japan on Tuesday raised its travel alert for 13 countries to its second-highest level, warning against any trips to these areas as new coronavirus infections continue to spread globally. (Kyodo News)


Robot dog enforces social distancing in Singapore park. A robot dog is patrolling one of Singapore's parks as part of a coronavirus-related trial. The machine — made by U.S.-based Boston Dynamics — is fitted with a camera to monitor how busy Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park becomes. (BBC)


What you need to know about four potential COVID-19 vaccines. New technologies are helping speed the process along at a rate much faster than the traditional method of giving someone a weakened version of the virus. For example, new technology uses RNA or DNA to code for a part of the virus to trigger an immune response that offers protection. But that technology has never been used on a wide scale for an approved vaccine, adding to the uncertainty. Here’s a guide to the four U.S. and European vaccine efforts that have started clinical trials. (The Hill)


BIO launches new COVID-19 therapeutic development tracker. BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has reviewed and annotated pipeline data from BioCentury and Biomedtracker to create an interactive view of the COVID-19 pipeline. The team has investigated each drug as to the original inventor (company/country), mechanism of action, and strategic approach, as well as de-duplicated programs for the same active ingredient (for example, hydroxychloroquine is counted only once). This data will be updated weekly on Monday mornings. (Good Day Bio)


Johns Hopkins offering free class in how to become a contact tracer. An online course being offered by Johns Hopkins University teaches people how to become contact tracers for free, filling a need by states across the country for trained professionals who can help identify COVID-19 victims and those they have come into contact with. ABC News first reported the online course. (The Hill)


University Hospital, UT Health San Antonio begin second phase of patient testing for promising COVID-19 drug. The COVID-19 Infectious Disease Team at University Health System and UT Health San Antonio has launched the second stage of a clinical trial involving a coronavirus drug that has delivered promising results. According to a news release, the second phase of the remdesivir clinical trial follows encouraging results from the initial part of the study that included 1,063 patients. (KSAT)



Twitter to label misleading coronavirus tweets. Amid a surge of misinformation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitter has announced yet another update to its policies regarding conspiracy theories and fake news. Now, COVID-19 tweets that are considered misleading will get labels designed to offer more context about the information therein. Tweets making potentially harmful claims disputed by experts will now come with a more direct warning message. (Vox)


The biggest U.S. mall owner plans to have 50 percent of its centers reopened this week. The biggest U.S. mall owner, Simon Property Group, said Monday that it plans to have roughly 50 percent of its properties reopened again within the next week, as states begin to loosen their lockdown restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)


United updates social distancing policies after viral photo of packed flight. On Monday, just days after Eric Weiss posted a photo of a crowded cross-country flight, United announced that it would be “implementing additional, temporary changes to promote social distancing in the air and on the ground.” (Washington Post)


The scientific road to recovery. If we want a more accurate picture, we must perform both viral testing and antibody testing on a systematic basis. This is not just an academic exercise. It is critical to safely reopening society. Reopening without having a handle on the infection fatality rate will lead to a disorganized and potentially devastating, and deadly outcome. (Sandra Gelbard for The Hill


COVID-19 and the future of North American borders. Whether the control is in China or in the United States, borders in North America will fundamentally change again. Decisions to sort, enable or exclude, and to enhance the movement of people, goods and ideas across North American borders will become even more centralized and politicized. (Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Victor Konrad for The Hill)

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This year, it comes at a time when more Americans than ever are struggling with their emotional health as they grapple with the anxiety and financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged isolation period we now find ourselves in. 


Here’s some helpful tips to boost your mental health as the pandemic drags on: 


> 9 ways to boost your mental health during the pandemic

> Mindfulness during the coronavirus: Harvard professor’s tips to help lower anxiety

> The best mental health tips for staying sane in isolation 

> Quick tips on how to stay sane in a pandemic, from a psychologist 

John Krasinski and “The Office” cast re-create show’s wedding dance for newlyweds. John Krasinski, Steve Carell and the rest of "The Office" crew reunited for a very important occasion — and no, it wasn't a reboot of the hilarious sitcom. But it was for a good cause. On his YouTube show, "Some Good News," Krasinski called on his former castmates, including Jenna Fischer, to re-create the epic dance scene from Jim (Krasinski) and Pam’s (Fischer) wedding for a newlywed couple. (Fox News


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

> Steve interviews BIO President and CEO JIM GREENWOOD 

> Steve interviews former Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY 

> Steve interviews World Central Kitchen founder chef JOSE ANDRES 

> Steve interviews Rep. WILL HURD (R-Texas) 

> Steve interviews Sen. JOHN BARRASSO (R-Wyo.) 


Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here





One of the things I have been doing on Facebook — but there are other platforms like Instagram that are just as good — is sharing with my “friends” museum tours I have done in the past. I take tons of pics at museums nowadays and folks seem to like the walkthroughs. So, here are a few artworks from the National Portrait Gallery and a compelling “Eye to I: Self Portraits from 1900 to Today” exhibit I saw recently. This to me is a refreshing alternative to #selfies (which I still love), and here, courtesy of National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet are a lot of other virtual tours of online exhibitions featured on Google Arts & Culture.  Enjoy these selfies. 


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 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.