The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly


> WHO warns of ‘immediate second peak’ if countries reopen too soon 

> A masked Cuomo rings opening bell at NYSE after two month closure; markets open to surge of optimism on promising vaccine candidate

> Brazil leads world in daily number of coronavirus deaths; White House travel ban from country to take effect today

> Fears of meat shortages rise as coronavirus spreads through packing plants 

> Novavax begins clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine; results expected in July 

> Former NIC Director Greg Treverton says US response to COVID-19 worst since founding of republic


The weekend that was. Americans’ abilities to conform with stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines faced perhaps the toughest challenge yet as thousands across the country celebrated Memorial Day — traditionally, a long-awaited entree into summer and the good times to follow. But this year, things were different. Officials continued to stress the need for Americans to maintain social distance wherever possible and wear masks to help prevent  further community spread of the virus. To be sure, many did comply and spent their weekend in close quarters with loved ones, sneaking in a bit of “normal” fun along the way. 

But many Americans weren’t so careful. At Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, scores of revelers flocked to crowded restaurants and pool resorts. Social media erupted with photos and videos of folks packed like sardines into bars and pools, with no attention being paid to social distancing measures. Masks were nowhere to be seen. In fact, you wouldn’t have even known there was a pandemic from watching the footage. The scene at the Ozarks could easily be a microcosm of folks throughout the country doing much the same — rushing to public places in a desperate attempt to regain a sense of the normalcy.


But, for so many other Americans, these scenes are troubling. If we are all being implored to social distance and to wear masks — not just to protect ourselves, but to protect others, particularly the most vulnerable groups — it seems like a stab in the back from our fellow Americans. Are we “all in this together” or will a greater divide emerge between Americans who view attending a crowded bar as their “constitutional right” and the large swaths of Americans who are perhaps more health-conscious and more eager to take the recommended measures to protect the public health? We’re heading toward our new normal. But, as we learned over the weekend, how people are approaching this new phase of reopening will differ drastically across the country. 


Greg Treverton, professor at the University of Southern California and former director of the National Intelligence Council




Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Tuesday, May 26.




Editor’s Note.  


This weekend, I saw smaller examples of the now widely reported human jam at the Lake of the Ozarks on the eastern shore of Maryland. The throngs of folks I saw were mostly young — but not all. There were a good number of 50+ people wanting to blend in and perhaps round down their age. That’s understandable, and intergenerational projects and fun are something I applaud.


I posted the above picture with no comment on Facebook this weekend other than that I wrote “Coronavirus weekend.” The comments that followed were intense, on all sides of the community debate about what responsible social activity looks like while we all struggle past this vicious and paralyzing pandemic. One good friend said that it’s completely understandable and predictable that these kinds of scenes would happen because people can’t be locked up for weeks on end without contact. He actually said it’s like giving up sex, which he said was impossible. The response was quick and vigorous for those who talked about how irresponsible such gatherings were for the safety of others, how these folks “deserved to die” (I decided to fade that comment from the list), how their calculations of life and death were different than that particular Facebook friend. My friend’s original comment didn’t last the day, and he took it down — which I find regrettable as there was a truth in his comments that deserve their place in the storm we are in.  


Another friend asked if my intention in posting the pic was to shame these folks and get my Facebook community to shame them. Her perspective: What these folks had decided to do was nowhere near as bad as some of what she had seen on the beaches or around the country and that this could be seen in part as an exhibition of relatively good behavior rather than of bad behaviors. I responded that my view was neutral. I posted to see what folks thought — and got a variation of responses which I think is consistent with the competing views out there on what lines we cross and don’t cross in these times. I told her I agreed with her that this was not hundreds of people together — and there was no way to know what calculations or communications went on between these folks who wanted to enjoy a nice day out on the eastern side of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay region.  


But the debate was intense and the views, in some cases, strident. I think we all need to find ways to accept that such scenes like the above are going to happen, and that some of these people will interact with us in other parts of our lives — at the grocery store or the bakery, or the gas station, or even as we increasingly go back to some sort of work environment. The key is probably not to demonize others for letting off steam, but rather to continue to assure that one’s own precautions are high. You control what you yourself do, but it gets messy and complicated when trying to change the behavior of others as rules are being relaxed. I would have loved to be at that boat tie-up, but the time isn’t right for me. I get that some others calculate differently. What I saw was “not” Lake of the Ozarks, though it wasn’t in the comfort zone of many. Until we get a vaccine and real protection, this is what learning to live with the virus is going to be like.


– 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


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ICYMI: catch up on last week's programs




On Thursday, The Hill hosted “A National Virtual Summit on Advancing America's Economy,” a forum to discuss a responsible reopening of the U.S. economy anchored by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan Mnuchin: Next stimulus bill must cap jobless benefits at 100 percent of previous income Why Trump can't make up his mind on China MORE.   Watch the full program video here


On Wednesday, The Hill hosted “The Vir[Tech]tual World of Tomorrow.”    Watch the full program video here

We want to hear from you! Follow us @TheHillEvents and keep the conversation going using #TheHillVirtuallyLive



There are 5,543,439 reported cases of COVID-19 and 347,836 global deaths as of the time of this newsletter. 


The U.S., where all states are beginning some sort of reopening, is reporting 1,669,040 cases and 98,426 deaths. Brazil’s cases continue to skyrocket and now stand at 374,898. For the first time Monday, Brazil surpassed the U.S. Monday for the first time with the most reported coronavirus fatalities over a 24-hour period. Russia is reporting 362,342 cases. 266,590 in the U.K. Spain 236,259. Italy 230,555. France 183,067. 180,802 in Germany. 157,814 in Turkey, 150,600 in India. 139,511 in Iran. 123,979 in Peru. 87,122 in Canada. 84,102 in China. 47,202 in Qatar. 45,780 in the Netherlands. 34,440 in Sweden. 31,086 in the UAE. 23,165 in Indonesia. 11,225 in South Korea. 11,183 in Panama. 8,697 in Algeria. 


New York is reporting 362,764 cases of the coronavirus. New Jersey 155,764. 112,017 in Illinois. 96,595 in California. 93,271 in Massachusetts. 72,682 in Pennsylvania. 56,409 in Texas. 54,881 in Michigan. 52,255 in Florida. 47,687 in Maryland. 43,592 in Georgia. 39,342 in Virginia. 20,535 in Tennessee. 20,065 in Washington. 16,784 in Arizona. 15,584 in Wisconsin. 7,026 in New Mexico. 6,138 in Oklahoma. 


Now that every state has begun to reopen in some form, U.S. hospitalizations are on a gradual upswing and cases are expected to rise, according to Scott Gottlieb, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE’s former commissioner of Food and Drugs. “We now see a trend in an uptick in hospitalizations. It’s a small uptick, but it is an uptick and it’s unmistakable and it is probably a result of reopening,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We are going to have to watch it.” 

Some observations of the U.S. data from The Hill’s national correspondent Reid Wilson: 


The statistics show the outbreak is still a Northeastern phenomenon, but it’s moving more to the Midwest. The 12 Midwestern states make up about 21 percent of the nation’s population, but they accounted for 27 percent of the new cases last week. The nine Northeastern states make up 17 percent of the country’s population, and almost 24 percent of the new cases last week — still high, but a number that has come down substantially as case counts in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts fall from their daunting peaks.


Southern states confirmed 42,554 new cases last week, and case counts are growing week-over-week in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. But the 13 Southern states make up 35 percent of the nation’s population and 27 percent of new cases.


The Mid-Atlantic continues to be troubling: Maryland and West Virginia showed week-over-week case increases, and Virginia has lagged far behind in testing capacity, raising questions about just how many cases the Commonwealth is missing. Those three states plus Washington, D.C., and Delaware account for just 3 percent of the population, but 6.6 percent of the new cases.


Western states are doing best, despite a spike in California. States that touch the Pacific have 16 percent of the population, and just 10 percent of new cases.


Some good news: Alaska has gone 19 days without recording a single COVID-19 related death. Hawaii’s streak is at 22 days, and Montana’s is at 26 days. Vermont has gone a little more than a week without a single death.


New York is still experiencing more new cases than any other state, 11,309 last week. But that’s a really positive trajectory, sitting at about one-sixth the number of weekly new cases the state was confirming at its peak in early April.


McConnell: Talking about fifth coronavirus bill 'in the next month or so.' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that there would "likely" be a fifth coronavirus relief bill "in the next month or so." "Many of you are asking, what next? I think there's likely to be another bill. It will not be the $3 trillion bill the House passed the other day. But there's still a likelihood that more will be needed," McConnell said during an event at a hospital in Louisville, Ky. (The Hill


Administration’s travel ban on Brazil to take effect today. The White House's ban on travelers arriving from Brazil, aimed at helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus, will take effect late Tuesday — two days earlier than previously planned.  (USA Today


GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill. Republicans are increasingly saying they expect to pass a fifth coronavirus bill — just don’t ask them to agree, yet, on what should be in it. (The Hill)

Trump threatens to pull Republican convention out of North Carolina. President Trump began a solemn Memorial Day railing against North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, ahead of the 2020 Republican National Convention, threatening to pull it out of Charlotte, where the convention is expected to be held Aug. 24 to 27. (CNN)


Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Maine) 

@SenatorCollins Farmers can begin applying for direct relief payments TODAY through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program created by the CARES Act. I encourage all Maine farmers who have been harmed financially due to COVID-19 to apply for this federal assistance. 


Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaJohn Kerry hosting virtual campaign events for Biden The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly MORE (D-Fla.) 

@RepShalala This #OlderAmericansMonth we celebrate the contributions seniors have made in our families and communities. As we continue to confront the #COVID19 pandemic, we must ensure they have the support they need.


Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE (R-Fla.) 

@marcorubio Community bank First National Bank of Moose Lake in #Minnesota funded 69 #PPPloans valued over $8.1 million, saving 948 local jobs. #PPPworks


Meat shortages could worsen as infections multiply at U.S. processing plants. For many Americans, Memorial Day marks the start of barbecue season. But the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to cause meat shortages to worsen as the virus spreads through America’s meatpacking plants. (Washington Post

California church going to Supreme Court over in-person restrictions. A church in California is petitioning the Supreme Court to block California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomBusinesses plead for states to enforce mask mandates A nationwide response from an unusual place: City halls California, Florida, Texas report new single day high coronavirus death tolls MORE's (D) order restricting in-person services amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The Hill)


WHO warns of “immediate second peak” if countries reopen too soon. The World Health Organization is warning that countries with declining coronavirus cases could face a second wave of the outbreak if they lift restrictions too soon. (The Hill

Brazil records world's highest daily coronavirus death toll for first time. Brazil for the first time has surpassed the U.S. with the most reported coronavirus fatalities over a 24-hour period Monday, Reuters reported. Brazil confirmed 807 deaths, while the U.S. reported 620, according to the news service. (The Hill)


Novavax is beginning clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine. Novavax, a biotech company focused on developing vaccines against infectious diseases, announced Monday that it is beginning a phase one clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Australia. Results of the trial are expected in July. (Forbes

Merck in collaboration to develop coronavirus vaccine. U.S. drugmaker Merck on Tuesday said it plans to work alongside nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. The news helped send Merck shares up about 3 percent during the premarket. (CNBC)





Cuomo rings bell as NYSE reopens to big gains. A masked Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York City reports zero COVID-19 deaths for first time since pandemic hit Florida health officials agreed to receive remdesivir from New York before DeSantis dismissed offer Cuomo says Northeast will likely see rise in COVID-19 cases due to surge in other parts of country MORE (D) rang the opening bell Tuesday as the New York Stock Exchange trading floor opened for the first time in two months. The markets opened to a surge of optimism following Memorial Day weekend as the country began to reopen and news of additional potential vaccine candidates has surfaced. (The Hill


Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy. The economic devastation caused by the coronavirus has hit women particularly hard, a contrast to the 2009 downturn that was known as "the men's recession." The latest employment figures show that women, by a 10-point margin, have seen the majority of the job losses as large parts of the economy have shut down. (The Hill


Craig Fugate: Emergency communications will be the next challenge of COVID-19. During my time as President Obama's administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, we coordinated the response to multiple record-breaking disasters. But the COVID-19 crisis is challenging the United States' emergency response resources in a much more profound way. Never have our federal and state agencies faced a national crisis of this scale, affecting all 50 states simultaneously for a period of several months. (Craig Fugate for The Hill


No “dole” for America: How to recover from COVID-19. Getting America to full employment again won’t be easy. As a recent study by the University of Chicago’s Becker-Friedman Institute shows, the COVID-19 lockdown has changed the dynamic of working. Some workers are now collecting more dollars under the CARES Act, the law that funds payroll protection, than they did when they worked. Those workers may not be eager to return to jobs. (Thomas D. Lehrman and Amity Shlaes for The Hill

Frustrated and struggling, New Yorkers contemplate abandoning the city they love. New York City is a shadow of its pre-pandemic normal. Many residents are out of work, out of money, out of patience and out of sorts. Reassessments are happening throughout the country, but nowhere else are they as sharply focused as here, in the nation’s most populated, most dense, most diverse metropolis — where more than 21,000 have died. (Washington Post)


Facebook is giving $20 million to women, minority, veteran-owned businesses. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, announced Wednesday that the social networking giant is giving $20 million to small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans across the U.S. (The Hill

651 vehicles show up for surprise birthday of 8-year-old fighting cancer. A surprise birthday parade for an 8-year-old boy had a massive, 651-vehicle turnout on Saturday. Leesport, Pa., resident Riley Rejniak, who is battling neuroblastoma a second time, waved as hundreds of cars, motorcycles and first responders arrived in waves."He waved to every single car and had the biggest smile face," mom Ashley Rejniak told "Good Morning America." "For me, I got emotional multiple times. We know he's loved by our community but the amount of gifts, balloons ... it was amazing." (Good Morning America)


> Steve interviews Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Director TOM INGLESBY 

> Steve interviews CDC Director ROBERT REDFIELD 

> Steve interviews Mastercard CEO AJAY BANGA 

> Steve interviews Teva USA President and CEO BRENDAN O’GRADY 

> Steve interviews US Surgeon General JEROME ADAMS 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here


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