The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Johns Hopkins’s Jennifer Nuzzo says America needs public health crisis insurance to pay for COVID-19 victims; Protests, pandemic continue to ravage America
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
> Civil unrest and coronavirus: Where we stand 6 months into the COVID-19 era
> #BlackoutTuesday overtakes social media outlets
> International debate brewing over claims COVID-19 is becoming less lethal
> Moderna vaccine candidate clears key hurdle, set to enter phase two of clinical trials
> 7 in 10 Americans would get coronavirus vaccine, new poll finds
> Michigan Gov. Whitmer lifts state’s stay-at-home order
> New Zealand set to lift nearly all coronavirus restrictions after 11 days with no new cases
> Coronavirus outbreak reported at Senegal research institute working on low-cost virus test
> Johns Hopkins’s Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo says America needs public health crisis insurance to pay for victims, calls on policymakers to proactively work to destigmatize the virus or people who are sick won’t reveal their condition
Have you scrolled through your social media today? You may have seen a hashtag at the top of social media trends — #BlackoutTuesday — this morning. You may have also seen some people criticizing the movement, and wondered exactly what is going on. As protests and unrest over the death of George Floyd continue around the United States, a movement was started by music execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, who wrote on a site that Tuesday would be a day to pause all business and take a stand against the “racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.” The movement is taking the form of posting all-black tiles on Instagram and other social media platforms. (USA Today)
As journalists, it’s our job to bring our readers the news — not to tell you how you feel about the news or which causes you should support. But this is a historic moment in our country. The photos you have seen — many of which we have brought you — of the violent and peaceful protests unravelling across the country will be front and center in our children’s history books.
This is more than just a “cause” — this is a mass-scale movement whose engines are being churned by the deep pain and suffering felt by so many Americans, particularly communities of color. The country is hurting. #BlackoutTuesday
Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Jennifer Nuzzo says America needs public health crisis insurance to pay for victims, calls on policymakers to proactively work to destigmatize the virus or people who are sick won’t reveal their condition, says that underlying injustices and inequities in our society are contributing to the virus’s lethality in communities of color.
Watch the full interview here.
THE HILL’S CORONAVIRUS REPORT
Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Tuesday, June 2.
Three storms at once. COVID-19 came like a tsunami, rushing over states, through urban centers and attacking elder care facilities and nursing homes, overwhelming health systems in America. Lots of time for blame and accountability later, but on the front end, the only response leaders had was to issue stay-at-home orders and curfews and desperately try to secure personal protective equipment and ventilators. They shuttered nonessential businesses, and that led to the second storm of now more than 42 million unemployed. In weeks, America went from historic employment levels to historic unemployment. Storm three was brewing here for a very long time — some say generations but that never really makes it into people’s heads — and that is systemic racism and bigotry, not only at the hands of some police officers who have harassed and killed black men and women too long with seeming impunity.
All three storms are feeding each other. Oh, and we are in a political season where President Trump, an avowed populist who embraces a muscular, pugnacious nationalism that does appeal to many in the nation, seems to prefer the storm to the calm.
I’ve been hopeful that the antivirals and vaccine therapies now in trials were going to fix all of this and be ready for Americans and people around the world on a much faster timeline than most believed possible. Even the pharmaceutical realist Tom Inglesby of Johns Hopkins University and Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have said they were optimistic about the possibility of faster than normal vaccines and therapeutics — but both have said, “everything else must go well.” We need smart leadership, pre-investment in manufacturing capacity globally, smart systems management and much more. Given the three storms above raging over a political blood-sport boxing ring — we, at a minimum, need to temper our hopes. Nothing will come easy or fast in the political and economic climate we see today.
– Steve Clemons
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THE HILL ‘VIRTUALLY’ LIVE
ICYMI: Catch up on last month’s programs
On May 21, 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 Mnuchin. Watch the full program video here.
On May 20, The Hill hosted “The Vir[Tech]tual World of Tomorrow.” Watch the full program video here.
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CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
There are 6,318,040 reported cases of COVID-19 and 376,885 reported deaths as of the time of this newsletter.
The U.S. is reporting 1,820,523 cases and 105,475 deaths. Brazil is reporting 526,447 cases. Russia, where the WHO says the outbreak is continuing to worsen, is reporting 423,186 cases. The WHO remains concerned about spikes in cases throughout Eastern Europe, as well.
Elsewhere around the world:
> Spain reported no new COVID-19 deaths Monday, a first since the start of the outbreak.
> Wuhan, China, is finishing up its aggressive push to test all 11 million city residents.
> Parisian life has taken a step back to normalcy with the reopening of city cafes.
> South Korea is working to quell a second outbreak that emerged in nightclubs and bars.
> Rwanda is set to announce new restrictions after its first recorded coronavirus death.
Insight into U.S. case numbers from Reid Wilson, The Hill’s national correspondent:
> States with highest number of new cases in the past week: Arkansas (+28), Arizona (+790), California (+3,057), and Utah (+329)
> New York recorded fewer than 10,000 new cases last week for the first time since March 21.
> Pennsylvania recorded fewer than 5,000 new cases last week for the first time since April 1.
> Texas has had a week straight of 1,000+ new cases a day.
> Vermont has gone 29 days without recording double-digit increases.
> As a measure of how the outbreak has evolved, Virginia reported almost twice as many cases last week as Pennsylvania, one of the early epicenters.
The U.S. has reported 17,340,682 coronavirus test results and 458,231 have reported full recoveries from the virus.
Pelosi, holding a bible, urges Trump to help the country heal. A reserved Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday called on President Trump to tone down his combative approach to the national protests for racial justice that have followed the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last week. Clutching a Bible in the Capitol, Pelosi urged Trump to reach across the divides of race, party, region and religion to help the country heal instead. (The Hill)
Trump testing czar to return to regular duties. The Trump administration official leading the COVID-19 testing efforts will return to his regular duties in mid-June, he announced Monday. Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, said at a public meeting Monday he will return to his regular duties next month after spending the past several weeks working with FEMA to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. (The Hill)
Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents died from COVID-19. Nearly 26,000 nursing home residents across the country have died from COVID-19, federal officials said Monday, the first public acknowledgement about the scope of the disease in the care facilities. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), states reported more than 60,000 cases of the coronavirus among nursing home residents, and the numbers are likely higher. (The Hill)
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)
@HurdOnTheHill Violent riots & destruction are drowning the voices trying to address injustice. Let’s not destroy. Violence will not bring George Floyd or the other countless victims back. It will only make the problem worse.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
@RepHastingsFL As Americans chose to gather peacefully near the WH to protest police brutality & the murder of George Floyd, President Trump chose flash-bang shells, gas & rubber bullets – all for a photo op. Dishonoring our values, including free speech, is not American & it is not leadership.
ACROSS THE NATION
Protests highlight COVID-19’s economic toll on African Americans. Protests around the country over the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans at the hands of police come as communities of color suffer staggering losses to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis it created. Economists and public health experts have issued increasingly dire warnings about the unique toll the pandemic is taking on black Americans and other minority groups, who make up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths and layoffs driven by the health crisis. (The Hill)
7 in 10 Americans would be likely to get a coronavirus vaccine, Post-ABC poll finds. About 7 in 10 Americans say they would get a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus if immunizations were free and available to everyone, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The nationwide survey finds that a majority of people of all political affiliations are interested in receiving such a vaccine. (Washington Post)
Michigan Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is lifting the state’s stay-at-home order, and will allow bars and restaurants to reopen for both indoor and outdoor dining with restrictions. In an announcement Monday, Whitmer said retailers would be allowed to open Thursday, with capacity limits. Restaurants and bars will be able to start serving patrons on June 8, she said. (The Hill)
New Zealand expected to lift coronavirus restrictions next week after 11 days without new cases. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday that nearly all of the restrictions intended to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country could be lifted as soon as next week. Ardern told reporters that the country may move to alert level one next week. That means that all social-distancing measures and bans on mass gatherings would be lifted. However, the country’s borders will remain closed, Reuters reported. (The Hill)
Cases continue to rise in Russia, Eastern Europe, WHO says. As daily new cases continue to decline across Western Europe, hot spots in Russia and Eastern Europe continue to worsen, the World Health Organization said, according to Reuters. “At the moment in Europe, in Western Europe, we are seeing a steady decline,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters. (CNBC)
Coronavirus has broken out at a research institute in Senegal that is working on a low-cost virus test. The coronavirus has broken out in a prestigious biomedical research institute in Senegal that has been working on developing a low-cost test for home use in Africa and elsewhere. (New York Times)
Global experts go head-to-head over claims the coronavirus “no longer exists clinically.” A very public dispute has broken out between some of Italy’s, and the world’s, most high-profile doctors after one expert claimed the coronavirus “no longer exists clinically.” Alberto Zangrillo, the head of intensive care at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan in the Lombardy region (the epicenter of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak), caused a stir Sunday by telling Italian media that a study by his colleague had shown that the virus was losing its potency. (CNBC)
A COVID-19 vaccine has passed its first human trial. But is it the front-runner? A promising coronavirus vaccine candidate cleared a key hurdle this week, when Moderna Therapeutics entered phase two of clinical trials. The move signals that the company’s mRNA vaccine has passed its initial safety checks and has met an important milestone in bringing this drug closer to the public and commercial markets. (National Geographic)
Secret weapons? Monkeys, ferrets offer needed clues in COVID-19 vaccine race. The animal testing lets scientists see how the body reacts to vaccines in ways studies in people never can, said Kate Broderick, research chief at Inovio Pharmaceuticals. With animals, “we’re able to perform autopsies and look specifically at their lung tissue and get a really deep dive in looking at how their lungs have reacted,” Broderick said. She’s awaiting results from mice, ferrets and monkeys that are being exposed to the coronavirus after receiving Inovio’s vaccine. (Fox Business)
Coronavirus sends MD-88 “Mad Dog” jets to an early retirement from U.S. fleets. A noisier era of aviation ends Tuesday when Delta Air Lines retires its “Mad Dog” jets. Its remaining MD-88s — and a quieter, younger model, the MD-90 — are headed to an early retirement because of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)
Stocks tick higher as Wall Street looks beyond police brutality. Stocks opened with modest gains Tuesday as investors looked past nationwide protests against police brutality and toward a second-half economic rebound from the devastation spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a gain of roughly 100 points, rising around 0.4 percent after the fourth consecutive night of demonstrations across American cities. (The Hill)
ISSUES, CAUSES, PASSIONS
Hackers are targeting the COVID-19 response and putting lives at risk. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the health of citizens and the economy, which has already put much strain on national infrastructure and society. However, urgent national security vulnerabilities exist that we are not prepared for and that are undermining our ability to respond to pandemics. Recently the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team alerted the public that cyberattacks are happening to organizations involved in the COVID-19 response. (Charles Fracchia for The Hill)
Remember the beginning and seemingly more light-humored days of quarantine? The days of “Tiger King,” bread baking and TikTok? Well, those are far gone. But for all you “Tiger King” Fans out there, this may put a smile on your face (depending on where you fall on the Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin feud).
A federal judge in Oklahoma has awarded ownership of Joe Exotic’s famous zoo to his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin. The order gives Baskin control of about 16 acres of land in Garvin County, Okla., that is home to an animal park with an array of big cats. (CNN)
Bank of America pledges $1 billion to help economic and racial inequality worsened by COVID-19. Bank of America announced it’s committing $1 billion to help communities grappling with exacerbated economic and racial inequality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank said in a press release that the program will focus on “assisting people and communities of color that have experienced a greater impact from the health crisis.” (CNBC)
ICYMI: STEVE’S INTERVIEWS, 15 MINUTES EACH
Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.
YOUR WORLD, YOUR STORIES
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