The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Rep. Val Demings calls for a new DOJ Office of Police Standards; Trump, GOP to pull convention from NC
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
> Trump to pull GOP convention from Charlotte; NC gov says ‘protecting public health and safety’ a priority
> White House selects 5 companies most likely to produce a vaccine
> US should have ‘a couple hundred million’ doses of coronavirus vaccine available by start of 2021, Fauci says
> Gottlieb says any such coronavirus vaccine will likely be ‘seasonal’
> White House to block Chinese airlines from flying to US
> Private payrolls declined by 2.76 million jobs in May; stocks continue June rise
> Bolsonaro says ‘death is everyone’s destiny’ as virus continues to ravage country
> Sweden’s top epidemiologist, who managed the pandemic response, says ‘could have done better’
> How to safely protest during a pandemic
> Rep. Val Demings says U.S. doesn’t need a divider-in-chief, calls for a new DOJ Office of Police Standards, notes that 9/11 anti-terror equipment not purchased to use against citizens
As U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 1.8 million, President Trump says Republicans will pull their nominating convention from Charlotte, N.C. With civil unrest spreading across the nation and more than 1.8 million coronavirus cases reported in the United States, it’s hard to envision what political parties’ nominating conventions will look like in August. What does seem increasingly clear is that President Trump will accept the Republican nomination somewhere other than Democratic-led North Carolina, where Gov. Roy Cooper has refused to pre-authorize a gathering of more than 19,000 people. High-profile events, such as Trump’s televised acceptance speech, will probably take place elsewhere, with Orlando, Nashville, Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla., being floated as possibilities. (Washington Post)
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.)
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a potential vice presidential nominee, says U.S. doesn’t need a divider-in-chief, calls for a new DOJ Office of Police Standards, notes that 9/11 anti-terror equipment not purchased to use against citizens and says Dems, GOP need to unify country like former President George W. Bush did, and adds that ‘by the way, it’s hurricane season.’
Watch the full interview here.
THE HILL’S CORONAVIRUS REPORT
Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Wednesday, June 3.
The following was written by a friend of mine, a former MSNBC colleague when we were both contributors, a Black republican who is now an employee at Facebook. I admire him for navigating moments of ethical stress now and many times in the past. He shared this earlier this week on his internal Facebook account, viewable within the company, and I have permission to share it:
I am a Black employee at Facebook. In support of today’s walk-out by Black employees at the company, I will not be responding to any business communications today.
The President of the United States has advocated for the murder of Black lives, which violates Facebook guidelines. Facebook leadership has failed to acknowledge the clear violation or to respond in a manner consistent with its stated policies. The hateful rhetoric advocating violence against Black demonstrators by the US President does not warrant defense under the guise of freedom of expression.
Along with Black employees in the company, and all persons with a moral conscience, I am calling for Mark [Zuckerberg] to immediately take down the President’s post advocating violence, murder and imminent threat against Black people.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -– MLK
We have seen many at Facebook stand up for what they believe is right, with some even resigning their positions. This reminded me of something a professor once imparted to me. He said that we don’t understand the true norms of people or a community, or society, unless we observe it under stress. We have seen amazing stories of heroism in the battle against COVID-19 — front-line health workers, community workers sewing masks, an army animated by José Andrés and Tom Colicchio to feed vulnerable communities and to keep the food supply chain intact. And we see my friend taking a risky stand inside Facebook against the views of his company’s founder and CEO.
My interview subject today, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a former Orlando Police Chief, asked her former brothers and sisters in blue, “What in the hell are you doing?” in a powerful Washington Post op-ed. How they behave under stress matters on the front lines of our personal security every day. And while many of these officers are great and have “taken a knee” like the NYPD chief did Tuesday, there are too many engaging in harassment, brutality and murder with impunity. Those norms are evident in this stressful time — and that’s the conversation we should be having.
The COVID-19 story has now become enmeshed with the stories of inequality and racism in America, in our growing social and economic divides, and we are going to have to sort through all of this at the same time to get to the other side. America is struggling on all of these fronts, and who knows what is next. In our discussion, Demings pointed out, “Oh, by the way, it’s hurricane season.”
– Steve Clemons
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CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
There are a reported 6,435,453 cases of COVID-19 around the globe and 382,093 have lost their lives as of the time of this newsletter.
The U.S. is reporting 1,839,167 cases and 106,553 deaths. Brazil has emerged a new global hot spot and the country is now reporting 555,383 cases. Russia, with 431,715 reported cases, continues to see its new cases and death rate rise. The U.K. is reporting 281,264 cases. Spain 240,326. Italy 233,836. India 216,314. France 188,450. Germany 184,121. Peru 170,039. Turkey 165,555. Iran 160,696. Chile 108,686. South Africa 35,812. Israel 17,342. Afghanistan 17,267. South Korea 11,590. Nigeria 10,819. Finland 6,911.
New York is reporting 374,085 cases. New Jersey 162,068. Illinois 122,848. California 117,493. Massachusetts 101,163. Pennsylvania 77,654. Texas 67,354. Georgia 48,207. Virginia 46,912. Louisiana 40,746. Minnesota 25,876. Tennessee 24,342. Washington 22,157. Nebraska 14,616. South Carolina 12,415. Kentucky 10,185. Oregon 4,335. Idaho 2,933. Alaska 486.
The U.S. has recorded 17,757,838 coronavirus test results and 463,868 have reported full recoveries from COVID-19.
McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution from Democrats that would have condemned President Trump after rubber bullets and gas were used on peaceful protesters near the White House. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to pass the resolution, which was introduced earlier Tuesday, by unanimous consent, meaning any senator could block it.
The CDC waited its entire existence for this moment. What went wrong? The Centers for DIsease Control and Prevention, long considered the world’s premier health agency, made early testing mistakes that contributed to a cascade of problems that persist today as the country tries to reopen. It failed to provide timely counts of infections and deaths, hindered by aging technology and a fractured public health reporting system. And it hesitated in absorbing the lessons of other countries, including the perils of silent carriers spreading the infection. (New York Times)
Republicans turning against new round of $1,200 rebate checks. Republican lawmakers are voicing deep skepticism about passing another round of $1,200 rebate checks as they contemplate the next and possibly final stage of coronavirus relief legislation. Senate Republicans on Tuesday said they are more focused on reforming the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, providing more money for cash-strapped state and local governments, boosting benefits for Social Security recipients and fixing other elements of COVID-19 relief bills passed earlier this year. (The Hill)
Trump administration plans to block Chinese airlines from flying to the U.S. The Trump administration on Wednesday said that it planned to block Chinese airlines from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16, after the Chinese government effectively prevented U.S. airlines from resuming service between the countries. (New York Times)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
@SenBlumenthal Right for the DC National Guard to investigate this apparent abuse in use of military force. Disproportionate responses in DC & across the country cannot go unchecked. The Senate Armed Services Committee must conduct additional oversight with scrutiny.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.)
@RepKenBuck Let me get this straight. Democrat mayors and governors will allow thousands of rioters to flood the streets and destroy their communities, but it’s still too dangerous to worship at church in person?
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
@RepYvetteClarke Tear-gassing peaceful protestors at the White House is just the latest racist bullying tactic by our country’s prime bully, Donald J. Trump. HE IS A DISGRACE. HE IS SHAMEFUL. HE IS #NOTMYPRESIDENT. We will not be silenced. #JusticeforAll
ACROSS THE NATION
As protests against police brutality and racism spread in the U.S., there are fears that so, too, will the virus. The protests against police brutality and racism that have spread across the United States since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have spurred fears of a resurgence of the virus. Concerns have forced people sympathetic to the movement to weigh the risks of attending demonstrations, where there is often little social distancing. (New York Times)
Oklahoma State football player says he tested positive for coronavirus after attending protests. An Oklahoma State University football player says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending demonstrations protesting the police killing of George Floyd. Amen Ogbongbemiga, a senior linebacker, tweeted Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus after attending protests in Tulsa. (The Hill)
Brazil’s Bolsonaro says death is “everyone’s destiny” as 1,262 reported dead in one day. Brazil reported a record 1,262 new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday evening, raising the country’s fatality total to at least 31,199. Despite the intensifying calamity, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the severity of the pandemic. He told supporters Tuesday, “We lament all deaths, but it’s everyone’s destiny,” Reuters reported. (Washington Post)
Germany plans to lift its travel ban on European countries. Germany will lift its travel ban on 29 European countries, including Britain and Iceland, on June 15 and replace it with travel advisories, Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas said. The ban was imposed on March 17, when infections were rising exponentially in Europe. (New York Times)
Trump administration selects 5 companies most likely to produce a vaccine. The Trump administration has selected five companies as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for the coronavirus, senior officials said. Noah Weiland and David E. Sanger of The New York Times report that the five companies are Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, which Dr. Fauci said he expected would enter into the final phase of clinical trials next month; the combination of Oxford University and AstraZeneca, on a similar schedule; and three large pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. Each is taking a somewhat different approach. (New York Times)
U.S. should have a “couple hundred million” doses of a coronavirus vaccine by start of 2021, Fauci says. The U.S. should have 100 million doses of one candidate COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, Anthony Fauci said Tuesday. “Then, by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple hundred million doses,” he said during a live question and answer session with the Journal of the American Medical Association. (CNN)
Coronavirus vaccine will be “seasonal,” former Food and Drug Administration chief says. Any coronavirus vaccine that proves to be safe and effective will still probably only provide immunity for a limited amount of time, maybe “up to a year,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. (CNBC)
FDA updates guidelines to allow select impurities in hand sanitizers. The Food and Drug Administration will temporarily allow a certain amount of impurities in alcohol-based sanitizers to keep them accessible during the coronavirus pandemic. The new regulations will monitor and provide further clarity on impurity limits for ethanol companies that recently switched to producing hand sanitizer during the outbreak. (The Hill)
Stocks continue winning streak amid protests. Stocks on Wednesday continued their June winning streak, rising even as widespread protests and unrest continued around the country over racial justice. (The Hill)
ADP report shows 2.8 million jobs lost in May. ADP monthly private payroll estimate released Wednesday found that 2.76 million jobs were lost in May, an unexpectedly small figure given the millions who have filed for unemployment each week. Economists expected the figure to be closer to 8.75 million. Last month’s ADP report showed 20.24 million jobs were lost in April. (The Hill)
World Economic Forum in Davos still set to take place in January. The organizers of the World Economic Forum said Wednesday that they are planning to hold their annual meeting as scheduled in January, both virtually and in-person in Davos, Switzerland. Officials have confirmed more than 30,000 coronavirus cases in Switzerland, a country of about 8.5 million people. (Washington Post)
ISSUES, CAUSES, PASSIONS
How to protest safely in a pandemic. Wear masks, carry signs, bring goggles. The United States, still navigating a pandemic that has killed nearly 107,000 people in America, is reeling from protests over the death of George Floyd. Some of them have been followed by riots, looting and a militarized police response. The confluence of events means protesters must try to avoid causing a surge in COVID-19 cases as they prepare for the possibility of being caught up in violence or facing crowd-dispersal tactics that include rubber bullets, tear gas and smoke or flash grenades.
If you’re set on protesting, how can you protect yourself from these dangers? Read more here.
In hindsight, strict COVID-19 precautions made no sense for much of the country. America is a big and diverse country. The magnitude of the threat varied widely from place to place and demographically. The draconian measures taken in the name of the precautionary principle may have made sense in a few locations, and with some segments of the population, but they made no sense for much of the country and most of the population. Those who urged and ordered extreme caution will say that infections and deaths would have been much worse without a shutdown — and they probably would have been — but not everywhere, nor for everybody. (James L. Huffman for The Hill)
COVID-19 — a catalyst for change. Specifically, the pandemic should push America to implement strategies to eradicate the human-made disaster of “mass evacuations” from tropical systems in the future. The typical actions taken by governments to enforce mass evacuations in preparation for a potential hurricane landfall can sometimes have a more significant effect than the hurricane itself. (former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long for The Hill)
$3 million raised to help Minneapolis businesses. More than $3 million in donations have been raised to help resuscitate Minneapolis businesses damaged by the looting that trailed protests over police brutality in Minnesota. The Associated Press reports that so far, the fund has earned more than $3 million from more than 38,000 donors since the riots began. (The Hill)
ICYMI: STEVE’S INTERVIEWS, 15 MINUTES EACH
Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.
YOUR WORLD, YOUR STORIES
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