Coronavirus Report

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight


> US surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases as outbreaks continue to spring up throughout the country 

> 1.5 million more join jobless rolls in the first week of June 

> Trump team announces rallies in states where new infections are surging 

> White House, GOP to push coronavirus relief talks to late July 

> The next COVID-19 challenge: Convincing people to get flu shots 

> Pennsylvania House speaker resigns amid allegations GOP hid member’s virus infection 

> EU accuses China of of waging pandemic disinformation campaign 

> Coronavirus spread ‘accelerating’ throughout Africa, WHO warns of ‘hot spots’ 

> J & J set to start human vaccine trials in July, two months ahead of schedule 

> Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means and must decriminalize poverty

Less than a week after President Trump touted a positive jobs report and claimed victory over the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor announced Thursday that more than 1.5 million filed new jobless claims in the first week of June. In the week between May 31 and June 6, the total number of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 1,542,000 from a revised total of 1,897,000 in the final week of May. Roughly 705,676 Americans also filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an extension of jobless benefits to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic but do not qualify for standard unemployment insurance. More than 40 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits since March, and the economy had lost more than 21 million jobs before May’s reversal. (The Hill)


Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas says the country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means and must decriminalize poverty; claims contact tracing is vital in order to reopen and coexist with COVID-19.





Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Thursday, June 11.

Editor’s Note.


Today in my anchor interview for The Hill’s Coronavirus Report, I asked Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas to reflect on the stresses simultaneously hitting his residents: paralyzed businesses slowly becoming alive again, unemployed workers, the erupting anger over the death of George Floyd and police brutality, and the ongoing COVID-19 health challenges. Just last week, his city found more than 200 people from a single paper-making plant infected with the coronavirus. Lucas jumped on how many were missing the point in the protests and the calls to defund police.


“Rather than just talking about what defunding the police may mean,” he said, “let’s actually talk about what it is that we want to proactively fund and support, right? We shouldn’t actually just build things from a negative, and I think I have some fear right now that that’s the social moment we’re in. 


“Instead, what we need to say is, ‘Well, how do we actually make sure we have good, strong, sustained investments in mental health? How do we make sure we have sustained investments and alternatives to incarceration? How do we make sure that we at least modify, remove, eliminate the war on drugs in our country, which in many ways has been an abject failure?’ ”


America’s deck has been stacked against communities of color which are being felled disproportionately by the COVID-19 virus. There are much higher infection and mortality rates in these communities than in the white community. What is clear is that the virus has a number of vectors — and part of the story, as Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) told me recently, is that racism is itself a virus plaguing us. To fight the racism virus, Lucas suggests some solid strategies — invest much more deeply in mental health services, find alternatives to incarceration where so many black and brown Americans are behind bars and stop a war on drugs that has created so much of the dysfunction in our jails and society.


These sorts of initiatives fighting for fair and just public health on a different track may be as important, if not more so, than the annual shot or pill we are all eventually going to have to take to fight off the yearly assault of COVID-19. Something to think about.


–  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 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

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


There are 7,432,275 reported cases of COVID-19 throughout the world and 417,829 have died from the virus as of the time of this newsletter. 


Yet another grim milestone for the U.S. which has surpassed 2 million cases with 113,209 dead from the coronavirus. Brazil is reporting 772,416 cases. Russia 501,800. U.K. 292,854. India 286,577. Spain 242,707. Italy 236,142. Peru 208,823. France 192,068. Germany 186,562. Iran 180,156. Turkey 173,036. 


Rising hospitalizations in states such as Texas and Arizona are prompting fears about a second wave riding on the heels of the reopening the country. New York is reporting 380,892 cases. New Jersey 165,346. California 139,782. Illinois 129,837. Massachusetts 104,156. Pennsylvania 81,692. Texas 80,823. Florida 69,069. Michigan 65,182. 


Observations on rising new cases and hospitalizations throughout the country:


> South Carolina saw its worst spike in COVID-19 cases to date on Wednesday.

> Disneyland plans to reopen its California theme parks in July. 

> Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Thursday that rising numbers in Texas, Arizona and the Carolinas are “not a second wave,” noting those states “never really got rid of the first wave.”

> Maryland to allow indoor dining, gyms, casinos and more business to resume operations. 

The U.S. is reporting 21,467,820 COVID-19 test results and 533,504 full recoveries.





Senate GOP torn on how to address expiring COVID-19 unemployment boosts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told Senate Republicans that he expects the next pandemic relief bill to come to the Senate floor just after the Senate returns from its July 4 recess. As senators work up against the impending end of the unemployment benefit, a debate over whether to extend the enhanced jobless benefits is beginning to come to a head. (ABC News)


Trump announces rallies in states where new infections are surging. President Trump announced Wednesday that he will resume his campaign rallies soon, and the gatherings will take place in a handful of states currently battling surges of new COVID-19 infections. His first rally in months is set for June 19 in Tulsa, Okla., and the president also mentioned campaign stops in states that have seen sharp increases in new cases and hospitalizations: Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina. (Washington Post


Senate weighs broad coronavirus liability shield for employers. Senate Republicans are drafting legislation that would let employers choose which government coronavirus safety guidelines to follow in order to be shielded from lawsuits if their customers or workers contract the virus, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Wednesday. (Insurance Journal) 


Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) 

@RepFrankLucas As Oklahoma reopens our local economies, testing must remain a priority!

#COVID19 testing is available to ALL Oklahomans. FIND OUT MORE HERE


Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) 

@RepBera Our community has done a great job these past few months following #COVID19 public health guidelines, but we’re not out of the woods yet.Please continue to practice physical distancing and wear a face covering if you go out in public. Your efforts make a difference!


Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)

@RepCindyAxne While I am saddened that Iowa won’t get the chance to show off one of its greatest attractions this year, I appreciate the state fair board for sending a clear message that caution is still crucial with the risks of #COVID19 still present in Iowa. #IA03


US showing signs of retreat in battle against COVID-19. When throngs of tourists and revelers left their homes over Memorial Day weekend, public health experts braced for a surge in coronavirus infections that could force a second round of painful shutdowns. Two weeks later, that surge has hit places like Houston, Phoenix, South Carolina and Missouri. Week-over-week case counts are on the rise in half of all states. Only 16 states and the District of Columbia have seen their total case counts decline for two consecutive weeks. (The Hill)


Nursing homes under scrutiny after warnings of seized stimulus checks. Nursing homes are coming under more scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic, this time for complaints about efforts to confiscate coronavirus stimulus checks. (The Hill


Smaller classes, masks, slashed budgets: Educators look toward an altered landscape. Across the United States, school leaders are beginning to roll out plans to welcome more than 50 million students back in the fall, including procuring millions of masks; flooding schools with nurses, aides and counselors; and staggering schedules to minimize class size. (New York Times)

Pennsylvania House speaker resigns amid accusation GOP reps. hid a member’s virus infection. Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) announced Wednesday he is stepping down from his position, saying he will leave the legislature before his current term ends in November. Turzai’s resignation announcement comes two weeks after state Rep. Brian Sims (D) said Pennsylvania’s House Republicans intentionally withheld information about a GOP representative’s coronavirus diagnosis. (Newsweek)


Coronavirus in Africa: Outbreak “accelerating” across continent. The World Health Organizaton’s Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti said it was spreading beyond capital cities and that a lack of tests and other supplies were hampering responses. But she said it did not seem as if severe cases and deaths were being missed by authorities. So far, Africa has been the continent least affected by COVID-19. (BBC)


EU accuses China of waging a pandemic disinformation campaign. The European Union on Wednesday accused China of a concerted effort to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, lumping it with the Kremlin as a global scofflaw seeking to sow divisions in European societies. (Washington Post


Brazil’s big cities start to reopen, fueling fears of another deadly coronavirus wave. When Brazil’s first death from coronavirus was reported in Sao Paulo on March 17, the city ordered schools and nonessential businesses shut and urged people to shelter in place. With the death toll in Brazil now over 39,000 and rising, stores and shopping


The next COVID-19 challenge: Convincing people to get flu shots. Public health officials, doctors and pharmacists who have struggled for decades to convince Americans to get the flu shot are warning it is now more important than ever to get vaccinated as the U.S. faces a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall. Coinciding flu and COVID-19 outbreaks could overwhelm hospitals and drain resources, threatening lives and the response to the pandemic. (The Hill)


Johnson & Johnson says coronavirus vaccine’s human trials moved up to July. Johnson & Johnson has bumped the start of human trials for its potential coronavirus vaccine by two months to begin in July, according to multiple reports. The New Jersey-based company previously projected to have such human trials begin in September. (Fox News)


Israeli researchers on road to new COVID-19 passive vaccine. A team of Israeli researchers at Bar-Ilan University have identified short amino acid sequences — often referred to as the “building blocks of life” — that could help develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus and which they believe could stop the next outbreak. (Jerusalem Post)

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Stocks plunge amid concerns over rising coronavirus cases. Stocks sank sharply Thursday amid concerns over rising coronavirus cases in several states that had loosened social distancing restrictions and another stark warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. (The Hill


Businesses want legal protections in case workers or customers contract the virus. Amusement parks, salons, real estate agents and gyms around the country have begun requiring customers and workers to sign liability waivers pledging not to sue if they become infected with the coronavirus. And states like Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah have put in place new rules to protect companies from lawsuits if their workers or customers contract the virus at their businesses. (New York Times


Google’s and Apple’s rules for virus tracking apps sow division among states. The global rush to halt the coronavirus led countries like Australia and South Korea to launch smartphone apps to track its spread, using the technology as a key part of their push to tamp down the pandemic and restart their economies. But U.S. efforts to do the same are running into an all-too-familiar problem that has plagued the pandemic response: a lack of national coordination. And Silicon Valley’s attempts to help aren’t resolving the confusion. (Politico)


America’s role in world affairs may never recover from COVID-19. The failure of the Trump administration to even participate, let alone take the lead, in global efforts to devise a coordinated response to the most significant global health challenge in a century has made it clear to other nations that they cannot depend on U.S. leadership in a crisis. It will have lasting consequences for America’s role in world affairs. (Barry M. Blechman for The Hill)


Support for cities is essential to the national economic recovery. A nationwide economic recovery without the federal government working hand-in-hand with state and local governments will be no recovery at all. We urge members of Congress to show the political courage we need right now to ensure that America’s cities, towns and villages continue to be part of the solution. Let’s get our country back to work. (Clearfield, Utah, Mayor Mark Shepherd for The Hill


Dying to connect or dying unconnected: Two realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The desire to connect with others is a need we all share. Our ability to connect with others on our timing and choosing is something that we should not take for granted. This may not be the case for those who are alone battling the coronavirus. (Janice Phillips for The Hill)  


National Park Service designates $1.9 million to return Native American remains, sacred objects. The National Park Service is awarding $1.9 million in grants to 12 Native American tribes and 18 museums in order to recover ancestral remains and cultural items from across the United States. (The Hill


> Steve interviews former Rep. JOHN DELANEY (D-Md.)

> Steve interviews Johns Hopkins Center for Healthy Security’s JENNIFER NUZZO 

> Steve interviews Rep. VAL DEMINGS (D-Fla.)  

> Steve interviews BIO President and CEO MICHELLE MCMURRY-HEATH 

> Steve interviews Association of American Railroads President and CEO IAN JEFFERIES 

> Steve interviews New American CEO ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER 

> Steve interviews Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN 

> Steve interviews MInnesota Attorney General KEITH ELLISON  


Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here


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 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

Click here to subscribe to our Overnight Healthcare Newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus


Tags Ami Bera Cindy Axne Coronavirus Coronavirus Report Donald Trump Frank Lucas John Cornyn John Delaney Keith Ellison Mitch McConnell Quinton Lucas Steven Mnuchin Val Demings

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