Coronavirus Report

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous; Pence says, ‘We have saved lives’


> Remember them? White House coronavirus task force held its first briefing in months Friday 

> Americans show rising concern over coronavirus as cases spike nationwide

> Joe Biden says he would require all Americans to wear masks in public if elected 

> Gov. Abbott, in a reversal, announces Texas bars will be shut at noon Friday amid surging cases 

> American Airlines to resume full flights on July 1 

> Treasury to give Congress access to all PPP loan data 

> Missing your work out classes? Groundbreaking research proves gyms pose no additional risk of catching COVID-19 

> India sets out to test all 29 million New Delhi residents 

> Israel announced partnership with UAE to combat the coronavirus 

> San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous and the arts must go online, claims Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ anti-discrimination in workplace is a historic pivot


The White House coronavirus task force briefed the nation today for the first time in months. As infections surged around the United States and warnings have emerged that the pandemic could worsen this fall, Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that “this moment is different” than when he last spoke to the nation, briefing the nation on the pandemic for the first time in nearly two months. “I recognize that this is different than two months ago, both our ability to respond and in the nature of those that are being infected,” Mr. Pence said. “And that younger Americans have a particular responsibility to make sure that they’re not carrying the coronavirus into settings where they would expose the most vulnerable.” But even as cases spike around the country, Mr. Pence tried to take a victory lap, asserting, “We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives.” (New York Times)


Tim Seelig, artistic director, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous and the arts must go online, claims Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ anti-discrimination in workplace is a historic pivot.





Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Friday, June 26.

Editor’s Note.


We are in trouble! 44,000 new reported cases of coronavirus infections in the U.S. in one day. Half of the new cases are Americans under the age of 35, according to Vice President Pence who broke a two months long silence from the White House coronavirus task force which had stopped giving public briefings until the comments today.


The latest Harris Poll, shared by pollster and Stagwell President Mark Penn, shows evidence of a great divide between younger and older Americans when it comes to the coronavirus. The study found that three-quarters of people over 50 said that young people act as if social distancing restrictions don’t apply to them and more than 70 percent said that young people are acting recklessly and putting the national health at risk. But those aged 18-49 say the over-50 crowd is “stubbornly sticking to their routines even though they are more at risk.” The Harris Poll also found that Generation Z/Millennials don’t have a positive view of folks who wear PPE in public places and they are the least likely age group to commit to wearing PPE long term until a vaccine is created.


Penn’s takeaway is “Fault lines are developing not only between young and old but the politicizing of face masks. There are the ‘anti-maskers’, who like anti-vaxxers ignore science and fact. But the truth is America is in a plateau, not a decline. And most Americans get this: (79%) fear the second wave of COVID, but the reality is we haven’t beaten down the first.”


So as we approach the penultimate weekend before America’s July 4th holiday, perhaps some intergenerational discussion about the antipathy toward masks among our younger people might be in order!


– 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

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


America’s Unfinished Business: An LGBTQ+ Summit | June 30, 2020


Join The Hill for a Pride month summit to discuss the fragility of civil rights in America today with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community. The forum will focus on constructive paths forward, lessons learned from civil rights advances, and will recognize that there are an array of perspectives of how to prioritize effort and focus when it comes to securing and making civil rights a reality in our daily lives.


Speakers Include: 


> Adam Rippon

> Chasten Buttigieg

> Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

> Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.)

> Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.)

> Alphonso David, president, Human Rights Campaign

> Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO, GLAAD

> Amit Paley, CEO and executive director, The Trevor Project

  CLICK HERE to register and see our full lineup of speakers.


There are 9,665,041 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the world and 490,903 reported deaths as of the time of this newsletter. 


The U.S. is reporting 2,429,769 cases and 124,544 deaths. Brazil 1,228,114. Russia 619,936. India 490,401. U.K. 310,836. Peru 268,602. Chile 263,360. Spain 247,905. Italy 239,961. Iran 217,724. Mexico 202,951. France 197,885. 


Elsewhere throughout the world: 

> The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, defended the agency’s response to the outbreak while taking pointed questions from members of the European Parliament.

> India is setting out to test all 29 million residents of capital city New Delhi as the country’s cases continue to soar. 

> Officials in South Africa — where the national caseload of more than 118,000 is the highest on the continent — published new measures on Friday to ease restrictions that have been in place since late March.

> Starting on Saturday in Egypt, restaurants, cafes and mosques will gradually reopen after three months of lockdown.

> Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced a new partnership with the United Arab Emirates to cooperate in the fight against the virus.


New York is reporting 391,220 cases. California 201,114. New Jersey 170,196. Illinois 139,434. Texas 134,558. Florida 114,018. Massachusetts 107,837. Pennsylvania 88,610. Georgia 71,095. Michigan 68,989. Maryland 66,115. Arizona 63,281. Virginia 60,570. North Carolina 59,185. Louisiana 53,415. Ohio 47,651. Connecticut 45,994. 


Here at home: 

> Texas and Florida are pausing some of their reopening plans as the states’ continue to see community spread of the virus.  

> In Alabama, ICU beds are 82 percent full as coronavirus cases continue to rise 

> New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) told CNBC he believes that K-12 schools in the state will hold in-person instruction this fall.

> Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday morning that the recent uptick in reported novel coronavirus cases across the United States could mean a spike in the death rate in the coming weeks. 


The U.S. is reporting the results of 29,207,820 COVID-19 tests and 663,562 full recoveries from the virus.


Fauci hints at new approach to COVID-19 testing. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said federal health officials are considering a new strategy for coronavirus testing as cases spike in states across the country. Fauci told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday night that officials are having “intense discussions” about adopting a technique known as pooled sampling — grouping together multiple individuals’ COVID-19 tests to boost testing capacity. (The Hill


CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported. The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, based on antibody tests, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. (Washington Post


Joe Biden says he would require Americans to wear masks in public if elected. Joe Biden said on Thursday that if he were president, he would mandate that every American wear a mask in public to combat the spread of the coronavirus. In an interview with KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, the presumptive Democratic nominee said he would attempt to leverage federal power to mandate mask wearing. (Washington Post)


Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)
@SenatorSinema Arizona continues to set records for coronavirus cases. Now more than ever, we need to make smart choices. Wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, and stay home as much as possible.


Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) 

@JohnBoozman Protect yourself and others, please wear a mask when you’re out in public. It’s one way we can all do our part to combat this virus and stay healthy. I applaud 

@SpringdaleCofC for helping its members and the community send this message so we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.


Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) 

@RepTimRyan How many times do we have to say this: less testing isn’t going to make the virus go away. It’s just going to put more lives in danger. We need a national testing strategy. Fast.


Americans show rising concerns over coronavirus as cases spike nationwide: poll. More than 75 percent of Americans are afraid of contracting the coronavirus, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds, as the number of new COVID-19 cases surge nationwide. In the poll, 76 percent of respondents said that they were concerned about falling ill to the virus, up from 69 percent in the same survey on June 12. (The Hill


Abbott, in a reversal, announces Texas bars will be shut at noon Friday amid surging cases. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all bars to close on Friday and told restaurants to reduce their operating capacity, in an abrupt reversal of his previous policy as the nation’s second largest state grapples with surging coronavirus cases weeks after reopening. (New York Times


Fight over COVID-19 workplace rules moves to states. The battle over workplace safety rules during the coronavirus is spreading to states. Virginia this week took a major step toward creating its own set of safety rules for workplaces amid frustration with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declining to impose a nationwide COVID-19 standard. The Virginia Safety and Health Code Board voted to move forward with emergency temporary standards, which were drafted under direction from Gov. Ralph Northam (D). (The Hill)


Rising infections in younger people fuel California’s new coronavirus spike. The surge in new coronavirus cases that has alarmed health officials and put renewed strain on hospitals appears to be driven at least in part by increases in younger Californians falling sick. As of Wednesday, 56 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 were 18 to 49 years old, though they account for only 43.5 percent of the state’s population. That figure has risen consistently throughout the outbreak but surged sharply in recent weeks. (Los Angeles Times)


India, with nearly 500,000 cases, aims to test all 29 million people in New Delhi. Officials in India’s capital, New Delhi, planned to test all of the city’s 29 million residents over about 10 days, as the nationwide caseload surged toward 500,000 infections and pushed many hospitals to their breaking point. (New York Times)  


Toilet paper limits reintroduced as panic buying returns to Australia. Supermarkets in Australia have been forced to reintroduce limits on toilet paper and other goods to stop a fresh wave of customers from bulk buying unnecessarily. The recent panic is believed to have been triggered by a surge in coronavirus cases in the southeastern state of Victoria. (Washington Post


Israel announced partnership with UAE, which throws cold water on it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced a new partnership with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus, portraying it as the latest advance in the Jewish state’s efforts to build stronger ties with Arab states. But Netanyahu’s ebullient description was contradicted a few hours later when the Emirates issued a much more muted statement, announcing what it described as an agreement between two private Emirati companies and two Israeli companies to develop technology to fight the virus. (Washington Post)


This coronavirus doesn’t change quickly, and that’s good news for vaccine makers. Scientists are monitoring the virus that causes COVID-19 for genetic changes that could make a vaccine ineffective. But so far, they’re not seeing any. “There’s nothing alarming about the way the coronavirus is mutating or the speed at which it’s mutating,” says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. “We don’t think this will be a problem [for vaccines] in the short term.” (NPR)


Coronavirus vaccine will not be a cure-all, virologist warns. Robert Lambkin-Williams, an independent virologist at Virology Consult, told CNBC there is no clear evidence antibodies produced to fight off the coronavirus gave people any protection against being reinfected. “The vaccine is not going to be a cure-all. We have not had a successful vaccine against this type of virus ever,” he said. (CNBC


Promising results mean coronavirus vaccine trial could start by August. Animal studies of a potential COVID-19 vaccine have been so encouraging that researchers plan to speed up testing of the vaccine in humans. Initially, the next phase of the trial was expected to begin in September, but that start date has now been moved to August. (U.S. News)


Groundbreaking research proves gyms pose no additional risk of catching COVID-19. A team of researchers at the University of Oslo, led by professor Michael Bretthauer, investigated SARS-CoV-2 transmission (the virus responsible for COVID-19) – and whether it was attributable to gyms. “Our trial showed no virus transmission or increase in COVID-19 disease that was related to the opening of gym facilities,” said Bretthauer. The research – the first of its kind in Europe – studied 3,764 members of the public, aged between 18 and 64 years, who had no COVID-19 relevant comorbidities. (Health Club Management)


American Airlines to resume full flights in July. American Airlines said it will be resuming full-capacity flights starting July 1. The airline currently has a 70 percent capacity limit on flights amid the coronavirus pandemic. American also said passengers will have to complete a COVID-19 questionnaire prior to boarding its flights and confirm they have not experienced symptoms of the virus in the past 14 days. (CNBC

Treasury to give Congress access to all PPP loan data. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin agreed to provide key congressional committees with full access to loan data from the Paycheck Protection Program, a key demand Democrats have been pushing. In a letter dated Thursday, Mnuchin told House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) that it would include data with borrower names and loan amounts “with the understanding that non public personally identifiable and commercially sensitive business information will be treated as confidential.” (The Hill)


Multilateralism offers hope for a sea-change after COVID-19. In these times of grief, anger and despair, it is critical that those of us who believe in the values of justice, human rights and the rule of law continue to make the case for global cooperation and solidarity. The best way to do this is to defend and strengthen the multilateral system that has been painstakingly built up over the past 75 years. This is why The Elders, the group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela of which I have the honor to chair, has issued a new report on the future of multilateralism. (Mary Robinson for The Hill


In our post-COVID-19 world, science must be our new frontier. As the United States looks to science to help us get past the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be well advised to also look back. Seventy-five years ago this summer, when our country faced financial uncertainty about the post-war future, a farsighted engineer named Vannevar Bush made it clear that America’s enduring technological leadership and economic vibrancy were inextricably linked. His report to President Truman, entitled “Science — The Endless Frontier,” proved to be a blueprint for prosperity and economic vitality. We would be well served to continue heeding its central message. (Brad Schwartz for The Hill)


Alex Trebek to “round up” Ottawa University donation, giving his alma mater $10 million. Ottawa University will take donations for $10 million, Alex. Just a month after beloved “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek donated $1.2 million to the university, his alma mater, Trebek decided to “round up the number” to make his overall contribution a cool $10 million. The school said half of Trebek’s most recent gift will go to his Alex Trebek Innovation and Challenge Fund, and the other part will go toward his Distinguished Lecture Series. (CNN)


> Steve interviews former Obama Ebola czar RON KLAIN 

> Steve interviews Rep. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-N.Y.) 

> Steve interviews Ready co-founder and CEO JUSTIN DANGEL 

> Steve interviews Botanisol Analytics CEO DAVID TALENFELD 

> Steve interviews Premier President MICHAEL ALKIRE 

> Steve interviews Rep. MARK TAKANO (D-Calif.) 

> Steve interviews Nano Vision CEO STEVE PAPERMASTER 

> Steve interviews Sen. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-Minn.) 

> Steve interviews geopolitical adviser PARAG KHANNA

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 Amy Klobuchar Anthony Fauci Benjamin Netanyahu Coronavirus Coronavirus Report Joe Biden John Boozman Kirsten Gillibrand Mark Penn Mark Takano Mike Pence Richard Neal Sharice Davids Tim Ryan

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