The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases


 > Another grim milestone: US surpasses 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 

> Trump rips CDC, pushes schools to open in fall despite coronavirus risks after saying country is ‘in a good place’ in pandemic fight

> White House begins formal process of withdrawing US from World Health Organization 

> Six months into pandemic, US testing capacity is strained alongside new concerns over PPE shortages

> 56 Florida hospitals report ICUs at capacity as virus surges

> South Dakota governor, who flew with Trump, says she tested negative after coronavirus exposure

> Harvard, MIT sue Trump administration over student visa policy amid pandemic 

> Hard-hit Puerto Rico grapples with fifth dire emergency in three years 

> Africa surpasses 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

> AFT President Randi Weingarten says Trump administration plan to reopen schools is ‘a train wreck,’ adds Trump is either completely ignorant or completely callous and craven


Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers

AFT President Randi Weingarten says Trump administration cares more about safety in bars than for kids in school, says Trump is either completely ignorant about reopening schools safely or completely callous and craven, says three-quarters of teachers want to reopen in-person learning if conditions are safe, says Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosErik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies DeVos ordered to testify in student loan forgiveness lawsuit MORE has done nothing for kids in public schools.





Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Wednesday, July 8.

Editors’ Note.


If you didn’t get a chance to see it, check out my interview from Tuesday with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). What I appreciated most about our conversation was her salute to the residents of D.C. who heeded the calls of scientists, health experts and the mayor herself to mostly stay at home during the pandemic.


Bowser asked folks not to have backyard cookouts on July 4 and to forgo celebrations on the National Mall, a favorite gathering spot for many Washingtonians on Independence Day. After the holiday weekend, the numbers were in: Metro traffic to the National Mall was just 10 percent of what it was last year for the same holiday.


That is a good sign. We see a lot of folks around the country who aren’t taking this public health challenge seriously. But when President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE minimizes the risks and provides inconsistent messages to the public, it’s somewhat understandable why many Americans are treating this disease so casually.


If Bowser is right, a very large number of Washingtonians are doing their part and avoiding big gatherings, distancing, wearing masks. Hopefully the example can be emulated elsewhere as 37 states are failing the test right now and infection cases continue to surge because of those backyard picnics, large gatherings at the beach, evenings at crowded bars and folks throwing caution to the wind.


I was impressed with Tom Hanks’s appearance on the “Today” show this week, when he called for Americans to do something, even small gestures, to contribute to the public welfare. “The idea of doing one’s part should be so simple: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands. That alone means you are contributing to the betterment of your house, your work, your town, your society as a whole.”


We need folks to think about what responsible behavior in these times needs to be — and that is what Bowser seems to be drawing out of many of her constituents.


— 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


July 9, 2020 | Health Reimagined: The Future of Healthcare



Even as we watch our nation's first responders and scientists work tirelessly to combat the coronavirus, the pandemic has exposed cracks — old and new — in our healthcare ecosystem.


On Thursday, July 9, The Hill Virtually Live hosts Health Reimagined: The Future of Healthcare. We'll be joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test White House officials won't say if US will meet July vaccine goal MORE, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and Reps. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonFauci: Emails highlight confusion about Trump administration's mixed messages early in pandemic Why Republican politicians are sticking with Trump Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill MORE (R-Mich.) and Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodMcAuliffe looms large as Virginia Democrats pick governor nominee For The People Act will empower small donors and increase representation in our democracy In honor of Mother's Day, lawmakers should pass the Momnibus Act MORE (D-Ill.) and more to dive into the biggest medical and healthcare trends and innovations and their interplay with the global COVID-19 pandemic. 


The summit will take in place three segments. RSVP for just one session or sign up for all three.


CLICK HERE to register and view our lineup of speakers. Questions for our speakers? Join the conversation using #TheHillHealth.


There are 11,892,382 reported cases of COVID-19 throughout the world and 545,485 have died from the virus as of the time of this newsletter. 


The U.S. is reporting 3,016,515 cases and 131,666 deaths. Brazil 1,668,589. India 742,417. Russia 699,749. Peru 309,278. Chile 301,019. U.K. 288,510. Mexico 268,008. Spain 252,513. Iran 248,379. Italy 242,149. Pakistan 237,489. Saudi Arabia 220,144. 


Elsewhere throughout the world: 

> Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has announced that he is taking hydroxychloroquine after testing positive for the coronavirus.

> The pandemic in Africa surpassed 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

> China joined those criticizing the Trump administration’s move to formally withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization.

> Hong Kong has entered what one health official described as “a third wave” of coronavirus infections.

> Serbian opposition supporters stormed the parliament before being driven back by police in protest over the announcement of new lockdown measures prompted by rising coronavirus deaths.


New York is reporting 398,237 cases. California 284,139. Florida 223,783. Texas 216,026. New Jersey 173,878. Illinois 149,574. Massachusetts 110,338. Arizona 108,614. Georgia 100,470. Pennsylvania 96,657. North Carolina 77,669. Michigan 73,900. Maryland 70,861. Louisiana 68,263. Virginia 67,367. Ohio 58,904. Tennessee 53,514. 


Here at home: 

> Many states failed to anticipate that reopening would lead to a surge of infections in adults between 18 and 35, Deborah Birx, the physician overseeing the White House pandemic response, said Tuesday.

> Texas has once again broken its single-day record for new coronavirus cases. The state reported 10,028 new cases Tuesday as officials warned that hospitals are reaching capacity.

> In Florida, 56 hospitals have reported intensive care units at full capacity, with many more close behind.

> New York City students will return to school in the fall with a "blended learning" model, the mayor announced Wednesday.


The U.S. is reporting the results of 36,878,106 COVID-19 tests and 936,476 full recoveries from the virus.


Trump rips CDC, threatens school funding. President Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off federal funding for schools if they do not resume in-person learning this fall and criticized a top government health agency for being too tough with its guidelines to aid that process. In a separate tweet, Trump said he disagreed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” (The Hill


Trump splits with Fauci over coronavirus surge, says "we are in a good place." As coronavirus infections continue to spike in more than half of the states, President Trump said he believes the country is "in a good place" and will be in "very good shape" in the next few weeks, despite a warning from the nation's top infectious disease expert that the U.S. must confront the continuing pandemic immediately. (CBS News

Trump administration sends letter withdrawing U.S. from World Health Organization over coronavirus response. The notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, was sent Monday to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Under the terms of a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1948, the United States must give a year’s notice and pay its debts to the agency to leave. (The Washington Post)


Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchWray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 Omar feuds with Jewish Democrats Shakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' MORE (D-Fla.) 

@RepTedDeutch Think of the Floridians battling COVID-19 lying in those beds. ...the trauma facing health workers who care for them.  ...the pain of families separated from their sick loved ones. Gov DeSantis continues to minimize the threat ahead & refuses to confront it.


Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senator introduces constitutional amendment to ban flag burning Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Pentagon report clears use of drones made by top Chinese manufacturer MORE (R-Tenn.)

@MarshaBlackburn The @WHO has put the needs of #CCP ahead of the health of the people.


Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race New Mexico Democrat Stansbury sworn into Haaland's old seat MORE (D-Ohio)

@RepMarciaFudge Nearly 7 million renters could face eviction at the end of this month when the federal eviction freeze ends. The House passed legislation to extend the eviction moratorium to next March and provide assistance to renters and homeowners.


South Dakota governor who flew with Trump says she tested negative after coronavirus exposure. South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemRNC's McDaniel launches podcast highlighting Republicans outside of Washington South Dakota governor slams Biden over fireworks plans: 'What a hypocrite' Overnight Energy:  Senate climate advocates start digging in on infrastructure goals | Judge rebuffs Noem's bid for July 4th fireworks at Mount Rushmore | Climate advocate wins third seat on Exxon board MORE (R) says she tested negative for the coronavirus after coming in contact with Kimberly GuilfoyleKimberly GuilfoyleEric Trump buys .2M home near father's golf club in Florida Missouri Republicans move to block Greitens in key Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict MORE, a Trump campaign official who tested positive, and then flying with President Trump aboard Air Force One. "I've always taken #COVID19 very seriously, but South Dakota trusted our citizens to exercise their personal responsibility to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe," Noem tweeted. (The Hill


56 Florida hospitals report ICUs at capacity as virus surges. The number of Florida hospital intensive care units hitting capacity increased Tuesday, with at least 56 ICUs saying they have maxed out and another 35 saying their bed availability is at 10 percent or below. The updated figure comes a day after 43 ICUs across 21 counties in the Sunshine State reported reaching capacity amid the ongoing coronavirus spike. (The Hill


Harvard, MIT sue to block Trump administration from stripping student visas amid pandemic. Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit Wednesday that seeks to prevent the Trump administration from stripping foreign students of visas if their universities move exclusively to online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The Hill)  


The pandemic is Puerto Rico’s fifth dire emergency in 3 years and is one of the hardest-hit parts of the US. Puerto Rico’s governor, Wanda Vázquez, was the first in the United States to order businesses to close and people to stay home in response to the coronavirus. Experts say her quick action helped stave off a potentially worse medical crisis on the island. Nonetheless, the pandemic has created Puerto Rico’s fifth dire emergency in three years, making the island one of the hardest-hit parts of the country. (The New York Times)


Total number of confirmed cases in Africa now over 500,000. The continent of Africa has recorded more than 500,000 coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with nearly 12,000 related deaths. The World Health Organization has previously expressed concern that Africa has seen a rising number of coronavirus cases and fatalities as a result of the pandemic. (CNBC


Japan faces uptick in coronavirus cases but no political will for new shutdowns. Japan is facing a sudden spike in coronavirus cases, but this time with no political will for another round of economically punishing shutdowns. At the end of last month, the national government abruptly dismantled a panel of medical experts that had been guiding the response to the virus and replaced it with a group that includes envoys from the business world and others. (Washington Post)


Coronavirus surge puts renewed strain on testing capacity. The surge in coronavirus cases across the country has put a strain on U.S. testing capacity — again. Six months into the pandemic, the U.S. has significantly increased its testing abilities. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the nation averages about 600,000 tests per week, and the country conducted about 15 million diagnostic tests in June alone, according to the COVID Tracking Project. However, a surge in demand as states reopen threatens to erase that progress. And it’s placed the White House on the defensive. (The Hill


Scientists highlight potential link between COVID-19 and brain damage. Scientists are calling attention to a potential link between COVID-19 and brain damage after a study released Wednesday found more evidence to suggest that the virus can cause neurological issues. Researchers at the University College London (UCL) conducted the study involving 43 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections who developed neurological symptoms, like inflammation, psychosis and delirium. The study was published in the journal Brain. (The Hill


EPA names two Lysol products as first to effectively fight coronavirus. After months of selling out in grocery stores and pharmacies, Lysol has officially been recognized as the first surface cleaning product to fight COVID-19. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its approval Monday of Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist as two cleaners that are effective in warding off coronavirus infections when used properly. (The Hill)  

This is how the coronavirus will most likely enter your body. One of the most common complaints against wearing face masks or coverings is that it makes it hard to breathe. Well, a new study shows that’s just the point. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, most commonly enters the body through the nose, according to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, infecting the nasal cavity to a greater extent than anywhere else in the respiratory tract. (The Hill)


Stocks inch up as US hits new daily COVID-19 record. Stock markets opened slightly up Wednesday morning, holding steady as the U.S. set a new daily record in COVID-19 cases. (The Hill


Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, files for bankruptcy. Brooks Brothers, the clothier that traces its roots to 1818, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, as the brand buckled under the pressure from the coronavirus pandemic following years of declining sales as customers embraced more casual apparel and sales shifted online. (The New York Times)


Disney World draws excitement and incredulity as its reopening nears. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will welcome back visitors on Saturday even as coronavirus cases in Florida remain high. In doing so Disney is stepping into a politicized debate surrounding the virus and efforts to keep people safe, where even the wearing of masks has become a point of contention. (The New York Times


Congress must stop Trump from withdrawing from the WHO. If the U.S. withdraws from the World Health Organization, it would be among the more ruinous presidential decisions in recent history. The president is not free to act unilaterally. His order requires congressional approval and cannot take place for a year. Congress, the courts and the public all have the power to stop a reckless decision detrimental to our national interests. (Lawrence Gostin, Harold Hongju Koh and Matthew Kavanagh for The Hill


Quarantine into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut? Good luck. Governors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have imposed a 14-day quarantine of travelers from COVID-19 hot spots — states with high average infection rates over a rolling window. What are they thinking? The quarantine, labeled as “advisory,” gives each state responsibility for enforcement. However, governors provide no guidance on how to enforce such an advisory. The reason is that such an advisory is unenforceable, and hence, serves no useful purpose. (Sheldon H. Jacobson for The Hill


To give you a slight break from more negative coronavirus headlines, here’s an uplifting story: Baby boom! Columbus Zoo celebrates births of red panda cubs, giraffe calf and more. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is celebrating the arrival of several baby animals over the past month, including a Masai giraffe calf, two red panda cubs, a sea lion pup and a siamang, a type of small ape. Not only are they adorable, these babies are also contributing to the survival of their species, which all face significant challenges in the wild. (Today)


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

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

> Steve interviews Rep. RODNEY DAVIS (R-Ill.)

> Steve interviews The Hill’s REID WILSON 

> Steve interviews Washington, D.C. Mayor MURIEL BOWSER 

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 YourStories@TheHill.com. 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