The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial


> Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive results, dual immunity action from early vaccine trial 

> British biotech firm reports positive results for potential COVID-19 treatment 

> ‘It is what it is’: Highlights from Trump’s Sunday sit-down with Fox News 

> Top Republicans to meet with Trump over next round of federal virus relief 

> As New York City begins phase four, Gov. Cuomo threatens to shut bars and restaurants

> GOP governors in hardest hit states split over COVID-19 response

> Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaStephanie Murphy won't run for Senate seat in Florida next year Crist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy MORE calls for Florida to shut down again: ‘I’m terrified for the first time in my career’ 

> Bahamas bans US travelers amid surge in coronavirus cases 

> Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusWorking for lasting change Former HHS secretary Sebelius joins marijuana industry group More than 200 Obama officials sign letter supporting Biden's stimulus plan MORE gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic, says there is no developed country in the world doing as badly as the US in dealing with this virus



President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE sat down with Fox News Sunday’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSunday shows - Biden foreign policy in focus Pompeo defends Trump on Russia in Chris Wallace interview Lewandowski says Trump has not spoken to him about being reinstated MORE for a wide-ranging interview that included a number of head-scratching claims about the coronavirus pandemic in the US. Some highlights from the interview: 


President Trump said the rising number of COVID-19 deaths around the country “is what it is.” 


When pressed about rising caseloads throughout the South and West, the president said about testing: “If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down” and added “many of those cases heal automatically.” 


In response to Wallace’s question about the U.S. mortality rate in comparison to other developed nations, the president falsely asserted: “I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world,” before having press secretary Kayleigh McEnany hand over White House data that disputed that.


On young people spreading the virus: “Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day. They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test.” 

Watch the full interview with the president here.


Kathleen Sebelius, former secretary of Health and Human Services, former governor of Kansas, and CEO of Sebelius Resources LLC

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic, says there is no developed country in the world doing as badly as the US in dealing with this virus, credits Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE for wearing a mask but notes he is blocking legislation that would help schools pay for the protections they need to reopen, says African Americans are overwhelmingly the caregivers for school age children and are going to be in extreme danger when schools reopen in virus hot spots.





Watch the full interview here.



Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Monday, July 20.

Editors’ Note. 


There will be no Coronavirus Report tomorrow, as I will be moderating our virtual program: “Advancing America’s Economy: The Role of Private Capital.” I hope you’ll join me (you can register here) and we’ll pick things back up on Wednesday. 


America hasn’t felt this way in a very long time. When the terrorists struck on 9/11, Americans were frustrated and angry — perhaps like they felt when Pearl Harbor was attacked. But there wasn’t despair then. There was a national sense of self-confidence and righteousness that those responsible for the attacks would be brought to justice.


But after many months of not getting contact tracing nor COVID-19 testing in place — and to see the administration actively promote the suspension of testing and the withholding of funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to hire contract tracers — much of the nation seems to be in true despair. People who are not wearing masks and who are engaging in group gatherings are managing to infect others, and ultimately indirectly kill some with their reckless disregard for science and not having the decency to be collectively responsible. Miami was one of the first cities in the nation to have a curfew and to have social distancing orders put in place, in part because Mayor Francis Suarez was the second person to be officially diagnosed with COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County, and he knew its seriousness. But the loose and confusing instructions of Florida’s governor have created conditions where the infection rate is skyrocketing and overrunning mayors, towns and cities that were trying to follow science and protect their populations.


In Washington, palace intrigue dominates the coverage of how to approach the COVID-19 crisis at this point. Other nations and regions are continuing to refuse visits by Americans because of the surging national daily tally of infections. As CDC Director Robert Redfield noted, a few weeks of full proof social distancing, hand-washing, and mask wearing would end the COVID-19 run of terror. But Americans seem unable to do that, and a good number of their leaders won’t ask them to.


The president on Tuesday will relaunch the daily coronavirus national task force briefings. Perhaps they will have evolved beyond speculation on the curative possibilities of disinfectant injections. But when one hears that the data flow from hospitals to the CDC has been hijacked by other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services that do not have the experience in managing data and we see reputation-mugging of Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Delta variant's UK dominance sparks concerns in US Overnight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic MORE by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, one really shouldn’t have high expectations of these forthcoming briefings.  


Yet, we will keep an open mind and listen to them hoping that something may move the nation from despair to some shred of genuine hope that has traction. 


— 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

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Tomorrow! | Advancing America’s Economy: The Role of Private Capital



Private capital can play a substantial role in job creation and can help give businesses across nearly every sector strategic leaps forward. But a trustworthy partnership between private equity and the public must be established. Join The Hill on Tuesday, July 21, for Advancing America's Economy: The Role of Private Capital. Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyDemings raises Democrats' hopes in uphill fight to defeat Rubio Florida state senator announces bid for Demings's House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - One year later — has George Floyd's killing changed the world? MORE (D-Fla.) and Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and more will join The Hill's editor-at-large Steve Clemons. 

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There are 14,567,109 reported cases of COVID-19 throughout the world and 607,187 deaths have been attributed to the virus as of the time of this newsletter. 


The U.S. is reporting 3,794,355 cases and 140,716 deaths. Brazil is now reporting 2,098,389 cases. India 1,118,206. Russia 776,212. South Africa 364,328. Peru 353,590. Mexico 344,224. Chile 330,930. U.K. 296,944. Iran 276,202. Pakistan 265,083. 


Elsewhere throughout the world: 

> A new mask requirement went into effect in France, making face coverings mandatory in all public enclosed spaces as the country tries to thwart a resurgence of coronavirus infections. 

> Hong Kong adopted newly tightened social distancing measures Monday, as a sudden surge in infections prompts fears that the coronavirus is spreading undetected across the city.

> The coronavirus outbreak that has caused roughly 5 million people to be placed under lockdown may not relent for weeks, Australia’s acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly said Monday.

> Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced over the weekend that the country will block American tourists from entry as U.S. coronavirus numbers continue to surge.


New York is reporting 407,326 cases. California 386,960. Florida 360,394. Texas 336,301. New Jersey 176,963. Illinois 162,750. Arizona 145,183. Georgia 143,129. Massachusetts 113,534. Pennsylvania 106,009. North Carolina 101,215. Louisiana 91,706. Michigan 81,868. Maryland 78,685. Virginia 78,375. Tennessee 78,115. 


Here at home: 

> Sunday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. 

> Florida reported more than 10,000 new virus cases for a fifth day over the weekend, prompting one lawmaker to urge that the state “close down.”

> Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina all set single-day records for new cases on Sunday.

> Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa and five other states have seen their seven-day averages for daily new fatalities rise by more than 40 percent in the past week.

> Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCNN insults #MeToo movement, provides happy ending for Jeffrey Toobin New York lawmakers pass bill allowing gender-neutral 'X' on state ID Republican NY state senator: Single-payer health care bill won't get a vote this week MORE (D) threatened to close down all New York bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced.


The U.S. is reporting the results of 45,734,327 COVID-19 tests and 1,131,121 full recoveries from the virus.


Congress set for showdown on coronavirus relief legislation. A fight over the next round of coronavirus aid is coming to a head as lawmakers prepare to race the clock to get a deal. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals Senate investigation of insurrection falls short Ocasio-Cortez: 'Old way of politics' influences Manchin's thinking MORE (D-Calif.) say they think they'll be able to get a deal, but leaders haven’t yet started negotiating and both sides have appeared skeptical of the other side’s key priorities. (The Hill


Schumer says Trump interview shows he’s denying the severity of the pandemic. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday panned President Trump’s performance in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, saying it showed that he “continues to deny the severity of the pandemic.” Schumer’s comments came in a letter to his Democratic colleagues as negotiations ramp up over a new coronavirus package expected to be the last relief bill before the November elections. (Washington Post


Florida Rep. Donna Shalala: ‘I’m terrified for the first time in my career.’ Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that she has asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisSunday shows preview: Biden foreign policy in focus as Dem tensions boil up back home Demings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio Florida Board of Education bans critical race theory MORE (R) to issue another stay-at-home order and that she's "terrified" for the first time in her career because of the lack of leadership during the coronavirus crisis. (Axios)


Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden prepares to confront Putin Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Del.)

@ChrisCoons The SNAP program is a literal lifeline for millions of families, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis. Congress expanded SNAP benefits this March, but we need to extend & protect those benefits and Republicans are standing in the way. We must protect SNAP.


Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) 

@SenAlexander A big thank you to Kelly and all of our state’s health care workers who are taking care of Tennesseans during this unprecedented time. You are truly among the heroes of our country, and the care you provide makes a difference every day.


Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaFresh hurdles push timeline on getting China bill to Biden New report reignites push for wealth tax Senate passes long-delayed China bill MORE (D-Calif.) 

@RoKhanna Gilead Sciences developed remdesivir with more than $70M in public funding. Now they want to charge Americans over 300X as much as it costs to manufacture. Not on our watch. All COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines must be made available for all.


As New York City begins phase four, Gov. Cuomo threatens to shut bars and restaurants. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) threatened to close down all New York bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distancing and mask regulations aren’t enforced. “Do your job,” the governor said to local governments and police departments. (Bloomberg


GOP governors in hardest hit states split over COVID-19 response. The governors of the two largest Republican-run states are diverging in their responses to a massive surge in coronavirus cases. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a major Trump ally in a key 2020 battleground, has consistently downplayed the severity of the outbreak even as it worsens in his state.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, has started taking steps to address the spike in cases, though not on the same scale as many Democratic governors or even some fellow Republican ones. (The Hill


Maryland GOP governor: Fauci has “never let me” down. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday warned against the idea of the White House sidelining Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, saying Fauci had been more responsive to the state’s coronavirus needs than President Trump or Vice President Pence. (The Hill


85 crew members aboard Alaskan fishing ship test positive for coronavirus. Eighty-five crew members of a factory trawler ship belonging to American Seafoods have tested positive for the coronavirus, the company announced Sunday. The ship, the American Triumph, left Oregon for Alaska on June 27 with 119 people aboard to fish for pollock, according to the company, with seven crew members reporting symptoms of the virus two weeks after departure. Six of the seven tested positive in Alaska after the ship arrived Thursday. (The Hill)


Latest China coronavirus outbreak spreads to second city. The latest outbreak of the coronavirus in China has spread to a second city as authorities attempt to stop the virus. The Associated Press reported Monday that one of 17 cases of COVID-19 reported in China on Monday was confirmed in Kashgar, an ancient city located in the northwestern Xinjiang province. Authorities have responded to the infection with travel restrictions, according to the AP. Sixteen other cases reported in China on Monday were in the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi, site of the country's latest outbreak. (The Hill


Bahamas bans tourists from the U.S., citing coronavirus concerns. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced over the weekend that the country will block American tourists from entry as U.S. coronavirus numbers continue to surge. He also announced that flights to the U.S. would be stopped. The state of the pandemic in the Bahamas, Minnis said, has grown worse “at an exponential rate” since the reopening of international borders, adding that its total cases stand at 153, including 49 new cases since the full reopening of borders July 1. (The Hill)  


Europe thought it was ready. Pride was its downfall. Though European leaders boasted of the superiority of their world-class health systems, they had weakened them with a decade of cutbacks. When COVID-19 arrived, those systems were unable to test widely enough to see the peak coming. National stockpiles of medical supplies were revealed to exist mostly on paper, consisting in large part of “just in time” contracts with manufacturers in China. European planners overlooked the fact that a pandemic could disrupt those supply chains. (New York Times)


Good news — yes, good news — to start your week! Two biopharmaceutical firms are reporting positive news about the results of their latest COVID-19 vaccine trials. A British pharmaceutical company also announced a potential breakthrough in the search for an effective treatment for the coronavirus. 


Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine study shows dual immune action. A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca showed promising results in early human testing, a sign of progress in the high-stakes pursuit of a shot to defeat the virus. The vaccine increased levels of both protective neutralizing antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus, according to the study organizers. The results were published Monday in The Lancet medical journal. (Bloomberg


Pfizer-BioNTech potential coronavirus vaccine shows promise in additional data. German biotech firm BioNTech and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer on Monday reported additional data from their experimental COVID-19 vaccine that showed it was safe and induced an immune response in patients. (CNBC


British company says coronavirus trial shows possible “major breakthrough.” A British pharmaceutical company on Monday said that positive results from a clinical trial of a new coronavirus respiratory treatment could signal a "major breakthrough" in the global fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. Synairgen, a respiratory drug discovery and development company, said in a news release that an initial trial showed that the odds of developing severe disease reduced by 79 percent for hospitalized patients receiving its nebulizer treatment when compared to those receiving a placebo. (The Hill)


Stocks open flat after a week of gains. The stock market opened flat on Monday, coming off solid gains throughout last week. (The Hill


Dozens of NFL players call on league to address COVID-19 concerns. Dozens of NFL players on Sunday requested the league address health concerns and follow expert guidelines ahead of training camps later this month. Several players took to Twitter, using the hashtag “#WeWantToPlay” to call out the league for its lack of preparation to return for the season this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Among the participants in the Twitter campaign were Russell Wilson, J.C. Tretter, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt. (The Hill)


Citi, UBS pause Hong Kong return-to-office amid surge in cases. Global banks including Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG are suspending their return-to-office plans in Hong Kong after the city reported a daily record of more than 100 new coronavirus cases. (Bloomberg)


Coronavirus — the uncertain path ahead, and a guiding voice of reason. What makes no sense is to take the pilot and crew offline, fail to file a flight plan, tear up the safety checks and hide the instruments. Instead, we should engage our strengths and set the course to end harmful partisan delays to liftoff. (Dr. Richard P. Wenzel for The Hill


Republican governors are failing with their coronavirus responses. Though initially touted as strong leaders for braving the reopening of their local state economies, Republican governors are utterly failing to reduce the rising coronavirus transmissions in their states. Considering rising coronavirus cases, hospitalization and deaths, several Republican governors, such as Kay Ivey of Alabama, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Greg Abbott of Texas have redirected their efforts toward issuing statewide mask mandates to reduce transmission. However, Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, my home state, is brazenly defying scientific data that masks reduce transmissions by overriding more than a dozen local municipalities' mask mandates including even suing the state capital of Atlanta. (Quardricos Driskel for The Hill)


Remembering the life of John LewisJohn LewisWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill Garland vows fight against voting limits that violate law MORE, “the conscience of Congress.” The tributes are rolling in far and wide for John Lewis, the civil rights leader and Democratic congressman who died Friday at age 80. His life is worth celebrating for its own sake, but it’s all the more valuable for what it says about the progress of his country. Read the full piece: “John Lewis’s America” here

Mom who nearly died due to COVID-19 meets her newborn son 1 month after birth. Jessica Rowlett gave birth to her second child, a son named Rowdy, on May 31 in an emergency C-section that took place while she was on a ventilator due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Rowlett, 35, did not meet her newborn son until nearly one month later, when they were both released from a Nashville, Tenn., hospital. (Good Morning America)


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

> Steve interviews NIAID Director ANTHONY FAUCI

> Steve interviews former New Jersey Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE 

> Steve interviews HHS Secretary ALEX AZAR

> Steve interviews Frontline Foods’ RYAN SARVER and comedian JOEL MCHALE  

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.


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