Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal amid coronavirus threat | Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol | Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal amid coronavirus threat | Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol | Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. 

There are 808 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday evening, and the outbreak shows no signs of slowing down. Congress and President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE want to shield the economy from the impact of the virus, but it's proving difficult to reach a deal. Meanwhile, testing is ramping up.  

Let's start with the economy...



Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal under coronavirus threat

The Trump administration and House Democrats are hunting for a deal as the coronavirus sparks steep economic uncertainty, but there are few signs that they will be able to move quickly.

Pressure is growing on both President Trump and Congress to take action to try to calm the markets, and the American public, as a steady uptick in cases within the United States is feeding fears of a widespread outbreak.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues On The Money: Senate Dems pump brakes on new stimulus checks | Trump officials sued over tax refunds | Fed to soon open small-business lending program Schumer slams Trump's Rose Garden briefing on China as 'pathetic' MORE met for roughly a half-hour on Tuesday afternoon, formally opening talks between the administration and Democrats about a second coronavirus bill after Congress signed off on $8.3 billion in emergency funding last week.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, had a closed-door lunch with Trump, Vice President Pence and Mnuchin where they said they floated an “array” of ideas but few concrete details on what an ultimate deal would look like.

What Dems want: Paid sick leave and free testing.


What Republicans want: Paid leave and relief for specific industries like the cruise industry. Sens. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (R-N.D.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordGOP senator calls on State Department to resume passport application processing GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Senate revives surveillance brawl MORE (R-Okla.) asked specifically during the GOP lunch Tuesday about help for the shale industry. Trump pushed for a payroll tax cut through November.

The takeaway for now: Trump and Democrats traded jabs after the meetings. Lawmakers are warning that they are unlikely to get a bill that could pass both chambers before the one-week recess set to start Thursday, increasing the likelihood that it will be at least two weeks until lawmakers act even as the number of cases within the United States continues to climb.

Read more here



Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship'

The growing coronavirus concerns are centering on Capitol Hill as well, with questions about whether lawmakers are at risk, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is tamping down the idea of cutting back on Congress's work. 

With the Capitol consumed by anxiety over the coronavirus, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality House Democrats call on DOJ to investigate recent killings of unarmed black people  Gun control group rolls out House endorsements MORE (D-N.Y.) rose in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday and told his Democratic colleagues they should leave Washington and return home to their districts, where they would be safer.  

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) immediately quashed the idea, according to multiple sources in the room.  

"We are the captains of the ship. We are the last to leave," she told her caucus, borrowing a line uttered moments earlier by Rep. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillGun control group rolls out House endorsements Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary MORE (D-N.J.), a Navy veteran. 

At-risk population: The Speaker and her leadership team have been feeling pressure from Nadler and others to take steps to avert a coronavirus outbreak in the Capitol, where two-thirds of senators are older than 60 and the average age of House members is 57.6 years. 

Read more here.



Nursing home association urges 'dramatic action' to protect residents from coronavirus

The top nursing home industry group is calling for "dramatic action" to slow the spread of coronavirus, given the vulnerability of the elderly to the virus. 

The association is calling for limiting entry from "non-essential" people into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

For people who do enter, they recommend screening them for symptoms. The group also calls for increasing the ability for remote communication, cutting down on group outings and increasing hand-washing. 

Why it's particularly important: Nursing homes are especially vulnerable to the virus, given that older people and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The Life Care Center in Washington state has seen a string of deaths from an outbreak of the virus there: 26 fatalities out of 120 patients.

Read more here



CDC says nearly 4,900 people tested for coronavirus by public health labs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health labs have tested nearly 4,900 people as of Monday for the novel coronavirus.

CDC Director Robert Redfield told members of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that figure doesn't include tests run by commercial labs or hospitals, so the actual number of people in the U.S. who have been tested could be higher. 

Lawmakers have been critical of the CDC's slow pace of testing, noting that other countries experiencing outbreaks are far ahead of the U.S. in identifying new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

"I am very concerned about our nation's testing capabilities for coronavirus," Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Lack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen Frustrations grow over incomplete racial data on COVID-19 cases, deaths MORE (D-Conn.) told Redfield. "The low number of positive tests in the U.S. is likely a byproduct of under-testing, as opposed to an accurate count of the prevalence of coronavirus in the U.S." 

Health officials have acknowledged there are likely undetected cases of the disease in the U.S. due to the slow start in testing caused by a faulty test developed by the CDC that was sent to public health labs.


Read more here


NY gov deploys National Guard, creates containment zone for town hard hit by coronavirus

State officials are deploying the National Guard and creating a containment zone around a city in Westchester County as the coronavirus outbreak spreads, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Tuesday.

"This is the single greatest public health challenge we have right now," Cuomo said at a press conference on Tuesday, about the outbreak in New Rochelle. 

New Rochelle, a small city in Westchester County just north of New York City, is the hub of the outbreak in New York. 

Westchester County has 108 of the state's 173 confirmed COVID-19 cases. New York City has 36 confirmed cases of the virus, Cuomo announced at the conference. 

"New Rochelle is a particular problem, it is what they call a cluster," Cuomo said. "The numbers have been going up, the numbers continue to go up. The numbers are going up unabated and we do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle." 

Read more here.


Surgeon General warns coronavirus outbreak 'will get worse before it gets better'

The U.S. Surgeon General warned on Tuesday that Americans should be prepared for a larger outbreak of coronavirus, but stressed that it shouldn't be a reason to panic.

"People should know this is likely going to get worse before it gets better," Jerome Adams said during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America".

"Americans should absolutely be prepared, but that doesn't mean that they should be afraid," Adams added.

Adams said he has been advising communities to prepare for outbreaks, even if they currently are not seeing clusters of infected people. 

Health officials have long stressed that as testing capacity increases, more people infected with the virus will be identified.

Read more here.



And the coronavirus is starting to impact the 2020 campaigns...


Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint

Coronavirus is emerging as a major issue in the Democratic presidential race, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE (I-Vt.) both hitting President Trump on the government's response to the outbreak.

The virus is spreading just as Biden and Sanders approach a critical phase of the campaign, with six states including Michigan voting on Tuesday, followed by contests in Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Ohio on March 17.

"I wish he would just be quiet. I really mean it," Biden told NBC News on Monday about Trump. "Just let the experts speak. And acknowledge whatever they suggest to him is what we should be doing."

Meanwhile, Sanders hit the Trump administration over its appointment of Vice President Pence to oversee the U.S. response to the virus.

Cancelled events: Both Sanders and Biden cancelled rallies planned for Cleveland.

Read more here.



What we're reading

Ten years into ObamaCare, cost and access issues abound (Roll Call)

U.S. communities are braced for coronavirus outbreaks. Seattle is already in the thick of it (Stat News)

Coronavirus is mysteriously sparing kids and killing the elderly. Understanding why may help defeat the virus. (The Washington Post)

Italy and China used lockdowns to slow the coronavirus. Could we? (Vox.com


State by state

For 4 days, the hospital thought he had just pneumonia. It was coronavirus. (The New York Times)

Coronavirus revives push for mandatory paid sick leave rules, but Texas leaders have long been opposed (Texas Tribune)

California cracks down on alternative health plans (The New York Times


The Hill op-eds

Coronavirus response requires cooperation not overreaction

How politics infected America's first epidemic and cost lives