Overnight Health Care: More states order residents to stay at home | Trump looks to sell public on coronavirus response | Judges block Ohio, Texas abortion bans | Dems eye infrastructure in next relief bill

Overnight Health Care: More states order residents to stay at home | Trump looks to sell public on coronavirus response | Judges block Ohio, Texas abortion bans | Dems eye infrastructure in next relief bill
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. More states are issuing stay-at-home orders for their residents. But there are also governors who are holding out on tougher restrictions and who are facing pressure. Also, abortion rights groups are suing to ensure access to the procedure during the pandemic. 

Let's start with the states...



Maryland, Virginia, DC issue stay-at-home orders for all residents

Some news for all our D.C.-region readers:

Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., have all issued stay-at-home orders for their residents as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the U.S. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) all urged residents to only leave their homes to buy food and carry out essential tasks.

While Maryland and D.C. had open-ended orders, Virginia was the only state with an end date, albeit one that's over two months away. The order expires June 10.  

Warning of things to come: In two weeks time, Hogan said the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas could look like the New York tri-state area, which is struggling with more than half the country's coronavirus cases and a death toll of more than 1,000.  

Despite repeated warnings, Hogan said people have been ignoring his executive orders and directives for more than three weeks. Those individuals are "endangering themselves, and their fellow citizens," Hogan said. 


Read more here


Holdout governors face pressure to issue stay-at-home orders

Without any official guidance from President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE, the burden on protecting citizens has fallen to individual governors. Not every governor is embracing stay at home orders. 

Some notable exceptions are Florida and Texas, both major population centers. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, President Trump's former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, issued warnings to Texas and Florida on Sunday. 

"Texas may have a very narrow window to take tougher action to avert a bad outcome with #COVID19," he wrote on Twitter. "Building case counts in Dallas and other Texas cities, and a slow state response, are a dangerous harbinger that things could soon explode in that state."

In Florida, which Gottlieb warned could become a "major epicenter," Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios DeSantis takes action against Ben & Jerry's for ending sales in Israeli-occupied areas Crist rips DeSantis over Florida COVID-19 spike: 'We don't have leadership' MORE (R) on Monday did issue a stay-at-home order for four counties in South Florida, but not for the entire state. He has left it up to individual counties to close beaches. 

"The sooner the better," Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said of statewide stay-at-home orders. "Waiting until you get a lot of cases is the wrong strategy."

Read more here.


Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced restrictions on travel to Louisiana. 


Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue four states over abortion restrictions during pandemic

Abortion rights groups sued government officials in Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and Alabama on Monday to ensure access to abortion during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Officials in those states have either said that orders suspending nonessential medical procedures apply to abortions or have issued directives that left providers unclear about whether they are running afoul of the law.

The pause on nonessential procedures across the country is meant to conserve masks and gloves for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Several governors have issued such orders but divisions have emerged between red and blue states over whether abortion is an essential procedure. 

Read more here.

Judges temporarily block states: Abortion rights groups argue such bans are unconstitutional, and a federal judge agreed with them on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in an opinion Monday afternoon that the ban, which state officials say is intended to conserve medical supplies, is likely unconstitutional.

"Regarding a woman's right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly. There can be no outright ban on such a procedure," he wrote in his order authorizing a temporary restraining order. 


He continued: "The benefits of a limited potential reduction in the use of some personal protective equipment by abortion providers is outweighed by the harm of eliminating abortion access in the midst of a pandemic that increases the risks of continuing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the risks of traveling to other states in search of time-sensitive medical care." 

Read more here


And click here for more on how the coronavirus crisis is heating up the fight over abortion.


Meanwhile back in Washington...



Trump seeks to sell public on his coronavirus response

President Trump thinks he is doing a "hell of a job" and has called himself a wartime president. He's said he always knew the outbreak was a pandemic, even after downplaying the danger in January and February.

It's all part of Trump's efforts to sell the public on his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, a push slammed by critics for presenting a rosier picture than reality.

Polls show a majority of the public approves of the job Trump is doing, which likely bolsters the White House's confidence in the daily briefings. Trump has also sought to play questions about whether the media would broadcast the briefings to his advantage by setting up the press as rooting for his and the country's failure.  

Read more here.


Fauci says task force 'argued strongly' with Trump on extending guidelines

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE, the government's top infectious disease expert, said Monday that the White House coronavirus task force aggressively lobbied President Trump to extend social distancing guidelines another month as the U.S. grapples with the fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"We felt that if we prematurely pulled back, we would only form an acceleration or rebound of something, which would put you behind where you were before, and that's a reason why we argued strongly with the president that he not withdraw those guidelines," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "New Day."

"And he did listen," Fauci added.

A turnaround: Trump announced on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to avoid nonessential travel and in-person gatherings of more than 10 people would be extended until at least the end of April. The announcement marked a significant shift for the president, who had earlier this month floated the idea of reopening the U.S. economy by Easter on April 12.

Read more here.

Dire warning: White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Monday warned that up to 200,000 people in the U.S. could die from the coronavirus outbreak if "we do things almost perfectly."

Read more on that here.


Trump calls Pelosi 'a sick puppy' over coronavirus criticism

President Trump on Monday lashed out at House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel GOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Five things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work MORE (D-Calif.) for criticizing his response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling her a "sick puppy."

"It's a sad thing," Trump said during a call-in interview on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning after he was asked to respond to Pelosi's criticism a day prior. "She's a sick puppy in my opinion. She's got a lot of problems."

Pelosi on Sunday accused Trump of downplaying the public health crisis in a way that cost American lives, saying that "his denial at the beginning was deadly" on CNN's "State of the Union."

Read more on that here.


More from the administration

Trump defends US coronavirus testing as 'very much on par' with other countries

MyPillow founder uses coronavirus briefing to urge Americans to focus on religion

FDA issues emergency-use authorization for anti-malaria drugs amid coronavirus outbreak

Pentagon orders military bases to stop releasing specific COVID-19 numbers

Mnuchin: Administration working on online system to help people get coronavirus relief checks faster


Democrats eye major infrastructure component in next coronavirus package

The ink's barely dry on Phase 3 of the coronavirus response, but get ready for negotiations over Phase 4!

One major focus, House Democrats, hope, is infrastructure.

"There are infrastructure needs that our country has that directly relate to how we are proceeding with the coronavirus," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on a conference call with reporters. "And we would like to see in what comes next something that has always been nonpartisan, bipartisan, and that is an infrastructure piece that takes us into the future."

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the crisis has "bared a lot of inadequacies" in the nation's infrastructure, not only when it comes to hospital capacity but also rural broadband, as schools have closed and classes moved online.

GOP might not be on the same page: GOP leaders had howled when Pelosi and House Democrats unveiled legislation earlier in the month providing $2.5 trillion in coronavirus relief, saying it contained too many provisions they deemed extraneous to the immediate crisis. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel MORE (R-Calif.) has recently questioned if Congress, after passing three phases of emergency relief, needs to act again at all.

Read more here.  


More from Congress

Asian American lawmaker warns of fear of racism over coronavirus stigma

Tennessee lawmaker tweets cellphone number, offers to talk to anyone 'overwhelmed' by pandemic

Schumer praises choice of Defense inspector general to oversee corporate lending fund

GOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight

Second Capitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus


More on the coronavirus response... 


Johnson & Johnson to begin human coronavirus vaccine testing by September

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson said Monday it had identified a promising candidate vaccine for the coronavirus spreading around the globe and that it expects to begin human trials by September.

The company has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to speed research into the new vaccine. Together, they said they hope to produce more than 1 billion doses for use around the world.

Johnson & Johnson said it anticipated the first batches of a coronavirus vaccine would be ready for use under emergency use authorizations by early 2021, an almost unprecedented race from initial research to commercially available.

A typical vaccine takes five to seven years of research before it goes to government agencies for approval.

Read more here


Shortage of medical gear sparks bidding war among states

A shortage of life-saving medical gear has pitted states against each other and the federal government as they scramble to try to purchase the medical equipment needed to fight COVID-19.

Governors have been pleading with the Trump administration to take charge and make sure states can access enough equipment, but President Trump has been reluctant to do so, urging states to order their own personal protective equipment.

Experts and governors said the lack of a central coordinating authority has turned the medical supply market into a free-for-all. 

The competition has driven up prices, and governors argue they are continually being outbid by the federal government. 

Read more here.


Navy hospital ship arrives in New York

A U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived at New York Harbor on Monday to help relieve local hospitals being overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.

The USNS Comfort will treat non-coronavirus patients, freeing up beds so local hospitals can focus on COVID-19.

The ship has a capacity of 1,000 beds and is expected to be staffed by about 1,200 personnel.

Read more here.


More from The Hill:

Ford announces it will begin producing ventilators by end of April

Florida megachurch pastor arrested for holding services despite health order

Pentagon signs $84M deal to buy 8,000 ventilators

More than 400 long-term care facilities report coronavirus cases

First US service member dies from coronavirus

Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria treatment for coronavirus

John Krasinski enlists help of Steve Carell to launch show dedicated to 'good news' amid pandemic

Whole Foods workers planning strike on Tuesday

Red Bull racing official pitched camp to expose drivers to coronavirus


What We're Reading:

The world pushes back against e-cigarettes and Juul (New York Times)

The medical news site that saw the coronavirus coming months ago (New York Times)

Coronavirus deniers take aim at hospitals as pandemic grows (NBC News)

Coronavirus patients caught in conflict between hospital and nursing homes (Kaiser Health News)

Already taxed health care workers not 'immune' from layoffs and less pay (Kaiser Health News/WBUR)


State by State

New York hospitals received some damaged ventilators with missing parts in their emergency shipments from a national stockpile (Business Insider)

'Thousands and thousands' more health workers needed to fight coronavirus, California Gov.  says (Sacramento Bee)


The Hill op-eds

Coronavirus is hindering access to reproductive health care

The fight against COVID-19 -- a need for 'soft power' in health care

To protect ourselves from the pandemic, we must protect our health workforce