Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes

Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes
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Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. 

More states today issued "stay at home" orders, including Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisTrump asserts his power over Republicans Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death The battle of two Cubas MORE (R) had refused to do so despite the rising number of cases in the state. President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE, though, is holding back issuing a national declaration despite pressure.

Also, two anti-malaria drugs are now in shortage after being touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

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We'll start with the latest from the White House...

 

Trump resists pressure to declare nationwide stay-at-home order

President Trump is holding back on declaring a nationwide stay-at-home order, even as some governors resist imposing restrictions that Trump's top public health officials say are needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The president has been reluctant to wade into matters he argues are better left to governors. But the pressure is growing for Trump to be decisive as Republican-led states like Texas, Iowa and Missouri are among the final holdouts to issue stay-at-home directives.

Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, said Trump may not have the legal authority to halt interstate travel or require governors to lock down a state. But the president has yet to fully use the power of his bully pulpit to encourage them to do so.

"What President Trump could do is send a much clearer signal that he wants all governors to do a lockdown on their states, to guide them about what that lockdown would require and what the standard should be," Gostin said.

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Read more here

 

Florida did issue a stay at home order Wednesday, after mounting pressure

Gov. Ron DeSantis's (R) The order will take effect Thursday and will remain in place for 30 days.

The governor had faced mounting pressure amid images circulating of crowded beaches, and warnings from experts. 

Amid intense scrutiny for refusing to issue such an order for the entire state, he opened the door to the move on Tuesday, saying a White House recommendation to invoke a state-wide order would "carry a lot of weight."

"I don't understand why those governors have not acted more forcefully right now," former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said earlier Wednesday on CNBC. "Especially when you look at a state like Florida."

Big loopholes: Florida's order is less strict than other states. For example, it still allows people to attend religious services at churches and synagogues, and to travel to take care of relatives and their pets.

Read more here.

 

Who are the holdouts? The Hill's Cristina Marcos has a list of the states that have yet to issue stay at home orders. Click here for that.

 

In other state news:

Mississippi governor issues stay-at-home order

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Michigan governor's proposed 70-day extension of state of emergency receives pushback

Newsom: Number of California coronavirus patients in ICU quadrupled in past week

Georgia to issue shelter-in-place order

Texas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order

Michigan adds nearly 2,000 coronavirus cases in a day

Texas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order

Connecticut confirms death of 6-week-old baby linked to coronavirus

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Feds working with Florida on plan for quarantined cruise ship passengers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns coronavirus outbreak is not just a 'New York problem'

 

Back to the White House...

 

Trump says he's open to speaking to Biden about coronavirus

President Trump on Wednesday said he would "absolutely" take a call from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report MORE to discuss the response to the coronavirus.

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"Oh absolutely. I'd love to speak to him," Trump said during a White House coronavirus briefing.

"I always found him to be a nice guy," he added.

Trump expressed an openness to speaking with his potential general election opponent after first chiding him as "sleepy Joe."

Background: The Biden campaign said earlier Wednesday that the former vice president offered to call Trump and talk about how best to combat the pandemic, which has killed thousands of Americans.

Read more here.

 

Mnuchin says Social Security recipients will automatically get coronavirus checks

The Treasury Department said late Wednesday that Social Security recipients who typically don't file tax returns will automatically receive their coronavirus relief checks, and will not have to file tax returns to receive their payments.

The announcement comes two days after the IRS released guidance that suggested Social Security beneficiaries would need to file what are known as simple tax returns to receive the money.

"Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account," 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 said in a statement Wednesday night.

Controversy: The law states that in cases where taxpayers hadn't filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the IRS can look at information in Social Security and railroad retirement benefit statements to get people their payments.

But the IRS released a question-and-answer document on Monday that said "some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment."

Lawmakers, tax policy experts and advocates for retirees were upset with the IRS guidance.

Read more here.

 

FDA says anti-malaria drugs touted by Trump for coronavirus care in shortage

Two anti-malaria drugs touted by President Trump as a potential way to treat the novel coronavirus are now in shortage, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were both added to the agency's drug shortages list on Tuesday "due to a significant surge in demand."

All manufacturers are ramping up production, FDA said, and it is working with them "to ensure this can happen expeditiously and safely."

Hydroxychloroquine, which is already available commercially in the United States, is commonly used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Chloroquine is generally prescribed less often than hydroxychloroquine because its side effects can be more dangerous.

What's driving the surge? Some small overseas studies found that the drugs could be used as a way to treat COVID-19, sparking a massive uptick in demand, but experts in the U.S. are skeptical of the evidence. 

Read more here.

 

Fauci gets security detail

Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' White House: US sends 2M doses of hydroxychloroquine, 1K ventilators to Brazil Some worry 'Operation Warp Speed' plays into anti-vaccination movement's hands MORE, one of the most visible figures on the White House coronavirus task force, has been given a security detail after receiving threats, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill.

Fauci did not directly answer when asked by The Hill at Wednesday's press briefing if he'd been given additional protection, deferring the question to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general.

The inspector general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Trump interjected at the briefing to note that "everybody loves" Fauci and that he was a formidable basketball player in his younger days.

"He doesn't need security, everybody loves him," Trump said. "Besides that, they'd be in big trouble if they ever attacked him."

Backlash: Fauci has gained a reputation as a truth-teller for his blunt talk and his willingness to correct Trump. But that style has led to intense criticism and backlash among corners of the conservative internet and some of Trump's supporters.

Read more here.

 

More from the administration

Fauci: Improved testing and tracing can help reopen country

Pentagon looking to provide up to 100,000 body bags for potential civilian use

Navy leaders: 2,700 sailors will be taken off aircraft carrier with coronavirus outbreak

Pence urges Americans to avoid church services of more than 10 people

Trump to meet with oil industry CEOs amid price drop

Pence: I don't believe Trump 'has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus'

US pauses USAID's international shipments of coronavirus aid

 

Coronavirus creates emergency in nursing homes

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the U.S. are facing a crisis as hundreds of elderly residents test positive for COVID-19, a disease found to be particularly lethal to older adults.

The disease caused by the new coronavirus is spreading like wildfire at hundreds of elder care facilities, which are already at high risk for disease outbreaks because of close quarters, understaffing, lack of supplies and lax government oversight.

Advocates argue that while federal and state governments should be doing more to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, officials are instead relaxing regulations intended to keep residents safe and are not being transparent about where outbreaks are occurring.

"Once you get the virus in a nursing home, it could be a death sentence," said Charlene Harrington, a registered nurse and a professor at the University of California San Francisco who studies nursing homes.

"It's really an emergency situation, but I don't see them treating it that way," Harrington said of the federal government.

Read more here.

 

Medical device companies ramp up production of ventilators

As the nation scrambles to find more life-saving ventilators, the medical device trade group AdvaMed released new numbers on the increased production on Wednesday. 

Companies are now making 2,000 to 3,000 ventilators per week, up from 700 per week in normal times, with the goal of increasing production even more, AdvaMed said. 

See AdvaMed's chart here

 

More from The Hill's coronavirus coverage

US emergency room doctor dies after coronavirus symptoms

Netanyahu says all Israelis must wear face masks in public

News programs, game shows see spike in viewers amid pandemic

Grand Canyon closes amid coronavirus concerns

 

Over in Congress...

 

Get ready for a fight over Phase 4 relief. This time the focus is on jobs.

House Democratic leaders are racing ahead with plans to craft another round of massive coronavirus relief, promoting a huge job-creation package despite growing objections from Republicans wary of piling costs atop an already unprecedented stimulus effort.

The Democrats' nascent legislation aims to fill voids in the first three massive coronavirus bills, providing new funding for hard-hit states; ensuring that medical providers have ample supplies; and expanding paid leave for home-bound workers.

Yet the central thrust of the emerging legislation will be an enormous boost in infrastructure funding, designed both to create jobs amid the economic downturn and bolster the nation's health, transportation, broadband and education systems -- networks exposed as woefully insufficient, the Democrats argue, by the swift-moving pandemic.

How much $$$? It's still unclear. But the legislation will build on a $760 billion infrastructure proposal unveiled by the Democrats in January, which features new funding for roads, high-speed rail, airports and broadband networks around the country.

Read more here

 

McConnell: Pelosi trying to 'jam' Senate on fourth relief bill

Republicans are looking to slow down the Democratic push for a fourth relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US This week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic For city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday poured cold water on a quick deal on a fourth coronavirus relief package, calling a laundry list of ideas floated by House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (D-Calif.) "premature."

"She needs to stand down on the notion that we're going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis," McConnell told The Washington Post.

McConnell added that "what's really happening here is, she's looking for a way to jam us."

Read more here.

 

Dems call on FDA to revise ban on gay men donating blood

Two House Democrats are calling on the FDA to revise its long-standing restriction that limits gay and bisexual men from donating blood as the nation grapples with a shortage of donations.

"This antiquated policy is not based on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation's blood supply as the United States grapples with the coronavirus crisis," House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse, Senate panels to question ousted State Dept. inspector general on Wednesday: report Gun control group rolls out House endorsements Overnight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump says he will designate antifa a terrorist organization Ocasio-Cortez rips de Blasio after police cruiser drives into crowd of protesters NYPD police cruisers lurch through group of demonstrators protesting Floyd's death MORE (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to the FDA Wednesday. 

Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez's letter follows one sent by more than a dozen Democratic senators last week with the same message for the FDA. 

The national LGBTQ nonprofit GLAAD similarly organized a petition last week to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood. 

Read more here.

 

More from Congress

Senate Democrats push administration for plan to expedite unemployment benefits

Loeffler traded $1.4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic

Democrats push for green infrastructure provisions in next coronavirus package

Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response

Arizona lawmaker presses for Grand Canyon closure amid coronavirus outbreak

 

From the campaign trail

Democrats are discussing a range of contingency options in planning the Democratic National Convention, as fears grow that drastic steps will have to be taken to ensure the safety of party officials, the media and others in attendance. The Hill's Amie Parnes and Jonathan Easley report.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the normal political calculus for the 2020 elections, and party leaders are trying to best calibrate their political messages on the crisis heading into November. The Hill's Alex Bolton has the story.

 

More tidbits

Disney Parks donates 100K N95 masks, 150K rain ponchos to help fight coronavirus

Ina Garten goes viral after starting her stay-at-home day with massive cocktail recipe

Joe Exotic of Netflix's 'Tiger King' placed in COVID-19 isolation, husband says

Museum to sell Fauci bobbleheads

 

What we're reading

The coronavirus is washing over the U.S. These factors will determine how bad it gets in each community (Stat News)

The coronavirus patients betrayed by their own immune systems (New York Times)

As coronavirus spreads, so do reports of companies mistreating workers (Washington Post)

The US has more than 200,000 cases of coronavirus. And carriers who don't feel sick are fueling the spread (CNN.com

He got tested for coronavirus. Then came the flood of medical bills (Kaiser Health News)

 

State by state

You've been served': Wisconsin hospitals sue patients over debt -- even during pandemic (Wisconsin Watch)

'Essential' or not, these workers report for duty (Kaiser Health News)

The south, sickest part of a sick America, falls prey to virus (Bloomberg)

 

The Hill op-eds

Protect our health care workers -- halt border wall construction