Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal

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Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care.

President Trump is turning his ire towards the World Health Organization (WHO) even as he faces criticism over his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, some states report that social distancing has been working and they are just starting to see some results. But others are getting much worse, quickly.

We’ll start with the latest from the White House…


Trump attacks WHO amid criticism of his coronavirus response

President Trump has a new target: the World Health Organization. 

Context: The attacks come as Trump comes under criticism for his own response to the crisis, and fit a pattern in which the president has lashed out at other politicians and organizations to redirect blame. 

Trump has skewered the WHO for disagreeing with his travel restrictions on China and suggested the organization was sluggish in warning the global community about the novel coronavirus, threatening to withhold U.S. funding for the body. 

“They called it wrong,” Trump said at a Tuesday press briefing. “They could have called it months earlier. They would have known, and they should have known. And they probably did know, so we’ll be looking into that very carefully.” 

Trump doubled down on the criticism Wednesday, saying the WHO “minimized the threat very strongly” and that his administration was reviewing funding to the organization.

Conservatives in particular have charged that the WHO has been overly trusting of China’s reporting and thus slow to prepare the international community for the novel coronavirus.

Read more here.


Related: WHO pushes back on Trump comment that it’s ‘China centric’

WHO chief warns against ‘politicizing’ coronavirus unless ‘you want to have more body bags’


More from the administration

Pence says he’ll attend Easter services from home

Trump says he’d like economy to reopen ‘with a big bang’ but acknowledges it may be limited


THE HILL’S CORONAVIRUS REPORT: The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons has launched a daily newsletter with the latest on the coronavirus outbreak. Click here to sign up.


Some possibly good news?  

Fauci says it ‘looks like’ US deaths will be lower than original projection

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday morning that he thinks the number of U.S. deaths from coronavirus will end up being less than the original projection of 100,000 to 200,000. 

Why? Fauci attributed the drop to the success of social distancing measures that have directed people to stay home and closed many businesses. 

“Although one of the original models projected 100- to 200,000 deaths, as we’re getting more data and seeing the positive effect of mitigation, those numbers are going to be downgraded,” Fauci said on Fox News. “I don’t know exactly what the numbers are going to be, but right now it looks like it’s going to be less than the original projection.”

By the end of March, the White House was projecting 100,000 to 240,000 deaths as America’s best-case scenario for the pandemic.

Don’t let up now, though, he says: “We’re going to start to see the beginning of a turnaround, so we need to keep pushing on the mitigation strategies because there’s no doubt that that’s having a positive impact,” he said. 

Read more here.


Related: Key coronavirus model revised downward, predicts 60K deaths in US by August

Fauci: I don’t think we should shake hands ‘ever again’


Some state projections are looking better than others…

Washington, Oregon show promising coronavirus trends

Officials in Washington, the first state to see a confirmed COVID-19 case in the country, and neighboring Oregon say they are cautiously optimistic that the case curves in their states are beginning to bend downward.

The number of new cases in both states has dropped for four consecutive days, and the most recent data shows new cases are just a fraction of what they had been at each state’s peak.

Read more from Reid Wilson here.


Related: Washington state returning field hospital to FEMA


Cuomo reports a new single-day record 779 NY coronavirus deaths 

New York experienced its largest single day death toll from the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday, hitting a new record of 779.

Cuomo said the number of deaths will continue to increase, even as hospitalizations fall because fatalities are a “lagging indicator” of the outbreak. That means people who have been hospitalized for a long time are starting to die, while fewer new people are being admitted.

Some possible good news: Still, he said social distancing measures are working, and the infection curve is flattening. 

Cuomo credited an increase in hospital capacity, as well as the sharing of equipment among “different partners in the health system.

Read more here.


But in other states, there could be more difficult days ahead…

Maryland reports 1,158 new cases of coronavirus in one day

Maryland reported 1,158 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total during the pandemic to 5,529. 

The state health department also reported 21 additional deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities from the coronavirus to 124. The state also reported an increase of 104 hospitalizations, bringing that total to 1,210. 

Read more here.


Related: New Jersey surpasses 1,500 deaths: ‘We’re not at any plateau’

Southern states begin to see rise in cases


Meanwhile there were developments on the scramble for medical supplies… 

Federal stockpile of emergency medical equipment depleted, House panel says

The federal government’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments, administration staff told a House panel.

Staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the Trump administration has made its final shipments of personal protective equipment to states from the Strategic National Stockpile.

According to the staff, 90 percent of the stockpile’s inventory of N95 respirators, surgical and face masks, face shields, gowns and gloves have already been distributed to every state.

Wild West will continue: Governors have said that a shortage of medical supplies has led to states navigating the private marketplace in an escalating bidding war against each other and the federal government. The depletion of the federal stockpile means those practices will continue. 

Read more here.


But in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is done playing around…

Newsom: California has contract for 200M masks per month

California is bigger than some countries, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will flex the state’s considerable purchasing power.

During an appearance on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, Newsom said he is confident his state will be able to receive more than 200 million masks on a monthly basis in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic after inking a number of contracts in the past few days.

“We’re not looking at gouging, the fraud and the abuse in this space, competing in this state. We decided enough’s enough,” he said.

On Wednesday, Newsom said his state will invest more than $1.4 billion into PPE for both medical workers and front-line employees, including grocery store workers. 

Read more here.



GM to produce 30,000 ventilators under $500M Defense Production Act contract

Trump: 100 ventilators ‘immediately’ being sent to Colorado

HHS announces $646 million contract with Philips to provide ventilators starting in May

Customs to seize exports of masks and gloves amid coronavirus pandemic


Meanwhile in Congress… 

Mnuchin, Schumer in talks to strike short-term relief deal

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are in talks to avoid a nasty Senate floor fight between Democrats and Republicans that could leave a critical small-business loan program short on funds.

The scene: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to ask for unanimous consent Thursday morning to approve an additional $250 billion for the popular Paycheck Protection Program, under which small businesses can get federally backed loans that will be forgiven if they keep workers on payroll during the coronavirus downturn. But Senate Democrats are threatening to object unless the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers agree to several concessions.

What Dems want: Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) say the package must ensure the money is getting to businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans in underserved communities. They also say it should include another $100 billion for hospitals and health care centers, $150 billion for state and local governments, and a 15 percent funding increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that provides food stamps.

Read more here.


Related: Small businesses still struggling for loans even as $100B is approved

Pelosi, Schumer want aid to states, hospitals in GOP small business bill


More from Congress

Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus

Senators push for changes to small business aid

Durbin: Bringing senators back in two weeks would be ‘dangerous and risky’

Congressional Black Caucus calls on CDC to report racial data

House Dems introduce anti-price gouging legislation

Rep. McAdams now ‘virus-free’ after tough battle with coronavirus

Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting


Coronavirus roundup

The world is watching Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the site of the first COVID-19 outbreak, as it begins to ease restrictions on its residents and seek a return to normalcy. Here are five things to watch as the city emerges from a 77-day lockdown.

Another 10,000 National Guard troops are expected to be activated to help deal with the coronavirus in the next week or two, the National Guard Bureau chief said Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued new guidelines aimed at getting workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus in critical fields back to work faster.


What we’re reading

With ventilators running out, doctors say the machines are overused for Covid-19 (Stat News)

How safe is it to eat takeout? (NPR)

U.S. coronavirus deaths pass 14,000, but new cases are trending down and future projections are better than expected (CNN)


State by state

New York City’s Latinx Residents Hit Hardest By Coronavirus Deaths (NPR)

What California is doing right in responding to the coronavirus pandemic (CNN)

Here’s why these 13 Louisiana parishes have some of the highest coronavirus death rates in the U.S. (NOLA.com)

Tags Andrew Cuomo Anthony Fauci Charles Schumer Coronavirus Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Rachel Maddow Steven Mnuchin

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