Overnight Health Care: Trump admin to roll back LGBTQ protections | White House officials downplay chance of COVID-19 'second spike' | Oregon, Utah pause reopening

Overnight Health Care: Trump admin to roll back LGBTQ protections | White House officials downplay chance of COVID-19 'second spike' | Oregon, Utah pause reopening
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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. 

Some states are hitting pause on their reopening efforts, as the White House downplays rising COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is eliminating non-discrimination health protections for LGBTQ people.

Let’s start there: 


Trump officials to roll back LGBTQ health protections

The Trump administration will scrap ObamaCare's non-discrimination protections for sex and gender identity under a final rule released Friday.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the government's interpretation of sex discrimination will be based on "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."

The move is a victory for religious conservatives, who have been anticipating the rule for well over a year, and could help President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE make additional inroads to a group essential to his reelection. 

Advocates fear the policy will make it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny care or coverage to transgender patients and non-binary patients as well as women who have had abortions. 

They also slammed the administration for releasing the rule during Pride month, and on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting that killed 49 people in an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando.  

The administration has argued that removing the protections, based on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, is largely moot because a federal judge in Texas vacated much of the rule last year.


The Obama-era rule made it illegal for doctors, hospitals and other health care workers to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of.

Read more here.


White House officials downplay chance of COVID-19 'second spike'

Despite cases surging across the country, the coronavirus messaging among economic officials at the White House is relatively upbeat.

White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE said on “Fox & Friends” that the developments did not signify a “second spike” nationally of COVID-19, citing conversations with White House health experts the evening prior.

Speaking later on Fox News, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett described some “embers flaring up” in various states, pointing to troubling data in South Carolina and Arizona, but he insisted that cases nationally continue to decline.

“The battle is not over but the trends that have been so positive in recent weeks have not really deviated sharply … although there are still some hotspots around the country,” Hassett said.

However, there are warning signs: The average number of confirmed cases over a two-week period has doubled or more in Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon and Utah. South Carolina, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida have all set new highs over a seven-day rolling average.

Read more here


Not so fast...Oregon, Utah pause reopening amid coronavirus spikes

Not everywhere is plowing ahead with reopening.

Governors in Oregon and Utah are hitting pause on reopening their states amid new spikes in coronavirus infections.


Oregon reported 178 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, an all-time high for the state, while Utah confirmed a new high of 556 new cases last Friday. 

Both states were in the process of phased reopening plans but will not move forward while they investigate the increases. 

"This is essentially a statewide ‘yellow light.’ It is time to press pause for one week before any further reopening,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said in a statement Thursday evening. 

“I will work with doctors and public health experts to determine whether to lift this pause or extend it or make other adjustments,” she added. 

Read more here.


Governors in other states signal no interest in reversing curse


The coronavirus is spiking across more than a dozen states, but many governors are signaling they have no interest in bringing back restrictive stay-at-home orders almost regardless of what happens.

Even governors with detailed metrics for reopening have shown little appetite to plan for the inevitable virus surges. Public health experts say there are less drastic measures to take than reimposing lockdowns, but as the virus rages, they warn time may be running short.

“Once you see cases rise, it's too late. [A rising] number of cases signifies a spread that's already happened,” said Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.   

Read more here.


The CDC has some new guidance on large gatherings

In the agency's first press briefing in three months, agency officials discussed new guidance about how to safely conduct gatherings. 


The guidance urges the organizers of large gatherings to require the use of face coverings among staff, saying it "strongly encourages" masks in settings "where individuals might raise their voice" for shouting, chanting or singing.

The new recommendations come after President Trump announced he will hold an indoor rally next week in Oklahoma, the first since most of the country shut down as a result of the pandemic. The Trump campaign will require attendees to sign a waiver before getting a ticket.

In addition, the recommendations coincide with plans by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to hold a full-scale convention in Jacksonville, Fla., after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said that the RNC would only be able to hold scaled-back convention in the initial host city of Charlotte.

The guidelines also come after protests across the country, where thousands of people have been marching side-by-side in the streets to protest police brutality. Many of the police and some of the marchers have not been wearing masks. 

Read more here.


Tulsa Health Department warns against large gatherings

Health officials in Tulsa on Friday said the county saw a record daily high of coronavirus cases, and linked the spike to indoor gatherings. The county warned people who attend large events to take safety precautions.

Seventy-one Tulsa County residents were reported as confirmed cases Friday, bringing the total confirmed to 1,443 individuals. Of those, 1,008 residents have recovered, 373 are currently active and 62 residents have died.

"Initial investigations on cases reported this week have identified an outbreak linked to indoor gatherings," the health department said. Tulsa removed all restrictions on gathering sizes on June 1, and President Trump's rally is scheduled for June 19.

“I have concerns about large groups of people gathering indoors for prolonged lengths of time. It is imperative that anyone who chooses to host or attend a gathering take the steps to stay safe. If you are sick or think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home,” Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a statement. 

“The bottom line is that the more people an infected individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater the risk for spreading COVID-19 becomes.” 


What we’re reading

How rich investors, not doctors, profit from marking up ER bills (ProPublica

Some cells serve as unlikely heroes to defend the brain from viral invaders (STAT)

Errors Undermine Government Data on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes (US News & World Report)

Public health workers fighting virus face growing threats (Associated Press)


State by state

Missouri Chamber of Commerce, a key Parson ally, endorses Medicaid expansion (STLtoday.com)

Florida reports record high 1,902 new coronavirus cases, one day after previous record (Miami Herald)

Arkansas reports its highest daily spike in new coronavirus cases, numbers expected to grow (CNBC