Overnight Health Care: CDC to issue more guidance on school openings amid Trump criticism | Supreme Court upholds birth control coverage exemptions | US surpasses 3 million coronavirus infections

Overnight Health Care: CDC to issue more guidance on school openings amid Trump criticism | Supreme Court upholds birth control coverage exemptions | US surpasses 3 million coronavirus infections
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care. 

There are more than 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 132,000 deaths. President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE threatened to cut funding to schools that don’t reopen this fall, and the Supreme Court upheld the administration’s broad exemptions to ObamaCare’s contraception mandate. 

The latest in the saga of Trump pushing to reopen schools: CDC to issue more guidance on school openings amid Trump criticism


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue additional guidance next week on reopening schools, Vice President Pence said Wednesday, hours after President Trump criticized the agency’s current guidelines as “very tough and expensive.”

Pence appeared to frame the upcoming guidance as a response to Trump’s criticisms, saying they would offer “more clarity.” But just a day earlier he had said the CDC would be releasing additional guidelines on school openings that would address face coverings, symptom screening, school settings and “decision-A making tools” for parents and caregivers.

“Well, the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence said at a coronavirus task force press briefing on Wednesday. “That’s the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

Asked whether the agency would adjust its recommendations in response to Trump’s critical tweet earlier Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said officials will continue to “develop and evolve” guidance for schools.

Read more here.

In big non-COVID-19 news: Supreme Court upholds Trump's expansion of ObamaCare birth control exemptions

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Trump administration's expansion of ObamaCare birth control exemptions for employers.


The 7-2 decision stemmed from a highly litigated question that first arose in the early days of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA): Do employers who oppose birth control have to pay for workers’ contraception?

In the Obama era, religious nonprofits could claim an exemption from contraceptive coverage. Under the Trump administration, eligibility was extended to companies that voiced religious or moral objections, sparking legal challenges.

Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks 'miles apart' Hawley will only back Supreme Court picks who have said Roe v. Wade was 'wrongly decided' Should we judge judges by whether their decisions appeal to us? MORE, writing for the majority on Wednesday, said the move by federal agencies under President Trump to expand the exemptions was lawful.

"We hold that the departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections," Thomas wrote.

Interesting breakdown: The majority comprised of the court’s conservative wing, as well as two of its more liberal justices, Elena KaganElena KaganLeBron James' group to donate 0K to pay fines for ex-felons seeking to vote in Florida Supreme Court declines to reinstate vote of nearly 1 million Florida felons Supreme Court clears way for second federal execution MORE and Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerHouse Democrats can sue Trump over U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, court rules Supreme Court declines to halt Trump border wall Supreme Court clears way for second federal execution MORE. Writing in dissent were liberal justices Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMore Democrats than Republicans say Supreme Court key to 2020 vote Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Ginsburg discharged from hospital after nonsurgical procedure MORE and Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorVoters should channel the Black Lives Matter energy at the polls Supreme Court's approval rating highest in over a decade: Gallup GOP asks Supreme Court to reinstate Arizona voting rules deemed racially biased MORE.

Read more here

Not a great milestone: US surpasses 3 million coronavirus infections

The United States surpassed 3 million coronavirus infections on Wednesday, a grim milestone as the virus surges in more than half of all states, and a predicted waning of infections this summer never occurred.

Data from the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center showed the U.S. had 3,009,611 cases at midday on Wednesday.

Another record, in daily cases: On Tuesday, the U.S. set a record with 60,000 new cases. California and Texas both had more than 10,000 new cases in a single day, shattering previous records. 

Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina led the world in new cases over the last seven days, according to New York Times data.    

Hospitals in Florida have run out of beds in their intensive care units, even as Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election DeSantis: It's safe to hug with PPE on Police say man spat on child in restaurant and said 'you now have coronavirus' MORE (R) continues to downplay the situation and refuses to release critical information about hospitalizations.  

Read more here.

Iowa governor says cities can't require masks


While some governors reverse course and more openly embrace masks, Iowa’s GOP governor is saying cities cannot mandate them. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Tuesday said city and county officials do not have the authority to require residents to wear masks in public. 

“We don't believe that they can and that is in conjunction with the attorney general,” Reynolds said during a press conference, when asked about county and city ordinances mandating mask-wearing. 

“We believe that when my — the public health disaster proclamation is in effect, unless the local government’s declaration or proclamation is consistent with the state proclamation, unless it’s consistent, then it’s not appropriate or it doesn't go into effect,” she added. 

Reynolds has not ordered a statewide mandatory mask requirement as several other governors have in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a statewide face covering requirement on Wednesday, and Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine (R) said Tuesday he is issuing an order mandating people in counties with high levels of coronavirus spread wear masks. 

Read more here.

US investing $42M to help company ramp up syringe, needle production ahead of vaccination push


The U.S. government is investing $42 million to help Becton, Dickinson and Company, known as BD, ramp up its production of syringes and needles ahead of the future coronavirus vaccination push.

The U.S.’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) committed to providing $42 million for a $70 million project to expand BD’s manufacturing operations in Nebraska, according to a press release

The increased capacity for manufacturing is expected to be functioning within 12 months and will “provide priority access to the U.S. government for hundreds of millions of syringes and needles” for COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Big picture: In addition to developing and manufacturing the vaccines themselves, supplies like syringes are also key to a coronavirus vaccine push and need to be ramped up ahead of time. 

Read more here.

What we’re reading

Coronavirus deaths are rising in hotspots (Axios)


A Spike in People Dying at Home Suggests Coronavirus Deaths in Houston May Be Higher Than Reported (Pro Publica)

A flawed COVID study gets Trump’s attention — and FDA may pay the price (STAT)

State by state

California sets record for most coronavirus cases in a single day (LA Times)

Illinois Gov. Pritzker says states were forced to compete in 'sick Hunger Games' for PPE without national coronavirus plan (CNBC

Outbreak at Mississippi Capitol: Number of infected lawmakers grows to 26 (Clarion Ledger)

The Hill op-eds

Congress must stop Trump from withdrawing from the WHO 

Mandatory quarantine into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut? Good luck

It's past time for a pandemic testing strategy