Overnight Health Care: Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House | Alabama to require face masks | House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts

Overnight Health Care: Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House | Alabama to require face masks | House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight health care. 

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPublic health expert: 50 percent effective coronavirus vaccine would be 'better than what we have now' Overnight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically Fauci's DC neighbors put up 'thank you' signs in their yards MORE spoke out on attacks against him from the White House, the Alabama governor is requiring face masks and the Oklahoma governor has coronavirus himself. 

We’ll start with Fauci. 

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Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House

Anthony Fauci said the efforts to discredit him from some in the Trump administration are “bizarre” and a poor reflection on the president. 

In an interview with The Atlantic published Wednesday, the nation's top infectious diseases expert responded to news that the White House sent out a memo over the weekend detailing “wrong” statements he had made about the pandemic. 

“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that,” Fauci said. “I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them."

Context: The White House press shop sent some media outlets a list of “wrong” statements Fauci has made on the pandemic, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE’s top trade adviser Peter Navarro published an op-ed in USA Today claiming Fauci has been wrong about “everything.” 

“I stand by everything I said," Fauci told The Atlantic. "Contextually, at the time I said it, it was absolutely true.”

Read more on the interview here.

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Navarro-Fauci battle intensifies, to detriment of Trump

Navarro’s battle with Fauci intensified on Wednesday, putting the White House in a difficult position as it struggles to downplay evidence of a rift between Trump and one of the nation’s most trusted health experts. 

The White House communications team on Wednesday sought to distance itself from Navarro's USA Today op-ed, saying that the piece did not go through normal clearance processes and represents the opinion of Navarro alone.

Trump told reporters Wednesday that he has a “very good relationship” with Fauci and said Navarro shouldn’t be making statements “representing himself,” referring to the op-ed. 

Less Navarro? Officials familiar with Navarro’s standing in the White House did not expect Navarro to be fired but said he may be temporarily reined in from doing so many media appearances. They noted he has in the past gone beyond administration talking points, requiring other aides to do clean up.

Read more here.

Alabama to require face masks 

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced a mandatory statewide mask order Wednesday, citing a 50 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks.

“Despite all our best efforts, we’re seeing increases in cases every day still occurring and we’re almost to the point where hospital ICUs are overwhelmed,” Ivey said at a press conference.

Alabama reported 2,141 new cases overnight, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to more than 58,000.

Ivey, who was reluctant to issue a mask order earlier in the pandemic, said she believes it will be hard to enforce.

Context: More than 20 states now require masks in public. Ivey’s order expires July 31, but experts note that mask-wearing needs to be a long-term measure while the virus is still spreading. 

Read more here. 

House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts for COVID-19 supplies

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Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are asking Trump officials to explain contracts for personal protective equipment, testing supplies and other materials that they say went to companies with political ties to the administration or that were unprepared to fill the orders.

Examples they point to:

  • A May article from ProPublica, which reported that Zach Fuentes, a former aide to President Trump, was awarded a $3 million contract for respirator masks for the Navajo Nation just 11 days after founding a company. Some of the masks were unsuitable for medical use, the report said.
  • A separate ProPublica report, which found that the administration gave $7.3 million to a company called Fillakit for test tubes, but instead received plastic tubes made for bottling soda that were unusable.

The significance: Democrats on the committee, led by Chairman James Clyburn (S.C.), said the contracting practices could be “contributing to shortages” of protective equipment and other supplies, if contracts are going to unqualified companies unable to properly fill the orders.

Read more here

WHO warns COVID-19 pandemic lowering childhood vaccination rates worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major plunge in childhood vaccination rates worldwide, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning the effects of children missing routine immunizations could become even worse than the pandemic itself.

The emergence of COVID-19 threatens to reverse "hard-won progress to reach more children and adolescents with a wider range of vaccines," the WHO said.

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A WHO survey — conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health — found three-quarters of responding countries reported COVID-19 related disruptions in their vaccine programs as of May.

One example: Preliminary data for the first four months of 2020 points to a substantial drop in the number of children completing three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3). According to WHO, this is the first time in 28 years that the world could see a reduction in DTP3 coverage.

Read more here

Oklahoma governor tests positive for COVID-19

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor made the announcement during a press conference, according to a local ABC affiliate is reporting. His test came back positive Tuesday afternoon.

Stitt, 48, said he believes he is the first governor in the nation to test positive for the virus. In March, one of his Cabinet members, David Ostrowe, also tested positive.

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The governor said he “feels fine” and that his wife and children have tested negative.

Stitt advocated for President Trump’s in-person campaign rally in Tulsa last month. He attended the rally himself and was seen in images of the event not wearing a face mask.

Read more here 

What we’re reading

As the coronavirus crisis spins out of control, Trump issues directives — but still no clear plan (Washington Post

New coronavirus treatments are expected this fall. But how powerful will they be? (McClatchy)

Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump administration ends Obama fair housing rule Castro urges Dems to seize moment on social reform Overnight Health Care: Fauci says 'bizarre' efforts to discredit him only hurt the White House | Alabama to require face masks | House panel probes 'problematic' government contracts MORE on second coronavirus economic shutdown: ‘You do that again, and you completely destroy the financial infrastructure’ (Yahoo Finance)

State by state

Why Arizona wasn’t ready for its coronavirus surge (The Wall Street Journal

Investigation uncovers missteps in Washington, D.C.'s coronavirus response (NPR)

‘Things ain’t going back to normal’: Californians reel as shutdown hits again (Guardian

The Hill op-eds

Provider bias in health care

Listening to Trump gave Sunbelt governors a new COVID-19 headache