Overnight Health Care: Trump criticizes Birx over Pelosi, COVID-19 remarks: 'Pathetic' | Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House | WHO chief: There may never be 'silver bullet' for coronavirus

Overnight Health Care: Trump criticizes Birx over Pelosi, COVID-19 remarks: 'Pathetic' | Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House | WHO chief: There may never be 'silver bullet' for coronavirus
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE attacked coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx, and continued to hype hydroxychloroquine. Governors don't want the National Guard to leave the pandemic front lines, and the WHO is warning there won't be a miracle cure for coronavirus

We'll start with Trump drama:


Trump criticizes Birx over Pelosi, COVID-19 remarks: 'Pathetic'

President Trump on Monday publicly criticized Deborah Birx, the doctor who is coordinating the White House’s coronavirus response, suggesting she hurt him when she bluntly acknowledged that the pandemic is widespread across the United States.

Trump suggested Birx's warning was in response to criticism from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi preparing for House to decide presidency if neither Trump or Biden win electoral college: report Trump seeks boost from seniors with 0 drug discount coupons GOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November MORE (D-Calif.), who questioned Birx’s credibility in responding to the pandemic. He appeared to call Birx’s response to Pelosi’s criticism “pathetic.” 

“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics,” Trump tweeted. “In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”

Why it matters: The tweet marks the latest instance of Trump undercutting one of his administration’s top health officials in the middle of a pandemic, but it is the first time he has publicly criticized Birx. The tweet was even more jarring given White House officials had just spent the weekend praising Birx and defending her in the wake of Pelosi’s sniping.

Context: Pelosi said she doesn’t have confidence in Birx because she is Trump’s appointee. Birx said Sunday on CNN COVID-19 is “extraordinarily widespread” than it was in March and April. While Trump tried to tie Birx comments on the pandemic to Pelosi’s criticism, she has sounded the alarm on increases in cases across the country over the past several weeks. 

Read more here. 


Trump still hyping hydroxychloroquine 

Trump continued to hype hydroxychloroquine to reporters on Monday, despite scientific evidence to the contrary and many of his administration's top health officials advising the public to move on because the drug does not work against COVID-19.

“Hydroxy has tremendous support, but politically it’s toxic because I supported it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “If I would have said, ‘Do not use hydroxychloroquine under any circumstances,’ they would have come out and they would have said, ‘It’s a great, it’s a great thing.’”

When Trump was asked about the differing opinions of leading health experts, including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTillis appears to reinforce question about COVID-19 death toll Overnight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump MORE, the nation’s top infectious-disease official, Trump doubled down.

“I don’t agree with Fauci on everything,” Trump said

It's not just Fauci: White House coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said on "Meet the Press" Sunday that he “can't recommend” hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, and said the public should "move on."

“At this point in time, there's been five randomized-controlled, placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine, so at this point in time, we don't recommend that as a treatment,” Giroir said. 

Lessons: Trump almost hit upon an important lesson for politicians: let the scientists be scientists. When politicians wade into science and medicine, it muddies the whole process. Hydroxychloroquine would likely not have become such a political controversy if Trump had not been so fixated on it. 

Related:  Experts fear political pressure on COVID-19 vaccine

Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House

Lawmakers are still struggling to come to an agreement on a coronavirus relief package, even after the enhanced unemployment benefits expired at the end of last week.

Democratic leaders announced slow progress with White House negotiators Monday after meeting for nearly two hours in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office on Capitol Hill.

At this rate, no deal is expected before the end of the week, even after millions of unemployed Americans saw the $600-a-week federal boost to state unemployment benefits expire last week.

Pelosi told reporters Monday that negotiators are still trying to map out possible common ground, while Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Biden refuses to say whether he would support expanding Supreme Court Schumer says Trump tweet shows court pick meant to kill off ObamaCare MORE (D-N.Y.) said he thinks an agreement is still possible.


The Democratic relief proposal would increase the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s maximum benefit by 15 percent. It would also provide a new 12-month moratorium on evictions for renters who do not pay.

The proposal from the White House and Senate GOP does not include an increase in food stamp benefits or an eviction moratorium, but it does provide $105 billion to help colleges and schools resume classes in the fall. More money in the proposal would go to schools that resume in-person classes. 

Read more here.

Governors call for Trump to extend funding for National Guard coronavirus response

The National Governors Association (NGA) on Monday called on President Trump to extend federal funding for National Guard forces being used to respond to the coronavirus, warning that they need certainty on the issue.

The federal funding and benefits for the National Guard members helping states across the country operate testing sites, distribute food and medical supplies, and other tasks, is set to expire on Aug. 21.

Governors are warning that they have to start transitioning the forces to state control and funding well ahead of that deadline, though, disrupting planning for the coronavirus response. 


“While we appreciate the Administration’s support over the past few months, short-term extensions and last-minute authorizations are adversely impacting and disrupting state plans and operations,” the NGA, which represents governors in both parties, said in a press release on Monday. 

The NGA called on Trump to extend the federal funding and benefits, known as Title 32 authority, without delay. 

Read more here

WHO chief: There may never be 'silver bullet' for coronavirus

The leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday there may never be a "silver bullet" for defeating COVID-19. 

"A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing. "However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be." 

He urged countries to continue testing, isolating and treating COVID-19 patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts as a means of stopping the pandemic. 


Individuals should keep physical distance when in public, wear masks and regularly wash their hands, he added. 

Why it matters: There are six potential COVID-19 vaccines in phase three trials — the final phase that will determine whether a vaccine is safe and effective. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told Congress last week he is “cautiously optimistic” a vaccine will be approved by the end of the year given the favorability of existing data.

Read more here.

What we’re reading: 

How the pandemic defeated America (The Atlantic)

A coronavirus vaccine won’t change the world right away (The Washington Post

The ‘biggest monster’ is spreading. And it’s not coronavirus. (The New York Times

Fauci unfazed as scientists rely on unproven methods to create COVID vaccines (Kaiser Health News)

State by state: 

Some people are COVID-19 ‘test shopping’ for a negative result (Sun Sentinel)

On the first day of school, an Indiana student tests positive for coronavirus (The New York Times

Thousands of Texans are getting rapid-result COVID tests. The state isn’t counting them. (Houston Chronicle)

Op-eds in The Hill

Congress must act to preserve independent primary care practices

Generating legal cohesion across US responses to COVID-19

Trump's junk medicine puts his own supporters at deadly risk