Overnight Health Care: Dems hone in on ObamaCare as Supreme Court hearings begin | Fauci on planned Trump rallies: 'Now is even a worse time to do that' | WHO chief calls herd immunity approach 'simply unethical'

Overnight Health Care: Dems hone in on ObamaCare as Supreme Court hearings begin | Fauci on planned Trump rallies: 'Now is even a worse time to do that' | WHO chief calls herd immunity approach 'simply unethical'
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Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care. 

Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing kicked off today, with Democrats honing in on the Supreme Court’s upcoming oral arguments in the Texas ObamaCare case. The head of the WHO calls a herd immunity strategy “unethical.” And Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWaters: Fauci 'was being bullied' by Jordan during hearing Whitmer: State won't close down again following GOP lawsuits Sunday shows - Fauci dominates with remarks on vaccines, boosters, masks and Jordan MORE warned that now really is not the time for the Trump campaign to hold rallies. 

Let’s start with Barrett: 


Democrats seek to tie Barrett to Trump on Affordable Care Act as confirmation hearings begin

It was hard to miss Democrats’ focus on health care, namely the GOP-backed lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as the nomination hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett began. Republicans even joked that Democrats’ were mistaking a Supreme Court nomination hearing for a health policy panel. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'Building Back Better' requires a new approach to US science and technology Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia MORE (D-N.Y.) — who said last week that Senate Democrats would focus on "health care, health care, health care" during the hearings — went one step further during a Monday morning interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Judge Barrett has said she would overturn the ACA, which would rip away protections for people with preexisting conditions. They could end up with no insurance,” he said.

Republicans on the committee pushed back against the Democratic strategy.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMedia complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision MORE (R-Texas) argued that Democrats can’t know for sure how Barrett might rule on a case and it would be improper of them to solicit a pledge from the nominee about how she would handle a challenge to the ACA and other lawsuits.

“Our Democratic colleagues want you to guarantee a result in a case as a quid pro quo for your confirmation. It’s outrageous,” he said in his opening statement. 


Read more here.

Fauci on planned Trump rallies: 'Now is even a worse time to do that'

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on Monday warned that President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE’s campaign rallies, where social distancing and mask-wearing aren’t required, are “asking for trouble” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Asked by CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperArkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' Arkansas governor: Veto on trans youth bill was a 'message of compassion and conservatism' Buttigieg: Lawmakers can call infrastructure package 'whatever they like' but 'it's good policy' MORE if he is worried about the public health consequences of Trump’s rallies, Fauci replied, “We know that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.” 

“And now is even more so a worse time to do that,” he added, pointing to an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive across the country, 5 percent or higher in 32 states, a sign of growing outbreaks. 

Why it matters: A series of White House events celebrating Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court resulted in at least 34 White House staffers and contacts becoming infected with COVID-19. The virus spreads in close quarters, especially indoors, even at the White House. 

Trump returns to the campaign trail on Monday after his own coronavirus diagnosis. He is scheduled to hold four rallies in as many days, starting in Florida.

Read more here.

Fauci also said the Trump campaign should take down its ad featuring him

"I think it’s really unfortunate and really disappointing that they did that. It is so clear that I am not a political person and I have never either directly or indirectly endorsed a political candidate,” Fauci said in the same interview.

“To take a completely out-of-context statement and put it in what is obviously a political campaign ad, I thought, was really very disappointing,” he added.

The Trump campaign rolled out the new ad last week after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Hospital for treatment of COVID-19.

The 30-second spot seeks to paint a rosy picture of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic and features a clip of Fauci saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”

Tapper suggested that the campaign may be working on another ad, similarly using Fauci's words without his permission.


"You know, that would be terrible,” Fauci said. “That would be outrageous if they do that. In fact, that might actually come back to backfire on them.”

Read more here.

WHO chief calls herd immunity approach to COVID-19 'simply unethical' 

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) called the herd immunity approach that some officials are taking for the COVID-19 pandemic “simply unethical” on Monday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing that health officials usually attempt to obtain herd immunity from a disease through vaccinating the public, such as with measles.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said, the Associated Press reported

Overall, officials think less than 10 percent of the global population has any form of immunity to COVID-19, leaving most of the world still at risk.


Tedros also noted that WHO has recorded cases in which people are reinfected, which counters some immunity theories. 

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak,” Tedros said.

Read more here

Trump faces unusual barrier to COVID-19 aid: GOP allies

President Trump's last-ditch effort to secure another enormous package of emergency coronavirus relief is being threatened by an unusual group: his GOP allies in Congress.

For almost four years, Republican leaders have rallied behind the president on issues as varied as health care, immigration, trade and defense, even when his positions bucked long-held conservative doctrines.

Yet just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, as the embattled president is exhorting Congress to move a major package of COVID-19 aid, those same lawmakers have emerged as the single greatest barrier standing in his way.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Appointing a credible, non-partisan Jan. 6 commission should not be difficult Why President Biden is all-in in infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) has repeatedly thrown cold water on the idea of spending trillions more dollars to fight the pandemic, citing the opposition of roughly 20 Republicans in the upper chamber who warn of the long-term effects on the federal debt.

On a conference call Saturday, Senate Republicans relayed those concerns to party leaders and top Trump officials, trumpeting their objections to a $1.8 trillion package proposed by the White House a day earlier and ensuring that the only path to passage is on the shoulders of Democratic votes — a strategy McConnell has rejected virtually out of hand.

Read more here

What we’re reading 

‘I feel like I have dementia’: Brain fog plagues COVID survivors (New York Times)

Bill Gates: Don't call Trump’s coronavirus antibodies treatment a ‘cure’ (NBC News)

31 states have growing rates of new COVID-19 cases, and 'we know what's coming next' (CNN

State by state

D.C. reports increased demand for coronavirus tests amid White House outbreak (Washington Post)

‘Make or break moment’: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock talks about spike in coronavirus cases (CBS 4

Coronavirus spike threatens Elkhart County, Ind., hospitals as they near capacity (WSBT)

The Hill op-eds

Your health insurance might be on the chopping block

Protecting educators and health care workers through strategic state stockpiles