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Overnight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents

Overnight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process on Wednesday | Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits McConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data First major Democrat announces 2022 bid for Iowa governor MORE’s social media, which is usually not dull, has had some great llama content recently. 

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Today: President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE goes to bat for Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE, House Democrats press the White House to go further on global vaccine access, and the CDC director urges adolescents to get vaccinated. 

Let’s start with Biden:  

Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks

President Biden wants to make it very clear he still has confidence in Anthony Fauci amid conservative attacks: He had left the room after an appearance but came back to answer a question. 

"Yes, I'm very confident in Dr. FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE," he said. 

Fauci has reemerged as a punching bag for conservatives over his explanations for the origins of the coronavirus. Trump and other conservatives have argued the virus came from a lab in Wuhan, China, and suggested Fauci was not forthcoming about the evidence for that theory.

Republican critics of Fauci have pointed to newly released emails from 2020, published by The Washington Post, that show correspondence early in the pandemic about the possibility the virus came from a lab. While Fauci cast doubt on that prospect publicly, the emails do not clearly show him outright rejecting it.

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Not the first time Fauci targeted: Fauci has been a target for some Republicans dating back to last year, when he evolved his guidance on masking and distancing as more information about the pandemic emerged. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE turned Fauci into a consistent foil at campaign rallies as he and other Republicans held the doctor up as an example of an overcautious approach to the pandemic that had shut down the economy. Fauci required a security detail as he and his family faced threats.

Read more here.

House Democrats call on Biden to do 'much more' to vaccinate the world

More than 40 House Democrats on Friday wrote to President Biden calling for him to do “much more” to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.

The letter, first reported Thursday by CNN, comes a day after the White House announced a plan for sharing 25 million doses out of a pledged 80 million by the end of June with other countries.

The lawmakers praised this step, but said it is insufficient.

"We urge you to pursue additional steps to advance a bold, comprehensive strategy to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible," the letter reads.

In addition to sharing doses that have already been made, the lawmakers said it is crucial to increase the supply of vaccines by providing more funding for manufacturing and to share the know-how for making the vaccines so that other countries can make them. 

The lawmakers, led by Democratic Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalWhite House to Democrats: Get ready to go it alone on infrastructure Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month Jayapal to Dems: Ditch bipartisanship, go it alone on infrastructure MORE (Wash.), Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiOvernight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents House Democrats call on Biden to do 'much more' to vaccinate the world Rep. Malinowski traded as much as M in medical, tech stocks with stake in COVID-19 response MORE (N.J.) and Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiOvernight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents House Democrats call on Biden to do 'much more' to vaccinate the world Postal Service raises stamps to 58 cents as part of restructuring plan MORE (Ill.), praised Biden for supporting a waiver for vaccine patents at the World Trade Organization and announcing a plan to donate the 80 million doses. 

Additional steps the lawmakers want:

  • $25 billion in funding through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to oversee the production of 8 billion doses of vaccine, and an “immediate accounting” of the $16 billion remaining in American Rescue Plan funds for vaccine development. 
  • They call for the administration to “use all available tools of U.S. influence, persuasion, diplomacy and legal authorities to facilitate the rapid and widespread transfer of technology and expansion of vaccine production.”

Read more here

CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyStudy: Older Americans saw larger declines in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths after vaccine became available Overnight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents New York plans to loosen school mask rules as soon as Monday MORE urged parents to vaccinate adolescents and teenagers against the coronavirus Friday, adding that even though the COVID-19 risk is low, it still can be severe for this age group. 

In a statement accompanying a study showing increased rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations among adolescents 12–17 years old, Walensky said she was concerned by the findings.

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"I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation," Walensky said. 

According to the study, COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates among adolescents increased during a recent surge in cases earlier this spring. Nearly one-third of the 204 adolescents hospitalized between Jan. 1 and March 31 required ICU admission. 

"Much of this suffering can be prevented," Walensky said.  

Even though a coronavirus vaccine was not authorized for use in adolescents until last month, Walensky urged "parents, relatives and close friends to join me and talk with teens about the importance of these prevention strategies and to encourage them to get vaccinated."

More data: But some public health experts questioned why the CDC was publishing a study in June that relied on data from only March and April. Current numbers are available through the end of May, and the rates of hospitalizations have dropped much lower. The study was also very limited — only about 10 percent of the U.S. population across 14 states was surveyed. 

Read more here.

Latest on lab leak: Fauci calls on China to release medical records of Wuhan researchers

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Anthony Fauci is calling on China to release medical records of researchers at a laboratory in Wuhan, China, that reportedly became sick with COVID-19-like symptoms prior to the pandemic.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Friday, Fauci said the records could help resolve the debate over the origins of the virus, particularly if it was the result of a laboratory leak.

“I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019,” Fauci told the news outlet. “Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?”

Fauci also called for the records of miners that got sick years ago after entering a cave. According to The Washington Post, six miners became sick with a viral-induced pneumonia after entering a bat cave.

The nation's top infectious diseases expert said, “It is entirely conceivable that the origins of Sars-Cov-2 was in that cave and either started spreading naturally or went through the lab.”

Read more here.

Study: 7 US teens report heart inflammation after second Pfizer dose

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Seven male U.S. teenagers reported heart muscle inflammation after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a study released on Friday, suggesting a “possible” but unproven link between the condition and the vaccine.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, highlighted seven cases of teenagers between 14 and 19 who developed symptoms for myocarditis days after receiving their second dose in April and May. 

All reported chest pain within four days of the second shot, resolved their symptoms “rapidly” and were sent home from the hospital after two to six days.

“No causal relationship”: The study is among the latest reports of young men developing symptoms of myocarditis after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, although the report emphasized that “no definite causal relationship” has been proven and such cases “appear rare.”

“No causal relationship between vaccine administration and myocarditis has been established,” the study said. 

What’s next: Experts are now examining whether there are more cases of myocarditis after vaccination than are typical, though the CDC recommends that those older than 12 still get vaccinated, warning that the risks of COVID-19 are greater than the shot.

An editorial posted in Pediatrics with the article noted that the heart inflammation cases need to be examined but noted that “the benefits of vaccination against this deadly and highly transmissible disease clearly far outweigh any potential risks.”

Read more here.

What we’re reading

A landmark Alzheimer’s drug approval would likely deepen racial inequities in dementia care (Stat News)

Want to mix 2 different COVID-19 vaccines? Canada is fine with that (NPR)

U.S. sends 1 mln J&J COVID-19 vaccine doses to S.Korea -State Dept (Reuters)   

Attacks on Fauci grow more intense, personal and conspiratorial (Politico)

State by state

Feds question Kemp plan to block ACA shopping website in Georgia (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Newsom draws first lottery winners in effort to boost California COVID-19 vaccinations (LA Times)

Louisiana adds free state park visits to COVID vaccine perks (Associated Press)