Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. Check out the video of Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) cutting in to take the podium ahead of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.), as they both prepared for their press conferences at the same time.
Today: Florida leads the nation in new COVID-19 infections, with no plans for new mitigation orders. New York City will require proof of vaccination for people to participate in indoor activities, and the Biden administration is poised to announce a targeted eviction ban, despite some obvious legal challenges.
We'll start in Florida:
Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge
Florida’s newfound status as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has thrust the state into crisis mode as officials battle over the best way to curb the outbreak.
On Tuesday, Florida hit 11,515 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, marking the third straight day it has broken its record. About 2,400 patients are now in intensive care. The state now accounts for roughly one in five new cases nationally.
At the same time, there’s concern among experts that the Sunshine State is still weeks away from hitting its peak.
Still, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisCalifornia dreaming did not become reality for Republicans Florida landlord requiring proof of vaccinations from tenants Anthrax was the COVID-19 of 2001 MORE, a rising Republican star who won accolades from conservatives last year for his laissez faire approach to the pandemic, has resisted calls for new mask mandates or lockdowns, arguing that such restrictions had worsened the public health and economic effects on other states.
DeSantis and the Republican-controlled state legislature have also sought to preempt county and local governments from imposing their own rules, drawing backlash from local officials.
"We're not allowed to have mask mandates now,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in an interview on CNN this week. “We were one of the first cities to require it and we charged a fine just to get people to do it. The governor stopped allowing us to do it and then immediately we saw a surge across our county and state when he did that.”
Sign of things to come? New York City to require vaccination for indoor activities, restaurants, gyms
New York will require proof of vaccination for workers and customers who want to participate in indoor activities including dining in restaurants, working out in gyms and attending theater performances, Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThree arrested for allegedly assaulting NYC hostess who asked for COVID-19 vaccine proof Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (D) announced Tuesday.
The policy is one of the first of its kind in the United States and comes amid a nationwide spike in COVID-19 infections, driven largely by the spread of the delta variant in people who are unvaccinated.
The "Key to NYC Pass" program will begin Aug. 16, and enforcement will begin Sept. 13, de Blasio said during a news conference.
"It's time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary for living a good, full and healthy life," he said. "If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things."
While New York is the first U.S. city to institute a municipal vaccine passport, the state developed its own "Excelsior Pass" mobile app, which debuted in March.
Biden weighs in: President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE was asked about the policy after a speech on Tuesday. While initially saying he supports the idea, Biden then said he thinks states and cities should empower private businesses rather than making the requirements on their own.
Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates
President Biden on Tuesday rebuked Republican governors who have imposed bans on mask mandates and pleaded with them to “get out of the way” of businesses and schools who want to impose coronavirus-related requirements.
“We need leadership from everyone and if some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it,” he said in a speech from the White House.
“I say to these governors, please help. If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives,” Biden continued.
The president's criticism was directed at states, all of them Republican-controlled, that have banned mask mandates in school districts, universities or businesses. He particularly singled out Florida and Texas, noting that they currently account for one-third of new COVID-19 cases.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans, have issued executive orders barring local mask mandates even as federal health officials updated health guidance to encourage vaccinated Americans in areas of high transmission to wear face coverings indoors.
Biden to issue targeted eviction moratorium
The Biden administration will announce Tuesday a targeted eviction moratorium after a wide-ranging federal ban expired over the weekend, two sources familiar with the plans confirmed to The Hill.
The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will ban evictions in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, the sources said, aligning with areas where the CDC recommends even vaccinated residents wear masks while indoors.
The new moratorium was expected to be publicly released Tuesday afternoon. It is expected to last for 60 days, according to a congressional source familiar with the plan.
Legal challenges: Biden was asked multiple times about the impending announcement at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. He insisted he did not want to get ahead of the CDC, but seemed to acknowledge the new order is likely to face legal challenges.
"Whether that option will pass constitutional measure with this administration, I can’t tell you. I don’t know," Biden said. "There are a few scholars who say it will, and others who say it’s not likely to. But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money."
White House says US has donated 110M coronavirus vaccine doses abroad
The White House said Tuesday that the United States has donated and shipped more than 110 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to more than 60 countries.
The development marks a significant milestone in the global fight against COVID-19. It comes two months after the Biden administration unveiled its plan to share vaccines globally amid pressure from the public health community and some lawmakers in Washington to donate excess vaccine doses. The White House missed its initial goal of sharing 80 million vaccine doses by the end of June.
The majority of the 110 million doses was shared through COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed global vaccine initiative that works to share vaccine doses with poorer nations. Countries that received the largest number doses include Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
The rest of the vaccines were shared directly with regional partners hand-picked by the administration, such as Mexico and Canada.
What we’re reading
Panic-buying and transport lockdowns. In Wuhan, it feels like early pandemic again (NPR)
Germany, France and U.K. prepare for COVID vaccine boosters starting in September (The Washington Post)
People chasing Covid-19 vaccine boosters create headaches for the health care system (Stat News)
State by state
Tennessee won’t incentivize COVID shots but pays to vax cows (Associated Press)
SF General Hospital to give supplemental mRNA vaccine to people who got J&J shot (ABC 7)
DeSantis won’t move on masks as Florida COVID wards swell (Associated Press)
When delta strikes: Latest coronavirus surges grow faster, hit record heights in Louisiana, Florida (Washington Post)
Georgia hospitals report spikes in COVID-19 hospitalizations (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)