June 8, 2020
Driving the Day:
By the Numbers
Monday, June 8, 7:30 AM
Number of US cases reported: 1,942,363
Number of US deaths: 110,514
Total Number of People Tested in US: 20,235,678 (may not include all labs)
What to Watch For
Today: President Trump will hold a closed press roundtable with law enforcement at 3:00 PM. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a press briefing at 2:00 PM.
- FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor, Navy Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, and Adm. Brett Giroir,will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on federal procurement and distribution during the pandemic.
- Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia will testify before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on unemployment insurance during COVID-19.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.
- SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will testify before the Senate Small Business Committee on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program.
- The Senate House, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on reopening schools.
- President Trump will travel to Dallas for a campaign fundraiser
- The House Administration Committee will hold a hearing on voting and elections during the pandemic.
Must Read Stories
States Seeing Coronavirus Cases Rise To Dangerous Levels As Trump Pushes To Reopen Against Advice of Medical Experts
- Wall Street Journal: California and Some Other States See Coronavirus Cases Rise: Nearly three months since the U.S. declared a national emergency over the new coronavirus, some states are reporting a rise in new cases as they lift restrictions meant to slow the virus’s spread. California, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas and Texas, among others, have all logged rises in confirmed cases, according to a Johns Hopkins tabulation of a five-day moving average. Meantime, New York City, the U.S. area hit hardest by the pandemic, has seen a drop in cases and deaths and plans to begin reopening its economy Monday. “It’s a very mixed picture,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, an infectious-disease specialist and epidemiologist at Columbia University. “In some places we have made amazing progress, and there are other places where I remain very concerned about what’s going on.”
- Arizona Republic: Arizona’s Largest Health System Reaches Capacity On ECMO Lung Machines As COVID-19 Cases In The State Continue To Climb: Hospitalizations in Arizona of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 have hit a new record and the state’s largest health system has reached capacity for patients needing external lung machines. Arizona’s total identified cases rose to 25,451 on Saturday according to the most recent state figures. That’s an increase of 4.4%, since Friday when the state reported 24,332 identified cases and 1,012 deaths. Some experts are saying that Arizona is experiencing a spike in community spread, pointing to indicators that as of Saturday continued to show increases — the number of positive cases, the percent of positive cases and hospitalizations. Also, ventilator and ICU bed use by patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 in Arizona hit record highs on Friday, the latest numbers show.
- USA Today: Coronavirus Outbreaks Climb At U.S. Meatpacking Plants Despite Protections, Trump Order: Coronavirus outbreaks at U.S. meatpacking plants continue to soar as the beleaguered industry ramps up production, scales back plant closures and tries to return to normal in the weeks after President Donald Trump declared it an essential operation. Trump’s April 28th executive order followed the industry’s dire warnings of meat shortages and invoked the Defense Production Act to compel slaughterhouses and processing plants to remain open. The order had a chilling effect on the steady drumbeat of closures that had come to symbolize the crisis throughout April and early May. Nearly three dozen coronavirus-affected plants temporarily shuttered in the month leading up to Trump’s executive order. In the five weeks since then, just 13 have closed, according to tracking from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. Meat production, which had briefly tanked, quickly rebounded after the order to near pre-coronavirus levels and quelled consumer fears of pork, beef and poultry shortages. But the number of coronavirus cases tied to meatpacking plants has more than doubled since then, topping 20,400 infections across 216 plants in 33 states, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found. At least 74 people have died.
Trump Wants To “Move On” From The Deadly Pandemic
- Washington Post: Talking Past The Pandemic: Trump Attempts To Shift Focus From Deadly Virus To Jobs, Law And Order: Minutes before a news conference Friday in which President Trump declared victory over the coronavirus pandemic by touting historic job growth, White House aides moved chairs that had been six feet apart and placed them right next to one another in the Rose Garden. The move to defy the federal government’s own social distancing rules during the televised event reflected a broader shift within the White House, which is attempting to turn the page from a pandemic that has killed more than 107,000 Americans by focusing on other issues and playing down the continuing danger posed by the virus. Trump has been the driving force behind the shift — declining to wear a mask, dismissing the threat of a second wave and pushing governors to reopen their economies right away. On Friday, he sought to put a positive spin on the rising death totals, saying that his actions had saved upward of 2 million lives. “We made every decision correctly,” Trump said, discussing the historic pandemic in the past tense and comparing it to a damaging storm that left the scene as quickly as it arrived. “This was a hurricane, and it’s going to get better fast.”
- Bloomberg: Fauci, Virus Task Force Sidelined With Trump All-In on Reopening: The White House’s coronavirus task force has all but vanished from public view as President Donald Trump pushes Americans to put the outbreak behind them and resume normal social and economic life. The task force was for several weeks a staple of Trump’s response to the pandemic. From March 4 until late April, the panel held nearly daily, televised briefings at the White House, many headlined by Trump. Its medical experts fanned out across TV networks to share guidance on curbing the spread of the virus. The most recent briefing was April 27, when Trump predicted the U.S. would suffer between 60,000 and 70,000 deaths from the outbreak. At least 107,000 Americans have died.
After Trump’s Refusal To Wear PPE On His Factory Tour, A Maine Swab Manufacturer Had To Throw Away The Day’s Output
USA Today: As Trump Touts Increased Production, Coronavirus Swabs Made During His Maine Factory Tour Will Be Tossed In The Trash: President Donald Trump traveled to Maine Friday to tour a facility that makes medical swabs used for coronavirus testing, but the swabs manufactured in the background during his visit will ultimately be thrown in the trash, the company said. Puritan Medical Products said it will have to discard the swabs, a company spokeswoman told USA TODAY in response to questions about the visit. It is not clear why the swabs will be scrapped, or how many. The company described its manufacturing plans for Friday as “limited” – but the disruption comes as public health officials in Maine and other states have complained that a shortage of swabs has hampered their ability to massively scale up coronavirus testing. Workers in white lab coats, hair nets and plastic booties worked at machines making swabs while the president walked through the room. Trump, who did not wear a mask for the visit, stopped at one point to talk with some of the workers.
Trump Promised Free Coronavirus Testing, But Some Patients Are Still Being Charged Thousands Of Dollars
Politico: The $7,000 Covid Test: Why States Are Stepping In To Shield Consumers: Insurance regulators from Tennessee to Washington state have stepped up efforts to protect patients from unexpected bills for coronavirus tests, concerned the federal government has failed to shield people from thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. Washington’s insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, this week issued an emergency order banning labs for billing insured patients for doctor-ordered Covid-19 diagnostic tests. That followed moves in Tennessee, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Georgia to cap costs or more narrowly define what insurers should pay for as the number of tests processed daily surges to 465,000 as of June 4. The state-by-state guidance and rules come after Congress and the Trump administration this spring assured Americans that coronavirus testing and any necessary trips to doctors and hospitals would be free. But lawmakers didn’t limit charges if the testing is done out of network — or prohibit labs or hospitals from billing patients if insurers refuse to pay their posted charges. Employers and health plans have complained this could lead to staggering costs. One national insurer was billed $6,946 for a coronavirus test in Texas, according to claims data reviewed by POLITICO. In Oklahoma, health plans received 175 out-of-network claims for coronavirus tests over a single week that ranged from $153 to $2,315 per test, said Laura Fleet, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Health Plans.
“The Pandemic Within A Pandemic”: Twin Crises Of COVID-19 And Police Brutality Hit Black Communities — And Brutal Police Tactics Risk Spreading The Virus Further
- New York Times: ‘Pandemic Within a Pandemic’: Coronavirus and Police Brutality Roil Black Communities: As protests over police brutality continue to roil cities, this is an extraordinary moment of pain for the nation, especially for black Americans who are bearing the brunt of three crises — police violence, crushing unemployment and the deadliest infectious disease threat in a century — that have laid bare longstanding injustice. Public health experts, activists and lawmakers say the triple threat requires a coordinated response. “These are interrelated crises — the crisis of racism and inequality that is now converging with the crisis of Covid-19,” said Dr. Leana S. Wen, who was Baltimore’s health commissioner when Mr. Gray died, and who testified before Congress on Thursday about racial disparities in the pandemic. “There is no playbook for what you do for addressing public health impacts of civil unrest.” The precise toll that the coronavirus has taken on people of color remains unknown; not every state collects data. The Trump administration, under pressure from Congress, announced on Thursday new requirements for states to do so. But an analysis of data from 40 states and the District of Columbia, released last month by the nonpartisan APM Research Lab, found black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites, Latinos or Asian-Americans to die from the coronavirus. In some states, the disparity is much greater.
- The Atlantic: Curfews and Arrests Will Inflame The Pandemic: The inescapable fact is that the demonstrations protesting the police killing of George Floyd will lead to spikes in coronavirus deaths. There is no denying this. The question is how to minimize them. The science of how to conduct a perfectly safe mass demonstration in a pandemic is still imperfect, but one thing is clear: The answer is not to clamp down on peaceful gatherings, incarcerate more people, and give everyone less time and space to social distance with draconian curfews. Policing triggered these protests, and the policing, not the protesting, may turn out to be the primary driver of viral transmission during them.
- Washington Post: The Nexus Between Coronavirus And Protests: The Virus ‘Was The Kindling, And The Police Brutality Lit The Fire.’: Far from being separate crises, the deadly epidemic of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and the sudden explosion of street protests against police violence are intimately connected, according to protesters and public and mental health professionals. “People are so pent-up with frustration from being inside for so long,” said Patricia Newton, chief executive and medical director of the Black Psychiatrists of America, which has about 2,000 members. “That was the kindling, and the police brutality lit the fire. People tell me, ‘I need to get out of the house,’ and ‘I’m having cabin fever.’ When people feel hopeless, they feel they have nothing to lose and caution goes to the wind.” […] Some health advocates feel a tension between advising protesters to take precautions against the coronavirus, which has produced disproportionately high death rates among blacks, and endorsing action against another epidemic — racial disparities in everything from housing quality to police brutality. But Newton said the two epidemics are more closely connected than many protesters realize. “The virus exposed the underbelly of the problems we’ve had in health care for decades — a disparity in care that reveals some of the same bias we see in police brutality,” she said.
While the president claims “Mission Accomplished,” the long term economic impact of Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus crisis is bleak:
- Associated Press: Left out: More workers now losing hope of getting back jobs
- New York Times: Don’t Lose the Thread. The Economy Is Experiencing an Epic Collapse of Demand.
- Politico: ‘There’s only so much we can do’: Food banks plead for help
Bloomberg: Fauci, Virus Task Force Sidelined With Trump All-In on Reopening
Politico: Trump hails ‘tremendous progress’ on Covid-19 vaccine
Politico: The $7,000 Covid test: Why states are stepping in to shield consumers
USA Today: As Trump touts increased production, coronavirus swabs made during his Maine factory tour will be tossed in the trash
Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Stalks Large Families in Rural America
Washington Post: Talking past the pandemic: Trump attempts to shift focus from deadly virus to jobs, law and order
Yahoo: Former FDA commissioner sees ‘a lot of risk’ of 2nd coronavirus wave
Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You
New York Times: Hospitals Got Bailouts and Furloughed Thousands While Paying C.E.O.s Millions
ProPublica: The CARES Act Sent You a $1,200 Check but Gave Millionaires and Billionaires Far More
Tampa Bay Times: How a St. Petersburg company with no history in medical supplies won a $10 million coronavirus contract
USA Today: Coronavirus outbreaks climb at U.S. meatpacking plants despite protections, Trump order
Associated Press: Left out: More workers now losing hope of getting back jobs
New York Times: Don’t Lose the Thread. The Economy Is Experiencing an Epic Collapse of Demand.
Politico: ‘There’s only so much we can do’: Food banks plead for help
Washington Post: States scramble to deal with potential spikes in unemployment fraud, prompting Democrats to demand answers
CNN: More universities report coronavirus cases in athletics programs
Wall Street Journal: The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn’t Work
Wall Street Journal: Kids could go hungry this summer with school lunch programs in peril
Axios: Why the coronavirus pandemic is hitting minorities harder
Axios: Coronavirus racial disparities on display in the nation’s capital
Bloomberg (Opinion): Maybe Racism Caused the Covid-19 Crisis
New York Times: ‘Pandemic Within a Pandemic’: Coronavirus and Police Brutality Roil Black Communities
Associated Press: With recovery of last case, New Zealand has eradicated virus
CNN: Confirmed coronavirus cases are rising faster than ever
New York Times: Is the Secret to Japan’s Virus Success Right in Front of Its Face?
Politico: Brazil stops publishing its coronavirus death toll
In The States
Arizona Republic: Arizona’s largest health system reaches capacity on ECMO lung machines as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb
Wall Street Journal: California and Some Other States See Coronavirus Cases Rise
The Atlantic: Curfews and Arrests Will Inflame The Pandemic
Business Insider: Dr. Anthony Fauci says large protests taking place across the country are ‘a perfect set-up’ for spreading COVID-19
New York Times: George Floyd Protests Add New Front Line for Coronavirus Doctors
Vox: Protesting during a pandemic is a risk. Many have decided it’s worth it.
Wall Street Journal: ‘It’s a Double-Edged Sword’: Protesters Grapple With Coronavirus Infection Risks
Washington Post: The nexus between coronavirus and protests: The virus ‘was the kindling, and the police brutality lit the fire.’
Science and Technology
Washington Post: Some covid-19 patients taken off ventilators are taking days or even weeks to wake up
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Roundup: Brutal Police Tactics Across the Country Risk Spreading the Virus Further
As protesters in states across the country have been making their voices heard against police brutality and racism, the actions of law enforcement officials have increased the risk of coronavirus spreading even further.
1. Twin crises of coronavirus and police brutality have hit Black communities hard
New York Times: ‘Pandemic Within A Pandemic’: Coronavirus And Police Brutality Roil Black Communities
- “The mass incarceration of black people has only worsened the pandemic’s heavy toll on minorities. Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at five times the rate of whites, according to the Sentencing Project, a Washington advocacy group. Prisons are breeding grounds for the coronavirus, and jails pose a particular threat, because people cycle in and out, spreading disease in their neighborhoods.” [New York Times, 6/7/20]
Washington Post: The Nexus Between Coronavirus And Protests: The Virus ‘Was The Kindling, And The Police Brutality Lit The Fire.’
- “But Newton said the two epidemics are more closely connected than many protesters realize. ‘The virus exposed the underbelly of the problems we’ve had in health care for decades — a disparity in care that reveals some of the same bias we see in police brutality,’ she said.” [Washington Post, 6/7/20]
2. Curfews, mass arrests, use of tear gas, and kettling is jeopardizing the health of protesters
The Atlantic: Curfews And Arrests Will Inflame The Pandemic
- “The science of how to conduct a perfectly safe mass demonstration in a pandemic is still imperfect, but one thing is clear: The answer is not to clamp down on peaceful gatherings, incarcerate more people, and give everyone less time and space to social distance with draconian curfews. Policing triggered these protests, and the policing, not the protesting, may turn out to be the primary driver of viral transmission during them.” [The Atlantic, 6/5/20]
- “Public-health officials across the country have emphasized the unique danger that a deadly respiratory virus poses to crowded prisons. Many local leaders have released some prisoners early in an attempt to thin out the density of incarcerated people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As President Donald Trump and some mayors threaten to forcibly contain more protesters, they contradict and undermine the very measures put in places that have only just begun to lower the infection rate in the United States. The more that people are forced into confined spaces, the more opportunity the virus will have to spread. Yet peaceful protesters have been arrested en masse for curfew violations in places including New York, the world’s hardest-hit city, where the death toll from COVID-19 is approaching 17,000.” [The Atlantic, 6/5/20]
- “In addition to the usual constitutional dilemmas of arresting peaceful protesters, these measures carry especially ominous significance during a pandemic, when giving people space is of the utmost importance. Public-health officials across the country have emphasized the unique danger that a deadly respiratory virus poses to crowded prisons.” [The Atlantic, 6/5/20]
Politico: Mass Arrests Jeopardizing The Health Of Protesters, Police
- “Mass arrests of protesters across the country — many held for hours in vans, cells and other enclosed spaces — are heightening the risk of coronavirus spread, according to public health experts and lawsuits filed by civil rights groups.” [Politico, 6/4/20]
- “The use of tear gas and pepper spray, which provoke coughing, adds to the health risk, as do police crowd control techniques like ‘kettling’ — pushing demonstrators into smaller, contained and tightly packed spaces.” [Politico, 6/4/20]
- “‘The police tactics — the kettling, the mass arrests, the use of chemical irritants — those are completely opposed to public health recommendations,’ said Malika Fair, director of Public Health Initiatives at the Association of American Medical Colleges. ‘They’re causing protesters to violate the six-feet recommendation. The chemicals may make them have to remove their masks. This is all very dangerous.’” [Politico, 6/4/20]
ProPublica: Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- “But tear gas is not safe, according to a number of experts interviewed by ProPublica. It has been found to cause long-term health consequences and can hurt those who aren’t the intended targets, including people inside their homes.” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
- “This would be enough of a problem in normal times, but now, experts say, the widespread, sometimes indiscriminate use of tear gas on American civilians in the midst of a respiratory pandemic threatens to worsen the coronavirus, along with racial disparities in its spread and who dies from it.” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
- “It puts black communities in an impossible situation, said Dr. Joseph Nwadiuko, an internist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Thirteen of the 15 coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit where he works are black, he said. ‘I worry that one of the compounding effects of structural racism is you’ll see a second wave of black patients, including those who were out there defending their lives.’” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
- “Tear gas can cause long-term harm, by making people more susceptible to contracting influenza, pneumonia and other illnesses.” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
- “CS [the chemical in tear gas] is particularly painful when it gets on your skin or in your eyes. (Doctors have advised protesters not to wear contact lenses.) When inhaled, the pain induces people to cough. The compound degrades the mucus membranes in your eyes, nose, mouth and lungs — the layers of cells that help protect people from viruses and bacteria.” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
- “Tear gas can increase the spread of the coronavirus and might make some people more vulnerable to catching it… Tear gas weakens the demonstrators’ protections against the coronavirus, said Dr. Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School who’s working on the coronavirus response. Infections increase when people cough or talk loudly, he said, and even if someone is wearing a mask, when they’re hit with tear gas, they’ll take off the mask as they’re coughing. ‘Not only are you vigorously coughing, you’re vigorously inhaling to try and get more air in.’” [ProPublica, 6/4/20]
3. Police have prevented protesters from receiving supplies that would prevent protesters from getting infected and infecting others
HuffPost: Law Enforcement Seized Masks Meant To Protect Anti-Racist Protesters From COVID-19
- “Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of cloth masks that read ‘Stop killing Black people’ and ‘Defund police’ that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated organization sent to cities around the country to protect demonstrators against the spread of COVID-19, a disease that has had a disparate impact on Black communities. [HuffPost, 6/4/20]
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