Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday cautioned that reopening state economies before COVID-19 prevention measures are in place could lead to "little spikes that might turn into outbreaks."
Fauci's warning, part of his testimony by video conference before a Senate hearing, stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's urging on Monday that the U.S. is prevailing against the coronavirus and should "reopen."
The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 has passed 80,000, a figure that Fauci admitted is probably lower than the actual death toll because some who died were not tested for the coronavirus.
Also Tuesday, House Democratic leaders pushed for a second round of payments of up to $1,200 per person in new coronavirus relief legislation that's headed for a vote Friday.
Its prospects in the Republican-run Senate are far from certain. Michael Zona, a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the overall legislation "DOA in the Senate," although he didn't comment specifically on the stimulus money.
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Romney rips Trump testing official: U.S. record 'nothing to celebrate'
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah., lit up the Trump administration's top official overseeing coronavirus testing, Admiral Brett Giroir, for painting a rosy picture of U.S. capacity for testing at a Monday White House press conference.
At a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on COVID-19, Romney began by saying he understood "politicians are going to frame data in a way that’s most positive politically" but that "I don't expect that from admirals."
"I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever," he added.
Romney, the only Republican senator to vote in favor of one of the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, then turned his attention onto comments Trump made about former President Barack Obama.
Trump "said the other day that President Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine," Romney said before asking Dr. Anthony Fauci if "President Obama, or by extension President Trump, did they do something that made the likelihood of creating a vaccine less likely? Are either President Trump or President Obama responsible for the fact that we don’t have a vaccine now or, or in delaying it in some way?"
"No, no senator. Not at, not at all," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, responded. "Certainly President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for our not having a vaccine."
Rand Paul claims NYC coronavirus precautions haven't prevented deaths
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that the amount of people who have died from COVID-19 in New York City would have been as high as it currently is, regardless of what precautions had been taken there.
"I think New York would have lost about the same amount of people whether they did anything or not,” Paul told reporters after he heard testimony from Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Paul is a member of the committee.
"I think a lot of what happens with the virus is independent of what government does. The reason New York got hit hardest, it’s very simple. They have the highest population density in the country, more people ride the subway than any other city, and they had 1.7 million international travelers come home in February, including 133,000 from Italy," Paul said.
That statement directly contradicted the main message Fauci conveyed during his testimony. Fauci warned of serious consequences if governors reopen state economies prematurely, saying he fears spikes in coronavirus infections could morph into further outbreaks of the disease.
Fauci says 'of course' the U.S. still needs to do better on battling COVID-19
Testifying by videoconference before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said "of course" the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. is unacceptable.
His comments came in response to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who also asked Fauci if he would say "the U.S. has to do better."
"Of course, you always have to do better," Fauci said, but urged officials not to compare the U.S. with countries like South Korea.
VA gets 500,000 N95 masks from South Korea
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said Tuesday that it accepted a donation of 500,000 N95 masks from South Korea “to assist the department in combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The shipment landed at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility in Maryland on a South Korean military transport flight. The VA said the masks “will be distributed for use nationally across VA.”
VA had previously received personal protective equipment (PPE) from FEMA, including more than 4.3 million various types of respirator masks, 2 million facial/surgical masks, 1.5 million gloves, and 14,000 face shields.
Facebook says it labeled 50 millions pieces of coronavirus misinformation in April
Facebook put misinformation warning labels on about 50 million pieces of content related to COVID-19 during the month of April, the company announced Tuesday.
The social networking site attaches these warnings to posts sharing articles that have been reviewed by the company’s independent fact-checking partners. The company said that the warnings greatly reduce the number of people who view the original content.
The company released this snapshot of data at the same time as a more comprehensive report of how it enforced its content policies banning different types of content — including nudity, bullying, terrorist propaganda and child sexual exploitation material — during the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.
Broadway shows canceled through the summer
Broadway theaters will remain closed through Labor Day, according to the Broadway League, an organization that represents theater owners and operators.
“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre – behind the curtain and in front of it – before shows can return," Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement Tuesday.
Theatergoers who purchased tickets for performances through Sept. 6 should expect to receive an email advising them about how to obtain a refund or exchange, according to the organization.
Broadway performances were suspended in March as the coronavirus began spreading across the U.S. More than 30 shows were running at the time, and eight productions were rehearsing for spring debuts.
Fauci warns 'little spikes' of coronavirus might turn into outbreaks if states reopen too soon
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday warned of serious consequences if governors reopen state economies prematurely, saying he fears spikes in coronavirus infections could morph into further outbreaks of the disease.
Testifying by videoconference before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, ticked through the criteria that the White House said states should meet before reopening.
"My concern [is] that if some areas, city, states, or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," Fauci said in response to a question from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Fauci and two of the other witnesses — Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration — are testifying by videoconference Tuesday because they self-quarantining after possible exposure to COVID-19. The fourth witness, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and the administration's coronavirus testing coordinator, also testified remotely but is not in self-quarantine.
U.S. service member tests positive for COVID-19 after charter flight from Seattle to South Korea
A U.S. service member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday after a charter flight from Seattle with other service members and dependents, according to U.S. Forces Korea.
A spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea said all the passengers and crew were tested on arrival in South Korea. The individual who tested positive was placed in isolation and the rest of the passengers and crew are all in quarantine.
All passengers and crew are required to wear masks during the flight, the spokesperson said. These chartered flights go on a loop between Seattle, Japan, and Korea. Direct flights across the Pacific Ocean from the U.S last more than 10 hours.
52 cases of mysterious pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome recorded in NYC, one child dead
More than 50 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome — a mysterious illness affecting children and likely linked to COVID-19 — have been recorded in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
One child has died, the mayor said. In all, 52 cases have been detected, and another 10 are pending. Of those, 25 children have tested positive for coronavirus and 22 have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
"It's something we did not see essentially through March and April," de Blasio said. "It really has grabbed us all just in the last week or two — it's sobering, it's bluntly frightening." The city is "combining the efforts of healthcare professionals all over New York City to figure out what it is and how to deal with it," he said.
De Blasio encouraged parents to watch their kids for fever, rash, vomiting and a lack of energy, and immediately call a doctor or 3-1-1 if they see those symptoms and especially if they see a combination of those symptoms. "Early detection, early action makes all the difference here," de Blasio said. "We want people not to hesitate here."