Tensions between the Trump administration and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci continue to escalate as the pandemic spreads through the majority of the country. In interviews over recent days, Dr. Fauci has become a very vocal critic of the administration’s failings in handling the pandemic, saying that mistakes were made in the beginning. He also revealed that he hasn’t spoken to the president in several weeks.
Over the weekend, the White House released a statement to The Washington Post, saying “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things,” including a list of his comments since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Also, last weekend, Trump’s social media adviser, Dan Scavino, re-posted a cartoon characterizing Fauci as overly negative on Facebook. The cartoon was created and posted by a Right-Wing artist who was barred from the White House last year for anti-Semitic imagery.
However, despite attempts by the White House to discredit the doctor, sources close to the situation say Fauci will remain on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Early this week, after retweeting several posts that expressed dissatisfaction with Fauci for his dire outlook on the pandemic, Trump insisted that his relationship with Fauci remains strong.
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Philadelphia has cancelled all large public events through February 28, 2021. The cancellations refer to events on public property, such as parades and festivals. Events on private property, such as sports stadiums and concert venues, are still permitted.
The White House and Senate Republicans are crafting a plan to address the economic fallout felt by businesses and the healthcare industry from the pandemic. The plan, which could be introduced as early as next week, is expected to include financial incentives for state and local governments to reopen schools nationwide.
Measures to protect the healthcare industry and business from lawsuits related to the virus are essential, says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would remove responsibility from employers and institutions.
The Republican plan is slated to cost around 1.3 trillion, almost half of the $3 trillion plan that House Democrats presented and passed two months ago.
As the fall semester approaches and national leaders push to reopen schools, educators and superintendents across the country are scrambling to come up with reopening plans as coronavirus hot spots grow.
In light of climbing coronavirus infections, California’s two largest school districts – Los Angeles and San Diego Unified School Districts – announced Monday that all instruction will occur remotely.
“It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk,” said United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz in a statement.
Other cities like New York, Nashville and Detroit will offer both in-person and online instruction in the fall while Dallas and Miami are considering similar blended learning models.
In an opinion article for the Washington Post, four of the nation’s former CDC directors criticized the Trump administration’s efforts to disregard and politicize guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The op-ed’s authors, Drs. Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser, warned against the thwarting of the CDC’s efforts by Trump and top coronavirus task force officials to stop the spread of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, their sound science is being challenged with partisan potshots, sowing confusion and mistrust at a time when the American people need leadership, expertise and clarity. These efforts have even fueled a backlash against public health officials across the country: Public servants have been harassed, threatened and forced to resign when we need them most. This is unconscionable and dangerous,” they wrote.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley issued a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday requesting a report detailing the Trump administration’s response to racial health disparities highlighted by the virus outbreak.
Warren and Pressley say missing reports on racial disparities, legally required under the Affordable Care Act, have contributed to a poor federal coronavirus response. The Affordable Care Act requires the Office of Minority Health to submit a report to Congress detailing its efforts to decrease racial health disparities every two years. The Trump administration has not submitted a report for 2017 or 2019.
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