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Fauci says new US coronavirus cases could hit 100,000 a day in stark warning to Senate – live Fauci says new US coronavirus cases could hit 100,000 a day in stark warning to Senate – live
(32 minutes later)
Top health expert says US is sliding backwards on handling of pandemic and that he fears the rate of death and infection will rise dramaticallyTop health expert says US is sliding backwards on handling of pandemic and that he fears the rate of death and infection will rise dramatically
One more last question for Biden. It’s a follow-up about his hazy distinction between removing statues of the founders versus Confederate leaders.
Asked whether it’s OK for the statues to be torn down by protesters, Biden says, “I think it’s better if they’re taken down like they took the Confederate flag off the Mississippi flag.
“But I can understand the anger and anguish people feel.”
Then he’s asked whether he’d commit to three debates against Trump. He will.
Then he’s asked whether, as a 77-year-old, he’s been tested for cognitive decline. He says he’s tested every day and he’s eager to put his cognitive capabilities up against the cognitive capabilities of the man he’s running against.
That’s a wrap.
Last question for Biden: how do you get Americans on the same page on wearing masks and coronavirus response?
“Lower the rhetoric of division,” Biden says. Then he pivots to hit Trump for having tweeted out footage on Sunday of a supporter shouting “white power! White power!”
Biden:
“Instead of for example when the golf cart goes by yelling ‘white supremacy,’ and the president tweets it out, don’t do thing like that.”
Biden says “the sort of race-baiting the president has engaged in” has gotten “a free pass” but it’s harmful.
Then Biden says that for Trump, everything is always about Trump.
“It’s not about I. It’s about us,” Biden said. “And I think changing the tone of the administration across the board, allowing the scientists to speak... and when a mistake is made saying ‘I made a mistake, I was wrong’... The words of a president matter, no matter who the president is.”
Biden says he will make a running mate announcement in early August.
Biden says that Putin would not be able to act with impunity in central and eastern Europe if he Biden is president.
“He knows we’ll have more blunt conversations” if Biden is elected, Biden says of Putin.
Biden is asked whether he’ll release a list of names of potential Supreme Court nominees. Biden says he hesitates to follow Trump on anything “because he does it all wrong.” But he says they’re at work on a list of qualified African American women.
As for his veep pick, Biden says he’s got a list of women of color and is working on deep background checks. But he’s been vowed to select a woman, not necessarily a woman of color, as a running mate.
Biden is asked about Confederate monuments. He gives a somewhat garbled answer saying he thinks the government should protect statues of Christopher Columbus, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but that statues of Confederate leaders and generals “belong in a museum.” He seeks to draw a distinction between former slaveholders and colonists, and the Confederacy.
Biden is asked whether he has been tested for Covid-19. He hasn’t. He knocks on wood – the lectern.
Biden says he misses the campaign trail and meeting voters. “I have been surprised, the irony is we’ve probably reached more people directly, one-on-one,” via television, Biden says. He says 200m people have watched his dispatches from home in Delware. “But I’d much rather be doing it in person.”Biden says he misses the campaign trail and meeting voters. “I have been surprised, the irony is we’ve probably reached more people directly, one-on-one,” via television, Biden says. He says 200m people have watched his dispatches from home in Delware. “But I’d much rather be doing it in person.”
Asked about his double-digit lead in national polling averages and in many swing state polls, Biden replies, “I don’t want to jinx myself... it’s much too early to make any judgment.”Asked about his double-digit lead in national polling averages and in many swing state polls, Biden replies, “I don’t want to jinx myself... it’s much too early to make any judgment.”
Biden is asked about his having accused Trump of “betrayal” in his handling of an intelligence assessment that Russia had offered bounty payments for attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.Biden is asked about his having accused Trump of “betrayal” in his handling of an intelligence assessment that Russia had offered bounty payments for attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Biden says the story is changing but Trump should have paid attention to the matter and gotten to the bottom of any contradictions in intelligence. Biden says Trump should have convened the joint chiefs of staff to make a response plan.Biden says the story is changing but Trump should have paid attention to the matter and gotten to the bottom of any contradictions in intelligence. Biden says Trump should have convened the joint chiefs of staff to make a response plan.
“He should at a minimum have picked up the phone and said, ‘Vladimir old buddy... if any of this is true, then you’ve got a big problem. A big problem’.”“He should at a minimum have picked up the phone and said, ‘Vladimir old buddy... if any of this is true, then you’ve got a big problem. A big problem’.”
Biden accuses Trump of a “dereliction of duty.” Then he talks about his late son Beau who had deployed in the army in Iraq. “What are those parents thinking about there?” Biden says. “It’s an absolute dereliction of duty if any of this is even remotely true.”Biden accuses Trump of a “dereliction of duty.” Then he talks about his late son Beau who had deployed in the army in Iraq. “What are those parents thinking about there?” Biden says. “It’s an absolute dereliction of duty if any of this is even remotely true.”
If the reports are true, the public should conclude that Trump isn’t fit to be president, Biden said.If the reports are true, the public should conclude that Trump isn’t fit to be president, Biden said.
Biden says “I’m almost certain it won’t be over” in January 2021, and if he’s elected, “On the day I’m sworn in, I’ll get right to work implementing all aspects of the response that remain undone.Biden says “I’m almost certain it won’t be over” in January 2021, and if he’s elected, “On the day I’m sworn in, I’ll get right to work implementing all aspects of the response that remain undone.
“My response will begin well before I take the oath of office. We’ll start as soon as the election is decided,” he says. He says he’ll reach out to Dr Anthony Fauci and make sure scientists can speak freely. He says his work will begin “on Day One” – and beforehand.“My response will begin well before I take the oath of office. We’ll start as soon as the election is decided,” he says. He says he’ll reach out to Dr Anthony Fauci and make sure scientists can speak freely. He says his work will begin “on Day One” – and beforehand.
The Biden campaign has circulated excerpts from the speech he’s making now in Delaware.The Biden campaign has circulated excerpts from the speech he’s making now in Delaware.
Biden is expected to take questions after his address. Here are the excerpts in full:Biden is expected to take questions after his address. Here are the excerpts in full:
Today, I am releasing a plan with the steps Donald Trump should undertake immediately.It builds on the roadmap I released back in March that would have saved lives if it had been adopted. It is a plan to save lives in the months ahead.Once again — I encourage him to adopt this plan in its entirety. This is too important for politics.Today, I am releasing a plan with the steps Donald Trump should undertake immediately.It builds on the roadmap I released back in March that would have saved lives if it had been adopted. It is a plan to save lives in the months ahead.Once again — I encourage him to adopt this plan in its entirety. This is too important for politics.
******
It’s not about you, Mr. President — it’s about the health and well-being of the American public.The American people didn’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so you could waste your time with late night rantings and tweets.They didn’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps like wearing a mask into a political statement.And they certainly didn’t do it so you could wash your hands and walk away.Maybe there are times this nation needs a cheerleader. Now isn’t one of them. We need a president.It’s not about you, Mr. President — it’s about the health and well-being of the American public.The American people didn’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so you could waste your time with late night rantings and tweets.They didn’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps like wearing a mask into a political statement.And they certainly didn’t do it so you could wash your hands and walk away.Maybe there are times this nation needs a cheerleader. Now isn’t one of them. We need a president.
Joe Biden is delivering remarks in Delaware on safely reopening the economy amid the pandemic.Joe Biden is delivering remarks in Delaware on safely reopening the economy amid the pandemic.
He has just recommended a “laser focus on treatments and vaccines” and says “the administration hasn’t been transparent” about how they will manufacture and distribute enough vaccine doses.He has just recommended a “laser focus on treatments and vaccines” and says “the administration hasn’t been transparent” about how they will manufacture and distribute enough vaccine doses.
“They may be doing it, but we have no transparency,” Biden says. “The White House should support weekly on this process.”“They may be doing it, but we have no transparency,” Biden says. “The White House should support weekly on this process.”
Former combat pilot Amy McGrath has won her primary race in Kentucky to represent the Democratic Party in November in the Senate race against majority leader and pro-Trumpian powerhouse Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, according to The Associated Press, which called the race just now.
A few months ago this would not have been a surprise result, as McGrath has emerged as a strong and popular candidate, fiercely supported by the party establishment and having raised a bajillion dollars.
But a late, progressive challenger, Charles Booker, ran her right to the rails, especially in recent weeks as she faltered in public discussions of the Black Lives Matter movement and the waves of protest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Booker emerged from Louisville, fighting for justice and for police reform and an end to systemic racism and police brutality, particularly with regard to the shooting death of Louisville’s Breonna Taylor in March after what appeared to be a botched police raid on her apartment, where the 26-year-old EMT, a frontline worker during the coronavirus pandemic, was asleep.
The US set a new high last week for the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in one day, following the statistics issued regularly by Johns Hopkins University, when it rose to 40,000 compared with the high of 36,400 in a day, reported on April 24 during the first peak of infections.
Fauci last testified in the Senate on May 12. Since then, and especially in June, business have started opening up in quite a rush, seemingly sidestepping recommendations issued by the federal government about not relaxing restrictions on businesses and social movements until criteria had been met such as a two-week reduction in new infections, much higher rates of testing and the guarantee of sufficient hospital capacity and supplies if things got worse.
“If you look at what is going on, you see the film clips,” Fauci said, of images on TV of crowded beaches, people rushing back to bars, few wearing masks in states where huge infection surges are not being seen, especially Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, but other states in the Deep South and places like North Carolina.
People “congregating without masks” he said.
He warned states that if they continued “jumping over the guidelines we have carefully put out, you are going to be in trouble.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “If we don’t get our act together, more and more communities are going to see these dangerous surges” in cases.
She mentioned to Fauci that in March he had estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 people in America will die from coronavirus and there would be millions of cases.
The figures currently stand in the US at 2.68 million confirmed cases and 129,000 deaths (worldwide it’s 10.4 million cases and 509,000 deaths so far).
“How many Covid-19 deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?” Warren asked Fauci.
He demurred on the death toll, but said: “It’s going to be very disturbing”, adding on the number of cases that he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if we do not turn this around.”
That is, obviously, a staggering projection, at 2.5 times the current record high of daily new cases.
“So I’m very concerned...it could get really bad,” Fauci said.
Two’s company, this is a crowd.
More to read:
Infectious diseases expert and White House coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci just gave a stark warning to the public in the middle of his testimony to the US Senate just now.
“I’m very concerned about what is going on right now,” he said, referring to a dangerous surge in new coronavirus cases in the US, particularly in the south and west.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said that when Fauci had last testified before this Senate health committee, seven weeks ago, he had said that “at the time the US did not by any means have total control over this outbreak” of coronavirus.
At the time, May 12, she was referring to the national picture, as the state currently of most acute concern, Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, were still under effective lockdown.
As they have reopened in recent weeks without, as Fauci pointed out, adhering to federal health guidelines, new cases have surged there and in some other states to the point where last week there was a record one day high of 40,000 new Covid-19 cases diagnosed.
That beat the April peak, when New York was the hotspot, of the high somewhere north of 36,000 new cases in a day.
Warren continued about the May 12 session: “But you also said we were going in the right direction.”
Fauci responded that the current figures “speak for themselves”.
“I’m very concerned. We are going in the wrong direction, if you look at the figures for new cases. We need to do something about this and we need to do it quick. We are not in total control right now,” he said.
America’s leading public health expert Anthony Fauci has confirmed what the record figures are telling us – the US is sliding backwards on its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are going in the wrong direction,” Fauci just told the Senate.
Last week the US saw a new daily record of 40,000 new coronavirus cases in one day.
Fauci just said, in testimony before committee, that he fears that the rate will rise dramatically.
“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
Fauci added about death and infection rates going forward: It’s going to be very disturbing … it could get really bad.”
A leading Republican senator says Donald Trump should start wearing a mask at least some of the time because politics is getting in the way of protecting the American people from Covid-19.
“The stakes are too high for the political debate about pro-Trump, anti-Trump masks to continue,” says Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee that’s currently holding a hearing with top public health expert Anthony Fauci and CDC director Bob Redfield as witnesses.
Alexander had to self-quarantine after he was exposed to a staff member who tested positive. But the senator says he was told by the Senate physician that he was protected, never developing the disease, because the staffer was wearing a mask.
“This small, life-saving practice has become part of the political debate,” Alexander lamented, “that says, if you are for Trump you don’t wear a mask and if you are against Trump you do.”
He continued: “That’s why I’ve suggested that the president occasionally wear a mask, even though in most cases it’s not necessary for him to do so.” (Trump gets a coronavirus test at least once a day.)
“The president has plenty of admirers, they would follow his lead, it would help in this political debate, the stakes are too high for this to continue,” he said.
“It’s also a pretty good way to make a statement,” he added, then going on to mention styles of masks, himself favoring a plaid one, he said, though the graver message about leading by example in order to help prevent transmission came through loud and clear.
Meanwhile, even “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy is now begging Trump to wear a mask, telling it would set a good example to others. The president has refused to wear a mask out in public.
Doocy said MAGA should now stand for Masks Are Great Again.
Here’s more from my colleague Lauren Aratani:
When you’ve been the US’s top expert on infectious diseases since 1984 and been at the forefront of assessing public health blights from HIV to Ebola, swine flu, bird flu, and more, and now Covid-19, Fauci 79, is not easily rattled.
So when Senator Rand Paul, the first member of that chamber to test positive for coronavirus earlier this year, raises his voice, shakes his curls and waves his arms around and says: “We should not assume that a group of experts knows what’s best for everyone”, Fauci just smiles.
Paul said that Fauci is always very busy being negative. “Every day we hear from you what we cannot do,” Paul said... “you cannot do this, you cannot do that, you need to not be so presumptive that you know everything.”
This brings to mind Fauci’s do’s. Do wear a mask, do keep six feet from others in public, etc, etc, as he tries to save lives and get the government to take seriously the fact that coronavirus is out of control in the US.
But Fauci instead pulled out a positive for Paul, after the Senator pointed out that child-to-child transmission of Covid is less common that most community spread.
“If you were listening [to opening testimony] and I’m sure you were,” Fauci said, Paul would know that “I feel very strongly that we need do everything we can to get the children back to school.”
There is hot debate about where, whether or how children can go back to school after the summer break.
Read more:
Nuff said.
America’s top US infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, is addressing a top Senate committee in a hearing this morning. We’re live streaming it, above, but will bring you highlights here on a very lively news day.
Fauci has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and is the leading authority in the US on this topic.
As July begins, there are several coronavirus vaccine trials moving to a more advanced stage of clinical trials. There are many efforts to produce a vaccine for the virus going on around the world.
But the US is a leading medical and scientific force in this battle. Fauci just said that he is “aspirationally hopeful” and “cautiously optimistic” about progress towards a vaccine.
“There is no guarantee that we will have a safe and effective vaccine,” he reminded the public in his testimony to the Senate health committee.
“But we are cautiously optimstic that we will at least know the efficacy by early winter or the first part of next year, and hopefully [will have] doses available by the beginning of next year,” he said.
Fauci also told the committee (and one is tempted to make this all capitals, just like a presidential tweet, but we’ll settle for bold): “I think masks are extremely important. We keep hammering that home.”
House No. 2 Democrat, Steny Hoyer, said after a White House closed-door briefing earlier today that Democrats want a full congressional briefing on alleged Russian bounties on the heads of US troops serving in Afghanistan.
Hoyer said he believes that Russia “remains involved in a negative way in Afghanistan”. He called for a direct briefing from US intelligence officials, not just White House aides and said he had heard nothing that indicated the media accounts of the scandal were built around a hoax.
House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff (who led the Trump impeachment hearings in the House) has demanded that the US now weigh new sanctions on Russia to deter its “malign” actions.
Schiff said Trump should not be courting Russian President Vladimir Putin by inviting him to a Group of Seven (G7) summit of leading industrial nations - but rather should impose costs on Moscow.
“The president of the United States should not be inviting Russia into the G7 or G8. We should be considering what sanctions are appropriate to further deter Russia’s malign activities,” he told reporters after the White House briefing.
Meanwhile, in London, Britain’s defence secretary said he was aware of intelligence relating to reports that Russia paid the Taliban to kill US troops but declined to comment further.
Asked about the reports in the New York Times, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “On the issue of the reports which I think were in the New York Times, all I can say is: I’m aware of the intelligence.”
“But I can’t comment on intelligence matters other than to say we take lots of measures to defend and make sure our soldiers ... are kept safe when deployed,” Wallace told a parliamentary committee.
He said he would not comment on whether the intelligence was true or not but that “we just take steps”.
“It is absolutely true that countries like Russia have taken lots of malign activity against us,” Wallace said.
Donald Trump must have at least been aware of the allegation that Russia paid bounties to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan to kill US-led coalition troops, a senior Democratic lawmaker said this morning after a White House briefing.
“Based on what we heard today, it was information that a) the president should have known about and b) based on what we were told today, he did - it seems to me like he did know about it,” said Representative Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Reuters reports.
Trump said on Sunday he was never briefed about any Russian bounties and Trump administration officials have said there was no consensus on the underlying intelligence among US agencies, something Smith said they underscored to Democratic lawmakers at the closed-door White House briefing.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien earlier today issued a statement insisting Trump had not been briefed on the intelligence.