Coronavirus Report

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Harman says Russia is trying to exploit America; Mylan’s Heather Bresch says US should make strategic reserve in medicines; Trump unveils leaders of ‘Warp Speed’


> Trump announces leaders of ‘Warp Speed’ vaccine effort 

> House to vote on  $3T relief package today, Senate GOP says its ‘dead on arrival’ 

> Breaking with Trump, McConnell says Obama administration ‘did leave behind’ pandemic plan

> Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received PPP funds 

> U.S. retail plunged 16.4 percent in April, largest two-month decline on record 

> Could coronavirus render cash useless? Mobile money on the rise throughout pandemic

> Former Rep. Jane Harman warns pressure on intelligence community possibly leading to another misguided war, says Russia and other nations trying to exploit America’s distraction at moment

> Mylan’s Heather Bresch says U.S. should make strategic reserve in medicines, says no country in world can make all of its own medicines





President Trump unveils leaders of “Operation Warp Speed.” Moncef Slaoui, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division, and four-star Army General Gustave Perna will lead the administration’s efforts to fasttrack research and development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. 


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Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) warns pressure on intelligence community possibly leading to another misguided war, says John Ratcliffe overcommitting to Wuhan Lab virus story needs to follow evidence and not politics and maintains Russia and other nations and failed states trying to exploit America’s distraction at the moment




Watch the full interview here.



Mylan’s Heather Bresch calls on U.S. to make strategic reserve in medicines, says no country in world can make all of its own medicines and maintains U.S. is overly dependent on China for active ingredients and raw materials.





Watch the full interview here.

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Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Friday, May 15

Yesterday in my Editor’s Note, I wrote about the necessity of nightmares and avoiding false illusions and fantasy in this era of coronavirus carnage. But today in an oped for The Hill, I write about green sprouts — or “ventures” — that are being created by people trying to move a cause, sell some oysters or cheesecake online, or help young kids have a good birthday through “Remote Fun.” I write about big new online events companies, about mentors online and bakeries delivering special graduation packages. I did this because I recently became intrigued with a study, called Venture Forward, commissioned by GoDaddy along with the University of Iowa and Arizona State University that looked at the ecosystem of 20 million internet-based ventures that had been created — most businesses but many causes and nonprofits as well.


During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, those counties in the U.S. that had the most online-connected ventures created turned out to be the ones that recovered the fastest. Fascinating insights in the study which I recommend readers investigate. But public policy officials — mayors, economic planners, governors and members of Congress — need to ask themselves what barriers are there to people building and starting a microenterprise? What regulations can be eased? What literacy in business or cause entrepreneurship can be nudged forward? These businesses cannot offset an unemployment figure greater than 36 million and growing, but they can give hope, help with resilience in a community and create a personal mission or cause for people in a time of nightmares.


– Steve Clemons

Your Coronavirus Report team includes Steve Clemons, editor-at-large of The Hill, and researcher Andrew Wargofchik. Follow us on Twitter at @SCClemons and @a_wargofchik. CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter.


Next Week: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joins The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin will join The Hill’s editor-in-chief Bob Cusack for a one-on-one interview next Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m. EDT. The interview will be part of our larger virtual summit exploring efforts to safely reopen the country and restore the nation’s economy.






Join us for our upcoming virtual event The Vir-tech-tual World Ahead,” that focuses on our dramatic shift to a digital ecosystem at a time when digital literacy continues to be uneven, much as basic access to the internet. 


Steve Clemons, The Hill’s editor-at-large, will be speaking with: 


> FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly 

> Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) 

> Superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District Michael Hinojosa

> Next Century Cities Executive Director Francella Ochillo 

> Information Technology Industry Council President and CEO Jason Oxman 


REGISTER HERE. And join the conversation using #TheHillVirtuallyLive. 


There are 4,498,579 reported cases of COVID-19 throughout the world and 303,825 deaths from the virus. 


The U.S. is reporting 1,420,299 cases and 86,228 deaths as of the time of this newsletter. Russia is reporting 262,843 cases. 238,001 in the U.K. 230,183 in Spain. 223,096 in Italy. 206,507 in Brazil. Turkey is reporting 144,749 cases. Iran 116,635. Portugal is reporting 28,583 cases, but the number of hospitalized patients in the country has dropped by more than 17 percent since lockdown measures were loosed on May 4. 26,891 cases in Singapore. 13,610 in Colombia. 10,989 cases in Denmark, where Thursday marked the first day since mid-March with no new virus deaths

From Reid Wilson, The Hill’s National Correspondent:

A glimpse into coronavirus case rates throughout the U.S.: Alabama worst day so far on Thursday, +401 cases, up to 11,101. Alaska has gone 32 days without a double-digit case increase. Hawaii’s streak is 26 days. Montana’s is 28 days. Vermont’s is 11.

Illinois had its worst day on Tuesday, +4,045 cases, up to 88,081. The state added almost 9,000 new cases in the last three days. New Jersey had two days this week with fewer than 1,000 cases for the first time since March 25. North Carolina had its worst day yet Thursday, +743 cases, up to 16,593 total. Texas had its worst day yet Wednesday, adding 1,474 cases. 45,169 cases in total.


Hope fades for more coronavirus relief before June. Striking a bipartisan deal over a new coronavirus relief bill is becoming increasingly unlikely before June as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are at odds over additional legislation. (The Hill


McConnell: “High likelihood” that Congress will need to pass fifth coronavirus bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday evening that Congress would likely need to pass a fifth coronavirus relief bill, but declined to give a timeline for additional legislation. McConnell, during a Fox News interview, said he did “anticipate” that Congress will need to “act again at some point” but that Republicans first wanted to review the roughly $2.8 trillion already appropriated by Congress. (The Hill


CDC issues tools to guide reopening of schools, businesses, transit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of documents on Thursday designed to provide guidance on how child care centers, schools, restaurants and bars, and other establishments could begin the process of reopening in the face of the coronavirus. The direction comes after calls from lawmakers and state officials mounted for the CDC to weigh in on how regions should reopen their economies.

Senate Majority leader says Obama administration “did leave behind” pandemic plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday walked back comments made earlier this week that the Obama administration didn’t leave behind a “game plan” for a pandemic. (The Hill)


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) 

@MarkWarner Don’t forget, the Trump administration is going to the Supreme Court in the middle of a pandemic, trying to dismantle coverage and pre-existing conditions protections for millions of Americans.


House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.)  

@Liz_Cheney No, @SpeakerPelosi, holding China accountable for the death and devastation they have caused is not “an interesting diversion.” Maybe you should have been focused on China earlier this year when you were busy handing out fancy impeachment pens.


Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) 

@RepLBR Today’s a big day. The House is back in session to vote on the #HeroesAct – a bold and necessary step in our fight against #COVID19. From testing, to tracing, to treatment – this package takes the bold action we need now. #ForThePeople.


NYC extends stay-at-home order while some upstate areas are allowed to reopen. As parts of upstate New York prepared for a gradual reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order late Thursday night extending stay-at-home orders for regions, including New York City, that do not meet the state’s criteria. Cuomo had earlier said that Central New York, which includes Syracuse, had joined four other upstate regions where some nonessential businesses — including construction, manufacturing and curbside retail — could restart Friday after meeting seven benchmarks set by the state. (New York Times


Nation’s largest mall to reopen June 1. The largest mall in the United States, Mall of America, won’t open its doors until June 1 despite Minnesota’s expiring stay-at-home order this month, according to the Star Tribune, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced on Wednesday that the state’s stay-at-home order would expire Monday, allowing nonessential retail stores and malls to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The Hill


City of Pittsburgh says large group events will not be allowed this summer, including July 4 fireworks. The city of Pittsburgh announced how summertime activities will be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on Friday. Officials said that while many activities will be allowed, others will be canceled or postponed. All decisions follow the federal and state guidelines. Large events that cannot comply safely with social distancing guidelines — from July 4 fireworks to the annual Great Race 5K — will not be allowed. (WTAE


Re-imaging the first LGBTQ+ pride online in the age of coronavirus. “The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 mean that most Prides will not take place as planned in 2020, but we’re determined that this won’t stop us from coming together as a united, strong LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate who we are and what we stand for,” says Kristine Garina, president of the European Pride Organisers Association. “We need community and connection more than ever.” (The Hill)


The coronavirus is upending cash economies. Mobile money could emerge as the winner. In the United States and elsewhere, mobile money services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal, along with its subsidiary Venmo, are rising in popularity by offering mobile wallets that allow users to send money digitally. A similar model has taken off in developing countries, particularly in Africa, targeting those with no or limited access to the banking and financial system. Experts and members of the industry say the pandemic is likely to escalate that trend. (Washington Post


New coronavirus cases nearly triple in Germany after lockdown loosened. On Monday, it looked like newly reported cases, hospitalizations and fatalities in Germany were decreasing. Just one day later, the number of new cases had almost tripled from the day before. The Robert Koch Institute, the German federal government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, reported an estimated 357 new coronavirus cases on May 11. The next day, that number jumped to 933 new cases. (The Hill

Yemen, buffeted by war, is now ravaged by pandemic, too. It was just two weeks ago that war-ravaged Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, reported its first cluster of coronavirus cases. Since then infections appear to have exploded, realizing the worst fears of aid groups. The five-year war in Yemen and the nine-year one in Syria have combined with the pandemic to create especially dire challenges for vulnerable civilian populations. (New York Times)


Five recent developments contributing to progress in vaccine R&D. Much attention has been given to the speed at which biopharmaceutical researchers are working to identify and develop safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus. The first clinical trial for a potential vaccine identified by a biopharmaceutical company was initiated less than three months after the first reported case. See here for five recent developments contributing to the industry’s progress in vaccine research and development. (

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Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans: Census Bureau. Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received support from the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration’s (SBA) emergency coronavirus lending initiative, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday. While 74.9 percent of respondents to the Census Bureau’s survey of small businesses applied for a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), only 38.1 percent received aid. (The Hill


J.C. Penny is planning to file for bankruptcy as early as Friday. J.C. Penney is planning to file for bankruptcy protection, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC. Its advisers are currently working on a bankruptcy filing that could Friday. They cautioned there is still a chance that final negotiations between the retailer and its lenders spill into the weekend and delay the filing. (CNBC


Retail sales fall 16.4 percent in April. The shutdowns across the United States devastated retailers in April, as retail sales plunged a record 16.4 percent, according to government data reported Friday. That followed an 8.3 percent drop in March, producing by far the largest two-month decline on record. (New York Times)


While COVID wrecks the economy, US entrepreneurship and new ventures are hopeful green sprouts. These examples of new-venture creation don’t fix the aggregate of massive economic loss in the country. But we do know that ventures help with resiliency, they help their communities recover more quickly and, perhaps most importantly, they empower people, inspire others and generate hope alongside some income. (Steve Clemons for The Hill


America’s debt threatens our national security. Congress has passed more than $2.7 trillion in stimulus. This includes subsidized loans to businesses, increased unemployment insurance, direct payments to Americans, and funding for hospitals and state and local governments. As a result, the federal deficit will be at least $3.7 trillion for fiscal 2020 — because we already were running a $1 trillion deficit before we added the coronavirus stimulus. (Willis Krumholz for The Hill


These identical twin sisters are nurses working in the same COVID-19 unit. Samantha and Rebecca Silverman are working together for the first time on the job on what will likely be the hardest assignment of their careers. The 25-year-old identical twin sisters are both registered nurses working in the COVID-19 unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “We really are best friends,” Samantha said. “Amidst all the craziness of COVID, to be able to work alongside each other is just so lucky for us.” (Good Morning America)


> Steve interviews Rep. ROSA DELAURO (D-Conn.)

> Steve interviews BIO President and CEO JIM GREENWOOD 

> Steve interviews former Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY 

> Steve interviews World Central Kitchen founder chef JOSE ANDRES 

> Steve interviews Rep. WILL HURD (R-Texas) 

> Steve interviews Sen. JOHN BARRASSO (R-Wyo.) 

> Steve interviews Rep. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.) 

> Steve interviews former Maryland Lt. Gov. and ex-RNC Chair MICHAEL STEELE 

> Steve interviews former U.S. Energy Secretary ERNEST MONIZ 

> Steve interviews Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.


SEND US YOUR OWN PICS – from your own walks or adventures – during this time of physical distancing but social connection. And SEND US YOUR STORIES of how teleworking is going, what you have learned from homeschooling, new ways to exercise, and special moments or standout heroism you want to share. What’s working for you? What’s comic in these dark days? 


Send to Our thoughts are with you, our readers, and we hope and trust that no matter the weight of burdens on you now — and it’s not a good story for everyone we know — that we all stand together, resilient and confident, on the other side of this. There will be another side.


CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter. 




Tags Andrew Cuomo Bob Cusack Donald Trump Ernest Moniz Heather Bresch Jane Harman Joe Manchin John Barrasso John Ratcliffe Lee Zeldin Liz Cheney Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Rosa DeLauro Steve Clemons Steven Mnuchin Suzan DelBene Tim Walz Vivek Murthy Will Hurd

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