Health Care

Overnight Health Care: Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for coronavirus over two weeks last month | Democrats deny outreach to Trump since talks collapsed | California public health chief quits suddenly

Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care.

A new report shows children are vulnerable to coronavirus infection, California’s top public health official resigned, and a federal agency blocked a loan to help Kodak manufacture chemicals for COVID drugs. 

We’ll start with sobering news about children and COVID:

A warning sign for opening schools….Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for coronavirus over two weeks last month

At least 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for the novel coronavirus during the final two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found. 

The report was released as lawmakers and health experts around the nation grapple with questions about whether to reopen schools, which were shuttered in the spring when the coronavirus first began spreading throughout the country. Some Trump administration officials have aggressively pushed for a resumption of in-person classes, while others have voiced fears about how equipped schools are to handle potential outbreaks. 

Roughly 338,000 children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the report

Between July 16 and July 30, a total of 97,078 children tested positive for the virus, marking a 40 percent increase in child cases, researchers found. About 7 in 10 cases over that period were reported in states in the South. 

Read more here.

How are those talks going? Democrats deny outreach to Trump since talks collapsed

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday denied that top Democrats had reached out to the White House to restart negotiations on coronavirus aid despite claims from President Trump that they had.

“Fables from Donald Trump. Fables. That’s what he seems to specialize in. I didn’t call him. Speaker Pelosi didn’t call him. No, we didn’t call him,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked about the president’s assertion.

“He makes these things up or hears from somebody at one of his fundraisers or at his country club,” Schumer continued. “‘Oh, the Democrats are calling you.’ He acts like it’s true.”

A senior Democratic aide also said there had been no contact with Trump from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or the Senate minority leader.

Trump told reporters late Sunday as he departed New Jersey that the Democrats had reached out with interest about making a deal on coronavirus legislation after he took unilateral action on certain key topics. The president again claimed in a tweet on Monday morning that Democrats had renewed interest in talks.

Read more here

California public health chief quits suddenly

California’s top public health expert quit abruptly Sunday afternoon amid questions about the accuracy of the number of coronavirus cases the state had reported in recent weeks.

In an email to staffers, California Department of Public Health Director Sonia Angell said she would leave her position, effective immediately.

“I remain consistently impressed and humbled by the expertise, commitment, passion and kindness demonstrated by all of you daily,” Angell told colleagues. “We have led with science and data, and with equity at the core of our intentions. As the first Latina in this role, I am very proud to have served this Department, Administration and our State, alongside all of you.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will appoint Sandra Shewry, a senior executive at the California Health Care Foundation, as acting director of the Department of Public Health. He will tap Erica Pan, the former director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland, as the state’s acting public health officer.

Angell and Newsom did not specify the reason for her sudden exit.

Read more here.

Federal government pauses Kodak loan pending probe

Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. plummeted Monday after a federal agency blocked a $765 million government loan to the company following the deal, which was touted by President Trump, coming under congressional scrutiny.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) said in a Friday tweet that “recent allegations of wrongdoing raise serious concerns. We will not proceed any further unless these allegations are cleared.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the deal after being pressed by lawmakers, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Kodak’s board said Friday it’s also opening a review.

Backstory: The DFC was set to give the loan to Kodak last month, in a deal cheered by Trump to help the company shift into manufacturing components for COVID-19 drugs.

The loan announcement drastically increased the price of Kodak stock from roughly $2 per share to as high as $33. But the surge of Kodak’s stock price and the volume of shares traded the day before the announcement has prompted scrutiny. 

Read more here

Trump calls for college football season to go forward

President Trump on Monday urged university presidents and athletic directors to go forward with this fall’s college football season despite safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” Trump tweeted, sharing the #WeWantToPlay hashtag used by some prominent college football players.

The president shared a post from Trevor Lawrence, one of the sport’s most prominent players, in which the Clemson University quarterback stated his desire to play and called for the NCAA and individual conferences to establish safety procedures and uniform rules on eligibility.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked about the tweet during a press briefing, said Trump “very much would like to see college football safely resume their sport.”

“They work their whole lives for this moment, and he’d like to see them have a chance to live out their dream,” McEnany said of the players.

Why it matters: Public health experts and some players have expressed concerns about the viability of a season given that college teams are unable to practice, play and live in a bubble setting used by professional leagues such as the NBA and NHL.

Read more here

What we’re reading

America’s window of opportunity to beat back COVID-19 is closing (STAT)

Stephen Hahn, FDA chief, is caught between scientists and the president (The New York Times)

Children and the virus: as schools reopen, much remains unknown about the risk to kids (The Washington Post

 State by state

Health officials are quitting or getting fired amid outbreak (AP)  

Florida reports record number of hospitalizations (NBC)

Coronavirus testing in Texas plummets as schools prepare to reopen (Texas Tribune

Op-eds in The Hill 

Is the administration looking out for Americans with disabilities? 

Pandemic preparedness and response under a different president 

Tags Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Gavin Newsom Nancy Pelosi

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