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Politics Overnight Health Care: Fauci clashes with Paul - again | New York reaches $1.1B settlement with opioid distributors | Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of US COVID-19 cases

02:23  21 july  2021
02:23  21 july  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Sunday shows - Fauci in the spotlight

  Sunday shows - Fauci in the spotlight Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, appeared on multiple political talk shows on Sunday morning, discussing COVID-19 vaccinations and the delta variant of the coronavirus. Guests also discussed the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Read The Hill's complete coverage below.Fauci says based on current data, there's no need for booster shotBy CAROLINE VAKIL Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that there is no need for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, according to current data by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care. Most attention has gone to Jeff Bezos for his space trip. But 82-year-old Wally Funk made history too by becoming the oldest person to launch into space on the Blue Origin.

Anthony S. Fauci wearing a suit and tie: Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci pushes back on statements by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. © AP/Pool Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci pushes back on statements by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com.

Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.

New York Mayor Touts Vaccine Effort Success as Delta Variant Cases Rise

  New York Mayor Touts Vaccine Effort Success as Delta Variant Cases Rise New York City's COVID-19 positivity rate is at 1.3 percent after weeks of all-time lows. The seven-day average number of daily confirmed cases has increased to 288. De Blasio said the city still has more work to do to ensure New Yorkers get vaccinated. "We know the challenge," the mayor said during the media availability. "We understand the challenge of the Delta variant. We understand that challenge is particularly clear and sharp for unvaccinated people—that's where the problem is.

Today: Rand Paul escalated his feud with Anthony Fauci, New York settled with opioid distributors, and the delta variant has fully taken hold of the country.

We'll start with Fauci:

Fauci v. Paul series continues: Fauci says Paul doesn't know what he's talking about 'and I want to say that officially'

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday escalated his ongoing feud with the nation's top infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci about the role the National Institutes of Health (NIH) played in funding controversial research in Wuhan, China.

The two traded barbs during a tense exchange, triggering a shouting match in which Fauci accused Paul of lying in order to further his agenda.

During a Senate Health Committee hearing about the federal COVID-19 response, Paul said the NIH funded illegal gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which created a highly dangerous and transmissible virus able to infect humans. Gain-of-function is a controversial method where researchers make a pathogen more infectious, often to develop more effective treatments and vaccines.

Overnight Health Care: CDC director warns of 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' | Biden says social media platforms 'killing people' | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new cases

  Overnight Health Care: CDC director warns of 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' | Biden says social media platforms 'killing people' | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new cases Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. If you're at the Nationals game on Sunday, look out for White House press secretary Jen Psaki throwing out the first pitch.If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com psullivan@thehill.com jcoleman@thehill.comFollow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: The delta variant is surging, and the CDC director said the unvaccinated are most at risk. President Biden is escalating a fight with Facebook over public health disinformation, and the virus is hitting Nevada and Florida.

It's an unsubstantiated accusation Paul has made before, and one Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has denied.

It's not unusual for conservative Republicans and allies of former President Trump to clash with Fauci during hearings; Paul has done so on numerous occasions, as has Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Paul's accusations: But on Tuesday, Paul stepped up his fight, implying that Fauci had lied to Congress, and that he was fully aware of what the Wuhan lab was doing with grant money that came from NIH.

He also suggested that Fauci and the NIH could be partly responsible for the pandemic and the deaths of 4 million people worldwide.

Fauci responds: "You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally resent that," Fauci said. "And if anybody is lying here senator, it is you," he added, pointing a finger at Paul.

New York reaches $1.1B settlement with opioid distributors

  New York reaches $1.1B settlement with opioid distributors The state of New York has reached a $1.1 billion settlement agreement with three of the nation's largest drug distributors after the state accused the companies of contributing to the opioid crisis. New York State Attorney General Letitia James released the settlement obtained with the McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on Tuesday, saying the state is holding the distributors "accountable" forNew York State Attorney General Letitia James released the settlement obtained with the McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc.

Read more here.

New York reaches $1.1B settlement with opioid distributors

The state of New York has reached a $1.1 billion settlement agreement with three of the nation's largest drug distributors after the state accused the companies of contributing to the opioid crisis.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released the settlement obtained with the McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on Tuesday, saying the state is holding the distributors "accountable" for their alleged role in the epidemic.

The three distributors will pay the $1.1 billion to New York state, with more than $1 billion of that being designated to opioid treatment, recovery and prevention. The payments will start in two months and continue over 17 years.

In exchange, New York will file to remove McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen from its continuing opioid trial in Suffolk County State Supreme Court.

"While no amount of money will ever compensate for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless communities decimated by opioids, this money will be vital in preventing any future devastation," James said in a statement.

Dr. Fauci goes off on "lying" Rand Paul: "You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

  Dr. Fauci goes off on “I want to say that officially,” Fauci said to Paul during a heated exchange on Tuesday Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee will hear testimony about the Biden administration's ongoing plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and Delta variant.

Distributor response: In a joint statement, McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen said they saw the settlement as "an important step toward finalizing a broad settlement with states, counties, and political subdivisions."

"While the companies strongly dispute the allegations at issue in the trial, they believe this resolution will allow the companies to focus their attention and resources on the safe and secure delivery of medications and therapies while delivering meaningful relief to affected communities, and will also support efforts to achieve a broad resolution under the previously disclosed framework," the distributors said in a joint release.

Read more here.

Delta takes stronger hold: CDC director says delta variant accounts for 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in US

The delta variant of the novel coronavirus is now responsible for 83 percent of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in the United States, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.

That estimate is a major increase from just over two weeks ago. For cases tallied during the week of July 3, the CDC estimated the delta variant accounted for about 50 percent of new infections.

Walensky told the Senate Health Committee that in some parts of the country with low vaccination rates, the percentages are even higher. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noted that the delta variant could be responsible for up to 90 percent of cases in some areas.

Goats got milk, Winnebago Tribe, New Mexico quake : News from around our 50 states

  Goats got milk, Winnebago Tribe, New Mexico quake : News from around our 50 states Minnesota’s most populous county boosts incentives for COVID-19 vaccine, oil production is flat in North Dakota because of a workforce shortage, and moreStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and Louisiana are the four states with the highest per capita new cases per day, according to data from the Covid Act Now tracking site.

Vaccination has been uneven across states, and only about half of all eligible people nationwide are fully vaccinated.

Health officials have described the latest stage of the coronavirus as a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" while emphasizing that those who have had their shots are relatively safe.

Read more here.

Abortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats ahead of midterms

NARAL Pro-Choice America has endorsed 12 House Democrats for reelection ahead of the 2022 midterm races.

The abortion rights group said in a statement that the incumbents have "demonstrated their unwavering commitment to fighting for reproductive freedom."

"We know these leaders will fight to safeguard abortion access and take bold action to make sure all of our families and communities thrive," Christian LoBue, NARAL Pro-Choice America chief campaigns and advocacy officer, said in a statement.

Who's endorsed: NARAL endorsed Georgia Democratic Reps. Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux, as well as Texas Democratic Reps. Colin Allred and Lizzie Fletcher and California Reps. Katie Porter (D) and Mike Levin (D).

The group also backs Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Susan Wild (D-Pa.), Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)

Background: Abortion rights are front and center in the midterms as GOP-led states consider hundreds of bills rolling back abortion access.

Delta variant spreads globally as Covid cases soar

  Delta variant spreads globally as Covid cases soar With low global vaccination rates, the variant's spread is threatening to overwhelm health systems.It is expected to become the dominant variant globally in the coming months, with the WHO predicting that there could be more than 200 million confirmed cases within a matter of weeks.

These legislatures have pushed for bills restricting abortion in the hopes of getting the conservative majority in the Supreme Court to override Roe v. Wade.

Read more here.

Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for employers to provide at least three days of paid leave for workers who experience a miscarriage.

The bill, dubbed the Support Through Loss Act, aims to invest $45 million a year to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriages and pregnancy loss.

It would also require that the Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC, develop and spread public information regarding pregnancy loss, such as statistics on the matter and treatment options.

According to the CDC, about one in 100 pregnancies at 20 weeks of carrying and later are affected by stillbirth. Roughly 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. per year.

The lawmakers wrote that while pregnancy loss is "an experience shared across communities," it can sometimes feel like an "isolating experience" because of the lack of truthful information.

"Our bill sends a message to families that they are not alone, and would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy by providing them with the resources, workforce supports, and care necessary to recover and heal," Pressley said in a statement.

Read more here.

What we're reading

Sen. Wyden: $3.5T budget may have to trim but it can set a path to 'ambitious goals' (Kaiser Health News)

Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions

  Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. A snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has COVID-19, but appears to be doing ok! If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com psullivan@thehill.com jcoleman@thehill.comFollow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: Vaccine mandates are gaining traction, including with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dozens of health care groups requested vaccine mandates for health care workers, and the Biden administration released guidance saying long COVID-19 could count as a disability.

States are sitting on millions of surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses as expiration dates approach (STAT)

Summer travel options outside the U.S. are still up in the air as COVID cases rise (NPR)

State by state

California makes it easier for low-income residents to get and keep free health coverage (Kaiser Health News)

'COVID-19 is unfortunately here to stay': Experts say they suspect Delta variant is driving large number of breakthrough cases in Provincetown (Boston Globe)

Overdose deaths in Washington expected to break record in 2021 (KATU)

The demise of Cardinal Innovations: How a state-mandated mental health organization failed in slow motion. (North Carolina Health News)

Op-eds in The Hill

After 2020, pandemic preparedness budget cuts should be unthinkable

Guess who undermined public confidence in vaccines?

Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions .
Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. A snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has COVID-19, but appears to be doing ok! If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com psullivan@thehill.com jcoleman@thehill.comFollow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: Vaccine mandates are gaining traction, including with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dozens of health care groups requested vaccine mandates for health care workers, and the Biden administration released guidance saying long COVID-19 could count as a disability.

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