- The White House coronavirus task force held its first briefing in two months, as Pence took a victory lap, saying “We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives.” While Pence acknowledged that cases have been rising “precipitously” in some states, he argued that Americans are seeing “encouraging news” despite cases surging because all 50 states – he claimed – “are opening up safely and responsibly.” Pence insisted “this moment is different” than two months ago, suggesting “We’re in a much better place” because “the volume of new cases coming in is a reflection of a great success in expanding testing across the country.” Pence also defended Trump’s decision to resume holding campaign rallies, claiming “The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, is enshrined in the constitution of the United States […] Even in a health crisis, the American people don’t forfeit our constitutional rights.” He added: “And we have an election coming up this fall.” (NPR / CNBC / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / The Hill)
- Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the coronavirus outbreaks largely in the South and West could spread across the U.S. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert pleaded for Americans to practice social distancing and mask wearing, saying “You have an individual responsibility to yourself but you have a societal responsibility.” The Trump administration is also weighing testing groups of people together. “Pool testing” could help officials test more people with fewer resources. (New York Times / Washington Post)
- The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act as the U.S. has recorded more than 125,000 deaths from COVID-19, with nearly 2.6 million confirmed cases. In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before the midnight deadline, the Trump administration said that “the entire ACA must fall,” arguing that the individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional after Congress ended the financial penalty for not having health insurance in 2017. If the court agrees, more than 23 million Americans would lose health care coverage. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NPR / Politico)
- Trump canceled his planned trip to his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J. The White House claimed the cancellation “had nothing to do” with a state order mandating a 14-day quarantine for visitors who have been in states with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases. The weather forecast, however, showed that thundershowers are expected throughout the area this weekend. Hours later Trump tweeted that he canceled the trip to stay in Washington “to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.” (CNBC / Politico)
- The European Union will block most travelers from the United States, Russia, and other countries considered too risky because they have not controlled the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. banned most European Union travelers in March, but has not eased its restrictions, even though European infections and deaths have dropped. The ban goes into effect on July 1. (New York Times)
Link credits: WTF Happened Today, Fipilele, and more…
Sorry for taking so long to write an update. The past few weeks have been consumed with work, projects, and regular life. Stay home, stay safe, and don’t believe that it’s over until we have a vaccine, or a treatment that is effective, ubiquitous, and affordable.