Trump considering suspending funding to WHO

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/491671-trump-considering-suspending-funding-to-who?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=28856

WHO declares the outbreak of the new coronavirus is a pandemic ...

President Trump said Tuesday that he would consider placing a hold on funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), expressing grievances with its handling of the novel coronavirus.

“They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known, and they should have known, and they probably did know,” Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing, suggesting the WHO failed to sufficiently warn the global community about the virus.

“We’re going to be looking into that very carefully, and we’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump continued. “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see. It’s a great thing if it works, but when they call every shot wrong, that’s not good.”

Pressed later by a reporter on whether it was a good idea to put a hold on funding during a global pandemic, the president clarified that he was considering suspending funding to the WHO.

“I’m not going to say I’m going to do it,” Trump said. “We will look at ending funding.”

The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO’s budget. The president’s fiscal 2021 budget request proposed slashing funding to the WHO, a body of the United Nations responsible for international public health, from $122 million to about $58 million.

The president said the WHO seemed to be “very biased towards China” and accused the organization of disagreeing with his travel restriction on flights coming in from China. He suggested the organization was blind to the extent of the outbreak in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, where the virus originated.

The WHO said in early February that widespread travel bans that interfere with international travel and trade were not necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, days after the Trump administration announced it would restrict travel coming into the U.S. from China. It did not take particular issue with the president’s travel restriction.

“They actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it, and they were wrong. They’ve been wrong about a lot of things. They had a lot of information early, and they didn’t — they seemed to be very China-centric. We have to look into it,” Trump told reporters.

When a reporter asked Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to answer a question on the WHO, Trump interjected before he answered, saying Fauci “respects the WHO, and I think that’s good.”

“But they did give us some pretty bad play-calling,” Trump said.

The remarks, expanding on a critical tweet he sent earlier Tuesday, come amid growing criticism among conservatives of the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Some have accused the organization of leaving other nations unprepared for the virus.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) last week called on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to resign, after reports emerged that the U.S. intelligence community had concluded China underreported its count of coronavirus cases. McSally accused the WHO of helping China conceal the extent of the outbreak.

Trump has faced criticism for at first downplaying the threat from the coronavirus, and his administration has been scrutinized for early delays in testing that hampered the overall response. Trump has often pointed to his early action restricting travel from China as a sign his administration was quick to confront the outbreak.

Ezekiel Emanuel, a special adviser to the director general of the WHO, was critical of Trump’s remarks on the coronavirus at the end of February, saying he found much of what Trump said at his first press briefing on the domestic virus outbreak to be “incoherent.”

 

 

 

 

Trump says IG report finding hospital shortages is ‘just wrong’

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/491454-trump-says-ig-report-finding-hospital-shortages-is-just-wrong?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=28856

Hospital Experiences Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results ...

President Trump on Monday claimed that an inspector general report finding “severe” shortages of supplies at hospitals to fight the novel coronavirus is “just wrong.”

Trump did not provide evidence for why the conclusions of the 34-page report are wrong.

He implied that he is mistrustful of inspectors general more broadly. He recently fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, which has drawn outrage from Democrats.

“Did I hear the word inspector general?” Trump said in response to the reporter’s question about the findings.

“It’s just wrong,” Trump said of the report.

The inspector general report, released earlier Monday, was based on a survey of 323 randomly selected hospitals across the country.

It found “severe” shortages of tests and wait times as long as seven days for hospitals. It also found “widespread” shortfalls of protective equipment such as masks for health workers, something that doctors and nurses have also noted for weeks.

“The level of anxiety among staff is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” one hospital administrator said in the report.

Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, noted that the report’s survey of hospitals was conducted March 23 to March 27. He said testing had improved since then and that it was “quite a long time ago.”

Trump asked who the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services is.

“Where did he come from, the inspector general?” Trump said, adding, “What’s his name?”

The office is currently led by Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general.

According to her online biography, Grimm joined the inspector general’s office in 1999. 
Trump said the U.S. has now done more testing than any other country. “We are doing an incredible job on testing,” he said.
He also berated the reporter asking the question, saying testing has been a success.
“You should say, ‘Congratulations. Great job’ instead of being so horrid,” Trump said.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) on Monday said the inspector general report was accurate.

The report “accurately captures the crisis that hospitals and health systems, physicians and nurses on the front lines face of not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies and equipment in their fight against COVID-19,” the AHA said.

https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-20-00300.pdf?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=28856

 

 

 

 

Navy chief resigns amid uproar over handling of aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/491626-navy-chief-offers-to-resign-amid-uproar-over-handling-of-aircraft-carrier?rnd=1586292384?rnd=1586275342?userid=12325

Navy boss resigns amid uproar over firing of ship captain – WATE 6 ...

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after fanning the flames of a controversy over a coronavirus outbreak on board an aircraft carrier.

In a tweet, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he accepted Modly’s resignation and that undersecretary of the Army James McPherson will take over as acting Navy secretary.

“This morning I accepted Secretary Modly’s resignation. He resigned of his own accord, putting the Navy and the sailors above self so that the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the Navy as an institution, can move forward,” Esper said in a statement attached to the tweet.

The resignation comes a day after transcripts and audio of an inflammatory speech, in which Modly defended his decision to fire Capt. Brett Crozier as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, leaked to the media.

Modly relieved Crozier of his command of the Roosevelt last week after a letter the captain wrote pleading for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the ship leaked in the media. Modly did not explicitly accuse Crozier of leaking the letter, but noted it appeared first in his hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, and that he sent a copy to too many people to expect it not to leak.

In the speech aboard the Roosevelt, Modly said that if Crozier didn’t think the letter would leak, he was “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this.”

Alternatively, Modly said, if Crozier leaked the letter on purpose, that would be a “serious violation” of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

He also called Crozier’s action a “betrayal” and warned sailors that there is “no situation” in which they should go to the media, alleging “the media has an agenda” that “depends on which side of the political aisle they sit.”

Modly at first said Monday afternoon he stands by “every word,” but by Monday night was apologizing.

“Let me be clear: I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive or stupid,” Modly said in a statement. “I apologize for any confusion this choice of words may have caused.”

At a White House press briefing, President Trump said he would not have asked Modly to resign.

“I had heard he did because he didn’t want to cause any disturbance for our country. He wouldn’t have had to resign. I would not have asked him. I don’t know him. I didn’t speak to him. But he did that I think just to end that problem. And I think in many ways that was a very unselfish thing to do.”

Trump said he was unsure what would happen to Crozier, leaving it up to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Naval chain of command. He called the letter a “mistake,” harping on its eventual leak to the media.

“The whole thing was very unfortunate. The captain should not have written a letter. He didn’t have to be Ernest Hemingway.”

The day before, as uproar over Modly’s speech and Crozier’s firing was growing, Trump had said he “may just get involved” with the situation.

Modly initially had Esper’s support in firing Crozier, but the fallout from his speech became too much to overcome as a growing chorus of lawmakers called for his removal from office, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“When I listened to the speech that acting Secretary Modly gave, it was almost like he was trying to do sort of a half-assed imitation of how Donald Trump would have given a speech,” Smith told reporters Tuesday in a response to a question from The Hill.

After the resignation, Smith said in statement that Modly “submitting his formal resignation to Secretary Esper was the right thing to do.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services, also said he agreed with Esper’s desicion to accept Modly’s resignation because Modly “mishandled the situation.”

“These actions were inappropriate for the leader of the U.S. Navy at any time, particularly in a crisis, and did a disservice to Captain Crozier, the sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and all Navy personnel,” Reed said in a statement. “The new leadership of the Navy must do better in leading and protecting sailors, Marines and their families in this unprecedented crisis.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he supports Esper’s personnel decisions “especially as we deal with this pandemics,” but that “it’s disturbing to me that there’s been so much turmoil at the top of the Department of the Navy over the last year.”

In his statement on Tuesday, Esper said Modly’s “care for the sailors was genuine” and that he “wish[es] him all the best.”

Esper said he briefed Trump after his conversation with Modly and that the president supported his appointment of McPherson to replace Modly.

Esper said he also met with McPherson, Chief of Naval Operation Adm. Michael Gilday, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley. He gave Gilday and McPherson guidance “on the way ahead.”

Esper also said he emphasized that his first priority in the coronavirus crisis is “protect our people, which means putting the health, safety and welfare of the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew first.”

“We must now put the needs of the Navy, including the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, first, and we must all move forward together,” he said.

Crozier’s letter warned sailors could die if all but 10 percent of the 4,800-percent crew wasn’t evacuated from the ship.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote. “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

After he was fired, his crew gave him a hero’s sendoff, clapping and chanting his name as he walked off the ship.

As of Tuesday, the Navy reported 230 cases of coronavirus on the Roosevelt after 79 percent of the crew has been tested. The Navy said 1,999 sailors have been taken off the ship as it is docked in Guam, with 1,232 staying at hotels.

Over the weekend, Modly told The Washington Post he stepped in to fire Crozier in part because he wanted to get out in front of any action by the president. Modly’s predecessor, Richard Spencer, was ousted amid a dispute with Trump.

Spencer was fired amid the fallout from Trump’s decision to restore the rank of Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, who was convicted in the military justice system of posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter but acquitted of murder.

In addition to restoring Gallagher’s rank, Trump ordered the Navy to allow Gallagher to keep his status as a SEAL after news broke the Navy was reviewing his Trident pin.

Last month, Trump nominated U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite to be Navy secretary after first saying he would immediately after Spencer’s departure in November.

But it’s unclear when the Senate will be able to hold a confirmation hearing for Braithwaite and approve his nomination as lawmakers remain largely out of Washington during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Once the Senate is back in session, I will make sure the Armed Services Committee considers the nomination of the next secretary of the Navy quickly, and I ask my fellow committee members to help me expedite this nomination as well,” Inhofe said in his statement. “Our Sailors, Marines and their families deserve to have stable, capable leadership at the helm during these challenging times.”

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Election: Voters Find Long Lines and Closed Polling Sites

Wisconsin Election: Voters Find Long Lines and Closed Polling ...

The state is the first to hold a major election with in-person voting since stay-at-home orders were widely instituted because of the coronavirus.

Many voters say they never received the absentee ballots they requested.

  • Wisconsin is the first state to hold a major election with in-person voting despite stay-at-home orders for Americans protecting themselves from the coronavirus.

  • Polls will close at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Long lines have been seen in cities like Milwaukee, which has only five polling places open, and social distancing is a concern.

  • Wisconsin is holding its presidential primary between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders. Mr. Biden had a strong lead in a recent, widely respected poll.

  • The state’s elections commission has ordered municipal clerks not to release any results until April 13, in compliance with a federal court ruling.

  • Wisconsin Democrats wanted to extend absentee voting and even postpone the election altogether, but Republicans successfully blocked both in court. As a result, Democratic turnout is likely to be depressed because of the virus and the deadlines for absentee voting. A crucial seat on the State Supreme Court is on the ballot.

A morning of voting brings disruption and confusion.

MILWAUKEE — After a morning of voting across Wisconsin, in an election that has drawn derision from public health experts and inflamed partisan tensions, a picture is emerging of long lines, some flaring tempers and a dose of chaos and confusion in the state’s most heavily populated areas.

Voters in Milwaukee, the state’s Democratic base and most populous city, have experienced significant disruptions at polling places. Election workers in the city expected more than 50,000 voters on Tuesday, but the number of polling locations was drastically reduced, from more than 180 to just five. Some voters waited in line for more than two hours, spread out over blocks as they tried to practice social distancing to guard against the coronavirus.

In other parts of the state, especially in smaller communities that tend to be less Democratic, the in-person voting process was running relatively smoothly, with wait times more closely resembling a normal election.

Democratic officials in Wisconsin have lashed out at Republicans, saying they created an atmosphere that amounts to voter suppression with a key statewide Supreme Court race on the ballot. It remains to be seen how the disruptions could affect the Democratic presidential primary contest between Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders.

Many voters say their absentee ballots never arrived.

Across Wisconsin, would-be voters complained that the absentee ballots they requested had never arrived in the mail, even though figures released by the state seemed to indicate the problem was not widespread.

Representative Gordon Hintz, the Democratic minority leader in the State Assembly, said there may have been a glitch in the system, perhaps because of overwhelmed elections offices. “It appears that people who requested their ballots between March the 20th and 24th, or maybe the 25th, have not received their ballots,” Mr. Hintz said.

Official state figures showed that of 1,282,762 ballots requested, 1,273,374 had been sent, a shortfall of about 9,000.

But Mr. Hintz estimated that hundreds, it not thousands, of voters in his Oshkosh district alone had not received the ballots they asked for, leaving them in a predicament over whether to vote in person and risk contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

One of them was Mr. Hintz himself, who had decided not to vote Tuesday because the ballot he requested on March 22 had not arrived. The Wisconsin Elections Commission’s website says it was mailed to him on March 24.

Roger Luhn, a psychiatrist in Milwaukee, said Tuesday that he was also among the voters who had not received an absentee ballot.

“According to the website, they mailed the ballot to me on March 23,” said Dr. Luhn, who is medical director of a psychiatric hospital. “Yesterday, I gave up. I called the election commission. They put you on extended hold.”

Dr. Luhn said he would not go to the polls on Tuesday out of concern for his family, his patients and his fellow staff members. “There is no good outcome for today’s election,” he said. “No matter what happens, not enough people will have had an opportunity to safely cast their ballots.”

Voters encounter long lines — and social distancing.

The effects of shuttering so many polling sites in Milwaukee were immediately apparent on Tuesday morning: Across the city, lines stretched for blocks even before 7 a.m. local time.

On the South Side of the city, the parking lot of Alexander Hamilton High School was already full as daylight broke. By 8 a.m., more than 300 voters waited in a line that snaked through the parking lot and down the street.

At other locations nearby that would have normally been open for voting, signs were posted directing voters to Hamilton High School. But many of the locations were in heavily immigrant neighborhoods, predominantly Spanish or Hmong, and the only signs posted were in English.

At Marshall High School, in the northern part of Milwaukee, the line stretched for more than three blocks, with voters keeping six feet of space between each other. Most wore masks or other facial coverings.

The northern part of the city, which is predominantly black, has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. Yet hundreds of voters had already queued by early morning.

The lines weren’t limited to Milwaukee. In Waukesha, a suburb just outside of Milwaukee, only one polling location was open for a city of 70,000. A similarly long line wrapped around a parking lot, as cones denoting a safe distance between voters helped break up the line.

A woman sick with coronavirus is unable to vote.

Hannah Gleeson is a health care worker who lives in Milwaukee, is 17 weeks pregnant and recently tested positive for the coronavirus. She says she has voted in every election she has been eligible for — “I enjoy going in person. I like getting my sticker,” she said — but since contracting the virus she realized that going to a polling place would not be an option.

“I feel like especially right now, when there are so many things that can make you feel hopeless, voting is one of the only things that is still within your power,” Ms. Gleeson, 34, said.

So she requested an absentee ballot a week ago, well within the deadlines set by the state. But she never received one. When she saw that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down an extension of the deadlines, she called the state elections commission.

“They kind of said, yeah, that really sucks, hopefully you’ll have better luck with the next election,” Ms. Gleeson said. She said that some friends in Milwaukee had also not received ballots: one who made a request on March 26, and another on March 9.

Now, Ms. Gleeson and her husband, who is not showing symptoms but is also isolating himself since Ms. Gleeson is sick, are not able to vote, or at least not able to do so without putting hundreds of people at risk. “I’ve always said that every vote matters, every vote counts, and it’s your one chance to have your voice heard,” she said. “And it’s now something that I really feel has been taken away from me, and my husband as well.”

A missing absentee ballot snaps a 30-year voting streak.

In the city of Oshkosh, where officials have implemented curbside voting, Brian Binder, 49, was one of many Wisconsin voters who reported not receiving the absentee ballots they applied for. Mr. Binder’s wife, who applied at the same time, received hers.

“There’s a large number of people who just did not get them,” said Mr. Binder, an employee of a food packaging company.

As a result of all the confusion and the coronavirus, Mr. Binder said he would not vote in this election, breaking a 30-year streak.

“I vote in every election, local primaries, since I was 18. I’m a person that takes it very seriously, your right and your responsibility to vote. However, given the situation with the virus I’m not sure I want to endanger myself or other people at the polls,” said Mr. Binder, who has been working from home for the past two weeks.

He also expressed frustration with the state’s deeply entrenched political division.

“I feel that this is something they shouldn’t play politics with,” said Mr. Binder, a lifelong Republican who said his support for the party had waned since President Trump’s election. “I don’t know why we couldn’t postpone to keep people safe. I don’t know what the goal was.”

Partisan brawling and a logistical tangle have led to chaos.

Like so much else in Wisconsin over the last decade, the state’s coronavirus response and opinions about moving the election broke along partisan lines.

Democrats, aiming to expand turnout especially in the state’s largest cities, Milwaukee and Madison, sought to expand mail voting and delay the election until June. Republicans, wary of affording new powers to a Democratic governor and content with suppressing turnout in urban centers where the coronavirus has struck hardest, refused to entertain proposals for relief.

“Thousands will wake up and have to choose between exercising their right to vote and staying healthy and safe,” Gov. Tony Evers said Monday after the state’s Supreme Court blocked his effort to postpone the election.

But Dean Knudson, a Republican former state legislator who is chairman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said late Monday that voters who wished to participate in Tuesday’s contest would have no recourse but to venture to the polls — even if they had requested but had not yet received an absentee ballot.

“If they haven’t got their ballot in the mail,” he said, “they are going to have to go to the polling place tomorrow.”

Other Republicans have played down the danger to public health of voting during a pandemic. One Republican county chair, Jim Miller of Sawyer County, said the process would be similar to people picking up food to eat during the state’s stay-at-home order.

“If you can go out and get fast food, you can go vote curbside,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s the same procedure.”

Why are Wisconsin Republicans so adamant about holding Tuesday’s elections?

It’s not just a presidential primary on the ballot in Wisconsin. Also at stake is the makeup of the Wisconsin Supreme Court — the very court that struck down Mr. Evers’s effort to delay Tuesday’s elections.

Statewide races in Wisconsin tend to be close, and Supreme Court elections, which come with 10-year terms, are often even closer.

Last year Brian Hagedorn, a conservative judge, defeated a liberal challenger by less than 6,000 votes out of 1.2 million cast. In 2011, another conservative, David T. Prosser Jr., won by 7,000 votes after officials in Waukesha County found 14,000 overlooked ballots the day after the election.

For now, conservatives hold five of seven seats on the officially nonpartisan court. The incumbent in Tuesday’s contest, Justice Daniel Kelly, was appointed to replace Justice Prosser by Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 and is seeking his first full term. He faces Jill Karofsky, a liberal circuit court judge.

President Trump has posted several messages on Twitter endorsing Justice Kelly in recent days.

If Justice Kelly wins, it will cement the conservative majority’s ability to block future Democratic efforts to change the state’s strict voting laws and litigate an expected stalemate over congressional and state legislative boundaries during post-2020 redistricting.

Liberals would need to flip just one of the conservatives’ votes if Judge Karofsky wins. Unless a justice retires or resigns, they would not have an opportunity to win a court majority until the 2023 elections.

Polls will close at 9 p.m. Eastern, but that’s unlikely to be the end of the elections.

Though voting may end on Tuesday night, there will most likely be a new round of lawsuits challenging both the results and the disenfranchisement of many voters. Many allied groups in Wisconsin were already gathering accounts of voters unable to get a ballot or vote in anticipation of litigation.

Adding to the uncertainty, the results themselves will most likely be delayed by almost a full week: The Wisconsin Elections Commission has directed local municipal and county clerks not to release results until next Monday afternoon, in compliance with a federal court ruling.

“Instead of having Iowa-style results where no one knows what to expect, if we stick to this we’re going to have a clean election tomorrow but we’re not going to report the results until the following week,” said Mr. Knudson, the elections commission chairman.

 

 

 

 

Why medical experts worry about President Trump touting chloroquine

https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/07/why-medical-experts-worry-about-president-trump-to/?fbclid=IwAR2mxG7HzUAZgmfrwsC9cZtNL2-q8_xQSj6jbdjF45Aod7x8848A3voRYVw

Trump touts hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid-19. Don't ...

IF YOUR TIME IS SHORT

• Already, an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after self-administering a variant of chloroquine, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send out a warning.

The American Medical Association says it “strongly opposes” prophylactically prescribing chloroquine as well as pharmacies and hospitals “purchasing excessive amounts” of the medication.

• Some people have health conditions that mean they shouldn’t take chloroquine because of potential side effects. 

• Putting too much focus on one specific treatment could make Americans lax about following social distancing guidelines.

In more than half a dozen public events since March 19, President Donald Trump has touted a possible treatment for coronavirus infection — using the malaria drug chloroquine or a related drug hydroxychloroquine, sometimes in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.

“I hope they use the hydroxychloroquine, and they can also do it with Z-Pak (azithromycin), subject to your doctor’s approval and all of that,” Trump said at an April 4 briefing. “But I hope they use it, because I’ll tell you what: What do you have to lose?”

Trump reiterated praise for chloroquine in his April 5 briefing: “A lot of people are saying that … if you’re a doctor, a nurse, a first responder, a medical person going into hospitals, they say taking it before the fact is good.”

When a reporter asked Trump for “the conclusive medical evidence” to support his optimism, Trump dismissed the question as “fake news.”

Trump isn’t wrong that this drug combination might prove helpful, at least based on preliminary evidence. The treatment is currently being studied in clinical trials, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But randomized tests — the gold standard of medical evidence — have not been completed, and the lack of rigorous testing as a treatment against coronavirus has led many medical experts to be more cautious than the president. The drug has significant side effects, including damage to the heart and nervous system and suicidal thoughts. And a run on chloroquine could harm patients with lupus and other diseases that the drug is already used for.

Some medical experts are concerned that the president’s words from a White House lectern may be skewing Americans’ perceptions of the best way to fight coronavirus.

Not long after Trump began touting chloroquine, an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after they ingested a fish-tank solvent that includes chloroquine phosphate. The woman told NBC News that they thought the compound was the same as the one Trump cited. Fish-tank cleaners are not the same as the drugs used for malaria, nor are they suitable for human consumption.

A few days later, the CDC released a warning, not just against using the fish-tank cleaner but also the malaria drug itself without a doctor’s orders.

In a statement to PolitiFact, the American Medical Association seconded such concerns, saying that no medication has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The association said it “strongly opposes” prescribing chloroquine as a preventive measure and also opposes pharmacies and hospitals “purchasing excessive amounts” of the medication.

On several occasions, Trump has reminded viewers of his briefings to consult with doctors about treatments. But at other times, he has trumpeted his own confidence in chloroquine as a treatment.

“I’ve seen things that I sort of like,” he has said. “So what do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”

Experts said Trump’s high-profile endorsement risked overshadowing the views of medical experts.

“The evidence just isn’t there yet to prove that these drugs work, and while the risks from inappropriately prescribing them are rare, they can be serious,” said Joel F. Farley, associate head of the department of pharmaceutical care and health systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Farley said he even worries about patients going through proper channels.

“Even if prescribed by a physician, I am not convinced that patients are being adequately screened or monitored for some of the more serious side effects, like cardiotoxicity,” he said. “I have heard anecdotal reports of physicians prescribing these medications for friends and family members, which doesn’t always come with an appropriate physical or health screening.”

Another worry among medical specialists is the possible stockpiling of chloroquine. This could harm patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, who depend on the drug to treat their own conditions. “Being just stewards of limited resources is essential,” the American Medical Association said in its statement.

Finally, focusing on one potential treatment could overshadow the nitty-gritty things Americans need to do on a daily basis to stay safe.

“My biggest concern is that people will believe there’s some magic cure and not follow social distancing and other normal precautions in the belief that there’s a drug to ‘fix this,’” said Ally Dering-Anderson, a clinical associate professor at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy.

 

 

 

 

Resilience, dedication, conviction: Hospital CEOs write thank-you notes to staff

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/resilience-dedication-conviction-hospital-ceos-write-thank-you-notes-to-staff.html?utm_medium=email

Words of appreciation: Thank-you notes from 15 health system CEOs ...

Healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing care to ill patients and battling the public health crisis from various angles. In honor of these workers, Becker’s asked hospital and health system CEOs to share notes to their staff and team members.

Michael Apkon, MD, PhD
President and CEO
Tufts Medical Center & Floating Hospital for Children (Boston)

At Tufts Medical Center, we see some of the sickest people in Boston. Our teams routinely surround each of these patients with the extraordinary care and services they need to get well.

This pandemic is unprecedented.  I know our staff are balancing the concerns that we all have for our families and friends, our own health, as well as the changes to our lives outside of work at the same time they do everything they can to provide the level of care people have come to trust from our organization. I can tell you that over my 30 years in this industry, I have not seen more dedication, innovation and willingness to help than I have during these past few months, as we fight a largely unknown enemy.

I could not be more proud of our doctors, nurses, technologists, transporters, housekeepers, cooks, public safety officers and all others who have been vital to the care of all of our patients, including those with a COVID-19 diagnosis. I know that people are coming together across our industry in nearly every city and town. Many thanks to each of our team members and to the healthcare workers around our country as well as to their families, who have had to worry day after day about their loved one on the front lines. Please know your partners, mothers, fathers, sister, brother, sons or daughters have played a critical role in saving lives, and we are doing everything we can to keep them safe.

Marna Borgstrom
CEO Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health

During these unprecedented times I welcome the opportunity to reflect on all that our staff at Yale New Haven Health are doing for each other and for our communities. We have a team of more than 27,000 hardworking and talented people to care for communities in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. I am truly humbled and honored to work alongside these amazing individuals.

Our staff, like healthcare workers everywhere, are being tasked in seemingly conflicting ways during this pandemic. Not only are they continuing to do their jobs by caring for the sickest patients, but they are also managing extremely challenging issues at home. Children of all ages are home from school, some need to be home-schooled. Businesses are closed, impacting many spouses and other family members. Staff worry that they may not have an adequate amount of protective equipment and supplies while at work.

But Yale New Haven Health staff are strong, they are resilient and most of all they are caring. As we do everything in our power to keep our staff safe, they are doing everything in their power to care for very ill patients in a world where new information is coming in real time and changing rapidly. We all hope and pray that this pandemic will end soon, but until it does, we are all in this together. I have never been more proud to work with this this wonderful Yale New Haven Health team.

Audrey Gregory, PhD, RN
CEO of the Detroit Medical Center

We know that the current situation around COVID-19 is unnerving, and as things continue to change rapidly every day, it can also be overwhelming.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the front-line staff at every level in our organization and at healthcare facilities all across the country.

I also would like to say thank you to all of the providers, including residents, fellows and advanced practice providers. I recognize the commitment that you have to provide care to our patients. Not only do I want to acknowledge that, I never want to take that for granted. As healthcare workers, this is the time that we courageously stay on the front lines.

Please be safe and do your part to protect each other. If you have any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or shortness of breath, please stay home. I know that as healthcare workers we have a tendency to ignore symptoms, and work through them, so that we do not let the team down. This is the time that I implore you not to do so.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the patients and families that depend on us during this challenging time.

R. Guy Hudson, MD
CEO of Swedish Health Services (Seattle)

As we come together to fight this unprecedented pandemic, I am continually impressed by the resilience, professionalism and dedication of our community’s healthcare workers, first responders and other providers of essential services. Without their selfless commitment to serving others, we would not be able to weather this crisis.

Though we have yet to see the full costs that COVID-19 will exact on our region, I am confident that our community will continue to come together, support each other and manage through this situation with resolve.

I am grateful to the community’s outpouring of support for healthcare providers on the front lines, including the 13,000 dedicated caregivers at Swedish. It is often in times of crisis that our humanity, resilience and compassion shine brightest.

The pandemic poses the greatest risk to the most vulnerable members of our community. There are hundreds of nonprofits and other organizations that are doing heroic work to help our neighbors who struggle with mental illness, housing instability, food insecurity and other challenges. Their efforts are more critical than ever and need our support.

In this unchartered territory, I find strength in the dedication and conviction of the caregivers I have the privilege to work alongside. Providing care to our community in a time like this is exactly why we chose careers in healthcare. In the face of this pandemic, we will continue to serve the needs of our community, and we will not waver in our commitment to our patients.

To all our Swedish caregivers: I am proud to work with you.

Alan Kaplan, MD
CEO of UW Health (Madison, Wis.)

We find ourselves in an unprecedented time. We are preparing for a global pandemic, an insidious virus, that is already at our doorstep. To do this, the physicians and staff at UW Health are adjusting every aspect of our standard service to care for those who need us now, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to save as many lives as possible.

Despite these dire circumstances, I remain optimistic and proud. The faculty and staff at UW Health, from our diligent technicians to our expert physicians and nurses, are all working incredibly hard to ensure we are doing everything in our power to care for the communities we serve. Your early actions and quick flexibility gave our health system the best chance to manage this crisis. I am especially impressed by the ongoing collaboration, because it shows how much we are capable of accomplishing together. This work is highly valued and deeply appreciated, both within our walls and beyond.

I know this is a trying time for everyone in our organization and so many others around the world. Much of our specialty care has been put on hold, clinics have closed, and regular schedules are nonexistent. I appreciate the long hours and commitment it takes to serve patients and the public good in a time like this. For those on the frontlines of COVID-19, know that our entire organization and our community are proud of the work you are doing.

Finally, I hope you all do what you can to stay healthy, refresh and take time for yourself and to be with loved ones however possible during this new and challenging time. Thank you for everything you do. You are a daily inspiration.

Sarah Krevans
President and CEO of Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.)

The healthcare profession attracts those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. They all have a higher calling and always rise to the challenges in front of them. This happens every day, but it’s very apparent during this time in our history. There is no part of our organization that is untouched by this public health emergency. And yet, our teams stand tall. They don’t back down. From front-line health workers, to food and nutrition services staff, to information services personnel — they are committed to keeping our communities safe. Words will never be able to adequately thank them for their dedication, their perseverance and their heart, but all of us across our organization are forever grateful.

Jody Lomeo
President and CEO of Kaleida Health (Buffalo, N.Y.)

As we face these historic and challenging times, it is vitally important that we come together and stick together as a community. It’s just as important that we remain unified as the Kaleida Health family.

That said, let me thank everyone for their incredible dedication and teamwork this past week.

This is an unprecedented issue for healthcare providers to have to deal with; yet the response by the organization as a whole is what we have come to expect: nothing short of remarkable and solely focused on taking care of our community.

On behalf of a grateful community, the board of directors and the Kaleida Health leadership team, we thank you all for your incredible dedication these past few weeks. I have said it numerous times this week: You are the true heroes of this pandemic. And while our way of life has been forever changed, one constant that remains the same: the outstanding work that is done by the Kaleida Health team!

A special note of gratitude goes out to all of those who have volunteered to care for COVID-19 patients within their respective hospitals and across the Kaleida Health system. We could not do this without you!

In closing, thanks again. Stay healthy, stay safe.

We remain #KaleidaStrong.

Elizabeth Nabel, MD
President of Brigham Health (Boston)

We face an unprecedented challenge — possibly the greatest we will ever experience in our careers, maybe even our lifetimes. I am inspired by the indomitable dedication, courage and innovative spirit of our medical and scientific community as we navigate through these most trying events. From providers working on the front lines of patient care to investigators racing to discover an effective treatment for COVID-19, we are surrounded by countless demonstrations of commitment, collaboration and compassion. We will get through this together and come out on the other side stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

‘We are not immune’: Henry Ford Health says 734 employees positive for COVID-19

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/we-are-not-immune-henry-ford-health-says-734-employees-positive-for-covid-19.html?utm_medium=email

Detroit hospital: More than 600 employees tested positive for ...

More than 700 employees of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System have tested positive for COVID-19, the health system confirmed to Becker’s.

Adnan Munkarah, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, said Henry Ford has tested nearly 2,500 employees since tracking began March 12, and the majority have tested negative. However, as of April 6, 734 employees, or 2.1 percent of the health system’s workforce, have tested positive. Positive cases include employees not working directly on the front lines or those who contracted the virus in the community.

In announcing the update, Dr. Munkarah pointed to the health system’s strict adherence to the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic, as well as other measures that have been put in place to protect employees and patients. Those measures include a universal mask policy for employees and visitors and the prioritization of testing for employees exhibiting even mild symptoms.

“As a health system caring for a large majority of our region’s COVID-19 patients, we know we are not immune to potential exposure and we remain grateful for the courage and dedication of our entire team,” said Dr. Munkarah.

Michigan is one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic. As of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 7, there were 17,221 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.