Once Shunted To Sidelines, HHS Stepping Back Onto Pandemic Field As Trump’s Attention Shifts
After a few high-profile missteps at the start of the outbreak, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and his agency took a back seat to the White House task force helmed by Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci. But now as President Donald Trump locks eyes firmly on reopening, HHS is taking a larger role in handling the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Fauci continues to warn about the surge in cases.
The Wall Street Journal:
HHS Resumes Central Role In Pandemic Response Oversight
The Department of Health and Human Services is taking on more oversight of the nation’s coronavirus response as cases in some states climb, an abrupt shift from April when the agency was under fire for its handling of the initial stages of the crisis. The shift is happening in part because the president and his aides are prioritizing reopening and other economic issues they believe will play to the president’s conservative base ahead of the election, according to people familiar with the planning. The move predated the nationwide protests following the killing of a black man in Minneapolis police custody. (Armour, 6/16)
Fauci On Coronavirus Infections: 'We're Still In A First Wave'
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is warning that the United States has to yet get through the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak. “People keep talking about a second wave,” Fauci said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “We’re still in a first wave.” (Wise, 6/16)
The Wall Street Journal:
Fauci Warns Of Coronavirus Resurgence If States Don’t Adhere To Safety Guidelines
Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, warned the nation risks a resurgence of coronavirus infections should states fail to remain vigilant as they reopen their economies. “When I look at the TV and I see pictures of people congregating at bars when the location they are indicates they shouldn’t be doing that, that’s very risky,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview Tuesday. “People keep talking about a second wave,” he added. “We’re still in a first wave.” (Armour, 6/16)
Trump Downplays Rising Coronavirus Cases As Fauci Warns ‘We’re Still In The First Wave’
The nation’s top infectious disease expert is warning that that the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic is not over as new cases spike in parts of the country — a sobering message that comes despite President Trump’s efforts to downplay the ongoing threat. The sunny predictions and, in some cases, misleading claims emanating from the White House attempt to paint a picture of a nation in recovery ahead of a Trump campaign rally planned for Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, his first since early March as he seeks a symbolic return to normalcy and a reset for his presidential campaign as his poll numbers falter. (Bidgood, 6/16)
And in other news, a look at how the country should better prepare for the next crisis —
The Washington Post:
To Prepare For The Next Pandemic, The U.S. Needs To Change Its National Security Priorities
On Oct. 8, 2001 — 27 days after terrorists crashed airliners into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania — President George W. Bush signed an order establishing a new Office of Homeland Security, paving the way to the biggest reorganization of the federal government since the years immediately after World War II, when Congress established the Defense Department, the CIA and the National Security Council. (Harris and Ryan, 6/16)