Coronavirus updates: Dr. Anthony Fauci says to ‘hunker down’ for the rest of the year; $300B relief bill fails in Senate; 191K US deaths

The Senate failed to advance a slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill Thursday that senators on both sides had acknowledged was unlikely to muster the votes to pass the chamber.

The bill was defeated in a 52-47 vote, and one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted with Democrats in opposing the bill.

The estimated $300 billion proposal, dubbed the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, included bolstered unemployment benefits, funding for schools and liability protections for businesses and health care facilities. Its failure leaves little chance a stimulus bill will pass Congress before the November election.

Meanwhile, universities across the country also continue to contend with COVID-19 challenges. The University of Wyoming on Wednesday extended its fall return for the second time in a week, while the University of Wisconsin-Madison shifted to online education for two weeks.

Some significant developments:

  • California reached a bleak milestone, becoming the first state in the nation to reach 750,000 coronavirus cases. Los Angeles County claims a third of those cases, becoming the first county to surpass 250,000 cases.
  • More than 857,000 Americans filed first-time applications for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
  • The race for a coronavirus vaccine to help end the pandemic has consumed the scientific community and created an escalating demand for an essential resource: monkeys.
  • Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported zero deaths for the second time in three days. No deaths were reported on Monday for the first time since March.
  • President Donald Trump said he was publicly downplaying the coronavirus pandemic to not “create a panic,” according to an interview with veteran journalist Bob Woodward.
  • The U.S. government is halting its enhanced entry screening for certain international passengers at airports starting Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order mandating a face covering be worn at all times by athletes when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: ‘We need to hunker down’ for the rest of the year

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, offered a word of warning to Americans as summer’s end approaches.

Speaking at a virtual panel with doctors from Harvard Medical School, per NBC News, Fauci said that the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will only get more strenuous as the year reaches its close. He also cautioned against downplaying the severity of the virus, knowing “what’s ahead” if preventative measures are not met.

“We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy,” he said, adding that we cannot “look at the rosy side of things.”

Vice President Mike Pence heard early warning about seriousness of COVID

Vice President Mike Pence was at the January meeting at which President Donald Trump was warned about the severity of the novel coronavirus, he told Fox News Thursday.

“I was in the Oval Office the day that the team came in and briefed the president about what we perceived was happening in China,” Pence said, when asked if he had received the same briefing Trump had from National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. “The team came in and laid the facts as we knew them on the table to the president.”


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