Trump’s Coronavirus Response Speaks For Itself

16 Jul

At the press briefing today, Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump’s “historic COVID response speaks for itself.” It sure does. On top of having the most deaths and cases in the world, we’re still experiencing record unemployment, supply shortages, and testing delays, and the coronavirus is surging now more than ever.

More than 1 million people filed new jobless claims for the 17th straight week, and initial claims now total more than 51 million over the past four months.

CNBC: “Initial weekly jobless claims came in at 1.3 million for the week ending July 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 1.25 million.”

Yahoo News: “Over the past four months, more than 51 million Americans have filed new unemployment claims.”

Hospitals and health care workers are still experiencing dangerous shortages of supplies and staff, and it’s only getting worse.

Vox: “Hospitals are running out of staff, supplies, and beds for Covid-19 patients — and this time could be worse”

Bloomberg: “American health-care workers still face dangerous shortages of personal protective equipment as the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 fills hospitals across the nation and threatens patients and workers in long-term care facilities.”

Testing delays and shortages make it more difficult to respond to the virus.

Wall Street Journal: “Growing Wait Times for Covid-19 Test Results Hinder Virus Response”

Wall Street Journal: “Many people in coronavirus hot spots are now waiting more than a week, and in some cases several weeks, for test results. Testing-supply shortages and delays can hamstring contact-tracing efforts, complicate decisions on whether to open or close businesses and cloud statistics used to track the virus’s spread. It also means some individuals are likely continuing to spread the virus because they either don’t yet have a result, were unable to get tested or haven’t yet been told that they have been exposed to an infected person.”

The coronavirus continues to surge. Record high new cases and increases in nearly every state will translate into more deaths.

Axios: “The coronavirus continues to spread nearly unchecked across almost the entire country: 37 states saw their caseloads increase over the past week, and only two states experienced a meaningful improvement. Why it matters: These rapidly escalating outbreaks will translate into thousands of deaths and make it all the harder to safely reopen schools or otherwise reclaim some sense of normalcy.”

New York Times: “The United States on Wednesday reported more than 67,300 new infections across the country, according to a New York Times database. It was the nation’s second-highest single-day total and roughly 1,000 cases shy of the record set last week. The U.S. outbreak, which has increased in 41 states over the past two weeks, hit 3.5 million total infections on Wednesday, the Times’s database shows.”

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DNC on Kayleigh McEnany Saying ‘the Science Should not Stand in the Way’ of Schools Reopening

16 Jul

In response to Kayleigh McEnany saying that “the science should not stand in the way” of Trump’s plan to reopen schools “in full” without adequate safety measures, DNC War Room senior spokesperson and advisor Lily Adams released the following statement:

“The press secretary’s comments mirror the dangerous approach Trump has taken to this pandemic, which has yielded more than 137,000 deaths and the worst recession since the Great Depression. Now the Trump administration wants to further risk the lives of teachers, children, staff, and their families just to soothe the president’s ego. This president would rather accept conspiracy theories and reject science than listen to public health experts. He can’t be trusted to make decisions about the lives of America’s children and their families. We deserve a president who will listen to the experts, trust the science, and put American lives first. We deserve Joe Biden.”

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Shalala, Perez, Retiree Advocate: Trump Threw Seniors ‘To The Wolves’

16 Jul

Today, Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27), DNC Chair Tom Perez, and Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans President Saundra Cole discussed the devastating impact of Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus on America’s seniors. The press call followed the release of the DNC War Room’s latest television ad, “Wolves,” which reveals how Trump threw America to the wolves when the coronavirus hit.

Trump deceived seniors on the risk of coronavirus, jeopardizing their health. He ignored experts, repeatedly claimed that the virus would “disappear,” and rushed to reopen the country without the necessary safety measures — all for his own political gain. Now, as coronavirus cases surge in states across the country, older Americans have accounted for 80% of deaths and a disproportionate number of hospitalizations.

“Donald Trump’s leadership is not only reckless, it’s insensitive and it’s immoral, and it’s killing seniors in our country. … We have a responsibility to the people who built this nation, and Donald Trump has ignored them. He’s attacking Dr. Fauci and the CDC. He’s refusing to follow their advice. He’s covering up for his failures. And four months into this crisis, he’s still getting it wrong. Cases are spiking at record rates in my district, but he wants to slow testing down,” said Congresswoman Donna Shalala. “While the crisis has been devastating for our country and for my state, it’s been especially devastating for America’s seniors, and they know clearly who’s responsible: Donald Trump.”

“Trump has failed to protect seniors and nursing home residents from the pandemic — instead, he’s thrown them to the wolves. Trump repeatedly lied that the virus would ‘disappear,’ and backed protests of stay-at-home orders that protect seniors from the coronavirus — all for his own political gain, said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Despite nursing homes accounting for 40% of all coronavirus deaths, the Trump administration has not provided nursing homes with universal testing, has left nursing homes without critical supplies of PPE, and has rolled back rules designed to protect nursing home residents. Seniors have suffered immensely at the hands of this president.”

“The president is talking now about mandatory opening of schools, and if the schools don’t open, that they’re not going to get funding. Well, schools here start opening in August, the first part of August — that’s only a couple of weeks away. And we’re worried about our kids and our teachers and that, but what happens after the kids come home? I have members that are grandparents that take care of their kids, the grandkids, after school. So now they’re worried about, should I watch my grandkids or should I not watch my grandkids? Because they’re worried about the coronavirus spreading to them, and I can’t tell you how stressful it is,” Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans President Saundra Cole. “It’s like everything’s falling in and we always hear that seniors, we are the biggest target here for the coronavirus, so we are very stressed. … It’s very scary and we don’t see any end to this. And our leadership — when things are bad, we usually look to our leadership and our leadership has not followed through with us and I feel that they have failed seniors.”

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16 Jul

The DNC War Room today released a television ad, “Wolves,” that reveals how Trump’s mismanagement of coronavirus failed the very people who are most vulnerable to its outbreak: America’s seniors. When the coronavirus hit, Trump threw America to the wolves.

Trump deceived seniors on the risk of coronavirus, jeopardizing their health. He ignored experts, repeatedly claimed that the virus would “disappear,” and rushed to reopen the country without the necessary safety measures — all for his own political gain. Now, as coronavirus cases surge in states across the country, older Americans have accounted for 80% of deaths and a disproportionate number of hospitalizations. 

“America’s seniors raised us. They fought for our country, and they worked to build us a better future. But when experts warned that coronavirus would hit older Americans the hardest, Trump refused to listen. He didn’t care — in fact, he pushed to open our country without the necessary safety measures, jeopardizing their health, because he thought it would help his reelection.

“Now, approximately 100,000 of our country’s seniors have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Thousands more have been hospitalized, and even those who have avoided the virus have been forced to isolate, preventing them from hugging their children and grandchildren. And it’s all because of Trump’s failure of leadership. It didn’t have to be this bad. Seniors need leadership from the White House to navigate this crisis. They need Joe Biden,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez.


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WHO Director-General pays tribute to Spain’s sacrifices and leadership to confront COVID-19

16 Jul

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today joined the leadership of Spain, paying homage to those who have lost their lives in the country due to COVID-19, saluting the heroic efforts of heath workers and praising the government’s resolute and robust response to reverse the virus’s transmission.

“It is with great respect that I join the King of Spain, the Prime Minister and the entire government of the country to pay tribute to the people who have fallen victim to COVID-19,” said Dr Tedros. “I extend my deepest condolences to the families of all people who have lost their lives due to this virus in Spain, and around the world.”

At one point, Spain was among the countries impacted most by COVID-19. At the outbreak’s peak, close to 10,000 new cases were reported in a single day in Spain. Since then, intensive efforts, led by robust surveillance, testing, contact tracing, treatment and isolation, have managed to suppress transmission.

Dr Tedros said this shift was due to the leadership shown by Spain and the strong resolve shown by the Spanish public to adhere to strict restrictions, including lockdowns, physical distancing and other critical measures to contain transmission. These efforts, combined, have successfully changed the course of the country’s outbreak.

“Spain has shown that with political leadership and action, backed by community support, that COVID-19 can be controlled, no matter at what stage virus transmission is at in a country. From being greatly challenged, Spain has reversed the trajectory of the outbreak,” Dr Tedros added. “While we have witnessed the suppression of the virus across Spain, I support the commitment by Spanish authorities to remain vigilant in the face of the persistent threat that COVID-19 poses.”


Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative Updates

16 Jul
Banner of the Cervical cancer Elimination newsletter


Dear friends and colleagues,

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen progress in the areas of primary prevention (HPV vaccination) and secondary prevention (screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions) of cervical cancer.

On the eve of 2020’s Global Vaccine Summit, which took place on 4 June, five HPV vaccine manufacturers committed to increasing and prioritizing the supply of HPV vaccines to Gavi-supported countries. This commitment will enable Gavi to increase its reach from 50 million to 84 million girls over the next 5-year period and avert an estimated 1.4 million deaths due to cervical cancer. We were pleased to see this life-saving investment in the lives of girls and women around the world. It will especially uplift those in the poorest countries.

Read more

In addition to being a revolution in cancer prevention, the HPV vaccine is indeed effective and safe. We must recall Dr Tedros’ warning and continue to maintain the safe delivery of routine immunizations against all deadly vaccine-preventable diseases like cervical cancer despite disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Learn more about HPV vaccination and safety

On 25 June, I was thrilled to participate in a special focus dialogue on increasing access to screening and treatment to prevent cervical cancer. The webinar, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), touched on the themes of cancer, HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). My colleagues and I spoke of the WHO Global Strategy for the elimination of cervical cancer and our ongoing work to update screening and treatment guidelines for all women including women living with HIV. We announced a global survey that will explore women’s perspectives on cervical health, screening and treatment, to help inform WHO’s new recommendations for screening and treatment. The survey will be live as of 1 July.

Learn more

This year, the International Papillomavirus Conference (IPVC2020) is going virtual in its mission to harness the power of innovation on HPV research to deliver on global prevention and control of HPV-related diseases like cervical cancer. I am proud to be presenting WHO’s Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy during the closing plenary on 24 July.

Members of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s Expert Group on Cervical Cancer Elimination remain outspoken about maintaining focus and making progress in cervical cancer prevention and treatment despite COVID-19. HRH Princess Dina Mired, president of the Union for International Cancer Control, recently published an op-ed in CNN highlighting COVID-19’s impact on cancer patients. On 27 June, Dr Amina Abubkar-Bello, founder of Raise Foundation, was a featured speaker at the launch of the CSOs Coalition Against Cervical Cancer (CCACC), part of the Cancer Survivors Conference 2020

We are pleased to report excellent news coming out of Nigeria with Dr Osagie Ehanire, the country’s Minister of Health, approving the development of a National Palliative Care Policy to address the needs of cancer patients in Nigeria. Ehanire revealed this at a Virtual National Stakeholders’ Forum on the Elimination of Cervical Cancer organised by the country’s National Cancer Control Programme.

Learn more

I hope you and your loved ones continue to thrive and remain in good health during uncertain times. Do continue to follow our work by visiting our page on the WHO website and following me on Twitter @DrNonoSimelela.

Warm regards,
Dr Nono Simelela
ADG, Special Adviser to the Director-General on Strategic Programmatic Priorities


Upcoming events

9 July 2020
HPV-Based Cervical Screening: Opportunities Challenges and Insights from the field
Webinar sponsored by TogetHER for Health

20 – 24 July 2020
International Papillomavirus Conference (IPVC 2020)

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ADG, Special Adviser to the Director-General on Strategic Programmatic Priorities





Religious Leaders Join Virtually to Welcome Interfaith Statement on Victims, Survivors of ISIL/Da’esh

16 Jul

More than 150 religious actors and prominent leaders today welcomed the momentous step taken by the representatives of the Christian, Kakai, Shia, Sunni and Yazidi communities in Iraq through the adoption of an Interfaith Statement on the Victims and Survivors of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in March.  This was convened as part of a virtual conference hosted jointly by the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the United Nations Investigative Team to promote accountability for the crimes committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and Religions for Peace. 

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Simon Conway of The Simon Conway Show

16 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Via Teleconference

QUESTION: Let’s go to the phones right now. Welcome back to the Simon Conway Show, right across the Midwest. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, welcome back. How are you?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Simon, it’s great to be with you. I understand you were engaged this weekend. Congratulations.

QUESTION: Wow. Yes. (Laughter.) And they say the government is watching you. Yes, I am, sir. Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Good for you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.


QUESTION: That’s very kind of you. I’m not really sure where to start. I think I want to start with my favorite conspiracy theory, which I’ve seen from the land of my birth, and it involves Mercer, the very cute puppy that you have. Have you seen this?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I know Mercer well after 16 weeks. Yes.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Yes. She’s a very good-looking dog. So the BBC are suggesting that the photograph of Mercer, your puppy that you put up today – this is the BBC, right, serious media in theory – they’re saying that you put that up because one of Mercer’s favorite toys is Winnie the Pooh, and the Chinese president has been compared derogatorily to Winnie the Pooh. Is this Winnie the Pooh-gate, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Mercer has about 30 toys that Mercer enjoys, all of them roughly, apparently, equally depending on which one our other dog wants most, as Mercer’s first choice is the one the other dog has. So no, I imagine there were a series of stuffed animals, and they were equally – equally distributed for Mercer’s benefit.

QUESTION: Uh-huh, yes, okay. I couldn’t resist, I’m sorry. I was thinking, I’m about to talk to the Secretary of State of the United States of America; can I really start with this story? And I thought (inaudible) the BBC —

SECRETARY POMPEO: The BBC, how about that. Yes, all right. (Laughter.) I hadn’t seen that.

QUESTION: There you go.


QUESTION: All right, let’s get to some very serious stuff regarding China. Of course, we saw the President yesterday in the Rose Garden talking about our tougher approach. Why are we getting tough with China right now?

SECRETARY POMPEO: For now 40 years, Simon, the American people have been fed a bill of goods that if we simply engage with China, that they would leave us alone and behave in a way that was consistent with how other large nations behaved. That hasn’t happened. We thought they would open up politically. That was the theory of the foreign policy establishment. It didn’t happen. President Trump has recognized that now, the actions that General Secretary Xi, the leader of China’s Communist Party, is taking are really having an impact, whether that’s on Iowa farmers or manufacturers from the Southwest or citizens who are traveling to Hong Kong. The risk is increasing, and to our democratic allies in the region, the risk to them is increasing as well. And so President Trump has simply said we’re going to respond by the simple demand that they engage in trading relationships that are fair and reciprocal; that they – when they participate in international organizations around the world they’re going to do so in a way that is transparent and open, the way that democracies do; and that when they engage in behavior like they did around the virus that emanated from Wuhan, China, that’s now killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world and destroyed trillions of dollars in wealth and has got people that can’t go back to work, can’t go back to their churches – when that happens, we’re going to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their errant behavior.

QUESTION: So the last time you and I spoke, I’m not sure if you’ll remember this, but it was right after you talked about the favored nation status – you took it away, literally the day you and I spoke. So he also went after Hong Kong yesterday because of the way the Chinese have been behaving.

SECRETARY POMPEO: So the Chinese Communist Party made a commitment to – both to the United Kingdom and to the people of Hong Kong, and indeed, to the world – this was an international treaty that said that there would be a separate system there in Hong Kong and that they would be guaranteed certain rights that weren’t available in other parts of China. Now the Chinese Communist Party has welched on that deal. They’ve declined to follow through on their promise. And so to the extent China treats the people of Hong Kong as it’s a single country, we’re going to do that too. The United States will no longer give preferential treatment to Hong Kong because, frankly, it’s just going to become another communist-run city and there’s no reason to live with the fiction of all the things that we have done alongside Hong Kong because they were a place with more rule of law, more democracy, more freedom. We’d given them a certain set of benefits that were different from the remaining people inside of China. That’s no longer true, so we’ll no longer treat them any differently than we do other people inside of China.

QUESTION: Because they were supposed to have – Hong Kong was supposed to have autonomy. It clearly —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, 50 years, roughly. Yes.

QUESTION: Yeah. Clearly doesn’t do that anymore. They don’t do it. So it makes sense that we don’t treat them differently, right?

SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s pretty straightforward. I think – I think everyone can understand that if it’s one country in the eyes of China, it ought to be one country in the eyes of the world and of the United States.

QUESTION: Why is the United States the – what appears to be the lone voice in the world trying to hold China accountable for their treatment of their Muslim population?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, the good news is I think many countries are starting to see the magnitude of the human rights violations that are taking place there. These – there are forced sterilizations of women, forced abortions, hundreds of thousands of people held in the worst of conditions. I think the rest of the world is starting to come alongside and see this as well. I’ve talked with our friends in the United Kingdom and in Europe. I think they’re starting to understand that this is unacceptable in this century that those kinds of violations of the most fundamental rights of the citizens of China are something that impacts not only those people and not only the people of China, but it denigrates our lives as well. And so we ought to do the things that we can to convince the Chinese Communist Party not to engage in that kind of barbaric behavior.

QUESTION: Right, because as you pointed out, it’s sterilization, it’s forced abortion, it’s mandatory birth control. All that stuff is going on and almost no one’s reporting it. Certainly our mainstream media is ignoring it largely.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I hope, too, Simon, your – I think your point is well taken. And I hope, too, that Muslim countries will see that a good deal of this activity is related to the Muslims who aren’t Han Chinese, and I hope other countries will see that this is about the most fundamental, basic rights for every human being and for religious freedom and liberty. I hope other nations will come alongside. I – I’m – I observe that the tide is turning here and I’m counting on that being the case. I know there are good peoples all around the world that will share our horror at what’s taking place there.

QUESTION: Have you spoken to Senators Rubio or Cruz over the —


QUESTION: — over the sanctions that the Chinese have imposed on them for this very reason, for speaking out about this particular population in China?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I have not. They also threatened to sanction Representative Chris Smith, a great defender of freedom, and then my – one of my ambassadors, governor – former Governor Sam Brownback, who runs our Religious Freedom Program here at the State Department.

I haven’t had a chance to speak with them yet, but this is indicative of the way the Chinese Communist Party sees this. The sanctions that we imposed were because there were gross violations on – for national security matters and of human rights, and they impose sanctions on the very people that were working to ensure that those citizens had those rights. It’s very perverse and I think the world will see that America is a force for good in this case, as well as many others.

QUESTION: You’re coming to Iowa. We’re excited to have you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I am. I’ll be there Friday.

QUESTION: You’re coming up this weekend, right?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’m coming up Friday. I’ll be there for a couple reasons. One is tomorrow I’m going to be in Philadelphia, at the Constitution Center, unveiling a Commission on Unalienable Rights report. It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. And I want to come talk to Iowans about why this matters, why religious liberty matters, why protecting property rights matters, and how it’s connected to American foreign policy and how it impacts people in the heartland. And so I’ll be with a group from the Family Leader, and then I’ll be with the Iowa Farm Bureau to talk about trade and agricultural issues. It’s going to be a wonderful day there. I’m very much looking forward to getting back in my old neighborhood. It’s not quite Kansas, but almost.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) You’re bringing the red shoes, are you?

SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Yes, I am, Simon.

QUESTION: Well, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it’s always an honor to talk to you, sir. I’ve been given a time and I respect those time limits, because that way we get you to come back. This is indeed your (inaudible).

SECRETARY POMPEO: I promise – I promise you I’ll do that, Simon.


SECRETARY POMPEO: Good luck to you and you take good care.

QUESTION: You take good care as well. And give Mercer a little extra scratch behind the ears for me as well.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ll do that. Absolutely. So long, Simon.

QUESTION: All right. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Appreciate it.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, blessings to you. Bye-bye.

QUESTION: Take care.