Fauci Vs. His Republican Critics
Dr. Anthony Fauci is firing back at Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz, who have attacked him. In other news from the nation's capital, the NIH director says it may be two or three weeks before scientists know enough about the new variant and the Supreme Court hearing an abortion case and a 340B case.
Fauci Fires Back At Cruz Over COVID Claims About Chinese Lab
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, blasted Sen. Ted Cruz for suggesting that Fauci be investigated for statements he made about COVID-19 and said the criticism by the Texas Republican was an attack on science. “I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?” Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” It was a reference to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump that was stoked as Cruz helped lead GOP objections to Congress’ certifying the 2020 election results. (Yen, 11/28)
Fauci: Republican Detractors Are "Criticizing Science"
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that Republican lawmakers who criticize him are "criticizing science, because I represent science." Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Fauci added that such attacks are dangerous because "if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society." (Saric, 11/28)
Rand Paul Blasts Fauci: 'Astounding And Alarming' To Declare 'I Represent Science'
Paul took to Twitter Sunday morning to respond to Fauci’s claims, calling it "absolute hubris" for Fauci to declare that he represents science. "It’s astounding and alarming that a public health bureaucrat would even think to claim such a thing, especially one who has worked so hard to ignore the science of natural immunity," Paul wrote. (Aitken and Brown, 11/28)
D.C.'s reaction to omicron —
Too Early To Know Answers On Omicron Variant, NIH Director Says
“Initial cases are mostly young people, who tend to have mild infections anyway,“ Collins said. “We need more data there before we can say confidently that this is not a severe version of the virus. But we should find that out in the next couple weeks.“ Collins said he hoped the new variant would be “one more wake-up call” for those who have yet to be vaccinated. “It’s clear that in all the previous examples of variants, the vaccines have worked to provide protection,” Collins said. He added: “The vaccines are your seat belt. Use them.” (Cohen, 11/28)
Gottlieb Says Omicron Variant Of COVID-19 "Almost Definitely" Already In U.S.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus reported last week is likely already in the United States, but said the federal government is better positioned to detect cases of the new strain than it was a year ago. "It's almost definitely here already, just looking at the number of cases coming off planes this weekend. It's almost a certainty that there have been cases that have gotten into the United States," Gottlieb said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "We're in a much better place now than we were a year ago when B.1.1.7 first arrived, or even when Delta first arrived. We are sequencing about a hundred thousand cases a week, which is very good. It's about 20% of all the diagnosed cases. CDC is also going to set up this week a new surveillance system specifically for this variant." (Quinn, 11/28)
Supreme Court Set To Take Up All-Or-Nothing Abortion Fight
Both sides are telling the Supreme Court there’s no middle ground in Wednesday’s showdown over abortion. The justices can either reaffirm the constitutional right to an abortion or wipe it away altogether. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that declared a nationwide right to abortion, is facing its most serious challenge in 30 years in front of a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that has been remade by three appointees of President Donald Trump. “There are no half measures here,” said Sherif Girgis, a Notre Dame law professor who once served as a law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito. (Sherman, 11/29)
Supreme Court To Hear 340B Case That Could Impact All Hospitals
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case seeking to reverse cuts to the 340B Drug Program next week, and the outcome could have consequences for all providers, even those who don't access the discounted medicines. Plaintiffs including the American Hospital Association and providers that participate in the program are asking the high court to reverse a nearly 30% cut in 340B reimbursements the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initiated during President Donald Trump's administration and continued under President Joe Biden. Oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 30. (Hellman, 11/24)
Lawmakers Want To Revive Medical Device Rule Favored By Industry
A bipartisan group of U.S. House members chided the Biden administration for repealing a rule that would have required Medicare to pay for any medical device deemed a "breakthrough" by the FDA. Medical device manufacturers really wanted the rule enacted, in part, because it would have led to higher sales. Now many members of Congress who receive sizable campaign donations from the industry want the federal government to revive the rule. (Herman, 11/29)
Meanwhile, in future pandemic planning —
WHO Is Seeking a New Treaty to Handle Future Pandemics. It Could Be a Hard Sell
The World Health Organization is convening a special session of its governing body, the World Health Assembly, to start talks on a new global treaty covering pandemics. Representatives of WHO's 194 member states will meet virtually for three days starting on Monday to consider new international rules for handling future outbreaks. The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the world has not worked well together to confront the current COVID-19 pandemic. (Beaubien, 11/28)
WHO Reaches Draft Consensus On Future Pandemic Treaty
Member states of the World Health Organization have reached a tentative consensus to negotiate a future agreement on preventing pandemics, bridging the gap between sides led by the European Union and United States, diplomats said on Sunday. The draft resolution, hammered out in negotiations over the weekend, will be presented for adoption to health ministers at the WHO's three-day special assembly that opens on Monday, they said. (Nebehay, 11/28)
The Nagoya Protocol Shouldn't Shield Pathogen Hoarding
This week, health officials from around the world will meet in Geneva — and virtually — to discuss plans for a global treaty on pandemic preparedness. This is an essential undertaking as the world struggles to find a path through the current pandemic, with a race against time to get vaccines to all who need them. This special session of the World Health Assembly will be a chance to share lessons from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and lay the groundwork for how to tackle the next major outbreak. (Cueni, 11/28)