U.S. Health Officials Testify to Senate on COVID-19 Efforts

daily update May 11, 2021

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May 11th Daily Update

As of Tuesday evening, there are over 158.9 million coronavirus cases and over 3.3 million deaths worldwide from the virus. The US has over 32.7 million cases and over 581,000 deaths. Currently, there are over 37,000 people hospitalized in the U.S.

Federal health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC director Rochelle Walensky appeared in front of a Senate committee today to testify on their COVID-19 efforts. The officials faced criticism from Republican lawmakers on a variety of fronts. In one particularly fiery exchange, Senator Rand Paul clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the origins of the coronavirus, which Paul stated he believed was created in a lab in Wuhan, China, that was receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health. In response, Fauci stated, "With all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect."

Meanwhile, several states have announced that they are ceasing participation in federal COVID-19 era unemployment assistance, such as the $300 weekly federal boost and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. We covered the news on the Skip blog.

Latest COVID Updates

  • Even as the virus begins to subside in Western countries, it is spreading in Southeast Asian nations that had previously been spared from it. Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia have all reported spikes in cases.
  • Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft will offer free rides to U.S. vaccination sites between May 24th and July 4th, President Biden announced today.
  • Combined flu and coronavirus tests are now available at many clinics and hospitals. The tests can detect COVID-19 and two strains of influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus, or R.S.V.
  • Two Chinese men in their twenties, Chen Mei and Cai Wei, pled guilty today to "picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a charge Chinese prosecutors often use against political dissidents, after they used Github (an online platform developed by software developers for sharing code) to preserve Chinese news reports and articles that censors had erased from their original sites. In total, the two men stored more than 100 articles about the coronavirus outbreak in China in early 2020. Both men have been detained since April 2020, and may have pleaded guilty to secure an earlier release. Chen Mei's brother, Chen Kun, called the trial "a charade".
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