Watch Live: Dr. Rick Bright’s Whiste-Blower Testimony to House Panel – Get our quote in 2 minutes

An informant tells a House panel to expect "darkest winter in modern history" if no changes are made. Rick Bright, the whistle-blower who was expelled as head of a federal agency involved in the development of a coronavirus vaccine, warned Congress on Thursday that the Covid-19 epidemic "will worsen and will prolong "if the United States does not rapidly develop a national testing strategy and devise a plan for the distribution of a vaccine. "The window is closing to deal with this pandemic because we don't yet have a standardized, centralized and coordinated plan to bring this nation through this response," said Dr. Bright, who was abruptly removed from his position as chief last month. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. He told legislators of a House health subcommittee that the country could face "the darkest winter in modern history" if the administration had not acted quickly, as Americans become "restless" to leave their homes. Even before Dr. Bright's testimony began, President Trump asked for his expulsion, firing him on Twitter as a "disgruntled employee." Appearing on Capitol Hill, Dr. Bright warned that there could be a vaccine shortage if the United States had not started planning its widespread distribution immediately. "There is no company that can produce enough for our country or the world," said Dr. Bright, predicting that it may take 12 to 18 months to develop a coronavirus vaccine. "Supplies will be limited." Bright claimed to have been removed from BARDA and reassigned to a closer job at the National Institutes of Health, after objecting to the widespread distribution of a malaria drug that Mr. Trump promoted as a treatment for Covid-19. . On Thursday, he told lawmakers that he urged federal officials early to stock up on remdesivir, a drug that has proven useful for patients with viruses, but has been ignored. Instead, dr. Bright said it was "directed" to create an "expanded access" program for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two versions of a malaria drug that Mr. Trump was advocating as a possible treatment, even in the absence of data on the effectiveness of drugs. He preferred a clinical trial, he added, adding that ongoing studies on hydroxychloroquine "showed no overwhelming use or benefit." The Federal Whistleblower Agency finds "a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" in Bright's reassignment. Moments before the start of the hearing, Dr. Bright forwarded a letter to the panel of the Special Council Office, the Federal Whistleblower Agency, stating that it had made a preliminary decision to "substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" by the Department of Health and Human Services in relocating him. The letter, dated May 12, said that the office had requested that H.H.S. conduct an investigation within the next 60 days, starting with an interview with Dr. Bright, whose testimony offered the background of some elements of the whistleblowers' complaint he filed with the office, in which he accused his superiors at HHS to let "politics" and "clientelism" dictate contractual decisions, and said he was forced to send millions of dollars in taxpayers' money to the clients of a well-connected consultant. The complaint highlighted deep tensions between Dr. Bright and his boss, Dr. Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for health and preparedness. officials strongly disagree with Dr. Bright's characterizations. But the Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating the complaint, found "well-founded reasons" against which Dr. Bright was subjected to retaliation and asked for his reinstatement for 45 days as his investigation proceeds. A spokesman for Dr. Bright's attorneys said that Mr. Azar did not tell them if he would comply with the reinstatement request. Bright was not testifying under oath because he claimed to have arrived in his personal abilities and as a scientist, which became a point of contention at the start of the hearing while Republicans complained that he should have sworn as a government official. Representative Greg Walden, the Republican top of the Energy and Trade Committee, said the deal is "rather confusing and unusual to say the least." While the weekly tally of new claims has been falling since the end of March, the latest report pushed eight weeks in total to over 36 million, a number that would have been unthinkable before the crisis ended much of the American economy. The report comes a day after Federal Reserve President Jerome H. Powell warned that the United States was experiencing a "modern unprecedented" economic blow and risked long-term harm if lawmakers didn't do more to prevent long-term unemployment. State unemployment insurance and federal emergency relief should have overthrown families during the shutdown. But several states have a backlog of requests and applicants continue to complain that they are unable to reach overburdened state agencies. More than half of those who have applied for unemployment benefits in recent weeks have been unsuccessful, according to a New York Times poll in early May by online research firm SurveyMonkey. And 13 states have not yet implemented the pandemic unemployment assistance program that Congress approved in March to help freelancers, self-employed workers and other workers who normally cannot qualify for state unemployment benefits. Trump plans to visit Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon, the latest state in which the debate over the reopening of nonessential activities and the easing of household orders has become fiercely partisan, partly sparked by the president himself. On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, issued an extraordinary reprimand for Republicans who said they would challenge his arrest warrants. "These people are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy," said Wolf. Republican officials in half a dozen counties said they would ignore a recently extended residence order on June 4 and allow some companies to reopen on Friday. Mr. Wolf threatened those counties with the loss of federal relief funds, and businesses with the loss of liquor licenses and other permits. Trump started fighting on Twitter, where he wrote: "Pennsylvania greats now want their freedom and are fully aware of what this entails. Democrats are moving slowly across the United States for political purposes. " Pennsylvania, a state that Mr. Trump has just won, this year will again be an electoral battleground and some analysts see a strategy by the president and his supporters to use the gut – anger for the arrests to encourage turnout in November. With most visits and presidential rallies pending, Trump's campaign spilled resources into Pennsylvania, taking advantage of the arrest rage to recruit and digitally train more volunteers. "I felt a strong backlash in, citing, the outback," said Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist in Pennsylvania. However, the problem is that, to date, polls show that Mr. Wolf's management of the epidemic is much more popular than that of Mr. Trump among the Pennsylvanians. Trump is headed to a mask and other protective gear distribution center outside Allentown, his 18th visit to Pennsylvania since taking office. It is sure that he will return often. The Wisconsinites woke up with uncertainty and confusion on Thursday about what they should have done to limit the spread of the virus. The day before, the state supreme court overturned a nationwide residence order, prompting some counties and local municipalities to issue their directives by telling residents that they should continue to stay home. More than 10,000 cases have been identified in Wisconsin, a Times database shows and at least 421 people have died. In an interview, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, expressed frustration and deep concern about the safety of Wisconsin residents in the days ahead. "We are in a new chaotic moment," he said. Evers had previously issued an order ordering bars, hair salons and other businesses to remain closed until May 26th. But the Conservative-dominated state supreme court has rejected its extension of restrictions and has sided with the republican legislators who are part of a growing national effort to use the courts to overturn restrictions imposed as part of the effort to slow down the spread of the virus. Asked what state residents should do now, Mr. Evers said, “My advice is this: be more secure at home. Keep doing what you've done. Scott Fitzgerald, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate of State, said that the legislator was excluded from the decision-making process on how the state should react to the virus. He said lawmakers were more than willing to meet and work with him in the next steps, but acknowledged that, given the ruling, the state had gone beyond discussion on the gradual reopening. "We are there," said Melissa Maas, owner of flower shops in two suburbs of Milwaukee, said she intended to reopen both on Monday morning. "Obviously, we could have done it yesterday, but we wanted to put new systems in place," he said, planning to limit customers to five at a time, who will have to process their credit cards, but does not plan to request customers or employees to wear masks. He would not have worn a mask if he had not been ordered to, he said: "People in power are not thinking about the American people and the way this is our life and the way we make money," he said. who expect a spike in cases where businesses open too early, said: "As long as we do things safely and wash our hands, we can still do our job." The precautions came from all angles but pointed in one direction: The fight against the virus would be long and the economic consequences would be lasting. "It is important to put it on the table: this virus could become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never disappear," said Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO emergency response team Anthony S. Fauci. told the Senate panel this week that a vaccine for the virus would almost certainly not be ready in time for the new school year and urged caution in the face of a pathogen that continued to surprise and baffle the world's leading scientists. "I think we should be more careful, if we are not dismissive, in thinking that children are completely immune to deleterious effects," said Dr. Fauci. “Children in general do much, much better than adults and the elderly and especially those with underlying conditions. But I am very careful and I hope humble to know that I don't know all about this disease. And that's why I'm very reserved in making general predictions. Warnings, like many aspects of the crisis response in America, were quickly blown away by dysfunctional political discourse and variously contested, distorted or rejected – including by Mr. Trump himself. The president, whose administration is predicting a rapid economic rebound while pushing states to ease restrictions on public life, insisted on reopening the country's schools and criticized Dr. Fauci's testimony. "I totally disagree with him on schools." Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Thursday morning. “And we will have, I call them embers. I call them peaks. And he called – I noticed he used the word peak. Well, you may have it, and we'll put it out. "Mr. Trump also said he expected a vaccine to be available by the end of the year, according to a timeline that health experts have indicated is unlikely. He also said that the military would help with the deployment." our military is now being mobilized, so at the end of the year, we will be able to give it to many people very, very quickly, "Trump said without giving details. Just like in a natural disaster like a hurricane, in a & # 39 ; public health emergency, military may be allowed to assist in areas such as distribution of supplies and logistics. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday "CBS This Morning" that the president still had faith in Dr. Jaws but who were "on the opposite side of the equation" when it came to reopening schools. Mr. Trump takes the advice of several medical experts before taking his own d ecisions, he said. "He makes the best decision based on the data presented to him," said Ms. McEnany. One of the most progressive legislators in the House and one of the most conservative in the Senate, setting an unemployment rate driven by the pandemic to the Great Depression levels, have come to the same conclusion: it is time for the federal government to cover workers' salaries. Washington Democrat representative Pramila Jayapal and Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley are both discussing their party leaders who guaranteed income programs should be part of federal relief efforts. "We have a situation where people and families across the country are facing this unprecedented crisis and looking for relief," Jayapal said in an interview. "This is a proposal with broad support that should be taken seriously," he added. "What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for unemployment to reach 50%?" On Wednesday, progressive groups including Indivisible and MoveOn had signaled their support for legislation even without the paycheck measure. Friday was well on the way to moving to the House. , but the uprising mirrored the gap between Democrats as to how far to go about building government support for workers' livelihood. Hawley, the Missouri Republican, put forward a proposal that would cover 80 percent of the costs of personal, up to the average salary, around $ 49,000 a year.An accompanying proposal that Hawley introduced goes further, providing families and single parents who make less than $ 100,000 with a monthly check for the duration of the crisis. "We don't think too much about this," said Hawley in presenting his account. "These families need relief – now – to pay the bills that are coming ando, to get those emergency groceries to work and prepare for potential medical bills. Let's try it. "The moves received a freezing welcome from the Republican leaders. But support for these ideas on both ends of the ideological spectrum indicates how much the political debate has moved in a few months. The population of Cordova, Alaska, had withstood the pandemic without cases and the comfort of isolation – a coastal city unreachable by road in a state with some of the least per capita infections in the country. The fishing frenzy begins on Thursday with the opening of the season for the famous Copper River Salmon. But the city of about 2,000 people was consumed by debates about the opportunity to allow a fishing season and how to handle an influx of fishing teams. The city has made an unremitting effort to test, track down and isolate every virus Case. The tests have been stored to check whoever develops symptoms. People who have discovered that they have infections will be put into quarantine or removed from the city and their contacts tracked and tested. While fishing is at the heart of his family and community, a hotel owner in Cordova, Sylvia Lange said she also had concerns about the city's and industry's ability to hold back a virulent outbreak like coronavirus. "It is not easy to be critical of an industry that we all love and depend on," said Lange. "People said they will never set foot in our business again." In the chaotic days of late March, when it became clear that New York was facing a catastrophic outbreak, he helped Governor Andrew M. Cuomo calmly insert a provision on Page 347 of New York's latest and most voluminous budget proposal. Many lawmakers were unaware of the language when they approved the budget a few days later. But it provided unusual legal protections for an influential industry that was devastated by the crisis: nursing home operators. The measure, carried out by industry representatives, has protected nursing homes from many lawsuits for their inability to protect residents from death or coronavirus-related diseases. Now, weeks later, over 5,300 residents are believed to be Nursing homes in New York died of the outbreak, and their relatives are finding that due to the arrangement, they may not be able to pursue legal action against the homes. operators for accusations of abandonment. New York is one of at least 15 states that have granted nursing homes and other healthcare facilities some form of legal protection since the start of the pandemic. "They can't just shrug and say," It's a pandemic, "said Vivian Rivera-Zayas, who plans to sue the Long Island nursing home which, he said, has waited for his mother, who she had tested positive, was gasping for breath with a collapsed lung before moving her to a nearby hospital. "There must be responsibility." As for the growth of children with a potentially deadly inflammatory condition, a new study shed light on the distinctive characteristics of the condition and provided the strongest evidence that the syndrome is linked to the virus. The condition, called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, has been reported in over 100 children in New York State, including three deaths. New York City has confirmed only 100 cases, said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday, another 18 from the day before. Cases have been reported in other states, including California, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as in Europe: "This is something we need to focus on supreme," said de Blasio during his daily briefing. “We have to understand it better. We have to anticipate it. In the new study, published Wednesday in the Lancet journal, doctors in Italy compared a series of 10 disease cases with cases of a rare similar condition in children called Kawasaki disease. that in the five years preceding the pandemic – from January 2015 to mid-February 2020 – 19 children with Kawasaki disease were treated at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in the province of Bergamo, which has an advanced pediatric ward, but during the two months from February. From 18 to 20 April alone, the hospital, located at the center of the Italian epidemic, treated 10 children with similar hyperinflammatory symptoms. Eight of these tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus. Ten cases in two months – a much higher incidence rate than Kawasaki disease cases, which occurred at a rate of about one every three months – suggest a pandemic-led cluster, especially since overall hospitalizations during this period were much lower than usual, the authors said. None of the 10 children died, but their symptoms were more severe than those experienced by children with Kawasaki disease. They were much more likely to have cardiac complications and five of them showed shock, which did not occur in any of the Kawasaki cases. They had fewer platelets and a type of white blood cell, typical of Covid-19 patients who defended themselves from infection. And more than the children with the new syndrome needed steroid treatment in addition to the immunoglobulin treatment received by both them and Kawasaki patients; even children who do not have inflammatory syndrome can become seriously ill, with respiratory problems. the more detailed picture of American children who have been treated in intensive care units in the United States while the pandemic was catching on. None of the children in the study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, were affected by the mysterious new inflammatory syndrome. They suffered from the main line of attack of the virus: the severe respiratory problems that have affected tens of thousands of American adults. The study looked at 48 cases from 14 hospitals, in patients up to 21 years of age, between the end of March and the beginning of April. Two of them are dead. Eighteen were placed on ventilators and two of them remain on the respiratory machines more than a month later, said Dr. Lara S. Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas Children & # 39; s Hospital and author of the study. evidence that only a small percentage of children will be severely affected by the virus and confirms that some can become seriously ill. The fall will be silent this year at San Diego State University. There are no great lessons. No parking lot full of commuter students. No hustle and bustle on campus around Greek life, but 20 minutes from the University of California highway in San Diego, things could look very different, with tens of thousands of students returning to campus, if not other for single dormitories and socially spaced classrooms. Across the country this fall, college life will likely vary from campus to campus – a patchwork that mirrors what's going on in states and communities, as some move towards widespread reopening and others maintain their economies mostly closed. Like the rest of the country, universities face formidable risks, both human and economic. Students and teachers must be kept safe and sound, but also a segment of the economy that employs nearly four million people and operates as the nation's predominant social mobility engine. Higher education experts have decided to hold classes in person in most likely the fall will depend on a number of factors, including the type of institution, location, student body size and funding. "I think we will see many variations," said Laura W. Perna, a professor at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania. When Jamie Williams decided to reopen his East Texas tattoo studio last week, defying the restrictions of the state's coronavirus, he asked Philip Archibald for help. He showed up with his dog Zeus, his friends and his semi-automatic rifle AR-15. Archibald established an armed perimeter in the parking lot outside Crash-N-Burn Tattoo, protected by five men with military-style rifles, tactical rifles, camouflage vests and walkie-talkies. One of them already had a large tattoo of his own. "We the People," he said. "I think it should be a fair business if they want to close or open," said Archibald, 29, an Dallas-based online fitness coach who recently made it his personal mission to help Texas entrepreneurs challenge orders government to keep the doors closed. “What will come to arrest a person who is opening his own business according to their constitutional rights? It is a clash. While Governor Greg Abbott this month has allowed a wide range of shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to reopen after a coronavirus blockade, bars, salons, tattoo parlors and other businesses where social distancing is more difficult is been ordered to remain closed for a longer period. The eye-catching demonstrations of local firepower are creating a dilemma for the authorities, which have to cope with the demands of the public for the application of the guidelines on social distancing, but also a strong rejection by conservatives in some parts of the been convinced that restrictions go far too When is it safe to return to the gym? After a period of forced inactivity, many wonder if it is wise to return to shared bikes, weights and treadmills. By their very nature, public sports facilities tend to be a breeding ground for germs, but there are things you can do to mitigate the risk of infection if you want to train. "I gave up." Readers share their quarantined parenting stories. What does parental burnout look like during a pandemic? After a column by Farhad Manjoo on the topic, thousands of readers have told us about their "new normal". For many, excessive screen time was the least of their worries. "Our goal is to survive," said a Californian reader. “No divorce, no layoffs and no children running away from home. If we can do that, I consider myself a success story. "" My house is in ruins, "wrote another." When I have to do business meetings, I aim the camera at the highest possible point to hide the chaos on the floor. "" The threat of the virus, "said one third, "it looks tiny compared to our mental and physical fatigue." Global updates from Times correspondents worldwide. , Julie Bosman, Trip Gabriel, Katie Rogers, Eileen Sullivan, Alan Blinder, Manny Fernandez, David Montgomery, Kim Barker, Karen Barrow, Mike Baker, Amy Julia Harris, Rachel L. Harris, Shawn Hubler, Michael Gold, Azi Paybarah, Jesse McKinley, Lisa Tarchak, Neil Vigdor and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.