By Olya Gan / Shutterstock.com

Coronavirus Roundup: Report Finds Agency Websites ‘Missing the Mark’ on COVID Communications

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

The United States reported the most new coronavirus cases in a single day (over 69,100) on Friday since July 29. Also, 10 states (Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming) had their highest single day tallies, CNN reported. “Our worry has been that we would see a fall wave, that we’d see a big resurgence in the fall,” Justin Lessler, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told CNBC on Saturday. “And that has really been something I think all of us in the public health community have been worried about for a while.” Here are some other recent headlines from over the weekend and today that you might have missed. 

Many agencies are “missing the mark” in how they are communicating about the coronavirus on their websites, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Center for Plain Language. Common issues are: too much focus on the agency rather than the public, complicated language and ineffective layout of information. Of the 20 executive agencies they surveyed, only the Health and Human Services Department received an “A” grade and the Veterans Affairs Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau each received an “A-.” 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday he was “absolutely not” surprised that President Trump contracted the coronavirus. When asked if the White House has been controlling his media appearances during the pandemic he said: “I think you’d have to be honest and say ‘yes.’ I certainly have not been allowed to go on many, many, many shows that have asked for me.”

The White House coronavirus task force started to struggle with the addition of Dr. Scott Atlas, Hoover Institution fellow and former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, over the summer, The Washington Post reported on Monday. He “routinely has challenged” other task force members, such as Drs. Deborah Birx, Anthony Fauci, Robert Redfield and Stephen Hahn, said the report. “Colleagues said they regard [him] as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest.”

The Post also detailed how Trump has been controlling the messaging around the coronavirus vaccine. “He has plotted with his team on a pre-election promotional campaign to try to convince voters a vaccine is safe, approved and ready for mass distribution — even if none of that is true yet,” said the report. 

During a campaign rally on Sunday, Trump mocked former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee, for saying he would “listen to the scientists” if elected. “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead—we’re like a rocket ship,” he said, according to a report in The Hill. “Take a look at the numbers.” 

HHS and the Defense Department entered agreements with CVS and Walgreens to help provide and administer coronavirus vaccines with no out-of-pocket cost to residents at long-term care facilities. “Today’s historic pharmacy partnership will truly help jurisdictions solve a logistical hurdle and decrease the burden of distributing, administering and reporting COVID-19 vaccination for both states and long-term care facilities,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, in a statement on Friday. “CDC is proud to be a part of this public-private partnership that is advancing care for the nation’s most vulnerable.”

The Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis published a report on Sunday about how the most needy small businesses were “neglected” during the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program. “Contrary to Congress’s clear intent, the Trump administration and many big banks failed to prioritize small businesses in underserved markets, including minority and women-owned businesses,” said the report. “As a result, small businesses that were truly in need of financial support during the economic crisis often faced longer waits and more obstacles to receiving [Paycheck Protection] funding than larger, wealthier companies.”

The Small Business Administration inspector general published a report on Friday saying that one of the top management challenges for SBA in fiscal 2021 will be possible fraud in its coronavirus economic relief programs. In regard to the Paycheck Protection Program, launched in April, the IG said it “received more than 77,000 hotline complaints of potential fraud by the end of September and the numbers continue to rise.”

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., set a 48-hour deadline to reach an agreement on the next coronavirus stimulus package. She said on ABC News it “depends on the administration” if Americans receive relief before Election Day. 

On Sunday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down the Agriculture Department’s rule that would have cut food stamps for about 700,000 unemployed Americans during the pandemic. “The final rule at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving states scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans,” wrote Chief Judge Beryl Howell in the ruling, Reuters reported

On Monday, the General Services Administration announced the class of 2021 Presidential Innovation Fellows, who will be working on COVID-19 diagnostics, among other things. The fellows will take part in “a year-long ‘tour of duty’ in the U.S. government,” said GSA. “This year’s cohort is especially noteworthy as they are beginning the program in a fully virtual environment and they are our most diverse cohort yet.” 

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about how leaders and organizations can foster connectivity while teleworking. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at newstips@govexec.com.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.