Coronavirus Roundup: Top CDC Career Official to Step Down; Another Smithsonian Museum Will Reopen
There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
Biden announced on Monday his administration will be sending 20 million coronavirus vaccines abroad by the end of June. This is in addition to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (not currently approved in the United States) the administration is also sending abroad. “We will work with COVAX—the international organization that's set up—and other partners to ensure that the vaccines are delivered in a way that is equitable and that follows the science and the public health data,” said the president. “Because we have done so much here, because of the power of American companies, research and manufacturing, we can continue to do more to help the rest of the world. This is a rapidly changing world, and it's a mistake to bet against democracies.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed.
Biden will sign a presidential memorandum on Tuesday to expand legal access for low income and underserved populations whose long-term challenges in getting access “have only increased during the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a fact-sheet from the White House. The Biden administration will re-establish the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, which was initially created in 2015.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is stepping down from her role this summer, Politico reported on Monday. She has been a career scientist at the agency for over 30 years and last year sounded the alarm about the coronavirus as some Trump officials tried to downplay it. “But she had clashed with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in recent months, a person familiar with the matter said,” according to the report. “Another senior health official said Schuchat was in the running to become the agency’s director under the Biden administration before the position went to Walensky.” This is the second top CDC career official in recent weeks to announce a departure.
On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released updated “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery” to help emergency managers plan for disaster response and recovery while following public health guidance. “While the country has made significant progress, the pandemic is not over,” said the report. “FEMA encourages emergency managers to apply lessons learned from the pandemic and other disasters to anticipate new operational challenges while protecting the health and safety of all disaster survivors and the disaster workforce.”
The National Museum of American History will reopen on May 21 after being closed for six months. It will be open with reduced hours and “health and safety measures for visitors and staff are in place, including requiring all visitors to reserve a free timed-entry pass and to wear a face covering for the duration of their visit,” said a press release from the Smithsonian.
The Transportation Security Administration screened 1,734,541 people at airport checkpoints on Monday, which was the highest throughput volume on a Monday since the pandemic started, Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokesperson, tweeted on Tuesday. “Remember, the federal mask mandate remains in effect so if you travel, please wear a mask,” she added.
Addressing the staff at the Copenhagen Embassy on Monday on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the lessons learned during the pandemic. “I’m a dad with two very small kids, and I think I have a new appreciation, myself, for how important it is to try to be there, if possible, for dinner or when your kids are up in the morning and having breakfast,” he said. “And one of the things I’m taking away from this is we may have, even after COVID, new ways of thinking about how we get the work-life balance right and how we can build in more flexibility to all of our jobs so that we can do that.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency inspector general released its semi-annual report on Tuesday, which IG Laura Wertheimer said shows “the broad scope of our oversight responsibilities and the extensive efforts we have undertaken...despite the pandemic.”
Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about coronavirus and other types of government oversight.
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