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Coronavirus Roundup: Trump COVID Official Pens a Memoir; Republicans Attempt to Force a Vote on Vaccine Mandates Before Government Funding

Today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

A memoir by Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as COVID-19 response adviser under President Trump, is coming out in April.

Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of The Trump Administration, COVID-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late, will “document the full extent of what I witnessed as I tried to save lives during this devastating time,” Birx said in a press release on Monday. “In the book, I expose the true cost of mistakes that were made at all levels of the federal government, but I also clarify the things that went right yet remained largely unseen — the insights and innovations that saved American lives in this pandemic and are essential to preparing for the next.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

Once again, Republicans are attempting to use votes on government funding to object to President Biden administration's vaccine mandates. “We will continue to stand against these mandates until they are discontinued in ambition, design, and practice,” six Republican senators wrote to their colleagues on Monday, which Fox News reported on. “For that reason, we are writing to let you know that we will not consent to a time agreement that eases passage of the continuing resolution now before the Senate absent an agreement to allow for a roll call vote on an amendment that defunds the enforcement of these vaccine mandates for the spending period covered by the CR.” The current continuing resolution runs through Friday. 

The American Academy of Actuaries said in a new paper, based on an issue brief published in December, there is potential confusion with how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the life expectancy drop mainly due to the coronavirus. “Reports of considerable decreases in life expectancy driven by COVID-19 may certainly garner attention, but they can potentially be misleading when based on a technical measure that assumes heightened pandemic mortality will persist indefinitely,” said Linda Stone, senior pension fellow at the academy.

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is seeking public comment on health security threats and challenges as well as best practice that should be addressed in the upcoming 2023-2026 National Health Security Strategy, according to a Federal Register notice published on Monday. Congress has required HHS to submit such a plan every four years since 2006. The notice doesn’t mention anything specific about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Monday, the Interior Department inspector general released a report, revised for public aspects of a U.S. Geological Survey study that started in early 2020 to inject SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into bats. “Senior officials responsible for the U.S. Geological Survey…raised general concerns that focused on the USGS’ authority to conduct this type of work, the protocols followed, facility safety, and the funding used for the study,” said the report. However, the IG didn’t find any issues in how and where the study was conducted as well as how it was funded. 

The Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency released its annual report for fiscal 2021 on Monday, which includes the accomplishments of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The committee was established by the CARES Act in 2020, so fiscal 2021 was its first full year of establishment. “With nearly 1/3 of all CIGIE member Inspectors General formally and actively involved in fulfilling the organization’s mission, and pandemic funding oversight responsibilities having increased from $2.6 trillion to over $5 trillion, PRAC has firmly established itself as the unifying and driving force behind CIGIE’s efforts to enhance the integrity and strength of federal programs and operations,” said the report. “The remarkable progress already made in relation to these goals is evident in the wealth of information publicly available on pandemicoversight.gov, PRAC’s website.” 

Upcoming: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will give a briefing at 3p.m.

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