Coronavirus Newsbites

'No way to spin that': Mitt Romney blames Trump administration for surge in US coronavirus deaths
Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, offered rare Republican criticism of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response on Friday, saying the federal government dismissed the virus’s threat and failed to protect Americans as infections spiralled out of control.

“Short term, I think it’s fair to say we really have not distinguished ourselves in a positive way by how we responded to the crisis when it was upon us,” Mr Romney said in a video interview with the Sutherland Institute. “And the proof of the pudding of that is simply that we have 5 per cent of the world’s population but 25 per cent of the world’s deaths due to Covid-19.

“And there’s no way to spin that in a positive light,” Mr Romney added.

Jared Kushner said he and Ivanka Trump are 'absolutely' sending their children back to school for in-person classes
  • White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump, told "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan on Sunday he would "absolutely" send his children back to in-person classes.
  • "Based on the data I've seen, I don't believe that's a risk," Kushner said, adding "this virus impacts different people in different ways."
  • Schools have become the latest political flashpoint of the coronavirus pandemic as the president has repeatedly urged for the reopening of schools to in-person instruction.
  • The school attended by the Kushner kids, Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School, will use distance learning but provide in-person opportunities for "outdoor education and community building."

Trump reportedly pushing new unproven coronavirus treatment that is also embraced by HUD Sec. Ben Carson and MyPillow's Mike Lindell
  • President Donald Trump expressed interest in a new unproven coronavirus treatment — the botanical extract, oleandrin — recommended by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Axios reported Sunday.
  • Lindell told Axios that Trump "basically said: …'The FDA should be approving it,'" regarding oleandrin as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.
  • Researchers found that oleandrin could enhance in cancer therapies due to the way the botanical extract reacts to cells, Axios reported, but there isn't much public data showing oleandrin's effect on patients infected with COVID-19.
  • A senior administration officials expressed concern on Carson and Lindell's "involvement" in recommending the product.
  • "The involvement of the Secretary of HUD and MyPillow.com in pushing a dubious product at the highest levels should give Americans no comfort at night about their health and safety during a raging pandemic," the official told Axios.
  • HUD Secretary Carson, who has expertise in pediatric neurosurgery, serves on the White House coronavirus task force, though his range of knowledge on antiviral drugs is not immediately clear.