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Mike Pence: ‘The best expert I know’ on coronavirus school policy ‘is my wife Karen’

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Vice President Mike Pence cited his wife, a teacher, as an expert on reopening schools during a deadly pandemic.

The White House has purposefully politicized the decision to send the nation’s children back to school, with President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos threatening to cut funding for districts that don’t reopen.

“You’re seeing the president provide leadership,” Pence told reported Wednesday, “and what we are providing for the White House coronavirus task force is partnership with the governors and the state health officials, because we’ve just got to get our kids back.”

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Pence offered no specifics about the safety of sending children back into school buildings, but cited his wife’s expertise.

“I have to tell you,” he said, “the best expert I know on this topic is my wife, Karen, and she spoke at the summit yesterday very compellingly about how a lot of our kids are hurting out there. They’re struggling with loneliness, with social isolation. The American Academy of Pediatrics spoke about that, a very forceful statement from pediatricians across the country that said we got to get our kids back into school.”

Karen Pence has taught off and on at elementary schools, including a recent stint as a part-time art teacher, but has no medical training.

“The president is going to continue to provide leadership,” Pence added. “I expect as the debate in Congress goes forward about additional resources we’re going look to build in incentives for states to go forward, but the president’s made it clear, and I think most parents in America would agree with him that we’ve got to got other kids back to school and back into the classroom, and we can do it in a safe and a responsible way.”

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Trump administration says US would share COVID vaccine with world after America’s needs are met

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On Monday, Fox News reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is offering to share any potential COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, after it stabilizes public health in the United States.

"The U.S. will share any coronavirus vaccine it develops with the globe after American needs are met, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday during a visit to Taiwan," reported Evie Fordham.

"Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," said Azar. "But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on ... After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past."

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Experts issue dire warning on Trump executive action on unemployment insurance

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"Literally every new detail about these executive orders confirms that in addition to being wildly unconstitutional, they will do absolutely nothing to help anyone who's suffering."

On top of serious questions about the directive's legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump's executive action to extend the federal boost to unemployment benefits at $400-per-week—using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief—leaves out the poorest Americans by design.

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Senior officials battling White House over urgent risk of reopening schools

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Public health officials are increasingly worried that states -- especially in the South -- are not seriously considering the coronavirus risks associated with reopening schools.

Trump administration officials have insisted to governors that reopening schools could be done safely, but senior officials have recently pressed White House officials to improve their messaging about the potential risks, reported The Daily Beast.

“If you have Trump going out there and saying everything is fine there’s a risk that that’s what people are going to think going back,” said one senior official. “There’s a real possibility that counties won’t implement all the measures outlined in the [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines and will just say, ‘Look, we’re doing the best we can and that’s it.’ There’s no one to enforce that stuff.”

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