Anthony Fauci wants America to move on- POLITICO

Cindy F. Cape

With help from Alice Miranda Ollstein

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WELCOME TO MONDAY PULSE — While you wind up to your week, listen to the story of P-22, the cougar who captured L.A.’s heart. As always, send your news and tips to [email protected] and [email protected].

FAUCI ON LIFE OUTSIDE THE COVID SPOTLIGHT — President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and pandemic folk hero Anthony Fauci told Sarah that he intends to leave federal service by the end of the president’s term in a wide-ranging interview he gave from his office at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

“If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105,” he said. “I think we’re going to be living with this.”

It certainly feels that way for most of us right now, as many of us face a fresh round of reports of positive tests from friends, family and colleagues and all the confusion and anxiety that goes with a new surge.

But it’s nevertheless a stark admission from Fauci, who once assured Americans that we could flatten the Covid-19 infection curve and achieve herd immunity by social distancing and vaccination. He now acknowledges that a definitive moment when the country can claim victory over an evolving virus that’s killed more than 1 million Americans and left thousands with long Covid symptoms may never come.

What’s next for America’s most famous scientist: What Fauci still hopes is possible — and what he wants to turn his attention to next — is helping get the country out of the polarization rut it fell into during the pandemic. Starting with Donald Trump, perhaps.

“We developed an interesting relationship,” he said of the former president who he sparred with during the pandemic’s first year.

As for the rest of the country, he says, “It’s becoming more and more difficult to get people to listen, because even the people who are compliant want this behind them,” Fauci said.

But that doesn’t mean giving up. “What I try to convince them [of], with my communication method, is we’re not asking you to dramatically alter your lifestyle. We’re not asking you to really interfere with what you do with your life. We’re just asking you to consider some simple, doable mitigation methods.”

THE ABORTION BATTLE MOVES TO ADVERTISING —Abortion-rights opponents are lobbying states to pass legislation that would target the advertising of abortion services, POLITICO’s Ruth Reader reports.

If successful, such a law could create turbulence for online advertising platforms like Google and Meta, experts say.

The strategy: The National Right to Life Committee wants states to enact legislation it’s drafted that would make it a crime to advertise information about abortion pills or other methods of ending a pregnancy. Its scope is broad and suggests penalizing even those who convey information about the procedure.

The potential impact: Under the proposed legislation, Google’s web-hosting service could be in trouble, said Florida State University law professor Mary Ziegler. Likewise, Facebook could potentially be liable for any user-generated content promoting abortion aimed at people in states where those services are illegal.

Even if those activities were protected — and abortion advocates argue they would be — the uncertainty could have a chilling effect on the digital ad industry, prompting platforms to suppress abortion advertising and abortion content voluntarily in states where it’s illegal.

SPEAKING OF GOOGLE — States rushing to ban abortion are also frequent users of a surveillance tool that authorities could use to track women ending their pregnancies — the location data from phones, POLITICO’s Alfred Ng reports.

Figures from Google show the company received 5,764 warrants for location data from phones between 2018 and 2020 from police in the 10 states that have banned abortion as of July 5.

Google pledged on July 1 that it would automatically delete locations such as abortion clinics and fertility centers from the data it collects on people’s movements, following pressure from abortion-rights supporters in Congress.

But privacy advocates say this policy doesn’t necessarily protect people seeking abortions — and they’ve called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google and Apple for creating an “intense system of surveillance” that threatens the privacy of those providing or seeking abortions.

DEMOCRATS BRACE FOR DRUG-PRICING BYRD BATH AS BROADER AGENDA CRUMBLES — Following Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) blow to Democrats’ dreams for a sweeping tax-climate-health care reconciliation bill, lawmakers will fight this week over a core piece of what remains on the table: a major overhaul of how the country sets drug prices.

A Senate aide told POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein that the Senate parliamentarian is expected to hear arguments Thursday on Democrats’ plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices — arguments that will determine whether Democrats can pass the provisions with 51 votes instead of the usual 60. They want to get this particular procedural step — in which the parliamentarian reviews the proposed text to determine if it complies with the Byrd rule — out of the way.

As we reported last year, health and legal experts suspect the parliamentarian may knock out a central piece of the bill — penalties for pharmaceutical companies who raise prices faster than inflation for people on private insurance — because it goes beyond the purely budgetary goal of saving the government money.

Most think the bill’s inflation caps for Medicare beneficiaries are safe. But losing the private market piece of the bill could shrink the amount of money Democrats will have to fund other priorities like extending Affordable Care Act subsidies, set to expire at the end of this year, for millions of people.

THE MONKEYPOX DILEMMA — A complete picture of what’s in the U.S. arsenal to fight the unusual monkeypox outbreak has never been fully clear, but on Friday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky came right out and said it: The agency expects cases to rise, and we don’t have enough vaccine doses to meet the current demand, Krista reports.

“We know that this is frustrating,” she acknowledged.

Even since Friday, when Walenksy spoke during a briefing on the outbreak, confirmed U.S. cases have risen significantly, from 1,470 to 1,814 on Sunday evening. Experts, including Fauci, agree current numbers are likely an undercount; while the CDC has ramped up testing capacity for the virus, doctors say too few tests are still being conducted.

Jynneos, the two-dose FDA-approved vaccine for monkeypox that states are primarily requesting, has been slow to arrive from Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer, to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, particularly as the agency has widened its vaccination guidelines from direct contacts of confirmed cases to anyone with even a presumed case.

As of Friday, 131,000 doses were immediately available, and cases were confirmed in more than two dozen states.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it has ordered 5 million more doses this month alone, which will be delivered later this year and next year.

OB/GYN SENDS INDIANA AG CEASE AND DESIST — The doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape survivor from Ohio — whose case grabbed national attention this week — has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Indiana’s attorney general, Alice writes.

Indiana AG Todd Rokita had publicly threatened to criminally prosecute Caitlin Bernard of Indiana University, suggesting she didn’t report the abortion to the proper state authorities.

The letter from Bernard’s attorney states that Rokita’s remarks form the basis of an actionable defamation claim and notes that he continued to publicly question whether Bernard followed the law even after media outlets, including POLITICO, obtained records that showed she reported the abortion to both the Indiana Departments of Health and Child Services as required.

Leslie Krigstein, formerly of Teladoc, has joined Transcarent as VP of Government Affairs.

Former HHS CIO Jose Arrieta will be named as the new chief strategy officer for Dalrada today.

Ahead of the WHO’s meeting this week to pen a pandemic treaty, The Lancet publishes this argument on why we really need one.

STAT News’ has published an investigation into how much money health care industry CEOs are taking home at 300 publicly traded companies. (Hint: It’s more than we’re spending on public health.)

And it is very, very hot in Europe.

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-pulse/2022/07/18/anthony-fauci-wants-america-to-move-on-00046262

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