• 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~18,636,000; deaths: ~703,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~4,805,000; deaths: ~158,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

1/ Trump insisted that the coronavirus pandemic “will go away like things go away,” claiming inaccurately that only a “relatively small portion” of the country is seeing increases in coronavirus cases, and promising that a vaccine will be available “long before the end of the year.” The U.S., however, continues to see tens of thousands of new daily cases and recorded 1,380 deaths on Tuesday. On average, 1,000 people are dying each day from COVID-19. And, as Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday, “the numbers don’t lie,” the U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world. Trump’s comments that “this thing’s going away” came during a call-in interview with Fox News, in which he also claimed – inaccurately – that “some doctors” say children are “totally,” “virtually,” and “almost immune” to the virus. “My view is the schools should open. This thing is going away.” Following a coronavirus task force meeting in the Oval Office this week, a person familiar with the meeting said Trump was struggling to grasp the severity of the pandemic. “He still doesn’t get it,” the person said. “He does not get it.” Joe Biden, meanwhile, weighed in, saying: “Donald Trump continues to live in a world of delusion.” (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Reuters / Vox)

  • Hours after Trump boasted that U.S. testing is the “best ever,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said coronavirus testing is too slow. “We need to do better,” Fauci said. “No excuses. It needs to be done.” (Bloomberg / CNN)

  • Emerging research indicates a connection between COVID-19 and significant neurological effects in young brains. In a recent study published by JAMA, a cohort of 27 young patients who had suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children developed new-onset neurological symptoms in the absence of other respiratory symptoms. (NBC News)

  • Public school students in Chicago will begin the academic year remotely, leaving New York City as the only major school system in the country that will try to offer in-person classes when schools start this fall. (New York Times)

  • The Trump administration sticks to its view that schools reopen as the U.S. nears 5 million coronavirus cases. “The U.N. chief warned that the world faces a ‘generational catastrophe’ because of school closures, with more than a billion students at home. In a video message, he urged countries to suppress the virus sufficiently to allow schools to reopen, calling the coronavirus pandemic ‘the largest disruption of education ever.’ A policy brief […] emphasized that suppressing transmission of the virus is “the single most significant step” leaders can take toward reopening schools.” (Washington Post)

  • The FDA expanded its list of hand sanitizers that consumers should avoid to 115. The agency flagged hand sanitizers with “concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol,” microbial contamination, or inadequate levels of benzalkonium chloride. The CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol. (New York Times)

2/ Negotiations on a new coronavirus relief bill remain deadlocked with both sides claiming they’ve made concessions. Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of stalling and conceding too little in negotiations, while Democrats say that Republicans haven’t recognized the severity of the coronavirus crisis in their relief proposal. Republicans have argued that the $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefit is a disincentive for people to return to work, because some people made more money on unemployment than they did at their jobs. The White House proposed reducing the figure to $400 weekly through early December, which Trump indicated support for, saying he wants to “get funds to people so they can live.” In an interview on Fox News, however, Trump said he didn’t want the benefits to “disincentivize” people from going back to work. Democrats, meanwhile, have refused to budge on the $600 figure. Democrats are also seeking $1 trillion in state and local aid while Republicans have countered with $200 billion. Democrats have also called for $3.6 billion for the United States Postal Service to ensure a secure and safe election, including broader mail balloting, but Republicans have opposed the funds. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)

3/ The State Department’s acting inspector general resigned less than three months after replacing the inspector general Trump fired in May. Stephen Akard’s departure was announced by his deputy, Diana Shaw, who told colleagues that she will become the temporary acting inspector general effective on Friday. Akard became inspector general after Trump abruptly fired Steve Linick in May on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recommendation. Linick had been pursuing investigations into Pompeo and his potential misuse of department resources to push arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before Trump fired him. (Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / Politico / ABC News / CNN)

4/ The Trump campaign sued the state of Nevada over its plan to send absentee ballots to all active voters this November, falsely claiming that expanding mail-in voting would make voter fraud “inevitable.” At the same time, however, Trump encouraged voters in Florida to vote by mail after months of criticizing the practice. (The Nevada Independent / ABC News / CNN)

  • Trump said he is considering delivering his Republican National Convention speech from the White House after abandoning plans to hold the full convention in Charlotte, and later Jacksonville, Fla., over concerns that large crowds could spread the novel coronavirus. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post)

poll/ 58% of Americans say the U.S. “should allow all voters to vote by mail in elections this year” to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 31% said the U.S. “should not allow all voters to vote by mail in elections this year because it jeopardizes election security.” (Politico)

poll/ 66% of voters oppose delaying the presidential election due to the coronavirus pandemic and 54% think Trump floated the idea of postponing it to help himself get re-elected. (Reuters)

poll/ 14% of voters said they would take a coronavirus vaccine if Trump recommended it. 43%, meanwhile, said they’d take a vaccine based on the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC (43%), or their family (46%). (Politico)

✏️ Notables.

  1. House Democrats are investigating Kodak’s $765 million federal loan to make ingredients for generic drugs and are seeking documents from a U.S. agency involved in granting the proposed funding. Shares of Kodak surged 20% on July 27. The loan, however, wasn’t announced until July 28. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News)

  2. Johnson & Johnson will develop and deliver 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine for the U.S. in a deal totaling more than $1 billion. The doses will be provided to Americans at no cost if they’re used as part of a COVID-19 vaccination campaign, although health care professionals could charge for the cost of administering the vaccine. The company also received $456 million earlier this year to develop the vaccine. (CNBC)

  3. Several former lobbying clients of the acting secretary of Homeland Security received millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts when he held senior positions within the department. Chad Wolf was a lobbyist for over a decade at Wexler & Walker before he took leadership roles with DHS under Trump. Since then, several of Wolf’s former clients earned at least $160 million in contracts from DHS. (CNBC)

  4. Three Defense Department officials contradicted Trump’s claim that the explosion in Beirut was an “attack.” The defense officials said they didn’t know what Trump was talking about. And, Lebanese officials have not called the explosion an attack. An estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in the Port of Beirut exploded. (CNN)