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Health Care — Biden’s COVID-19 symptoms improving

Health Care — Biden’s COVID-19 symptoms improving

A party bus with a roof deck built on top was pulled over and ticketed in New Jersey for letting people ride on top on the highway.

Today in health care, President Biden’s doctor gave updates on his health as we entered day two of the presidential COVID case.  

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Doctor says Biden’s symptoms easing

President Biden’s COVID-19 symptoms have “improved” but he ran a 99.4 degree temperature on Thursday evening, his physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a memorandum on Friday.   

O’Connor said that Biden’s temperature has returned to normal after Biden took Tylenol and that the president continues to experience a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional cough.   

“His voice is deeper this morning. His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal, on room air,” O’Connor wrote.   

  • The physician said that Biden is tolerating the antiviral Paxlovid “well” and that he would continue the course as planned.
  • O’Connor said Biden would continue to drink water, take Tylenol and use his inhaler as needed.   

The letter is the first update from Biden’s physician since Thursday morning, when he wrote a letter detailing the president’s symptoms and treatment after he tested positive for COVID-19.   

The national security angle: White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that Biden’s COVID-19 diagnosis has had “no impact whatsoever” on the national security decision-making process, noting that the president joined a regular call with his national security team on Friday morning.   

Read more here. 

Klobuchar concerned over One Medical acquisition

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a fierce critic of Amazon’s market power, is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the e-commerce giant’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of primary health care provider One Medical. 

The Minnesota Democrat, chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, asked the FTC in a letter Thursday to investigate the deal over concerns she said it raises about anti-competitive behavior in the pharmaceutical industry and sensitive data it would allow the company to accumulate. 

“This proposed transaction raises questions about potential anticompetitive effects related to the pharmacy services business Amazon already owns and about preferencing vendors who offer other services through Amazon,” Klobuchar wrote. 

“I also ask that the FTC consider the role of data, including as a potential barrier to entry, given that this proposed deal could result in the accumulation of highly sensitive personal health data in the hands of an already data-intensive company,” she added. 

The American Economic Liberties Project has pushed for regulators to block Amazon’s One Medical Acquisition, calling it dangerous.  

“Allowing Amazon to control the health care data for another 700,000+ individuals is terrifying,” Krista Brown, a senior policy analyst at the American Economic Liberties Project, said in a statement. 

Read more here. 


A Kentucky order blocking an abortion ban was extended Friday, preventing a “trigger” law from taking effect and keeping the procedure legal in the state. 

The trigger law went into effect after the recent U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month. But Kentucky’s Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry suspended the ban with a June 30 temporary order. 

Perry extended that order with a temporary injunction Friday. 

The injunction will prevent enforcement of a ban that would criminalize almost all abortions in the state, and comes after a challenge from Kentucky abortion-rights groups contending that the state constitution protects the right to the procedure. 

Read more here.


Most places in the U.S. do not have mask mandates, but Los Angeles could soon be an exception. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is expected to instate an indoor mask mandate as early as next week, in response to rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations in the area. 

County officials have said they’d reinstate the indoor mask rules if the county stays under “high” levels for two weeks. To reach the “high” category, the county’s rate
of daily COVID-positive patients admitted to area hospitals would top 10 per
100,000 residents. 

LA County lifted outdoor mask rules in February and got rid of the indoor mandate in March. Reinstating the indoor mandate in the nation’s most populous county would impact 10 million residents. 

Under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) metric measuring COVID-19 in a community, LA County is currently flagged as “high” risk, and the CDC recommends indoor masking in public to match these elevated case levels. Much of California is under this designation, according to the latest CDC county maps. 

Read more here. 

California Dem presses Biden for more monkeypox vax

Pressure is rising to step up the U.S. response to monkeypox.  

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) pressed the Biden administration on Friday to increase the volume of monkeypox vaccines to his state, which has endured the highest number of infections in the country. 

Padilla urged the administration to work together to address the outbreak and increase access to the Jynneos vaccine, a smallpox inoculation used to prevent monkeypox, in a letter addressed to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and Dawn O’Connell, the Department of Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary of preparedness and response. 

“The United States has invested billions of dollars to develop, manufacture, and stockpile doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine as a component of a federal biosecurity program,” Padilla wrote. 

“However, across the country, state and local health officials have reported that limited vaccine supplies are not keeping pace with the growing number of people seeking appointments, a gap that continues to fuel anxiety about a virus that is generally unfamiliar to Americans,” he continued. 

Cases of monkeypox in the United States reached 2,000 this week, and a majority of them have been recorded in the state of California. 

Read more here.  


  • As new variant spreads, a crucial drug to protect the most vulnerable goes vastly underused (Stat) 
  • Biden’s bout with covid tests his return-to-normal strategy (Washington Post) 
  • Clinical trials could get monkeypox drug to desperate patients, but U.S. efforts lag (NBC) 


  • South Carolina bill outlaws websites that tell how to get an abortion (Washington Post) 
  • Wyoming abortion ban expected to take effect in coming days (Associated Press) 
  • Bulk of North Dakota counties have elevated COVID-19 transmission risk (The Bismarck Tribune) 


🐻 Finally, check out The Hill’s photos of the week 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.