Monday News: Tillis, the Superspreader

TILLIS HAD AN ACTIVE WEEK AFTER HE WAS LIKELY INFECTED: Last Saturday, Tillis attended an outdoor ceremony at the White House announcing Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Supreme Court nominee to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On Tuesday, the senator tweeted a photo after visiting Parker's BBQ in Greenville for a roundtable discussion with local law enforcement leaders. On Wednesday, he met with Barrett on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, Tillis participated in a Senate debate sponsored by Spectrum News with Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, who said Saturday he has tested negative for the virus. Cameron Wolfe, infectious disease expert at Duke University School of Medicine, said the Rose Garden event Tillis attended could be classified as a "super spreader event." "Unfortunately, we should expect there will be more people that turn positive in his inner circle," Wolfe said.

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS ABSENTEE BALLOT CURE AFFIDAVIT, NC CASE GETS TRUMPED: A federal judge placed a temporary restraining order Saturday on the NC Board of Elections settlement that came out of Wake County Superior Court Friday and changed state election laws ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Attorneys representing House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, North Carolina’s top Republicans, argued to Judge James Dever Friday night that the settlement violated the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives state legislatures the authority to set election rules. They added that the settlement is inconsistent with state law. Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins ruled Friday afternoon that a settlement between the Board of Elections and a political group of retirees was fair and not a product of collusion between Democratic board members and the plaintiffs. Federal Judge Osteen had a different view from Collins on the Board of Elections’ intentions.

AT CPAC CONFERENCE IN WHITSETT, ORGANIZER ADMITS MICHAEL WHATLEY (NC GOP CHAIR) IS INDOCTRINATING HIS CHILDREN: Schlapp took the stage again, this time with Michael Whatley, chair of the N.C. Republican Party. Schlapp pointed at Whatley's son in the back, saying he's indoctrinating his children. "That's what we all have to start doing — indoctrinate your children," Schlapp said. "If you don't indoctrinate them, somebody in our school somewhere is going to try to indoctrinate them." Whatley spoke about how he went to law school with Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. He said there couldn't be a better nominee than Barrett. Whatley described how good of a student she was, saying whenever he and other students would invite her to do something, she would always be at the library studying. U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, spoke about how she thinks college campuses have a liberal bias and pose a threat of socialism. She advocated for teaching students how to think and for freedom of speech on college campuses. Bishop also spoke out against Democrats, as many did throughout the event. He said people should vote Republican to end revisionist history, hatred of capitalism and a culture of a lack of hard work.

TRUMP TAKES JOYRIDE AWAY FROM HOSPITAL, PISSING OFF DOCTORS AND SECRET SERVICE: Current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast Sunday night at President Trump’s trip outside the hospital where he is being treated for the coronavirus, saying the president endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt. As the backlash grew, multiple aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations also called Trump’s evening outing an unnecessary risk — but said it was not surprising. Trump had said he was bored in the hospital, advisers said. He wanted to show strength after his chief of staff offered a grimmer assessment of his health than doctors, according to campaign and White House officials. A growing number of Secret Service agents have been concerned about the president’s seeming indifference to the health risks they face when traveling with him in public, and a few reacted with outrage to the trip, asking how Trump’s desire to be seen outside his hospital suite justified the jeopardy to agents protecting him. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis has already brought new scrutiny to his lax approach to social distancing, as public health officials scramble to trace those he may have exposed at large in-person events. “He’s not even pretending to care now,” one agent said after the president’s jaunt outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to wave at supportive crowds. “Where are the adults?” said a former Secret Service member. They spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.

EXPERTS SAY TRUMP'S CONDITION MAY BE (MUCH) WORSE THAN WE'RE BEING TOLD: To some infectious disease experts, there were signs that Mr. Trump may be suffering a more severe case of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, than his physicians have acknowledged. “This is no longer aspirationally positive,” Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said of the doctors’ statements. “And it’s much more than just an ‘abundance of caution’ kind of thing.” Based on his doctors’ account, Mr. Trump’s symptoms appear to have rapidly progressed since he announced early Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Mr. Trump had a “high fever” on Friday, and his blood oxygen levels dropped on two occasions, his doctors said, including to a level that can indicate that a patient’s lungs are compromised. The symptom is seen in many patients with severe Covid-19. The president’s medical team also said that he had been prescribed dexamethasone. This is a steroid used to head off an immune system overreaction that kills many Covid-19 patients. And it is generally reserved for those with severe illness. “The dexamethasone is the most mystifying of the drugs we’re seeing him being given at this point,” said Dr. Thomas McGinn, a top physician at Northwell Health, the largest health care provider in New York State. The drug, he said, was normally not used unless the patient’s condition seemed to be deteriorating.