April 2, 2020

Elon Musk's ventilator giveaway may do more harm than good.

After weeks of brushing off the COVID-19 pandemic as "dumb," the billionaire Tesla founder earlier this week announced he had 1,000 "FDA-approved ventilators" and ended up donating 40 to New York City's hospital system. Except the devices Musk gave away aren't powerful enough to use in the ICU, and health officials have actually warned against using them on COVID-19 patients because they could spread the virus further.

What Musk purchased and gave to New York's hospitals were BiPAP machines made by ResMed, a photo shared by the hospital system reveals. ResMed CEO Mick Farrell later confirmed Musk's purchase of 1,000 5-year-old "bi-level, non-invasive ventilators" known as BiPAPs to CNBC, and said it was "fantastic" that Tesla could transport ResMed's product like it did.

But hospitals are far more desperate for ventilators more invasive than BiPAP and CPAP machines, which are usually used to treat sleep apnea — many doctors don't even call them "ventilators," the Los Angeles Times' Russ Mitchell reports. In fact, CPAP machines may have only helped spread COVID-19 through the nursing home outside Seattle that was the center of the U.S.'s initial coronavirus outbreak, NPR reports. These machines can "possibly increase the spread of infectious disease by aerosolizing the virus," NPR writes. Health officials in King County, Washington, have since warned against using CPAP machines on coronavirus patients, as did the American Society of Anesthesiologists back in February.

What would actually help, Farrell added to CNBC, is if Musk's Tesla could produce and donate lithium ion batteries — ResMed can use them to make invasive ventilators that hospitals actually need. Kathryn Krawczyk

8:21 p.m.

The 2021 Golden Globes didn't get started on the best note from a technical perspective, with audio difficulties almost derailing the very first acceptance speech.

Daniel Kaluuya won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a film for his performance as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. He was up against some tough competition, including Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom Jr. for One Night in Miami.

But after presenter Laura Dern read Kaluuya's name, the Globes cut to him, only for his audio not to be working. From there, the Golden Globes broadcast very nearly moved on without Kaluuya accepting the award at all, with Dern explaining, "As you can see, we unfortunately have a bad connection."

Fortunately, though, the issue was soon fixed, and Kaluuya was able to accept remotely after all. "Alright, we fixed it!" co-host Amy Poehler later celebrated.

Despite Kaluuya's win, Judas and the Black Messiah was one of a number of films with Black ensembles that was left out of the Golden Globes' best picture categories this year, in addition to Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and Regina King's One Night in Miami. The group that hands out the awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, faced heavy criticism for this, especially after it was recently revealed the organization doesn't have a single Black member — a fact Poehler and Tina Fey repeatedly called out in their opening monologue. Brendan Morrow

7:47 p.m.

Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday said the country will not participate in an informal meeting with the United States and European powers to discuss reviving the nuclear deal.

The European Union offered to hold the talks, but this is "not the time" for such a gathering, spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, and reimposed economic sanctions. Iran refused to renegotiate and instead began ignoring its commitments under the deal.

Tehran has said in order for there to be talks, the U.S. must lift sanctions, which the U.S. has ruled out. A White House spokesperson said on Sunday the U.S. will consult with the other countries that signed the nuclear deal — the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany — to determine "the best way forward." Catherine Garcia

5:08 p.m.

Just a few weeks after leaving office, former President Donald Trump was back in the spotlight on Sunday.

At the beginning of his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, he asked the enthusiastic crowd if they missed him already before telling them that he'll "continue to fight right by your side."

He then dismissed reports that he was thinking about breaking off from the Republican Party and striking out on his own. "I am not starting a new party," he said, claiming the idea was "fake news." Instead, Trump predicted the GOP will "unite and be stronger than ever before." Tim O'Donnell

4:30 p.m.

Unsurprisingly, former President Donald Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference's 2024 presidential straw poll Sunday, and he did so handily, garnering 55 percent of the vote. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was the only other potential candidate to reach double digits at 21 percent.

It's unclear if Trump will run, but many Republicans, including some of Trump's fiercest critics, think he is the overwhelming favorite for the nomination right now if he does enter the ring. So, CPAC conducted a second poll without Trump. DeSantis led the way in that one at 43 percent, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) at 11 percent. Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence, who declined an invitation to the conference in Orlando, didn't gain much traction.

The polls, of course, come with many caveats attached. The election is a long way away, straw polls aren't the most reliable predictive method, and the CPAC conference is not necessarily representative of the larger Republican Party, which many analysts consider to be at a Trump-inspired crossroads right now. It's also worth noting that DeSantis' strong showing may be partly tied to the conference taking place on his home turf. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

2:28 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday defended President Biden's response to a United States intelligence report that directly linked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but questions over whether the administration went far enough seem likely to remain.

The Biden administration announced sanctions on dozens of Saudis involved in Khashoggi's killing, but did not include any direct penalties on the crown prince. Psaki said "historically" presidential administrations have not imposed sanctions on leaders of foreign governments with whom the U.S. has diplomatic relations. "We believe there are more effective ways to make sure this doesn't happen again," she told CNN's Dana Bash, adding that the White House wants to leave room to work with Riyadh on areas where the two governments agree.

Bash seemed unconvinced by Psaki's explanation, questioning if Biden's response really holds the crown prince accountable, and she wasn't alone. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that Biden deserves "credit" for the sanctions that were announced and acknowledged it's a challenging situation for the new administration, but said "there ought to be something additional" focused on Salman. Portman's fellow Ohioan Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) agreed further steps are needed to hold the Saudi royal family accountable, though he told a skeptical Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press that he doesn't think Friday's sanctions represent the final say on the matter. Tim O'Donnell

1:40 p.m.

There are now three COVID-19 vaccines with approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said people shouldn't overthink which one to get.

Making the network rounds on Sunday, Fauci repeatedly assured audiences all three were highly "efficacious," even though the trial numbers from Johnson & Johnson's recently-authorized single-dose shot appear less impressive than the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech candidates. He explained that while it's understandable that someone might prefer to wait until a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available based on the numbers, the candidates really haven't been compared head-to-head.

Fauci said multiple times Sunday that he would take the Johnson & Johnson shot without hesitation. Fauci did acknowledge he's already been fully inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, but told CNN's Dana Bash that "if I were not vaccinated now, and I had a choice of getting a J & J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me as quickly as possible."

Fauci wasn't alone in encouraging people to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also said he would take it, explaining the trial data was indeed "quite strong." Tim O'Donnell

12:27 p.m.

Several New York politicians, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have weighed in on allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sexually harassed two former aides over the last several years.

Multiple Democratic state legislators have called for Cuomo's resignation, though most lawmakers at the state and national level want an independent investigation to take place first. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden supports one, as well. Cuomo's office announced it had appointed former federal Judge Barbara Jones to lead the review, but that didn't sit well with lawmakers, who argued the investigator should be appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James instead.

In response, the Cuomo administration reversed course to an extent Sunday, asking James to work jointly with the chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals (whom Cuomo appointed) to "select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report." James has already confirmed she's ready to oversee the investigation.

As for de Blasio, the mayor — whose relationship with Cuomo has never been smooth, to say the least — issued a statement calling for independent investigations into both the sexual harassment allegations and the recent revelations about New York's COVID-19 nursing home deaths, saying "questions of this magnitude cannot hang over the heads of New Yorkers as we fight off a pandemic and economic crisis." Now, he said, "it's clear" that the New York legislature "must immediately revoke the governor's emergency powers that overrule local control." Tim O'Donnell

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