Biden's Rebound Relationship With COVID | Crooked Media
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July 31, 2022
What A Day
Biden's Rebound Relationship With COVID

In This Episode

  • Indiana state lawmakers on Saturday moved one step closer to banning nearly all abortions. The vote puts the state on track to be one of the first in the nation to enact new abortion restrictions after Roe V. Wade was overturned.
  • President Biden tested positive for COVID again over the weekend. He had one of the uncommon “rebound” cases after taking Paxlovid.
  • And in headlines: Ukraine’s President ordered a mass evacuation from the Donetsk Province, Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell passed away, and Donald Trump hosted the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Tournament.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, August 1st. 


Abdul El-Sayed: I’m Abdul El-Sayed.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What A Day, where we’re recommending that no one buy that pink sauce off a Tik Tok until they release the vaccine for the pink sauce, alright? 


Abdul El-Sayed: As a physician, I’m not going to sign on to that medical advice because I really have no idea what it’s about. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, no one knows what’s in it, okay? Including the owner it looks like, so we probably all should just stay away. [music break]


Abdul El-Sayed: On today’s show, the president tested positive for COVID again, but it’s nothing to fear. I’ll explain the science behind why. Plus, Taylor Swift, you need to calm down with the private jets. One report says that her plane made at least 170 trips since January. 


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, some abortion related news out of Indiana where on Saturday, state lawmakers moved one step closer to banning nearly all abortions. Take a listen to two protesters from opposite sides who talked to local TV station WTHR last week: 


[clip of protester 1] Uh I believe that abortion is a health care right that is important for all individuals who can become pregnant to have access to safe abortions. There are lots of reasons why a person might choose to have one. It’s not up to me why that choice is, but I think it’s important that we have that choice. 


[clip of protester 2] There is a sanctity of life to be considered. And, um, you know, just because a baby can’t talk doesn’t mean that they don’t already have a personality formed. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Ummm. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Yeah. Is it just me or does WTHR sound like what the hell radio. Because what the hell. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, maybe, maybe, maybe. Well, that vote, which narrowly passed in Indiana Senate puts the state on track to be one of the first in the nation to enact new abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court’s foolish behavior earlier this month overturning Roe v Wade. 


Abdul El-Sayed: So what does the bill entail, Tre’vell? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, as passed Senate bill one, which is what they’re calling it, it bans all abortion from week zero except in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnant person’s life is at risk. But those are exceptions for rape and incest only apply within the first 12 weeks for pregnant children 15 or younger, and the first eight weeks for pregnant folks 16 and older. As you might imagine, it is a Republican led bill and it actually passed with the fewest number of yes votes needed, 26 to 20. With no support from Democrats. But what makes this even worse is that these elected officials actually know that their constituents are not in favor of the ban. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that nearly two thirds of Hoosiers, that is apparently what we call the residents of Indiana, surveyed said they believe that abortion should be legal in almost all or most cases. Only 7% say they think the health care procedure should be illegal in all cases. The bill will now go to Indiana’s house where they’re expected to start discussing it today. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Hmm. This sounds like bad news heaped upon bad news in a dumpster fire. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm hmm. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Indiana is also the state we’ve heard a lot about regarding the story of a ten year old who got an abortion. That story went viral. No? 


Tre’vell Anderson: It did. And a warning right here that this covers details that may be triggering for some victims of abuse. So for those who don’t know what we’re talking about, OBGYN doctor Caitlin Bernard shared a story recently about having to give an abortion to a ten year old child who had been raped. The child lives in Ohio but went to Indiana after Ohio’s ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of gestation went into effect. This story made so many headlines, prompting Indiana’s Republican attorney general to launch an investigation into Dr. Bernard because he apparently ain’t got nothing better to do. But Dr. Bernard actually followed the letter of the law by reporting that she performed the procedure. And by the way, the guy accused of raping the child was arrested earlier this month. And then late last week, Doctor Bernard’s attorney actually responded to the attorney general’s investigation saying, quote, “Unfortunately, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita continues to use his office to try and intimidate Dr. Caitlin Bernard. We urge Mr. Rokita to stop wasting taxpayer money and our time on his nonsensical campaign against Dr. Bernard for doing her job as a physician properly and in accordance with the law.” 


Abdul El-Sayed: And with that, Mike Pence is not the worst elected official to come out of Indiana. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] 


Abdul El-Sayed: I went back to this law that the state Senate passed on Saturday. How have local activists been responding to all this? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. So activists definitely attempted to make their voices heard leading up to the Senate vote. In fact, a group of more than 350 faculty, staff and students from Indiana’s colleges and universities known as the University Alliance for Racial Justice, sent a letter to officials about how the bill would disproportionately impact women and families of color. They called it, quote, “a clear example of systemic racism.” But now that the bill has moved to the House, where folks expect it will also pass, though not before some changes, activists appear to be considering other measures. Michelle Livinghouse, a member of the Indiana Democratic Women’s Coalition Steering Committee, told the local newspaper The Indianapolis Star that her group already has a petition started seeking a ballot referendum on abortion rights. And speaking of voting tomorrow, Kansas voters will decide whether to remove abortion rights protections from their state constitution. We will keep you all updated on that with an interview with one of the activists fighting to keep them intact. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Moving on to another story. President Biden tested positive for COVID over the weekend. And if this sounds like déja vu, it’s because it’s the second time he’s tested positive in the last month. But here’s the catch. It’s not that the president was reinfected. It’s that he had one of the uncommon rebound cases. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, now, hold on now, I ain’t heard nothing about a rebound. If he didn’t catch COVID again, why is he testing positive? Please explain this all to us, Abdul. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Well, it’s because he’s stuck in a really bad game of basketball, nobody makes shots, but glad you asked Tre’vell. [laugh] The president was treated on Paxlovid, the extremely effective antiviral pill that has been shown in studies to reduce hospitalizations among people with mild infections by 90%. The medication, which is taken two times a day for five days, is supposed to be taken immediately after someone gets infected. It’s readily available at local pharmacies, and it’s actually a combination of two medications. One is a drug that targets and shreds the virus’s proteins, preventing it from replicating in our bodies. The other is a medication that prevents our bodies from breaking down the first one, essentially making it last longer inside of us. But in about 10% of cases, people experience what we call a rebound, which probably isn’t quite the right word for it. It’s more a resurgence. It happens because, well, it’s only a five day course of drugs. And if after five days, our bodies don’t completely clear the virus, what’s left can come back. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So does that mean that the medication isn’t working? 


Abdul El-Sayed: No, it’s not that it didn’t work, because, remember, the goal of the medication is to make sure you don’t wind up in a hospital with COVID or worse. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm hmm. 


Abdul El-Sayed: By knocking back the virus. The medication still gives your body time to mount a strong immune response against what’s left inside there. So once it’s weakened, our body deals a knockout blow. But in the meantime, the virus is still there. Think about it like the last gasp of the bad guy in a Marvel movie after fighting all The Avengers before the Last Avenger. The body’s own immune system comes and finishes them off. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm Hmm. Okay. I saw that movie. I remember that moment. Okay. Thank you for that example. So the president is going to be okay, is what you’re saying, because he’s 79 years old and he got more years, you know, behind him than he do in front of him, if you know what I’m saying. 


Abdul El-Sayed: We wish the president a long, healthy life and he’s going to be fine. It’s just that there’s still some virus that his body has got to finish off is all. In the meantime, because he’s testing positive, he’s isolating to make sure he doesn’t pass it along. We think these so-called rebound infections happen in about 10% of cases after Paxlovid, one in every ten, that is. But to your point, we do think that they’re more common in older folks. We also don’t have great data because while most people don’t test again right after they got COVID and took COVID medications for five days, so we think it may actually be happening more than that. That’s prompted scientists to call for conducting trials of longer courses of Paxlovid to eliminate the risk of these rebounds. But all that reminds us that this drug, well, it’s incredibly effective, even if there’s some risk of resurgence. So if you do test positive, you can get a prescription from your doctor or in some cases, get direct authorization from a pharmacist. And we need Congress to go ahead and pass that COVID funding so we have enough of this in the fall. But you know what’s even more effective Tre’vell? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, yes, I know where you’re going. You’re going to tell the people that they need to be vaccinated. 


Abdul El-Sayed: It’s a hazard to the profession. Absolutely. Make sure you’ve gotten all three doses if you’re under 50 and a fourth, if you’re over 50. For the rest of us, those who are not over 50, we should be having an Omicron specific dose coming for the fall. Sit tight. That’s the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Amid relentless Russian attacks, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky ordered hundreds of thousands of citizens to evacuate the Donetsk province in the eastern part of the country this past Saturday. In an overnight address, Zelensky said, quote, “The more people who leave Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill.” This is the first time Ukraine’s government has issued a broad evacuation order. Attacks on Donetsk have intensified since Russia overtook the adjacent Luhansk province in early July. 


Abdul El-Sayed: The death toll from the floods that started last Thursday in eastern Kentucky continues to climb as rescuers continue their search for the missing. As of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, 28 people are confirmed dead and state officials say that it will likely take years to rebuild the areas devastated by the floods. According to the National Weather Service, excessive rainfall from over the weekend could trigger even more flooding throughout the region in the coming days. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And on the subject of tragic natural disasters related to climate change. First responders are working to contain a northern California wildfire near the Oregon border that burned more than 51,000 acres over the weekend. Since the so-called McKinney Fire began on Friday, nearly 2000 residents have fled their homes under evacuation orders. And Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but state officials say that high winds from thunderstorms over the weekend have aided its growth. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only wildfire burning right now in the U.S. Montana, Idaho, Nebraska; they’re all battling significant blazes of their own. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Boston Celtics legend and 11 time NBA champion Bill Russell passed away on Sunday. He was 88 years old. Russell is considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was a 12 time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist and a member of the NBA Hall of Fame. He was also the league’s first Black coach who continued leading the Celtics to victory before retiring from the court in 1969. Throughout all this, Russell was a committed activist fighting for civil rights and social justice. Here he is in 2011 after former President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 


[clip of Bill Russell] Really quite flattered. I hope that this is a manifestation of the fact that I tried to live a good life and actually try to contribute to society. 


Tre’vell Anderson: In addition to Russell, another trailblazing Black icon passed away over the weekend. 


[clip of Nichelle Nichols] Hailing frequencies open, sir. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Actress Nichelle Nichols died at the age of 89 on Saturday. Nichols’s breakout role was as Lieutenant Uhura on TV’s Star Trek in the Sixties. At that point in the fight for civil rights, it was so important for Black women to appear in positions of authority on TV, that a one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself personally convinced Nichols to stay on the show when she wanted to quit after the first season. 


Abdul El-Sayed: This, tough day. But I like to think that Bill Russell and Nichelle Nichols are walking hand-in-hand somewhere on a brighter pasture. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh trust me, they are ready to get the hell up out of this country. Okay. Off this earth, off this plane. They’re living the life. 


Abdul El-Sayed: In the better part of nine decades. You’ve got to imagine at some point you’re like, alright I’m done with this, passing it off to other people at this point. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Turning to the intersection of sports, geopolitics and former presidents melting under the ruthless summer sun. Somebody get Donald Trump some sunscreen because he hosted the Saudi Arabia funded LIV golf tournament at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend. And it looked like the man was among [laughter] the new deep pocketed competitors, the PGA has been controversial for its Saudi backing, considering that countries egregiously bad human rights record. But is it day one homie of murderous Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? Trump has been undeterred and is even hosting a second LIV event later this season. Trump told The Wall Street Journal he thinks the tour will be great for Saudi Arabia’s reputation around the world. And as far as his own involvement, he said, LIV has been, quote, “very generous”, but he, quote, “doesn’t do it for that.”[laugh]. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm. 


Abdul El-Sayed: One group decrying Trump’s business with LIV is 9/11 Justice, which claims officials in the Saudi Arabian government supported and abide its terrorists. Pressed on that issue, Trump said, quote, “Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: Has nobody gotten to the bottom of 9/11? 


Abdul El-Sayed: I’m pretty sure just five years ago he blamed it on the Saudi Arabian government. And also we, we know exactly who did 9/11. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m about to say, come on. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Oh and I also remember the time he blamed it on a bunch of Arab Muslims in New Jersey, which just so happens to be where Bedminster is. So the only person celebrating with Saudis in Bedminster, New Jersey, is Donald Trump. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm mm mm mm. America’s sweetheart, Taylor Swift, has been indulging in America’s pastime of decimating ecosystems. A report released last week by The Yard put Taylor at the top on a list of celebrity private jet owners ranked by CO2 emissions. Swift’s jet has flown a mind bending 170 times since January based on data from the flight tracking Twitter account celebrity jets. That’s a lot of Biscoff cookies for Taylor, but it means she has produced nearly 500 times the emissions an average person generates in a year okay. And it’s only been seven months or so. When this news dropped the criticism came fast and furious, but Taylor’s reps tried to um shake it off one might say. They released a statement yesterday saying, quote, “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.” So we can take comfort in the knowledge that while Taylor did help suffocate countless trees, she did it in the name of sharing. 


Abdul El-Sayed: The same dude who has her sweater. He also took her private jet. She just didn’t want to put in the song. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That makes sense, right? That’s the only logical response here. And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go. It’s your last chance to see Pod Save America Alive and on tour this summer. The guys have some amazing guests lined up, like Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in Atlanta on August 13th and Tennessee congressional candidate Odessa Kelly in Nashville on August 12. And our very own Josie Duffy Rice will be co-host at both shows. So that means y’all need to show up in person, okay, and give her your love. Tickets are on sale now and selling out fast. Get yours at [music break] That’s all for today. If you like this show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Hide the keys to Taylor’s private jet and tell your friends to listen. 


Abdul El-Sayed: And if you’re into reading and not just the nutritional facts on Biscoff cookies like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe to I’m Abdul El-Sayed. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And stay in line for the pink sauce vaccine. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Always stay in line. Okay, guys, voting, vaccines, whatever. 


Abdul El-Sayed: Is the pink stuff is going to evolve? Like, are we going to need new boosters for the pink sauce vaccine, as new variants of pink sauce like magenta sauce? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Hopefully not. 


Abdul El-Sayed: You have rebound pink sauce disease. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] Love a callback. [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.