CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — APRIL 13, 2020

20 mins read

Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Monday, April 13, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 557,590
Number of US deaths: 22,109
Total Number of People Tested in US: 2,816,674 (may not include all labs) Axios: U.S. passes Italy on recorded coronavirus deaths
Washington Post: Medical databases show 1 in 10 hospitalized middle-aged coronavirus patients in U.S. do not survive
Washington Post: The Pandemic’s First Wave

What to Watch For

President Trump has no public events scheduled today.  Vice President Pence will hold a video conference with the nation’s governors. The coronavirus task force briefs the press at 5:00 PM. 

Must Read Stories

He Could Have Seen What’s Coming

  • CNN: Fauci Admits Earlier Covid-19 Mitigation Efforts Would Have Saved More American Lives: “Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that calls to implement life-saving social distancing measures faced “a lot of pushback” early in the US coronavirus outbreak and that the country is now looking for ways to more effectively respond to the virus should it rebound in the fall…Asked why the President didn’t recommend social distancing guidelines until mid-March — about three weeks after the nation’s top health experts recommended they be put in place — Fauci said, “You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But we — it is what it is. We are where we are right now.”
  • New York Times: He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus: “Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action. The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.” 
  • Associated Press: Trump Leaves Trail Of Unmet Promises In Coronavirus Response:  “For several months, President Donald Trump and his officials have cast a fog of promises meant to reassure a country in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump and his team haven’t delivered on critical ones. They talk numbers. Bewildering numbers about masks on the way. About tests being taken. About ships sailing to the rescue, breathing machines being built and shipped, field hospitals popping up, aircraft laden with supplies from abroad, dollars flowing to crippled businesses. Piercing that fog is the bottom-line reality that Americans are going without the medical supplies and much of the financial help they most need from the government at the very time they need it most — and were told they would have it.” 

The Trump Administration Has No Plan To Get Us Out Of This

  • Washington Post: Trump Administration Has Many Task Forces — But Still No Plan For Beating Covid-19:  “The Trump administration still has no clear plan for ending the coronavirus crisis, but it does have many task forces. There is the official task force led by Vice President Pence that meets daily and is supposed to oversee the government’s sprawling response to the pandemic that has cratered the economy and, as of Saturday, killed more than 20,000 in the United States alone. There is the ‘Opening Our Country Council,’ an economic task force announced Friday that is focused on reopening portions of the economy as quickly as possible. There is the group that reports directly to President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, a cadre dismissively dubbed ‘the shadow task force’ that helps Kushner with his roving list of virus troubleshooting. And there is also the ‘doctors group,’ a previously unreported offshoot of the original task force that huddles daily to discuss medical and public health issues, created in part to push back against demands that the health experts view as too reckless. In theory, the task forces are all working toward the same goal: defeating the novel coronavirus and getting the nation back to work — and life — as quickly as possible. But the reality is far more complicated: a bureaucratic nesting doll of groups with frequently competing aims and agendas.” 
  • Politico: White House Still Has No Road Map For Restarting The Economy: “With the White House moving to reopen the economy as early as May 1, top officials have yet to coalesce around a single plan to allow Americans and businesses to safely resume work as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. Instead, senior administration officials are engaged in an earnest yet scattershot effort to support President Donald Trump’s long-expressed desire to revive the downward-spiraling economy and stabilize the volatile financial markets in the middle of an election year.” 
  • Washington Post:  A Plan To Defeat Coronavirus Finally Emerges, But It’s Not From The White House:  “A national plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and return Americans to jobs and classrooms is emerging — but not from the White House. Instead, a collection of governors, former government officials, disease specialists and nonprofits are pursuing a strategy that relies on the three pillars of disease control: Ramp up testing to identify people who are infected. Find everyone they interact with by deploying contact tracing on a scale America has never attempted before. And focus restrictions more narrowly on the infected and their contacts so the rest of society doesn’t have to stay in permanent lockdown. But there is no evidence yet the White House will pursue such a strategy.” 

Trump Turns Ventilators And Masks Into A Political Game 

  • Politico: States Still Baffled Over How To Get Coronavirus Supplies From Trump:  “The federal government’s haphazard approach to distributing its limited supplies has left states trying everything — filling out lengthy FEMA applications, calling Trump, contacting Pence, sending messages to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and trade adviser Peter Navarro, who are both leading different efforts to find supplies, according to local and states officials in more than half dozen states. They’re even asking mutual friends to call Trump or sending him signals on TV and Twitter. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.” 
  • NBC: Behind Closed Doors, Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force Boosts Industry And Sows Confusion:  “For weeks, Trump has resisted pressure to use the full power of his office to temporarily turn the private sector into an arm of the federal government in a national emergency. He and his lieutenants instead have used the crisis to make federal assets and personnel a support group for industry, rather than the other way around, according to NBC News’ interviews with dozens of public- and private-sector sources involved in various aspects of the coronavirus response. In doing so, the vice president’s coronavirus task force — mostly through a supply-chain unit led by Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, vice director of logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and heavily influenced by White House adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law — has favored some of the nation’s largest corporations and ignored smaller producers of goods and services with long track records of meeting emergency needs, according to officials at multiple federal agencies and people familiar with contracting. They have operated almost entirely in the dark, releasing few details of their arrangements with the big companies; created a new and convoluted emergency response system; and sown confusion and distrust in the states and among the people who need medical supplies.” 
  • Washington Post: Trump Casts Himself As Pandemic Patron, Personalizing The Government’s Spread Of Cash And Supplies:  “As Americans confront a pandemic and struggle to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Trump has placed himself at the center as their patron. The president has sought to portray himself as singularly in charge — except for when things go wrong. In those instances, he has labored to blame others and avoid accountability.  Day after day, in his self-constructed role of wartime president, the task Trump seems to relish most is spreading cash and supplies across a beleaguered and anxious nation.” 
  • Associated Press:  Calling Trump: When Connections Help Steer Virus Supplies:  “Despite building a data-driven triage system in which FEMA allots supplies based on local needs, those who are politically connected and have the president’s ear have, at times, been able to bypass that process and move to the front of the line.”

Worth Watching

At the hour of Americans’ greatest need, the Trump administration is already scaling back efforts to help:

  • Politico: Small business loan effort might be less generous than advertised
  • New York Times: Small Businesses Wait for Cash as Disaster Loan Program Unravels
  • Washington Post: Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia faces blowback as he curtails scope of worker relief in unemployment crisis
Other NewsTrump’s Failures 
Associated Press: Groups used to serving desperately poor nations now help US
Associated Press: Next potential shortage: Drugs needed to run ventilators
Associated Press (Analysis): Virus shows benefit of learning from other nations
Axios: 10 times Trump and his administration were warned about coronavirus
Axios: Surgeon general: Most of the U.S. won’t be able to reopen May 1
Bloomberg: U.S. States Prepare Test-and-Trace Programs to Reopen Their Economies
Bloomberg: What Happened to the CDC? Storied Disease Agency Takes a Back Seat
CNN: Fauci admits earlier Covid-19 mitigation efforts would have saved more American lives
Der Spiegel: How Trump Is Fueling a Corona Disaster
Kaiser Health News: Furor Erupts: Billions Going To Hospitals Based On Medicare Billings, Not COVID-19
Los Angeles Times: How a stockpile of 39 million masks was exposed as fake
NBC: U.S. spy agencies collected raw intelligence hinting at public health crisis in Wuhan, China, in November
NBC: More than 2,200 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes, but federal government isn’t tracking them
New York Times: He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus
New York Times: Government projections indicate a summer spike in US coronavirus infections if stay-at-home orders are lifted
New York Times: The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus
New York Times: Small Businesses Wait for Cash as Disaster Loan Program Unravels
New York Times: It’s ‘People, People, People’ As Lines Stretch Across America 
New York Times: ‘There Will Be Losses’: How a Captain’s Plea Exposed a Rift in the Military
Politico: White House still has no road map for restarting the economy
Politico: Mayors look to each other, not Trump, on coronavirus response
Politico: America’s new opioid crisis
Politico: Trump officials, health experts worry coronavirus will set back opioid fight
Politico: Trump aides debate far-reaching demands on WHO
Politico: Inside America’s Two-Decade Failure to Prepare for Coronavirus
Politico: Small business loan effort might be less generous than advertised
Politico: U.S. still falling short on accurate testing, FDA chief says
Stat: ‘We’re being put at risk unnecessarily’: Doctors fume at government response to coronavirus pandemic
Vox: Trump is woefully confused about why more coronavirus testing is vital
Vox: Ford and GM are making tens of thousands of ventilators. It may already be too late.
Wall Street Journal: Slow Start for Rapid Coronavirus Tests Frustrates States
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Tariffs Hamper Imports of Sanitizer, Disinfectants, Some Companies Say
Washington Post: Spikes in demand from coronavirus patients are creating shortages of asthma drugs and sedatives for ventilator patients
Washington Post: A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House
Washington Post: The Trump administration has many task forces — but still no plan for beating the pandemic
Washington Post: Reopening U.S. economy by May 1 may be unrealistic, say experts, including some within Trump administration
Washington Post: As feds play ‘backup,’ states take unorthodox steps to compete in cutthroat global market for coronavirus suppliesTrump’s Lies and Misinformation 
Associated Press: Trump leaves trail of unmet promises in coronavirus response
The Atlantic (Ideas): Some Patients Really Need the Drug That Trump Keeps Pushing
CNN: Fact Check: Trump’s new anti-Biden ad is filled with deceptive images and audio clips
Daily Beast: Trump Spends Easter Asking Confidants: ‘What Do You Think of Fauci?’
NPR: COVID-19 Patients Given Unproven Drug In Texas Nursing Home In ‘Disconcerting’ Move
New York Times: They Watch Trump’s Virus Briefings Daily. Here’s What They Have to Say.
New York Times: Trump Lashes Out at Fauci Amid Criticism of Slow Virus Response
New York Times: Small Chloroquine Study Halted Over Risk of Fatal Heart Complications
Stat:  A key ingredient that compound pharmacies need for hydroxychloroquine skyrockets in price
Vanity Fair: An Ex-New York Times Reporter Has Become the Right’s Go-To Coronavirus Skeptic
Washington Post: For Fox News hosts, the hydroxychloroquine controversy is fuel for the culture warTrump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Associated Press: Trump winery eligible for bailout in virus relief law
Associated Press: Calling Trump: When connections help steer virus supplies
Associated Press (Analysis): Analysis: Will voters want a president who feels their pain?
CNN: Navarro publicly said Americans had ‘nothing to worry about’ while privately warning coronavirus could cost lives and dollars
CNN: Ivanka Trump seeks to headline administration’s small business recovery effort
The Hill: Florida Gov. DeSantis mulls reopening schools: Coronavirus ‘doesn’t seem to threaten’ kids
NBC: Behind closed doors, Trump’s coronavirus task force boosts industry and sows confusion
NPR: White House Seeks To Lower Farmworker Pay To Help Agriculture Industry
New York Times: Oil Nations, Prodded by Trump, Reach Deal to Slash Production
Politico: Trump personalizes the coronavirus — through a political lens
Politico: States still baffled over how to get coronavirus supplies from Trump
ProPublica: The White House Pushed FEMA To Give its Biggest Coronavirus Contract to a Company That Never Had to Bid
ProPublica: Medical Staffing Companies Owned by Rich Investors Cut Doctor Pay and Now Want Bailout Money
NBC: Trump pushes false claims about mail-in vote fraud. Here are the facts.
New York Times: Trump Backs Off Tougher Food Stamp Work Rules for Now
New York Times (Opinion): Trump Wants 50 Wisconsins on Election Day
Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Rep. John Curtis bought stocks boosted by coronavirus, disclosures indicate
Vox: How Trump turned ventilators into a form of patronage
Wall Street Journal: Trump Campaign Shifts Economic Message on the Fly
Washington Post: GOP pushes voting by mail — with restrictions — as Trump attacks it as ‘corrupt’
Washington Post: ‘Dreamers’ risk lives on pandemic’s front lines while they await a decision on their own future


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