CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — APRIL 16, 2020

19 mins read

Coronavirus Update
April 16, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Thursday, April 16, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 639,664
Number of US deaths: 30,985
Total Number of People Tested in US: 3,261,611 (may not include all labs) 

ABC: US coronavirus deaths top 30,000
ProPublica: There’s Been a Spike in People Dying at Home in Several Cities. That Suggests Coronavirus Deaths Are Higher Than Reported.
Reuters: U.S. coronavirus deaths increase by record amount for second straight day

What To Watch For

President Trump will hold teleconferences with G7 leaders, Congressional leaders and governors today.  He will deliver remarks celebrating truckers at 1:30 PM on the South Lawn. The coronavirus task force will brief the press at 5:00 PM.

Must Read Stories

Trump Administration Still Failing — At Testing, At Finding A Cure, At Procuring Masks

  • New York Times: Testing Falls Woefully Short as Trump Seeks an End to Stay-at-Home Orders: As President Trump pushes to reopen the economy, most of the country is not conducting nearly enough testing to track the path and penetration of the coronavirus in a way that would allow Americans to safely return to work, public health officials and political leaders say. Although capacity has improved in recent weeks, supply shortages remain crippling, and many regions are still restricting tests to people who meet specific criteria. Antibody tests, which reveal whether someone has ever been infected with the coronavirus, are just starting to be rolled out, and most have not been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Washington Post: Chaotic Search For Coronavirus Treatments Undermines Efforts, Experts Say: In a desperate bid to find treatments for people sickened by the coronavirus, doctors and drug companies have launched more than 100 human experiments in the United States, investigating experimental drugs, a decades-old malaria medicine and cutting-edge therapies that have worked for other conditions such as HIV and rheumatoid arthritis. Development of effective treatments for covid-19, the disease the virus causes, would be one of the most significant milestones in returning the United States to normalcy. But the massive effort is disorganized and scattershot, harming its prospects for success, according to multiple researchers and health experts. 
  • Washington Post: In Coronavirus Scramble For N95 Masks, Trump Administration Pays Premium To Third-Party Vendors: The Trump administration has awarded bulk contracts to third-party vendors in recent weeks in a scramble to obtain N95 respirator masks, and the government has paid the companies more than $5 per unit, nearly eight times what it would have spent in January and February when U.S. intelligence agencies warned of a looming global pandemic, procurement records show.

Trump Allies Encourage Protests Against Social Distancing Even As New Hotspots Erupt In GOP States

  • Daily Beast: Trumpists Urging People to Leave Their Homes to Own the Libs:  A protest movement is taking hold targeting states that have extended social-distancing rules, closed schools, and restricted access to large religious gatherings. And it’s being fed by loyalists and political allies of President Donald Trump.
  • NBC: ‘Lock Her Up!’: Anti-Whitmer Coronavirus Lockdown Protestors Swarm Michigan Capitol: Thousands of demonstrators descended on the state Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictive stay-at-home order, clogging the streets with their cars while scores ignored organizers’ pleas to stay inside their vehicles. The protest — dubbed “Operation Gridlock” — was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, a DeVos family-linked conservative group. 
  • Politico: Hot Spots Erupt In Farm Belt States Where Governors Insist Lockdowns Aren’t Needed: Trump and red state governors for weeks have fairly bragged about how large parts of the farm belt have escaped the ravages of the virus without the enforced shelter-in-place policies common on both coasts. It’s still unclear whether the states actually “flattened the curve,” or if the virus just reached there later. But now, cases are erupting, threatening a local population that doesn’t always have easy access to the same health care as more urban areas. And the outbreaks are striking the heart of the nation’s farming and meatpacking industry, potentially disrupting the national distribution of food as meat processing plants close down and truckers who move food across the country are sidelined by illness.

Trump’s Reopening Council Fails As Businesses Demand More Testing, More Times 

  • Wall Street Journal: Business Leaders Urge Trump to Dramatically Increase Coronavirus Testing: Banking and financial services executives told President Trump that his administration needed to dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • New York Times: Trump’s ‘Opening Our Country Council’ Runs Into Its Own Opening Problems: Some business leaders had no idea they were included until they heard that their names had been read in the Rose Garden on Tuesday night by President Trump. Some of those who had agreed to help said they received little information on what, exactly, they were signing up for. And others who were willing to connect with the White House could not participate in hastily organized conference calls on Wednesday because of scheduling conflicts and technical difficulties. In short, the rollout of what the president referred to last week as his “Opening Our Country Council” was as confusing as the process of getting there.
  • Washington Post: Trump’s Attempt To Enlist Businesses In Reopening Push Gets Off To Rocky Start: President Trump’s attempt to enlist corporate executives in a push to reopen parts of society amid the coronavirus pandemic got off to a rocky start Wednesday, with some business leaders complaining the effort was haphazard and warning that more testing needs to be in place before restrictions are lifted.

Trump Family And Friends Don’t Play By The Rules For The Rest Of Us

  • Washington Post: As U.S. Discouraged Mask Use For Public, White House Team Raced To Secure Face Coverings From Taiwan For Senior Staff: In mid-March, a National Security Council team rushed to address what they saw as a threat to the U.S. government’s ability to function amid the advancing pandemic: a lack of masks to protect enough staff on the White House complex. […] The urgent appeal to Taiwan on March 14 highlights a stark conflict between the Trump administration’s stance then on the use of masks and the race behind the scenes to obtain them for key White House personnel. At the time, the U.S. government was discouraging the public from wearing masks, saying that healthy people didn’t need them and that the gear should be saved for front-line medical workers most at risk of infection.
  • New York Times: Ivanka Trump, Disregarding Federal Guidelines, Travels to N.J. for Passover: Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s eldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, has positioned herself as one of the leaders of the administration’s economic relief efforts and one of its most vocal advocates of social distancing. “Those lucky enough to be in a position to stay at home, please, please do so,” Ms. Trump said in a video she posted online, encouraging Americans to follow federal guidelines about social distancing, which suggests that people stay at least six feet apart. “Each and every one of us plays a role in slowing the spread.” But Ms. Trump herself has not followed the federal guidelines advising against discretionary travel, leaving Washington for another one of her family’s homes, even as she has publicly thanked people for self-quarantining. And effective April 1, the city of Washington issued a stay-at-home order for all residents unless they are performing essential activities.

Worth Watching

The GOP’s deplorable treatment of immigrants has consequences across the country: A South Dakota meat plant that employs thousands of immigrants becomes the nation’s biggest coronavirus hot spot, even as the governor calls a stay at home order unnecessary, immigrants fear seeking treatment for Covid-19 because of Trump’s public charge rule, and Stephen Miller’s crackdown on refugees makes a comeback.

  • Stat: Fearing deportation, many immigrants at higher risk of Covid-19 are afraid to seek testing or care
  • Politico: Stephen Miller’s hardline policies on refugee families make a comeback at HHS
  • New York Times: South Dakota Meat Plant Is Now Country’s Biggest Coronavirus Hot Spot

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
The Atlantic (Ideas): The WHO Defunding Move Isn’t What It Seems 
Bloomberg: Code Words, Chaos, Sky-High Prices in China’s Mask Market
Bloomberg: Rescue Fund to Run Dry Today, Leaving Small Firms Shut Out
Bloomberg: Trump Hears Testing Pleas From Companies in Talks on Reopening
CNN: US explores possibility that coronavirus started in Chinese lab, not a market
The Hill: Trump says White House to release guidelines on relaxing social distancing on Thursday
The Hill: Economic benefits of social distancing outweigh GDP losses by $5.2T: analysis
Los Angeles Times: Global response to coronavirus stymied by lack of leadership from the U.S. and Trump
Los Angeles Times: Reopening the economy requires testing, and the U.S. still isn’t close
New York Times: Testing Falls Woefully Short as Trump Seeks an End to Stay-at-Home Orders
New York Times: Trump’s ‘Opening Our Country Council’ Runs Into Its Own Opening Problems
New York Times: Navy May Reinstate Fired Captain to Command of Roosevelt
ProPublica: Trump Administration Officials Warned Against Halting Funding to WHO, Leaked Memo Shows
Politico: How Trump’s reopening plans could collide with reality
Politico: White House snubs Azar, installs Trump loyalist Michael Caputo as HHS spokesperson
Politico: Trump’s WHO cutoff sends officials, allies scrambling
Politico: Republicans wary of Mnuchin’s coronavirus relief talks with Dems
Stat: Fearing deportation, many immigrants at higher risk of Covid-19 are afraid to seek testing or care
Wall Street Journal: Business Leaders Urge Trump to Dramatically Increase Coronavirus Testing
Washington Post: Trump’s attempt to enlist businesses in reopening push gets off to rocky start
Washington Post: Leaked CDC and FEMA plan warns of ‘significant risk of resurgence of the virus’ with phased reopening
Washington Post: Chaotic search for coronavirus treatments undermines efforts, experts say
Washington Post: In coronavirus scramble for N95 masks, Trump administration pays premium to third-party vendors

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation 
The Atlantic: False Prophet
New York Post: Trump accuses NYC of padding its coronavirus death toll
New York Times: Trump Wanted a Radio Show, but He Didn’t Want to Compete With Limbaugh
Vanity Fair: Of Course the Anthony Fauci Attackers Are Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Theorists

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Bloomberg: Hard-Hit N.Y., N.J. Trail the Field as Feds Divvy Up Virus Grants
Orlando Sentinel: Large hotel, restaurant companies getting small-business loans want to spend less of the money paying workers
Miami Herald: Trump resort in Doral lays off or furloughs 560 workers during coronavirus shutdown
NBC: South Dakota Gov. Noem, who opposed stay-home order, now faces coronavirus hot spot
New York Times: Ivanka Trump, Disregarding Federal Guidelines, Travels to N.J. for Passover
Politico: Hot spots erupt in farm belt states where governors insist lockdowns aren’t needed
Politico: Stephen Miller’s hardline policies on refugee families make a comeback at HHS
Washington Post: Trump threatens to adjourn Congress to get his nominees but likely would be impeded by Senate rules
Washington Post: As U.S. discouraged mask use for public, White House team raced to secure face coverings from Taiwan for senior staff
Washington Post: They weren’t close, but New Yorker’s death from covid-19 hit Trump hard

Congress
Washington Post (Analysis): Congress operates like a college, making a return to regular order complicated

Economic Impact
New York Times: It’s the End of the World Economy as We Know It
New York Times: ‘Pretty Catastrophic’ Month for Retailers, and Now a Race to Survive

Education
Associated Press: Students could take SAT at home if schools remain closed

Hospitals and Health Care Workers
Associated Press: To love and to cherish: Nurse couple unites to fight virus
New York Times: The Heartbreaking Last Texts of a Hospital Worker on the Front Lines
New York Times: Treating Coronavirus in a Central Park ‘Hot Zone’

Inequality
CNN (Analysis): Peeling back this pandemic’s layers of inequality

International
Associated Press: Economic pain from virus spreading quickly as the pandemic
New York Times: Millions of Children Are at Risk for Measles as Coronavirus Fears Halt Vaccines
Politico: How does the world end the coronavirus lockdown? Countries can’t agree on exit strategy
Reuters: Bolsonaro expected to fire defiant Brazilian health minister

In the States
Politico: Garcetti: Sporting events, concerts unlikely in Los Angeles until 2021
New York Times: After Anonymous Tip, 17 Bodies Are Found at Nursing Home Hit by Virus
New York Times: South Dakota Meat Plant Is Now Country’s Biggest Coronavirus Hot Spot

Media
Bloomberg: The Biggest News Story in the World Costs Journalists Their Jobs
New York Times: Photojournalists Struggle Through the Pandemic, With Masks and Long Lenses

Misinformation
Washington Post: There are so many coronavirus myths that even Snopes can’t keep up

National Security
Time: Samantha Power: How the COVID-19 Era Will Change National Security Forever

Protests
Associated Press: Calls mount for Ohio governor to restart jobs in some areas
Daily Beast: Trumpists Urging People to Leave Their Homes to Own the Libs
NBC: ‘Lock her up!’: Anti-Whitmer coronavirus lockdown protestors swarm Michigan Capitol

Science
Washington Post: Coronavirus destroys lungs. But doctors are finding its damage in kidneys, hearts and elsewhere.

Social Impact
Buzzfeed: The Social Media Shame Machine Is In Overdrive Right Now

Trump Campaign
Axios: Exclusive: Biggest Trump super PAC test drives #BeijingBiden campaign

Workers
Associated Press: For meat plant workers, virus makes a hard job perilous
The Atlantic: How the Coronavirus Could Create a New Working Class
HuffPost: Almost No Grocery Store Workers Have Adequate Paid Sick Leave, New Survey Finds
Washington Post: Coronavirus Cases at D.C. Whole Foods Highlight Risks Facing Grocery Workers

Trump Tweets 

We are having very productive calls with the leaders of every sector of the economy who are all-in on getting America back to work, and soon. More to come! #MAGA [@realDonaldTrump, 4/15/20]

My condolences to the Steinbrenner family, and the entire @Yankees Organization, on the passing of Hank Steinbrenner. He was a friend and will be missed greatly by


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