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Coronavirus Update
April 17, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Friday, April 17, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 671,425
Number of US deaths: 33,286
Total Number of People Tested in US: 3,420,394 (may not include all labs) Axios: Americans aren’t ready to go back to normal after a coronavirus reopening
Vox: Poll: Americans are afraid of ending the coronavirus lockdowns too soon
Wall Street Journal: Reported U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Reach Record 4,591 in 24 Hours
Washington Post: Which deaths count toward the covid-19 death toll? It depends on the state.

What to Watch For

President Trump will hold an afternoon conference call with faith leaders to discuss his economic revival guidelines.  The coronavirus task force nominally briefs the press at 5:00. This weekend Vice President Pence will appear on Fox News Sunday and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin  will appear on CNN’s State of the Union.

Must Read Stories

Every Expert Agrees That Mass Testing Is The Only Way To Reopen The Economy, But The US Is Moving In The Wrong Direction

  • Axios: Coronavirus Testing Is Plateauing: The number of coronavirus diagnostic tests being completed every day has plateaued over the last week — at a number that falls far short of what experts say is needed.
  • CNBC: The US Economy Can’t Reopen Without Widespread Coronavirus Testing. Getting There Will Take A Lot Of Work And Money: As the United States reels from the massive economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, there are growing calls by President Donald Trump and others to start to reopen businesses, schools and other public spaces so that the nation can begin to recover financially. […] But health experts and several top business leaders warn that the country — which might not see a coronavirus vaccine for 18 months or more — should not reopen on a broad scale unless there is a huge increase in the relatively small number of tests currently being done for Covid-19 infection.
  • Stat: Rapid Coronavirus Test, Commonly Used In U.S., May Miss Infections In Some Situations: Rapid test for the novel coronavirus that was unveiled by President Trump on the White House lawn and has already been used hundreds of thousands of times can falsely produce negative results in patients who are infected, according to clinicians and laboratory experts.
  • Buzzfeed: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Could Help Us Get Back To Normal — Or They Could Be The Next Testing Crisis: As the world fights to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control, new blood tests that identify people with possible immunity are being touted as a key tool to return life to normal. But almost none of the dozens of tests that hospitals and clinics across the US are now rushing to obtain are being verified for accuracy by regulators.

The Buck Stops Somewhere Else: Trump Passes Responsibility — And Bad Data — To The States

  • Politico: Trump Tosses Coronavirus Shutdowns Back To The States: Days after declaring “total authority“ over states, President Donald Trump on Thursday kicked responsibility for coronavirus-related shutdowns to state governors as he unveiled general guidelines for a phased reopening of the economy. In a call with governors and at a White House news conference, the president marked the moment — which he called “open up America again“ — as a key step in reviving a devastated economy and an opportunity for state leaders to tailor a response to their individual needs. But he left many critical questions unanswered for the states, including how testing will be ramped up dramatically and where additional resources will come from to protect millions of front-line workers.
  • Washington Post: As Testing Outcry Mounts, Trump Cedes To States In Announcing Guidelines For Slow Reopening: President Trump released federal guidelines Thursday night for a slow and staggered return to normal in places with minimal cases of the novel coronavirus, moving to try to resume economic activity even amid an outcry from political and health leaders about the nation’s testing capacity. Despite Trump’s desire for a May 1 reopening, his plan does not contain a date for implementation and is a vague set of recommendations for a three-phased reopening of businesses, schools and other gathering places in jurisdictions that satisfy broad criteria on symptoms, cases and hospital loads. […] The plan effectively reverses Trump’s claim earlier this week that he had “total authority” to declare the nation reopened. The federal guidelines shift accountability to governors and mayors, placing the onus on them to make decisions for their own states and localities based on their own assessments of the coronavirus’s spread and risk of resurgence.
  • Washington Post (Analysis): Eager To Return To Normal, Trump And Pence Offer Questionable Coronavirus Data:  A career filled with tricky sales pitches has reached its apex for President Trump. With Americans dubious of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and nervous about trying to return to normal too quickly, Trump hopes to convince the country that some places or some states can begin to scale back social distancing measures that have helped contain the virus’s spread. To do so, he and Vice President Pence on Thursday unveiled data they hoped would bolster their case that the United States is on the mend. Unfortunately, those data were, not for the first time, misleading and incomplete.

No Matter What Trump Says, Americans Don’t Feel Safe And Aren’t Ready To End Social Distancing

  • Vox: Poll: Americans Are Afraid Of Ending The Coronavirus Lockdowns Too Soon: Part of the coronavirus conversation in the US is turning to the question of when to start reopening the country. President Donald Trump certainly wants to do it as soon as possible, based on the theory that the public is demanding to be let back out into restaurants and retail stores so they can resume a normal life. But as of right now, that doesn’t appear to be true at all. Instead, Americans still seem onboard with social distancing and much more fearful about the health risks of opening up the country too soon than the economic risk of a continued shutdown. The costs of both have been awful — 31,000 dead and counting, 22 million jobs lost — but the public is first and foremost preoccupied with the public health crisis.
  • Axios: Americans Aren’t Ready To Go Back To Normal After A Coronavirus Reopening: A majority of people say they would resume at least some level of normal activities if the federal government announced a coronavirus reopening, but more than a third say they would remain in quarantine, a survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios shows.
  • Talking Points Memo: GOP Maryland Governor: Now Is ‘The Worst Possible Time’ To Reopen Economy: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stated in no uncertain terms on Thursday that reopening the economy right now during the COVID-19 outbreak really isn’t an option, despite President Donald Trump’s wishes. “It’d really be the worst possible time for us to try to put more people out there and endanger them,” the governor said during an interview on NBC’s “3rd Hour of TODAY.”

Worth Watching

Although the CDC is not tracking the numbers, NBC reports that deaths in nursing homes are soaring amid a lack of transparency and a move by some Republicans to protect nursing home operators from scrutiny and liability for the crisis:

  • NBC: Coronavirus deaths in U.S. nursing homes soar to more than 5,500
  • New York Times: 29 Dead at One Nursing Home From the Virus. Or More. No One Will Say.
  • Miami Herald: Nursing home industry, already granted favors by DeSantis, wants another — this one big

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Axios: Trump’s coronavirus self-protection plan: Spread responsibility to the states
Axios: Coronavirus testing is plateauing
Bloomberg: Trump Tries to Reassure Lawmakers on Virus Testing in Bid to Reopen
Buzzfeed: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Could Help Us Get Back To Normal — Or They Could Be The Next Testing Crisis
CNBC: The US economy can’t reopen without widespread coronavirus testing: Getting there will take a lot of work and money
FiveThirtyEight: How COVID-19 Is Wreaking Havoc On Our Ability To Make Things — Including Vaccines
The Hill: Trump WHO cuts meet with furious blowback
Kaiser Health News: As Ventilators Become Crucial In Saving Lives, Repair Roadblocks Remain
New York Times: FEMA’s ‘Air Bridge’ to Coronavirus Hot Spots Leaves Other Regions on Their Own
New York Times: W.H.O., Now Trump’s Scapegoat, Warned About Coronavirus Early and Often
Politico: White House taps members of Congress to advise on reopening economy
Politico: Trump tosses coronavirus shutdowns back to the states
Reuters: Emails show U.S. officials brushed off state concerns on drive-through virus tests
Reuters: New York forms team to develop ‘Trump-proof’ economic reopening plan
Stat: Rapid coronavirus test, commonly used in U.S., may miss infections in some situations
Stat: Covid-19 testing issues could sink plans to re-open the country. Might CT scans help?
Talking Points Memo: GOP Maryland Governor: Now Is ‘The Worst Possible Time’ To Reopen Economy
Vox: Trump just declared victory over the coronavirus. Here’s why that’s premature.
Wall Street Journal: China’s Export Restrictions Strand Medical Goods U.S. Needs to Fight Coronavirus, State Department Says
Washington Post: How an outbreak on the USS Roosevelt became a defining moment for the U.S. military
Washington Post: As testing outcry mounts, Trump cedes to states in announcing guidelines for slow reopening

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation 
Bloomberg: Bayer’s chloroquine donation to U.S. raises concern about FDA standards in pandemic
The Hill: STD antibiotic faces shortages after Trump promotes it as coronavirus treatment
Washington Post (Analysis): Eager to return to normal, Trump and Pence offer questionable coronavirus data

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
ABC: On a Florida island for the wealthy, everyone gets a coronavirus antibody test
Business Insider: These hospitals care for the poorest Americans. They’re on the losing end of Trump’s $30 billion coronavirus rescue.
Daily Beast: Army Decides a Pandemic Is a Good Time to Give GOP Donors $569 Million to ‘Build the Wall’
The Hill: DOJ lets companies skip paying penalties during pandemic
HuffPost: The Paycheck Protection Program Hasn’t Served Restaurants Well
Miami Herald: Nursing home industry, already granted favors by DeSantis, wants another — this one big
NBC: Romney the only GOP senator not invited to join Trump’s coronavirus congressional group
New York Magazine: As Coronavirus Rages, Republicans Still Don’t Have a Plan to Give Americans Health-Care Coverage
New York Times: Loyal Trump Backer Is Now a Face of the Administration’s Virus Response
Ozy: Trump Ramps Up Border Wall Land Grabs Amid Pandemic Lockdowns
Politico: Trump Interior official helped clear way for payments to ex-employer
Talking Points Memo: PA Republicans Attempt To Reopen Businesses Over Governor’s Order
Talking Points Memo: They Can’t Help It That They’re Lucky

Affordability and Access
Talking Points Memo: COVID Means Less Health Care For All Americans, New Study Shows

Amazon: Amazon is teasing a new health care offering — for its sellers
Bloomberg: Socially Distance This 
CNN: Facebook cancels large in-person events through June 2021

Campaigns And Elections 
The Hill (Opinion): Who takes control if there is no presidential election this year?
McClatchy: GOP convention plans are moving ahead, but what would an alternative look like?
NBC: Democratic convention host committee lays off staff as coronavirus jeopardizes event
New York Magazine: How Do You Campaign When You Can’t Hit the Campaign Trail?

Buzzfeed: New York Rep. Max Rose Says The Coronavirus Fight Is Like “Total War” After Spending Two Weeks Helping Build A Hospital For Patients
New York Times: House Democrats Back Changing Rules to Allow Remote Voting During Pandemic
Politico: Small business rescue funds depleted with Congress deadlocked
Politico: Snubs, feuds and phone tag: Inside Congress’ coronavirus breakdown

Democratic Response
Axios: Democrats lay out rebuttal to Trump attacks on Biden over China
CBS: Democrats lean into health care ads as coronavirus halts conventional campaigns

Economic Impact
New York Times: A Gloomy Prediction on How Much Poverty Could Rise
New York Times: Straggling in a Good Economy, and Now Struggling in a Crisis
Politico: Too much meat, hungry Americans: Tough choices in food supply
Vox: States and cities are “falling off a cliff” as the economic crisis sets in
Wall Street Journal: Airlines Face Tough Choice: Fly Largely Empty Planes or Lose Coronavirus Aid
Washington Post: U.S. now has 22 million unemployed, wiping out a decade of job gains
Washington Post: Meat processing plants are closing due to covid-19 outbreaks. Beef shortfalls may follow.

CNN: Universities begin considering the possibility of canceling in-person classes until 2021
New York Times (Editorial): The Coronavirus’s Lost Generation of Students

Hospitals And Health Care Workers
Associated Press: Nurses suspended for refusing COVID-19 care without N95 mask
Kaiser Health News: The COVID-19 Bailout That’s Left Every Hospital Unhappy In Its Own Way
New York Times: A Tiny Hospital Struggles to Treat a Burst of Coronavirus Patients
Politico: U.S. races to stock up on dialysis supplies as kidney failure ravages virus patients
Washington Post: Thousands of medical workers are getting sick from coronavirus

Immigration And Travel
The Guardian: Guatemala calls US ‘Wuhan of Americas’ in battle over deportees

New Yorker (Column): The Black Plague 

Associated Press: China’s virus death toll revised up sharply after review
Bloomberg: Wuhan’s 11 Million People Are Free to Dine Out. But They Aren’t

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