April 22, 2020
Driving the Day:
By the Numbers
Bloomberg: Americans’ Fear of Job Loss Surges to 45-Year High, Poll Shows
National Review: Coronavirus Kills More Americans in One Month Than the Flu Kills in One Year
New York Times: 25,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Crisis
Reuters: U.S. coronavirus deaths top 45,000, doubling in little over a week
What to watch for
President Trump will participate in a tree planting ceremony on the White House lawn with the First Lady at 12:00 PM. Trump will also sign an executive order restricting immigration today. The coronavirus task force briefs the press at 5:00 PM.
Must read stories
The Deadly Consequences Of Reopening Too Quickly
- NPR: What Happens If U.S. Reopens Too Fast? Documents Show Federal Coronavirus Projections: Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic.
- Washington Post: CDC Director Warns Second Wave Of Coronavirus Is Likely To Be Even More Devastating: Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
- Politico: Southern Governors Create A Covid-19 Coalition And Experts Fear A ‘Perfect Storm’: Republican governors across the Southeast are teaming up to reopen the region’s economy, even as they lack the testing to know how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading. One health expert called the political decision a “perfect storm” for the virus to reassert itself. The newly formed coalition includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, a part of the country that has underfunded health systems, as well as high rates of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses that amplify the deadliness of the coronavirus. And unlike their peers in New York, New Jersey and other Northeastern states that have been working cooperatively since last week to restart their economies, the six in the South have lagged on testing and social distancing measures. “If you put these states together, there is a perfect storm for a massive epidemic peak later on,” said Jill Roberts of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health. “The Southeast region is not known for having the best health record. Diabetes and heart disease come to mind. I am very concerned about how our states will do it.”
Trump Administration And Allies Orchestrating Attacks On Governors
- Bloomberg: Barr Says DOJ May Act Against Governors With Strict Virus Limits: The Justice Department will consider taking legal action against governors who continue to impose stringent rules for dealing with the coronavirus that infringe on constitutional rights even after the crisis subsides in their states, Attorney General William Barr said. Blunt means to deal with the pandemic, such as stay-at-home orders and directives shutting down businesses, are justified up to a point, Barr said in an interview Tuesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Eventually, though, states should move to more targeted measures, Barr said
- Bloomberg: Trump Mega-Donor, a Shipping Magnate, Pushes to End a Shutdown: An unusual email greeted employees at a Wisconsin shipping-supply company on Friday. It urged them to support a petition for the recall of the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, saying he was violating their constitutional right to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Most significant, the message came from their boss, billionaire Liz Uihlein, one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and an economic adviser to President Donald Trump. The request bothered some staffers, in part because they consider Uihlein insufficiently supportive of work-from-home policies — something her company disputes, calling its employees’ health and safety “our top priority.”
- New York Times: The Quiet Hand of Conservative Groups in the Anti-Lockdown Protests: An informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the White House, has been quietly working to nurture protests and apply political and legal pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The groups have tapped their networks to drive up turnout at recent rallies in state capitals, dispatched their lawyers to file lawsuits, and paid for polling and research to undercut the arguments behind restrictions that have closed businesses and limited the movement of most Americans. Among those fighting the orders are FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, which played pivotal roles in the beginning of Tea Party protests starting more than a decade ago. Also involved are a law firm led partly by former Trump White House officials, a network of state-based conservative policy groups, and an ad hoc coalition of conservative leaders known as Save Our Country that has advised the White House on strategies for a tiered reopening of the economy.
Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Is Rife With Corruption And Cronyism
- New York Times: Trump (the Company) Asks Trump (the Administration) for Hotel Relief: President Trump’s signature hotel in the nation’s capital wants a break on the terms of its lease. The landlord determining the fate of the request is Mr. Trump’s own administration. Trump International Hotel, just a few blocks from the White House, had been a favored gathering place for lobbyists, foreign dignitaries and others hoping to score points with the president. But like most hotels, it is now nearly empty and looking to cut costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, the president’s family business has inquired about changing its lease payments, according to people familiar with the matter, which the federal government has reported amount to nearly $268,000 per month.
- Mother Jones: How Health Care Investors Are Helping Run Jared Kushner’s Shadow Coronavirus Task Force: Last year, private equity firms spent tens of millions to to defeat bipartisan legislation reining in surprise medical bills that can send unsuspecting patients into debt. In December, Congress buckled to the industry’s pressure and failed to limit predatory billing practices of many institutional health care investors—especially private equity firms, which have aggressively moved into the health care space over the last decade. Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe—one such private equity firm that has generated big investor returns by following the industry playbook of buying up health care practices, loading them with debt, and charging patients more—controls companies that spent hundreds of thousands lobbying against the bill and helped fund a coalition of private equity-backed medical groups that spent $4 million to block the legislation. And last month, one of the firm’s top executives joined a shadow task force convened by Jared Kushner to help run the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Wall Street Journal: Volunteers in Coronavirus Response Ruffle Some at FEMA: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in March launched an effort under the government’s emergency powers to enlist private-sector volunteers in the coronavirus pandemic response. As part of the project, eight junior analysts at New York-based Insight Partners, an investment fund, were assigned to work at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to help source protective gear and test kits for medical workers from vendors. A FEMA spokeswoman said the help was welcome given the seriousness of the pandemic and FEMA’s need to buy medical supplies. In many cases FEMA has had to engage with vendors it doesn’t usually do business with, looking at supplies manufactured largely overseas, according to agency employees. But the move also prompted concerns from some FEMA employees over the volunteers’ roles in interacting with vendors on the government’s behalf. They did so with personal Gmail accounts, sometimes not copying government addresses, leading some vendors to question the authenticity of the outreach, according to FEMA employees.
Trump Hyped Malaria Drug Fails In Early Trial
- Associated Press: More Deaths, No Benefit From Malaria Drug In VA Virus Study: A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported. The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday.
- Bloomberg: U.S. Virus Guidelines Reject Trump-Backed Drug Combination: A panel of medical experts convened by the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommended against the use of a drug combination touted by President Donald Trump for Covid-19 patients. The NIH panel, made up of 50 doctors, pharmacy experts and government researchers and officials, specifically recommended against the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin. The malaria pill can cause heart issues, and the NIH panel warned of the potential for harm from the combination.
The Trump administration’s growing cruelty to immigrants:
- Washington Post: Trump administration working out details of suspending immigration during coronavirus crisis, plans to close off the United States to a new extreme
- Los Angeles Times: These U.S. citizens won’t get coronavirus stimulus checks — because their spouses are immigrants
- Politico: DeVos bars undocumented college students from emergency aid
- Washington Post: ICE delayed its pandemic response, putting detainees at ‘substantial’ risk of harm, judge finds
- Washington Post: U.S. is deporting infected migrants back to vulnerable countries
Courthouse News Service: If US Is ‘King of Ventilators,’ It’s Thanks to a European Blood Line
Daily Beast: Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force Increasingly Ignores Trump
National Journal: Trump’s crisis mismanagement alienating seniors
NPR: What Happens If U.S. Reopens Too Fast? Documents Show Federal Coronavirus Projections
New York Times: New U.S. Treatment Guidelines for Covid-19 Don’t See Much Progress
Politico: Trump, the ‘King of Ventilators,’ may donate some machines to African countries
Politico: Southern governors create a Covid-19 coalition and experts fear a ‘perfect storm’
Politico: The government is all in on coronavirus: How it’s still not enough
Politico: Why the U.S. government is sending checks to dead people
Politico: Trump prepares to hit the road
ProPublica: To Understand the Medical Supply Shortage, It Helps to Know How the U.S. Lost the Lithium Ion Battery to China
Stat: Director of U.S. agency key to helming vaccine development leaves role suddenly amid coronavirus pandemic
Talking Points Memo: The Long Strange Trip Of One Shipment Of Millions Of KN95 Masks
Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Slow to Distribute Coronavirus Aid to Hospitals
Washington Post: In two states, a vast testing gap shows what it means to have no national strategy
Washington Post: CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating
Washington Post (Opinion): Is Trump losing seniors?
Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Associated Press: More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in VA virus study
Bloomberg: U.S. Virus Guidelines Reject Trump-Backed Drug Combination
Vox: Trump just said the US has done more coronavirus testing than the rest of the world. Not even close.
Washington Post (Analysis): The deep-seated fear driving Trump’s invented and exaggerated popularity rankings
Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You
Associated Press: AP: Publicly traded firms get $300M in small-business loans
Associated Press: Criminal records shut small biz owners out of aid program
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Members of Kemp’s coronavirus task force didn’t know about his order to reopen businesses
Bloomberg: Trump Mega-Donor, a Shipping Magnate, Pushes to End a Shutdown
Bloomberg: Barr Says DOJ May Act Against Governors With Strict Virus Limits
Daily Beast: Kelly Loeffler Tries to Turn Coronavirus Into a Political Asset
Los Angeles Times: These U.S. citizens won’t get coronavirus stimulus checks — because their spouses are immigrants
Mother Jones: How Health Care Investors Are Helping Run Jared Kushner’s Shadow Coronavirus Task Force
Newsweek: GOP Texas Lieutenant Governor Says We Need To Take Risk To Get Back To Work: ‘There Are More Important Things Than Living’
New York Times: Trump (the Company) Asks Trump (the Administration) for Rent Relief
Politico: Trump pledges financial aid to oil industry
Politico: Coronavirus fuels K Street lobbying gush, new disclosures show
Politico: DeVos bars undocumented college students from emergency aid
Popular Information: 32 millionaire CEOs who scooped up taxpayer money meant for struggling small businesses
ProPublica: Medical Staffing Companies Cut Doctors’ Pay While Spending Millions on Political Ads
Slate: Death Penalty States Won’t Turn Over Scarce COVID-19 Drugs
Wall Street Journal: Volunteers in Coronavirus Response Ruffle Some at FEMA
Washington Post: Amid bipartisan criticism, Treasury Dept. attorneys review bank seizures of $1,200 stimulus checks
Washington Post: Trump administration working out details of suspending immigration during coronavirus crisis, plans to close off the United States to a new extreme
Washington Post: Trump to suspend immigration to U.S. for 60 days, citing coronavirus crisis and jobs shortage, but will allow some workers
Affordability and Access
Yahoo: Over 9 million Americans lost health insurance amid coronavirus pandemic, analysis finds
Campaigns and Elections
New York Times: At Least Seven in Wisconsin Contract Coronavirus During Voting
New York Times: Coronavirus Takes Over Political Advertising
Politico: ‘The map is bigger now’: Coronavirus rewires 2020 election
Wall Street Journal: Poll Finds 67% of Voters Support Mail-In Ballots for November Elections
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Changes Trump Re-Election Calculus in Key States
Bloomberg: Senate Passes $484 Billion Interim Economic Stimulus Package
Miami Herald: Donna Shalala failed to disclose stock sales in 2019 in violation of federal law
Politico: McConnell slams brakes on next round of coronavirus aid
Wall Street Journal (Opinion): Coronavirus and the Laboratories in Wuhan
Washington Post: Some Senate Republicans look for ways the federal government can play a bigger role in coronavirus testing
Buzzfeed: The Emails Promising Coronavirus-Protecting Masks Seemed Too Good To Be True. They Were.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Adversaries Are Accelerating, Coordinating Coronavirus Disinformation, Report Says
Washington Post: Nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords allegedly from NIH, WHO, Gates Foundation and others are dumped online
ABC: Coronavirus pandemic brings Ben’s Chili Bowl, iconic DC business, to its knees
Associated Press: As people stay home, Earth turns wilder and cleaner
New York Times: The Death of the Department Store: ‘Very Few Are Likely to Survive’
Vox: Getting unemployment has been a nightmare for millions of people across the country
Wall Street Journal: On a Vibrant Street in Brooklyn, Businesses Are Struggling for Survival
Vox: Prolonged school closures could be very costly for America’s students
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