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Coronavirus Update
April 28, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Tuesday, April 28, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 988,469
Number of US deaths: 56,253
Total Number of People Tested in US: 5,593,495 (may not include all labs) 

NPR: We Asked All 50 States About Their Contact Tracing Capacity. Here’s What We Learned
New York Times: Where Americans Live Far From the Emergency Room
New York Times: N.Y.C. Deaths Reach 6 Times the Normal Level, Far More Than Coronavirus Count Suggests
Vox: How the US stacks up to other countries in confirmed coronavirus cases
Washington Post: U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19

What to Watch For

President Trump will meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the White House at 11:00 AM.  He will deliver remarks on the Paycheck Protection Program with small business owners in the Rose Garden at 3:00 PM.  Vice President Pence will tour the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota today.  The coronavirus task force does not have a press briefing scheduled today.  

Must Read Stories

Trump Rolls Out Insufficient “New” Testing Plan Same As The Old Testing Plan 

  • New York Times: Trump Vows More Coronavirus Testing, but Less Than What May Be Needed: President Trump, under growing pressure to expand coronavirus testing as states move to reopen their economies, unveiled a new plan on Monday to ramp up the federal government’s help to states, but his proposal runs far short of what most public health experts say is necessary. Mr. Trump’s announcement in the Rose Garden came after weeks of him insisting, inaccurately, that the nation’s testing capability “is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country,” as he said on April 18. Numerous public health experts say that is untrue, and Mr. Trump’s plan may do little to fix it.
  • Bloomberg: Virus Testing Shortages Undermine Drive to Restart U.S. Economy: As President Donald Trump has alternated between leading the outbreak response and saying states should figure it out on their own, scenes of fierce competition and uneven access to coronavirus testing and supplies are playing out across America. With more states pushed toward reopening on Monday, experts warn that U.S. testing capacity, while improved, remains a fraction of what it should be. Adding to the uncertainty, the Trump administration has batted to the states the responsibility for a testing crisis that was months in the making. The White House maintained that stance on Monday even as it advanced a plan to ramp up testing, with a goal to provide enough tests to all 50 states for at least 2% of their residents.
  • Bloomberg: White House Turns to Corporate America to Fix Testing Shortfall: The Trump administration is leaning heavily on the nation’s drug retailers and lab-testing companies to try to solve a problem that has vexed it since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic: Getting mass testing up and running smoothly. Expanding on an earlier effort to ramp up testing in store parking lots, the White House on Monday revealed plans to partner with Walmart Inc., CVS Health Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and other chain retailers and diagnostics companies to put testing facilities in place nationwide. If successful, it could amount to the biggest expansion yet of testing capacity in the U.S. But the new push also comes months into an outbreak that has sickened nearly a million Americans and shut in much of the broader economy.

Yet Again, New Reporting Shows That Trump Was Warned Of The Threat From Coronavirus And Did Nothing For Weeks 

Washington Post: President’s Intelligence Briefing Book Repeatedly Cited Virus Threat: U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.

Trump Is Racing Ahead On Reopening Before We’re Ready — With Potentially Devastating Consequences 

  • ABC: Trump Encourages Governors To ‘Seriously Consider’ Reopening Schools: As states continue to roll out plans to reopen their economies, President Donald Trump told governors during a Monday phone call that they should also “seriously consider” reopening their schools. “Some of you might start thinking about school openings. Because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” Trump told governors, according to a recording of the call obtained by ABC News. “So a lot of people are thinking about the school openings.” The president added the governors should “seriously consider” it and “maybe get going on it.”
  • Bloomberg: White House Urges Reopening Despite Outbreaks at Warehouses: The White House is urging businesses to open their doors again in hopes of triggering a swift revival of the U.S. economy, despite warning signs that nationwide reopenings may be premature. Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said Monday the White House has data showing that essential businesses over the past four weeks have begun to operate without major coronavirus flare-ups. He said it is likely safe for non-essential businesses to reopen as well. “It looks like people have figured out how to get back to work and to do so safely,” Hassett said during an interview with CNBC. “We’ll figure out what practices we need to engage in in order to operate safely.” However, the White House declined to provide the data that Hassett cited. And over the past two weeks, outbreaks have been reported at meatpacking plants, distribution centers and warehouses across the country that have remained open.
  • Bloomberg: OSHA Inspectors Are Key to Re-Opening. Their Ranks Are at a 45-Year Low: As President Donald Trump pushes to restart the economy, the federal agency that’s supposed to protect employees from workplace hazards has been operating with historically low staffing. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had only 862 inspectors at the start of the year, the smallest number since 1975, according to a report by the pro-labor, nonprofit National Employment Law Project. The total was down from 952 in 2016 and a historic high of 1,469 in 1980. “They cannot return people to work until they protect workers on the job, and they can’t protect workers on the job with voluntary guidelines,” the report’s author Deborah Berkowitz, who served as OSHA chief of staff under President Barack Obama, said in an interview.
  • Politico: Trump Faces The Risk Of A Coronavirus Cliff: Republicans are trying to pull off a high-wire act over the next three months: Reopen the economy enough to get most jobless Americans back to work and off the public dole, while resisting another giant stimulus package. If they fail, they’ll face a coronavirus cliff — an even deeper collapse in spending and sky-high unemployment in the months before Election Day. That could both damage President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects and put the party’s Senate majority at serious risk

Trump And The GOP Are Hanging States Out To Dry

  • Bloomberg: Trump Questions Whether U.S. Should Aid ‘Democrat’ States: President Donald Trump questioned whether the federal government should provide financial assistance to “poorly run” states led by Democrats on Monday, again framing the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak in partisan terms. Trump appeared to align himself with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said Congress shouldn’t debate relief to cash-strapped states until legislators reconvene in May. The Kentucky Republican has suggested states with large pension obligations under union contracts should be forced into bankruptcy instead of receiving federal aid.
  • HuffPost: William Barr Says Feds Are ‘On The Lookout’ For ‘Overbearing’ Coronavirus Restrictions: Attorney General William Barr ordered federal prosecutors to “be on the lookout” for coronavirus-related measures from states and localities that could infringe upon Americans’ constitutional rights and civil liberties. In a memo to the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division as well as all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country, Barr indicated that the Trump administration may take legal action against state and local governments that impose excessive restrictions on citizens because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Politico: McConnell Dangles Aid To States — With A Catch: Mitch McConnell is open to cutting a deal to provide reeling states and cities with relief during the pandemic-fueled recession. But it will come at a price. In an interview on Monday, the Senate majority leader said it’s “highly likely” the next coronavirus response bill will aid local governments whose budgets have been decimated by lockdowns and now face spiraling deficits. But to unlock that money, McConnell said he will “insist” Congress limit the liabilities of health care workers, business owners and employees from lawsuits as they reopen in the coming weeks and months.
  • Axios: The Geographic Inequity Of Small Business Coronavirus Aid: The second round of Payroll Protection Program loans for small businesses got under way Monday — and disparities between the haves and the have-nots are becoming more stark. Small businesses in the Midwest, notably Nebraska, got a big share of the loans. But states like New York and California — hit hard by the coronavirus economic shut down — came up comparably short.

Worth Watching

States and cities may be seriously undercounting the number of victims of the pandemic: 

  • New York Times: N.Y.C. Deaths Reach 6 Times the Normal Level, Far More Than Coronavirus Count Suggests
  • Washington Post: U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19

Other News

Trump’s Failures 

ABC: Trump encourages governors to ‘seriously consider’ reopening schools
Associated Press: The US reopening is coming, but ‘normal’ is still a ways off
Bloomberg: Virus Testing Shortages Undermine Drive to Restart U.S. Economy
Bloomberg: White House Urges Reopening Despite Outbreaks at Warehouses
Bloomberg: White House Turns to Corporate America to Fix Testing Shortfall
Bloomberg: U.S. Floats Doubling Up Antibody Tests to Improve Accuracy
Bloomberg: OSHA Inspectors Are Key to Re-Opening. Their Ranks Are at a 45-Year Low
CNN: White House may scale back coronavirus task force meetings soon, source says
Daily Beast: Where Has Jared Kushner Gone in the Fight Against Coronavirus?
NBC: White House effort to shift toward economy yields mixed messages
Politico: Trump looks to Hope Hicks as coronavirus crisis spills over
Politico: Trump cuts U.S. research on bat-human virus transmission over China ties
Politico: Trump Faces The Risk Of A Coronavirus Cliff:
Time: With Limited Supplies, Pentagon Prioritizes Most Vital Personnel for COVID-19 Testing
Vox: The US needs more urgency on developing a coronavirus vaccine
Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Has Enough Tests for 2% of Each State’s Population, Official Says
Washington Post: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
Washington Post: White House moves to refocus Trump after bleach controversy at coronavirus briefing
Washington Post (Analysis): The pandemic and the waning of American prestige
Yahoo: Trump administration preparing to launch federal coronavirus antibody testing project in New York City

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation 

CNN: Fact check: Trump litters his weekend tweetstorm with bizarre false claims
Daily Beast: Kansas Man Chugged Cleaning Product After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments
Daily Beast: Fox News Cuts Ties With Diamond & Silk, Unofficial Trump ‘Advisers’ Who Spread Bonkers Coronavirus Claims
New York Times: 260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Virus
New York Times: Briefings Were ‘Not Worth the Time,’ Trump Said. But He Couldn’t Stay Away.
Vox: Trump used his latest coronavirus briefing to push a bizarre lie about the deficit

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 

Axios: The geographic inequity of small business coronavirus aid
Bloomberg: Pandemic Watchdog Activates Site to Track Trillions in Spending
Bloomberg: Trump Questions Whether U.S. Should Aid ‘Democrat’ States
Bloomberg: McConnell Demands Liability Protections in Next Coronavirus Bill
CNBC: Investment firms spent millions lobbying Trump administration and Congress on coronavirus relief bill
HuffPost: No, The Stimulus Benefits Aren’t Turning Workers Into Lazy Freeloaders
HuffPost: William Barr Says Feds Are ‘On The Lookout’ For ‘Overbearing’ Coronavirus Restrictions
NBC: Firms with Trump links or worth $100 million got small business loans
Politico: McConnell dangles aid to states — with a catch
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Relief Often Pays Workers More Than Work
Washington Post: Companies’ use of thermal cameras to speed return to work sparks worries about civil liberties


Buzzfeed: Georgia, Tennessee, And Alaska Want Restaurants To Reopen — McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, And Dunkin’ Are Saying Not So Fast.
Wall Street Journal: Biggest Hurdle to Bringing People Back to the Office Might Be the Commute
Wall Street Journal: Detroit Car Makers Target May 18 U.S. Restart Date

Campaigns and Elections

Associated Press: AP-NORC poll: Rising support for mail voting amid pandemic
Buzzfeed: Republicans May Undermine Mail-In Voting Just By Running Down The Clock
FiveThirtyEight: Few States Are Prepared To Switch To Voting By Mail. That Could Make For A Messy Election.
New York Times: New York Board of Elections Cancels Democratic Presidential Primary
Politico: ‘Republicans need to get serious’: 2020 vote-by-mail battle heats up
Washington Post: Maryland prepares for unprecedented test of mail-in voting amid pandemic


Politico: House Democrats decry ‘dangerous’ return to Capitol
Washington Post: House and Senate on collision course over coronavirus response as leaders map out conflicting agendas

Democratic Response 

Bloomberg: Joe Biden Calls for More Virus Testing, Public Health Jobs Corps
The Hill: Democratic Senate campaign arm hits McConnell over bankruptcy comments in new ad
New York Times (Opinion): Trump Called the Postal Service a ‘Joke.’ I’m Trying to Save It.

Economic Impact

The Atlantic: The Pandemic Will Change American Retail Forever
Axios: Trump economic adviser: Second-quarter GDP decline will be “worst since the Great Depression”
Bloomberg: Mortgage Chaos Threatens to Worsen Once It’s Time for Repayments


NBC: Tyson Foods chairman warns that ‘the food supply chain is breaking’
Wall Street Journal: Pork Industry, USDA Discuss Euthanizing Hogs After Coronavirus Closes Plants

Health Impact

Vox: Coronavirus has created a crisis for primary care doctors and their patients

Hospitals and Health Care Workers

Kaiser Health News: Widely Used Surgical Masks Are Putting Health Care Workers At Serious Risk
New York Times: Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide
USA Today: Coronavirus strains cash-strapped hospitals, could cause up to 100 to close within a year
Washington Post: Amid coronavirus distress, wealthy hospitals hoard millions


American Prospect: When It Comes to Coronavirus Deaths, Race Matters
Bloomberg: More Covid Testing for Minorities Is Key to Opening U.S. Economy
Mother Jones: The Dangers of Covering Your Face While Black
New York Times: Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality
Newsweek: National Latino, Immigration Groups Say Trump Left Latinos Out Of Coronavirus Aid, Ask Congress For More Help
USA Today: Native American tribes have been hit hard by coronavirus, and they’re battling red tape to get help


ABC: World’s 2nd-largest continent Africa sees steep rise in coronavirus cases

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