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Coronavirus Update
April 29, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Wednesday, April 29, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,012,583
Number of US deaths: 58,355
Total Number of People Tested in US: 5,795,728 (may not include all labs) 

Daily Beast: Coronavirus Death Toll in Seven States May Be 9,000 Higher Than Official Figures Suggest
NPR: Coronavirus Has Now Killed More Americans Than Vietnam War
Vox: Phone data shows Americans are moving around more, despite social distancing orders
Washington Post: Covid-19 cases top 1 million in the United States, about a third of known cases worldwide

What to Watch For

President Trump will hold a phone call with food and agricultural leaders at 10:00 AM, meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana in the Oval Office at 11:00, and at 4:00 PM will hold a roundtable with industry executives on reopening the country. The coronavirus task force does not have a press briefing scheduled today. 

Must Read Stories

Nobody Believes In Trump’s New Testing “Plan”

  • Time: Trump Says U.S. Will Run 5 Million Daily Virus Tests ‘Very Soon.’ His Testing Chief Says That’s Impossible: President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that the U.S. will be able to carry out five million coronavirus tests per day, but the top official overseeing testing strategy told TIME earlier in the day that goal wasn’t feasible given current technology. Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health who is in charge of the government’s testing response, said during an interview on Tuesday morning that “there is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day.”
  • Associated Press: Experts Have Doubts About Coronavirus Testing Despite Trump’s Assurances: The White House released new guidelines aimed at answering criticism that America’s coronavirus testing has been too slow, and President Donald Trump tried to pivot toward a focus on “reopening” the nation. Still, there were doubts from public health experts that the White House’s new testing targets were sufficient.
  • Vox: America Still Needs More Coronavirus Testing. Trump’s New Plan Falls Short:  President Donald Trump’s new coronavirus testing overview and blueprint, announced Monday, read a lot like an abdication. The plan offers little in the way of actual assurances to the states while insisting that most of the work of scaling up testing will be left to them. It calls on states to develop their own plans and identify hurdles on their own. It says nothing specific about what steps — if any — the federal government will take to increase the number of tests, instead passing the buck to others. The federal government, the plan says, is merely a “supplier of last resort.” In fact, it’s not clear if the plan will significantly increase testing. In unveiling the plan on Monday, administration officials promised the US will reach at least 8 million tests a month by the end of May. That’s roughly 260,000 tests a day — barely more than the 220,000 a day that the US already averaged over the past week, based on the Covid Tracking Project, which is compiling testing numbers for every state.

The US Now Has More Than One Million Cases Of Coronavirus And More Deaths Than The Entire Vietnam War

  • Washington Post: Covid-19 Cases Top 1 Million In The United States, About A Third Of Known Cases Worldwide: Confirmed cases of covid-19 in the United States rose above 1 million Tuesday, representing about a third of known cases worldwide, as President Trump continued to defend his administration’s record on providing tests the country will need to reopen safely.
  • NPR: Coronavirus Has Now Killed More Americans Than Vietnam War: In not even three months since the first known U.S. deaths from COVID-19, more lives have now been lost to the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. soil than the 58,220 Americans who died over nearly two decades in Vietnam. Early Tuesday evening ET, the U.S. death toll reached 58,365, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Small Business Loan Program Reopened With The Same Old Delays And Technical Disasters While Mnuchin Announces New Bailout For Large Companies Without Job Requirements 

  • Wall Street Journal: Small-Business Loan Program Resumes With Reports of Delays: The U.S. government reopened the pipeline for small-business loans and grants Monday, triggering a fresh chorus of complaints from lenders and borrowers about delays and glitches plaguing the approval process. The Small Business Administration’s electronic loan portal was overwhelmed by demand shortly after it opened Monday morning, according to banking industry groups, that say the process was also stymied by last-minute changes in guidance on how to submit applications.
  • Washington Post: The U.S. Plans To Lend $500 Billion To Large Companies. It Won’t Require Them To Preserve Jobs Or Limit Executive Pay: A Federal Reserve program expected to begin within weeks will provide hundreds of billions in emergency aid to large American corporations without requiring them to save jobs or limit payments to executives and shareholders. Under the program, the central bank will buy up to $500 billion in bonds issued by large companies. The companies will use the influx of cash as a financial lifeline but are required to pay it back with interest. Unlike other portions of the relief for American businesses, however, this aid will be exempt from rules passed by Congress requiring recipients to limit dividends, executive compensation and stock buybacks and does not direct the companies to maintain certain employment levels. Critics say the program could allow large companies that take the federal help to reward shareholders and executives without saving any jobs. The program was set up jointly by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.

Leading By Example:  Mike Pence Visits Hospital And Flouts Rules Requiring Masks 

New York Times: Pence Tours Mayo Clinic and Flouts Its Rule That All Visitors Wear a Mask: The Mayo Clinic, the renowned medical center in Minnesota, has a clear policy in place during the coronavirus outbreak that any visitor should wear a protective face mask. But when a delegation of Trump administration officials arrived at the clinic on Tuesday to thank the doctors there for their work on the virus, one person decided to flout the rule: Vice President Mike Pence, the chairman of the White House coronavirus task force. Stephen M. Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, wore a mask as did other administration officials and members of the clinic’s staff. Mr. Pence stood out as the only person with his face uncovered as he toured the virology laboratory’s labeling area and spoke to a clinic staff member who had recovered from the coronavirus. Mr. Pence also participated in a round table with local officials and Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, who were also wearing masks

Worth Watching

Trump has ordered meat plants to stay open even as the virus rampages among workers putting entire communities at risk: 

  • Politico: Trump to order meat plants to stay open as worker deaths rise
  • Bloomberg: Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Slammed by Union
  • Washington Post: Virus spread at Virginia chicken plants alarms health officials
  • Washington Post (Analysis): Prisons and meat processors are hotbeds of coronavirus. One can’t close. The other won’t be allowed to.

Other News

Trump’s Failures

Associated Press: Experts have doubts about coronavirus testing despite Trump’s assurances
Bloomberg: Trump Says He May Order Virus Tests for International Travelers
NBC: Trump administration asks intelligence agencies to find out whether China, WHO hid info on coronavirus pandemic
NBC: Senior Chinese official challenges Trump over coronavirus response, says U.S. wasted weeks
New York Times (Analysis): Trump’s Response to Virus Reflects a Long Disregard for Science
New York Times: Trump Administration’s Message on Reopening Continues to Be Contradictory
Politico: ‘HHS has been kicked in the teeth’
Politico: Trump raises his virus death toll projection to up to 70,000 in U.S.
Politico: White House shuffles communications duties as it looks to reopening
Time: Trump Says U.S. Will Run 5 Million Daily Virus Tests ‘Very Soon.’ His Testing Chief Says That’s Impossible
Vox: The successful Asian coronavirus-fighting strategy America refuses to embrace
Vox: America still needs more coronavirus testing. Trump’s new plan falls short.
Washington Post: White House aides torn over trade hawk’s proposal as President Trump weighs action on China

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation 

CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely suggests he was right when he predicted ‘close to zero’ virus cases in February
Daily Beast: Trump and MAGA Boosters Rally Behind Diamond & Silk After Fox News Ouster

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 

Axios: McConnell says he won’t support infrastructure in coronavirus bill
Associated Press: Coronavirus in Iowa: State tells workers to return to jobs or lose their benefits
Bloomberg: Trump’s Rural Base Fared Better Than Coastal Cities in SBA Loans
Bloomberg: Pelosi, Schumer Reject Liability Limit for Companies That Reopen
Bloomberg: Mnuchin Says No Bailout for States With Badly Managed Budgets
Bloomberg: Trump Ties Virus Aid for States to Action on ‘Sanctuary’ Cities
Daily Beast: New Model Shows How Deadly Lifting Georgia’s Lockdown May Be
New York Times: Treasury Vows to Recoup Virus Relief Aid Claimed by Big Companies
New York Times: Ohio’s G.O.P. Governor Splits From Trump, and Rises in Popularity
New York Times: Pence Tours Mayo Clinic and Flouts Its Rule That All Visitors Wear a Mask
Politico: Trump to order meat plants to stay open as worker deaths rise
Popular Information: Corporate shield leaves workers exposed
Wall Street Journal: Small-Business Loan Program Resumes With Reports of Delays
Washington Post (Analysis): Prisons and meat processors are hotbeds of coronavirus. One can’t close. The other won’t be allowed to.
Washington Post: The U.S. plans to lend $500 billion to large companies. It won’t require them to preserve jobs or limit executive pay.

Affordability and Access
Kaiser Health News: COVID Tests Are Free, Except When They’re Not
Politico: The unlikely alliance trying to rescue workplace health insurance
Washington Post (Editorial): The country is paying a lot for the GOP’s Obamacare sabotage

Campaigns and Elections
Charlotte Observer: Charlotte approves $50M RNC grant. But leaders doubt convention can happen with COVID-19.
Politico: ‘The Nightmare Scenario’: How Coronavirus Could Make the 2020 Vote a Disaster

Buzzfeed: This US Lawmaker’s Billion-Dollar Company Gave Employees A Coronavirus Pay Raise — And Then Took It Away
The Hill: House reverses plan, will not return to Washington next week
New York Times (Opinion): How Congress Can Vote Remotely
San Francisco Chronicle: How Nancy Pelosi is staying safe during coronavirus pandemic

Democratic Response 
ABC: ‘Little or no transparency’: Warren wants data on White House medical supply program
Buzzfeed: The Coronavirus Is Forcing The Progressive Movement To Rethink Its Entire Strategy
NBC: Warren, Ocasio-Cortez propose halt to big mergers during coronavirus pandemic

Economic Impact
Associated Press: GDP report to show a damaged economy sliding into recession
Axios: Pandemic flattens the sharing economy
Wall Street Journal: ‘A Bargain With the Devil’—Bill Comes Due for Overextended Airbnb Hosts
Wall Street Journal: Even for Companies With Business From Coronavirus, the Picture Is Mixed at Best

New York Times: Despite Trump’s Nudging, Schools Are Likely to Stay Shut for Months
New York Times: DeVos Decides Against Special Education Waivers During the Pandemic

Bloomberg: Senators Ask FTC to Probe Meat-Industry Consolidation
Washington Monthly: Why Are Farmers Destroying Food While Grocery Stores Are Empty?
Washington Post: Virus spread at Virginia chicken plants alarms health officials

Health Impact
The Atlantic (Ideas): Medication Shortages Are the Next Crisis
Politico: How the coronavirus is upending medical privacy

Hospitals and Health Care Workers
Daily Beast: OSHA Complaints Flood in From COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers
New York Times: Marc Benioff’s $25 Million Blitz to Buy Protective Gear From China
New York Times: Hundreds of Miles From Home, Nurses Fight Coronavirus on New York’s Front Lines

Washington Post: Black activists and officials see a major threat in South’s plans to reopen

CNBC: Belgians urged to eat fries twice a week as coronavirus creates massive potato surplus
New York Times: Packed With Migrant Workers, Dormitories Fuel Coronavirus in Singapore
New York Times: China’s Factories Are Back. Its Consumers Aren’t.
Talking Points Memo: Germany’s Coronavirus Cases Tick Up After Lockdown Restrictions Loosen Up
Wall Street Journal: Don’t Use Cash, Eat Side by Side: South Korea’s Rulebook for Reopening

In the States
Bloomberg: Illinois Judge Rules Against State’s Stay-at-Home Order
Vox: Where the coronavirus is hitting rural America hard

Associated Press: With captive audience, cable news has big ratings in April

Nursing Homes
Associated Press: Nearly 70 dead in ‘horrific’ outbreak at veterans home
Mother Jones: “Nothing But Death”: Inside the Nursing Home Where NYC’s Most Vulnerable Struggle to Survive COVID-19

NPR: Poll: Half Of Americans Financially Affected By Coronavirus
PBS: Despite widespread economic hardship, most Americans not ready to reopen, poll says
Politico: Poll: Voters expect second wave of coronavirus cases

HuffPost: Health Care Workers Stand Up To Anti-Lockdown Protesters In North Carolina

Republican Campaigns
Politico: Tom Cotton targets China as 2024 maneuvering begins

New York Times: Can Estrog

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