May 1, 2020
Driving the Day:
By the Numbers
Friday, May 1, 2020, 7:30 AM
Number of US cases reported: 1,070,032
Number of US deaths: 63,019
Total Number of People Tested in US: 6,231,182 (may not include all labs) Stat: Projecting Covid-19 death tolls is as difficult as ever. Comparing them to other causes of death is easier — and staggering
What to Watch For
President Trump will hold an event at the White House celebrating “Hard Work, Heroism, and Hope” at 4:15 PM before departing for a weekend at Camp David. Trump returns from Camp David on Sunday for a Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial. The coronavirus task force does not have a briefing scheduled today, but Kayleigh McEnany will hold her first press briefing as White House Press Secretary at 2:00 PM.
Must Read Stories
While The White House Tries To Declare Victory, DHS And VA Order Hundreds Of Thousands Of New Body Bags
- NBC: While Trump Minimizes The Toll, Government Orders 100,000 New Body Bags: The federal government placed orders for well over 100,000 new body bags to hold victims of COVID-19 in April, according to internal administration documents obtained by NBC News, as well as public records. The biggest set was earmarked for purchase the day after President Donald Trump projected that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus might not exceed 50,000 or 60,000 people.
- Politico: VA Orders $300,000 Worth Of Body Bags: The Department of Veterans Affairs ordered nearly $300,000 worth of body bags this month, according to a contracting document reviewed by POLITICO. The department ordered the body bags from a major contractor called ISO Group because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the site. The contract was reached on April 15. The order came as the VA has seen a growing number of deaths due to the pandemic. More than 8,500 patients of the VA have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and nearly 500 have died, according to data on the department’s website Thursday morning. The number of confirmed cases has grown by 3,000 since the contract was inked on April 15.
- New York Times: Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others: As he presides over the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic collapse, Mr. Trump has hosted or called many people affected by the devastation, including health company executives, sports commissioners, governors, cruise boat company heads, religious leaders, telecommunications executives and foreign heads of state. One category that has yet to make his list: Americans who have lost someone to the pandemic. As the death toll from the coronavirus over eight weeks surpasses the total American military casualties in eight years of major combat in Vietnam, Mr. Trump has led no national mourning. In his daily news conferences, he makes only perfunctory references to those who have died as he stiffly reads opening remarks, exhibiting more emotion when grieving his lost economic record than his lost constituents.
As The Unemployment Toll Of The Pandemic Soars Past 30 Million, Republicans Want To Strip Benefits And Force People Back To Work Without Protections
- NPR: A Staggering Toll: 30 Million Have Filed For Unemployment: Another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. While that’s down from the previous week’s 4.4 million, a staggering 30.3 million have applied for unemployment in the six weeks since the coronavirus began taking a wrecking ball to the U.S. job market.
- Washington Post: Republican-Led States Signal They Could Strip Workers’ Unemployment Benefits If They Don’t Return To Work, Sparking Fresh Safety Fears: Iowa, Oklahoma and other states reopening soon amid the coronavirus outbreak are issuing early warnings to their worried workers: Return to your jobs or risk losing unemployment benefits. The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days, reflecting their anxious attempts to jump-start local economic recovery roughly two months after most businesses shut their doors. In Iowa, for example, state officials even have posted a public call for companies to get in touch if an “employee refuses to return to work.” For some states, the concern is that residents who are offered their old jobs back simply may not accept them, choosing instead to continue tapping historically generous unemployment aid.
- Business Insider: ‘Over Our Dead Bodies’: Lindsey Graham Vows Congress Won’t Extend Additional $600 Coronavirus-related Unemployment Benefits, As Us Death Toll Crosses The 60,000 Mark: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday Congress would extend the additional $600 unemployment benefit provided in the coronavirus relief package past July only “over our dead bodies.” His remarks came the day that the US passed 60,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus, by far the largest reported death toll in the world.
- New York Times: States Made It Harder to Get Jobless Benefits. Now That’s Hard to Undo: The state unemployment systems that were supposed to help millions of jobless workers were full of boxes to check and mandates to meet that couldn’t possibly apply in a pandemic. States required workers to document their job searches, weekly; to register with employment services, in person; to take a wait period before their first check, up to 10 days. Such requirements increased in the years following the Great Recession, as many states moved to tighten access to or reduce unemployment benefits. With them, most states cut the share of jobless workers they helped. Now these requirements have been getting in the way. Effectively, many states have been trying to scale up aid with systems built to keep claims low.
Trump’s Lies About Testing Rated “Pants On Fire”
Politifact: Donald Trump’s Claim That Us Tested More Than All Countries Combined Is Pants On Fire Wrong: Trump claimed that the United States has “tested more than every country combined.” There is no reasonable way to conclude that the American system has run more diagnostics than “all other major countries combined.” Just by adding up a few other nations’ totals, you can quickly see Trump’s claim fall apart. Plus, focusing on the 5 million figure distracts from the real issue — by any meaningful metric of diagnosing and tracking, the United States is still well behind countries like Germany and Canada. The president’s claim is not only inaccurate but also ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire!
Fraud And Cronyism Are Running Rampant In Trump’s Pandemic Response
- Bloomberg: Justice Department Sees Early Fraud Signs in SBA Loan Flurry: The Justice Department has begun a preliminary inquiry into how taxpayer money was lent out under the Paycheck Protection Program and has already found possible fraud among businesses seeking relief, a top official said. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, who runs the department’s criminal division, said prosecutors have contacted 15 to 20 of the largest loan processors and the Small Business Administration, which oversees one relief program, as part of an effort to police the trillions of dollars in federal aid being pushed out hastily to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Washington Post: Justice Dept. Scrutinizes White House-Connected Doctor Linked To Disputed Coronavirus Treatment: Federal prosecutors are examining the communications of a Long Island family doctor who appears frequently on Fox News and has been in touch with the White House to tout an anti-malarial as a treatment for the novel coronavirus, according to people contacted as part of the inquiry.
- Washington Post: Well-Connected Trump Alumni Benefit From Coronavirus Lobbying Rush: As lobbyists blitz Washington for a piece of the massive federal response to the global pandemic, a group of former Trump administration officials and campaign alumni are in the center of the action, helping private interests tap into coveted financial and regulatory relief programs. Businesses hit hard by the virus and health-care manufacturers seeking approval for their products have rushed to hire Trump alumni, who are leveraging their connections in a variety of ways — helping get their clients designated as “essential” services and securing meetings at the White House and federal agencies on their behalf, federal filings show. In all, at least 25 former officials who once worked for the Trump administration, campaign or transition team are now registered as lobbyists for clients with novel coronavirus needs, according to The Washington Post’s analysis of federal lobbying records and employment data compiled by ProPublica.
What’s the matter with Texas? The Lonestar State recorded its highest number as of deaths as the state prepares for reopening and workers are expected to go back to work without child care.
- Houston Chronicle: Texas reports most deaths in a day from COVID-19 as Gov. Abbott prepares to drop stay-home order
- Texas Tribune: Texas sending restaurant and retail employees back to work without child care
- Texas Tribune: Texas A&M and University of Texas systems expect to reopen in the fall, and A&M says it will play football
Axios: Hogan says National Guard is protecting coronavirus tests sent from South Korea
Bloomberg: West Point Graduates to Be in ‘Safety Bubble’ Before Trump Visit
Bloomberg: U.S. Spies See No Human Role in Making or Modifying Coronavirus
Bloomberg: White House Uses Data Collected By Journalists to Count Virus Tests
CNN: Expert report predicts up to two more years of pandemic misery
The Hill: Governors in all 50 states get better marks than Trump for COVID response
NBC: White House declares success while experts say the coronavirus fight isn’t over
NBC: While Trump minimizes the toll, government orders 100,000 new body bags
New York Times: Pence Visits Ventilator Plant in Indiana, This Time Wearing a Mask
New York Times: Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others
Politico: Trump administration readies PPE shipments to nursing homes ravaged by virus
Politico: VA orders $300,000 worth of body bags
Time: Trump Told America’s Governors They Were On Their Own. So Maryland’s Larry Hogan Is Taking Charge
Washington Post: U.S. officials crafting retaliatory actions against China over coronavirus as President Trump fumes
Washington Post: Pence staff threatens action against reporter who tweeted about visit to clinic without surgical mask
Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
CNN: Fact check: Trump makes a bunch of false claims after event about protecting seniors
CNN: Fact check: Hilton CEO shatters Trump’s testing conspiracy theory while sitting beside him
New York Times: Trump’s Disinfectant Talk Trips Up Sites’ Vows Against Misinformation
Politifact: Donald Trump’s claim that US tested more than all countries combined is Pants on Fire wrong
Vox: Trump is blaming Obama for leaving him with “broken tests” for a virus that didn’t exist. Yes, really.
Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You
Bloomberg: Justice Department Sees Early Fraud Signs in SBA Loan Flurry
Bloomberg: Trump Hails Kushner’s PPE Airlift, But Details of Sales Are Secret
Business Insider: ‘Over our dead bodies’: Lindsey Graham vows Congress won’t extend additional $600 coronavirus-related unemployment benefits, as US death toll crosses the 60,000 mark
New York Times: States Made It Harder to Get Jobless Benefits. Now That’s Hard to Undo.
Politico: Wearing a mask is for smug liberals. Refusing to is for reckless Republicans.
Politico: Rick Scott escalates feud with Andrew Cuomo
Politico: Tiny airports rake in big cash after botched stimulus formula
Texas Tribune: Texas sending restaurant and retail employees back to work without child care
Washington Post: Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment
Washington Post: Republican-led states signal they could strip workers’ unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, sparking fresh safety fears
Washington Post: Republican official worries voters aren’t giving GOP senators sufficient credit for pandemic aid
Washington Post: Well-connected Trump alumni benefit from coronavirus lobbying rush
Washington Post (Opinion): Our meat is more important than meatpacking workers, according to Trump
CNN: With new coronavirus tracker, Apple and Google may finally get their big break in health care
McClatchy: No canvassing, no problem: Liberal groups launch letter-writing campaign to reach infrequent voters
Vox: Elizabeth Warren has a plan to end mask and medicine shortages amid the Covid-19 crisis
HuffPost: School Districts Are Preparing To Lay Off Thousands Amid Coronavirus-Related Budget Shortfalls
Texas Tribune: Texas A&M and University of Texas systems expect to reopen in the fall, and A&M says it will play football
Washington Post: As produce rots in the field, one Florida farmer and an army of volunteers combat ‘a feeling of helplessness’ — one cucumber at a time
NBC: Why are so many black-owned small businesses shut out of PPP loans?
New York Times: As Georgia Reopens, Virus Study Shows Black Residents May Bear Brunt
Vox: The “women’s work” of the pandemic
In the States
Des Moines Register: Coronavirus is hitting Iowa harder than many of its bordering states
Houston Chronicle: Texas reports most deaths in a day from COVID-19 as Gov. Abbott prepares to drop stay-home order
New York Times: ‘There’s No Way We Can Bury Or Cremate Them Fast Enough’
New York Times: Frustrated by Crowds, Coastal States Weigh What to Do About Beaches
Texas Tribune: Texas still won’t say which nursing homes have COVID-19 cases. Families are demanding answers.
Daily Beast: Trump World Star and Budding Conspiracy Theorist Lead Protest of Michigan’s Virus Lockdown
Detroit News: Protesters, some armed, enter Michigan Capitol in rally against COVID-19 limits
Science and Technology
Los Angeles Times: He was symptom-free. But the coronavirus stayed in his body for 40 days
New York Times: Old Drugs May Find a New Purpose: Fighting the Coronavirus
Politico: CDC eyes tracking coronavirus through human waste
CNN: This is the most dangerous place in the grocery store
Trump Tweets Over 120 MILLION Economic Impact Payments have already gone out to hardworking Americans! If you haven’t yet received your payment, go to http://IRS.gov and click on “GET MY PAYMENT” to receive your money FAST! [@realDonaldTrump, 4/30/20]
We can’t let the Fake News, and their partner, the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, get away with stealing the Election. They tried that in 2016. How did that work out? [@realDonaldTrump, 4/30/20]
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