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Coronavirus Update
May 7, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Thursday, May 7, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,228,609
Number of US deaths: 73,431
Total Number of People Tested in US: 7,759,771 (may not include all labs)  Axios: The U.S.’ coronavirus recovery is way behind Europe’s
New York Times (Opinion): Don’t Be Fooled by America’s Flattening Curve
New York Times (Opinion): Is It Safer to Visit a Coffee Shop or a Gym?

What to Watch For

President Trump will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas in the Oval Office at 2:00 PM today.  Trump will deliver remarks at the White House National Day of Prayer Service at 4:00.  Vice President Pence will deliver PPE to a skilled nursing facility in Virginia and will convene a meeting of the coronavirus task force today. 

Must Read Stories

Trump Gives Up And Declares Victory As More Than 2,000 Americans Die Every Day

  • Associated Press: Admin Shelves CDC Guide To Reopening Country: A set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day care centers and restaurants during the still-raging pandemic has been shelved by the Trump administration. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. 
  • New York Times (Analysis): Trump’s New Coronavirus Message: Time to Move On to the Economic Recovery:  Confronted with America’s worst public health crisis in generations, President Trump declared himself a wartime president. Now he has begun doing what past commanders have done when a war goes badly: Declare victory and go home. The war, however, does not seem over. Outside New York, the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is still growing, not receding. The latest death toll estimates have more than doubled from what Mr. Trump predicted just weeks ago. And polls show the public is not ready to restore normal life. But Mr. Trump’s cure-can’t-be-worse-than-the-disease logic is clear: As bad as the virus may be, the cost of the virtual national lockdown has grown too high. With more than 30 million people out of work and businesses collapsing by the day, keeping the country at home seems unsustainable. With the virus still spreading and no vaccine available until next year at the earliest, though, the president has decided that for life to resume for many, some may have to die.

Trump vs. Health Care:  Trump Disputes Nurse Who Reported PPE Shortages, Promises To “Terminate” Americans’ Health Care In The Middle Of Pandemic 

  • CNN: Trump Contradicts Nurse He’s Honoring Over PPE Availability: President Donald Trump contradicted a nurse he was honoring in the Oval Office on Wednesday, insisting there are no personal protective equipment shortages in the US despite her account that availability could be “sporadic.” […] Despite her firsthand experience, Trump disputed Thomas’ account. “Sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” the President told her. “Oh no, I agree, Mr. President,” she answered. “Because I’ve heard the opposite,” Trump said. “I have heard that they are loaded up with gowns now. We had empty shelves and empty nothing because it wasn’t put there by the last administration.”
  • Washington Post: Trump Vows Complete End Of Obamacare Law Despite Pandemic: President Trump said Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid a pandemic. “We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law. “Obamacare, we run it really well. . . . But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.”

Republicans Fall In Line Behind Trump — Questioning Death Counts And Blocking Science 

  • Politico: Republicans Praise Trump’s Pandemic Response With Senate Majority At Risk: Senate Republicans are settling on their pandemic message as they fight to save their majority: President Donald Trump did a tremendous job. The coronavirus has killed more than 70,000 Americans, tanked the once-soaring U.S. economy and shows no signs of abating. And Trump’s ineffective leadership is largely to blame, say Democrats who are growing optimistic they can seize the Senate after being relegated to the minority for six years. But nearly all GOP senators running for reelection have decided there’s little utility in breaking with the president, particularly after seeing some fellow Republicans collapse at the ballot box with such a strategy.
  • Politico: Trump Boosters: Don’t Believe The Coronavirus Death Toll: More than 70,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus — if you believe the government. An increasing number of conservatives are convinced the medical community and the media are inflating the coronavirus death toll for political purposes, despite nearly all evidence indicating that, if anything, the figure is an undercount.
  • Washington Post: Arizona Halts Partnership With Experts Predicting Coronavirus Cases Would Continue To Mount: Hours after Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, accelerated plans to reopen businesses, saying the state was “headed in the right direction,” his administration halted the work of a team of experts projecting it was on a different — and much grimmer — course. On Monday night, the eve of President Trump’s visit to the state, Ducey’s health department shut down the work of academic experts predicting the peak of the state’s coronavirus outbreak was still about two weeks away.

As The Virus Rampages At  Meat Packing Plants, Trump Administration Blames The Homes And “Social” Conditions Of Workers 

  • Politico: Azar Faulted Workers’ ‘Home And Social’ Conditions For Meatpacking Outbreaks: The country’s top health official downplayed concerns over the public health conditions inside meatpacking plants, suggesting on a call with lawmakers that workers were more likely to catch coronavirus based on their social interactions and group living situations, three participants said. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a bipartisan group that he believed infected employees were bringing the virus into processing plants where a rash of cases have killed at least 20 workers and forced nearly two-dozen plants to close, according to three people on the April 28 call. Those infections, he said, were linked more to the “home and social” aspects of workers’ lives rather than the conditions inside the facilities, alarming some on the call who interpreted his remarks as faulting workers for the outbreaks, the people said.
  • Bloomberg: Cold, Crowded, Deadly: Virus Stalks Workers at U.S. Meat Plants: The meat industry’s failure to protect its employees from the coronavirus has triggered the most serious threat to U.S. meat supplies since World War II. In recent weeks, 115 meat and poultry plants have reported Covid-19 infections in the U.S., and about 5,000 workers, 1% of the industry’s workforce, have been confirmed sick, with 20 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreaks were so severe that at least 18 plants shut down. U.S. beef and pork production capacity shrank 40% in April, says Will Sawyer, lead economist at agricultural lender CoBank. U.S. consumers, Sawyer predicts, could see 30% less meat in grocery stores by Memorial Day, at prices 20% higher than last year.

Worth Watching

Across the country employers and Republican leaders want to force workers back to work without protections: 

  • The Intercept: Ohio Government Invites Employers To Secretly Report “Work Refusal” Due To Coronavirus
  • CBS: Reopened restaurant told workers: Don’t wear face masks — or don’t work
  • Provo Daily Herald: 2 Utah County businesses told staff to ignore COVID-19 guidelines, resulting in 68 positive cases

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Associated Press: Admin shelves CDC guide to reopening country
CNN: Trump contradicts nurse he’s honoring over PPE availability
Bloomberg: Many States Fall Short of White House Reopening Criteria
Daily Beast: Kushner’s Screwed Up His COVID Jobs—Now He’s Got an Even Bigger One
Los Angeles Times: Trump calls Americans ‘warriors’ in fight to open the economy
New York Times (Analysis): Trump’s New Coronavirus Message: Time to Move On to the Economic Recovery
New York Times: No Virus Deaths by Mid-May? White House Economists Say They Didn’t Forecast Early End to Fatalities
Politico: Democrats demand intel on coronavirus origins
Politico: Republicans praise Trump’s pandemic response with Senate majority at risk
Stat: Doctors lambaste federal process for distributing Covid-19 drug remdesivir
Vox: Flattening the curve isn’t good enough
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Casts Deep Chill Over U.S.-China Relations
Washington Post (Analysis): When Trump covered for China’s alleged coronavirus coverup

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Axios: Trump and some top aides question accuracy of virus death toll
Bloomberg: Trump’s Virus Drug Whim Costs Millions, Even as the Mania Wanes
Bloomberg: Alphabet’s Verily Struggles to Live Up to Trump’s Hype on Covid Testing
NBC: ‘What are we doing this for?’: Doctors are fed up with conspiracies ravaging ERs
Politico: Trump boosters: Don’t believe the coronavirus death toll

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
CNN: Congress slow to oversee US response to crisis amid partisan battles
The Intercept: Ohio Government Invites Employers To Secretly Report “Work Refusal” Due To Coronavirus
New York Times: Firm Set Up by G.O.P. Operatives Under Scrutiny Over Virus Contracts
New York Times: Small Businesses Counting on Loan Forgiveness Could Be Stuck With Debt
Politico: Thousands of small businesses forced to wait for aid after lender snafu
Politico: Trump will urge Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare
Politico: Azar faulted workers’ ‘home and social’ conditions for meatpacking outbreaks
Popular Information: Return to work, or else
Talking Points Memo: Michigan Republicans Sue Whitmer Over New Stay-At-Home Order
Talking Points Memo: Trump’s DOJ Finds An ‘Ironic’ Hook For Its Pandemic Anti-Lockdown Crusade
Washington Post: Trump vows complete end of Obamacare law despite pandemic
Washington Post: Arizona halts partnership with experts predicting coronavirus cases would continue to mount
Washington Post: Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service
Washington Post: Justice Department investigates Blue Flame Medical after claims it failed to provide masks to Maryland, California

Affordability and Access
Axios: The high stakes of pricing a coronavirus drug
Bloomberg: Patients With Trump-Touted Coverage May Face Steep Virus Bills

Campaigns and Elections 
Washington Examiner: Presidential campaigns staying virtual even as battleground states open up

Economic Impact
CNBC: When will we be going to concerts and sporting events again? Here’s what experts are saying
Washington Post: Private payrolls lose 20.2 million jobs in April, worst drop in ADP report history
Washington Post: A massive drop in car sales sparks new push in Congress to aid the auto industry

Bloomberg: Cold, Crowded, Deadly: Virus Stalks Workers at U.S. Meat Plants
Bloomberg: Perdue Says U.S. Meatpacking Plants Should Reopen Within 10 Days

Health Impact
Wall Street Journal: CVS Warns of Surge in Non-Coronavirus Health Problems

Hospitals and Health Care Workers
CNN: While she treated coronavirus patients, the US denied her a green card
Stat (Opinion): I’m a nurse in a Covid-19 unit. My hospital’s leaders frighten me more than the virus

ABC: Tribes will begin to see some of coronavirus relief money owed by federal government
CNN: The people in power don’t look like the people hit hardest by Covid-19
CNN: Black communities account for disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths in the US, study finds
NBC: Native American health center asked for COVID-19 supplies. It got body bags instead.
Washington Post: Hispanics are almost twice as likely as whites to have lost their jobs amid pandemic, poll finds

The Atlantic (Ideas): What’s Behind South Korea’s COVID-19 Exceptionalism?
Financial Times: Putin backs plan to ease lockdown despite rise in Covid-19 cases
New York Times: Italy Is Reopening but Its Schools Aren’t. What’s a Parent to Do?
Wall Street Journal: How Germany Kept Its Factories Open During the Pandemic

In the States
CBS: Reopened restaurant told workers: Don’t wear face masks — or don’t work
CNN: California governor says retail stores in the state can begin to reopen Friday
Miami Herald: FDLE releases list of COVID-19 deaths. Top medical examiner calls it a sham.
New York Daily News: Two women shoot up Oklahoma McDonald’s, injure 2 employees after being told it’s closed, cops say
New York Times: Coronavirus Makes Cooling Centers Risky, Just as Scorching Weather Hits
New York Times: Travel From New York City Seeded Wave of U.S. Outbreaks
Politico: D.C.-area leaders go their own ways on coronavirus lockdowns
Provo Daily Herald: 2 Utah County businesses told staff to ignore COVID-19 guidelines, resulting in 68 positive cases

Personal Narratives
Buzzfeed: She Texted To Invite Her Friends Over “When This All Passes.” Two Days Later, She Died Of The Coronavirus.
New York Times: ‘An Anvil Sitting on My Chest’: What It’s Like to Have Covid-19
Washington Post: New York’s patron saint of PPE went $600,000 in debt to outfit workers — and hospitals keep turning her down

Science and Technology
New York Times: Hoping Llamas Will Become Coronavirus Heroes
Washington Post: Children are falling ill with perplexing inflammatory syndrome thought to be linked to covid-19

Social Impact
Bloomberg: Monday Is the New Weekend as Quarantined Households Binge on TV
New York Times: Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree.

HuffPost: Rent The Runway Is Risking Workers’ Lives To Ship Designer Dresses In A Pandemic

Trump Tweets 

The Fake News has reached an all time high! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/6/20]

The White House CoronaVirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, has done a fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future. Ventilators, which were few & in bad shape, are now being produced in the thousands, and we have many to spare. We are helping other countries which are desperate for them. Likewise, after having been left little, we are now doing more testing than all other countries combined, and with superior tests. Face masks & shields gloves, gowns etc. are now plentiful. The last four Governors teleconference calls have been conclusively strong. Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate. The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/6/20]

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