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Coronavirus Update
May 8, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Friday, May 8, 2020,  7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,256,972
Number of US deaths: 75,670
Total Number of People Tested in US: 8,105,513 (may not include all labs) 

Buzzfeed: These ZIP Code-Level Maps Show The Places Hit Hardest By COVID-19
Stat: A snapshot of coronavirus in the U.S.: A high plateau of new cases portends more spread
Washington Post: Where Americans are still staying at home the most

What to Watch For

President Trump will participate in a wreath laying ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of V-E Day at the World War II Memorial at 11:30 AM and will meet with Republican members of Congress at the White House at 1:00 PM.  Vice President Pence travels to Iowa today for meetings with faith leaders on reopening houses of worship and with food producers and retailers.  Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a press briefing at 12:30 PM today. 

Must Read Stories

Trump’s “Travel Ban” Was Poorly Executed, Didn’t Work, And May Have Spread The Virus 

New York Times
: Screenings Were Porous As Trump Spurred Exodus From Virus Hot Spots: 
President Trump’s go-to defense of his early response to the coronavirus is his decision to close down travel from China, the virus’s original epicenter, and then from ravaged Europe. But those hasty decisions led to exoduses of American citizens, with packed, chaotic airports and, according to a new congressional report, porous screenings for passengers who could have been bringing the coronavirus home with them. Medical officials on contract from the Department of Homeland Security checked the temperature of just 10 percent of more than 250,000 travelers at U.S. airports arriving from travel-restricted countries during a 10-week span from January to March, according to a report released Thursday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee, undercutting one of the centerpieces of Mr. Trump’s argument that his administration responded aggressively to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Politico: House Investigators Find Holes In Early Virus Screening Of Passengers: House investigators have uncovered what they say are significant gaps in early U.S. attempts to prevent the arrival of coronavirus cases from abroad, particularly among efforts to screen air travelers returning from hot spots like Italy and South Korea at the onset of the global outbreak. The State Department unveiled a requirement on March 3 that all returning passengers from those countries be screened for fever and symptoms. But U.S. officials opted to rely on their foreign counterparts to conduct those screenings — and depended primarily on airport visits and verbal commitments to ensure they were done, investigators found.

Americans Know The Truth — We’re Not Ready For Rushed Reopening 

  • ABC: Reopening The Country Seen As Greater Risk Among Most Americans: Poll:  Americans, by a large 30-point margin, are resistant to re-opening the country now, believing the risk to human life of opening the country outweighs the economic toll of remaining under restrictive lockdowns — a concern that starkly divides along partisan lines, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos released Friday. In the new poll, conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, nearly two-thirds of Americans said they more closely align with the view that opening the county now is not advantageous since it will result in a higher death toll, while slightly more than one-third agree with the belief that an immediate reopening is beneficial to minimize the negative impact on the economy.
  • CNN: Two-thirds Of Americans Concerned States Will Lift Restrictions Too Quickly: More than two-thirds of Americans — 68% — are concerned about their respective states being reopened too quickly, and with a growing partisan divide, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center. Pew asked respondents which was their greater worry: opening up too soon or leaving restrictions in place too long. Nearly a third (31%) view restrictions not being lifted quickly enough as the greater concern. Republicans are increasingly becoming more likely to see not opening up quickly enough as a greater concern while Democrats remain steadfast in the worry that states will reopen too quickly. As some states begin reopening at the urging of President Donald Trump, tensions are rising with Americans worried that this will increase cases in the US and lead to a “second wave” of increased coronavirus cases.
  • New York Times: Most States That Are Reopening Fail to Meet White House Guidelines: More than half of U.S. states have begun to reopen their economies or plan to do so soon. But most fail to meet criteria recommended by the Trump administration to resume business and social activities. The White House’s guidelines are nonbinding and ultimately leave states’ fates to governors. The criteria suggest that states should have a “downward trajectory” of either documented coronavirus cases or of the percentage of positive tests. Public health experts expressed criticism because “downward trajectory” was not defined and the metrics do not specify a threshold for case numbers or positive rates. Still, most states that are reopening fail to adhere to even those recommendations: In more than half of states easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both, raising concerns among public health experts.

Senate GOP Pushes Trump Administration To Step Up Testing 

  • Politico: ‘Not Nearly Enough’ Coronavirus Testing To Safely Reopen, Senate Health Chair Says: Millions more coronavirus tests will be needed to safely reopen the country, the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee said at a hearing Thursday. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called the more than 7 million diagnostic tests run to date “impressive, but not nearly enough” adding “there is no safe path forward to combat the novel coronavirus without adequate testing.”
  • CNN: Senate GOP Breaks With Trump’s Message On Covid-19 Testing: ‘We Ought To Step It Up’: President Donald Trump likes to boast about how well testing for Covid-19 is going in the United States, saying just this week: “We have the greatest testing in the world.” “We have so much testing,” Trump told reporters on the south lawn of the White House. “I don’t think you need that kind of testing or that much testing, but some people disagree with me and some people agree with me.” On Capitol Hill, many Republicans don’t agree. A wide range of GOP senators on Thursday had a far different message: Much more needs to be done to ramp up testing before the country can safely reopen. “We ought to step it up,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican of Alabama, told CNN. “We ought to make the test as quickly as we can, accelerate it and do it. I think it’s key to getting people back to give them confidence and also ascertaining who is carrying the virus.”

Trump Administration Botches Distribution Of Remdesivir Angering Doctors And Slowing Study 

: Trump Officials’ Dysfunction Harms Delivery Of Coronavirus Drug: 
A complete breakdown in communication and coordination within the Trump administration has undermined the distribution of a promising treatment, according to senior officials with direct knowledge of the discussions. The drug, remdesivir, hasn’t made it to some of the high-priority hospitals where it’s most needed, and administration officials have responded by shifting blame and avoiding responsibility, sources said.

Politico: Frustrated Doctors Push Administration To Reveal Which Hospitals Are Getting Remdesivir — And Why: Doctors across the country are demanding that the Trump administration explain how it is distributing the sole drug proven to help coronavirus patients to hospitals. Physicians and infectious-disease experts say that the government has so far ignored some medical centers that are treating large numbers of coronavirus patients. The drug’s maker, Gilead, has donated an unspecified number of doses to the government, which has put HHS and FEMA in charge of doling out the drug to hospitals. So far the rollout has been chaotic. About 25 hospitals have been approved to receive the drug, but doctors say it’s not clear how the government — through its contractor, AmerisourceBergen — is making those decisions. A spokesperson for the company said the administration is choosing which facilities receive the drug and how much they get.

Washington Post: Trump Administration Pushed Use Of Remdesivir, But Unequal Rollout Angers Doctors: The rollout of the first and only treatment for covid-19 is being criticized by doctors across the country as confusing, unfair and marred by incomplete medical information, just a week after its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, and the Trump administration raised hopes by announcing that the drug shortened hospital stays of some patients. Demand for remdesivir exploded after the Food and Drug Administration, citing the results, made an emergency use authorization for the experimental drug. The Trump administration has maintained control of distribution of the drug, which is in limited supply. Doctors in several hospitals, including some that have seen surges in people with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, say they cannot get access to remdesivir for their patients — and that they don’t understand the process for obtaining the drug.

Trump And The GOP Won’t Help Those Who Need It The Most 

  • The Hill: House GOP Urge Trump Against Supporting Additional Funding For State And Local Governments: Top conservatives in the House are urging President Trump not to support additional funding for state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief bill, arguing that many of the states seeking financial support were economically mismanaged prior to the pandemic. 
  • New York Times: Jobless Aid Fuels Partisan Divide Over Next Pandemic Rescue Package: Democrats hope to extend a program that increased unemployment benefits by $600 a week. Republicans have criticized it as overly generous, creating a disincentive to work.
  • New York Times: As Hunger Swells, Food Stamps Become a Partisan Flash Point: New research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Among mothers with young children, nearly one-fifth say their children are not getting enough to eat, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution, a rate three times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession. The reality of so many Americans running out of food is an alarming reminder of the economic hardship the pandemic has inflicted. But despite their support for spending trillions on other programs to mitigate those hardships, Republicans have balked at a long-term expansion of food stamps — a core feature of the safety net that once enjoyed broad support but is now a source of a highly partisan divide. Democrats want to raise food stamp benefits by 15 percent for the duration of the economic crisis, arguing that a similar move during the Great Recession  reduced hunger and helped the economy. But Republicans have fought for years to shrink the program, saying that the earlier liberalization led to enduring caseload growth and a backdoor expansion of the welfare state.

Worth Watching

States were left holding the bag after Trump’s last “miracle” cure failed:

  • Associated Press: Malaria drug shows no benefit in another coronavirus study
  • Roll Call: States weigh what to do with millions of malaria pills
  • Bloomberg: Trump’s Virus Drug Whim Costs Millions, Even as the Mania Wanes

Other News

Trump’s Failures 

ABC: Pompeo changes tune on Chinese lab’s role in virus outbreak, as intel officials cast doubt
Axios: Trump officials’ dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug
Business Insider: Researcher testifies to Congress that not a single state meets Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security criteria to reopen safely
CNN: Senate GOP breaks with Trump’s message on Covid-19 testing: ‘We ought to step it up’
CNN: One of Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus
Daily Beast: Trump Wants a Quick Reopening. Data His Own White House Is Examining Shows It Could Be a Disaster
Military Times: Coronavirus survivors banned from joining the military
NPR: U.S. Coronavirus Testing Still Falls Short. How’s Your State Doing?
New York Times (Analysis): Does the Coronavirus Task Force Even Matter for Trump?
New York Times: He Had Never Sold a Ventilator. N.Y. Gave Him an $86 Million Deal.
New York Times: F.D.A. Bans Faulty Masks, 3 Weeks After Failed Tests
New York Times: Most States That Are Reopening Fail to Meet White House Guidelines
New York Times: White House Blocks C.D.C. Guidance Over Economic and Religious Concerns
New York Times: Government Orders Alone Didn’t Close the Economy. They Probably Can’t Reopen It.
New York Times: Screenings Were Porous as Trump Spurred Exodus From Virus Hot Spots
New York Times: White House Rattled by a Military Aide’s Positive Coronavirus Test
Politico: Frustrated doctors push administration to reveal which hospitals are getting remdesivir — and why
Politico: House investigators find holes in early virus screening of passengers
Politico: ‘Not nearly enough’ coronavirus testing to safely reopen, Senate health chair says
Reuters: Australia annoyed as U.S. pushes Wuhan lab COVID-19 theory
Washington Post: Trump tightens grip on coronavirus information as he pushes to restart the economy
Washington Post: Trump administration pushed use of remdesivir, but unequal rollout angers doctors
Washington Post (Analysis): The sharp hypocrisy of the White House position on testing

trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Associated Press: Malaria drug shows no benefit in another coronavirus study
Business Insider: Four months into the US outbreak, with over 70,000 reported deaths, Trump once again claims coronavirus will just ‘disappear’
Buzzfeed: The “Plandemic” Video Has Exploded Online — And It Is Filled With Falsehoods
New York Times: Criticized on Virus, Trump Goes to His Playbook: Deflect, Reject and Minimize
Roll Call: States weigh what to do with millions of malaria pills
Washington Post (Opinion): The big, ugly paradox hovering over Trump’s latest deceptions

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Arizona Republic: Sen. Martha McSally: Next coronavirus relief package should not be a ‘cash cow’ for mismanaged cities
Associated Press: Face masks make a political statement in era of coronavirus
The Hill: House GOP urge Trump against supporting additional funding for state and local governments
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin lost out on $25M in federal funding because GOP lawmakers waited to pass coronavirus relief bill
New York Times: Jobless Aid Fuels Partisan Divide Over Next Pandemic Rescue Package
New York Times: As Hunger Swells, Food Stamps Become a Partisan Flash Point
New York Times: Where the Small Business Relief Loans Have Gone
ProPublica: What Happened When Health Officials Wanted to Close a Meatpacking Plant, but the Governor Said No
Washington Post: Wisconsin chief justice sparks backlash by saying covid-19 outbreak is among meatpacking workers, not ‘the regular folks’
Washington Post: As Iowa reopens, workers are being forced to choose between a paycheck and their health

Campaigns and Elections 
New York Times: Knock, Knock, Who’s There? No Political Canvassers, for the First Time Maybe Ever
New York Times: Postal Service Pick With Ties to Trump Raises Concerns Ahead of 2020 Election
Politico: Trump intensifies war with Democrats over voting laws

Axios: Collins fears testing woes could make senators “super-spreaders”
New York Times: His Day Job: Cory Booker’s Top Aide. His Night One: E.M.S. Volunteer.
Politico: Pelosi to lay down multitrillion-dollar marker with new coronavirus package
Wall Street Journal: Work-From-Home Congress Also Can’t Figure Out How to Unmute
Washington Post: ‘We’re disease vectors’: Senators press for rapid coronavirus testing for lawmakers

Axios: States face economic death spiral from coronavirus
Bloomberg: Instacart’s Frantic Dash From Grocery App to Essential Service
Buzzfeed:  Grubhub Collected Record Fees From Restaurants Struggling To Stay Alive During The Pandemic
New York Times: The Jobs Report Friday Will Be a Portrait of Devastation
New York Times: Paid Leave Law Tries to Help Millions in Crisis. Many Haven’t Heard of It.

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Meatless May? Latino civil rights group launches meat boycott as coronavirus hits plant workers
Philadelphia Inquirer: Philly meat worker’s family sues over COVID-19 death. Suit says JBS boosted production in early pandemic with ‘Saturday kill.’

The Atlantic: Rural Southerners’ Disadvantage in the Fight Against COVID-19
New York Times: For Latinos and Covid-19, Doctors Are Seeing an ‘Alarming’ Disparity 
New York Times: Scrutiny of Social-Distance Policing as 35 of 40 Arrested Are Black
Vice: It Was Clear COVID-19 Would Hit Black People Hard. Yet Experts Stayed Silent

Wall Street Journal: Lack of Coronavirus Vaccine, Slumping Economy Squeeze Japan’s Olympics Plans
Wall Street Journal: Sweden Has Avoided a Coronavirus Lockdown. Its Economy Is Hurting Anyway.

In the States
Louisville Courier Journal: Rand Paul says Kentucky living under ‘dictatorship of Beshear.’ He urges reopening.
Wall Street Journal: New York Sets Plan to Reopen Its Economy. Will Other States Follow?
Washington Post: Smartphone data shows out-of-state visitors flocked to Georgia as restaurants and other businesses reopened
Washington Post: A Cincinnati neighborhood, beset by economic collapse and lifted by generosity

Nursing Homes
New York Times: Push for Profits Left Nursing Homes Struggling to Provide Care
Washington Post: Nursing home residents may account for one-half of all U.S. coronavirus deaths

ABC: Reopening the country seen as greater risk among most Americans: POLL
CNN: Two-thirds of Americans concerned states will lift restrictions too quickly
HuffPost: Here’s How Americans’ Views About The Pandemic Are Starting To Shift

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