CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — MAY 12, 2020

18 mins read

Coronavirus Update
May 12, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,347,936
Number of US deaths: 80,684
Total Number of People Tested in US: 9,382,435 (may not include all labs)

What to Watch For

President Trump will meet with Republican members of the Senate at 4:00 PM.  Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a press briefing at 2:00 PM.  Anthony Fauci, Stephen Hahn, Robert Redfield and Brett Giroir will testify before the Senate HELP Committee at 10:00 AM. 

Must Read Stories

Dr. Fauci’s Warning 

  • New York Times: Fauci to Warn Senate of ‘Needless Suffering and Death’: Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a central figure in the government’s response to the coronavirus, intends to warn the Senate on Tuesday that Americans would experience “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up too quickly.


Another “Mission Accomplished” Moment From Trump As He Falsely Claims “We Have Prevailed”

  • New York Times: White House Orders Staff to Wear Masks as Trump Misrepresents Testing Record: The White House on Monday ordered all West Wing employees to wear masks at work unless they are sitting at their desks, an abrupt shift in policy after two aides working near the president — a military valet and Katie Miller, the vice president’s spokeswoman — tested positive for the coronavirus last week. […] The new White House policy on masks came as Mr. Trump tried to reinvent his government’s troubled history on testing for the coronavirus, claiming that the United States was “unmatched and unrivaled” in its testing capacity but ignoring the early failures to provide testing that allowed the virus to spread invisibly for months. Declaring once again that “if somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested,” Mr. Trump said that his administration was working with states to allow them to conduct 12.9 million tests in May, insisting that the testing ability in the United States compares favorably with other countries.
  • CNN: Fact Check: Trump Falsely Claims, Again, That Anybody Who Wants A Test Can Get One: On Monday, President Donald Trump made the same claim about coronavirus testing that he did in early March. “If somebody wants to be tested right now,” Trump said at a Monday news conference, “they’ll be able to be tested. Two months later, it’s still not true.
  • Politico: Trump’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ Moment Masks Deep White House Unease: On the day the U.S. death toll from coronavirus topped 80,000, U.S. President Donald Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden for a “mission accomplished” moment. Behind Trump were a row of American flags and a pair of giant signs reading, in all capital letters: “America leads the world in testing,” referring to the total number of U.S. tests conducted in recent months rather than per-capita testing, in which America does not lead the world. In front of Trump sat his staff and reporters, physically distanced and all wearing face masks under an edict the president said he issued Monday afternoon to control the spread of coronavirus within the West Wing. At an event carefully crafted to reassure businesses and governors they could safely restart a crippled economy, Trump declared America had accomplished its mission on coronavirus testing. “In every generation, through every challenge and hardship and danger, America has risen to the task,” Trump said. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed.” It was a pronouncement incongruous with the widespread anxiety among employers across America about whether enough testing exists to reopen their workplaces. It was also incongruous with the internal turmoil spreading on Monday inside the West Wing, where officials were scrambling to prevent the virus from crippling the most famous and supposedly safest office in America — one that already featured ample testing capacity for anyone who meets with Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.

Unreleased White House Report Shows Cases Soaring In The Middle of the Country 

  • NBC: Unreleased White House Report Shows Coronavirus Rates Spiking In Heartland Communities: Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House’s pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News. The data in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump’s declaration Monday that “all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly.”
  • New York Times: As States Rush to Reopen, Scientists Fear a Coronavirus Comeback: Millions of working people and small-business owners who cannot earn money while sheltering at home are facing economic ruin. So dozens of states, seeking to ease the pain, are coming out of lockdown. Most have not met even minimal criteria for doing so safely, and some are reopening even as coronavirus cases rise, inviting disaster. The much-feared “second wave” of infection may not wait until fall, many scientists say, and instead may become a storm of wavelets breaking unpredictably across the country.
  • Bloomberg: Infections Near Meat Plants Twice U.S. Rate After Trump Order: The coronavirus spread at more than twice the national rate in U.S. counties with major meatpacking plants in the first week after President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing that they be reopened Confirmed Covid-19 cases jumped 40% during the week following the order in counties with major beef or pork slaughterhouses, compared with a 19% rise nationally, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The counties accounted for 10% of new confirmed cases from April 28 to May 5 while representing just 7.5% of the U.S. population.

With Over 30 Million Americans Out Of Work, Republicans Don’t See Any Urgency To Help 

  • Associated Press: Pelosi Wants To Go Big On Aid, But McConnell Sees No Urgency: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is poised to unveil the next coronavirus aid package, encouraging Congress to “go big” on aid to help cash-strapped states and struggling Americans. Voting is possible as soon as Friday. But the bill is heading straight into a Senate roadblock. Senate Republicans said Monday they are not planning to vote on any new relief until June. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is no “urgency” to act.
  • Talking Points Memo: WH Adviser Belittles Media Coverage Of Staggering Unemployment As ‘Pity Party’: White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday disparaged the media’s coverage of the staggering 14.7 percent unemployment rate in April caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was a pity party yesterday on the Sunday shows,” Navarro complained on “Fox and Friends,” singling out CBS News “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan, ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos and “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “This is not the Great Depression,” the White House official continued. “Anybody who thinks this is the Great Depression doesn’t understand either history or economics.”

Worth Watching

Do as I say, not as I do:  Republican leaders take steps to protect themselves while rushing to send everyday workers back to work: 

  • Des Moines Register: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds taking extra precautions after White House visit, had no ‘direct contact’ with Mike Pence aide
  • CNN: Fox News staffers will continue working from home through mid-June, according to new memo
  • Washington Post: Trump visit to Pennsylvania factory that produces PPE materials was scuttled after plant officials expressed concerns about health risks

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
NBC: Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities
NBC: Jared Kushner-backed ‘Project Airbridge’ to be largely grounded
New York Times: As States Rush to Reopen, Scientists Fear a Coronavirus Comeback
New York Times: Fauci to Warn Senate of ‘Needless Suffering and Death’
New York Times: White House Orders Staff to Wear Masks as Trump Misrepresents Testing Record
New York Times: Washington, the Nation’s Capital, Moves to Reopen. Washington, the City, Is Not Ready.
Politico: White House pushes states to test 2 percent of their populations for coronavirus
Politico: Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment masks deep White House unease
ProPublica: The TSA Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty and It Doesn’t Need Them
Wall Street Journal: Distribution of Key Drug Was Flawed, Says White House Official
Wall Street Journal: White House Directs Officials to Wear Masks at All Times Inside the West Wing
Washington Post: White House implements stringent mask policy — but not for Trump
Washington Post: Trump visit to Pennsylvania factory that produces PPE materials was scuttled after plant officials expressed concerns about health risks

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Axios: Trump contradicts health officials on who can get a coronavirus test
CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely claims, again, that anybody who wants a test can get one
Politico: Hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit against coronavirus in N.Y. study
Washington Post (Analysis): Trump and his allies are much more interested in talking Flynn than coronavirus

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Associated Press: Pelosi wants to go big on aid, but McConnell sees no urgency
Bloomberg: Infections Near Meat Plants Twice U.S. Rate After Trump Order
CNN: Western States Pact asks federal government for $1 trillion in relief
Des Moines Register: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds taking extra precautions after White House visit, had no ‘direct contact’ with Mike Pence aide
The Hill: McConnell: No need yet for fifth coronavirus relief bill
NBC: ‘Should have kept his mouth shut’: McConnell slams Obama for criticizing Trump admin
Popular Information: Veterans as guinea pigs
Reuters: As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar
Talking Points Memo: WH Adviser Belittles Media Coverage Of Staggering Unemployment As ‘Pity Party’

Affordability and Access
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Pandemic Renews Push for Medicaid Expansion in GOP-Led States

Campaigns and Elections 
Washington Post: Democrats move to allow remote voting or a virtual summer convention

Congress
Bloomberg: House Coronavirus Oversight Panel to Focus on U.S. Reopening

Democratic Response
San Francisco Chronicle: California Democrats hoping to flip Arizona blue must now switch gears

Health Impact
Washington Post: Coronavirus could worsen the opioid abuse epidemic

Hospitals and Health Care Workers 
Politico: Hospitals at center of fight over liability protections in coronavirus relief bill

Inequality
Bloomberg: Majority Black Counties See Triple the Covid Death Rate
Kaiser Health News: Millions Stuck At Home With No Plumbing, Kitchen Or Space To Stay Safe
WAMU: Coronavirus Flourishes Among Latinos In Wealthy Areas Of Northern Virginia

International
Los Angeles Times: The economic devastation wrought by the pandemic could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself
New York Times: Europe’s Battle-Hardened Nations Show Resilience in Virus Fight
Politico: Europe fears coronavirus second wave
Reuters: China’s Wuhan plans city-wide testing for coronavirus over period of 10 days: sources
Washington Post: Tracing South Korea’s latest virus outbreak shoves LGBTQ community into unwelcome spotlight

In The States
Associated Press: Study: Virus death toll in NYC worse than official tally
Los Angeles Times: California coronavirus deaths hit stubborn plateau; experts fearful about future
NBC: Southern California birthday party blamed for COVID-19 cluster
Washington Post: Colorado restaurant illegally reopens with no social distancing and hundreds of customers
Washington Post: Does Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis know what he’s doing? We’re about to find out.

Media
CNN: Fox News staffers will continue working from home through mid-June, according to new memo
Wall Street Journal: Congress Weighs Coronavirus Aid for Local Newspapers, Broadcasters

Misinformation and Conspiracies
Associated Press: Twitter to label disputed COVID-19 tweets

Nursing Homes
Bloomberg: Nursing Homes’ Unclear Death Toll Has States Testing Corpses
Kaiser Health News: Keeping The COVID Plague At Bay: How California Is Protecting Older Veterans
Kaiser Health News: As deaths mount, coronavirus testing remains wildly inconsistent in long-term care
Washington Post: Fearful of covid-19, older people are changing their living wills

Polling
Associated Press: AP-NORC poll: Majority disapprove of coronavirus protests
Axios: Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index Week 9: Americans hate contact tracing
USA Today: Nearly one-third of Americans believe a coronavirus vaccine exists and is being withheld, survey finds
Washington Post: Many governors win bipartisan support for handling of pandemic, but some Republicans face blowback over reopening efforts

Protests
Detroit Metro Times: Gov. Whitmer becomes target of dozens of threats on private Facebook groups ahead of armed rally in Lansing

Science and Technology
New York Times: Surviving Covid-19 May Not Feel Like Recovery for Some

Trump Tweets 

Remember this, every Governor who has sky high approval on their handling of the Coronavirus, and I am happy for them all, could in no way have gotten those numbers, or had that success, without me and the Federal Governments help. From Ventilators to Testing, we made it happen! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/12/20

Our Testing is the BEST in the World, by FAR! Numbers are coming down in most parts of our Country, which wants to open and get going again. It is happening, safely! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/12/20

The American People are WARRIORS!  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/12/20

TRANSITION TO GREATNESS  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/12/20

Asian Americans are VERY angry at what China has done to our Country, and the World. Chinese Americans are the most angry of all. I don’t blame them! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/12/20

The Lamestream Media is truly out of control. Look how they work (conspire!) together. They are the Enemy of the People, but don’t worry, we will WIN in November! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/11/20

The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/11/20]

Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/11/20]

Great credit being given for our Coronavirus response, except in the Fake News. They are a disgrace to America! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/11/20]


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Donald Trump’s failure to prepare America for this crisis makes us less safe. Now all Americans are paying the price.
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