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Coronavirus Update
May 14, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,390,764
Number of US deaths: 84,136
Total Number of People Tested in US: 9,974,831 (may not include all labs) Washington Post (Analysis): What’s happening in states that reopened their economies? It’s complicated.

What to Watch For

 President Trump will deliver remarks at the Owens & Minor Distribution Center in Allentown, PA at 2:15 PM today.  Ousted vaccine chief Dr. Robert Bright will testify before the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee at 10:00 AM. 

Must Read Stories

Ousted Vaccine Chief To Warn Of “Darkest Winter” In Testimony Today

  • CNN: Rick Bright Will Warn Congress Of ‘Darkest Winter In Modern History’ Without Ramped Up Coronavirus Response: Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of a key federal office charged with developing medical countermeasures, will testify before Congress on Thursday that the Trump administration was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and warn that the the US will face “unprecedented illness and fatalities” without additional preparations. “Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Bright is expected to say Thursday, according to his prepared testimony obtained by CNN. “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.”

Trump And Republicans Turn On Dr. Fauci 

  • New York Times: Trump Pointedly Criticizes Fauci for His Testimony to Congress: President Trump on Wednesday criticized congressional testimony delivered a day earlier by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who had warned against reopening the country too quickly and stressed the unknown effects the coronavirus could have on children returning to school. “I was surprised by his answer,” Mr. Trump told reporters who had gathered in the Cabinet Room for the president’s meeting with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota. “To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”
  • Washington Post (Analysis): The GOP Is Quickly Souring On Anthony Fauci: At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak — and for weeks afterward — there was one thing Americans could seemingly agree upon: Anthony S. Fauci. Today, that’s considerably less the case. While Fauci retains the faith of a strong majority of Americans, opposition from Republicans has crept up steadily over the past month or so, as conservative media figures and politicians have increasingly called his advice into question.
  • Bloomberg: Fauci Has Republicans Debating If He’s a Pandemic Hero or Villain: Republicans are feuding over Anthony Fauci, debating whether to praise the nation’s top infectious disease expert for his advice on fighting the coronavirus or deride him as an obstacle to President Donald Trump’s campaign to reopen the U.S. economy.

Trump Has Politicized The CDC 

  • Daily Beast: Team Trump Pushes CDC to Revise Down Its COVID Death Counts: President Donald Trump and members of his coronavirus task force are pushing officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change how the agency works with states to count coronavirus-related deaths. And they’re pushing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being counted than originally reported, according to five administration officials working on the government’s response to the pandemic. Though he has previously publicly attested to the accuracy of the COVID-19 death count, the president in recent weeks has privately raised suspicion about the number of fatalities in the United States, which recently eclipsed 80,000 recorded deaths. In talks with top officials, Trump has suggested that those numbers could have been incorrectly tallied or even inflated by current methodology, two individuals with knowledge of those private comments said.  The White House has pressed the CDC, in particular, to work with states to change how they count coronavirus deaths and report them back to the federal government, according to two officials with knowledge of those conversations. And Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the administration’s coronavirus task force, has urged CDC officials to exclude from coronavirus death-count reporting some of those individuals who either do not have confirmed lab results and are presumed positive or who have the virus and may not have died as a direct result of it, according to three senior administration officials. 
  • Associated Press: Emails: Trump Nominee Involved In Shelving CDC Virus Guide: A former chemical industry executive nominated to be the nation’s top consumer safety watchdog was involved in sidelining detailed guidelines to help communities reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, internal government emails show. Now the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is questioning the role played by nominee Nancy Beck in the decision to shelve the guidelines. Beck is not a medical doctor and has no background in virology. President Donald Trump has nominated Beck to be chairwoman and commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a position that requires Senate confirmation. Beck is scheduled to appear before the Senate committee later this month. Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that Beck was the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s main point of contact in the White House about the proposed recommendations. At issue was a 63-page guide created by the CDC that would give community leaders step-by-step instructions for reopening schools, day care centers, restaurants and other facilities.

Millions Of Americans Are Hungry And The Trump USDA Is Failing Utterly To Meet Those Needs 

  • Time: With Millions Out of Work, the Trump Administration Pushes to Limit Food Stamps: Amid a global pandemic that has rattled the United States economy and led to record-breaking job losses, the Trump Administration is continuing to push to restrict access to the nation’s largest food assistance program. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly issued a notice that it was appealing a judge’s injunction that blocked the cabinet agency from proceeding with cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), colloquially known as food stamps. If the USDA wins its appeal, the new requirements would strip 688,000 Americans of their food benefits, according to Department’s own estimates. In March, Congress passed legislation that temporarily paused limits on how long most SNAP recipients could receive benefits without working for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Thus, if the USDA is victorious in its court challenge, the stricter work requirements would be temporarily delayed until the public health emergency was over—but that may be long before the economy rebounds.
  • Politico: Multimillion-Dollar Food Bank Delivery Contracts Go To Firms With Little Experience: The Agriculture Department has awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to companies that appear to have little experience working with food banks or farmers, spurning several big produce companies with extensive expertise in food distribution. An event planning company in San Antonio, Texas, known for throwing lavish weddings and high-end conferences, was awarded more than $39 million — one of the largest contracts handed out by USDA under a new program aimed at matching up food banks with surplus produce, meat and dairy. Also on the list was a company that specializes in trade-related finance and one that sells health and wellness items for travelers.
  • Mother Jones: CEOs Say America Is Running Out of Meat—While Shipping Ever More Pork Overseas: Back in March, the coronavirus started triggering infection hotspots in and around meatpacking plants, sickening and killing workers. As local public health authorities pushed giant meat conglomerates to close infected facilities, industry executives warned that doing so was “pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” as Kenneth M. Sullivan, CEO of Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, declared in a April 12 press release. Two weeks later, after similar laments from an executive at rival meat conglomerate Tyson, President Donald Trump rushed to the industry’s defense and signed an executive order declaring that the US Department of Agriculture “shall take all appropriate action” to “ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations.” But even as these executives insisted that closing plants would imperil the US food supply, they were busily exporting loads of meat to China, a new Reuters investigation shows. 

Worth Watching

Trump is using the pandemic to impose indefinite sweeping restrictions on immigration:

  • New York Times: Trump Administration Plans to Extend Virus Border Restrictions Indefinitely
  • Washington Post: Under Trump border rules, U.S. has granted refuge to just two people since late March, records show

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Associated Press: Emails: Trump nominee involved in shelving CDC virus guide
Bloomberg: Fauci Has Republicans Debating If He’s a Pandemic Hero or Villain
CNN: Rick Bright will warn Congress of ‘darkest winter in modern history’ without ramped up coronavirus response
Daily Beast: Team Trump Pushes CDC to Revise Down Its COVID Death Counts
Financial Times: Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown 
New York Magazine: COVID-19 Targets the Elderly. Why Don’t Our Prevention Efforts?
New York Times: Trump Pointedly Criticizes Fauci for His Testimony to Congress
New York Times: Coronavirus Testing Used by the White House Could Miss Infections
Politico: Multimillion-dollar food bank delivery contracts go to firms with little experience
Politico: White House to tap former pharmaceutical exec as ‘therapeutics czar’
Politico: Trump tweaks Fauci on school reopenings: ‘He wants to play all sides of the equation’
Vox: We don’t have a president, or a plan
Vox: Trump’s plan to limit the pandemic’s death toll: Undercount the numbers

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Associated Press: Wisconsin high court tosses out governor’s stay-home order
Los Angeles Times: FBI serves warrant on senator in investigation of stock sales linked to coronavirus
Mother Jones: CEOs Say America Is Running Out of Meat—While Shipping Ever More Pork Overseas
New York Times: Trump Administration Plans to Extend Virus Border Restrictions Indefinitely
Talking Points Memo: Paul Doubles Down On Dig At Fauci: ‘We Have To Take With A Grain Of Salt These Experts’
Time: With Millions Out of Work, the Trump Administration Pushes to Limit Food Stamps
Vox: The partisan culture war over masks
Washington Post (Analysis): The GOP is increasingly siding with Trump over Fauci
Washington Post: Under Trump border rules, U.S. has granted refuge to just two people since late March, records show
Washington Post (Opinion): A class war over social distancing? New data suggests otherwise.

Affordability and Access
CNN: Nearly 27 million Americans may have lost job-based health insurance, study shows
Politico: Coronavirus drives health insurers back to Obamacare

Campaigns and Elections
Politico: Republicans and Democrats barrel toward collision on voting by mail

CNN: Rep. Maxine Waters says her sister died from coronavirus

Democratic Response
Axios: Michael Bloomberg’s coronavirus pivot

Economic Impact
Washington Post: Democrats have proposed $100 billion for struggling renters. It may not be enough.
New York Times: Americans Keep Clicking to Buy, Minting New Online Shopping Winners
Wall Street Journal: Amtrak’s Acela to Make Comeback, Riders or Not

Associated Press: Saturday classes? Schools mull ways to make up lost time

Hospitals and Health Care Workers 
Buzzfeed: They’re Working In Healthcare During A Pandemic. They Don’t Get Health Insurance.
Forbes: CVS To Open 1,000 ‘Self-Swab’ Coronavirus Test Locations
Kaiser Health News: Hospital Workers Complain of Minimal Disclosure After COVID Exposures

Los Angeles Times: The whole world is spending to fight coronavirus. In Mexico, the leftist president is making cuts
Vox: Germany and South Korea excelled at Covid-19 containment. It still came back.
Wall Street Journal: Soaring Prices, Rotting Crops: Coronavirus Triggers Global Food Crisis
Washington Post: As some countries ease up, others are reimposing lockdowns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections

In The States
The Atlantic: How Virginia Juked Its COVID-19 Statistics
Los Angeles Times: The two big reasons why California struggles to control coronavirus
New York Times (Opinion): Too Many States Are Flying Blind Into Reopening. Not Indiana.
Politico: DeSantis invites sports leagues to Florida to escape virus restrictions elsewhere
Politico: California $1B mask order faces new doubt after federal regulators call product ‘not acceptable’

Misinformation and Conspiracies
New York Times: Get Ready for a Vaccine Information War

Nursing Homes
New York Times: Nursing Homes Are Hot Spots in the Crisis. But Don’t Try Suing Them.

Personal Narratives
NBC: NBC’s Dr. Joseph Fair hospitalized with coronavirus: ‘Not out of the woods yet’

CBS: Trump’s marks for handling COVID-19 outbreak decline – CBS News poll

Associated Press: Virus restrictions fuel anti-government ‘boogaloo’ movement

Science and Technology
CNN: Covid-19 infects intestines, kidneys and other organs, studies find

Trump Tweets 

As I have said for a long time, dealing with China is a very expensive thing to do. We just made a great Trade Deal, the ink was barely dry, and the World was hit by the Plague from China. 100 Trade Deals wouldn’t make up the difference – and all those innocent lives lost! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/13/20

When the so-called “rich guys” speak negatively about the market, you must always remember that some are betting big against it, and make a lot of money if it goes down. Then they go positive, get big publicity, and make it going up. They get you both ways. Barely legal? [@realDonaldTrump, 5/13/20

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