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Coronavirus Update
May 18, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Monday, May 18, 2020, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,486,742
Number of US deaths: 89,564
Total Number of People Tested in US: 11,499,203 (may not include all labs) 

New York Times: Coronavirus Cases Slow in U.S., but the Big Picture Remains Tenuous
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Deaths Are Up Sharply, Though Covid-19’s Precise Toll Is Murky

What to Watch For

Today:  President Trump will participate in a roundtable with restaurant owners and food industry leaders at 2:00 PM and will hold a videoconference with governors with the First Lady at 4:00 PM. 

Tuesday:  Trump will hold a cabinet meeting and will deliver remarks on farmers, ranchers and the food supply chain. Ivanka Trump will hold a Zoom meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.  VA Secretary Robert Wilkie will testify before the House appropriations subcommittee about his department’s coronavirus response.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on economic relief during coronavirus.

WednesdayTrump will meet with Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) and Gov. Laura Kelly (D-KS) at the White House.  Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Orlando to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis, deliver PPE to a nursing home, and attend a roundtable with officials from the tourism and hospitality industry.  A House Education and Labor subcommittee will hold a hearing on protecting workers from the coronavirus. 

Thursday:  Trump will travel to Michigan to tour a Ford plant now making ventilators and PPE.

Must Read Stories

Dysfunction: White House Clash With CDC Is Damaging Our Response

  • Yahoo: Amid Reports Of White House Clashes With CDC, Experts Raise Alarms About Lack Of Coronavirus Screening At Airports: As the nation begins to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, some people are looking to the skies — and experts don’t necessarily like what they see, arguing there are not enough safeguards in place to protect passengers and crew.  While air travel has fallen sharply due to the virus, the airports are open and planes are flying both domestically and internationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel guidelines encouraging air passengers to wear face coverings, “keep 6 feet of physical distance from others” and only board planes for essential travel. However, these guidelines are merely suggestions.  There is no requirement for masks, and there have been multiple reports of crowded conditions in airports and on planes, which have left passengers alarmed. The Transportation Security Administration, which screens passengers and luggage at airports, has also experienced over 560 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and six deaths from the illness. Despite these concerns, there are currently no coronavirus screening procedures for domestic air travelers, and a congressional investigation has also raised questions about the level of screening being conducted for international passengers.
  • Washington Post: White House Tensions With CDC Spill Into Public View As Top Trump Adviser Criticizes Agency Response: Tensions between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spilled out into public view on Sunday as a top adviser to President Trump criticized the public health agency’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The comments by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro are the latest signal of how the Trump administration has sought to sideline the CDC. The agency typically plays the lead role in public health crises, but in recent weeks it’s had its draft guidance for reopening held up by the White House, leaving states and localities to largely fend for themselves. Speaking on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” Navarro sharply criticized the CDC over its production of a flawed coronavirus test kit that contributed to a nationwide delay in testing. “Early on in this crisis, the CDC — which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space — really let the country down with the testing,” Navarro said. “Because not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy, they had a bad test. And that did set us back.”

Trump Is Abdicating Leadership To Others While His Own White House Remains An Unsafe Workplace For Many 

  • Washington Post: In Next Phase Of Pandemic, Trump Appears Poised To Let Others Take The Lead: President Trump has proclaimed the latest phase of pandemic response the “transition to greatness.” But Trump appears poised to preside over the eventual transition more as a salesman and marketer than a decider. Many consequential actions are being done by others. The nation’s governors are overseeing their states’ plans to reopen their economies. Business leaders are making their own choices about how their employees can safely and responsibly return to work. Treasury officials are negotiating with Congress the details of financial stimulus packages. And scientists and public health officials are leading the race for a vaccine. The United States under Trump has also retreated from its historic position of global leadership, declining, for instance, to participate in a coronavirus summit with other nations earlier this month. Amid a once-in-a-century deadly pandemic, Trump has inserted his ego squarely into the U.S. response while simultaneously minimizing his own role — deferring critical decisions to others, undermining his credibility with confusion and misinformation, and shirking responsibility in what some see as a shrinking of the American presidency.
  • Politico: Trump Projects A Sense Of Normal, But West Wing Has A Ways To Go: As President Donald Trump urges businesses across the country to reopen and Americans to return to work, he and his administration are projecting a sense of normal after months of disruption because of the coronavirus. Trump is spending the week meeting with governors and restaurant executives at the White House, while Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Florida to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis and deliver personal protective equipment to a nursing home. Not far behind the scenes of the West Wing, however, normalcy is still a ways off. Trump’s own top staffers are increasingly working from home. The White House has started to schedule more meetings by teleconference after two staffers tested positive for Covid-19, including one of the president’s military valets. Aides are now required to wear face masks around the White House, and in-person meetings, if they occur at all, are held in the largest conference rooms possible.

The GOP Has No Health Care Plan For Millions Of Uninsured Americans Amid The Pandemic And States Are Being Forced To Contemplate Slashing Medicaid 

  • Washington Post (Analysis): Trump’s GOP ‘Party Of Health Care’ Has No Coverage Plan For Millions Amid Pandemic: President Trump left no doubt what he wanted his GOP allies to focus on, diverting to the TV cameras before he entered a private huddle of Senate Republicans. “Let me tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” the president said. “You watch.” Nearly 14 months later, reminded of that day, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) broke into a knowing laugh, fully aware that Trump’s “party of health care” declaration went nowhere. Within days, Republicans gave up on trying to draft a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, and after some hesitation this month, the Trump administration plowed ahead with its effort to get the Supreme Court to rule the 2010 law unconstitutional even as no substitute is being drafted on Capitol Hill. Now faced with a viral pandemic that has driven more than 36 million workers to file unemployment claims in eight weeks, Republicans find themselves heading into an election season still lacking any health plan.
  • The Hill: Governors Eye Medicaid Cuts To Ease Covid-19 Budget Pain: Governors facing huge budget shortfalls are eyeing cuts to Medicaid, even as millions of unemployed Americans flock to the health insurance program after losing their employer-based coverage. States that are buckling under declining revenues and increased Medicaid enrollment due to COVID-19 say they may have no choice but to cut the program for the poor unless they get more financial support from the federal government. “These are cuts that can be triggered and eliminated with the stroke of a pen,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Thursday about cuts to Medicaid and other programs that will go in effect July 1 without help from Congress and President Trump.

Worth Watching

Some governors try to obfuscate data to hide the impact of reopening: 

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Associated Press: Pandemic planning becomes political weapon as deaths mount
Bloomberg: Trump Says Return of Sports Essential for Country’s ‘Psyche’
CNN: Pompeo backs away from theory he and Trump were pushing that coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab
CNN: White House trade adviser argues that CDC ‘let the country down’ on testing
Politico: Trump projects a sense of normal, but West Wing has a ways to go
Politico: States struggle to overcome privacy fears, tech glitches in contact tracing push
Politico: Azar champions Trump coronavirus response
Politico: ‘Immunity passports’ won’t reopen America
Seattle Times: Fed shipment of Q-tip-style coronavirus swabs puzzles Washington state officials, latest wrinkle in supply woes
Vox: HHS Secretary Alex Azar suggests health problems in communities of color explain coronavirus death numbers
Wall Street Journal (Opinion): Cut Through the Fog of Coronavirus War
Washington Post: White House tensions with CDC spill into public view as top Trump adviser criticizes agency response
Washington Post: As coronavirus testing expands, a new problem arises: Not enough people to test
Washington Post: In next phase of pandemic, Trump appears poised to let others take the lead
Yahoo: Amid reports of White House clashes with CDC, experts raise alarms about lack of coronavirus screening at airports

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation

Axios: Eric Trump accuses Democrats of “milking” coronavirus lockdowns to win the election
Time: Veteran Affairs Will Continue to Use Unproven Drug Promoted by Trump Despite Growing Criticism

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
The Hill: Governors eye Medicaid cuts to ease COVID-19 budget pain
Kaiser Health News: Drugmakers Tout COVID-19 Vaccines To Refurbish Their Public Image
Miami Herald: No information. No way off. 100,000 crew members remain in cruise ship limbo for months
Politico: Democratic governors hit with flurry of legal challenges to coronavirus lockdowns
Vanity Fair: “People Will Die. People Do Die.” Wall Street Has Had Enough of the Lockdown
Washington Post (Analysis): Trump’s GOP ‘party of health care’ has no coverage plan for millions amid pandemic

Affordability and Access
Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Providers At The End Of The Line For Federal COVID Funding

Campaigns and Elections
Axios: Deadlines start now for safe voting in November
NBC: Experts warn of 2020 ‘meltdown’ as election funding faces rocky path through Congress
Reuters: Coronavirus makes Democratic congressional challengers’ uphill climb steeper

Politico: Congress nowhere close to a coronavirus deal as unemployment spikes

Democratic Response
The Atlantic (Opinion): My Brother’s Death Didn’t Have To Happen 
New York Times: If Democrats Hold a Big Convention, Will Anybody Come?
Politico: Obama jabs U.S. response to coronavirus in commencement address

Economic Impact
Axios: The coronavirus shatters the tourism economy
Politico: Coronavirus could push Social Security to insolvency before 2030
Politico: Fed’s Powell warns unemployment could reach Depression-level 25 percent
Wall Street Journal: Auto Industry’s Reopening to Be Slow and Arduous, Executives Say

CNN: A refugee and new grandmother was the eighth employee at a Colorado meat packing plant to die from coronavirus

Hospitals and Health Care Workers 
New York Times: ‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers 

New York Times: In The Shadows of America’s Smokestacks Virus Is One More Deadly Risk 

New York Times: Stuck at Home, Men in Japan Learn to Help. Will It Last?
Vox: The results of a Spanish study on Covid-19 immunity have a scary takeaway

In The States

Atlanta Journal Constitution: ‘It’s just cuckoo’: state’s latest data mishap causes critics to cry foul
Detroit News: Data: COVID-19 was in Michigan during presidential primary campaigns
Houston Chronicle: Massive jump in Texas COVID-19 cases
Los Angeles Times: California continues to ease into reopening amid coronavirus fight
New York Post: People flock to NYC-area bars, beaches as ‘quarantine fatigue’ intensifies
ProPublica: Two Coasts. One Virus. How New York Suffered Nearly 10 Times the Number of Deaths as California.
South Florida Sun Sentinel: Palm Beach County reopened without meeting federal guidelines, investigation shows
Vox: California locked down early and took the coronavirus seriously. Why are its cases still rising?
Washington Post: ‘This feels great’

Personal Narratives
NBC: ‘I gave this to my dad’: COVID-19 survivors grapple with guilt of infecting family
New York Times: ‘Straight-Up Fire’ in His Veins: Teen Battles New Covid Syndrome

HuffPost: Here’s How People Feel About The Coronavirus Restrictions Where They Live

Republican Campaigns
Politico: Swing-state Republicans warn Trump’s reelection is on shaky ground

Science and Technology
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Vaccine Front-Runners Emerge, Rollouts Weighed
Washington Post: The girl who died twice

NBC: Midwest manufacturing workers sound alarm over COVID-19 outbreaks
Washington Post: Transit workers are paying a heavy price during the pandemic

Trump Tweets 

.@60Minutes & third place anchor, @NorahODonnell, are doing everything in their power to demean our Country, much to the benefit of the Radical Left Democrats. Tonight they put on yet another Fake “Whistleblower”, a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories, & spews lies. @60Minutes report was incorrect, which they couldn’t care less about. Fake News! I don’t know this guy, never met him, but don’t like what I see. How can a creep like this show up to work tomorrow & report to @SecAzar, his boss, after trashing him on T.V.? This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice & harm. I hope you are listening @SenSusanCollins  I also hope that Shari Redstone will take a look at her poorly performing gang. She knows how to make things right! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/17/20]

The number of Coronavirus cases is strongly trending downward throughout the United States, with few exceptions. Very good news, indeed! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/17/20

Doing REALLY well, medically, on solving the CoronaVirus situation (Plague!). It will happen! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/17/20]

Why is it that China, for decades, and with a population much bigger than ours, is paying a tiny fraction of $’s to The World Health Organization, The United Nations and, worst of all, The World Trade Organization, where they are considered a so-called “developing country” and are therefore given massive advantages over The United States, and everyone else? Prior to the Plague floating in from China, our Economy was blowing everybody away, the best of any country, EVER. We will be there again, and soon! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/16/20

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