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Coronavirus Update
May 22, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Friday, May 22, 2020, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,577,758
Number of US deaths: 94,729
Total Number of People Tested in US: 13,056,206 (may not include all labs) 

New York Times: What Is the Real Coronavirus Death Toll in Each State?

What to Watch For

President Trump will participate in a Rolling To Remember Ceremony at the White House at 11:30 AM today. Vice President Pence will travel to Atlanta to meet with Gov. Brian Kemp and restaurant executives to discuss reopening the economy.  Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a press briefing at 2:00 PM

Must Read Stories

Mike Pence Heads To Georgia Today Amid Reports That The State’s Rushed Reopening Hasn’t Brought Jobs Back And Doctors Were Kept In The Dark About The Virus’s Spread For Weeks

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution: Pence To Visit Atlanta On Friday To Discuss Georgia’s Pandemic Strategy: Vice President Mike Pence is headed for Atlanta on Friday to meet with Gov. Brian Kemp and gather with restaurant executives to discuss the state’s aggressive approach to reopening the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican plans to have lunch with Kemp before a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives at Waffle House’s headquarters in Norcross. He’ll then return to Dobbins Air Reserve Base for his flight back to Washington.  It will be Kemp’s first in-person meeting with Pence since a public spat with the White House erupted when President Donald Trump strongly criticized Kemp for rolling back coronavirus restrictions in late April.The rebuke stunned Kemp’s aides because hours earlier Trump and Pence both separately voiced support for his plans to let some shuttered businesses, such as barber shops and tattoo parlors, reopen if they follow guidelines. 
  • Politico: Reopening Reality Check: Georgia’s Jobs Aren’t Flooding Back: Georgia’s early move to start easing stay-at-home restrictions nearly a month ago has done little to stem the state’s flood of unemployment claims — illustrating how hard it is to bring jobs back while consumers are still afraid to go outside. Weekly applications for jobless benefits have remained so elevated that Georgia now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance. A staggering 40.3 percent of the state’s workers — two out of every five — has filed for unemployment insurance payments since the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread shutdowns in mid-March, a POLITICO review of Labor Department data shows.
  • CNN: Doctor In Small Georgia City Says Coronavirus Spread Through Community Before Hospital Staff Found Out What It Was: Coronavirus spread through a southwest Georgia city for 10 days in March before hospital staff were told what was filling their wards with desperately sick people, a doctor told Congress on Thursday. “We were shocked by its abrupt entrance into our lives, and the virus had been spreading quietly for 10 days, and very quickly,” Dr. Shanti Akers, a pulmonary critical care physician at Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, testified. “What started as one case spread like wildfire,” she added. “We filled ward after ward until we had at least five floors dedicated to the care of these patients. The first cases hit the hospital in Albany, a city of about 72,000 people, in the last week of February and the first week of March, but no one knew it, the doctor testified. It wasn’t until March 10 that the hospital was informed they had treated a positive coronavirus case, she said

Catastrophic Job Losses Continue To Mount While the GOP Drags Its Feet About Doing Anything About It

  • New York Times: Many Jobs May Vanish Forever As Layoffs Mount: Even as states begin to reopen for business, a further 2.4 million workers joined the nation’s unemployment rolls last week, and there is growing concern among economists that many of the lost jobs are gone for good. The Labor Department’s report of new jobless claims, released Thursday, brought the total to 38.6 million since mid-March, when the coronavirus outbreak forced widespread shutdowns. While workers and their employers have expressed optimism that most of the joblessness will be temporary, many who are studying the pandemic’s impact are increasingly worried about the employment situation. “I hate to say it, but this is going to take longer and look grimmer than we thought,” Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University, said of the path to recovery. Mr. Bloom is a co-author of an analysis that estimates 42 percent of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss.
  • Axios: Mcconnell To Trump: Next Coronavirus Bill Must Be Under $1 Trillion: During a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed to President Trump that the next coronavirus relief package cannot exceed $1 trillion, and should be narrowly focused on getting money in people’s hands immediately, sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios. Senate Republicans’ backlash against House Democrats’ $3 trillion bill has been so severe that it has eased pressure on McConnell to act instantly on a “phase 4” bill, and McConnell is focused on ensuring that the next bill is much smaller.

We’ll Never Know How Many Nursing Home Residents Have Died Or Suffered With The Coronavirus Because The Trump Administration Isn’t Requiring Disclosure Of Deaths Prior To May 

  • Wall Street Journal: Nursing Homes Don’t Have to Report Pre-May Covid-19 Deaths to U.S. Officials:  A recently launched federal effort to collect data on the impact of the coronavirus in nursing homes will leave the full toll unclear, because a new rule doesn’t require facilities to report deaths and infections that occurred before early May. The new rule, issued May 8, compels nursing homes to submit data on coronavirus cases and associated deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a form posted on the CDC website, the information only has to go back to the week leading up to their first filing, which was supposed to occur by May 17, while older data is optional. Nursing homes will provide current data at least weekly going forward. An earlier version of the CDC form, from April, told nursing homes to provide initial data going back to Jan. 1, according to a copy viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which issued the rule, said that it didn’t require nursing homes to submit earlier data but it encouraged them to do so.
  • New York Times: The Striking Racial Divide in How Covid-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes: The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the nation’s nursing homes, sickening staff members, ravaging residents and contributing to at least 20 percent of the nation’s Covid-19 death toll. The impact has been felt in cities and suburbs, in large facilities and small, in poorly rated homes and in those with stellar marks. But Covid-19 has been particularly virulent toward African-Americans and Latinos: Nursing homes where those groups make up a significant portion of the residents — no matter their location, no matter their size, no matter their government rating — have been twice as likely to get hit by the coronavirus as those where the population is overwhelmingly white.

Trump Continues To Refuse To Model His Own Administration’s Public Health Advice By Wearing A Mask In Public 

Los Angeles Times: Trump Briefly Wears A Face Mask — But Not In Public: Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford scored a breakthrough of sorts Thursday when he got President Trump to briefly wear a protective face mask during a tour of a converted factory now churning out ventilators and other medical gear for the coronavirus crisis. But Trump, who has conspicuously refused to cover his face in public during the pandemic, was defiantly unmasked when he stepped in front of reporters and cameras soon after. Trump showed a blue mask with the presidential seal that he had worn behind the scenes, but he wouldn’t put it on it in plain sight. “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he said, a wink at the nonstop questions about whether he’ll cover his mouth and nose, which public health officials recommend to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Worth Watching

Frustration mounts over the SBA’s botched handling of the small business loan program leaving thousands of businesses nationwide out in the cold, while the GOP focuses on whether one Planned Parenthood affiliate incorrectly received a $496,000 loan: 

  • Wall Street Journal: SBA Under Spotlight as Frustrations With Small-Business Aid Programs Grow 
  • CNN: SBA demands Planned Parenthood affiliate return Paycheck Protection Program loan
  • Politico: McConnell calls on Barr to investigate Planned Parenthood loans

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Associated Press: Trump lashes out at scientists whose findings contradict him
Axios: The coronavirus invades Trump country
Bloomberg: Trump Told to Stay Home by Baltimore Mayor Ahead of Visit
Los Angeles Times: Trump briefly wears a face mask — but not in public
New York Times: These Labs Rushed to Test for Coronavirus. They Had Few Takers.
NPR: U.S. Sends Ventilators To Russia In $5.6 Million Coronavirus Aid Package
Politico: CDC chief says he isn’t being muzzled
Politico: National Guard directs states to prepare to lose virus workers
Politico: Reopening reality check: Georgia’s jobs aren’t flooding back
Wall Street Journal: U.S. to Invest $1.2 Billion to Secure Potential Coronavirus Vaccine From AstraZeneca, Oxford University
Wall Street Journal: Doctors on the Theodore Roosevelt Feared Dozens Would Die in Coronavirus Outbreak
Wall Street Journal: Nursing Homes Don’t Have to Report Pre-May Covid-19 Deaths to U.S. Officials

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Daily Beast: ‘Bill Gates Wants Us to Get It’: The Deranged Scene at Trump’s Ford Factory Tour
Politico: Life at the Trump Tailgate: Spiked Slurpees, Culture Wars and the Coronavirus Hoax

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Axios: McConnell to Trump: Next coronavirus bill must be under $1 trillion
Bloomberg: Trump’s Postal Service Feud Risks Riling Voters With Price Hikes
CNBC: American billionaires got $434 billion richer during the pandemic
CNN: SBA demands Planned Parenthood affiliate return Paycheck Protection Program loan
ProPublica: Rent Is Still Due in Kushnerville
Politico: McConnell calls on Barr to investigate Planned Parenthood loans
Wall Street Journal: SBA Under Spotlight as Frustrations With Small-Business Aid Programs Grow

Affordability and Access

Business Insider: Trump and Congress tried to make coronavirus testing and treatment free, but people are still getting big bills when they go to the hospital

Campaigns and Elections
Politico: A Trump election conspiracy collapses
Politico: GOP enters legal fray over Florida vote-by-mail

Economic Impact
New York Times: Many Jobs May Vanish Forever as Layoffs Mount

Health Impact
Kaiser Health News: Reopening Dental Offices For Routine Care Amid Pandemic Touches A Nerve
Wall Street Journal: Next in Videoconferencing—Hiding Your On-Screen Double Chin

New York Times: The Striking Racial Divide in How Covid-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes

Reuters: Mexico posts record 2,973 coronavirus cases in single day
Washington Post: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases quadruple during the holy month of Ramadan — and show no signs of slowing

In The States
Associated Press: AP count: Over 4,300 virus patients sent to NY nursing homes
CNN: Doctor in small Georgia city says coronavirus spread through community before hospital staff found out what it was
Miami Herald: When DeSantis issued stay-at-home order, Florida had already logged 188 COVID-19 deaths
New York Times: As the Nation Begins Virus Tracing, It Could Learn From This N.J. City
Politico: Cuomo, de Blasio blame ignorance, but not themselves, in wake of damning report

Axios: Coronavirus searches shift from health to economic fallout
Fox News: Fox News Poll: Biden more trusted on coronavirus, Trump on economy
Politico: POLITICO-Harvard poll: Stark partisan divide on reopening America
Reuters: Exclusive: A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine – Reuters/Ipsos poll

Science and Technology
Washington Post: Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states

Trump Tweets 

Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor – they might get upset with you and leave the state, like so many other companies have – until I came along and brought business back to Michigan. JOBS! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/21/20]

The Wacky Do Nothing Attorney General of Michigan, Dana Nessel, is viciously threatening Ford Motor Company for the fact that I inspected a Ventilator plant without a mask. Not their fault, & I did put on a mask. No wonder many auto companies left Michigan, until I came along! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/21/20]

Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?   [@realDonaldTrump, 5/21/20]

I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus. On Monday, the flags will be at half-staff in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation. [@realDonaldTrump, 5/21/20]

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