CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — MAY 26, 2020

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Coronavirus Update
May 26, 2020
Driving the Day:

By the Numbers

Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 7:30 AM 
Number of US cases reported: 1,662,768
Number of US deaths: 98,223
Total Number of People Tested in US: 14,604,942 (may not include all labs) 

New York Times: An Incalculable Loss

What to Watch For

Today:  President Trump will deliver remarks on protecting seniors with diabetes in the Rose Garden at 4:00 PM.  Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a press briefing at at 2:00 PM. 

Wednesday: Trump will travel to Florida to view the launch of SpaceX’s test mission to the International Space Station.  The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on the disparate impact of the pandemic on communities of color.

Thursday: Trump will receive a briefing on the 2020 hurricane season.

Must Read Stories

As The US Nears 100,000 Deaths, COVID-19 Surges Through Rural America

Washington Post: A Deadly ‘Checkerboard’: Covid-19’s New Surge Across Rural America:  As the death toll nears 100,000, the disease caused by the virus has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America, according to a Washington Post analysis of case data and interviews with public health professionals in several states. The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds.

Trump’s Botched “Travel Ban” From Europe Made Things Worse, Led To Viral Surge Into US 

Washington Post: One Final Viral Infusion: Trump’s Move To Block Travel From Europe Triggered Chaos And A Surge Of Passengers From The Outbreak’s Center: Harrowing scenes of interminable lines and unmasked faces crammed in confined spaces spread across social media. The images showed how a policy intended to block the pathogen’s entry into the United States instead delivered one final viral infusion. As those exposed travelers fanned out into U.S. cities and suburbs, they became part of an influx from Europe that went unchecked for weeks and helped to seal the country’s coronavirus fate. Epidemiologists contend the U.S. outbreak was driven overwhelmingly by viral strains from Europe rather than China. More than 1.8 million travelers entered the United States from Europe in February alone as that continent became the center of the pandemic. Infections reached critical mass in New York and other cities well before the White House took action, according to studies mapping the virus’s spread. The crush of travelers triggered by Trump’s announcement only added to that viral load.

Trump Doubles Down On Hydroxychloroquine As Another Study Halted Over Safety Concerns

  • New York Post: Trump Claims Hydroxychloroquine Has ‘Rave Reviews,’ Slams Columbia University: President Trump said the hydroxychloroquine he has been taking for several weeks has been getting “rave reviews” despite health experts claiming the anti-malarial drug can be dangerous or even fatal for people infected with coronavirus. “Hydroxy has had tremendous rave reviews,” Trump told “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson” during an interview that was scheduled to air Sunday on Sinclair Broadcasting. “I believe in it enough that I took a program because I had two people in the White House that tested positive.”
  • Axios: WHO Temporarily Suspends Trial Of Hydroxychloroquine Over Safety Concerns:  The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday. The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.

Trump’s New Testing Plan Denies Testing Shortage & Foists Responsibility Onto The States As Previous Testing Plan Doesn’t Meet Own Goals

  • New York Times: ‘This Is Not the Hunger Games’: National Testing Strategy Draws Concerns: The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing, while planning to provide some supplies needed for the tests. The proposal also says existing testing capacity, if properly targeted, is sufficient to contain the outbreak. But epidemiologists say that amount of testing is orders of magnitude lower than many of them believe the country needs. The report cements a stance that has frustrated governors in both parties, following the administration’s announcement last month that the federal government should be considered “the supplier of last resort” and that states should develop their own testing plans. “For months, it was a tennis game, it was going back and forth between the feds and the states, and it’s now landed with the states,” said Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. […]  Mr. Becker and others said it’s reasonable to expect states to implement some aspects of the testing, such as designating test sites. But acquiring tests involves reliance on national and international supply chains — which are challenging for many states to navigate. “That’s our biggest question, that’s our biggest concern, is the robustness of the supply chain, which is critical,” Mr. Becker said. “You can’t leave it up to the states to do it for themselves. This is not the Hunger Games.”
  • Washington Post: Administration Leaves Testing Responsibility To States In Report To Congress: In a report to Congress, the Trump administration is pledging to buy 100 million swabs by the year’s end and distribute them to states to help expand the nation’s capacity to test for the novel coronavirus. The report, delivered on the Sunday deadline lawmakers had set for federal health officials to submit a national testing strategy, doubles down on the administration’s stance that individual states, not the federal government, should bear primary responsibility for carrying out diagnostic tests to help curb the pandemic. The Washington Post obtained the 81-page document, called Covid-19 Strategic Testing Plan, from an individual on Capitol Hill who was not authorized to disclose it. Federal health officials did not release it publicly, submitting it to four congressional committees as required by law.
  • Associated Press: White House Goal On Testing Nursing Homes Unmet: Nearly two weeks ago the White House urged governors to ensure that every nursing home resident and staff member be tested for the coronavirus within 14 days. It’s not going to happen. A review by The Associated Press found that at least half of the states are not going to meet White House’s deadline and some aren’t even bothering to try. Only a handful of states, including West Virginia and Rhode Island, have said they’ve already tested every nursing home resident. Many states said the logistics, costs and manpower needs are too great to test all residents and staff in a two-week window. Some say they need another week or so, while others say they need much more time. California, the most populous state, said it is still working to release a plan that would ensure testing capacity for all residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities statewide. And still other states are questioning whether testing every nursing home resident and staff, regardless of any other factors, is a good use of time and money.

How Trump Spent His Long Weekend: Golfing, Tweeting, Ignoring the Deadly Pandemic 

  • New York Times: Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus’s Toll: As President Trump’s motorcade pulled into his golf club in Virginia on an overcast Sunday, a small group of protesters waited outside the entrance. One held up a sign. “I care do U?” it read. “100,000 dead.” Mr. Trump and his advisers have said that he does, but he has made scant effort to demonstrate it this Memorial Day weekend. He finally ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House only after being badgered to do so by his critics and otherwise took no public notice as the American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached a staggering 100,000. While the country neared six digits of death, the president who repeatedly criticized his predecessor for golfing during a crisis spent the weekend on the links for the first time since March. When he was not zipping around on a cart, he was on social media embracing fringe conspiracy theories, amplifying messages from a racist and sexist Twitter account and lobbing playground insults at perceived enemies, including his own former attorney general.
  • Washington Post: On Weekend Dedicated To War Dead, Trump Tweets Insults, Promotes Baseless Claims And Plays Golf:  As the death toll in the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000 Americans this Memorial Day weekend, President Trump derided and insulted perceived enemies and promoted a baseless conspiracy theory, in between rounds of golf. In a flurry aof tweets and retweets Saturday and Sunday, Trump mocked former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s weight, ridiculed the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and called former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.” He revived long-debunked speculation that a television host with whom Trump has feuded may have killed a woman and asserted without evidence that mail-in voting routinely produces ballot stuffing. He made little mention of the sacrifice Americans honor on Memorial Day or the grim toll of the virus.

Worth Watching

The pandemic is still devastating workers in the meat industry, with thousands of infections and the industry reluctant to provide information on sick workers, shortages and soaring prices. 

  • New York Times: As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
  • Washington Post: The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse.
  • Politico: ‘Something isn’t right’: U.S. probes soaring beef prices

Other News

Trump’s Failures 
Associated Press: White House goal on testing nursing homes unmet
Bloomberg: Republicans Risk Political Backlash in Trump’s Haste to Reopen
Bloomberg: Trump Restricts Entry Into U.S. From Brazil as Virus Cases Spike
Daily Beast: Trump Golfs as Coronavirus Death Count Nears 100,000
New York Times: ‘This Is Not the Hunger Games’: National Testing Strategy Draws Concerns
New York Times: The Coronavirus Is Deadliest Where Democrats Live
Politico: Trump administration might consolidate pandemic response at State Department
Politico: Places of worship ‘may not be safe’ for some, Birx says
Politico: How summer could determine the pandemic’s future
Wall Street Journal: Trump, Biden Place Opposing Bets on Voters’ View of Coronavirus
Washington Post: Administration leaves testing responsibility to states in report to Congress
Washington Post: A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America
Washington Post: One final viral infusion: Trump’s move to block travel from Europe triggered chaos and a surge of passengers from the outbreak’s center

Trump’s Lies and Misinformation
Axios: WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns
CNN: Fact check: Trump has spent far more time at golf clubs than Obama had at same point
New York Post: Trump claims hydroxychloroquine has ‘rave reviews,’ slams Columbia University
New York Times: Trump Tweets and Golfs, but Makes No Mention of Virus’s Toll
Washington Post: On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims and plays golf

Trump and the GOP Not Looking Out For You 
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus widens healthcare divide between red states and blue states
Miami Herald: Florida Republicans would welcome convention after Trump threatens to leave Charlotte
New York Times: Trump Threatens to Pull Republican National Convention From North Carolina
Politico: Trump expected to broaden foreign worker bans

Affordability and Access
Associated Press: 1st deadlines for laid-off workers to get health insurance

Campaigns and Elections
Axios: Coronavirus stay-at-home orders crater voter registration efforts
CNN: Republican National Committee sues California to halt vote-by-mail for November general election
New York Times: Which Party Would Benefit Most From Voting by Mail? It’s Complicated
Politico: Key swing state warns of November election crisis
Washington Post: The pandemic has already altered how tens of millions of Americans can cast their ballots this year

Congress
Politico: ‘I hope hand lotion doesn’t cause cancer, because we’ve been using a lot’

Economic Impact
Wall Street Journal: For Economy, Worst of Coronavirus Shutdowns May Be Over

Food
HuffPost: A North Carolina Salon Reopened, But Poultry Workers Aren’t Welcome Yet Due To COVID-19
New York Times: As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
Politico: ‘Something isn’t right’: U.S. probes soaring beef prices
Washington Post: The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse.

Hospitals and Health Care Workers
New York Times: Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers

Inequality
NBC: New normal of masks is an ‘added barrier’ for deaf and hard-of-hearing community
Washington Post: Crowded housing and essential jobs: Why so many Latinos are getting coronavirus

International
Associated Press: WHO warns that 1st wave of pandemic not over; dampens hopes
The Guardian: Sweden ‘wrong’ not to shut down, says former state epidemiologist
Los Angeles Times: ‘You don’t know that feeling of terror’: Wuhan’s survivors find no closure from the coronavirus
New York Times: Jacinda Ardern Sold a Drastic Lockdown With Straight Talk and Mom Jokes
Wall Street Journal: Wuhan Tests Nine Million People for Coronavirus in 10 Days
Wall Street Journal: Poor Countries Weigh Easing Lockdowns as Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise
Washington Post: In the developing world, the coronavirus is killing far more young people

In The States
The Hill: Arkansas governor says several people who attended pool party infected with COVID-19
The Hill: Missouri officials slam ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ behavior seen in images of Memorial Day crowds
NPR: North Carolina Reports Highest One Day Spike Of COVID-19 Cases
Reuters: Special Report: In Oklahoma pork-packing town, COVID stirs fear, faith and sorrow
Tampa Bay Times: Ousted manager was told to manipulate COVID-19 data before state’s re-opening, she says
Time: Virginia Governor Criticized for Not Wearing Mask at Beach After Urging Citizens to Cover Their Faces

Nursing Homes
Axios: The coronavirus is making it even harder to care for seniors
New York Times: They Survived the Worst Battles of World War II. And Died of the Virus.

Politico: As residents perish, nursing homes fight for protection from lawsuits
Washington Post: In a veterans’ home hit by the coronavirus, chronic problems aided a disaster

Personal Narratives
New York Times (Opinion): My Mother Died of the Coronavirus. It’s Time She Be Counted.

Protests
Louisville Courier Journal: Beshear hanged in effigy as Second Amendment supporters rally at Capitol before Memorial Day
Raleigh News & Observer: In rural NC, racing fans packed a speedway to defy governor in pursuit of ‘freedom’

Workers
Washington Post: Desperate workers rush to delivery app jobs to find low pay and punishing rules
Washington Post: On the front lines of the pandemic, grocery workers are in the dark about risks

Trump Tweets 

Great reviews on our handling of Covid 19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. Ventilators, Testing, Medical Supply Distribution, we made a lot of Governors look very good – And got no credit for so doing. Most importantly, we helped a lot of great people! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

Sleepy Joe Biden (mostly his reps.) went crazy when I banned, in late January, people coming in from China. He called me “xenophobic” & then went equally “nuts” when we let in 44,000 people – until he was told they were American citizens coming home. He later apologized!  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami, as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble. Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin – I knew this would happen! What they don’t say is that it was my first golf in almost 3 months and, if I waited 3 years, they would do their usual “hit” pieces anyway. They are sick with hatred and dishonesty. They are truly deranged! They don’t mention Sleepy Joe’s poor work ethic,  or all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint? He also played moments after the brutal killing by ISIS of a wonderful young man. Totally inappropriate – and it was me who shattered 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. I was left a MESS! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

TRANSITION TO GREATNESS! Get ready, it is already happening again!  [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed .made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina! [@realDonaldTrump, 5/25/20

Schools in our country should be opened ASAP. Much very good information now available. @SteveHiltonx


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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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