Trump Administration, Week 175: Friday, 22 May – Thursday, 28 May 2020 (Days 1,218-1,224)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 22 May 2020, Day 1,218:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: U.K. to Quarantine All Incoming Air Travelers; a Chinese Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise, The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: As Death Toll Nears 100,000, Some in the Trump Administration Question the Math; Experts Disagree. President Trump ordered states to reopen places of worship, but several governors said that decision would be their call. Persistently high case levels in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington have medical experts concerned. The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: New York Relaxes Rules, Approving All Gatherings of Up to 10 People, The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 175, Friday, 22 May – Thursday, 28 May 2020 (Days 1,218-1,224)

Continue reading…

Trump Administration, Week 174: Friday, 15 May – Thursday, 21 May 2020 (Days 1,211-1,217)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 15 May 2020, Day 1,211:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 15 May 2020: U.S. and China Trade Coronavirus Accusations, Sparking Fears of a New Cold War, The New York Times, Friday, 15 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 15 May 2020: House Passes $3 Trillion Relief Bill Seen as Democrats’ Opening Bid, The New York Times, Friday, 15 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 15 May 2020: Some Northeast Beaches Set to Open Next Week, but Not in N.Y.C., The New York Times, Friday, 15 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 174, Friday, 15 May – Thursday, 21 May 2020 (Days 1,211-1,217)

Continue reading…

Trump Administration, Week 173: Friday, 8 May – Thursday, 14 May 2020 ( Days 1,204-1,210)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 8 May 2020, Day 1,204:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 8 May 2020: Mexican Government Is Hiding Huge Coronavirus Toll, Especially in the Capital, The New York Times, Friday, 8 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 8 May 2020: The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Clears First Home Saliva Test; Pence’s Press Secretary Has Coronavirus, The New York Times, Friday, 8 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 8 May 2020: 5-Year-Old Dies in New York City of Rare Illness Linked to Coronavirus, The New York Times, Friday, 8 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 173, Friday, 8 May – Thursday, 14 May 2020 (Days 1,204-1,210)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 172: Friday, 1 May – Thursday, 7 May 2020 (Days 1,197-1,203)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 1 May 2020, Day 1,197:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 1 May 2020: Companies Sell the Blood of Recovered Coronavirus Patients for exorbitant Prices, The New York Times, Friday, 1 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 1 May 2020: As More States Reopen, Protesters Chafe at Restrictions, The New York Times, Friday, 1 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 1 May 2020: New York Closes Schools Through End of Academic Year, The New York Times, Friday, 1 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 172, Friday, 1 May – Thursday, 7 May 2020 (Days 1,197-1,203)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 171: Friday, 24 April – Thursday, 30 April 2020 (Days 1,190-1,196)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 24 April 2020, Day 1,190:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 24 April 2020: European Union (E.U.) Waters Down Report on China’s Coronavirus Propaganda, The New York Times, Friday, 24 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 24 April 2020: Trump’s Suggestion on Thursday That an ‘Injection Inside’ the Human Body With a Disinfectant Could Help Combat the Coronavirus Prompts Warnings About the Dangers of Ingesting Disinfectants, The New York Times, Friday, 24 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 24 April 2020: Virus Deaths in New York Hit Lowest Level Since 1 April, The New York Times, Friday, 24 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 171, Friday, 24 April – Thursday, 30 April 2020 (Days 1,190-1,196)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 170: Friday, 17 April – Thursday, 23 April 2020 (Days 1,183-1,189)

 

Thank you Wild Oats Market in Williamstown–Cooperatively Owned Since 1982!

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 17 April 2020, Day 1,183:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 April 2020: Syria’s Kurdish Northeast Had Its First Covid-19 Death. The Case Was News to the Kurds. Germany’s Infection Rate Falls, a Sign That It Is Getting the Virus Under Control. The New York Times, Friday, 17 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 April 2020: Trump Foments Protests Against Governors; Health Experts Warn That Lack of Testing Presents a Serious Challenge to Reopening, The New York Times, Friday, 17 April 2020: Included in this article:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 April 2020: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Trump Spar Over Coronavirus Aid to New York, The New York Times, Friday, 17 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 170, Friday, 17 April – Thursday, 23 April 2020 (Days 1,183-1,189)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 169: Friday, 10 April – Thursday, 16 April 2020 (Days 1,176-1,182)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 10 April 2020, Day 1,176:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 10 April 2020: Coronavirus Caseload Tops 1.6 Million, as Countries Greet Easter Weekend with Lockdowns. The United States, citing the virus, vowed to issue visa penalties for countries that refuse to accept people it wants to deport. Moscow’s hospitals have been pushed to their limits. The New York Times, Friday, 10 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 10 April 2020: Trump Says Countries Must Accept Deportees or Lose Visas. The U.S. says that lifting stay-at-home rules too soon could result in a spike in infections. Apple and Google are working on a cellphone feature to help with contact tracing. The New York Times, Friday, 10 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates on Friday, 10 April 2020: Number of Virus Patients in I.C.U.s Starts to Fall in New York. The figure decreased for the first time since the outbreak began, providing more evidence that the curve of infection is flattening, but deaths remain high. The New York Times, Friday, 10 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 169, Friday, 10 April – Thursday, 16 April 2020 (Days 1,176-1,182)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 168: Friday, 3 April – Thursday, 9 April 2020 (Days 1,169-1,175)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 3 April 2020, Day 1,169:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 3 April 2020: Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) Recommends Wearing Masks in Public; Trump Says, ‘I’m Choosing Not to Do It.’ Alabama became the 41st state to issue a stay-at-home order, and the attorney general expanded the pool of prisoners eligible for early release from federal prisons. The New York Times, Friday, 3 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 3 April 2020: New York Virus Deaths Double in Three Days to Almost 3,000. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday that there had been 562 deaths due to the virus over the previous 24 hours, a higher toll than the state saw in the first 27 days of March. The New York Times, Friday, 3 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 3 April 2020: Wall Street Caps a Turbulent Week With a Decline. A $349 billion program to throw a financial lifeline to small businesses gets off to a rocky start. The New York Times, Friday, 3 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 3 April 2020: People should wear cloth face coverings in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) recommends, to reduce the spread of coronavirus, The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Teo Armus, Jennifer Hassan, Rick Noack, John Wagner, Katie Mettler, Brittany Shammas, Alex Horton, Siobhán O’Grady, Eva Dou, Michael Brice-Saddler, and Steven Goff, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump on Friday announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wear a simple, cloth face covering while out in public. The debate about whether the public should wear masks came after increasing evidence that infected people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus. Medical masks should still be reserved for health-care workers. While making the announcement, Trump said it was ‘voluntary’ and that that he is choosing not to do it, though ‘it may be good.’ Here are some significant developments:

  • The United States reported more than 32,000 confirmed cases Friday, bringing its total to more than 273,000. The U.S. death toll is over 7,000. More than 1 million confirmed cases have been reported around the world.
  • Washington Post investigation uncovered alarm and dismay among scientists at health labs about the Trump administration’s reliance on a flawed coronavirus test developed by the CDC, which was used for weeks as the virus began to spread across the United States.
  • Trump intends to nominate White House lawyer Brian D. Miller to serve as the inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s implementation of the newly enacted $2 trillion coronavirus law, the White House said Friday night.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continues to press the case for another federal stimulus bill. It would include more direct payments to individuals, additional small business loan funding and the extension of enhanced unemployment benefits.
  • Data suggests 75 percent of patients in China originally listed as asymptomatic go on to develop symptoms, a World Health Organization epidemiologist said. The Communist Party chief of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, said that the risk of a resurgence there remains high.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) called for a national enlistment of health-care workers organized by the U.S. military, as statewide cases grew to more than 102,000 on Friday, with nearly 3,000 deaths.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Inside the coronavirus testing failure: Alarm and dismay among the scientists who sought to help, The Washington Post, Shawn Boburg, Robert O’Harrow Jr., Neena Satija, and Amy Goldstein, Friday, 3 March 2020: “On a Jan. 15 conference call, a leading scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured local and state public health officials from across the nation that there would soon be a test to detect a mysterious virus spreading from China. Stephen Lindstrom told them the threat was remote and they may not need the test his team was developing ‘unless the scope gets much larger than we anticipate,’ according to an email summarizing the call. ‘We’re in good hands,’ a public health official who participated in the call wrote in the email to colleagues. Three weeks later, early on Feb. 8, one of the first CDC test kits arrived in a Federal Express package at a public health laboratory on the east side of Manhattan. By then, the virus had reached the United States, and the kits represented the government’s best hope for containing it while that was still possible. For hours, lab technicians struggled to verify that the test worked. Each time, it fell short, producing untrustworthy results. That night, they called their lab director, Jennifer Rakeman, an assistant commissioner in the New York City health department, to tell her it had failed. ‘Oh, s—,’ she replied. ‘What are we going to do now?’ In the 21 days that followed, as Trump administration officials continued to rely on the flawed CDC test, many lab scientists eager to aid the faltering effort grew increasingly alarmed and exasperated by the federal government’s actions, according to previously unreported email messages and other documents reviewed by The Washington Post, as well as exclusive interviews with scientists and officials involved. In their private communications, scientists at academic, hospital and public health labs — one layer removed from federal agency operations — expressed dismay at the failure to move more quickly and frustration at bureaucratic demands that delayed their attempts to develop alternatives to the CDC test…. ‘We have the skills and resources as a community but we are collectively paralyzed by a bloated bureaucratic/administrative process,’ Marc Couturier, medical director at academic laboratory ARUP in Utah, wrote to other microbiologists on Feb. 27 after weeks of mounting frustration. The administration embraced a new approach behind closed doors that very day, concluding that ‘a much broader’ effort to testing was needed, according to an internal government memo spelling out the plan. Two days later, the administration announced a relaxation of the regulations that scientists said had hindered private laboratories from deploying their own tests. By then, the virus had spread across the country. In less than a month, it would upend daily life, shuttering the world’s largest economy and killing thousands of Americans.”

Continue reading Week 168, Friday, 3 April – Thursday, 9 April 2020 (Days 1,169-1,175)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 167: Friday, 27 March – Thursday, 2 April 2020 (Days 1,162-1,168)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 27 March 2020, Day 1,162:

 

Trump Signs $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday 27 March 2020: “President Trump on Friday signed a sweeping $2 trillion measure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, but not before a late objection from a lone rank-and-file Republican forced hundreds of lawmakers to rush back to the capital even as the virus continued to spread through their ranks. The move by Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, accomplished an extraordinary feat, uniting President Trump and John Kerry, the former Democratic secretary of state and presidential candidate, in a bipartisan moment of outrage against a lawmaker who wanted to force the whole House to take a formal roll-call vote. House Democrats and Republicans teamed up to bring just enough lawmakers back to the Capitol to thwart Mr. Massie’s tactic, and the measure passed on a voice vote. It was a resounding show of support for a bill that lawmakers in both parties said was imperfect, but essential to address a national public health and economic crisis…. While the legislation was the product of a compromise among Republicans, Democrats and the administration, Mr. Trump did not invite any Democrats to the White House to celebrate its enactment, as is typical…. In weeks, it will send direct payments of $1,200 to individuals earning up to $75,000, with smaller payments to those with incomes of up to $99,000 and an additional $500 per child. It will substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits — including an extra $600 per week — and extend it to freelancers and gig workers. The package also suspends all federal student loan payments for six months through September, and the loans will not accrue interest during that period…. The law creates disclosure requirements, an inspector general and a congressionally mandated board to monitor a $425 billion bailout fund to be administered by the Federal Reserve. It also bars companies that receive government infusions from doing stock buybacks for as long as they are benefiting from federal aid, in addition to a year afterward. Companies owned by Mr. Trump and members of his family are barred from receiving any of the bailout money, although the president’s real estate company could potentially benefit from other aspects of the stimulus law…. About two hours after Mr. Trump signed the legislation, however, the White House issued a signing statement undermining a crucial safeguard Democrats had demanded as a condition of agreeing to the corporate bailout fund. The law empowers the inspector general to request information from executive branch agencies and requires the official to report any unreasonable refusal to Congress ‘without delay.’ But Mr. Trump suggested his constitutional powers permit him to decide what information to share with lawmakers.” See also, Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Mike DeBonis, Friday, 27 March 2020: “President Trump on Friday signed a massive $2 trillion emergency spending bill into law, promising to deliver a tidal wave of cash to individual Americans, businesses and health care facilities all reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. His signature came just hours after the House of Representatives passed the massive package by an overwhelming voice vote, and less than 48 hours after it received unanimous approval from the Senate…. But tensions between the White House and Congress over how the law will be implemented became immediately apparent. In a signing statement, Trump wrote that he would not permit a new inspector general to issue certain reports to Congress ‘without presidential supervision.’ Democrats insisted on the creation of the new inspector general in order to make sure the White House didn’t improperly disburse taxpayer money.” See also, Trump Suggests He Can Gag the Inspector General for Stimulus Bailout Program, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 27 March 2020: “When President Trump signed the $2 trillion economic stabilization package on Friday to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, he undercut a crucial safeguard that Democrats insisted upon as a condition of agreeing to include a $500 billion corporate bailout fund. In a signing statement released hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony in the Oval Office, the president suggested he had the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general intended to monitor the fund could share with Congress. Under the law, the inspector general, when auditing loans and investments made through the fund, has the power to demand information from the Treasury Department and other executive branch agencies. The law requires reporting to Congress ‘without delay’ if any agency balks and its refusal is unreasonable ‘in the judgment of the special inspector general.’ Democrats blocked a final agreement on the package this week as they insisted on stronger oversight provisions to ensure that the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could not abuse the bailout fund. They feared that Mr. Trump, who has previously stonewalled congressional oversight, would do the same when it came to the corporate aid program. But in his statement, which the White House made public about two hours after the president signed the bill, Mr. Trump suggested that under his own understanding of his constitutional powers as president, he can gag the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., and keep information from Congress.” See also, John Kerry says Republican Representative Thomas Massie ‘tested positive for being an asshole,’ New York Daily News, Brian Niemietz, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Former Secretary of State John Kerry and President Trump finally agree on something —Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie has to go. The Republican representative was the sole vote against a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that would help people in need during a deadly and rapidly spreading pandemic. Many of Massie’s fellow congressmen and women were forced to return to Washington, D.C., for a vote, despite travel and congregating in groups being very dangerous right now. ‘Breaking news: Congressman Masse has tested positive for for being an asshole,’ Kerry tweeted. ‘He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity.'” See also, House passes $2 trillion coronavirus package, but not without last-minute drama, Politico, Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, Trump signs historic $2 trillion stimulus after Congress passes it Friday, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Haley Byrd, and Ted Barrett, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package into law, The Guardian, Lauren Gambino, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, Inside the talks on the largest U.S. bailout: frantic negotiations, partisan tensions and a Trump tweet, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Mike DeBonis, Erica Werner, and Paul Kane, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, The Mega-Bailout Leaves 4 Mega-Questions. Democrats decided to play ball to get what they wanted on policy. But how are all those ideas going to work? Politico, Michael Grunwald, published on Saturday, 28 March 2020.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 27 March 2020: U.S. becomes first country to report 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases; Trump invokes Defense Production Act, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Katie Mettler, Siobhán O’Grady, Hannah Knowles, Samantha Pell, Meryl Kornfield, and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 27 March 2020: “The United States, which recorded its first confirmed case two months ago, now has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, as reported by states’ health departments. The nation passed 10,000 cases on March 19 and on Thursday became the country with the most confirmed cases. Shortly after signing a sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus spending package into law, President Trump moved to curb oversight provisions in the legislation and assert presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office created to monitor the disbursement of loans. The decision could set up a momentous battle between the White House and Congress as the administration implements the new law.”

Here are some significant developments:

  • President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on Friday to force General Motors to manufacture ventilators. U.S. cities have reported acute shortages of masks, test kits and ventilators.
  • Trump also signed the $2 trillion emergency spending bill, which the House passed on Friday, to combat the economic effects of the pandemic.
  • Italy reported 919 coronavirus deaths in one day — the largest single-day toll reported by any country. The known death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 25,000 globally.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating but will continue to be active in governing.
  • The New York City area is the current U.S. epicenter, but the number of confirmed cases is beginning to surge elsewhere. “We also see hot spots like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans, will have a worse week next week,” the surgeon general said Friday.
  • A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 9 in 10 Americans are staying home “as much as possible” and practicing social distancing to lessen the risk of becoming infected.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Coronavirus Updates: Trump Signs #2 Trillion Bill as U.S. Virus Cases Pass 100,000, The New York Times, Friday, 27 March 2020: “President Trump, who had questioned the need for additional ventilators, pushed industry to make more. A new survey of mayors found dire shortages of urgently needed supplies.

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Continue reading Week 167, Friday, 27 March – Thursday, 2 April 2020 (Days 1,162-1,168)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 166: Friday, 20 March – Thursday, 26 March 2020 (Days 1,155-1,161)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 20 March 2020, Day 1,155:

 

U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey, and Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 20 March 2020: “U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting. The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak. Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month, as officials scrambled to keep citizens in their homes and hospitals braced for a surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.” See also, Simulations before coronavirus outbreak foreshadowed infighting between agencies in pandemic response, The Washington Post, James Hohmann with Mariana Alfaro, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Experts have not just warned for years about the inevitability of an outbreak like the novel coronavirus on American soil. They have also sounded the alarm about the risk of the kind of poor coordination between federal and local agencies that has characterized the initial U.S. response to covid-19.”

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 20 March 2020, The New York Times, Lara Takenaga, Jonathan Wolfe, and Tom Wright-Piersanti, Friday, 20 March 2020:

  • Residents of California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut — 1 in 5 Americans — will be under orders to stay home by this weekend.
  • The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will be closed as of midnight Saturday.
  • Senators are racing to finalize a $1 trillion economic relief bill, which could include direct payments to Americans.
  • Hospitals prepare to ration care.
  • Medical rationing is already happening around the world.

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 20 March 2020: Senate Debates $1 Trillion Rescue Plan, and States Tell People to Stay Indoors, The New York Times, Friday, 20 March 2020: “New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois are preparing to issue restrictions like California and New York, and the U.S. is set to close its borders with Mexico and Canada.”

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 20 March 2020: 43 Coronavirus Deaths and Over 5,600 Cases in New York City, The New York Times, Friday, 20 March 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 20 March 2020: Air Force evacuates 89 Americans from Honduras after coronavirus travel advisory; states increase restrictions, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Rick Noack, Marisa Iati, Alex Horton, Miriam Berger, Katie Mettler, Michael Brice-Saddler, and Hannah Knowles, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Restrictions are dramatically ramping up amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, with Illinois and its 13 million residents — 10 million in the Chicago area — the latest to join California by moving closer to an effective lockdown. Meanwhile, New York told nonessential workers to stay home, Florida closed restaurants, bars and gyms amid spring-break revelry, and the U.S.-Mexico border is closing to nonessential travel.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Air Force conducted two flights Friday that helped bring 89 Americans stranded in Honduras back to the United States.
  • Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Friday said President Trump had approved a major disaster declaration for the state of New York.
  • A member of Vice President Pence’s office has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to press secretary Katie Miller. ‘Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual,’ Miller wrote.
  • Italy announced another record-breaking death toll on Friday: 627, up from 427 the previous day. The country cited 9,600 people in one day for violating lockdown.
  • The U.S. tax filing deadline has been pushed back from April 15 to July 15. ‘All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter.
  • More than 250,000 cases have been confirmed across the globe. The World Health Organization noted that it took more than three months to reach 100,000 cases worldwide — but only 12 days to log the next 100,000. The number of deaths and confirmed cases continues to surge in Spain and Iran.
  • For a second consecutive day, China reported no new local infections. But concerns are growing about a new wave of imported cases elsewhere in the region: Hong Kong reported its biggest daily jump in cases Friday, including many that involved recent travel.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. and Mexico Have Agreed to Temporarily close U.S.-Mexico border, Politico, Sabrina Rodriguez, Friday, 20 March 2020: “President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to temporarily close the border to nonessential travel to curb the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. and Mexican officials have been in talks this week over how to work together in responding to the global pandemic while ensuring that bilateral trade and essential travel are not disrupted at the border. It’s a similar move to the U.S. and Canada’s decision on Wednesday to impose travel restrictions at the northern U.S. border.” See also, Trump administration limits nonessential travel between US and Mexico, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, Betsy Klein, and Jennifer Hansler, Friday, 20 March 2020: “The Trump administration is limiting nonessential travel on the US-Mexico border and barring migrants illegally crossing the border from entering the US. Citing the ‘unscreened’ and ‘unvetted’ people who come into the US from the southern border, President Donald Trump said the border would be sealed off ‘mostly, and even beyond, but mostly during this global pandemic.’ While similar actions are being taken at the US border with Canada, the latest move also seems designed to curb migration to the United States, a pillar of Trump’s immigration agenda.” See also, Trump Cites Coronavirus as He Announces Border Crackdown with Mexico, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Kirk Semple, Friday, 20 March 2020: “The Trump administration says it will no longer detain most undocumented immigrants at the border, citing the coronavirus as a threat to detention facilities and personnel.” See also, Trump allows borrowers to suspend student loan payments for two months, CNN Politics, Katie Lobosco, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Student loan borrowers will be able to suspend their federal student loan payments without penalty and without accruing interest for at least 60 days, the Department of Education said Friday. President Donald Trump announced a week ago that he would waive student loan interest amid the coronavirus crisis — but borrowers were awaiting details on how it would work and how long it would last. The Department of Education’s announcement Friday clarifies the policy change.” See also, Education Department Makes Changes to Standardized Tests and Student Loans Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, NPR, Elissa Nadworny, Friday, 20 March 2020: “On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced new K-12 and higher education policies in response to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. In K-12, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the department will waive standardized test requirements for states affected by the virus. States must apply for the exemption, and many have already begun to do so.” See also, Relief Offered From Standardized Testing and Student Loans as Virus Roils Education, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Elementary and secondary schools will not be required to do standardized testing, and student borrowers with federal loans can request a reprieve from loan payments while the nation confronts the spreading coronavirus, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Friday.” See also, White House Enlists Military to Import Swabs for Coronavirus Tests, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Faced with steep shortages of medical supplies to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is scrambling to coordinate with the private sector to import and manufacture testing swabs, face masks and hand sanitizer. A lack of nasal swabs has been a pressing obstacle as the United States tries to accelerate testing for the coronavirus and gain a clearer view about the extent of the spread of the virus. Supply chains fractured by travel restrictions have hampered efforts to get crucial supplies, creating the need for the military to intervene even before President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, which gives the federal government the power to force companies to make products for national security reasons.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Orders New Coronavirus Restrictions, The New York Times, Kwame Opam, Friday, 20 March 2020: “In a wide-ranging executive order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told New Yorkers on Friday to stay home as much as possible and he enacted strict new rules for businesses, gatherings and people over 70 and those with underlying illnesses. ‘These provisions will be enforced,’ the governor said at a briefing in Albany. ‘These are not helpful hints.’ Other governors soon followed suit: Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois issued similar orders and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said he would do the same on Saturday. The restrictions come a day after Governor Gavin Newsom of California announced a sweeping stay-at-home order for the entire state, where a similar order was issued for several Bay Area counties earlier in the week.” See also, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Orders All Nonessential Businesses in State to Close and Says Residents Should Stay at Home, Adding ‘This Is the Most Drastic Action We Can Take,’ The Wall Street Journal, Joseph De Avila, Friday, 20 March 2020: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close and said residents should stay home as the state further clamps down on human activity to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. The new restrictions go into effect on Sunday evening, Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference Friday. ‘This is the most drastic action we can take,’ Mr. Cuomo said. ‘This is not life as usual. Accept it, realize it and deal with it.'” See also, New York Is the Epicenter of the U.S. Outbreak, The New York Times, Lara Takenaga, Jonathan Wolfe, and Tom Wright-Piersanti, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has issued a sweeping executive order that will essentially put the state on lockdown, after its caseload soared to nearly 8,000, from fewer than 700 at the beginning of the week. New York is now the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with nearly half of the country’s confirmed infections — and only six percent of its population. The startling uptick is partly the result of ramped-up testing efforts. New York performed some 10,000 tests Thursday night alone, bringing its total to more than 32,000 and, Mr. Cuomo said, putting its per capita rate ahead of those of China and South Korea.” See also, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo orders all nonessential New York workers to stay home, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 20 March 2020: “All workers in nonessential businesses across New York state are required to stay home in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Friday morning. The executive order takes effect Sunday evening, Cuomo said, and comes a day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home. The two states have a combined population of nearly 59 million people, meaning the two orders affect nearly 1 in 5 Americans.” See also, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issues order requiring residents to ‘stay at home’ starting Saturday, Chicago Tribune, Dan Petrella, Stacy St. Clair, Steve Johnson, and Gregory Pratt, Friday, 20 March 2020: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a ‘stay-at-home’ order for the entire state starting at 5 p.m. Saturday through at least April 7, marking Illinois’ most aggressive step yet to try to slow the coronavirus’s spread. A dramatic-sounding move, to be sure, but one that largely codifies the previous recommendations and rules issued by state officials. Pritzker said his latest decision was based on conversations with ‘some of the best medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers.'”

Continue reading Week 166, Friday, 20 March – Thursday, 26 March 2020 (Days 1,155-1,161)

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