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)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.K. health secretary test positive for coronavirus, and the chief medical officer has symptoms, The Washington Post, William Booth, Friday, 27 March 2020: “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, making him one of the first world leaders to become a patient in the global pandemic. Just a few hours later, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock alerted the public that he had also tested positive for the virus. Soon after, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said he, too, was experiencing symptoms of a covid-19 infection. He did not say if he had been tested. All three men said their symptoms were mild so far. They confirmed that they were self-isolating and working from home. But the one-two-three punch came as a shock, even as Britain’s infections have been doubling every three to four days, with 14,543 confirmed cases and 759 deaths recorded as of Friday. Scientists have warned that many more people will be stricken before the virus peaks, and public health officials are scrambling to erect temporary hospitals in convention centers in London, Birmingham and Manchester to handle the coming wave.”

Under Intense Criticism, Trump Says the Government Will Buy More Ventilators. In another day of mixed messages, the president criticized G.M. and authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to force it to make ventilators after the company had already announced it was going to. The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, and Annie Karni, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Faced with a torrent of criticism from cities and states that have been pleading for help to deal with the most critically ill coronavirus victims, President Trump announced on Friday that the federal government would buy thousands of ventilators from a variety of makers, though it appeared doubtful they could be produced in time to help hospitals that are now overwhelmed. His announcement came shortly after authorizing the government to ‘use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act,’ a Korean War-era authority allowing the federal government to commandeer General Motors’ factories and supply chains, to produce ventilators. It was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s mixed messages about how to ramp up production to meet a national crisis. Just 24 hours before, he had dismissed the complaints of mayors and governors who said that they were getting little of the equipment they needed for an expected onslaught of serious cases. And this week he praised companies that — General Motors included — were rallying to help provide necessary equipment. But he turned on G.M. on Friday, accusing it of ‘wasting time’ and seeking to ‘rip off’ the government. ‘Our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,’ the president said. But it was unclear whether Mr. Trump’s use of the law would make much difference. He was essentially ordering the company to do something it had already arranged to do: G.M. announced earlier on Friday that it was moving forward with an emergency joint venture with a small manufacturer, Ventec Life Systems, even in the absence of a contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Company executives seemed stunned by the president’s effort to command them to carry through with an effort they had initiated.” See also, Trump seeks to ramp up production of medical equipment after harsh criticism of his slow response, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 27 March 2020: “President Trump sought to seize control of the nation’s medical supply crisis Friday after a week of failures to deliver needed equipment to hospitals overrun with coronavirus patients, even as he said he expects governors receiving federal help to express appreciation for his administration’s job performance. Following days of sustained criticism for his administration’s slow efforts to distribute ventilators, personal protective equipment and other materials, Trump used his power under the Defense Production Act to compel a ramp-up in production. Trump issued an order to allow his government to force General Motors to manufacture ventilators, after a breakdown in negotiations with the auto giant caused in part by what aides said was White House indecision, and announced that eight existing ventilator manufacturers, including General Electric and Phillips, had agreed to speed up their production. The president vowed that the efforts would produce a combined 100,000 ventilators over the next 100 days. Trump’s action — which came on the day the United States recorded more than 100,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, surpassing every other nation — represented an about-face after the president on Thursday largely dismissed the outcry for ventilators. Trump said he believed that governors whose states were experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases were inflating their needs. And the president said state leaders ought to be fending for themselves and effectively shamed them for seeking federal help, even though he declared a national emergency two weeks ago and has described himself as a ‘wartime president.’ See also, Trump expands the federal government’s role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, but he warns governors to be appreciative and not to cross him, Associated Press, Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin, and Darlene Superville, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “After days of desperate pleas from the nation’s governors, President Donald Trump took a round of steps to expand the federal government’s role in helping produce critically needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic even as he warned the leaders of hard-hit states not to cross him. ‘I want them to be appreciative,’ Trump said Friday after the White House announced that he would be using the powers granted to him under the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to try to compel auto giant General Motors to produce ventilators. Yet Trump — who hours earlier had suggested the need for the devices was being overblown — rejected any criticism of the federal government’s response to a ballooning public health crisis that a month ago he predicted would be over by now. ‘We have done a hell of a job,’ Trump said, as he sent an ominous message to state and local leaders who have been urging the federal government to do more to help them save lives. Trump said he had instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to call the governors of Washington or Michigan — two coronavirus hotspots — because of their public criticism. ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,’ Trump said.” See also, Trump ties his coronavirus decisions to his personal grievances, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Saturday, 28 March 2020. See also, In Exchange for Coronavirus Aid, Trump Wants Praise from Governors That He Can Use in Campaign Ads, The Intercept, Robert Mackey, published on Saturday, 28 March 2020. See also, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says shipments of medical supplies were ‘canceled’ or ‘delayed’ and were sent to the federal government, CNN Politics, Kelly Mena, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in an interview Friday that her state is not getting the health and safety equipment needed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus because contractors are sending their products to the federal government first. Whitmer, a Democrat, said in an interview on CNN’s ‘The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer’ that her state’s shipments of personal protective equipment are being ‘canceled’ or ‘delayed.’… Whitmer said her state was notified that shipments of protective equipment such as face masks are going “first to the federal government” ahead of the states.” See also, Trump orders GM to manufacture ventilators under the Defense Production Act, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, Trump says ‘GM was wasting time,’ so he invokes the Defense Protection Act to force GM to make ventilators. The move to activate the Defense Production Act came the same day that Trump slammed GM on Twitter. Politico, Gavin Bade, Friday, 27 March 2020.

Blood Plasma from people who recover from coronavirus could provide a treatment, The Washington Post, Carolyn Y. Johnson and Ben Guarino, Friday, 27 March 2020: “An old idea for fighting infections — an approach most physicians know about only from medical lore — is being revived as people wait for drugs and vaccines to thwart the novel coronavirus. If it works, the blood plasma of people who have recovered from covid-19 would be used to protect health-care workers and help sick people get well. The possible therapy is based on a medical concept called ‘passive immunity.’ People who recover from an infection develop antibodies that circulate in the blood and can neutralize the pathogen. Infusions of plasma — the clear liquid that remains when blood cells are removed — may increase people’s disease-fighting response to the virus, giving their immune systems an important boost. The approach has been used against polio, measles, mumps and flu.” See also, Blood Plasma From Survivors Will Be Given to Coronavirus Patients, The New York Times, Denise Grady, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Can blood from coronavirus survivors help other people fight the illness? Doctors in New York will soon be testing the idea in hospitalized patients who are seriously ill. Blood from people who have recovered can be a rich source of antibodies, proteins made by the immune system to attack the virus. The part of the blood that contains antibodies, so-called convalescent plasma, has been used for decades to treat infectious diseases, including Ebola and influenza.”

Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax, The Washington Post, William Wan and Aaron Blake, Friday, 27 March 2020: “In recent days, a growing contingent of Trump supporters have pushed the narrative that health experts are part of a deep-state plot to hurt Trump’s reelection efforts by damaging the economy and keeping the United States shut down as long as possible. Trump himself pushed this idea in the early days of the outbreak, calling warnings on coronavirus a kind of ‘hoax’ meant to undermine him. The notion is deeply troubling, leading health experts say, because what the country does next and how many people die depend largely on what evidence U.S. leaders and the public use to inform their decisions. Epidemiologists worry their research — intended to avert massive deaths in situations exactly like this pandemic — will be dismissed by federal leaders when it is needed most.”

Analyzing the Patterns in Trump’s Falsehoods About the Novel Coronavirus, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Friday, 27 March 2020: “For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his policies and potential treatments, blamed others and tried to rewrite the history of his response. Hours after the United States became the nation with the largest number of reported coronavirus cases on Thursday, President Trump appeared on Fox News and expressed doubt about shortages of medical supplies, boasted about the country’s testing capacity, and criticized his predecessor’s response to an earlier outbreak of a different disease. ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,’ he said, alluding to a request by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. The president made the statement in spite of government reports predicting shortages in a severe pandemic — and he reversed course on Friday morning, calling for urgent steps to produce more ventilators. Speaking on Fox on Thursday, Mr. Trump suggested wrongly that because of his early travel restrictions on China, ‘a lot of the people decided to go to Italy instead’ — though Italy had issued a more wide-ranging ban on travel from China and done so earlier than the United States. And at a White House briefing on Friday, he wrongly said he was the ‘first one’ to impose restrictions on China. North Korea, for one, imposed restrictions 10 days before the United States. He misleadingly claimed again on Friday that ‘we’ve tested now more than anybody.’ In terms of raw numbers, the United States has tested more people for the coronavirus than Italy and South Korea but still lags behind in tests per capita. And he continued to falsely claim that the Obama administration ‘acted very, very late’ during the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 and 2010. These falsehoods, like dozens of others from the president since January, demonstrate some core tenets of how Mr. Trump has tried to spin his response to the coronavirus epidemic to his advantage. Here’s an overview. [1.] Playing down the severity of the pandemic…. [2.] Overstating potential treatments and policies…. [3.] Blaming others…. [4.] Rewriting history.” See also, Trump on urgent requests for ventilators: ‘I don’t believe you need 30,000,’ The Guardian, Kenya Evelyn, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Donald Trump has again downplayed the severity of an intensifying coronavirus outbreak, telling rightwing Fox News host Sean Hannity he had ‘a feeling that a lot of the numbers’ of ventilators estimated to be needed by overwhelmed hospitals ‘are just bigger than they’re going to be.’ In severe cases, the coronavirus leads to the respiratory disease known as Covid-19. Ventilators can allow such patients to breathe. Trump told Hannity: ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’ The president’s comments appeared to be in response to New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who had called for 30,000 ventilators, explaining that state hospitals had only 4,000 in the system at the beginning of the outbreak. Many states across the US are scrambling to buy ventilators, often at inflated rates.” See also, ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators’: Trump questions New York’s plea for critical equipment, The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu and Timothy Bella, Friday, 27 March 2020. See also, U.S. cities have acute shortages of masks, test kits, and ventilators as they face coronavirus threat, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Nearly 90 percent of U.S. mayors who responded to a national survey on coronavirus preparedness said they lack sufficient test kits, face masks and other protective equipment for their emergency responders and medical workers, while 85 percent said they do not have enough ventilators for their hospitals — critical shortages that could lead cities and towns to be quickly overwhelmed should the virus spread through their communities. The U.S. Conference of Mayors survey, published Friday, was conducted from March 20 to March 24 and includes data from 213 U.S. cities in 41 states and Puerto Rico, representing a combined population of 42 million. The shortages of essential items and equipment the cities are facing ‘has reached crisis proportions,’ according to the report.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls on Trump to build field hospitals throughout the city, Politico, Amanda Eisenberg, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on President Donald Trump to approve the construction of 4,000 additional hospital beds across the city. The governor said he wants to build temporary hospitals ahead of the apex of Covid-19 patients crushing the hospitals, expected to take place within three weeks. ‘I want to have one in every borough,’ Cuomo said at Friday’s press conference at the Javits Center in Manhattan. He added that he wants to ensure that ‘everyone equally is being helped and is being protected.’ The state is looking at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, the Port Authority-owned Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the College of Staten Island to set up temporary hospitals similar to the one set up at the Javits Center. New York officials are also considering converting dorms and hotels into Covid-19 units and beginning to stockpile equipment, Cuomo said.” See also, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio urges Trump to help as more US coronavirus hotspots emerge, The Guardian, Edward Helmore, Friday, 27 March 2020.

The Trump O’Clock Follies: Trump’s mendacious nightly press briefings on the coronavirus will go down in history for their monumental flimflammery, The New Yorker, Susan Glasser, Friday, 27 March 2020: “During the Vietnam War, the United States had the Five O’Clock Follies, nightly briefings at which American military leaders claimed, citing a variety of bogus statistics, half-truths, and misleading reports from the front, to be winning a war that they were, in fact, losing. Richard Pyle, the Associated Press’s Saigon bureau chief, called the press conferences ‘the longest-playing tragicomedy in Southeast Asia’s theater of the absurd,’ which, minus the ‘Southeast Asia’ part, is not a bad description of the scene currently playing out each evening in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, in the White House. We now have the Trump Follies, the nightly briefings at which President Trump has lied and bragged, lamented and equivocated, about the global pandemic that poses an existential threat to his Presidency. Just as the Vietnam briefings became a standard by which the erosion of government credibility could be measured then, historians of the future will consult the record of Trump’s mendacious, misleading press conferences as an example of a tragic failure of leadership at such a critical moment. There will be much material for them; the transcripts from just the first three days of this week runs to more than forty thousand words.”

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy says the Trump Administration turned down emergency coronavirus funding in early February, Yahoo News, Suzanne Smalley, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, says that Trump administration officials declined an offer of early congressional funding assistance that he and other senators made on Feb. 5 during a meeting to discuss the coronavirus. The officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, said they ‘didn’t need emergency funding, that they would be able to handle it within existing appropriations,’ Murphy recalled in an interview with Yahoo News’ ‘Skullduggery’ podcast. ‘What an awful, horrible catastrophic mistake that was,’ Murphy said. On Feb. 5, Murphy tweeted: ‘Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.'”

Beyond Narcissism, Trump’s Other Personality Flaws Are Putting Americans at Risk, Mother Jones, David Corn, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, critics of Donald Trump have repeatedly referenced his profound and outrageous narcissism. It was partly this pathology that led Trump to downplay the threat and resist widespread testing for weeks. An honest acknowledgement of the mounting problem and a rising number of positive tests would inconvenience his reelection prospects. For a narcissist, the most immediate personal need is the most important one. So Trump viewed the burgeoning crisis as a threat to him, not the nation, and he took the steps he usually does in so many circumstances: He denied the threat, claimed he knew better than the experts, and relied on bluster and BS. He did all that instead of adopting early measures that could have slowed the transmission of the virus. But beyond the narcissism, two other fundamental elements of Trump’s character are likely shaping his response: his obsession with revenge and his sense of fatalism. And both are exceedingly dangerous for the American public. Trump has long acknowledged his love affair with revenge. Before Trump ran for president, he often gave speeches sharing the supposed secrets to his success. At the top of that list was his devotion to retribution. In 2011, he told the National Achievers Congress in Sydney, Australia, that there were several lessons not taught in business school that successful people must know. And one of those lessons was this: ‘Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe that.’… Trump has applied his get-even rule to his dealings with governors confronting the crisis. After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in late February said, ‘Our work would be more successful if the Trump administration stuck to the science and told the truth,’ Trump struck back. While visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he huffed, ‘I told Mike [Pence] not to be complimentary of that governor because that governor is a snake. So Mike may be happy with him but I’m not, OK?’ That was Trump getting even. And when Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York noted that the federal government only sent his state 400 ventilators when it needed 30,000, Trump responded with a threat. He told Fox, ‘It’s a two-way street, they have to treat us well also.’ Here Trump was suggesting that complaints from Cuomo would be met with vengeance, presumably the withholding of assistance.”

‘Dreamers’ Tell Supreme Court Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) During Pandemic Would Be ‘Catastrophic,’ The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Aldo Martinez, a paramedic in Fort Myers, Fla., is one of about 27,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers who work in health care, many of them on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic…. Mr. Martinez, 26, came to the United States from Mexico when he was 12, and he is able to work thanks to a program announced by President Barack Obama in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The Trump administration wants to end the program, and at a Supreme Court argument in November, a majority of the justices seemed inclined to let it. Mr. Martinez said it would be foolish to take an army of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, researchers and other health care workers off the battlefield in the middle of a pandemic. ‘It’s imperative that the Supreme Court take account of conditions that did not exist back in November,’ he said. ‘It seems nonsensical to invite even more chaos into an already chaotic time.’ The status of health case workers like Mr. Martinez was the subject of an unusual Supreme Court filing on Friday, one that urged the justices to take account of a new reality.”

These ‘mission critical’ federal employees and contractors are still reporting to the office. They’re terrified they’ll get sick. The Washington Post, Lisa Rein and Dan Lamothe, Friday, 27 March 2020: “Thousands of federal employees and contractors are still badging in to offices they worry have turned into petri dishes — whether they’re answering phones for the Internal Revenue Service in a cubicle farm in Covington, Ky., or reading intelligence streams in a special facility at the Pentagon where the government keeps classified information. This large swath of the workforce is keeping many operations afloat during the crisis. They’re not on laptops in the safe space of their homes, either because their roles are not telework-ready or their managers are nervous they’ll be out of sight. They’re not in crucial health and safety roles inspecting meat, caring for veterans, securing prisons or providing security for the president. Federal officials have said protecting their employees is their highest priority. But the lumbering, decentralized and risk-averse bureaucracy, the country’s largest employer, has been slow to act to protect the health of many in its workforce, particularly those outside Washington, according to interviews with 28 employees, managers and contractors. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about their agency’s pandemic response.”

For Dr. Deborah Birx, Urging Calm Has Come With Heavy Criticism, The New York Times, Noah Weiland and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 27 March 2020: “The White House coronavirus task force has featured two trusted medical voices, diplomatic but authoritative, able to gently push back on President Trump without incurring his wrath: Drs. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah L. Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator. But this week, Dr. Birx’s comments casting doubt on talk of ventilator and hospital-bed shortages, and praising Mr. Trump’s attention to detail in lavish terms, have raised questions about her independence as the number of coronavirus infections in the United States has soared past 100,000.”

Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Find Opposition Within: Staff Scientists. Federal scientists and lawyers, told to undo regulations that some have worked on for decades, have embedded data into technical documents that environmental lawyers are using to challenge the rollbacks. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 27 March 2020: “President Trump has made rolling back environmental regulations a centerpiece of his administration, moving to erase Obama-era efforts ranging from landmark fuel efficiency standards and coal industry controls to more routine rules on paint solvents and industrial soot. But all along, scientists and lawyers inside the federal government have embedded statistics and data in regulatory documents that make the rules vulnerable to legal challenges. These facts, often in the technical supporting documents, may hand ammunition to environmental lawyers working to block the president’s policies. Trump administration loyalists see in the scientists’ efforts evidence that a cabal of bureaucrats and holdovers from previous administrations is intentionally undermining the president and his policies. And there can be little doubt that some career scientists are at odds with the president’s political appointees. But current and former federal employees who work on environmental science and policy say their efforts to include these facts are a civic and professional duty, done to ensure that science informs policy outcomes and protects the public. Some are trying to preserve regulations they spent years of their lives writing.” See also, Trump’s Move to suspend Enforcement of Environmental Laws is a Lifeline to the Oil Industry, InsideClimate News, Marianne Lavelle, Phil McKenna, David Hasemyer, Nicholas Kusnetz, Friday, 27 March 2020: “The Trump administration’s unprecedented decision to suspend enforcement of U.S. environmental laws amid the COVID-19 crisis throws a lifeline to the oil industry as it copes with the greatest threat to its business in a generation. The decision, announced late Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency, comes after a detailed call for help from the industry’s largest trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, five days earlier. The EPA went further than meeting the oil industry’s request—announcing a blanket policy suspending enforcement and civil penalties for any regulated entity that can show COVID-19 was the cause of a failure to comply with the law. But it is clear that a primary beneficiary will be the oil industry, which sought suspension of its obligations under consent decrees over past air and water pollution violations at its refineries, deferral of requirements on handling of fracking wastewater and a pause in reporting its greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.”

U.S. Cuts Health Care Aid to Yemen Despite Worries About the Novel Coronavirus, The New York Times, Michael LaForgia, Friday, 27 March 2020: “The Trump administration on Friday cut off tens of millions of dollars for health care programs and other aid in Yemen, rejecting pleas by humanitarian groups and some members of Congress to delay the decision as the coronavirus spreads across the Middle East. American officials said the move was a necessary response to longstanding interference by Houthi rebels who control the northern part of Yemen. They have been fighting a civil war for the past five years and have imposed harsh restrictions on organizations trying to deliver aid. The fighting has killed thousands of civilians, and millions more face starvation in what the United Nations has labeled the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But as a pandemic looms, the American decision created major funding gaps for dozens of programs run by the United Nations and private aid groups, including efforts to supply the Yemenis with hand soap and medicine and to staff clinics with health care workers, humanitarian officials said.”

Pentagon Order to Plan for Escalation in Iraq Meets Warning From Top Commander, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, Friday, 27 March 2020: “The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops. But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran. In a blunt memo last week, the commander, Lt. Gen. Robert P. White, wrote that a new military campaign would also require thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from what has been the primary American military mission there: training Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State. The Pentagon directive and General White’s response — both classified internal military communications — were described by several American officials with direct knowledge of their contents. The exchange comes amid a simmering fight inside the Trump administration over policy toward Iran and the course of America’s war in Iraq, which began just over 17 years ago.”


Saturday, 28 March 2020, Day 1,163:


Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 28 March 2020: Trump says quarantine for New York Area ‘will not be necessary’; U.S. coronavirus-related deaths double in two days, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Emily Rauhala, Kim Bellware, Lateshia Beachum, Steven Goff, Jesse Dougherty, and Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a ‘strong Travel Advisory’ but that a quarantine on the New York region ‘will not be necessary.’ Earlier in the day, Trump said he might order a quarantine for the area, a possibility that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called ‘preposterous.’ Meanwhile, confirmed U.S. coronavirus-related deaths doubled in two days, hitting 2,000 on Saturday evening, based on reporting from state health departments. Also, the United States has gone over 20,000 officially announced new cases in one day for the first time.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’s civil rights office urged health-care providers to not ration care for covid-19 patients based on disability or age.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday that an infant who tested positive for the novel coronavirus has died.
  • Italy has now seen more than 10,000 coronavirus fatalities. More than 650,000 people have been infected worldwide with 30,000 total deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

As Trump invokes presidential powers to fight the coronavirus, he sows confusion along the way, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “Eager to demonstrate that he is in control of a viral outbreak that is spreading rapidly across the country, President Trump has ramped up efforts to show he is using some of his broadest powers as commander in chief. But the unprecedented push has been plagued by growing confusion about how far his authorities actually extend and how much he is willing to use them. He blindsided New York’s governor Saturday by publicly announcing a potential quarantine order on the state’s residents, only to retreat from the idea hours later. This came a day after he authorized his government to use the Defense Production Act, a move on which he’d been taking an on-again, off-again stance, but it remains unclear whether that power will be used.” See also, Inside Trump’s risky push to reopen the country amid the coronavirus crisis, The Washington Post, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “When Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) called President Trump last Sunday, he delivered a blunt message: If you reopen the nation’s economy too early against the advice of public-health experts, you will own the deaths from the novel coronavirus that follow. Trump’s stalwart ally also warned that the president wouldn’t be the only one held responsible. Graham said the Republican Party itself risks being defined ahead of this fall’s elections as prioritizing commerce and the stock market over the health and safety of the American people, according to three White House officials and a GOP lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment frankly. Trump listened to Graham but made no promises, the officials said. Trump argued to the senator, as he later would in public, that Americans must get back to work and businesses need to reopen as quickly as possible.” See also, Desperate for medical equipment, states encounter a beleaguered national stockpile, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein, Lena H. Sun, and Beth Reinhard, Saturday, 28 March 2020. See also, The federal government is distributing emergency Covid-19 supplies. But some states are losing out. Vox, Anya van Wagtendonk, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Florida has received all the supplies it has asked for. But most states haven’t.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 28 March 2020: Trump Says a Quarantine for the New York City Area ‘Will Not Be Necessary,’ The New York Times, Saturday, 28 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Trump Issues Travel Advisory for the New York City Region, Backing Off Quarantine Threat, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Annie Karni, Saturday, 28 March 2020. See also, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Trump’s possible New York quarantine: ‘I don’t think it’s legal,’ and it would be a ‘federal declaration of war,’ CNN Politics, Kelly Mena, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday in an interview with CNN that he didn’t believe a possible New York quarantine was legal and that it would be a ‘federal declaration of war’ after President Donald Trump said he was considering such a tactic for the New York metro area as US coronavirus cases increase.” See also, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says Trump agreed not to invoke a strict quarantine on the New York City region after intensive White House discussions, CNN Politics, Nicky Robertson and Devan Cole, published on Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that President Donald Trump decided not to impose a strict quarantine on parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after officials had ‘very intensive discussions’ at the White House with the President last night. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that it was important not to enforce something that would create ‘a bigger difficulty,’ and instead issue a travel advisory for the New York metro area…. Fauci said about 56% of the country’s new infections are coming from the New York City area.” See also, US coronavirus cases top 139,000 as Trump extends social distancing guidelines until April 30, CNN Health, Madeline Holcombe and Dakin Andone, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “The United States will extend its set of social distancing guidelines until April 30, President Trump said in a coronavirus news briefing at the White House on Sunday. ‘We will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread,’ the President said. ‘On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people.’ As of Sunday evening there are more than 139,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States. At least 2,425 people have died.”

The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19. Aggressive screening might have helped contain the coronavirus in the United States, But technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, and lapses in leadership let it spread undetected for weeks. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas, and Noah Weiland, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “Early on, the dozen federal officials charged with defending America against the coronavirus gathered day after day in the White House Situation Room, consumed by crises. They grappled with how to evacuate the United States consulate in Wuhan, China, ban Chinese travelers and extract Americans from the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships. The members of the coronavirus task force typically devoted only five or 10 minutes, often at the end of contentious meetings, to talk about testing, several participants recalled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its leaders assured the others, had developed a diagnostic model that would be rolled out quickly as a first step. But as the deadly virus spread from China with ferocity across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen — because of technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, business-as-usual bureaucracies and lack of leadership at multiple levels, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists and company executives. The result was a lost month, when the world’s richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe.” See also, The U.S.’s Slow Start to Coronavirus Testing: A Timeline, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough and Michael D. Shear, Saturday, 28 March 2020.

The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus…. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: ‘We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.’ A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster. Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test.”… It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.”

How Much Should the Public Know About Who Has the Coronavirus? Amid calls for more transparency, a debate is raging among public health experts over how much data on the spread of the virus should be released. The New York Times, Thomas Fuller, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “As the coronavirus spreads across the United States the limited disclosure of data by officials would seem to be a footnote to the suffering and economic disruptions that the disease is causing. But medical experts say that how much the public should know has become a critical question that will help determine how the United States confronts this outbreak and future ones. Residents are clamoring to see whether the virus has been detected in their neighborhoods so they can take more steps to avoid any contact. American researchers are starved for data, unlike their colleagues in other countries who are harnessing rivers of information from their more centralized medical systems. And local politicians complain that they cannot provide basic information on the spread of the virus to their constituents. In the perennial tug-of-war between privacy and transparency in the United States, privacy appears to be winning in the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, We’re Sharing Coronavirus Case Data for Every U.S. County, The New York Times, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “As the coronavirus has spread across the United States, killing hundreds of people and sickening tens of thousands more, comprehensive data on the extent of the outbreak has been difficult to come by. No single agency has provided the public with an accurate, up-to-date record of coronavirus cases, tracked to the county level. To fill the gap, The New York Times has launched a round-the-clock effort to tally every known coronavirus case in the United States…. Individual states and counties have tracked their own cases and presented them to the public with varying degrees of speed and accuracy, but those tallies provide only limited snapshots of the nation’s outbreak. A publicly available tracker from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated five times a week, includes only state-level data. Other entities have made efforts, including a notable one by Johns Hopkins University, to track cases worldwide or within the United States.”

Medical Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Trump Administration’s Most Outspoken Advocate of Emergency Virus Measures, Faces a Torrent of False Claims That He Is Mobilizing to Undermine Trump. He Is Now a Target of the Far Right. The New York Times, Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “At a White House briefing on the coronavirus on March 20, President Trump called the State Department the ‘Deep State Department.’ Behind him, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dropped his head and rubbed his forehead. Some thought Dr. Fauci was slighting the president, leading to a vitriolic online reaction. On Twitter and Facebook, a post that falsely claimed he was part of a secret cabal who opposed Mr. Trump was soon shared thousands of times, reaching roughly 1.5 million people. A week later, Dr. Fauci — the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak — has become the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president. That fanciful claim has spread across social media, fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump’s supporters, even as Dr. Fauci has won a public following for his willingness to contradict the president and correct falsehoods and overly rosy pronouncements about containing the virus. An analysis by The New York Times found over 70 accounts on Twitter that have promoted the hashtag #FauciFraud, with some tweeting as frequently as 795 times a day. The anti-Fauci sentiment is being reinforced by posts from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group; Bill Mitchell, host of the far-right online talk show ‘YourVoice America’; and other outspoken Trump supporters such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who has falsely claimed to be the inventor of email.”

The Coronavirus Pandemic Makes the Case for Criminal Justice Reform, The Intercept, Akela Lacy, Saturday, 28 March 2020: “The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States is expediting criminal justice reforms that advocates have pushed for decades. At least nine prosecutors are now fast-tracking reforms to reduce the number of incarcerated people kept in conditions that can speed the rate of infection, and to stop new prosecutions of low level nonviolent offenses. For reformers, scholars, and elected officials alike, swift changes from prosecutorial offices across the country raise the question: Why not earlier? And with those changes in place, can things go back to the way they were? ‘There is a real question that needs to be asked after this crisis is over about sort of reimagining what our justice system looks like,’ said Lauren-Brooke Eisen, director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. ‘This is gonna be a really important moment for criminal justice reform where a lot of police, prosecutors, corrections agencies say, “Let’s not go back,” — this is our hope, right? Let’s not go back to where we were,’ Eisen said.”


Sunday, 29 March 2020, Day 1,164:


Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 29 March 2020: New York surpasses 1,000 deaths in coronavirus pandemic as Trump says social distancing guidelines will remain through April, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, Candace Buckner, Samantha Pell, Hannah Knowles, and Antonia Noori Farzan, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “During Sunday’s White House briefing, President Trump said federal guidance urging social distancing will stay in place through April 30. He backed off of his hope that the country will be ‘opened up’ by Easter Sunday, saying that deaths due to the coronavirus will likely peak in two weeks. ‘Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,’ he said. Meanwhile, confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide passed 700,000 on Sunday, as countries warned the virus could disrupt lives for months, if not years.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Earlier in the day Anthony S. Fauci said the United States could record 100,000 to 200,000 deaths and millions of infections, according to current but rapidly evolving projections. And Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House task force, offered a grim assessment: “No state, no metro area, will be spared.”
  • New York eclipsed 1,000 confirmed deaths related to the novel coronavirus, the state said Sunday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) commented earlier in the day that he believes his state’s death toll would eventually reach the “thousands.”
  • In New York City, workers spent the weekend constructing an emergency field hospital in Central Park.
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) warned that his state’s health system is at risk of being overwhelmed with patients in a matter of days.
  • Italy reported a slight decline in deaths on Sunday, with 756 dead in the past 24 hours, raising the country’s total to 10,799. War-ravaged Syria reported its first death. There are more than 33,000 covid-related fatalities worldwide.

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Trump extends social distancing guidance until end of April, The Washington Post, Ian Duncan and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Days after President Trump said he hoped the country would be ‘opened up and raring to go’ by Easter, he instead announced on Sunday an extension of federal guidance on social distancing through April, in a continued effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. It was an abrupt reversal for the president, who last week tweeted that ‘WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,’ amid a volatile stock market and record applications for unemployment benefits. He made comparisons to car crashes and ‘a very bad flu season,’ downplaying the virus’s potential death toll. But public health experts widely scoffed at Trump’s idea of packed churches and bustling businesses by Easter on April 12. The nation has reached more than 136,000 confirmed cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and more than 2,400 related deaths — with numbers continuing to climb across the country. New York continues to be hit particularly bad, eclipsing 1,000 confirmed deaths related to the coronavirus on Sunday.” See also, Trump beats a retreat on opening the country as coronavirus data and images show dark reality, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Sunday, 29 March 2020.  See also, As Trump declared coronavirus under control, local leaders faced confusion and chaos as cases piled up, The Washington Post, Nicole Dungca, Jenn Abelson, John Sullivan, Sunday, 29 January 2020. See also, Trump blames hospitals for mask and ventilator shortages, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “President Trump has been focused on shifting blame for whatever becomes of the coronavirus outbreak. And on Sunday, he set about blaming hospitals and states for the well-established shortages of equipment to deal with the situation. During the daily White House coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden, Trump suggested that hospitals had squandered or done worse with masks and were ‘hoarding’ ventilators, and that states were requesting equipment despite not needing it. Trump’s boldest claim was about masks. He noted that current demand wasn’t commensurate with what hospitals typically use and suggested that masks were ‘going out the back door.'”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 29 March 2020: Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30 as U.S. Cases Top 140,000, The New York Times, Sunday, 29 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are also covered in this article.

Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines Through the End of April, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “President Trump retreated Sunday from his desire to relax coronavirus guidelines by Easter, announcing instead that all Americans must continue to avoid nonessential travel, going to work, eating at bars and restaurants, or gathering in groups of more than 10 for at least another month and perhaps until June. The grim recommendation, which the president made in the White House Rose Garden, came just a day before the end of a two-week period in which the world’s largest economy has largely shut down with staggering consequences: businesses shuttered, schools and colleges emptied, and social life all but suspended. Mr. Trump said repeatedly last week that he wanted to reverse such drastic measures soon, perhaps by Easter, on April 12, in the hopes of restarting the economy. But public health experts — including the president’s own advisers — had warned that trying to return to normal life too quickly risked allowing the virus to rage, increasing the likelihood of more infections and raising the number of deaths. The president finally appeared on Sunday to acknowledge the possibility of deaths on a large scale and back down from weeks of insisting that the threat from the virus might be overblown. In the past month, Mr. Trump has vacillated between accepting the need for aggressive action to limit the pandemic and complaining that such moves will harm the economy.” See also, White House Airlifts Medical Supplies From China in Coronavirus Fight, The New York Times, Ana Swanson, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “A commercial aircraft carrying 80 tons of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down in New York on Sunday, the first of 22 scheduled flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April as it battles the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak. The plane delivered 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10 million gloves and thousands of thermometers for distribution to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, said Lizzie Litzow, a spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ms. Litzow said that flights would be arriving in Chicago on Monday and in Ohio on Tuesday, and that supplies would be sent from there to other states using private-sector distribution networks. While the goods that arrived in New York on Sunday will be welcomed by hospitals and health care workers — some of whom have resorted to rationing protective gear or using homemade supplies — they represent just a tiny portion of what American hospitals need. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that the United States will require 3.5 billion masks if the pandemic lasts a year.” See also, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the novel coronavirus could kill as many as 200,000 Americans, The Guardian, Victoria Bekiempis, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading US government infectious disease expert, offered a grim prediction on Sunday: the coronavirus could kill as many as 200,000 Americans. ‘I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 … deaths,’ Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union, though he added: ‘I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.'” See also, Trump says keeping US Covid-19 deaths to 100,000 would be a ‘very food job,’ The Guardian, David Smith, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the US president claimed that, if his administration keeps the death toll to 100,000, it will have done ‘a very good job’ – a startling shift from his optimistic predictions of a few days ago when he said he hoped to restart the economy by Easter. Trump also undermined his plea for unity by uttering falsehoods, verbally abusing reporters and making incendiary allegations that implied health care workers were stealing masks, without providing evidence.”

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 29 March 2020: ‘Thousands of People Will Pass Away’ From Coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Warns, The New York Times, Sunday, 29 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

As Asian-Americans Face Xenophobia and Trump Has Tied the Coronavirus to China, Community and Political Leaders Have Tried to Comfort Constituents. But Even They Admit to Feeling Unnerved. The New York Times, Matt Stevens, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Soon after President Trump first uttered the phrase ‘Chinese virus,’ Representative Grace Meng got a call from her parents, who had read about it in the newspaper. Had Mr. Trump, they wondered, really given the coronavirus that corrosive moniker? Yes, she told them, indeed he had. And no, despite being a member of Congress and her parents’ continued pleas, there was nothing she could do to make him stop…. After enduring decades of exclusion, racism and discrimination that include some of the darkest chapters of American history, Asian-Americans entered 2020 with reason for optimism on the political front. A wave of second-generation Asian-Americans had come of age, sparking hope that they could help break voter turnout records in the fall. And three people with roots in the diaspora had run for the country’s highest office during the same cycle, with one of them, Andrew Yang, energizing Asian-American voters in a fashion seldom seen before. And then along came the coronavirus — a pandemic that unleashed a torrent of hate and violence as bigots blamed Asian-Americans for the outbreak. In recent weeks, they have been yelled at, spit on, physically attacked and more, leading at least three organizations to begin tracking the episodes. Hundreds of people have filed reports, the groups say, though an untold number of incidents have most likely gone uncounted as victims have chosen to keep quiet. In interviews, a dozen Asian-American politicians, academics and leaders of nonprofit groups denounced the racial animus that has shown itself during the crisis, vowing to speak out against it and to protect their community even as they personally acknowledged feeling angry, fearful and unsettled.”

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues emergency authorization of anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for coronavirus care, Politico, Dan Diamond, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, decades-old malaria drugs championed by President Donald Trump for coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The agency allowed for the drugs to be ‘donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,’ HHS said in a statement, announcing that Sandoz donated 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to the stockpile and Bayer donated 1 million doses of chloroquine. The move was supported by the White House, part of a larger Trump-backed effort to speed the use of anti-malaria drugs as a potential therapy for a virus that has no proven treatment or cure. FDA already has allowed New York state to test administering the medication to seriously ill patients, and some hospitals have added it to their treatment protocols.” See also, FDA authorizes widespread use of unproven drugs to treat coronavirus, saying possible benefit outweighs risk, The Washington Post, Christopher Rowland, published on Monday, 30 March 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in seriously ill patients. There have been only a few, small anecdotal studies showing a possible benefit of the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, to relieve the acute respiratory symptoms of covid-19 and clear the virus from infected patients. Health experts warn the drugs’ well-known side effects could become commonplace with wide use. In particular, they say, patients with existing heart problems or taking certain drugs, such as anti-depressants that affect heart rhythm, are at risk of a fatal episode. Experts recommend screening before the drugs are prescribed to prevent drug-related deaths.”

Trump is bragging on Twitter about his coronavirus briefings getting lots of viewers, Vox, Zeeshan Aleem, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “President Donald Trump boasted about the ratings of his daily live news conferences on the coronavirus Sunday, and suggested that the large viewer numbers — rather than the misleading remarks he has made during them — are fueling discussions in the media about ending the practice of broadcasting them live and unfiltered. ‘Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the [New York Times], the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,’ Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. Trump followed that tweet with four others that quoted a New York Times story that referred to the president’s daily briefings as ‘a ratings hit.’ But while Trump is framing the debate about whether his briefings should be broadcast live as stemming from envy or political ambition in the liberal press, in reality the arguments from columnists and staffers at CNN and MSNBC have centered on Trump showering the public with dangerous misinformation and spreading false narratives about the state of the coronavirus pandemic.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Trump’s coronavirus response: ‘As Trump fiddles, people are dying,’ CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying ‘his denial at the beginning was deadly’ and that as he ‘fiddles, people are dying.'”

Judge Dolly M. Gee Urges Release of Migrant Children After 4 Test Positive for Coronavirus in Detention, The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Concerned that thousands of migrant children in federal detention facilities could be in danger of contracting the coronavirus, a federal judge in Los Angeles late on Saturday ordered the government to ‘make continuous efforts’ to release them from custody. The order from Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court came after plaintiffs in a long-running case over the detention of migrant children cited reports that four children being held at a federally licensed shelter in New York had tested positive for the virus. ‘The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,’ the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition, which called for migrant children across the country to be released to outside sponsors within seven days, unless they represent a flight risk. There are currently about 3,600 children in shelters around the United States operated under license by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, and about 3,300 more at three detention facilities for migrant children held in custody with their parents, operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Advocates for immigrants have tried for decades to limit the government’s ability to detain children apprehended after crossing the border, arguing that it is psychologically harmful, violates their rights and undermines their long-term health. Now, some say, the coronavirus represents an even more immediate threat.”

Trump berated ‘PBS NewsHour’ reporter Yamiche Alcindor, telling her to ‘be nice’ and not ‘threatening’ at a coronavirus briefing, but she refused to take the bait, Business Insider, Sonam Sheth, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “Yamiche Alcindor, a ‘PBS NewsHour’ reporter with extensive experience covering the White House, confronted President Donald Trump with his own statements Sunday and provoked a hostile response that critics said had racist undertones. Trump warned Alcindor to ‘be nice’ and not ‘be threatening,’ but she continued her line of questioning. Praise for her was trending on Twitter right after the exchange. Alcindor kicked off her questioning by asking Trump about earlier statements he made to the Fox News opinion commentator and longtime ally Sean Hannity. Specifically, he suggested to Hannity that some states might not need as much medical equipment as they’d requested to fight the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus within the US. ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,’ Trump told Hannity on his program Thursday night. ‘You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they’ll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’ Referring to Trump’s remarks, Alcindor addressed the president and said, ‘You’ve said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don’t actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000–.’ ‘I did not say that. I didn’t say that,’ Trump interjected. ‘You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News, you said that you might–‘ Alcindor said. ‘Come on, come on,’ Trump said, cutting her off. ‘You know, why don’t you people act — why don’t you act in a little more positive — it’s always trying to get you, get you, get you.’ Alcindor tried to redirect the president’s attention to her question, but he continued, ‘And you know what, that’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.’ ‘My question to you is, how is that going to impact–‘ Alcindor tried, before Trump again cut her off.” See also, Trump berates PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor for ‘threatening’ question, The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd, published on Monday, 30 March 2020. See also, A history of the Trump War on Media, the obsession that not even the coronavirus can stop, The Washington Post, Manuel Roig-Franzia and Sarah Ellison, Sunday, 29 March 2020. See also, Fact check: Trump falsely denies saying two things he said last week, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, Monday, 30 March 2020: “On two occasions during Sunday’s coronavirus briefing, President Donald Trump falsely denied he had said words he had said publicly last week. When PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor noted that the President had said he did not believe that governors actually need all the equipment they claimed they did, Trump said, ‘I didn’t say that’ — even though he said precisely that on Fox News on Thursday. Later, when CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond noted that Trump had said he wanted governors to be ‘appreciative’ of him, and that ‘if they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,’ Trump said, ‘But I didn’t say that’ — even though he said precisely that at the Friday briefing.”

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe That Drew Trump’s Fire Over Casino Plan Loses Its Reservation Status. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe got a frightening notice from the Trump administration just as residents are grappling with the devastating impact of COVID-19. HuffPost, Mary Papenfuss, Sunday, 29 March 2020: “The U.S. Interior Department is rescinding the reservation status of a Native American tribe whose plan to build a casino on its Massachusetts land was attacked by President Donald Trump last year. The planned gaming operation would have competed for business with nearby Rhode Island casinos with strong ties to Trump, who once owned, then bankrupted, casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs informed the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Friday that its 321-acre Cape Cod reservation will be ‘disestablished’ and its land taken out of federal trust, according to Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell. Land in trust to the federal government effectively grants a tribe special legal status and autonomy. The Mashpee Wampanoag, however, will still be officially recognized by the federal government as a Native American tribe, according to a spokesman for the Interior Department. Tribal members are believed to be descendants of the first Native Americans to encounter the Pilgrims nearly four centuries ago. They call themselves the ‘People of the First Light.'”


Monday, 30 March 2020, Day 1,165:


Some Coronavirus Global Updates for Monday, 30 March 2020: As Governors Plead for Tests, Trump Promises Ventilators to Europe, The New York Times, Monday, 30 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Coronavirus New York Updates for Monday, 30 March 2020: 914 Dead in New York City, and the City’s Virus Case Count Tops 38,000, The New York Times, Monday, 30 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some Coronavirus Business Updates for Monday, 30 March 2020: Ford Joins Effort to Make Ventilators, The New York Times, Monday, 30 March 2020:

Other significant developments are covered in this article.

Live updates on some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 30 March 2020: Daily coronavirus death toll in U.S. exceeds 500 for first time, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Kim Bellware, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus, and Rick Noack, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Monday was the first day that the number of U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus grew by more than 500, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. Almost half of the deaths were reported in New York. The previous national high was 446 on Saturday. With the coronavirus death toll soaring in the United States and health experts warning that ‘no state, no metro area will be spared’ by the outbreak, President Trump steeled the nation for an extended shutdown.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Trump pivoted sharply on his warnings about the economic impact of shuttering businesses during the outbreak, declaring Monday that saving American lives is more important. ‘Well, it’s so bad for the economy, but the economy is No. 2 on my list,’ Trump said. ‘First, I want to save a lot of lives.’
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) discussed Democrats’ plans for a Phase 4 coronavirus measure, which she said would include a focus on infrastructure, protections for front-line workers and funding for the District of Columbia, among other things.
  • Another 812 people have died in Italy, officials said Monday, bringing the country’s total number of deaths to 11,591.
  • The FDA has approved a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to U.S. hospitals, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the disease in seriously ill patients.
  • The governors of Maryland and Virginia and mayor of D.C. issued stay-at-home orders Monday, just about shutting down the Washington region.
  • Trump said Sunday that federal guidance urging social distancing measures will stay in place through April 30, and noted U.S. deaths will probably peak in two weeks. Earlier, two top U.S. health officials, Anthony S. Fauci and Deborah Birx, told the president that the U.S. could record up to 200,000 deaths.

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

U.S. Prepares for Prolonged Shutdowns as Coronavirus Strains Hospitals, The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, Chong Koh Ping, and Ann M. Simmons, Monday, 30 March 2020: “A U.S. Navy ship outfitted with 1,000 hospital beds pulled into New York Harbor. Tents sprung up in New York City’s Central Park. The Javits Center, a 1.8 million-square-foot convention center in Manhattan, opened its doors as a makeshift hospital. They are part of a striking new reality in New York City and across America, as state and federal leaders take steps unprecedented in modern times to fight the global coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 160,000 Americans and more than 775,000 people globally. With nearly half of states now reporting more than 1,000 confirmed infections, governors and mayors across the U.S. are working to secure more medical supplies, adding restrictions and asking the federal government for better coordination.” See also, Coronavirus Updates: Cases Top 766,000; U.S. Extends Curbs, The Wall Street Journal, Monday, 30 March 2020: “As the coronavirus pandemic roils markets and upends business, The Wall Street Journal is gathering in one place all the latest news and insights on the impact on investors, companies and economies. Archives for Feb. 24-March 30, 2020.”

Trump Suggests Lack of Testing Is No Longer a Problem. Governors Disagree. The New York Times, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, and Mike Baker, Monday, 30 March 2020: “President Trump told governors on a conference call on Monday that he had not ‘heard about testing in weeks,’ suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to screen people for the coronavirus was no longer a problem. But governors painted a different picture on the ground. Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat, said that officials in his state were trying to do ‘contact tracing’ — tracking down people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive — but that they were struggling because ‘we don’t have adequate tests,’ according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times. ‘Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the C.D.C., that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana,’ Mr. Bullock said.” See also, How Trump’s rhetoric on testing in the U.S. compared with what was, or wasn’t, being done, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Tuesday, 31 March 2020.

A president unfit for a pandemic, The Boston Globe, The Editorial Board, Monday, 30 March 2020: “‘Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,’ wrote W.B. Yeats in 1919. A century later, it’s clear: The epicenter cannot hold. Catastrophic decisions in the White House have doomed the world’s richest country to a season of untold suffering. The United States, long a beacon of scientific progress and medical innovation with its world-class research institutions and hospitals, is now the hub of a global pandemic that has infected at least 745,000 people and already claimed more than 35,000 lives worldwide. Now that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States — more than 140,000 — has surpassed that of any other nation, Americans are consigned for the coming weeks to watching the illness fell family members and friends, and to fearing for their own fate as they watch death tolls rise. While the spread of the novel coronavirus has been aggressive around the world, much of the profound impact it will have here in the United States was preventable. As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis, it’s worth remembering that the reach of the virus here is not attributable to an act of God or a foreign invasion, but a colossal failure of leadership.”

New Data Suggest Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, The New York Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Monday, 30 March 2020: “Harsh measures, including stay-at-home orders and restaurant closures, are contributing to rapid drops in the numbers of fevers — a signal symptom of most coronavirus infections — recorded in states across the country, according to intriguing new data produced by a medical technology firm. At least 248 million Americans in at least 29 states have been told to stay at home. It had seemed nearly impossible for public health officials to know how effective this measure and others have been in slowing the coronavirus. But the new data offer evidence, in real time, that tight social-distancing restrictions may be working, potentially reducing hospital overcrowding and lowering death rates, experts said. The company, Kinsa Health, which produces internet-connected thermometers, first created a national map of fever levels on March 22 and was able to spot the trend within a day. Since then, data from the health departments of New York State and Washington State have buttressed the finding, making it clear that social distancing is saving lives. The trend has become so obvious that on Sunday, President Trump extended until the end of April his recommendation that Americans stay in lockdown. Mr. Trump had hoped to lift restrictions by Easter and send Americans back to work.”

Both public health and politics played a role in Trump’s decision to keep the country shut down through April because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Monday, 30 March 2020: “In announcing that the country would remain shut down through April because of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump and his advisers pointed to factors ranging from grim computer models showing millions of potential deaths to the unsettling sight of body bags lined up outside a Queens hospital. But for Trump, political considerations also played a meaningful role, according to three people familiar with the discussions, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share candid discussions. Aides and advisers say the president was heavily influenced by briefings from scientific and public health officials, as well as by the stark reality of the virus, including projections of greater deaths depending on what measures the government takes. But Trump campaign officials and political allies had also briefed the president in recent days about their fears of reopening the economy too soon, arguing that a spike in deaths could be even more politically damaging in November than the current economic downturn, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. Campaign officials declined to comment.” See also, Behind Trump’s Reversal on Reopening the Country: 2 Sets of Numbers, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The numbers the health officials showed President Trump were overwhelming. With the peak of the coronavirus pandemic still weeks away, he was told, hundreds of thousands of Americans could face death if the country reopened too soon. But there was another set of numbers that also helped persuade Mr. Trump to shift gears on Sunday and abandon his goal of restoring normal life by Easter. Political advisers described for him polling that showed that voters overwhelmingly preferred to keep containment measures in place over sending people back to work prematurely. Those two realities — the dire threat to the country and the caution of the American public — proved decisive at a critical juncture in the response to the pandemic, his advisers said. The first of those two realities, the deadly arc of the virus, has been known for weeks even if disregarded by the president when he set his Easter target. But the second of the two upended Mr. Trump’s assumptions about the politics of the situation and restrained, for a moment at least, his eagerness to get back to business as usual.”

Navy Hospital Ship Reaches New York. But It’s Not Made to Contain Coronavirus. The New York Times, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The enormous hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort arrived in New York Harbor Monday morning, a gleaming white beacon of hope for a besieged city as it fights the novel coronavirus. But in sending a Navy hospital ship to join the battle against a pandemic, military officials have taken a huge and calculated risk: Can a ship, the type of vessel where viruses have been shown to spread with frightening ease, actually remain safe from the infection raging just outside its berth at Pier 90 at Manhattan Cruise Terminal? Navy officials do not plan to treat people with coronavirus aboard the Comfort. The mission is to take patients with other medical problems to relieve New York hospitals overrun by virus patients. But it is not as if the ship’s medical personnel can quarantine patients for two weeks before they accept them on board for treatment. Navy officials, aware that all it would take is one positive case to turn the Comfort from rescue ship to floating petri dish, insist that they are doing everything short of Saran-wrapping the ship to try to keep it virus-free.”

Justice Department investigates at least one lawmaker’s stock trades before coronavirus spike in the U.S., The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The Justice Department is investigating stock trades made by at least one member of Congress as the United States braced for the pandemic threat of coronavirus, according to a person familiar with the matter. The investigation is being coordinated with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is looking at the trades of at least one lawmaker, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. As head of the powerful committee, Burr received frequent briefings and reports on the threat of the virus. He also sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which received briefings on the pandemic.” See also, Justice Department Is Investigating Lawmakers for Possible Insider Trading, The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha and Dave Michaels, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The Justice Department is examining whether lawmakers traded ahead of the market turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic based on confidential briefings they received, according to a person familiar with the matter. As part of that inquiry, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached out to Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.), said the person. Mr. Burr—who sits on two committees that received detailed briefings on the growing epidemic, including one on Jan. 24—sold on Feb. 13 shares of companies worth as much as $1.7 million that he owns with his wife. That saved the couple at least $250,000 in losses based on what those stocks were worth at the close of trading on March 19, the Journal has reported.” See also, Justice Department reviews stock trades by lawmakers after coronavirus briefings, CNN Politics, David Shortell, Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, and Kara Scannell, Monday, 30 March 2020.

Nurses Die, Doctors Fall Sick, and Panic Rises on Virus Front Lines, The New York Times, Michael Schwirtz, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 30,000 people in New York City, is beginning to take a toll on those who are most needed to combat it: the doctors, nurses and other workers at hospitals and clinics. In emergency rooms and intensive care units, typically dispassionate medical professionals are feeling panicked as increasing numbers of colleagues get sick.” See also, I Spent a Day in the Coronavirus-Driven Feeding Frenzy of N95 Mask Sellers and Buyers and This Is What I Learned, Forbes, David DiSalvo, Monday, 30 March 2020: “You never know what a new day will bring. What started as an early morning call with a friend to help get N95 masks to hospitals in desperate need turned into a roller coaster of contacts in a frenzied, pandemic-driven market. For the next 10 hours, I sat in on calls between brokers selling masks and potential buyers, watching the psychology of market pressures play out in real time as millions of masks changed hands in a matter of hours. The buyers—from state government purchasing departments and hospital systems representing facilities throughout the Northeast, Midwest and California—expressed desperation for masks to protect their healthcare workers, but in the end not a single deal was completed with any of these groups, and millions of masks were earmarked to leave the country, purchased by foreign buyers. Millions of N95 masks have been available throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK during the pandemic, according to brokers trying to sell them. The high price point per mask, driven by extreme demand, has contributed to an overwhelmed reaction among potential buyers, especially in the U.S. Scrutiny surrounding these deals is high because of ongoing scams and claims of price-gouging, both of which are triggering emotionally charged reactions and fear of making deals. Millions of masks are being purchased by foreign buyers and are leaving the country, according to the brokers, while the domestic need remains alarmingly high.”

‘Jails Are Petri Dishes’: Inmates Freed as the virus Spreads Behind Bars, The New York Times, Timothy Williams, Benjamin Weiser, and William K. Rashbaum, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The coronavirus is spreading quickly in America’s jails and prisons, where social distancing is impossible and sanitizer is widely banned, prompting authorities across the country to release thousands of inmates in recent weeks to try to slow the infection, save lives and preserve medical resources. Hundreds of Covid-19 diagnoses have been confirmed at local, state and federal correctional facilities — almost certainly an undercount, given a lack of testing and the virus’s rapid spread — leading to hunger strikes in immigrant detention centers and demands for more protection from prison employee unions.” See also, ‘We’re Left for Dead’: Fears of Coronavirus Catastrophe at Rikers Jail, The New York Times, Jan Ransom and Alan Feuer, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Already, 167 inmates and 137 staff members have tested positive at New York City’s jails, including the Rikers complex, which is described as crowded and unsanitary…. In the nearly two weeks since the coronavirus seeped into New York City’s jail system, fears have grown of the potential of a public health catastrophe in the cellblocks where thousands are being held in close quarters. Public officials have been working to release hundreds of people in jail, but while that effort is moving forward, law enforcement officials concerned about public safety have urged caution. Inside the jails, meanwhile, inmates — including some of those waiting to be released — have been struggling to protect themselves from the virus.”

Trump’s Virus Defense Is Often an Attack, and the Target Is Often a Woman, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Monday, 30 March 2020: “As he confronts a pandemic, President Trump’s attention has also been directed at a more familiar foe: those he feels are challenging him, and particularly women.’Always a mess with Mary B.,’ Mr. Trump tweeted last week, attacking the female chief executive of General Motors, Mary T. Barra, as he accused the company of dragging its feet on producing ventilators. ‘As usual with “this” General Motors, things just never seem to work out,’ he wrote, ‘this’ G.M. apparently referring to the one led by the first female chief executive of an American auto manufacturer. At least he mentioned Ms. Barra by name. When it came to Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, who delivered her party’s official response to his State of the Union address earlier this year and has been pushing for a national emergency declaration in her state, Mr. Trump did not acknowledge her by name. ‘We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor,’ he said in an interview last week with Sean Hannity, the Fox News host. ‘You know who I’m talking about, from Michigan.’ The president dismissed Ms. Whitmer, who has been pressing the federal government to provide more medical equipment to her state, noting that she was a new governor and it had ‘not been pleasant.’ In a tweet, he later referred to her as ‘Gretchen “Half” Whitmer,’ saying ‘she doesn’t have a clue.'”

The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration, The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, Monday, 30 March 2020: “President Trump, who at one point called the coronavirus pandemic an ‘invisible enemy’ and said it made him a ‘wartime President,’ has in recent days questioned its seriousness, tweeting, ‘WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.’ Trump said repeatedly that he wanted the country to reopen by Easter, April 12th, contradicting the advice of most health officials. (On Sunday, he backed down and extended federal social-distancing guidelines for at least another month.) According to the Washington Post, ‘Conservatives close to Trump and numerous administration officials have been circulating an article by Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, titled “Coronavirus Perspective,” which plays down the extent of the spread and the threat.'”

Department of Defense is isolating critical troops and commanders to be ready in a crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, CNN Politics, Barbara Starr, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Some of the most critical US senior military commanders and nuclear and special operations forces are now operating under extraordinary protection measures to ensure that in the event of a sudden security crisis, including any potential nuclear mission, there will be enough healthy troops and leaders to carry out orders as the coronavirus pandemic grows. There have only been vague references to many of these measures, but taken together, they present a picture of how much worry and effort is going into ensuring the pandemic stops short of impacting the nation’s defense.”

Inside General Motors’ Race to Build Ventilators, Before Trump’s Attack, The New York Times, Neal E. Boudette and Andrew Jacobs, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The automaker and its partner, Ventec, had spent more than a week figuring out how to make thousands of the lifesaving devices when the White House said G.M. was ‘wasting time.'”

Judge Rules Texas Abortion Clinics Can Keep Operating, The New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Abortion clinics in Texas can keep operating, a federal judge ruled on Monday, a week after the state’s attorney general said abortion was among the nonessential surgeries and medical procedures that had to be delayed because of the coronavirus. The decision was a win for abortion providers, which had been scrambling to block similar restrictions in other states. Lawyers for clinics filed suit on Monday in Alabama, Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma, states that had tried to include abortion in medical procedures that had to be delayed to preserve protective gear for medical workers.”

Amazon fires warehouse worker Chris Smalls who led Staten Island strike for more coronavirus protection, CNBC, Annie Palmer, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Amazon has fired a Staten Island warehouse worker who organized a strike to demand greater protections for employees amid the coronavirus outbreak. Chris Smalls, a management assistant at the facility, known as JFK8, said he was fired Monday afternoon following the strike. Smalls and other employees walked out to call attention to the lack of protections for warehouse workers. The workers are also urging Amazon to close the facility after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus last week. The organizers said that at least 50 people joined the walkout. ‘Amazon would rather fire workers than face up to its total failure to do what it should to keep us, our families, and our communities safe,’ Smalls said in a statement. ‘I am outraged and disappointed, but I’m not shocked. As usual, Amazon would rather sweep a problem under the rug than act to keep workers and working communities safe.’ An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that Smalls was fired, saying he received ‘multiple warnings’ for violating social distancing guidelines and refusing to remain quarantined after coming into close contact with an associate who tested positive for the virus.”

Taxpayers Paid Millions to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator for a Pandemic. As coronavirus sweeps the globe, there is not a single Trilogy Evo Universal ventilator — developed with government funds — in the U.S. stockpile. Meanwhile, Royal Philips N.V. has sold higher-priced versions to clients around the world. ProPublica, Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella, and Tim Golden, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tried to plug a crucial hole in its preparations for a global pandemic, signing a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator that could be stockpiled for emergencies. This past September, with the design of the new Trilogy Evo Universal finally cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, HHS ordered 10,000 of the ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $3,280 each. But as the pandemic continues to spread across the globe, there is still not a single Trilogy Evo Universal in the stockpile. Instead last summer, soon after the FDA’s approval, the Pennsylvania company that designed the device — a subsidiary of the Dutch appliance and technology giant Royal Philips N.V. — began selling two higher-priced commercial versions of the same ventilator around the world.”

U.S. to Announce Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules, a Key Effort to Fight Climate Change, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Monday, 30 March 2020: “The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to announce its final rule to rollback Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards, relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government’s biggest effort to combat climate change. The new rule, written by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, would allow cars on American roads to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicles than they would have under the Obama standards and hundreds of millions of tons more than will be emitted under standards being implemented in Europe and Asia. Trump administration officials raced to complete the auto rule by this spring, even as the White House was consumed with responding to the coronavirus crisis. President Trump is expected to extol the rule, which will stand as one of the most consequential regulatory rollbacks of his administration, as a needed salve for an economy crippled by the pandemic.” See also, Trump weakens fuel efficiency standards, rolling back key U.S. effort against climate change, Los Angeles Times, Anna M. Phillips and Russ Mitchell, published on Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Trump administration on Tuesday weakened one of the nation’s most aggressive efforts to combat climate change, releasing new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks that handed a victory to the oil and gas industry. The new rule, from the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department, will almost immediately be plunged into litigation as environmental groups and states with stricter standards, led by California, plan to challenge it. ‘We intend to make sure the backsliding doesn’t reach California’s doorstep,’ California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Tuesday in announcing the state’s plan to go to court to defend its tougher standards. If the administration’s policy survives those fights, it would spare automakers from having to meet ambitious gas mileage and emissions requirements put in place in 2012 under President Obama. It is among the biggest steps the administration has taken to reverse an existing environmental policy.” See also, In a major blow to the climate, Trump rolls back Obama-era rules that compelled auto companies to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, The Guardian, Emily Holden, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Trump administration is rolling back the US government’s strongest attempt to combat the climate crisis, weakening rules which compel auto companies to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. Critics say the move will lead to more life-threatening air pollution and force Americans to spend more on gasoline. The changes to Obama-era regulations will allow vehicles to emit about a billion more tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide – equivalent to roughly a fifth of annual US emissions. The rollback is one of dozens Trump officials have ushered to completion, seeking to bolster the fossil fuel industry amid intense opposition from Democratic-led states and pushback from world leaders.”

Trump just comes out and says it: The Republicans are hurt when it’s easier to vote, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 30 March 2020: “President Trump on Monday morning became the latest in a procession of Republicans to say making it easier for more people to vote would hurt his party politically. In an interview on ‘Fox & Friends,’ Trump referenced proposals from Democrats in the coronavirus stimulus negotiations that would have vastly increased funding for absentee and vote-by-mail options. The final package included $400 million for the effort, which was far less than what Democrats had sought. ‘The things they had in there were crazy,’ Trump said. ‘They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.'”

Public Officials Can’t Block Critics from Official Social Media Accounts, Just Security, Carrie DeCell and Meenakshi Krishnan, Monday, 30 March 2020: “Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the Trump administration’s request for full court review of last year’s decision holding that the president violates the First Amendment when he blocks critics from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The denial leaves the original panel’s decision in place, with important implications for the public’s right to access and interact with public officials’ social media accounts. The Second Circuit’s action is especially welcome now, at a moment when many Americans are especially reliant on public officials’ social media accounts—and on other official social media accounts—for information about the COVID-19 pandemic and about the government’s response to it.”


Tuesday, 31 March 2020, Day 1,166:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 31 March 2020: The scientists leading the administration’s fight estimated the virus could kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. New data suggests as many as 25 percent of infected people may not show symptoms. The New York Times, Tuesday, 31 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Coronavirus May Kill 100,000 to 240,000 in U.S. Despite Actions, Officials Say, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Michael Crowley, and James Glanz, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated on Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans as it ravages the country despite social distancing measures that have closed schools, banned large gatherings, limited travel and forced people to stay in their homes. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, displayed that grim projection at a White House briefing, calling it ‘our real number’ but pledging to do everything possible to reduce it. As dire as those predictions are, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said the number of deaths could be much higher if Americans did not follow the strict guidelines vital to keeping the virus from spreading. The White House models they displayed showed that more than 2.2 million people could have died in the United States if nothing were done. Those conclusions were based on a continuing analysis of cases in the United States and generally matched those from similar models created by public health researchers around the globe. The two public health officials urged people to take the restrictions seriously, and a subdued President Trump, appearing with them, echoed that message, saying that now is not the time to relax.” See also, Governors Fight Back Against Coronavirus Chaos: ‘It’s Like Being on eBay With 50 Other States. A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum is challenging the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well-stocked to test and care for coronavirus patients.’ The New York Times, Sarah Mervosh and Katie Rogers, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum is publicly challenging the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well-stocked and well-prepared to test people for the coronavirus and care for the sickest patients. In New York State — the center of the nation’s outbreak, with at least 1,550 deaths — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that the country’s patchwork approach to the pandemic had made it harder to get desperately needed ventilators. ‘You now literally will have a company call you up and say, Well, California just outbid you,’ Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said in his daily news briefing. ‘It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator.’ Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, said on Tuesday that his state was ‘flying blind’ in the fight against the coronavirus because officials did not have enough tests. When asked during an NPR interview about President Trump’s comments suggesting that a chronic lack of test kits was no longer a problem in the United States, Mr. Hogan did not mince words: ‘Yeah, that’s just not true.'” See also, Governors plead for medical equipment from federal stockpile plagued by shortages and confusion, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, Chelsea Janes, and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “As states across the country have pleaded for critical medical equipment from a key national stockpile, Florida has promptly received 100 percent of its first two requests — with President Trump and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis both touting their close relationship. States including Oklahoma and Kentucky have received more of some equipment than they requested, while others such as Illinois, Massachusetts and Maine have secured only a fraction of their requests. It’s a disparity that has caused frustration and confusion in governors’ offices across the country, with some officials questioning whether politics is playing a role in the response. Governors are making increasingly frantic requests to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for materials. State and congressional leaders are flooding FEMA with letters and calls seeking clarity about how it is allocating suddenly in-demand resources such as masks, ventilators and medical gowns.” See also, Infected but Feeling Fine: The Unwitting Coronavirus Spreaders. The C.D.C. director says new data about people who are infected but symptom-free could lead the agency to recommend broadened use of masks. The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “As many as 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns — a startlingly high number that complicates efforts to predict the pandemic’s course and strategies to mitigate its spread. In particular, the high level of symptom-free cases is leading the C.D.C. to consider broadening its guidelines on who should wear masks.‘ ‘This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country,’ the director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told National Public Radio in an interview broadcast on Tuesday. The agency has repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are feeling sick. But with the new data on people who may be infected without ever feeling sick, or who are transmitting the virus for a couple of days before feeling ill, Mr. Redfield said that such guidance was ‘being critically re-reviewed.'”

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 31 March 2020: New York City Death Toll Passes 1.000 as Mayor Bill de Blasio Pleads for More Help, The New York Times, Tuesday, 31 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 31 March 2020: The U.S. Sought Passenger Data, but Airlines Said No, The New York Times, Tuesday, 31 March 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

White House Economists Warned in September 2019 That a Pandemic Could Devastate America, The New York Times, Jim Tankersley, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “White House economists published a study last September that warned a pandemic disease could kill a half million Americans and devastate the economy. It went unheeded inside the administration. In late February and early March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread from China to the rest of the world, President Trump’s top economic advisers played down the threat the virus posed to the U.S. economy and public health. ‘I don’t think corona is as big a threat as people make it out to be,’ the acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Tomas Philipson, told reporters during a Feb. 18 briefing, on the same day that more than a dozen American cruise ship passengers who had contracted the virus were evacuated home. Public health threats did not typically hurt the economy, Mr. Philipson said. He suggested the virus would not be nearly as bad as a normal flu season. The 2019 study warned otherwise — specifically urging Americans not to conflate the risks of a typical flu and a pandemic. The existence of that warning undermines administration officials’ contentions in recent weeks that no one could have seen the virus damaging the economy as it has. The study was requested by the National Security Council, according to two people familiar with the matter. One of the authors of the study, who has since left the White House, now says it would make sense for the administration to effectively shut down most economic activity for two to eight months to slow the virus.”

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 31 March 2020: White House task force projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S., even with mitigation efforts, The Washington Post, Rick Noack, Meryl Kornfield, Derek Hawkins, Teo Armus, Adam Taylor, and Marisa Iati, Tuesday, 31 March 2020:  “The White House coronavirus task force on Tuesday presented a grim picture of where the U.S. could be heading over the next couple of months, even with interventions like physical distancing. The task force projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the virus, with mitigation. The death toll in the U.S. grew by more than 800 on Tuesday, surpassing 3,700. Confirmed cases worldwide is more than 800,000.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Deborah Birx and Anthony S. Fauci, the leaders of the White House task force, emphasized that although the projection of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths were likely, they were hopeful that they could prevent such a high number by adhering to strict mitigation protocols.
  • Memos between the White House and the CDC show federal officials are debating whether to recommend that face coverings be routinely worn in public because of increasing evidence that people who are asymptomatic can spread the virus.
  • Louisiana reported by far its largest number of new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period Tuesday afternoon, with infections and deaths each jumping about 30 percent. Total known infections in the state hit 5,237 and deaths were up to 239 on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Three senior Senate Democrats asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to honor the terms of the coronavirus law enacted last week, expressing alarm that President Trump took a step to curb the program’s oversight and pressing to “without delay” nominate a new inspector general to oversee and probe the funding.
  • A new report by the CDC shows people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk if they contract the virus, including people with heart and lung disease, diabetes and even current or former smokers.

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Faced with a crush of patients, besieged New York City hospitals struggle with life-or-death decisions, The Washington Post, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Lenny Bernstein, Frances Stead Sellers, and Shane Harris, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “In the chaos of New York City, where coronavirus deaths are mounting so quickly that freezer trucks have been set up as makeshift morgues, several hospitals have taken the unprecedented step of allowing doctors not to resuscitate people with covid-19 to avoid exposing health-care workers to the highly contagious virus. The shift is part of a flurry of changes besieged hospitals are making almost daily, including canceling all but the most urgent surgeries, forgoing the use of isolation rooms, and requiring infected health workers who no longer have a fever to show up to work before the end of the previously recommended 14-day self-isolation period. Last week, DNRs or do-not-resuscitate policies for coronavirus patients who stop breathing, or are in cardiac arrest, were being discussed as part of worst-case scenario planning — ideas dismissed late last week by Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, saying, ‘there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.’ Over the past few days, however, as the city’s death count topped 1,000 with 10,900 people hospitalized amid predictions the peak of the crisis is still two weeks off, some hospitals and medical centers activated those protocols. Those decisions are a reflection of a grim reality in which thousands of health-care workers have fallen ill, ventilators are so scarce that some hospitals have put two patients on one machine, and protective equipment like masks and gowns are in such short supply that some workers are sewing their own. Such a policy was announced at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. A memo detailing similar changes was sent out Saturday at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens but rescinded Tuesday afternoon. Doctors at other hospitals are informally putting such protocols into practice.” See also, Testing coronavirus survivors’ blood could help reopen the US. Serology tests for antibodies could show how complete and lasting immunity will be. The Washington Post, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “At the root of almost every plan to restart society is a new kind of coronavirus test that searches not for the virus itself, but the remnants floating in people’s blood of the battle between their immune systems and the infection. These ‘serology tests’ aren’t aimed primarily at people who currently have the disease caused by the coronavirus, but anyone who has ever had it — those who were very sick and got better, those who had mild symptoms they mistook for something else and those who never felt sick at all. Those people, whether they know it or not, may have disease-fighting antibodies that give them some immunity to the new coronavirus. Serology testing is becoming a new pandemic buzzword, at the center of many of the most ambitious and reputable recovery plans. A report by Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner under President Trump, highlights the blood-based tests as an important way to reopen society. So does a plan from Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama. In late January, Tom Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security called for ‘urgent serology development programs’ in case the coronavirus could not be contained. The theory is that such testing could be used to divide the world into people who’ve had it and aren’t at risk anymore — and those who are. Health-care workers with immunity could return to the front lines. Large employers could test their workers to find out who could return to work first. Health insurers might use the tests to tell members whether it is risky to go out into the world. People who know they have a level of immunity could help others. In the Ebola outbreak in Congo, survivors played a special role in providing care — and much-needed human contact — to people who were sick.”

A Major Medical Staffing Company Just Slashed Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus. Alteon Health, backed by private-equity firms Frazier Healthcare Partners and New Mountain Capital, will cut salaries, time off and retirement benefits for providers, citing lost revenue. Several hospital operators announced similar cuts. ProPublica, Isaac Arnsdorf, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Emergency room doctors and nurses many of whom are dealing with an onslaught of coronavirus patients and shortages of protective equipment — are now finding out that their compensation is getting cut. Most ER providers in the U.S. work for staffing companies that have contracts with hospitals. Those staffing companies are losing revenue as hospitals postpone elective procedures and non-coronavirus patients avoid emergency rooms. Health insurers are processing claims more slowly as they adapt to a remote workforce. ‘Despite the risks our providers are facing, and the great work being done by our teams, the economic challenges brought forth by COVID-19 have not spared our industry,’ Steve Holtzclaw, the CEO of Alteon Health, one of the largest staffing companies, wrote in a memo to employees on Monday. The memo announced that the company would be reducing hours for clinicians, cutting pay for administrative employees by 20%, and suspending 401(k) matches, bonuses and paid time off. Holtzclaw indicated that the measures were temporary but didn’t know how long they would last. In a follow-up memo sent to salaried physicians on Tuesday night, Alteon said it would convert them to an hourly rate, implying that they would start earning less money since the company had already said it would reduce their hours. The memo asked employees to accept the change or else contact the human resources department within five days ‘to discuss alternatives,’ without saying what those might be. The memo said Alteon was trying to avoid laying anyone off.”

Trump rejects Obamacare special enrollment period amid pandemic, Politico, Susannah Luthi, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis. President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law’s marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is ‘exploring other options.'” See also, Trump Decides Obamacare Markets Will Not Reopen. The move would have made it easier for people who have recently lost jobs to obtain health insurance. The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz and Reed Abelson, published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “The Trump administration has decided against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces to new customers, despite broad layoffs and growing fears that people will be uninsured during the coronavirus outbreak. The option to reopen markets, in what is known as a special enrollment period, would have made it easier for people who have recently lost jobs or who had already been uninsured to obtain health insurance. The administration has established such special enrollment periods in the past, typically in the wake of natural disasters. The administration had been considering the action for several weeks, and President Trump mentioned such conversations in a recent news briefing. But according to a White House official, those discussions are now over. The news of the decision was previously reported by Politico.” See also, Trump administration will not reopen Obamacare exchanges during coronavirus pandemic. Last Month, Trump had signaled that he was considering a special enrollment period. NBC News, Geoff Bennett and Tim Fitzsimons, published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

Pentagon says it still hasn’t sent ventilators because it hasn’t been told where to send them, CNN Politics, Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Despite having committed to transferring 2,000 ventilators in military stocks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Pentagon has not shipped any of them because the agencies have not asked for them or provided a shipping location, the Pentagon’s top logistics official said Tuesday. In order to ship the badly needed equipment, the Defense Department has to be given a location to send them by civilian authorities who have to decide where the items are most needed.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci says mask-wearing recommendation for the general public is under ‘very serious consideration,’ Politico, Quint Forgey, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed on Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force is seriously considering guidance that Americans wear masks to help thwart the rapid spread of COVID-19. But the country’s top infectious disease expert also acknowledged that such a directive has been complicated by the nationwide dearth of personal protective equipment.” See also, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the White House coronavirus task force is actively discussing whether the general public should be wearing face masks, CNN Politics, Devan Cole and Paul LeBlanc, Tuesday, 31 March 2020. See also, U.S. Reviews Guidance on Face Masks to Fight Coronavirus as Europe Embraces Their Use, The Wall Street Journal, Drew Hinshaw, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “U.S. public-health authorities are reviewing recommendations for wearing face masks and a wave of European governments have ordered citizens to use them outside the home, signaling a shift among Western governments on a contentious issue in the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, Memos from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to White House lay out rationale for possible widespread use of face coverings, The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun and Laurie McGinley, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Federal officials debating whether to recommend that face coverings be routinely worn in public are responding to increasing evidence that infected people without symptoms can spread the coronavirus, according to internal memos provided to the White House by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Simple cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose can prevent virus transmission from such individuals when they are out buying groceries or seeking medical care, according to the memos obtained by The Washington Post.”

Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy, San Francisco Chronicle, Matthias Gafni and Joe Garofoli, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.” See also, Captain of Aircraft Carrier Pleads for Help as Virus Cases Increase Onboard. ‘We are not at war,’ the captain of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt wrote. ‘Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.’ The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Helene Cooper, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The captain of an American aircraft carrier deployed to the Pacific Ocean has pleaded with the Pentagon for more help as a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship continues to spread, officials said Tuesday. Military officials say dozens of sailors have been infected. In a four-page letter dated Monday, first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, Capt. Brett E. Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding aboard the warship, the Theodore Roosevelt, which has more than 4,000 crew members. He described what he said were the Navy’s failures to provide him with the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel.” See also, Navy scrambles to aid aircraft carrier as more than 100 sailors test positive for coronavirus, Politico, Jacqueline Feldscher and Lara Seligman, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Most of the crew is still aboard the ship, where tight spaces make social distancing impossible.”

The Defense Production Act Has Been Invoked Hundreds of Thousands of Times in the Trump Years. But With the Pandemic, Trump Sees It as a ‘Break the Glass’ Last Resort. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Ana Swanson, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Chemicals used to construct military missiles. Materials needed to build drones. Body armor for agents patrolling the southwest border. Equipment for natural disaster response. A Korean War-era law called the Defense Production Act has been used to place hundreds of thousands of orders by President Trump and his administration to ensure the procurement of vital equipment, according to reports submitted to Congress and interviews with former government officials. Yet as governors and members of Congress plead with the president to use the law to force the production of ventilators and other medical equipment to combat the coronavirus pandemic, he has for weeks treated it like a ‘break the glass’ last resort, to be invoked only when all else fails…. The Defense Production Act includes a range of authorities including issuing loans to expand a vendor’s capacity, controlling the distribution of a company’s products and the more commonly used power of compelling companies to prioritize the government’s order over those of other clients. The law’s frequent use, especially by the military to give its contract priority ratings to jump ahead of a vendor’s other clients, has prompted those most familiar with it to question why the administration has been so hesitant to tap it for a public health emergency that as of Tuesday has killed more than 3,600 Americans and sickened 181,000.”

Everyone and everything Trump has blamed for his coronavirus response, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “‘I don’t take responsibility at all.’ That’s what President Trump said this month when asked whether he takes responsibility for the slow rollout of testing that public health officials say handicapped the country’s ability to protect Americans from the coronavirus. But Trump’s desire to not take responsibility could also be extrapolated to the coronavirus crisis in general. Trump has thrown blame in nearly a dozen different directions for the virus’s spread and different aspects of the response to it.” See also, Commander of confusion: Trump sows uncertainty and seeks to cast blame in coronavirus crisis, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, published on Thursday, 2 April 2020: “In the three weeks since declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, President Trump has delivered a dizzying array of rhetorical contortions, sowed confusion and repeatedly sought to cast blame on others. History has never known a crisis response as strong as his own, Trump says — yet the self-described wartime president claims he is merely backup. He has faulted governors for acting too slowly and, as he did Thursday, has accused overwhelmed state and hospital officials of complaining too much and of hoarding supplies. America is winning its war with the coronavirus, the president says — yet the death toll rises still, and in the best-case scenario more Americans will die than in the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

A Trump fireside chat–in his own (unfortunate) words, The Washington Post, Dana Milbank, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “In these dark times, Americans crave the comfort of competent leadership. I have therefore taken the liberty of drafting for Trump a fireside chat for our times — using entirely his own words. The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We have it totally under control. I’m not concerned at all. It’s one person coming in from China. We pretty much shut it down. It will all work out well. We’re in great shape. Doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took. There’s a chance it won’t spread. It’s something that we have tremendous control over. Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear. Just stay calm. It will go away. The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. This is their new hoax….”

White House pressures the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize an unproven Japanese drug to treat COVID-19, Politico, Dan Diamond and Nahal Toosi, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Trump administration is encouraging regulators to allow a decades-old flu drug to be administered as a possible coronavirus treatment, despite career officials’ concerns about the risks and limited evidence that the drug would work as a coronavirus treatment, according to three officials with knowledge of the deliberations and internal documents reviewed by POLITICO. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the drug, Avigan, as a possible treatment, and clinical trials are now getting underway in Japan. Chinese scientists also have touted the drug, produced by Japan-based Fujifilm, as a potential coronavirus treatment, but global regulators and U.S. researchers have long expressed concern about the drug’s risks, such as birth defects, and have warned that the Chinese data is insufficient.”

California Plans to Release 3,500 Prisoners Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, BuzzFeed News, Salvador Hernandez, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “California plans to release 3,500 nonviolent inmates in the next 60 days, a move to try to reduce its prison population and reduce the risk to inmates and staff of being infected with the novel coronavirus. The decision comes as inmate advocates across the country have been pushing for the release of inmates in federal, state, and local lockups, arguing jails are ‘powder kegs’ in the pandemic. Facilities across the country — including in New York City, Los Angeles, and Cuyahoga County in Ohio — have opted to reduce the number of inmates to ease space restrictions in jails. US Attorney General William Barr has also asked the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement with older inmates to decrease the risk of coronavirus spreading in federal prisons. Although the decision to release 3,500 male and female inmates on parole would make only a small dent in California’s prison population of about 122,000 prisoners, it would be one of the largest releases since the viral outbreak. According to court documents, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has also stopped taking in inmates from county jails. Inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes, and who are scheduled to be released within the next 60 days, would be eligible for the release.”

Pence task force freezes coronavirus aid to foreign countries. It wasn’t being coordinated with U.S. requests. Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Gabby Orr, Daniel Lippman, and Nahal Toosi, Tuesday, 31 August 2020: “Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand. The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok. Trump aides were alarmed when they learned of the exchange, and immediately put the shipment on hold while they ordered a review of U.S. aid procedures. Crossed wires would only confuse our allies, they worried, or worse—offend them. And Americans confronting a surging death toll and shortages of medical equipment back home would likely be outraged.”

Lawmakers Ask Trump to Suspend Sanctions to Help Iran Fight Coronavirus, HuffPost, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Trump administration should suspend sweeping U.S. sanctions on Iran that are hindering the country’s response to its massive coronavirus outbreak, more than 30 lawmakers said in a letter to top officials on Tuesday. The sanctions could be costing lives in Iran, which is enduring one of the largest flare-ups of the pandemic in the world. Thus far, more than 2,750 Iranians have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 40,000 have been infected, according to tracking by Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University. At least 50 Iranian medics have died. Amid the crisis, U.S. sanctions are reducing Tehran’s access to protective gear for health care workers and equipment like respirators, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned last week.”

Stocks Suffer Worst Quarter Since 2008, The Wall Street Journal, Akane Otani, Anna Isaac, and Joanne Chiu, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “U.S. stocks closed out their worst quarter since the depths of the financial crisis, a stunning blow for the market that few investors could have anticipated at the start of the year.” See also, Dow caps its worst first quarter with a slide of more than 400 points, The Washington Post, Thomas Heath and Jacob Bogage, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “U.S. stocks delivered one of their worst starts to a year on Tuesday, with markets staggering under trillions in losses as the economy withers amid a coronavirus-induced paralysis. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 410 points, or 1.9 percent, to cap the most dismal first quarter of its 135-year history. The blue-chip index ended the day at 21,917.16 — a full 23 percent below its January start and 26 percent off the record high it set in February. It also was a record bad quarter for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, which is down 20 percent this year and 24 percent from the all-time high it set Feb. 19. The broad index stumbled 42 points, or 1.6 percent, to close Tuesday at 2,584.59. The Nasdaq composite index closed out the three-month period at 7,700.10. The tech-heavy index fell 74 points, nearly 1 percent on the day and 14 percent for 2020.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the impeachment trial ‘diverted’ attention from the coronavirus crisis in China, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested on Tuesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump distracted the US government from the growing coronavirus crisis in China. In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said that the crisis ‘came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day was all about impeachment.'” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claims impeachment ‘diverted the attention’ of the Trump administration from coronavirus response, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 31 March 2020.

Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears. Border town residents in Arizona say the huge influx of workers exposes them to the coronavirus. Governor Doug Ducey imposed a statewide stay-at-home order, but it was not expected to slow the federal project. The New York Times, Simon Romero, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Around the country, some states have cut back on construction activity to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and hotels and restaurants in many cities have closed. But here in Arizona, the federal government is embarking on a frenetic new phase of construction of the border wall. The Trump administration contends that the wall will help prevent the spread of the virus into the United States from Mexico, though epidemiologists and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say such a barrier would not mitigate the outbreaks already occurring in every state. The intensification of construction during the pandemic is raising fears among residents of Ajo, Ariz., and other nearby border communities that the growing influx of workers increases their risk of exposure. Some disease specialists in Arizona are warning that workers clustered in tight quarters along the border could spread the virus around the country when they return to their families.”

Climate crisis may have pushed world’s tropical coral reefs to tipping point of ‘near-annual’ bleaching, The Guardian, Graham Readfearn, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Rising ocean temperatures could have pushed the world’s tropical coral reefs over a tipping point where they are hit by bleaching on a “near-annual” basis, according to the head of a US government agency program that monitors the globe’s coral reefs. Dr Mark Eakin, coordinator of Coral Reef Watch at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Guardian Australia there was a risk that mass bleaching seen along the length of the Great Barrier Reef in 2020 could mark the start of another global-scale bleaching event. Tropical coral reefs tend to be at a higher risk of bleaching during times when the Pacific Ocean is in a phase known as El Niño. The latest bleaching on the reef has hit during this cycle’s neutral phase. ‘The real concern is with this much bleaching without tropical forcing,’ Eakin said. ‘This may be a sign we’ve now tipped over to near-annual bleaching in many locations.'”

Review Finds Problems in F.B.I. Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Surveillance of Trump Aide Carter Page, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “An inspector general uncovered pervasive problems in the F.B.I.’s preparation of wiretap applications, according to a memo released Tuesday about an audit that grew out of a damning report last year about errors and omissions in applications to target a former Trump campaign adviser during the Russia investigation. The follow-up audit of unrelated cases by the Justice Department’s independent watchdog, Michael E. Horowitz, revealed a broader pattern of sloppiness by the F.B.I. in seeking permission to use powerful tools to eavesdrop on American soil in national security cases. It comes at a time when Congress is debating new limits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The finding of systemic incompetence is devastating for the F.B.I. But in the Trump era, the discovery is leavened by an unusual side benefit for the bureau: It undercuts the narrative fostered by President Trump and his supporters that the botching of applications to surveil his campaign adviser Carter Page is evidence that the F.B.I. engaged in a politically biased conspiracy.” See also, Justice Department inspector general says problems with FBI surveillance extended far beyond investigation of Trump campaign, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “The Justice Department inspector general revealed Tuesday that his investigators found errors in every FBI application to a secret surveillance court examined as part of an ongoing review — suggesting that problems exposed in the bureau’s probe of President Trump’s 2016 campaign extend far beyond that case alone. The memorandum issued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz stems from an audit launched last year after his office found 17 serious problems with the FBI’s surveillance applications targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. These interim results seem to indicate that other sensitive counterintelligence and counterterrorism cases have been similarly plagued by mistakes.” See also, 4 takeaways from the brutal new report on FBI surveillance, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Tuesday, 31 March 2020. See also, Justice Department audit finds widespread flaws in FBI surveillance applications, Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Tuesday, 31 March 2020.


Wednesday, 1 April 2020, Day 1,167:


Some Coronavirus Global Updates for Wednesday, 1 April 2020: Coronavirus Spreads Amid Supply shortages, Stay-at-Home Orders, and Sobering Economics, The New York Times, Wednesday, 1 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 1 April 2020: New York City Virus Death Toll Nears 1,400 as a Key Date Looms. Mayor de Blasio has often said April 5 was a ‘demarcation line’ in the coronavirus fight. Now it is just days away, and supplies are still badly needed. The New York Times, Wednesday, 1 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 1 April 2020: Retailers Under Pressure to Protect Workers, The New York Times, Wednesday, 1 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 1 April 2020: As U.S. death toll surpasses 4,600, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the real turning point in coronavirus mitigation won’t happen until there’s a vaccine, The Washington Post, Rick Noack, John Wagner, Lateshia Beachum, Alex Horton, Miriam Berger, Brittany Shammas, Eva Dou, Felicia Sonmez, Meryl Kornfield, Candace Buckner, Michael Brice-Saddler, Sindya N. Bhanoo, and Teo Armus, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “As the national stockpile of medical supplies is nearly gone, more than 13,000 physicians signed a letter to congressional leaders, seeking personal and legal protection while working on the front lines. The physicians urged Congress to ensure Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines are upheld during the pandemic. Due to the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE), the gear worn to abate dangers in the workplace, doctors are being requested to work without the safeguards.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The death toll in the United States surpassed 4,600 on Wednesday with more than 211,000 confirmed cases — far exceeding other nations and accounting for about 20 percent of the global total.
  • After facing sharp criticism for forcing seniors who don’t usually file tax returns to do so in order to get stimulus payments, the Trump administration said the government will use information on Social Security forms to get payments to seniors.
  • At Wednesday’s White House briefing, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert and the face of the U.S. response, said we could “relax social distancing” once there’s “no new cases, no deaths,” but the real turning point won’t come until there’s a vaccine.
  • President Trump said officials were “looking at” potential flight restrictions between hard-hit areas of the United States, though he noted that it would be difficult to entirely suspend air travel.
  • The governors of Florida and Georgia announced stay-at-home orders, except for essential activities. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) also canceled school for the rest of the academic year for grades K-12.
  • Fauci is facing growing threats to his personal safety, prompting the government to step up his security.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s security is stepped up in response to growing threats to his personal safety, The Washington Post, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert and the face of the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is facing growing threats to his personal safety, prompting the government to step up his security, according to people familiar with the matter. The concerns include threats as well as unwelcome communications from fervent admirers, according to people with knowledge of deliberations inside the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice. Fauci, 79, is the most outspoken member of the administration in favor of sweeping public health guidelines and is among the few officials willing to correct President Trump’s misstatements. Along with Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House’s task force, Fauci has encouraged the president to extend the timeline for social-distancing guidelines, presenting him with grim models about the possible toll of the pandemic.” See also, After Threats, Anthony Fauci Is to Recieve Enhanced Personal Security, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, who has become a regular at President Trump’s coronavirus briefings, will receive enhanced personal security after receiving threats following his repeated pleas for Americans to help slow the spread of the deadly pandemic, officials said on Wednesday. Dr. Fauci has been the Trump administration’s most outspoken advocate of social distancing rules that have shuttered the nation’s schools, forced businesses to close, kept people in their homes and battered the United States economy. That has made him a target of online conspiracy theorists who have accused Dr. Fauci, a longtime scientist and civil servant who has served presidents of both parties, of trying to undermine Mr. Trump during a year in which the president is fighting for re-election. The Department of Health and Human Services granted the enhanced personal security for Dr. Fauci, 79, after the Justice Department signed off on a request for extra agents to guard him, officials said. Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, had grown worried that the threats against the doctor were increasing as more of the country shut down in response to the coronavirus.”

Desperate lawmakers hunt for medical supplies as Trump takes a hands-off approach, Politico, Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “As Speaker Nancy Pelosi draws up plans for the next coronavirus rescue package, lawmakers on the ground say they’re faced with a more urgent task: finding basic supplies for doctors and nurses. Democrats and Republicans across the country say they’re desperately trying to acquire masks, gloves and ventilators for the most at-risk health care workers in their districts — a crisis that, for now, can’t be solved with simply more cash.”

Behind the scenes, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner takes charge of coronavirus response, Politico, Adam Cancryn and Dan Diamond, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Dozens of Trump administration officials have trooped to the White House podium over the last month to brief the public on their effort to combat coronavirus, but one person who hasn’t — Jared Kushner — has emerged as perhaps the most pivotal figure in the national fight against the fast-growing pandemic. What started two-and-a-half weeks ago as an effort to utilize the private sector to fix early testing failures has become an all-encompassing portfolio for Kushner, who, alongside a kitchen cabinet of outside experts including his former roommate and a suite of McKinsey consultants, has taken charge of the most important challenges facing the federal government: Expanding test access, ramping up industry production of needed medical supplies, and figuring out how to get those supplies to key locations.” See also, Jared Kushner Puts Himself in Middle of White House’s Chaotic Coronavirus Response, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Noah Weiland, published on Thursday, 2 April 2020.

A Federal Government Ventilator Stockpile, With One Hitch: Thousands Do Not Work, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Nicholas Kulish, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “President Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that the federal government is holding 10,000 ventilators in reserve to ship to the hardest-hit hospitals around the nation as they struggle to keep the most critically ill patients alive. But what federal officials have neglected to mention is that an additional 2,109 lifesaving devices are unavailable after the contract to maintain the government’s stockpile lapsed late last summer, and a contracting dispute meant that a new firm did not begin its work until late January. By then, the coronavirus crisis was already underway.”

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials say protective gear in national stockpile is nearly depleted, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “The government’s emergency stockpile of respirator masks, gloves and other medical supplies is running low and is nearly exhausted due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving the Trump administration and the states to compete for personal protective equipment in a freewheeling global marketplace rife with profiteering and price-gouging, according to Department of Homeland Security officials involved in the frantic acquisition effort. As coronavirus hot spots flare from coast to coast, the demand for safety equipment — also known as personal protective equipment (PPE) — is both immediate and widespread, with health officials, hospital executives and governors saying that their shortages are critical and that health-care workers are putting their lives at risk while trying to help the surging number of patients. Two DHS officials said the stores kept in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Strategic National Stockpile are nearly gone.”

Records Show Key Medical Supplies Were Shipped From U.S. Manufacturers to Foreign Buyers, The Intercept, Lee Fang, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “While much of the world moved swiftly to lock down crucial medical supplies used to treat the coronavirus, the U.S. dithered, maintaining business as normal and allowing large shipments of American-made respirators and ventilators to be sold to foreign buyers. The foreign shipments, detailed in dozens of government records, show exports to other hot spots where the pandemic has spread, including East Asia and Europe. American hospitals around the country are now running low on all forms of personal protective gear, such as N95 masks or purified air personal respirators, for medical staff, as well as life-saving ventilators, which pump oxygenated air into the lungs, for patients. Experts say the U.S. could face a drastic shortage of intensive care units equipped with ventilators and breathing aids to meet the expected wave of seriously ill patients. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pleaded for more ventilators and said that the city may run short as soon as April 5.”

At Long Last, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis Orders Residents to Stay Home to Avoid Coronavirus, The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Florida’s coronavirus cases kept ballooning, especially in the dense neighborhoods of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Hospitals in Fort Myers and Naples begged for donations of masks and other protective equipment. Young people started to die. And still, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted. The man entrusted with keeping many of the country’s grandparents safe did not want to dictate that all Floridians had to stay at home. What it took for Mr. DeSantis to change his mind on Wednesday and finally issue a statewide order were a phone call with President Trump and a grave reckoning. A day earlier, the White House had projected how many American lives might be lost — up to 240,000 — without a national commitment to immediate, drastic action in every state. The number of coronavirus infections in Florida had jumped by more than 1,000 on Tuesday, its largest 24-hour increase, to reach nearly 7,000, giving rise to worries that the infection was already dangerously out of hand.”

Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler reports millions of dollars in stock sales, fueling allegations that she used her insider knowledge about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic to dump holdings while simultaneously releasing statements about the strength of the U.S. ecomony and complimenting Trump on his response, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Tia Mitchell and Chris Joyner, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s most recent financial disclosures show that millions of dollars in stocks were sold on her behalf at the same time Congress was dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. The largest transactions — and the most politically problematic — involve $18.7 million in sales of Intercontinental Exchange stock in three separate deals dated Feb. 26 and March 11. Loeffler is a former executive with ICE, and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, is the CEO of the company, which owns the New York Stock Exchange among other financial marketplaces. During the same time period reflected on reports filed late Tuesday, the couple also sold shares in retail stores such as Lululemon and T.J. Maxx and invested in a company that makes COVID-19 protective garments. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution got the first look at these reports, covering mid-February through mid-March and shedding new light on Loeffler’s financial transactions during the pandemic. Previous reports — which have put Loeffler in the national spotlight — covered her trading during the first six weeks of 2020. Loeffler provided the numbers to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and they were more exact than what would appear on a federal campaign finance disclosure. The newer stock sales came as the broader markets were diving, and they are likely to fuel allegations that Georgia’s new senator used her insider knowledge about the severity of the pandemic to dump holdings while simultaneously releasing statements about the strength of the American economy and complimenting President Donald Trump on his response. The STOCK Act, a law that went into effect in 2012, makes it illegal for senators to use inside information for financial gain.” See also, Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler Reports $1.4 Million in Stock Trades During the Coronavirus Market Panic. Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange Chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, suffered losses but limited the damage. The Wall Street Journal, James V. Grimaldi, Lindsay Wise, and Tom McGinty, Tuesday, 31 March 2020: “Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her husband purchased and sold about $1.4 million in stocks in the past month amid the coronavirus market panic. They suffered losses but limited the investment damage through some timely trades, according to a summary provided by the Georgia Republican’s re-election campaign.” Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler’s Wealth Becomes a Risk as Rivals Charge She Profited on the Coronavirus Pandemic, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “When Georgia’s governor picked Kelly Loeffler, a little-known Atlanta businesswoman, to fill the state’s vacant Senate seat late last year, her vast personal wealth and ability to fund her own campaign were top selling points for Republicans. Ms. Loeffler, whose husband runs the New York Stock Exchange, pledged to put $20 million of her own fortune toward holding onto the seat in a special election this November. She bought a private plane to fly to and from Washington. And she blanketed televisions with ads highlighting her American-dream-style rise from a humble family farm to the pinnacle of high finance. Now, amid an economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Loeffler’s wealth is threatening to become a major political liability. She is facing questions about whether, in actively trading millions of dollars in stocks over the past couple of months, she and her husband have profited off the crisis based on information she received through her position as a senator.” See also, New disclosure reveals Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and her husband dumped retail stock and bought shares in Dupont, a company that manufactures medical supplies, Business Insider, Grace Panetta, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and her husband, Intercontinental Exchange Chairman Jeff Sprecher, disclosed additional stock trades as they faced criticism for dumping shares before the market plummeted over the coronavirus crisis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday. Last month, both Loeffler and Sprecher, who is also the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, came under scrutiny for selling hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock before the market’s drop. The Daily Beast reported last month that after she attended a January 24 closed-door US Senate briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak, Loeffler sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in shares of Resideo Technologies, Comcast, AutoZone, and more before the decline and also bought up shares in Citrix, a company that makes telecommuting software. On Tuesday, The Journal-Constitution reported that newly disclosed stock transactions from early March involved the sale of retail stocks, which have seen a sharp decline as the industry suffers from the outbreak. Loeffler sold over $70,000 in shares of the retailer Ross on March 4 and 5; $27,000 in shares of TJX Cos., the parent company of TJ Maxx; and over $56,000 in shares of Lululemon, a popular athleisure clothing brand. At the same time, she purchased over $87,700 in shares of Dupont, a Delaware chemical company that manufactures medical supplies. Such items are now in high demand as the coronavirus outbreak puts immense strain on America’s hospital systems and medical infrastructure, with healthcare workers in desperate need of personal protective equipment.”

March Gun Sales Spike as Some People Become Fearful That the Coronavirus Pandemic Might Lead to Civil Unrest, The New York Times, Keith Collins and David Yaffe-Bellany, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Americans bought about two million guns in March, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. It was the second-busiest month ever for gun sales, trailing only January 2013, just after President Barack Obama’s re-election and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. With some people fearful that the pandemic could lead to civil unrest, gun sales have been skyrocketing. In the past, fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone.” See also, The National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) Sees a Threat, and an Opportunity, in Covid-19, The New York Times, Danny Hakim, published on Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Faced with budget pressures and an invigorated gun control movement, the National Rifle Association has found a new cause amid the pandemic — fighting to keep gun stores open as its fund-raising appeals depict the government’s coronavirus response as a threat to Second Amendment rights. On Thursday, the group sued the State of New York over its decision to include gun retailers among the many businesses that have been forced to close during the crisis. The N.R.A. had already filed two suits against California, where the governor had left the decision to counties. The suits come as the N.R.A. and other gun groups have successfully lobbied the White House to get the Department of Homeland Security to add firearms vendors to its list of essential businesses. That prompted states like New Jersey to reverse course and allow such stores to remain open. But New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has resisted, viewing the shutdown of businesses across the state as a vital safety measure.”

Idaho Is First State to Bar Some Transgender Athletes, The New York Times, Talya Minsberg, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Idaho has become the first state in the United States to bar transgender girls from participating in girls’ and women’s sports and to legalize the practice of asking girls and women to undergo sex testing in order to compete. The house bill, known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, was signed by Gov. Brad Little on Monday. Governor Little also signed a bill that prohibits transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identities. While many states have introduced bills to restrict the participation of transgender athletes, Idaho is the first state to have passed such legislation into law.”

Secret Service signs contract this week to rent golf carts in Sterling, Virginia, a town in which there is a Trump golf club, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “The Secret Service this week signed a $45,000 contract to rent a fleet of golf carts in Northern Virginia, saying it needed them quickly to protect a ‘dignitary’ in the town of Sterling, home to one of President Trump’s golf clubs, according to federal contracting data. The contract was signed Monday and took effect Wednesday, records show. The Secret Service paid a West Virginia-registered company, Capitol Golf Cars and Utility Vehicles, to rent 30 carts until the end of September. The new contract, which the Secret Service described as an ’emergency order,’ does not mention Trump or the golf club by name. But it closely mirrors past contracts signed by the Secret Service, for agents accompanying Trump to his golf clubs in New Jersey and Florida.”

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Isolated and Defiant, Dismisses Coronavirus Threat to Brazil, The New York Times, Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni, and Letícia Casado, Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “As coronavirus cases and deaths mount in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has remained defiant, the last notable holdout among major world leaders in denying the severity of the coronavirus. Brazilians, he declared last week, are uniquely suited to weather the pandemic because they can be dunked in raw sewage and ‘don’t catch a thing.’ Defying guidelines issued by his own health ministry, the president on Sunday visited a busy commercial district in Brasília, the capital, where he called on all but elderly Brazilians to get back to work.”


Thursday, 2 April 2020, Day 1,168:


Some Coronavirus Global Updates for Thursday, 2 April 2020: White House Debates How Far to Go on Face Mask Guidelines. The coordinator of the coronavirus response emphasized that social distancing was still the most important step people could take. Critical medicines are running low, and nearly 10 million Americans have lost their jobs. The New York Times, Thursday, 2 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Coronavirus New York Updates for Thursday, 2 April 2020: New York City Death Toll Tops 1,500 as Governor Andrew Cuomo Warns NYC Has Only Six Days’ Worth of Ventilators Left, The New York Times, Thursday, 2 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Coronavirus Business Updates for Thursday, 2 April 2020: Small-Business Relief Effort Is ‘a Mess,’ The New York Times, Thursday, 2 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 2 April 2020: Coronavirus stimulus payments begin April 9, but some won’t receive checks until September, The Washington Post, Rick Noack, Brittany Shammas, John Wagner, Alex Horton, Miriam Berger, Katie Mettler, Siobhán O’Brady, Felicia Sonmez, Karla Adam, Hannah Sampson, Hannah Knowles, Samantha Pell, Michael Brice-Saddler, and Teo Armus, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The Internal Revenue Service plans to send electronic payments April 9, as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus law, which is a week sooner than expected, according to a plan circulated internally on Wednesday. But $30 million in paper checks for millions of other Americans won’t start being sent out until April 24, as the government lacks their banking information, some of which won’t reach people until September. The news comes as unemployment in the U.S. soars, with more than 10 million claims filed in March.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed. A record 6.65 million people filed a new jobless claim in the week that ended March 28. The Washington Post, Heather Long, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic. Job losses have skyrocketed as restaurants, hotels, gyms, and travel have shut down across the nation, but layoffs are also rising in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, underscoring how widespread the pain of the coronavirus recession is.” See also, Record 6.6 Million Americans Sought Unemployment Benefits Last Week, The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Chaney and Eric Morath, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “A record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the new coronavirus struck the U.S. economy and sent a recently booming labor market into free fall. The large number of claims was double the 3.3 million who sought benefits two weeks ago as the U.S. shut down parts of the economy in an effort to contain the virus. Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, provide temporary financial assistance for workers who lose their jobs.” See also, A Widening Toll on Jobs: After the Initial Impact of Shutdowns on a Few Industries, the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Leaving a Much Broader Swath of Unemployment, The New York Times, Ben Casselman and Patricia Cohen, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “A staggering 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus outbreak ravaged nearly every corner of the American economy, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The speed and scale of the job losses are without precedent. In just two weeks, the pandemic has left nearly 10 million Americans out of work, more than in the worst months of the last recession. Until last month, the worst week for unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.” See also, A 3,000% jump in jobless claims has devastated the US job market, CNN Business, Anneken Tappe, Thursday, 2 April 2020. See also, Global Coronavirus Cases Top One Million, as Economic Toll Mounts. The U.S., with more than 230,000 reported infections, has just under a quarter of the global total. The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, Phred Dvorak, and Amira El-Fekki, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus world-wide surpassed 1 million Thursday, a grim milestone for the pandemic as governments deploy increasingly stringent measures to battle its spread and a record 6.6 million U.S. workers applied for unemployment benefits last week. The U.S., Italy and Spain remain at the forefront of the pandemic, accounting for nearly half of all reported infections of the coronavirus, which has spread with ferocious speed across the world.”

In September 2019, Trump administration ended pandemic early-warning program to detect coronaviruses, Los Angeles Times, Emily Baumgaertner and James Rainey, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Two months before the novel coronavirus is thought to have begun its deadly advance in Wuhan, China, the Trump administration ended a $200-million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat. The project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2009, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. The initiative, called PREDICT, also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories — including the Wuhan lab that identified SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Field work ceased when the funding ran out in September, and organizations that worked on the PREDICT program laid off dozens of scientists and analysts, said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a key player in the program.” See also, Trump administration cut pandemic early warning program in September 2019, The Guardian, Oliver Milman, published on Friday, 3 April 2020: “The Trump administration decided to end a $200m early warning program designed to alert it to potential pandemics just three months before it is believed Covid-19 began infecting people in China. The project, called Predict, had been run by the US Agency for International Development since 2009. It had identified more than 160 different coronaviruses that had the potential to develop into pandemics, including a virus that is considered the closest known relative to Covid-19. A decision to wind down the program was made, however, in September, just three months before the first reports of people becoming infected with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. The end of the program saw the departure of dozens of scientists and analysts working to identify potential pandemics in countries around the world, including China. ‘It was a genius, visionary program that USAid took a big risk to fund and it’s a crying shame it was canceled,’ said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit specialist in tackling wildlife-borne disease that was one of the major partners in the program. Daszak said he did not know why the initiative was scrapped or if the White House played any direct role in its ending. EcoHealth Alliance has been given a temporary extension to work on the program but the role will finally come to a close in September. The news about Predict’s demise was first reported in the Los Angeles Times.” See also, The Trump administration stopped funding a pandemic warning program just a few months before the novel coronavirus outbreak, Business Insider, Kayla Epstein, published on 3 April 2020.

Trump Invokes the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-Era Law, to Get Ventilators Built Amid Short Supply, The Wall Street Journal, Rachael Levy and Alex Leary, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “President Trump invoked a Korean War-era law to help manufacturers secure supplies needed to make ventilators and protective face masks, as the federal stockpile of the medical devices was running dangerously low amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump used the Defense Production Act in an effort to address the surging levels of patients in particularly hard-hit metro areas such as New York, New Orleans and Detroit. The federal government has distributed nearly half of its ventilators and has fewer than 10,000 still in hand—as the nation is projected to need tens of thousands more in the next weeks ahead. Governors in the hardest-hit states have been struggling to meet the demand for ventilators. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said Thursday the state had only enough ventilators in its stockpile for the next six days at the current rate of use. He said the state would provide financing to companies who need to make changes to begin manufacturing ventilators and other medical supplies.”

In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment, ProPublica, Lydia DePillis and Lisa Song, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000. This payment data, provided by state officials, shows just how much the shortage of key medical equipment is driving up prices. Forced to venture outside their usual vendors and contracts, states and cities are paying exorbitant sums on a spot market ruled by supply and demand. Although New York’s attorney general has denounced excessive prices, and ordered merchants to stop overcharging people for hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays, state laws against price gouging generally don’t apply to government purchases. With little guidance from the Trump administration, competition among states, cities, hospitals and federal agencies is contributing to the staggering bill for fighting the pandemic, which New York has estimated will cost it $15 billion in spending and lost revenue. The bidding wars are also raising concerns that facilities with shallow pockets, like rural health clinics, won’t be able to obtain vital supplies.”

New England Patriots plane trnsports 1.7 million N95 masks from China amid coronavirus pandemic. Owner Robert Kraft partnered with Governor Charlie Baker to purchase the masks. ABC News, Deena Zaru, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has partnered with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to purchase 1.4 million N95 masks from China as the U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to rise. Kraft also personally purchased an additional 300,000 N95 masks for New York state, which has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The supplies were flown on the Patriots’ personal plane. Kraft wanted to assist New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo out of respect and admiration for his leadership, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News.”

Essential Drug Supplies for Virus Patients Are Running Low, The New York Times, Knvul Sheikh, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Across the country, as hospitals confront a harrowing surge in coronavirus cases, they are also beginning to report shortages of critical medications — especially those desperately needed to ease the disease’s assault on patients’ respiratory systems. The most commonly reported shortages include drugs that are used to keep patients’ airways open, antibiotics, antivirals and sedatives. They are all part of a standard cocktail of medications that help patients on mechanical ventilators, control secondary lung infections, reduce fevers, manage pain and resuscitate those who go into cardiac arrest.”

‘A perfect storm’: US facing hunger crisis as demand for food banks soars, The Guardian, Nina Lakhani, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “An unprecedented number of Americans has resorted to food banks for emergency supplies since the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread layoffs. The demand for food aid has increased as much as eightfold in some areas, according to an investigation by the Guardian, which gives a nationwide snapshot of the hunger crisis facing the US as millions become unemployed.”

Fact-Checking Trump’s marathon news conference of Tuesday, 31 March, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “At a marathon news conference on March 31, President Trump acknowledged the death toll in the United States from the coronavirus outbreak could be staggering, with best-case scenario estimates ranging from 100,000 to 200,000. The message marked a sharp break from his many weeks of dismissing the seriousness of the outbreak in the United States. Still, even if his tone was more sober, the president continued to play fast and loose with the facts. Here’s a sampling from the nearly 13,000 words spoken by the president.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces new select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, setting up clash with Trump over $2 trillion economic rescue law, The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Paul Kane, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of a new select committee Thursday with subpoena powers to scrutinize the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and its management of the new $2 trillion economic rescue law. ‘Where there’s money, there’s also frequently mischief,’ Pelosi (D-Calif.) said as she announced the creation of the special bipartisan panel she said would be focused on rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. Pelosi’s announcement comes amid growing clashes between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration about oversight of the new rescue legislation and a $500 billion fund controlled by the Treasury Department. President Trump has to appoint a new inspector general to oversee that fund but has already signaled opposition to the scope of that person’s mandate.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forms new select committee to oversee $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, Politico, Heather Caygle, Kyle Cheney, and Melanie Zanona, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced the formation of a special bipartisan House committee to oversee the Trump administration’s distribution of more than $2 trillion in coronavirus relief funds over the next several months. The committee is Pelosi’s most aggressive effort yet to streamline the House’s efforts to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his implementation of the massive coronavirus response law, as well as to ensure that recipients of the historic taxpayer bailout use funds the way Congress intended.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is forming a bipartisan House committee to investigate the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure that congressional funding is spent wisely, NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Thursday, 2 April 2020. See also, From Afar, Congress Moves to Oversee Trump Coronavirus Response, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would move to form a special committee to scrutinize the Trump administration’s response, including how more than $2 trillion in federal relief money is being spent.”

Trump’s Company, the Trump Organization, Has Talked With Deutsche Bank and a Florida County About Delaying Payments on Some Loans and Other Obligations, The New York Times, David Enrich, Ben Protess, and Eric Lipton, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “With some of its golf courses and hotels closed amid the economic lockdown, the Trump Organization has been exploring whether it can delay payments on some of its loans and other financial obligations, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The New York Times. Representatives of Mr. Trump’s company have recently spoken with Deutsche Bank, the president’s largest creditor, about the possibility of postponing payments on at least some of its loans from the bank. And in Florida, the Trump Organization sought guidance last week from Palm Beach County about whether it expected the company to continue making monthly payments on county land that it leases for a 27-hole golf club.” See also, The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Costing Trump Properties Over $1 Million Daily in Lost Revenue. The crisis is also complicating the Trump Organization’s effort to sell long-term lease on Washington hotel at a record price. The Wall Street Journal, Brian Spegele, Craig Karmin, and Jenny Strasburg, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The majority of revenues for President Trump’s family business comes from travel and leisure, which have been hit hard by the forced closures and economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The situation could worsen because golf accounts for about half of the roughly $440 million of income Mr. Trump reported in his latest government financial disclosure.”

Navy relieves captain who raised alarm about coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier, NBC News, Courtney Kube and Mosheh Gains, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The Navy announced it has relieved the captain who sounded the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000, was relieved of his command Thursday, but he will keep his rank and remain in the Navy. Crozier raised the alarm this week, sending a strongly worded letter to Navy leadership that detailed his concerns about the spread of the virus on the ship. The letter leaked to the media and generated a series of headlines.” Tweet by Peter Baker of The New York Times: “More than 100,000 Americans are expected to die after a slow initial government response to the coronavirus pandemic and the first person to be fired is … the aircraft carrier captain who pleaded for help for his stricken crew.” See also, Commander of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus removed for ‘poor judgment’ after sounding alarm, CNN Politics, Ryan Browne, Zachary Cohen, and Jamie Crawford, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The commander of a US aircraft carrier that has been hit by a major outbreak of coronavirus has been relieved of command for showing “poor judgment” days after writing a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship’s crew, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Thursday.” See also, Navy Removes Captain of Aircraft Carrier Stricken by Coronavirus, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, and Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The Navy removed the captain of the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, only days after he implored his superior officers for more help as a coronavirus outbreak spread aboard the ship. In a letter that leaked to news organizations on Tuesday, Capt. Brett E. Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding on the warship, with almost 5,000 crew members, and described what he said were the Navy’s failures to provide the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel and disinfecting areas on board. About 114 sailors have been infected so far, a number that is expected to rise by hundreds as the vessel remains docked at Guam.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Hits Trump With Sassy T-Shirt Message. Trump has dismissed ‘that woman from Michigan’ for daring to appeal for federal help in the battle against coronavirus. Huff Post, Ed Mazza, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has taken an insult from President Donald Trump and turned it into a T-shirt. In the past week, Trump has slammed Whitmer ― at times refusing to even say her name ― for appealing to the federal government for help in fighting a surge of coronavirus cases. While speaking to Trevor Noah on ‘The Daily Show’ Wednesday, Whitmer wore a T-shirt under her blazer that read ‘that woman from Michigan,’ which was a play on one of the phrases Trump has used to describe her. Despite the joke on her shirt, Whitmer told Noah that it wasn’t the time for politics.”

Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he/we only just learned people without symptoms could spread coronavirus. Experts have been saying that for months. CNN Politics, Tara Subramaniam and Veronica Stracqualursi, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said on Wednesday that new information on the spread of coronavirus influenced his decision to issue a stay-at-home order. In particular, Kemp pointed to what he said was the recent discovery that the virus can be spread by people who are not exhibiting symptoms. ‘What we’ve been telling people from directives from the CDC for weeks now that if you start feeling bad stay home, those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad. But we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,’ said Kemp, a Republican. Facts First: It’s not true that people didn’t know ‘until the last 24 hours’ that individuals without symptoms could be infecting people with coronavirus. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in mid-February that asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus was possible. Furthermore, studies from as early as January showed cases of coronavirus spreading amongst people with no symptoms.” See also, Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp admits he just learned asymptomatic people can spread coronavirus, NBC News, Adam Edelman, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, admitted on Wednesday that he had only just learned that asymptomatic individuals can still spread coronavirus — even though health experts had warned about the possibility as early as January. Kemp, in a press conference on Wednesday said the fact that he’d just learned that information contributed to him issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order in Georgia. Kemp, said that he had, in just the last 24 hours, learned ‘that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.'”

Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer Christian Smalls: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate,’ Vice, Paul Blest, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Leaked notes from an internal meeting of Amazon leadership obtained by VICE News reveal company executives discussed a plan to smear fired warehouse employee Christian Smalls, calling him ‘not smart or articulate’ as part of a PR strategy to make him ‘the face of the entire union/organizing movement. He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,’ wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky in notes from the meeting forwarded widely in the company. The discussion took place at a daily meeting, which included CEO Jeff Bezos, to update each other on the coronavirus situation. Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney described the purpose to CNN on Sunday: ‘We go over the update on what’s happening around the world with our employees and with our customers and our businesses. We also spend a significant amount of time just brainstorming about what else we can do’ about COVID-19.”

Democrats Postpone Nominating Convention from July to August, The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Katie Glueck, and Jonathan Martin, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday postponed its presidential convention because of the coronavirus, moving it from mid-July to mid-August, and making it the largest political event to be upended by the public health crisis sweeping the country.” See also, Democrats delay Milwaukee nominating convention until August in response to coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer and Annie Linskey, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Democrats delayed their presidential nominating convention Thursday until the week of Aug. 17 to increase the likelihood that the party can still hold an in-person gathering in Milwaukee amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to reschedule from July puts the Democratic gathering one week before the Republican convention in Charlotte starting Aug. 24, which both President Trump and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel pledged recently will go forward. Trump said last week that there was ‘no way’ his convention would be canceled, and McDaniel said that planning for a ‘full seated’ convention was moving ‘full steam ahead.’ But Democrats have taken a far more cautious approach, in part because their convention was originally scheduled six weeks earlier in the summer to accommodate the Summer Olympics, which have since been canceled.”

Federal judge declines to postpone April 7th presidential primaries in Wisconsin, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “A federal judge on Thursday declined to postpone Wisconsin’s scheduled April 7 presidential primaries amid widespread worries that holding elections during the coronavirus pandemic could risk public health and curtail access to the polls. The ruling from U.S. District Judge William M. Conley means Wisconsin will remain the only one of 11 states originally scheduled to hold contests in April that has not postponed or dramatically altered voting amid the pandemic. However, in a 53-page ruling, Conley extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be requested by voters from Thursday to Friday, and extended the deadline for completed ballots to be received by local election officials by six days: from 8 p.m. on April 7 to 4 p.m. on April 13. He also prohibited the state from enforcing the requirement that absentee ballot envelopes bear a witness signature when voters include a statement that they were unable to obtain one safely. Conley made clear that he disagreed with the state’s decision to go forward with the election, but he explained that he was constrained to consider only the constitutional rights of voters — not public health. ‘Without doubt, the April 7 election day will create unprecedented burdens not just for aspiring voters, but also for poll workers, clerks, and indeed the state,’ Conley wrote. ‘As much as the court would prefer that the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor consider the public health ahead of any political considerations, that does not appear in the cards. Nor is it appropriate for a federal-district court to act as the state’s chief health official by taking that step for them.'”

74 journalism professors and working journalists accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation, The Hill, Marty Johnson, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Dozens of journalism professors and working journalists signed an open letter to Fox News heads Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch on Thursday, bashing the network’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as a ‘danger to public health. Viewers of Fox News, including the president of the United States, have been regularly subjected to misinformation relayed by the network—false statements downplaying the prevalence of COVID-19 and its harms; misleading recommendations of activities that people should undertake to protect themselves and others, including casual recommendations of untested drugs; false assessments of the value of measures urged upon the public by their elected political leadership and public health authorities,’ the letter reads. In the letter, the group cites multiple surveys, including a recent Pew Research poll in which 79 percent of Fox News viewers reported that they believed that the media had overstated the potency of the virus. It also cited that the average age for Fox News viewers is 65. Senior citizens are one of the two most at-risk demographics to experience fatal complications from the virus, the other being people with underlying health conditions.”

The Coronavirus Is the World’s Only Superpower, The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “On Thursday, at 8:30 a.m., came the staggering news that a record 6.6 million Americans had filed for unemployment last week, meaning that ten million Americans have lost their jobs in just the first fourteen days of this coronavirus recession. Yet, less than an hour after this awful revelation, in the midst of a week that must surely count as one of the grimmest of his lifetime, Donald Trump was whining on Twitter about ‘Cryin’ Chuck Schumer’ and the ‘complainers’ at the center of the epidemic in New York, who ‘should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.’ By Thursday evening, he was grousing about ‘witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt’ launched by Democrats against him. The day before, when more than a thousand Americans died of the disease, the President staged a bizarre photo opportunity with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and other national-security leaders, to announce an oddly timed opening of a major new front in America’s war on Mexican drug cartels. During the event, Trump extemporized about what he often calls his ‘big, beautiful’ wall on the southern border and its ‘tremendous impact,’ and announced that he would deploy various Navy and Coast Guard ships for the new drug-fighting mission. (He also bragged about his ‘No. 1’ status on Facebook, accused the former Secretary of State John Kerry of violating the law by advising Iran, and lamented, yet again, that no one could have possibly foreseen the global pandemic that nearly every global-health leader had been warning about for years.) After this performance, I received a note from a former senior State Department official in the Trump Administration: ‘Seriously, WTF?? A new war on drugs? These people have so lost the plot it’s beyond parody.’ Foreign Policy later reported that the whole thing had been just what it seemed to be: a political optics play by the President. ‘DoD was against it,’ a former Trump Administration official told the magazine. ‘Didn’t matter to POTUS.'” See also, Trump tangles with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer all day over coronavirus response, Politico, Marianne Levine, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer clashed all day Thursday in media appearances, tweets and dueling letters over the federal government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. The tension reached a climax when Trump sent a letter to the New York Democrat, defending his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But the letter also got personal, as the president accused the Democratic leader of getting caught up in the ‘impeachment hoax’ and being ‘missing in action, except when it comes to the ‘press.’ On MSNBC’s ‘All In with Chris Hayes,’ Schumer said Thursday evening that he was ‘appalled’ at the president’s letter and told Trump to ‘stop the pettiness — people are dying.’ Schumer, who has been on a media blitz this week, appealed to Trump in a letter Thursday morning to establish a czar with a military background to oversee the production of medical equipment, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, under the Defense Production Act. The U.S. is facing a shortage of such equipment as the pandemic overwhelms hospitals and other medical providers. ‘America cannot rely on a patchwork of uncoordinated voluntary efforts to combat the awful magnitude of this pandemic,’ Schumer wrote. ‘The existing federal leadership void has left America with an ugly spectacle in which States and cities are literally fending for themselves, often in conflict and competition with each other.'”

In the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Construction Is Set to Resume on the Keystone XL Pipeline, The New Yorker, Bill McKibben, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Around the world, people are rising to the occasion of the coronavirus pandemic with acts of kindness, sacrifice, and love that remind us why we’re a species worth fighting for. And then there’s the oil industry. Over the past few weeks, it has been working to push through construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The effort began in earnest in mid-March, when several states—including, crucially, South Dakota, which is on the KXL route—passed laws designating pipelines as ‘critical infrastructure.’ South Dakota’s governor went further last week, signing a law that could charge anyone who, with three or more others, acts to cause “damage to property” as a rioter, and made it a felony to ‘incite’ such behavior. On Monday, Jason Kenney, the premier of Alberta, where the pipeline originates, announced that his government would hand over $1.1 billion dollars to TC Energy, the company building the pipeline. That is enough to cover construction costs for the rest of the year. In addition, Kenney put forward $4.2 billion in credit guarantees, and that was enough for the company, which had been unwilling to commit to the project, to go forward. Now, the company says, construction will begin immediately, both in Canada and across the border. Indeed, it appears that construction workers began arriving in Montana before the state announced a fourteen-day quarantine on travellers arriving from out of state. So here’s the situation: in the middle of a pandemic, construction workers will move into isolated rural communities with already strained hospital resources. The ‘man camps’ where many such workers in the industry live are associated with violence against women and other crimes, even in the best of times. Now, with the pandemic, many of the Native communities that live along the pipeline route fear for the worst. ‘This causes eerie memories for us with the infected smallpox blankets that were distributed to tribes intentionally,’ Faith Spotted Eagle, a leader of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said. (The coronavirus is already wreaking havoc on isolated reservations in other parts of the country, and the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service is struggling to meet the crisis.)” See also, Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline, The Guardian, Bill McKibben, published on Sunday, 5 April 2020: “A decade ago, beginning with indigenous activists in Canada and farmers and ranchers in the American west and midwest, opposition began to something called the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to carry filthy tar sands oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. It quickly became a flashpoint for the fast-growing climate movement, especially after Nasa scientist James Hansen explained that draining those tar sands deposits would be ‘game over’ for the climate system. And so thousands went to jail and millions rallied and eventually Barack Obama bent to that pressure and blocked the pipeline. Donald Trump, days after taking office, reversed that decision, but the pipeline has never been built, both because its builder, TC Energy, has had trouble arranging the financing and permits, and because 30,000 people have trained to do nonviolent civil disobedience to block construction. It’s been widely assumed that, should a Democrat win the White House in November, the project would finally be gone for good. And then came the coronavirus epidemic – and the oil industry saw its opening. It moved with breathtaking speed to take advantage of the moment.”