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


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


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Friday, 3 April 2020, Day 1,169:


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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

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

Trump Notified Congress Late on Friday That He Plans to Fire Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Charlie Savage, and Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump is firing the intelligence community inspector general whose insistence on telling lawmakers about a whistle-blower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine triggered impeachment proceedings last fall, the president told lawmakers in a letter late Friday. The move came as Mr. Trump announced his intent to name a White House aide as the independent watchdog for $500 billion in corporate pandemic aid and notified Congress of other nominees to inspector general positions, including one that would effectively oust the newly named chairman of a panel to oversee how the government spends $2 trillion in coronavirus relief. The slew of late-night announcements, coming as the world’s attention is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, raised the specter of a White House power play over the community of inspectors general, independent officials whose mission is to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the government.” See also, Trump fires Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, who handled the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, Minneapolis Star Tribune/Associated Press, Mary Clare Jalonick and Deb Reichmann, published on Saturday, 4 April 2020: “President Donald Trump abruptly fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, sidelining an independent watchdog who played a pivotal role in his impeachment even as his White House struggles with the deepening coronavirus pandemic. Trump informed the House and Senate intelligence committees late Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press. Atkinson handled the anonymous whistleblower complaint that triggered Trump’s impeachment last year. His removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism. Democrats reacted swiftly, saying the firing would have a ‘chilling effect’ and was ‘unconscionable’ during a pandemic…. The head of the council representing inspectors general throughout government said Atkinson was known for his ‘integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight,’ an implicit suggestion that Trump’s criticism stems from a sense of a loss of loyalty from an official who is supposed to be independent.” See also, Trump to Fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. The firing of Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who reviewed Ukraine whistleblower complaint, is the latest in a series of intelligence-community removals. The Wall Street Journal, Warren P. Strobel and Dustin Volz, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Donald Trump late Friday said he intends to remove the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community, who last year called a whistleblower’s complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine credible and pushed to share it with Congress. Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Michael Atkinson is the latest in a string of dismissals or firings of more than a half-dozen top U.S. intelligence officials, particularly at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Several of the actions have come since Mr. Trump was impeached last year by the House of Representatives and acquitted earlier this year in his impeachment trial in the Senate.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci calls for nationwide stay-at-home order, despite Trump’s resistance: ‘I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that,’ The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 3 April 2020: “As certain states have continued to lag behind others in issuing stay-at-home orders, the White House has also resisted a more drastic step: demanding that those states get with the program. Vice President Pence made it clear Wednesday that President Trump has decided he doesn’t want to tell states what to do. ‘At the president’s direction, the White House coronavirus task force will continue to take the posture that we will defer to state and local health authorities on any measures that they deem appropriate,’ Pence said…. Trump is wrong. Eighty-five percent of states are not on board. A New York Times compilation shows that 12 states still have not taken this step. Localities within some of those state have, and the vast majority of the United States is under such orders, population-wise, but this is still not a blanket policy being applied across the country. And for the first time, Anthony S. Fauci is signaling his frustration with that. After the White House had for days played off this question, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases appeared on CNN on Thursday night and for the first time made his position on that issue clear. ‘If you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that,’ he told Anderson Cooper. ‘We really should be.’ The question was about a federal mandate and not whether states should take this step themselves, and Fauci was careful to recognize valid questions about states’ rights. But he was also clear that he thinks this should be a nationwide policy, one way or another.” See also, Dr. Anthony Fauci says ‘I don’t understand’ why all states are not under stay-at-home orders, NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested Thursday night that all Americans should be under a stay-at-home order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and that all states should be operating under the same guidelines.See also, Holdout States Resist Calls for Stay-at-Home Orders: ‘What Are You Waiting for?’ The New York Times, Sarah Mervosh and Jack Healy, Friday, 3 April 2020: “A surge in coronavirus deaths in the United States has prompted the vast majority of governors to order their residents to stay home, but a small number of states are resisting increasingly urgent calls to shut down. The pressure on the holdouts in the Midwest and the South has mounted in recent days as fellow governors, public-health experts and even their own citizens urge them to adopt tougher measures that have been put in place across 41 states and Washington, D.C. Health experts warn that the coronavirus can easily exploit any gaps in a state-by-state patchwork of social distancing in the country, where the death toll climbed past 6,600 on Friday.”

Location Data Shows That Staying at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic Is a Luxury, The New York Times, Jennifer Valentino-De-Vries, Denise Lu, and Gabriel J.X. Dance, Friday, 3 April 2020: “In cities across America, many lower-income workers continue to move around, while those who make more money are staying home and limiting their exposure to the coronavirus, according to smartphone location data analyzed by The New York Times. Although people in all income groups are moving less than they did before the crisis, wealthier people are staying home the most, especially during the workweek. Not only that, but in nearly every state, they began doing so days before the poor, giving them a head start on social distancing as the virus spread, according to aggregated data from the location analysis company Cuebiq, which tracks about 15 million cellphone users nationwide daily…. The data offers real-time evidence of a divide laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic — one in which wealthier people not only have more job security and benefits but also may be better able to avoid becoming sick. The outbreak is so new that the relationship between socioeconomic status and infection rates cannot be determined, but other data, including recent statistics released by public health officials in New York City, suggests that the coronavirus is hitting low-income neighborhoods the hardest.” See also, Social distancing? Many working-class people don’t have that luxury. While the rich work from home, others are packed on subways or losing their jobs. This pandemic calls for a reckoning. The Guardian, Francine Prose, published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020: “Except for the photos of people who have recovered from Covid-19, flashing victory signs, some wearing the new accessory, oxygen cannulas, few encouraging images have emerged from the pandemic. We’ve seen coffins in Bergamo, panicked migrant workers in New Delhi, patients on gurneys lining the hospital hallways in Spain and here at home. Among the most disturbing are the photos and videos of jam-packed New York subway stations and cars, crowded with passengers – mostly people of color – on their way to work. Some passengers are wearing masks, some aren’t. Whether they like their jobs, believe in what they do, worry about health protections at work, fear losing their health insurance, if they have any, they probably have something in common: they wouldn’t be on this packed subway if they didn’t have to be.”

The official government webpage for the Strategic National Stockpile was altered after Jared Kushner’s remarks at the White House coronavirus task force press briefing on Thursday that the stockpile’s reserves are the property of the federal government, not the states, Politico, Quint Forgey, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The official government webpage for the Strategic National Stockpile was altered Friday to seemingly reflect a controversial description of the emergency repository that White House adviser Jared Kushner offered at a news conference Thursday evening. According to a brief online summary on the Department of Health and Human Services website, the stockpile’s role ‘is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well.’ But just hours earlier, the text characterized the stockpile as the ‘nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.’ The previous language stated that when ‘state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.’ Also stripped from the new summary is a sentence that affirmed the stockpile ‘contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.’ The revisions come after Kushner argued at the White House coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday that the stockpile’s reserves are the property of the federal government, not the states.” See also, The Trump administration just changed its description of the national stockpile to jibe with Jared Kushner’s controversial claim: ‘And the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,’ Kushner said. ‘It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.’ The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The Trump administration on Friday changed its description of the Strategic National Stockpile on a government website after journalists noted that it contradicted a claim Jared Kushner had made about the program. Kushner on Thursday evening offered a novel argument about the national stockpile. He said some states still had stockpiles that they hadn’t been employing for the coronavirus outbreak and that localities should go to them first. And then he suggested that the national stockpile wasn’t even meant for them. ‘And the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,’ Kushner said. ‘It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.’ As reporters quickly noted, that didn’t match with how the Department of Health and Human Services was describing the program. On its website, it said, ‘Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.’ It continued to say, ‘When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency.’ That language suddenly disappeared from the site Friday morning, as journalist Laura Bassett noted, and was replaced with something de-emphasizing the size of the stockpile and its role in helping states. The new description cast it as a ‘short-term stopgap. The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies,’ it now says. ‘Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.'”

Massive small business rescue gets off to a stormy start, Politico, Zachary Warmbrodt, Friday, 3 April 2020: “A small business lending program designed to halt an avalanche of layoffs got off to a rocky start on Friday as banks scrambled to figure out how to process a rush of eager applicants based on guidelines the Trump administration published just hours earlier. Wells Fargo was not yet offering the government-guaranteed loans established by the $350 billion program that Congress passed last week, but JPMorgan Chase was. Bank of America was among the first big banks to start accepting applications — and said it received 85,000 applications requesting $22 billion. But in a sign of the chaos surrounding the rollout, Bank of America faced an immediate backlash from account holders who were turned away because they didn’t have an existing lending relationship with the bank, which set priorities for borrowers in a bid to manage the deluge. By the afternoon, the lender signaled it would offer loans to more borrowers amid pressure from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and angry customers attacking the bank on social media.” See also, Small Business Loan Program Makes Bumpy Start, The Wall Street Journal, Bob Davis, Ruth Simon, and Peter Rudegeair, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The federal government’s $350 billion small business loan program got off to a rocky start Friday, with some of the nation’s biggest lenders saying they weren’t yet able to process loan applications, discouraging business owners struggling to stay afloat.”

Trump announces new face mask recommendations after heated internal debate, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Trump said Friday his administration was now recommending Americans wear ‘non-medical cloth’ face coverings, a reversal of previous guidance that suggested masks were unnecessary for people who weren’t sick. Trump said the recommendations, which came after a week of heated deliberations inside the White House, were voluntary and that he would not partake. ‘I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,’ he said, going on to suggest it was hard to envision such a thing in the Oval Office: ‘Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it.’ After weeks of insisting Americans should not wear face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus — and even suggesting their use could increase the chance of infection — administration officials this week engaged in an internal debate over reversing course, according to people familiar with the matter.” See also, New face mask guidance comes after battle between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 3 April 2020: “White House coronavirus task force officials had debated whether to recommend universal use of face coverings such as cloth masks when people go out in public, or target the guidance more narrowly to areas with high community transmission of the virus that causes covid-19. Some senior administration officials pushed to limit the recommendation because they argued that wide use of masks is unnecessary and might cause panic. Some of the president’s political advisers also warned against recommending masks for everyone, and had proposed to rewrite the agency guidance more narrowly, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the guidance. The draft that went to the coronavirus task force on Friday limited the recommendation to high-transmission areas, they said. But federal health officials, including experts at the CDC, say the guidance only makes sense if practiced broadly because it would be an additional way to contain the virus and prevent communities with low transmission from becoming areas with explosive spread. The CDC has been recommending widespread community use since late last week. The task force restored that original guidance during its meeting Friday after further push back from public health officials, said the administration officials.” See also, A Debate Over Masks Uncovers Deep White House Divisions, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Sheila Kaplan, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump said on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was urging all Americans to wear a mask when they leave their homes, but he immediately undercut the message by repeatedly calling the recommendation voluntary and promising that he would not wear one himself…. Mr. Trump’s announcement, followed by his quick dismissal, was a remarkable public display of the intense debate that has played out inside the West Wing over the past several days as a divided administration argued about whether to request such a drastic change in Americans’ social behavior. Dr. Steven Choi, the chief quality officer and associate dean at Yale New Haven Health System and Yale University School of Medicine, said the president’s behavior at the briefing contributed to confusion among health care workers and regular Americans. ‘For anyone, particularly the president of the United States, to ignore recommendations from the C.D.C. is not only irresponsible but selfish,’ Dr. Choi said.” See also, Tensions Persist Between Trump and Medical Advisers Over the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and James Glanz, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Rarely has the schism between President Trump and his own public health advisers over the coronavirus pandemic been put on display quite so starkly. Even as he announced a new federal recommendation on Friday that Americans wear masks when out in public, he immediately disavowed it: ‘I am choosing not to do it.’ The striking dichotomy underscored how often Mr. Trump has been at odds with the medical experts seeking to guide his handling of the outbreak as well as some of the governors fighting it on the front lines, despite his move to extend social distancing guidelines through April 30 and his acknowledgment that the death toll could be staggering. While the health specialists and some governors press for a more aggressive, uniform national approach to the virus, the president has resisted expanding limits on daily life and sought to shift blame to the states for being unprepared to deal with the coronavirus. While they sound the alarm and call for more federal action, Mr. Trump has deflected responsibility and left it to others to take a more aggressive stance. Some of the president’s health advisers in recent days have argued that restrictions on social interaction and economic activity that have shut down much of the nation need to be expanded to all 50 states and that more Americans need to adopt them. Mr. Trump, by contrast, has characterized the crisis as generally limited to hot spots like New York, California and Michigan and has expressed no support for a nationwide lockdown. ‘I would leave it to the governors,’ he said on Friday.”

Top administration officials said last year that the threat of a pandemic kept them awake at night, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Two top administration officials last year listed the threat of a pandemic as an issue that greatly worried them, undercutting President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was an unforeseen problem. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.”

Trump assures U.S. oil companies that they will get federal help to offset pandemic effects on oil prices, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Steven Mufson, and Will Englund, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump promised federal support Friday for oil companies battered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has depressed the United States’ demand for oil at the same time Saudi Arabia and Russia, whose authoritarian leaders Trump has courted, have waged a price war that has sent worldwide prices plunging. Trump said he assured oil firms that the federal government will make room in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve so that American producers can store oil that would fetch a better price in the future.”

Attorney General William Barr Expands Early Release of Some Prisoners From Federal Correctional Institutions in Louisiana, Connecticut, and Ohio. Coronavirus cases in these prisons have grown precipitously. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Attorney General William P. Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons on Friday to expand the group of federal inmates eligible for early release and to prioritize those at three facilities where known coronavirus cases have grown precipitously, as the virus threatens to overwhelm prison medical facilities and nearby hospitals. Mr. Barr wrote in a memo to Michael Carvajal, the director of the Bureau of Prisons, that he was intensifying the push to release prisoners to home confinement because ’emergency conditions’ created by the coronavirus have affected the ability of the bureau to function.”

Trump Seeks to Block 3M Mask Exports and Grab Masks From Its Overseas Customers, The New York Times, Ana Swanson, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The Trump administration is using a Korean War-era law to redirect to the United States surgical masks manufactured by 3M in other countries as part of a heated pressure campaign to force the Minnesota company to cut off sales of surgical masks abroad. The policy is a significant expansion of the American government’s reach and a reversal of President Trump’s hesitant use of the Defense Production Act, which allows the administration to force a company to prioritize the U.S. government over competing orders. But in this case, the administration is invoking the law to compel 3M to send to the United States masks made in factories overseas and to stop exporting masks the company manufactures in the United States. Those moves, some trade and legal experts fear, could backfire and prompt foreign governments to clamp down on desperately needed medical necessities destined for the United States. On Friday evening, the Trump administration issued an executive order directing federal emergency management and health officials to use the law’s authority to preserve respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves for domestic use.” See also, Slammed by Trump, 3M Says N95 Mask Exports From the U.S. Should Continue, NPR, Bill Chappell, Friday, 3 April 2020: “A key maker of N95 respirator masks, 3M, is arguing against a Trump administration request to keep U.S.-made masks in the domestic market, saying the policy could backfire by triggering retaliation. Trump signed a Defense Production Act order Thursday specifically aimed at requiring 3M to prioritize orders from the U.S. government…. Thursday’s presidential order directs Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor to ‘use any and all authority available under the Act to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the Administrator determines to be appropriate.’ The company responded publicly Friday morning, defending its efforts by saying the company and its employees ‘have gone above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the U.S. market.'” See also, 3M response to Defense Production Act order, 3M, Friday, 3 April 2020. See also, 3M, Under Attack From Trump, Pushes Back, The Wall Street Journal, Austen Hufford and Joe Palazzolo, Friday, 3 April 2020: “3M pushed back against criticism of its work to get N95 masks to health-care workers in the U.S., intensifying conflict between the Trump administration and U.S. manufacturers racing to meet urgent demand for medical equipment. Chief Executive Mike Roman said 3M is raising domestic production, importing masks from its plant in China and taking action against price gouging on masks that medical workers need to treat patients infected with the new coronavirus.” See also, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warns U.S. against denying exports of medical supplies to Canada, Politico, Maura Forrest, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday it would be a ‘mistake’ for the U.S. to limit exports of medical supplies to Canada in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. His comments came hours after Minnesota manufacturing giant 3M said it has received a request from the Trump administration to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America as demand grows in the U.S. Trudeau said his government is working to impress upon the U.S. administration that essential supplies and medical professionals move in both directions across the border. ‘These are things that Americans rely on and it would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back-and-forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods, across our border,’ he said. The prime minister said he remains confident that Canada will receive the equipment it needs to fight the coronavirus. He did not say whether he planned to speak with President Donald Trump about the issue, but pointed to a statement from 3M that warns against limiting exports. ‘3M has indicated that it understands how important it is to continue to deliver on orders to places like Canada,’ he said.”

Navy hospital ship deployed to New York City with 1,000 bed capacity is only treating 22 patients, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi and Ryan Browne, published on Friday, 3 April 2020: “A US Navy hospital ship currently docked in New York City harbor is treating only 22 patients as of Friday afternoon, despite having a 1,000 bed capacity to treat non-coronavirus patients, according to a US Navy official. Navy officials told CNN that they expect the number of patients being treated to increase significantly in the coming days as the process of referring patients to the ship is refined.” See also, The 1,000-Bed U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients. The New York Times, Michael Schwirtz, Thursday, 2 April 2020: “Such were the expectations for the Navy hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort that when it chugged into New York Harbor this week, throngs of people, momentarily forgetting the strictures of social distancing, crammed together along Manhattan’s west side to catch a glimpse. On Thursday, though, the huge white vessel, which officials had promised would bring succor to a city on the brink, sat mostly empty, infuriating executives at local hospitals. The ship’s 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle. Only 20 patients had been transferred to the ship, officials said, even as New York hospitals struggled to find space for the thousands infected with the coronavirus. Another Navy hospital ship, the U.S.N.S. Mercy, docked in Los Angeles, has had a total of 15 patients, officials said. ‘If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,’ said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system. ‘Everyone can say, “Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.” But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.'”

Trump announces intent to nominate White House lawyer Brian Miller as inspector general for $2 trillion coronavirus law, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump intends to nominate White House lawyer Brian D. Miller to serve as the inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s implementation of the newly enacted $2 trillion coronavirus law, the White House said Friday night. If confirmed by the Senate, Miller would become Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery for the Department of Treasury, a key post in preventing fraud and abuse in the enormous new program. Miller is a special assistant to Trump and senior associate counsel in the Office of White House Counsel. He played a role in the White House’s response to document requests during the recent impeachment probe. [C]ritics pointed out that inspectors general are typically apolitical. President George W. Bush appointed an inspector general over the bank bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis who had no strong partisan affiliations, according to Harry Sandick, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. ‘It’s antithetical to oversight to have someone with a tight connection to the White House.'”

Trump to nominate Justin Walker, former clerk to now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to fill vacancy on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump is tapping a young district judge and former clerk to now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to fill a vacancy on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination of Justin Walker, 37, is almost certain to trigger a vigorous battle over his qualifications to serve on the nation’s second-most influential court, which is often at the apex of key cases involving executive power and federal regulations. The American Bar Association had deemed Walker not qualified for his current post as judge for the Western District of Kentucky, where he has served for just over five months. But Walker’s nomination also underscores the influence of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the conservative transformation of the federal judiciary under Trump, to whom McConnell has actively promoted Walker behind the scenes.” See also, Trump Picks Mitch McConnell Protégé Justin Walker for Influential Appeals Court Seat. The American Bar Association has rated him as unqualified, but he has strong conservative support. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Trump on Friday nominated Judge Justin Walker, a protégé of Senator Mitch McConnell, to a vacancy on the influential United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, touching off what is likely to be a contentious confirmation fight in the Senate. Judge Walker, 37, a native of Louisville, has served for less than six months as a United States District Court judge in Kentucky, having been confirmed for the post last year despite receiving an ‘unqualified’ rating from the American Bar Association because of his lack of experience. But he is a personal favorite of Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and the majority leader who has built a confirmation machine for conservative jurists named by Mr. Trump, and who ushered Judge Walker into an Oval Office meeting this year and later lobbied the president to elevate him.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, in abrupt reversal, urges delay of Tuesday’s primary, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Matt Viser, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday abruptly reversed course and urged a delay of the state’s Tuesday primary, declaring the coronavirus too great a health risk and summoning the state legislature for a special session Saturday to consider a plan to cancel in-person voting and extend the deadline for mail-in ballots. The surprise announcement threw election preparations into further chaos amid a sprint by state and local officials to stock up on sanitizing supplies and consolidate voting locations because of a mass shortage of poll workers. Republican leaders quickly rejected Evers’s call, leaving the primary in a shaky state…. At the time of Evers’s announcement, Wisconsin was the only one of 11 states originally scheduled to hold contests in April that had not postponed or dramatically altered voting amid the pandemic.”

Trump campaign declares war on Democrats over voting rules for November, Politico, Alex Isenstadt, Friday, 3 April 2020: “President Donald Trump’s political operation is launching a multimillion-dollar legal campaign aimed at blocking Democrats from drastically changing voting rules in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In the past several weeks, the reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee have helped to oversee maneuvering in a handful of battleground states with an eye toward stopping some Democratic efforts to alter voting laws, and to bolster Trump. The mobilization is being closely coordinated with Republicans at the state and local levels. The Trump campaign and RNC are actively engaged in litigation in Wisconsin, where the parties are at loggerheads over an array of issues including voter identification, and in New Mexico, where the battle involves vote-by-mail. The skirmishing has also spread across key states like Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the well-organized Trump apparatus has fought over changes that could sway the outcome of the election.”

Supreme Court cancels oral arguments for the rest of the term, NBC News, Pete Williams, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The U.S. Supreme Court Friday said it will scrap the oral argument schedule for the rest of the term amid the coronavirus pandemic but left open the possibility that it might hear a few cases before the term ends in late June. Nine cases were to be argued during the two-week session beginning April 20, including one of the most important of the term — a challenge to the current system used for electing the president. The court was to decide whether presidential electors must vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their states or whether they are free agents. The court earlier canceled oral argument in March as measures like stay-at-home orders and social distancing directives were implemented across the country to slow the spread of the virus. It did not hear from lawyers involved in the legal battle over access by Congress and a state grand jury in New York to President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial documents.” See also, Supreme Court cancels April arguments, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 3 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Friday officially canceled its scheduled oral arguments for April because of health threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and left in doubt how the justices will finish their term. The court already had postponed March arguments, which means about 20 cases — including the battle over President Trump’s attempts to shield his financial records from congressional committees and a Manhattan prosecutor — are left in limbo. The court’s April session usually is its last each term.”

Sailors cheer for aircraft carrier commander Brett Crozier who was removed after issuing coronavirus warning, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, Friday, 3 April 2020: “Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier cheered for Capt. Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an overwhelming show of support for their leader who was relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard. New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd gathered to give Crozier a warm and loud send off, clapping and chanting his name as he left the ship. It was a clear expression of appreciation for their former commander who was removed for what the acting Navy Secretary called ‘poor judgment.'”

Anyone near Trump or Pence will be given rapid coronavirus test, Reuters, Steve Holland, Friday, 3 April 2020: “With the coronavirus contagion spreading, the White House said on Friday that anyone expected to be near President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will be given a rapid COVID-19 test out of an abundance of caution. The test is expected to be the same quick-action test that Trump took on Thursday. He took the Abbott Laboratories test, which provides results in 15 minutes or less. White House spokesman Judd Deere said, ‘starting today anyone who is expected to be in close proximity to either of them will be administered a COVID-19 test to evaluate for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers status to limit inadvertent transmission.’ One of the vexing revelations about the virus is that infected people can spread it without even knowing they have the illness or before symptoms have become evident. The plan was put into immediate effect. Many oil executives who met Trump at the White House nodded yes when asked if they had been tested prior to the meeting in the White House Cabinet Room.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Orders a Deeper Look at 29 F.B.I. Wiretap Applications, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 3 April 2020: “A secretive court that oversees national security surveillance ordered the F.B.I. on Friday to conduct a searching review of 29 wiretap applications in terrorism and espionage investigations, after an inspector general uncovered pervasive problems with how the bureau prepared them. In a rare public order to the F.B.I., James E. Boasberg, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, ordered the bureau to immediately tell the court the names of the 29 wiretapping targets, and to scour the applications and underlying case files for any inaccuracies or material omissions.”

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is pressing ahead with an investigation into Hunter Biden even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Betsy Woodruff Swan, Friday, 3 April 2020: “A key Senate committee is vowing to press forward with its investigation targeting former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, despite logistical challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic. The probe, which Democrats vigorously oppose, has fueled tension among the Senate’s ranks, even breaking out into a rare and previously unreported verbal altercation between senators during a classified briefing. The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Republican-led inquiry was entering a critical phase last month when senators dropped all nonessential work to focus on delivering economic and medical relief as the coronavirus reached a crisis point in the United States. The Senate is not due back in Washington until April 20 at the earliest. ‘While the chairman is primarily focused on the once-in-a-generation crisis we’re experiencing, our oversight staff is continuing to push ahead with their work. Nothing has changed in our long-term plans for our investigations,’ said Austin Altenburg, a spokesman for the committee’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).”


Saturday, 4 April 2020, Day 1,170:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 4 April 2020: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ While Also Revisiting Easter Sunday Services, The New York Times, Saturday, 4 April 2020: ”

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 4 April 2020: Confirmed coronavirus cases top 300,000 in U.S. as Fauci stresses social distancing is ‘our most important tool,’ The Washington Post, Karla Adam, Marisa Iati, Meryl Kornfield, Kim Bellware, Emily Rauhala, Samantha Pell, Steven Goff, and Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, reiterated during Saturday’s White House briefing that while social distancing efforts are working across the country, the risk of a coronavirus resurgence is real. ‘That is our most important tool,’ Fauci said of mitigation. ‘As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference.’ Meanwhile, confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States surpassed 300,000, with more than 8,000 deaths. New York’s death toll topped 3,500 as confirmed cases rose to 113,704.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Post investigation uncovered alarm and dismay among scientists at health labs about the Trump administration’s reliance on a flawed coronavirus test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The U.S. will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched. The Washington Post retraces the failures over the first 70 days of the crisis.
  • Italian authorities said that for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, the use of intensive care unit beds fell.
  • At least 155 crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus, days after the Navy aircraft carrier’s captain was relieved of his post.
  • Two people on the Coral Princess cruise ship, which reported 12 positive cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, died overnight.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

70 days of denial, delays, and dysfunction. The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged. From the Trump administration to the Centers for Disease Control, political and institutional failures cascaded through the system, and opportunities to mitigate the pandemic were lost. The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “[T]he United States will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched by the novel coronavirus, sustaining heavier casualties than any other nation. It did not have to happen this way. Though not perfectly prepared, the United States had more expertise, resources, plans and epidemiological experience than dozens of countries that ultimately fared far better in fending off the virus. The failure has echoes of the period leading up to 9/11: Warnings were sounded, including at the highest levels of government, but the president was deaf to them until the enemy had already struck. The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President’s Daily Brief. And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.” See also, U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic, Associated Press, Michael Biesecker, published on Sunday, 5 April 2020: “After the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile. That federal cache of supplies was created more than 20 years ago to help bridge gaps in the medical and pharmaceutical supply chains during a national emergency.” See also, The Trump administration didn’t order ventilators or masks until mid-March. The federal government’s delayed response to the coronavirus pandemic included failing to order lifesaving medical equipment in time for hospitals to use it. Vox, Alissa Wilkinson, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has moved from dismissing the threat posed to Americans by the coronavirus to styling himself as a ‘wartime president.’ But until mid-March, new reports reveal, he was planning to send the army into battle with only a fraction of the weapons and armor they’d need. On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that the government largely failed to place bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment vital to those treating coronavirus patients until mid-March, according to federal purchasing contracts. The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration received its first briefing about the outbreak in China on January 3. On March 12, the day before Trump finally declared a national emergency due to the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services placed its first bulk order with 3M for $4.8 million worth of N95 masks.”

New York coronavirus deaths surpass 3,500 as Trump urges states to share ventilators, The Washington Post, Tracy Jan, Meryl Kornfield, and Kim Bellware, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “The death toll in New York, the state hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, surpassed 3,500 on Saturday — recording 630 deaths in 24 hours, outpacing previous days, as President Trump urged states to share extra ventilators with those most in need while characterizing the federal stockpile as just a ‘backup.’ The government will be deploying 1,000 military doctors and nurses to New York City, ‘the hottest of all the hot spots,’ along with ventilators from the national stockpile, Trump said. ‘If states have ventilators they know they’re not going to need, we should move them over,’ he said, singling out Oregon as the first state to have stepped up.”

430,000 People Have Traveled From China to U.S. Since Coronavirus Surfaced. There were 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities before President Trump’s travel restrictions. Since then, nearly 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have made the trip, some this past week and many with spotty screening. The New York Times, Steve Eder, Henry Fountain, Michael H. Keller, Muyi Xiao, and Alexandra Stevenson, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Since Chinese officials disclosed the outbreak of a mysterious pneumonialike illness to international health officials on New Year’s Eve, at least 430,000 people have arrived in the United States on direct flights from China, including nearly 40,000 in the two months after President Trump imposed restrictions on such travel, according to an analysis of data collected in both countries. The bulk of the passengers, who were of multiple nationalities, arrived in January, at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Newark and Detroit. Thousands of them flew directly from Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, as American public health officials were only beginning to assess the risks to the United States. Flights continued this past week, the data show, with passengers traveling from Beijing to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, under rules that exempt Americans and some others from the clampdown that took effect on Feb. 2. In all, 279 flights from China have arrived in the United States since then, and screening procedures have been uneven, interviews show. Mr. Trump has repeatedly suggested that his travel measures impeded the virus’s spread in the United States. ‘I do think we were very early, but I also think that we were very smart, because we stopped China,’ he said at a briefing on Tuesday, adding, ‘That was probably the biggest decision we made so far.’ Last month, he said, ‘We’re the ones that kept China out of here.’ But the analysis of the flight and other data by The New York Times shows the travel measures, however effective, may have come too late to have ‘kept China out,’ particularly in light of recent statements from health officials that as many as 25 percent of people infected with the virus may never show symptoms. Many infectious-disease experts suspect that the virus had been spreading undetected for weeks after the first American case was confirmed, in Washington State, on Jan. 20, and that it had continued to be introduced. In fact, no one knows when the virus first arrived in the United States.”

A German Exception? Why Germany’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Low. The pandemic has hit Germany hard, with more than 92,000 people infected. But the percentage of fatal cases has been remarkably low compared to those in many neighboring countries. The New York Times, Katrin Bennhold, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Why is Germany’s death rate so low? The virus and the resulting disease, Covid-19, have hit Germany with force: According to Johns Hopkins University, the country had more than 92,000 laboratory-confirmed infections as of midday Saturday, more than any other country except the United States, Italy and Spain. But with 1,295 deaths, Germany’s fatality rate stood at 1.4 percent, compared with 12 percent in Italy, around 10 percent in Spain, France and Britain, 4 percent in China and 2.5 percent in the United States. Even South Korea, a model of flattening the curve, has a higher fatality rate, 1.7 percent…. [What is Germany doing differently?]… There are several answers experts say, a mix of statistical distortions and very real differences in how the country has taken on the epidemic. The average age of those infected is lower in Germany than in many other countries. Many of the early patients caught the virus in Austrian and Italian ski resorts and were relatively young and healthy…. As infections have spread, more older people have been hit and the death rate, only 0.2 percent two weeks ago, has risen, too. But the average age of contracting the disease remains relatively low, at 49. In France, it is 62.5 and in Italy 62, according to their latest national reports. Another explanation for the low fatality rate is that Germany has been testing far more people than most nations. That means it catches more people with few or no symptoms, increasing the number of known cases, but not the number of fatalities…. But there are also significant medical factors that have kept the number of deaths in Germany relatively low, epidemiologists and virologists say, chief among them early and widespread testing and treatment, plenty of intensive care beds and a trusted government whose social distancing guidelines are widely observed.” The article goes on to describe testing, tracking, a robust public health care system, and trust in government as significant factors in keeping the death rate low in Germany.

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin rebuff calls to cancel in-person voting in Tuesday’s elections, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner and Rachel Siegel, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Wisconsin’s legislature refused to take up a proposal to cancel in-person voting in Tuesday’s primaries and municipal elections, one day after Gov. Tony Evers (D) called for delaying the contest and abruptly convened a special legislative session on the issue amid the intensifying coronavirus pandemic. Leaders of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature — which has the power to reschedule Tuesday’s primary — rebuffed Evers’s appeal in the hasty session. The clash marked the latest twist in Wisconsin’s election preparations as the outbreak tightened its grip on the U.S. health-care system, economy and presidential contest. Also Saturday, Republicans filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to block a deadline extension for mail-in ballots to be received in Tuesday’s contests, creating more uncertainty just three days before Election Day.” See also, Trump and a number of Republican leaders challenge efforts to make voting easier amid coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Amy Gardner, and Michael Scherer, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “President Trump and a growing number of Republican leaders are aggressively challenging efforts to make voting easier as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts elections, accusing Democrats of opening the door to fraud — and, in some cases, admitting fears that expanded voting access could politically devastate the GOP. Around the country, election officials trying to ensure ballot access and protect public health in upcoming contests face an increasingly coordinated backlash from the right. Much of the onslaught of litigation has been funded by the Republican National Committee, which has sought to block emergency measures related to covid-19, such as proactively mailing ballots to voters sheltering at home.”

Here Are the 9 State Governors Who Have Refused to Issue Stay-at-Home Orders, Forbes, Sergei Klebnikov, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “While a vast majority of states have issued statewide stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the United States, a handful of Republican governors have resisted mounting pressure to do so from many, including from the country’s top authority on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Nine different states in the South and Midwest have yet to announce statewide orders as of Saturday: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota have all resisted issuing any kind of stay-at-home orders, while Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina have only issued orders in part of their states.”

Trump Proceeds With Post-Impeachment Purge Amid Pandemic, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Remember the impeachment? President Trump does. Even in the middle of a deadly pandemic, he made clear on Saturday that he remained fixated on purging the government of those he believes betrayed him during the inquiry that led to his Senate trial. The president’s under-cover-of-darkness decision late the night before to fire Michael K. Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general who insisted last year on forwarding a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, swept away one more official deemed insufficiently loyal as part of a larger purge that has already rid the administration of many key figures in the impeachment drama. Mr. Trump made no effort at a news briefing on Saturday to pretend that the dismissal was anything other than retribution for Mr. Atkinson’s action under a law requiring such complaints be disclosed to lawmakers. ‘I thought he did a terrible job, absolutely terrible,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘He took a fake report and he brought it to Congress.’ Capping a long, angry denunciation of the impeachment, he added, ‘The man is a disgrace to I.G.s. He’s a total disgrace.’ Mr. Trump’s hunt for informers and turncoats proceeds even while most Americans are focused on the coronavirus outbreak that has killed thousands and shut down most of the country. The president’s determination to wipe out perceived treachery underscores his intense distrust of the government that he oversees at a time when he is relying on career public health and emergency management officials to help guide him through one of the most dangerous periods in modern American history.” See also, Trump calls Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general he fired on Friday, a ‘disgrace.’ Democrats rebuke Trump’s decision to fire Atkinson. The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Leading congressional Democrats attacked President Trump’s decision to fire the intelligence community inspector general who flagged the whistleblower complaint at the center of the president’s impeachment, as Trump defended his decision at a Saturday White House briefing. Trump alerted Congress Friday night that he planned to remove Michael Atkinson from his post. On Saturday afternoon, he went on an extended riff about the decision during the White House coronavirus task force briefing.” See also, Adam Schiff, chair of the House intelligence committee, says Trump is ‘decapitating’ intelligence leadership amid coronavirus crisis, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Donald Trump is ‘decapitating the leadership of the intelligence community in the middle of a national crisis,’ senior Democrat Adam Schiff has charged, after the president fired the inspector general of the US intelligence community late on Friday night. News of the firing of Michael Atkinson came as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the US passed 7,000 and the White House faced continuing criticism for its handling of the response. Trump raged about Atkinson at Saturday’s White House coronavirus taskforce briefing, claiming someone should ‘sue the ass off’ the whistleblower whose complaint Atkinson relayed to Congress, per his constitutional duty. ‘It’s unconscionable,’ Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee, told MSNBC. ‘And of course it sends a message throughout the federal government and in particular to other inspectors general that if they do their job as this professional did, and Michael Atkinson was a complete professional, they too may be fired by a vindictive president.'” See also, ‘A searing time for whistleblowers’: Ousted Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson wrote letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer dated 18 March, Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Saturday, 4 April 2020: “Two weeks before he was fired, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told the Senate’s top Democrat that the past six months had been ‘a searing time for whistleblowers,’ and rebuked public officials who fail to defend whistleblowers when the stakes are highest. In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer dated March 18 and obtained by POLITICO, Atkinson took a thinly veiled swipe at those who had failed to defend the intelligence official who first reported concerns about Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine last summer.”


Sunday, 5 April 2020, Day 1,171:


Some Golbal Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 5 April 2020: Trump Again Promotes Use of Unproven Anti-Malaria Drug; Deaths in Country May Be Undercounted, The New York Times, Sunday, 5 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 5 April 2020: Virus Toll Grows In New Jersey, The New York Times, Sunday, 5 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump warns parts of the nation to brace for coronavirus ‘peak’; surgeon general says this week will ‘be our Pearl Harbor moment,’ The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, Jesse Dougherty, Candace Buckner, Hannah Knowles, and Teo Armus, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “President Trump and his advisers said during Sunday’s White House briefing that parts of the country are nearing a peak in cases of the novel coronavirus, hours after U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that the coming week could be a national catastrophe comparable to Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Covid-19 deaths countrywide have pushed past 9,500, but experts say the true count is certainly higher. Across the Atlantic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital because of “persistent” coronavirus symptoms, a spokesman confirmed Sunday. Johnson tested positive for the virus 10 days ago and had been self-isolating at his official residence.

Here are some significant developments:

  • President Trump continued to push hydroxychloroquine as a way to treat and prevent the coronavirus during Sunday’s White House briefing. The FDA has given only limited emergency use authorization for the drug. Meanwhile, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s unpaid private attorney, has been promoting the use of an anti-malarial drug combination in phone calls with the president.
  • In a rare broadcast, Queen Elizabeth II called on the British people to show their self-discipline and quiet resolve during the pandemic.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said it is ‘ludicrous that we do not have a national effort’ for procuring badly needed medical supplies, as Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lamented ‘a global jungle that we’re competing in.’
  • A decline in coronavirus-related deaths in New York, the area hardest hit in the United States, could be a sign that the state is nearing the apex, or it could just be a ‘blip,’ Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Sunday that the city’s supply of ventilators will last an additional 48 to 72 hours, after warning they could run out.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Official Counts Understate the U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll. Health experts say inconsistent protocols, limited resources, and a patchwork of decision making has led to an undercounting of people with the coronavirus who have died. The New York Times, Sarah Kliff and Julie Bosman, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “Across the United States, even as coronavirus deaths are being recorded in terrifying numbers — many hundreds each day — the true death toll is likely much higher. More than 9,400 people with the coronavirus have been reported to have died in this country as of this weekend, but hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic. The undercount is a result of inconsistent protocols, limited resources and a patchwork of decision making from one state or county to the next. In many rural areas, coroners say they don’t have the tests they need to detect the disease. Doctors now believe that some deaths in February and early March, before the coronavirus reached epidemic levels in the United States, were likely misidentified as influenza or only described as pneumonia. With no uniform system for reporting coronavirus-related deaths in the United States, and a continued shortage of tests, some states and counties have improvised, obfuscated and, at times, backtracked in counting the dead.” See also, Coronavirus death toll: People in the U.S. are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard, and Aaron C. Davis, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “The fast-spreading novel coronavirus is almost certainly killing Americans who are not included in the nation’s growing death toll, according to public health experts and government officials involved in the tally. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test. ‘We know that it is an underestimation,’ agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. A widespread lack of access to testing in the early weeks of the U.S. outbreak means people with respiratory illnesses died without being counted, epidemiologists say. Even now, some people who die at home or in overburdened nursing homes are not being tested, according to funeral directors, medical examiners and nursing home representatives. Postmortem testing by medical examiners varies widely across the country, and some officials say testing the dead is a misuse of scarce resources that could be used on the living. In addition, some people who have the virus test negative, experts say.”Ignoring Expert Opinion, Trump Again Promotes Use of Hydroxychloroquine, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Katie Thomas and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “President Trump doubled down Sunday on his push for the use of an anti-malarial drug against the coronavirus, issuing medical advice that goes well beyond scant evidence of the drug’s effectiveness as well as the advice of doctors and public health experts. Mr. Trump’s recommendation of hydroxychloroquine, for the second day in a row at a White House briefing, was a striking example of his brazen willingness to distort and outright defy expert opinion and scientific evidence when it does not suit his agenda. Standing alongside two top public health officials who have declined to endorse his call for widely administering the drug, Mr. Trump suggested that he was speaking on gut instinct and acknowledged that he had no expertise on the subject.”

Unafraid to call out Trump, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan emerges as a leading Republican voice for urgent action on the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Erin Cox, Josh Dawsey, and Ovetta Wiggins, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “[Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan] has emerged as chief spokesman for the nation’s governors, offering a message equal parts sobering and hopeful: This pandemic, he says, is worse and will last longer than anyone imagines, and America will get through it together. The media blitz is driven partly by Hogan’s role as chair of the National Governors Association. But it’s also fueled by his unvarnished predictions of an impending catastrophe, his resolute explanations of why the economic harm of a mass shutdown is worth the cost, and his position as one of the few Republicans willing to question statements by President Trump and declare that the United States was ‘caught flat-footed.’ Hogan’s latest warning, based on the projections of epidemiologists advising him, is that the capital region will be the nation’s next hot spot, potentially crippling the federal government’s ability to respond.” See also, Amid Warnings of a Coronavirus ‘Pearl Harbor,’ Governors Walk a Fine Line, The New York Times, Rick Rojas and Vanessa Swales, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “As the surgeon general told the nation to brace for ‘our Pearl Harbor moment’ of cascading coronavirus deaths this week, several governors said on Sunday that their states were in urgent need of federal help and complained that they had been left to compete for critical equipment in the absence of a consistent strategy and coordination from the Trump administration. Some clearly walked a delicate path, criticizing what they saw as an erratic, inadequate federal response, while also trying to avoid alienating the White House as states vie with one another for resources both from Washington and on the market that can mean the difference between life and death.”

Captain Brett Crozier Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected. The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and John Ismay, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “For days, he fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired. By Sunday, friends said, he had come down with the coronavirus himself. The military has long adhered to a rigid chain of command and tolerated no dissent expressed outside official channels. Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the skipper of the aircraft carrier, knew he was up against those imperatives when he asked for help for nearly 5,000 crew members trapped in a petri dish of a warship in the middle of a pandemic. But colleagues say the mistake that could cost Captain Crozier his career was charging headlong into the Trump administration’s narrative that it had everything under control.” See also, Joe Biden says it was ‘close to criminal’ for the Navy to oust Captain Brett Crozier who warned of coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “Former vice president Joe Biden on Sunday sharply criticized the dismissal of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed from his post as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after speaking up in a leaked letter to his superiors about the handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel. ‘I think it’s close to criminal, the way they’re dealing with this guy. … The idea that this man stood up and said what had to be said, got it out that his troops, his Navy personnel, were in danger, in danger — look how many have the virus,’ Biden said in an interview on ABC News’s ‘This Week.’ He added that Crozier ‘should have a commendation, rather than be fired.'”

Wisconsin legislature comes under fire for ‘unconscionable’ decision to hold primary election amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 5 April 2020: “Two members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Sunday denounced the Republican-led legislature for moving forward with the state’s primary this Tuesday, warning that the move will put the lives of Wisconsin residents at risk amid the spiraling coronavirus pandemic. The two commissioners — Ann S. Jacobs and Mark L. Thomsen, both Democratic appointees — voiced their concerns in a letter to state House Speaker Robin Vos (R) and state Senate Republican leader Scott L. Fitzgerald. ‘Your failure to address these profound issues and the safety of all of Wisconsin’s residents during yesterday’s special session is unconscionable and is an abdication of your constitutional responsibilities as our leaders,’ Jacobs and Thomsen wrote, according to the letter, a copy of which was sent to The Washington Post. News of the letter was first reported by Milwaukee-based TV station CBS58. ‘In the face of a deepening and escalating COVID-19 crisis, forcing an in-person election on Tuesday not only threatens the voters, the clerks, and election staff, it threatens everyone those people subsequently come into contact with at home and elsewhere,’ they added.”


Monday, 6 April 2020, Day 1,172:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 6 April 2020: Peter Navarro, Trump’s Trade Adviser, Starkly Warned the Trump Administration in January That the Coronavirus Crisis Could Cost the U.S. Trillions of Dollars and Put Millions of Americans at Risk of Illness or Death, The New York Times, Monday, 6 April 2020:

Many other significant coronavirus developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 6 April 2020: Virus Toll in New York City Region Shows Signs of Leveling Off, The New York Times, Monday, 6 April 2020:

Many other significant coronavirus developments are included in this article.

Some Coronavirus Business Updates for Monday, 6 April 2020: Stocks Surge as Virus Slows in Some Areas, The New York Times, Monday, 6 April 2020:

Many other significant coronavirus developments are included in this article.

As U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 10,000, the Inspector General of Health and Human Services (HHS) says U.S. hospitals face ‘severe’ shortages of equipment, staff, and tests, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Rick Noack, Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, and Teo Armus, Monday, 6 April 2020: “As the official U.S. death toll surpassed 10,000 — standing at 10,530, including 4,758 in New York — Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be ‘the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.’ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sick with covid-19 and suffering from a persistent cough and fever, was moved to intensive care after his condition worsened on Monday afternoon.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The fatalities in New York state held steady on Monday for the second consecutive day at about 600 deaths — a once-unthinkable statistic that now gives officials some cautious reason to hope that the pandemic may be cresting there.
  • survey of hospitals across the country showed health-care workers are facing shortages of tests, masks, face shields, ventilators and staff. President Trump rejected the results of the report, which was compiled by the Inspector General of Health and Human Services, suggesting it was political.
  • U.S. and global stock markets soared on Monday as investors took in overseas progress against the coronavirus.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told fellow Democratic lawmakers Monday that the next coronavirus relief bill could “easily” pass $1 trillion in cost. Congressional leaders and the White House are converging on the need for a new assistance package.
  • A leading coronavirus forecast model used by the White House predicted Monday that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment. Experts and state leaders, however, noted the model conflicts with others that show higher peaks.
  • Rapid developments on Monday have left Wisconsin voters confused about the status of Tuesday’s elections. Hours after the governor suspended in-person voting, a court ruling reinstated it. The U.S. Supreme Court then reversed an extension of the mail-in ballot deadline, a decision criticized by Pelosi.

Many other significant coronavirus developments are included in this article.

Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic. A memo from Peter Navarro is the most direct warning known to have circulated at a key moment among top administration officials. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Monday, 6 April 2020: “A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death. The warning, written in a memo by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade adviser, is the highest-level alert known to have circulated inside the West Wing as the administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront a crisis that had already consumed China’s leaders and would go on to upend life in Europe and the United States. ‘The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,’ Mr. Navarro’s memo said. ‘This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.’ Dated Jan. 29, it came during a period when Mr. Trump was playing down the risks to the United States, and he would later go on to say that no one could have predicted such a devastating outcome.” See also, Trump was warned in January of Covid-19’s devastating impact by Peter Navarro, one of his top economic advisers, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington and Martin Pengelly, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Donald Trump was warned at the end of January by one of his top White House advisers that coronavirus had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and derail the US economy, unless tough action were taken immediately, new memos have revealed.”

Fact Check: Trump baselessly disputes the Health and Human Services Inspector General’s report and repeats several other false claims at Monday’s coronavirus briefing, CNN Politics, Tara Subramaniam, Daniel Dale, Lauren Fox, Priscilla Alvarez, and Holmes Lybrand, Monday, 6 April 2020: “President Donald Trump made yet another series of false and misleading claims at his Monday coronavirus briefing, during which he repeatedly criticized reporters and frequently departed from his prepared text. Trump repeated false claims about coronavirus testing and about the Obama administration’s response to the H1N1 pandemic, baselessly dismissed a new report about hospital shortages of critical supplies, and played down early problems with a new small business lending program. He also repeated some of his old false claims about trade with China.” See also, Despite Promises, Testing Delays Leave Americans ‘Flying Blind,’ The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan and Katie Thomas, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Testing availability remains a signature failure of the battle against the coronavirus in the United States, despite President Trump’s boast last week that he got a rapid test and results within minutes. And Vice President Mike Pence has repeatedly promised that Americans will be able to get tests at their doctors’ offices, although the timeline for routine access may be months away. More and more rapid tests are coming onto the market and private companies like Quest and LabCorp are now running thousands of tests a day. But as the virus has spread from state to state infecting hundreds of thousands of Americans, demand for testing has overwhelmed many labs and testing sites. Doctors and officials around the country say that lengthy delays in getting results have persisted and that continued uneven access to tests has prolonged rationing and hampered patient care. In addition, swabs and chemicals needed to run the tests are in short supply in many of the nation’s hot zones.”

Wisconsin Is Set to Vote on Tuesday After State Supreme Court Overrules Governor Tony Evers’ Postponement, The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Reid J. Epstein, and Lisa Lerer, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the governor could not postpone Tuesday’s elections because of concerns about the coronavirus, a decision that throws into chaos a presidential primary and nearly 4,000 local contests. The court ruled 4-2, along ideological lines, that Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, could not use emergency powers to unilaterally change the date of the election, which he sought to do to circumvent Republican opposition to the move. Mr. Evers had previously said he lacked the legal authority to delay the election and had called upon the Republican-controlled Legislature to reschedule it. But on Monday Mr. Evers argued that a postponement was necessary to protect voters and slow the spread of the virus. Within minutes of the order, Republican lawmakers called his move unconstitutional, instructing clerks to move forward with voting.” See also, Wisconsin Election Fight Heralds a National Battle Over Virus-Era Voting, The New York Times, Astead W. Herndon and Jim Rutenberg, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Wisconsin voters will face a choice between protecting their health and exercising their civic duty on Tuesday after state Republican leaders, backed up by a conservative majority on the state’s Supreme Court, rebuffed the Democratic governor’s attempt to postpone in-person voting in their presidential primary and local elections. The political and legal skirmishing throughout Monday was only the first round of an expected national fight over voting rights in the year of Covid-19. The Republicans’ success came at the end of a day that left anxious voters whipsawed between competing claims from the governor, Tony Evers, and his opponents in the G.O.P.-controlled State Legislature over whether Tuesday’s election would proceed as planned. It rattled democracy in a key battleground state already shaken by a fast-growing number of cases of the coronavirus.” See also, Supreme Court Blocks Extended Voting in Wisconsin, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday issued its first ruling in a case arising from the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to extend the deadline for absentee voting in Tuesday’s elections in Wisconsin by six days. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. The split, with all of the justices appointed by Republicans endorsing the result sought by Republicans and all of the Democratic appointees in dissent, suggested that the court may struggle to maintain an image of nonpartisanship as it is called on to resolve what will almost certainly be a parade of election disputes this year.” See also, Supreme Court splits along ideological lines in Wisconsin ballot case and rules in favor of Republicans, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday night split along ideological lines to stop a plan for extended absentee voting in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, turning aside pleas from Democrats that thousands of the state’s voters will be disenfranchised because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling was 5 to 4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority. The decision followed a familiar pattern on the court. But it was striking that in a case with partisan implications in the midst of a national crisis, the court could not find a way to overcome its usual differences. In its brief order, the court majority said a plan ordered by a district judge and approved by an appeals court to extend absentee voting for a week was “extraordinary relief and would fundamentally alter the nature of the election.’… The unsigned opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh granted a request from the Republican Party to put the plan on hold…. The court’s liberals — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all nominated by Democratic presidents — objected sharply. ‘This court now intervenes at the eleventh hour to prevent voters who have timely requested absentee ballots from casting their votes,’ Ginsburg wrote. She said it ‘boggles the mind’ that the court majority was trying to apply the court’s usual rules in an unprecedented time of national turmoil. ‘While I do not doubt the good faith of my colleagues, the court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement,’ Ginsburg wrote. She noted delays in a crush of applications for absentee ballots. ‘A voter cannot deliver for postmarking a ballot she has not received.’ Ginsburg said the majority had misplaced its priorities. ‘The concerns advanced by the court and the applicants pale in comparison to the risk that tens of thousands of voters will be disenfranchised,’ she wrote. ‘Ensuring an opportunity for the people of Wisconsin to exercise their votes should be our paramount concern.'” See also, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Goes Off on Supreme Court Conservative Majority for Jeopardizing Voters’ Safety Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Law & Crime, Colin Kalmbacher, Monday, 6 April 2020: “In a late-breaking decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday night declined to extend the deadline for absentee voting in the Wisconsin primary election and general judicial election scheduled for Tuesday. Led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court’s liberal wing issued a fiery and furious dissent which knocks the court’s conservative wing for denying many thousands of Wisconsinites the ability to safely vote-by-mail amid the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” See also, Supreme Court rules for Republicans over Wisconsin vote, highlighting partisan divide before November poll, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Just the caption of the case — Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee — was foreboding for a Supreme Court that likes to cast itself as above partisan politics. Little wonder then that just hours after the court’s hastily written, 5 to 4 decision for Republicans in Tuesday’s election in Wisconsin, it was being denounced on social media as the latest version of Bush v. Gore. The scant, 10-page opinion issued Monday night highlighted the court’s ideological and partisan divide. The justices’ inability to speak with one voice on matters as serious as the coronavirus pandemic and voting rights raised concerns about the legal battles bound to proliferate before the fall elections.” See also, Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks order by governor to stop Tuesday’s elections in state’s latest whipsaw, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Elise Viebeck, and Dan Simmons, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020. See also, The Supreme Court’s disturbing order to effectively disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsin voters, Vox, Ian Millhiser, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The Supreme Court’s Republican majority, in a case that is literally titled Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, handed down a decision that will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters. It did so at the urging of the GOP.” See also, Why Is Wisconsin Holding an Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic? The New Yorker, Eric Lach, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “The situation in Wisconsin is this: with an assist from conservative judges at the highest levels of government, local Republican leaders are forcing their state to participate in an Election Day that will exacerbate a pandemic. The consequences that this will lead to have been apparent for weeks. Citizens will have to choose between their health and their vote; tens of thousands will be disenfranchised; and, inevitably, people who go out to vote on Tuesday, and people who work the polls—including members of the National Guard, who have been deployed to make up for poll-worker shortfalls—will get sick. The election forecasters and polling gurus might consider crunching the numbers on the likelihood that people will die. This unfolding electoral tragedy is the product of a standoff between the politicians who run the state government there. On one side is Tony Evers, the Democratic governor. On the other are the Republicans who control the state legislature—who have resisted every step Evers has attempted to take to address the crisis…. A seat on the state Supreme Court will be decided on Tuesday—the same court whose conservative majority overruled Evers’s postponement order on Monday—as will thousands of races for local offices around the state. Many Democrats in Wisconsin are accusing Republicans of preferring their odds in a chaotic election as opposed to one delayed for the sake of public health.”

Grocery workers are beginning to die of coronavirus, The Washington Post, Abha Bhattarai, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country. A Trader Joe’s worker in Scarsdale, N.Y., a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, Md., and two Walmart employees from the same Chicago-area store have died of covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, in recent days, the companies confirmed Monday. Though more than 40 states have ordered nonessential businesses to close and told residents to stay home to stem the spread of the virus, supermarkets are among the retailers that remain open. Thousands of grocery employees have continued to report to work as U.S. infections and death rates continue to climb, with many reporting long shifts and extra workloads to keep up with spiking demand. Many workers say they don’t have enough protective gear to deal with hundreds of customers a day. Dozens of grocery workers have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks.”

Many Immigrant Doctors Want to Fight the Coronavirus, but U.S. Visa Rules Make That Illegal, The Intercept, Sharon Lerner, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Shantanu Singh is an experienced critical care physician who is also trained in pulmonology — the medical specialty that deals with lungs. In short, he is exactly the kind of doctor who is desperately needed on the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic right now. While New York City hospitals are overwhelmed, with patients dying in makeshift emergency rooms and remaining on gurneys awaiting hospital beds for more than a day despite being extremely sick with Covid-19, in Huntington, West Virginia, where Singh lives and works, the virus has yet to wreak havoc. Because his schedule gives him 15 days off in a row, he could easily travel to New York or another area to help out without even taking time off from his job. And Singh would like to help. ‘It’s what I’m trained to do,’ he said. But it is illegal for Singh to travel to one of the places that desperately need his help combating the novel coronavirus. Even though he did his medical training and works as a doctor in the U.S., because he was born in India, Singh cannot heed the calls for physicians coming from New York City and other parts of the country that have been hardest hit by Covid-19. His ‘exchange visitor’ visa, a type known as a J-1, leaves him unable to do paid work or even volunteer for any hospital other than the one that sponsored his visa.”

Trump’s coronavirus commentary bolsters attack ads questioning his fitness to lead, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Annie Linskey, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Within days of President Trump’s assertion that ‘I don’t take responsibility at all’ for coronavirus testing failures, Democrats were spending millions in key November states on an ad that replayed a series of his most pungent remarks. ‘One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,’ Trump can be heard saying of the virus, before the ad ends with his refusal to let the buck stop with him. As audio of his comments played, a chart showed the soaring spread of coronavirus in the United States, which now has the highest number of confirmed cases worldwide. As Democrats escalate their general-election campaign against the president, they have targeted his failure to act urgently to deflect the damage the coronavirus is wreaking over lives and the economy, as he brushed aside intelligence briefings and warnings from health officials while holding fundraisers and gathering thousands of his followers at rallies.”

A New Covid-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide, The New York Times, Amanda Taub, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Add another public health crisis to the toll of the new coronavirus: Mounting data suggests that domestic abuse is acting like an opportunistic infection, flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic. There was every reason to believe that the restrictions imposed to keep the virus from spreading would have such an effect, said Marianne Hester, a Bristol University sociologist who studies abusive relationships. Domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as the Christmas and summer vacations, she said. Now, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming.”

A civil rights group and hundreds of doctors urge the Trump administration to release race and ethnicity data on covid-19 cases, The Washington Post, Vanessa Williams, Monday, 6 April 2020: “A civil rights group and hundreds of doctors are calling on the federal government to release race and ethnicity data on infections and deaths from covid-19, citing reports that the pandemic is affecting African Americans at a disproportionate rate. The information is necessary to ‘better inform a robust public health response in the Black community’ and to ‘ensure COVID-19 tests are not being administered or withheld in a racially discriminatory manner,’ says a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The letter also points to provisions in federal civil rights laws and the Affordable Care Act that prohibit health-care providers ‘from using federal funds to administer healthcare services that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin.'” See also, State data shows that black Americans are often overrepresented in coronavirus infections and deaths, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “More than 6 in 10 residents of Illinois are white. Only a third of the state’s confirmed coronavirus infections are among white residents, though. Nearly 40 percent of infections affect black residents — who make up 14 percent of the population. The figures for deaths of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, are even worse. Forty percent of deaths are among white Illinoisans, while 45 percent are among blacks. Data released by eight states show that this racial disparity appears over and over again. Blacks consistently make up a higher density of coronavirus infections and deaths than do whites.” See also, Coronavirus Is Twice as Deadly for Black and Latino People Than Whites in New York City, The New York Times, Jeffery C. Mays and Andy Newman, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “The coronavirus is killing black and Latino people in New York City at twice the rate that it is killing white people, according to preliminary data released on Wednesday by the city. The disparity reflected longstanding and persistent economic inequalities and differences in access to health care, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday morning. ‘There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,’ Mr. de Blasio said. ‘The truth is that in so many ways the negative effects of coronavirus — the pain it’s causing, the death it’s causing — tracks with other profound health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades.'”

President of the American Medical Association Has a Stark Warning About Trump’s Coronavirus Treatment Advice. Trump suggested there’s nothing to lose by trying an anti-malarial drug for COVID-19. Doctors say you could lose your life. HuffPost, Josephine Harvey, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Against the advice of medical experts, President Donald Trump again promoted the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as treatment for coronavirus on Sunday, asking ‘What do you have to lose?’ The American Medical Association’s top doctor says lives could be lost. ‘There could be negative side effects,’ said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the AMA, during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. ‘There could be deaths. This is a new virus, and so we should not be promoting any medication or drug for any disease that has not been proven and approved by the FDA.'” See also, Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug Hydroxychloroquine for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich, and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. ‘What do you have to lose?’ he asked five times on Sunday…. If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.” See also, ‘What do you have to lose?’: Inside Trump’s embrace of a risky drug against coronavirus, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Laurie McGinley, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 6 January 2020.

Hospitals say the federal government is seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word, Los Angeles Times, Noam N. Levey, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Hospital and clinic officials in seven states described the seizures in interviews over the past week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not publicly reporting the acquisitions, despite the outlay of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, nor has the administration detailed how it decides which supplies to seize and where to reroute them. Officials who’ve had materials seized also say they’ve received no guidance from the government about how or if they will get access to the supplies they ordered. That has stoked concerns about how public funds are being spent and whether the Trump administration is fairly distributing scarce medical supplies.” See also, Complicated Medical Supply Distribution System Sows Confusion: Medical Supplies Ordered by States Are Commandeered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Jack Nicas, Monday, 6 April 2020: “For weeks, the Trump administration pushed states to procure their own ventilators and protective gear, like masks, gloves and face shields. But a new effort by the administration to create a hybrid system of distribution — divided between the federal government, local officials and private health care companies — has led to new confusion, bordering on disarray, and charges of confiscation.”

How public health failed nursing homes. At least hundreds of long-term care centers have infections, but public disclosure is spotty. Politico, Joanne Kenen, Rachel Roubein, and Susannah Luthi, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The combination of lack of preparedness, inadequate testing capacity and misunderstanding of how the virus could spread seeded death in scores of nursing homes across the country, where patients are not only dying quickly, but often without family and loved ones at their side. Nationally, at least 400 long-term care facilities had at least one resident infected as of one week ago, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said. That’s likely an undercount. The CDC hasn’t been formally tracking the numbers of homes, nor the number of people infected in them.”

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly Slams Fired Captain Brett Crozier as ‘Stupid,’ The New York Times, John Ismay and Geoff Ziezulewicz, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The U.S. Navy’s top civilian excoriated the fired commander of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt to its crew on Monday as the sailors huddled on the island of Guam amid a coronavirus outbreak among their ranks, according to a transcript that was leaked online Monday. The New York Times has obtained an audio recording that supports the transcript’s authenticity. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly addressed the crew of the aircraft carrier on Monday afternoon via the ship’s internal loudspeaker system. In a profane and defensive address that one crew member described in an interview as ‘whiny, upset, irritated, condescending,’ Modly took repeated shots at the integrity of Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was removed from command last week, and eventually injected partisan political tones into the address by attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, who has repeatedly criticized Crozier’s removal.” See also, Transcript: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly addresses USS Theodore Roosevelt crew about ‘stupid’ ousted captain Brett Crozier, CNN Politics, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly blasted the now-ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, as “stupid” in an address to the ship’s crew Monday morning.”

Michael Atkinson, Inspector General Fired by Trump, Urges Whistle-Blowers ‘to Bravely Speak Up,’ The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The intelligence community inspector general whom President Trump fired late Friday night has called on whistle-blowers to overcome any fears and come forward with information about waste and illegality in the government despite the administration’s reprisals. ‘The American people deserve an honest and effective government,’ the fired official, Michael K. Atkinson, said in a lengthy statement late on Sunday. ‘They are counting on you to use authorized channels to bravely speak up — there is no disgrace for doing so.'” See also, Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General who handled the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, says ‘it is hard not to think’ he was fired by Trump for doing his job, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Michael Atkinson, the inspector general removed by President Trump late Friday, said he believes he was fired for having properly handled a whistleblower complaint that became a centerpiece of the case for the president’s impeachment. ‘I am disappointed and saddened that President Trump has decided to remove me as the inspector general of the intelligence community because I did not have his fullest confidence,’ Atkinson said in a seven-paragraph statement issued Sunday. ‘It is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general.’ That Atkinson issued a statement at all is unusual — inspectors general usually stay silent when removed, but the circumstances leading to his firing are also highly unusual. Inspectors general are traditionally removed for cause — usually involving misconduct. In Atkinson’s case, there was no apparent misconduct. Rather, Trump said in a letter to Congress on Friday night that it was ‘no longer the case’ that Atkinson had his ‘fullest confidence.'” See also, Adam Schiff just announced that the House Intelligence Committee will examine Trump’s firing of Michael Atkinson, the inspector general who handled the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “After President Trump fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, he didn’t bother disguising his true reason for doing so: because that IG had conducted his lawful duties in a manner that resulted in Trump being held accountable for his misdeeds and corruption. As Trump himself put it, Michael Atkinson, the fired IG, had done a ‘terrible job.’ How so? Easy: Atkinson had evaluated the whistleblower complaint exposing Trump’s Ukraine shakedown scheme with procedural correctness. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) just announced that the House Intelligence Committee, which he chairs, will be examining Trump’s firing of Atkinson. And buried in Schiff’s letter making this announcement is an unsettling glimpse of where all this could be going. Schiff’s letter, which is addressed to acting director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, expresses Schiff’s concern that Grenell is politicizing that office on Trump’s behalf, noting that every Senate-confirmed person in the DNI has been removed. Schiff’s letter argues that Atkinson ‘acted with the highest integrity and remarkable professionalism,’ while being subjected to a campaign of attacks by Trump and his allies simply for adhering to his oath of office. Notably, in the section announcing the investigation of Atkinson’s dismissal, Schiff calls on Grenell to confirm in writing whether he ever exercised his ‘authority’ to ‘prohibit’ any other ‘investigation, inspection, audit, or review’ that Atkinson might have undertaken. Schiff’s letter also calls on Grenell to stipulate in writing that he ‘will not permit retaliation or reprisals against anyone who has made, or in the future makes, protected disclosures of misconduct.’ Who might make such reprisals against such protected disclosures? Why, one Donald J. Trump, of course.” See also, The House Intelligence Committee Is Looking Into Trump’s Firing of Michael Atkinson, Intelligence Community Inspector General, The Daily Beast, Julia Arciga, published on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “The House Intelligence Committee is looking into the firing of Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson, The Washington Post reports. Committee chair Adam Schiff informed acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell that the committee was ‘reviewing the circumstances of Mr. Atkinson’s dismissal, including whether his termination was intended to curb any ongoing investigations or reviews being undertaken by his office.’ Schiff requested that Grenell notify him if he’d ever prohibited Atkinson or his successor—Thomas Monheim—from ‘completing any investigation.’ He also requested that Grenell hand over the ICIG’s semi-annual report outlining investigations, problems or abuses, and any troubles the ICIG had in obtaining information relevant to their probes. This comes after President Trump fired Atkinson last week. Atkinson disclosed the existence of a whistleblower report to Congress. The whistleblower was concerned about the president’s now infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—which sparked impeachment proceedings against him. In a statement, Atkinson said he was fired due to him ‘faithfully’ executing his ‘legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general.'” See also, Endorsing Trump’s Firing of Inspector General Michael Atkinson, Attorney General William Barr Paints a Distorted Picture. The attorney general misstated key facts in explaining the dismissed official’s handling of the whistle-blower complaint that prompted impeachment. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, published on Friday, 10 April 2020.

Governments are using the coronavirus pandemic to hide information from reporters and citizens, Nieman Lab, David Cuillier, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The public is being kept out of government meetings, denied responses to record requests, and prevented from learning important facts about COVID-19 response. As the spread of coronavirus has accelerated in recent weeks, local, state and federal officials throughout the United States have locked down information from the public.”

Great Barrier Reef Is Bleaching Again. It’s Getting More Widespread. The New York Times, Damien Cave, Monday, 6 April 2020: “When Terry Hughes surveyed the Great Barrier Reef four years ago from a small plane, mapping the bleaching and death of corals from water warmed by climate change, he hoped such a rare and heartbreaking scene would not be repeated anytime soon. But rising temperatures sent him back to the air in 2017, when the reef bleached again. Then he returned last month, leading to another devastating conclusion: The reef was being ravaged by bleaching yet again, this time across an even wider area. ‘It’s the first time we’ve seen severely bleached reefs along the whole length of the reef, in particular, the coastal reefs,’ said Professor Hughes, the director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. ‘Those are bleached everywhere.’ New aerial data from Professor Hughes and other scientists released on Monday shows example after example of overheating and damage along the reef, a 1,500-mile natural wonder. The survey amounts to an updated X-ray for a dying patient, with the markers of illness being the telltale white of coral that has lost its color, visible from the air and in the water. The mass bleaching indicates that corals are under intense stress from the waters around them, which have been growing increasingly hotter.” See also, Great Barrier Reef’s third mass bleaching in five years is the most widespread yet, The Guardian, Graham Readfearn, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The government’s top Great Barrier Reef scientist says a third mass bleaching event in five years is a clear signal the marine wonder is ‘calling for urgent help’ on climate change. One quarter of the Great Barrier Reef suffered severe bleaching this summer in the most widespread outbreak ever witnessed, according to analysis of aerial surveys of more than 1,000 individual reefs released on Tuesday. Dr David Wachenfeld, chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, told Guardian Australia: ‘My greatest fear is that people will lose hope for the reef. Without hope there’s no action. People need to see these [bleaching] events not as depressing bits of news that adds to other depressing bits of news. They are clear signals the Great Barrier Reef is calling for urgent help and for us to do everything we can.'”

Lawmakers Are Pushing Back Against a Sweeping Rollback of Pollution Regulations Recently Announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, According to a Letter From Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, BuzzFeed News, Zahra Hirji, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Lawmakers are pushing back against a sweeping rollback of pollution regulations recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter from Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey shared with BuzzFeed News. On March 26, the EPA announced a temporary relaxing of enforcement rules, allowing factories, power plants, and other companies to stop conducting routine tests for pollutants and reporting them to the agency if they could claim the pandemic had led to a shortage of staff or other operational challenges. ‘This pandemic isn’t an excuse for polluters to ignore the law and for EPA to let them get away with it,’ Warren told BuzzFeed News in an email. ‘It’s absurd that Donald Trump and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler are using this public health and economic crisis as a cover to roll back environmental laws. The government should be focused on protecting public health now, not making it worse.'”

Several Environmental Groups Allege the White House Gave Industry a Special Back-Channel Option to File Public Comments on a Critical Rewrite of Environmental Permitting Rules, Bloomberg Environment, Stephen Lee, Monday, 6 April 2020: “The [environmental] groups, who were unaware of the access, say they’re suspicious because the specific email address for comments wasn’t advertised publicly as an accepted means for submissions. They say it was used to give industry players an advantage in the administration’s effort to rewrite National Environmental Policy Act regulations to speed environmental permitting for major projects such as roads, bridges, and pipelines.”

Supreme Court sides with federal workers in age-discrimination case, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 6 April 2020: “Federal workers 40 and older are entitled to a personnel process ‘untainted by any consideration of age,’ the Supreme Court ruled Monday, but that does not mean all remedies are available to those challenging employment decisions. The court ruled 8 to 1 that it is conceivable that Congress meant for federal workers to have higher protection from possible age discrimination than workers in the private sector or who work for state and local governments. But the court’s opinion said that to get relief such as hiring, reinstatement or monetary damages, a worker still must eventually prove that the adverse employment action would not have been taken except for the worker’s age — in legal jargon, ‘but-for’ causation.”

Georgia Senator David Perdue’s stock trades increased during coronavirus outbreak, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Tia Mitchell, Monday, 6 April 2020: “U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s financial portfolio saw heavy trading during the month of March, a period during which Congress passed three different spending bills to address the spread of COVID-19 and the markets took a turn for the worse. The report lists 112 transactions, including 76 stock purchases costing as much as $1.8 million and 34 sales worth up to $825,000. Compared with the 26-month period before the coronavirus swept across America, Perdue’s portfolio activity has increased nearly threefold…. Perdue, a multi-millionaire former CEO, has avoided widespread criticism because he has done much more investing in the market in recent weeks than selling. However, some of those trades have been questioned, and transactions in the report filed over the weekend are likely to face the same scrutiny. For example, he made a number of purchases of stock in DuPont de Nemours, a chemical company that supplies personal protective equipment used by people trying to avoid exposure to the virus. That includes buying shares worth as much as $65,000 on Jan. 24, the same day that the Senate held a members-only briefing on the novel coronavirus.”


Tuesday, 7 April 2020, Day 1,173:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 7 April 2020: Trump Attacks the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and Ousts the Top Watchdog Responsible for Overseeing How His Administration Spends Trillions of Taxpayer Dollars in Coronavirus Pandemic Relief, The New York Times, Tuesday, 7 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 7 April 2020: New York Virus Deaths Hit New High, But Hospitalizations Slow, The New York Times, Tuesday, 7 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 7 April 2020: Wall Street’s Rally Fades, The New York Times, Tuesday, 7 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 7 April 2020: Coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate; Trump removes the chair of the federal panel that Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the $2 trillion stimulus package, The Washington Post, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “The United States on Tuesday reported more than 1,800 coronavirus-related fatalities, a new one-day high. Covid-19 appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying.

Here are some other significant developments:
  • President Trump removed the chairman of the federal panel that Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the $2 trillion stimulus package.
  • Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly resigned one day after he prompted a firestorm by traveling to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and assailing the character of the ship’s former captain.
  • In the absence of a national testing plan, several states are developing their own systems. States with more money and robust medical sectors have devised comprehensive plans, while others lag far behind.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in his second night of intensive care, battling a coronavirus infection and ‘receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance,’ according to his official spokesman.
  • Treasury is preparing to ask Congress to swiftly commit an additional $200 billion for a small-business relief program that is overwhelmed by demand.
  • Trump is threatening to withhold funds from the World Health Organization.
  • Hundreds of voters stood in lines that stretched for blocks in several Wisconsin cities Tuesday to cast ballots amid fears of the coronavirus.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

They Turned Out to Vote in Wisconsin During a Health Crisis. Voters in Milwaukee and across the state braved long lines and a risk of illness. Many said they wanted their voices to be heard. But for some, the potential health risk was too great. The New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “After days of legal wrangling, partisan mudslinging and grave warnings from public health professionals, Wisconsin forged ahead with its elections on Tuesday, the first state to hold in-person voting during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of Wisconsin residents, forced to weigh the risks to their health against their willingness to exercise the right to vote, arrived before polls opened at 7 a.m., casting ballots for the national Democratic presidential primary and several contests between Republicans and Democrats in major state and local races. Some poll workers wore makeshift hazmat suits, more reminiscent of health care professionals than electoral volunteers. Most voters came prepared with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. Many said they were racked with fear…. Despite their trepidation, voters who showed up at polling locations — there were only five in Milwaukee, compared with the typical 180 — said that this was their day to be heard. Some Democrats spoke of a sense of defiance to their actions, a determination to challenge the state Republicans who refused to move the election date even after requests from public health experts.” See also, Why Wisconsin Republicans Insisted on an Election During a Pandemic. Mask-wearing voters in endless lines. Five polling places instead of 180. Voting amid the coronavirus crisis is full of challenges — and connected to G.O.P. efforts to limit who gets a ballot in the state. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Tuesday’s mess of an election in Wisconsin is the culmination of a decade of efforts by state Republicans to make voting harder, redraw legislative boundaries and dilute the power of voters in the state’s urban centers. The Republican-dominated state legislature, which has held a majority since 2011, due in part to gerrymandered maps, refused to entertain the Democratic governor’s request to mail absentee ballots to all voters or move the primary. Then the State Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservative justices, overturned the governor’s ruling to postpone the election until June. Now Wisconsin is conducting an election that the state’s largest newspaper — which previously endorsed Republican leaders including former Gov. Scott Walker — called ‘the most undemocratic in the state’s history.’ Here’s a look at how it came to this point.” See also, Rulings on Wisconsin Election Raise Questions About Judicial Partisanship, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “In a pair of extraordinary rulings on Monday, the highest courts in Wisconsin and the nation split along ideological lines to reject Democratic efforts to defer voting in Tuesday’s elections in the state given the coronavirus pandemic. Election law experts said the stark divisions in the rulings did not bode well for faith in the rule of law and American democracy.” See also, Wisconsin voters risk their health to be heard, The Washington Post, Holly Bailey, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Voters across Wisconsin on Tuesday faced a brutal choice between protecting their health or their right to vote as the state pressed forward with its primary amid the rising danger of the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, How the Coronavirus Pandemic Intensifies the Fight Over Voting Rights, The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “There is … an area in which the novel-coronavirus pandemic dovetails exceptionally well with part of Trump’s agenda and that of the Republican Party in some states: voter suppression. From the outset of Trump’s term, his canards, such as his claim that three million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election, have been used to bolster attempts to make voting more difficult. Speaking on ‘Fox & Friends’ last week, Trump denounced aspects of the two-trillion-dollar stimulus package that are meant to shore up voter access in order to offset the impact of the virus on the upcoming elections. Overcrowded polling places and hours-long waits to vote have become a standard feature of American elections—a problem in normal times and a public-health hazard in the current one. Referring to provisions that Democrats pushed for, Trump said, ‘The things they had in there were crazy. They had things—levels of voting that, if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.'” See also, The Supreme Court’s Wisconsin Decision Is a Terrible Sign for November, The Atlantic, Leah Litman, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Today, lines outside of Wisconsin polling places illustrate the cruel stakes of a decision the Supreme Court handed down Monday night. The Court forced Wisconsin residents to choose between voting and staying safe. Some voters, it appears, are willing to risk their own death in order to ensure that American democracy still lives. But they should not have to make that choice. The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court forced them to. In a 5–4 decision, the Court rolled back an absentee-ballot extension that would have given voters an extra week to submit ballots by mail.”

Trump Attacks the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Over Criticisms of U.S. Approach to Coronavirus, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “President Trump lashed out on Tuesday at the World Health Organization, choosing a new political enemy to attack and threatening to withhold funding from a premier health institution even as a deadly virus ravages nations around the globe. ‘We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it and we’re going to see,’ Mr. Trump said during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House, accusing the organization of having not been aggressive enough in confronting the virus. ‘They called it wrong. They call it wrong. They really, they missed the call.’ In effect, Mr. Trump sought to denounce the W.H.O. for the very missteps and failures that have been leveled at him and his administration. Public health experts have said the president’s public denials of the virus’s dangers slowed the American response, which included delayed testing and a failure to stockpile protective gear. In fact, the W.H.O. sounded the alarm in the earliest days of the crisis, declaring a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ a day before the United States secretary of health and human services announced the country’s own public health emergency and weeks before Mr. Trump declared a national emergency. After saying flatly that the United States had decided to ‘put a hold’ on the organization’s money, the president later denied that he had made those remarks and appeared to back down.” See also, Trump threatens to withhold funding for the World Health Organization and then backtracks, amid search for scapegoat, The Guardian, David Smith, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Donald Trump hunted for a new scapegoat on Tuesday in an increasingly frantic attempt to shift blame for thousands of American deaths from the coronavirus, accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of having ‘called it wrong’ and being ‘China-centric.’ The US president contradicted himself within minutes, first vowing to put ‘a very powerful hold’ on his government’s funding of the WHO, then insisting such a freeze was only under consideration. Trump’s early inaction has come under renewed scrutiny in the past day after a New York Times report that Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, warned in a memo in late January that the virus could put millions of Americans at risk and cost trillions of dollars. Susan Rice, a former national security adviser, told the Washington Post that Trump’s missteps ‘cost tens of thousands of American lives.'”

Trump Ousts Glenn Fine, the Leader of a New Watchdog Panel Charged with Overseeing How His Administration Spends Trillions of Taxpayer dollars in Coronavirus Pandemic Relief, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “President Trump moved on Tuesday to oust the leader of a new watchdog panel charged with overseeing how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, the latest step in an abruptly unfolding White House power play against semi-independent inspectors general across the government. The official, Glenn A. Fine, has been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Mr. Trump took office and was set to become the chairman of a new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to police how the government carries out the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. But Mr. Trump replaced Mr. Fine in his Pentagon job, disqualifying him from serving on the new oversight panel. The move came at a time when the president has been reasserting authority over the executive branch and signaling impatience with independent voices within the government that he considers disloyal. In recent days, he fired an inspector general who reviewed the whistle-blower complaint that led to his impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post, declared that he would ignore certain oversight provisions in the new relief law and attacked another inspector general who criticized virus testing shortages.” See also, Trump removes inspector general Glenn Fine who was to oversee $2 trillion stimulus spending, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “President Trump has removed the chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package — the latest action by the president to undermine the system of independent oversight of the executive established after Watergate. In just the past four days, Trump has ousted two inspectors general and expressed displeasure with a third, a pattern that critics say is a direct assault on one of the pillars of good governance. Glenn Fine, who had been the acting Pentagon inspector general, was informed Monday that he was being replaced at the Defense Department by Sean W. O’Donnell, currently the inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency. O’Donnell will simultaneously be inspector general at the EPA and acting IG at the Pentagon until a permanent replacement is confirmed for the Defense Department. Late last month, Fine was selected by the head of a council of inspectors general to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, created by the March 27 law.” See also, Trump Removes Watchdog Who Heads Panel Overseeing Pandemic Stimulus Spending, The Wall Street Journal, Ben Kesling, Andrew Restuccia, and Dustin Volz, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “President Trump replaced the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, who had been charged with monitoring the roughly $2 trillion pandemic stimulus law, administration officials said, the latest shake-up in a bid by Mr. Trump to exert increased control over personnel across the government. Mr. Trump’s removal of Glenn Fine, a longtime federal watchdog who has been at the Pentagon since 2015, is the second high-profile ousting of an inspector general in recent days. Last week, the president fired the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who played a key role last year in the run-up to Mr. Trump’s impeachment.” See also, Trump removes Glenn Fine, independent watchdog tasked with overseeing coronavirus emergency funds, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Tuesday, 7 April 2020.

Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States, The New York Times, John Eligon, Audra D.S. Burch, Dionne Searcey, and Richard A. Oppel Jr., Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “The coronavirus is infecting and killing black people in the United States at disproportionately high rates, according to data released by several states and big cities, highlighting what public health researchers say are entrenched inequalities in resources, health and access to care. The statistics are preliminary and much remains unknown because most cities and states are not reporting race as they provide numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities. Initial indications from a number of places, though, are alarming enough that policymakers say they must act immediately to stem potential devastation in black communities. The worrying trend is playing out across the country, among people born in different decades and working far different jobs.” See also, The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Andrew Ba Tran, and Vanessa Williams, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the United States, it appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging stark racial disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying of a contagion that has killed more than 12,000 people in the United States. A Post analysis of available data and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.”

As shortages of hospital supplies worsen, federal officials ask agenices to donate spare medical supplies, The Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel and Lisa Rein, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Even as the nation’s strategic stockpile runs low on critical hospital supplies, federal agencies are discovering stashes of N95 respirator masks and protective body suits in darkened government labs, federal health clinics and storage spaces across the country, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Washington Post. The critical gear had been purchased by the U.S. government for its routine work of investigating chemical spills, inspecting power plants, conducting wellness exams or working in hazardous environments — any of the regular jobs performed by federal employees, at least until the novel coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, with much of that work on hold, a major push is underway to redistribute these medical supplies — what is known as personal protective equipment (PPE) — to hospital staffs and emergency responders.”

New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates. In an analysis of 3,080 counties in the United States, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease. For weeks, public health officials have surmised a link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19, which is caused by the coronavirus. The Harvard analysis is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link, revealing a ‘large overlap’ between Covid-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter.”

Appeals court leaves in place Texas executive order restricting abortion during coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Texas may continue its restrictions on abortion during the coronavirus pandemic, a divided federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, a decision likely to make its way to the Supreme Court. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit granted what it acknowledged was extraordinary relief in keeping in place an executive order issued March 22. A federal district judge said the order denied women their constitutional right to abortion. Supreme Court precedent ‘instructs that all constitutional rights may be reasonably restricted to combat a public health emergency,’ wrote Judge Kyle Duncan, who was nominated to the court by President Trump. Abortion would be different ‘only if the Supreme Court had specifically exempted abortion rights from its general rule. It has never done so.'”

New research examines wastewater to detect community spread of Covid-19, STAT News, Shraddha Chakradhar, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “A series of crucial setbacks in Covid-19 testing has made it difficult to keep up with the virus’ rapid spread, and has inspired some researchers to look to wastewater to help fill in the gap of measuring how prevalent SARS-CoV-2 is in a given community. In a paper posted Tuesday to the preprint server medRxiv, researchers collected samples in late March from a wastewater treatment plant serving a large metropolitan area in Massachusetts and found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the sewage samples indicated a far higher number of people likely infected with Covid-19 than the reported cases in that area. Researchers from biotech startup Biobot Analytics, working with a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, estimate there were at least 2,300 people infected with Covid-19 in the area around the treatment facility. But at the time of analysis, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, there were 446 cases officially reported in that area. ‘It was interesting that our estimation was definitely higher than the number of confirmed cases in the area,’ said Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot, adding that public health officials had already considered the possibility that the actual case count was much higher than what had been confirmed.”

Federal judge expands voting decision to apply to all ex-felons in Florida, The Washington Post, Lori Rozsa, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “The federal judge overseeing the ongoing dispute between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and released felons who want to vote handed the Republican governor another defeat Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said a previous ruling he made that allowed felons to vote, even if they owe fines and fees stemming from their convictions, covers all individuals statewide, not just the 17 people who originally sued DeSantis. Tuesday’s order applies to an estimated 1.4 million men and women. Though Florida voters in 2018 overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the state’s constitution to allow automatic restoration of voting rights after prison, Republican lawmakers have sought to impose requirements that would block many from registering.”

Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly resigns after insulting aircraft carrier’s ousted captain Brett Crozier, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Paul Sonne, and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after drawing condemnation for insulting the commanding officer of an aircraft carrier who was fired for writing a letter of concern about the service’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard his vessel. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who accepted Modly’s resignation, said in a memo that he had ‘the greatest respect for anyone who serves our country, and who places the greater good above all else. Secretary Modly did that today, and I wish him all the best,’ Esper said. The decision comes after Modly traveled from Washington to Guam on Monday to give a speech to the 5,000-member crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, whose commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, Modly removed last week. In profanity-laced remarks over a loudspeaker, Modly assailed Crozier’s character, accusing him of either leaking a letter about his concerns to the news media or of being ‘too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this.'” See also, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly Resigns in Wake of USS Roosevelt Comments Berating Captain Brett Crozier, the Former Captain of the Aircraft Carrier, The Wall Street Journal, Gordon Lubold and Richael R. Gordon, Tuesday, 7 April 2020. See also, Thomas Modly, Acting secretary of the Navy, resigns after calling ousted aircraft carrier captain Brett Crozier ‘stupid,’ CNN Politics, Jim Sciutto, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen, and Ryan Browne, Tuesday, 7 April 2020.

Stephanie Grisham is out as White House press secretary after eight months during which she held no regular news briefings, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 7 April 2020: “White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job after eight months during which she held no regular press briefings of the sort that once defined the position. Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany will replace Grisham as press secretary, and Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah will take over Grisham’s other West Wing title as director of strategic communications, a senior administration official said Tuesday…. On Feb. 25, during an interview with Fox News host Trish Regan, McEnany flatly stated that Trump would keep the coronavirus from American shores. ‘We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here,’ McEnany said. ‘And isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama.'” See also, Trump Has a New Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, Who Knows How to Defend Him, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 7 April 2020. See also, Kayleign McEnany replaces Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary, Politico, Meridith McGraw and Nancy Cook, Tuesday, 7 April 2020.


Wednesday, 8 April 2020, Day 1,174:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 8 April 2020: Saudi Arabia Declares Cease-Fire in Yemen, Citing Fears of Coronavirus. The head of the World Health Organization warned that politicizing the coronavirus pandemic would result in “many more body bags.” The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 8 April 2020: Studies Show New York Outbreak Originated in Europe. The C.D.C. outlined how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed. Scientists warn that the virus might not fade in warm weather. The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 8 April 2020: Bleak Records in New York and New Jersey, but Leaders See Coronavirus Curve Flattening. There were 779 virus-related deaths in the state in the past 24 hours, Governor Cuomo said. It was the highest one-day total yet. The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 8 April 2020: Wall Street Rallies as Investors Focus on the Recovery, The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 8 April 2020: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces coronavirus guidelines for essential workers; New York has highest single-day death toll, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus, John Wagner, Lateshia Beachum, and Miriam Berger, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines to help protect essential workers in the United States, including taking the workers’ temperatures, wearing masks at all times, and to avoid sharing headsets and other equipment that is used near the face. In the United States, signs of optimism that the spread of the coronavirus was flattening contrasted with rising death tolls, opposing messages about social-distancing orders, and political frustration.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, said countries should unify or risk worsening the pandemic. His comments came after President Trump on Tuesday threatened to withhold funds from the U.N. agency.
  • New York announced 779 new deaths from the virus, its highest single-day toll, though the state’s number of hospitalized patients is down. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) acknowledged progress but cautioned, “It’s not a time to get complacent.”
  • Ahead of Easter and Passover, Kansas legislators voted along party lines to strike down an executive order that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly issued the day before, limiting religious gatherings to 10 people.
  • As law enforcement personnel are tasked with making sure citizens comply with unprecedented restrictions on their freedom of movement, coughing ‘attacks’ may be prosecuted as terrorism.
  • A leading forecasting model used by many states and the White House now estimates tens of thousands fewer covid-19 deaths by August. But a separate report to the White House by a panel of medical experts finds that the coronavirus is unlikely to significantly wane with the arrival of summer.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Intelligence report by the U.S. military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) warned of coronavirus crisis as early November, ABC News, Josh Margolin and James Gordon Meek, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing the patterns of life and business and posing a threat to the population, according to four sources briefed on the secret reporting. Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents. The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia — forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.”

How Delays and Unheeded Warnings Hindered New York’s Virus Fight. The federal response was chaotic. Even so, the state’s and city’s own initial efforts failed to keep pace with the outbreak, The Times found. The New York Times, J. David Goodman, Wednesday, 8 March 2020: “A 39-year-old woman took Flight 701 from Doha, Qatar, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in late February, the final leg of her trip home to New York City from Iran. A week later, on March 1, she tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in New York City of an outbreak that had already devastated China and parts of Europe. The next day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, appearing with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conference, promised that health investigators would track down every person on the woman’s flight. But no one did. A day later, a lawyer from New Rochelle, a New York City suburb, tested positive for the virus — an alarming sign because he had not traveled to any affected country, suggesting community spread was already taking place. Although city investigators had traced the lawyer’s whereabouts and connections to the most crowded corridors of Manhattan, the state’s efforts focused on the suburb, not the city, and Mr. de Blasio urged the public not to worry. ‘We’ll tell you the second we think you should change your behavior,’ the mayor said on March 5. For many days after the first positive test, as the coronavirus silently spread throughout the New York region, Mr. Cuomo, Mr. de Blasio and their top aides projected an unswerving confidence that the outbreak would be readily contained.”

Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show, The New York Times, Carl Zimmer, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia. ‘The majority is clearly European,’ said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review. A separate team at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March. The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place.”

After Deaths at Home Spike in New York City, Officials Plan to Count Many of Them as COVID-19, NPR, Gwynne Hogan, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “New York City officials will begin to count suspected COVID-19 deaths in addition to cases confirmed by a laboratory, following a WNYC/Gothamist report revealing a staggering increase in the number of people dying at home but not included in the official tally because they hadn’t been tested for the novel coronavirus. In a statement, Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the New York City’s Health Department, confirmed the change in protocol.”

Trump’s Wasted Briefings. The sessions have become a boring show of Trump vs. the press. The Wall Street Journal, The Editorial Board, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “The briefings began as a good idea to educate the public about the dangers of the virus, how Americans should change their behavior, and what the government is doing to combat it…. But sometime in the last three weeks Mr. Trump seems to have concluded that the briefings could be a showcase for him. Perhaps they substitute in his mind for the campaign rallies he can no longer hold because of the risks. Perhaps he resented the media adulation that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been receiving for his daily show. Whatever the reason, the briefings are now all about the President. They last for 90 minutes or more, and Mr. Trump dominates the stage. His first-rate health experts have become supporting actors, and sometimes barely that, ushered on stage to answer a technical question or two…. The President’s outbursts against his political critics are also notably off key at this moment. This isn’t impeachment, and Covid-19 isn’t shifty Schiff. It’s a once-a-century threat to American life and livelihood.”

Lawmakers demand answers on Jared Kushner’s influence on the flow of life-saving medical equipment among private companies, various levels of government, and hospitals in need, NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Two Democratic House committee leaders are demanding answers from the Trump administration about Jared Kushner’s role in directing and redirecting the flow of life-saving medical equipment among private companies, various levels of government and hospitals in need. The demand came in a letter sent Tuesday, the day the Kushner-backed supply chain task force abandoned its ‘war room’ at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters following the revelation that a ‘partner’ of the agency who worked in the area had tested positive for coronavirus. The letter was sent by Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, giving an April 15 due date to provide files related to the efforts of Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law.”

Bernie Sanders Drops Out of 2020 Democratic Race for President, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont ended his presidential candidacy on Wednesday, concluding a quest that elevated him as a standard-bearer of American liberalism and clearing the way for a general election between the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and President Trump at a time of national crisis. In a live-streamed speech, Mr. Sanders, eloquent but without his characteristic spark, cast his decision in the broader context of the fight against the coronavirus. ‘I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour,’ Mr. Sanders said, adding, ‘While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not.’ If Mr. Biden, the former vice president, can now lay claim to the Democratic nomination, he still faces considerable challenges in uniting the party and mobilizing a broad base of voters for the November election. Unlike Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden inspired little enthusiasm among young voters, nor did he develop signature policy proposals. He triumphed because many voters rejected Mr. Sanders’s policy agenda as too far to the left and prohibitively expensive, and were convinced that Mr. Biden had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump in November.” See also, Read Bernie Sanders’s Full Speech on Ending His Campaign, The New York Times, Isabella Grullón Paz, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “After Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday, he addressed supporters in a live stream from his home in Burlington, Vt. Though he acknowledged he could not win the nomination, he said his movement had won ‘the ideological battle.’ And while he congratulated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and pledged to work with him, he said he would remain on the ballot in the remaining contests to help influence the platform at the Democratic National Convention.” See also, Bernie Sanders, who reshaped US politics, ends 2020 presidential run, The Guardian, Lauren Gambino, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Bernie Sanders, the 78-year-old senator from Vermont who reshaped American politics with his youth-led movement for sweeping social change, on Wednesday ended his presidential campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination. His withdrawal from the race all but ensures the former vice-president Joe Biden will be the Democratic presidential nominee in an election against Donald Trump as the coronavirus pandemic thrusts the US deeper into an economic and public health crisis. In a livestream from his home in Vermont, Sanders formally announced that he was suspending his second bid for the presidency, capping what has been an extraordinary rise from relative obscurity to standard-bearer of the American left as an unabashed democratic socialist who championed the working class and called for political revolution.” See also, Bernie Sanders Ends Presidential Run, The Intercept, Ryan Grim, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Bernie Sanders is ending his second bid for the presidency, the campaign staff was informed on a conference call Wednesday morning, according to campaign sources…. With Sanders out of the race, the progressive organizing effort is shifting to pressure Biden to make particular policy commitments and, more importantly, to shift his personnel in a more liberal direction and away from corporate allies. In a letter, eight organizations led by young people — Justice Democrats, March for Our Lives Action Fund Alliance for Youth ActionNextGen America, Student Action, Sunrise MovementIf Not Now, and United We Dream Action — called on Biden to work to rectify his debilitating lack of popularity among people under the age of 45. ‘While you are now the presumptive Democratic nominee, it is clear that you were unable to win the votes of the vast majority of voters under 45 years old during the primary,’ the letter notes.” See also, Bernie Sanders ends his presidential campaign, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Matt Viser, and David Weigel, Wednesday, 8 April 2020.

Abortion providers in Texas seek exemptions from governor’s pandemic order, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Instead of taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion providers in Texas asked a district judge there for more limited relief from an executive order restricting the procedure during the coronavirus pandemic. The providers were reacting to an order Tuesday from a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that left in place the directive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) curtailing nonessential medical procedures, abortion among them. Abbott said the reason was to preserve scarce medical resources such as hospital beds and personal protective equipment (PPE). Governors around the country have issued similar orders, and judges in Alabama, Ohio and Oklahoma said the restrictions could not be applied to a woman seeking an abortion. A divided panel of the 5th Circuit went the other way. Supreme Court precedent ‘instructs that all constitutional rights may be reasonably restricted to combat a public health emergency,’ wrote Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, ordering a district judge to dissolve his decision that said abortion was exempted. Rather than asking the Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit, attorneys for clinics and abortion rights organizations asked the district court to exempt women seeking abortions induced by medication, which require little use of medical equipment, and women who face a deadline in receiving the procedure. Texas does not allow abortions after 22 weeks. ‘We believe this is the fastest way to resume full access to abortion in Texas, which is our number one priority,’ said Molly Duane, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. ‘… During the last two weeks, abortion has been largely unavailable in Texas, and we have seen that the impact on patients is devastating. That is exactly what we will show the district court.'”

Federal Support Ends for Coronavirus Testing Sites as Pandemic Peak Nears, NPR, Jeff Brady, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Some local officials are disappointed the federal government will end funding for coronavirus testing sites this Friday. In a few places those sites will close as a result. This as criticism continues that not enough testing is available.” Update: In Reversal, Federal Support for Coronavirus Testing Sites Continues, NPR, Jeff Brady, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The Department of Health and Human Services is stepping back from a plan to end support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country. Instead, the agency says local authorities can choose whether they want to transition to running the programs themselves or continue with federal oversight and help.”

Why Republicans Are So Afraid of Vote-by-Mail. Public health officials recommend absentee ballots to keep people safe. But President Trump and his party, without evidence, portray expanded voting measures as ripe for fraud. The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Maggie Haberman, and Nick Corasaniti, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “President Trump and his Republican allies are launching an aggressive strategy to fight what many of the administration’s own health officials view as one of the most effective ways to make voting safer amid the deadly spread of Covid-19: the expanded use of mail-in ballots. The scene Tuesday of Wisconsinites in masks and gloves gathering in long lines to vote, after Republicans sued to defeat extended, mail-in ballot deadlines, did not deter the president and top officials in his party. Republican leaders said they were pushing ahead to fight state-level statutes that could expand absentee balloting in Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona and elsewhere. In New Mexico, Republicans are battling an effort to go to a mail-in-only primary, and they vowed on Wednesday to fight a new move to expand postal balloting in Minnesota. The new political effort is clearly aimed at helping the president’s re-election prospects, as well as bolstering Republicans running further down the ballot. While his advisers tend to see the issue in more nuanced terms, Mr. Trump obviously views the issue in a stark, partisan way: He has complained that under Democratic plans for national expansion of early voting and voting by mail, ‘you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.’… The push to limit voting options is in keeping with Republicans’ decades-running campaign to impose restrictions that disproportionately affect people of color, the poor, and younger voters, under the banner of combating voter fraud — which is exceedingly rare. Democrats have more core constituencies among the nation’s disenfranchised, and both parties have long believed that easier voting measures will benefit Democrats.” See also, Trump Is Pushing a False Argument on Vote-by-Mail Fraud. Here Are the Facts. The New York Times, Stephanie Saul and Reid J. Epstein, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “With concerns mounting over how the country can conduct elections during a pandemic and Democrats pressing for alternatives to in-person voting, President Trump has begun pushing a false argument that has circulated among conservatives for years — that voting by mail is a recipe for fraud.”

Coronavirus crisis highlights Trump’s resistance to criticism as well as his desire for fervent praise, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Anne Gearan, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “President Trump has lambasted governors whom he views as insufficiently appreciative. He has denigrated — and even dismissed — inspectors general who dared to criticize him or his administration. And he has excoriated reporters who posed questions he did not like. The coronavirus pandemic has crystallized several long-standing undercurrents of the president’s governing ethos: a refusal to accept criticism, a seemingly insatiable need for praise — and an abiding mistrust of independent entities and individuals. Those characteristics have had a pervasive effect on the administration’s handling of the crisis, from Trump’s suggestions that he might withhold aid from struggling state governments based on whether he is displeased with a governor to his repeated refusal to take responsibility for shortcomings in the laggard federal response.”

In Trump’s Marathon Briefings, the Answers and the Message Are Often Contradictory, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Mr. Trump does not need adversaries to dispute his statements — he does that all by himself. In the course of his daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, the president has routinely contradicted himself without ever acknowledging that he does so. In the process, he sends confusing signals that other politicians, public health officials and the rest of the country are left to sort out.”

White House is working on a plan to cut aid to the World Health Organization (WHO). The move comes as Trump tries to deflect blame for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News, Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Abigail Williams, and Andrea Mitchell, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is working on a possible plan to cut U.S. aid to the World Health Organization, administration officials said Wednesday, as President Donald Trump tries to deflect blame for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Administration officials said they also plan to look into the timeline of the WHO’s reaction to the coronavirus after it first appeared in China, as well as ‘links’ to China. Trump’s focus on the WHO comes as he continues to face questions about his early statements playing down the virus and how unprepared his administration has been. The president’s embrace of a broadside against the WHO echoes similar criticism from hosts on Fox News Channel, including Tucker Carlson, and some Republican lawmakers.”

Republican and Democratic senators want a written explanation from Trump for the removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who flagged the Ukraine complaint, NBC News, Phil Helsel and Julie Tsirkin, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Wednesday he’s assembled a bipartisan group of senators calling on President Donald Trump to provide a ‘detailed written explanation’ for the removal of the inspector general who flagged the Ukraine whistleblower complaint. Citing a loss of confidence, Trump told Congress on Friday that he was removing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, who deemed the complaint an ‘urgent concern’ and was then required by law to provide it to the congressional intelligence committees. The complaint and a House inquiry ended in Trump’s impeachment. He was acquitted by the Senate in February. In a letter sent to Trump on Wednesday, Grassley says current law requires the president to notify Congress in writing of the reasons for removal 30 days in advance, and it also notes reports that Atkinson had already been placed on administrative leave, which effectively sidestepped the requirement. ‘Congressional intent is clear that an expression of lost confidence, without further explanation, is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the statute,’ the letter reads. ‘This is in large part because Congress intended that inspectors general only be removed when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or failure to perform the duties of the office, and not for reasons unrelated to their performance, to help preserve IG independence,’ the letter continues.” See also, Grassley Letter to Trump,, Chuck Grassley, Gary Peters, Susan Collins, Ron Wyden, Mitt Romney, Mark Warner, Dianne Feinstein, and Jon Tester, Wednesday, 8 April 2020.

Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, under scrutiny for trades amid coronavirus crisis, says she will liquidate her personal stock holdings, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Sen. Kelly Loeffler said Wednesday that she and her husband will liquidate their individual stock shares, amid accusations that the Georgia Republican sought to profit from information she received at a closed-door coronavirus briefing in January.” See also, Under Fire for Stock Trades, Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler Says She Will Divest From Individual Stocks, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Seeking to move past allegations that she has tried to profit from the coronavirus crisis, Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, announced on Wednesday that she and her husband would divest from all individual stocks and move their money into mutual and exchange-traded funds.”


Thursday, 9 April 2020, Day 1,175:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 April 2020: European Union Officials Agree to Deal to Soften Coronavirus’s Economic Blow. The ministers were unable to reach an agreement on issuing joint bonds, known as ‘corona-bonds.’ Critics say their €540 billion loan package does too little for Spain and Italy. The New York Times, Thursday, 9 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 April 2020: Jobless Claims Surpass 16 Million; Aid Package Stalls in Senate. The virus is sickening workers at chicken and beef processing plants, and 799 New Yorkers were killed — a single-day record for the state. The New York Times, Thursday, 9 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 April 2020: Hospitalizations for Coronavirus Are Nearly Flat in New York, but 799 More Die. Despite mounting death tolls, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all cited data that gave them cause for optimism. The New York Times, Thursday, 9 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 April 2020: OPEC Talks to Cut Oil Production Disappoint Traders, The New York Times, Thursday, 9 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, 9 April 2020: Trump contradicts experts, saying widespread coronavirus testing is not needed to reopen the U.S., The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Rick Noack, Alex Horton, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus, Katie Mettler, Adam Taylor, and Hannah Knowles, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “President Trump on Thursday said mass testing for the coronavirus is not necessary for the United States to get back to normal, contradicting experts who say widespread testing is critical to ease out of social distancing. The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month. Epidemiologists and infectious-disease specialists have included widespread testing as part of the strategy for sending people back to work safely.

Here are some other significant developments:
  • The death toll continues to rise rapidly in the United States, with New York alone having recorded 7,067 fatalities as of Thursday. But even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) cited the state’s grim needs, he said hospitalizations and intensive care admissions had fallen, suggesting that the curve was beginning to flatten.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved Thursday evening from intensive care but remains at a central London hospital, where he will continue receiving treatment for the coronavirus.
  • Another 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the economy continued to spiral downward.
  • Competing proposals for coronavirus relief failed in the Senate, as Democrats objected to a proposed $250 billion increase in a small-business program and Republicans shot down the counter-offer.
  • Italy announced 4,204 new cases of the novel coronavirus, along with 610 deaths. Both numbers were below peak but increases from earlier this week, suggesting a slow decline of the outbreak in the hard-hit nation.
  • Life is slowly returning to the streets and shops of Wuhan after 76 days of nearly complete lockdown.
  • Half a billion more people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the anti-poverty group Oxfam warned in a report.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

‘Sudden Black Hole’ for the Economy With Millions More Unemployed. Jobless claims now exceed 16 million as shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic widen and problems with getting benefits persist. The New York Times, Patricia Cohen and Tiffany Hsu, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “With the coronavirus outbreak shutting businesses in every state, fresh evidence of the economic devastation was delivered Thursday as a government report showed that 6.6 million more workers had lost their jobs. The Labor Department announcement, reflecting last week’s filings for unemployment benefits, meant that more than 16 million people had been put out of work in just three weeks, an unheard-of figure. Two years of job losses from the last recession produced barely half that total. Many economists say the actual job losses so far are almost certainly greater, and there is wide agreement that they will continue to mount.” See also, U.S. Jobless Claims Soar for Third Straight Week. Nearly 17 million people in the U.S. have filed new claims for benefits since mid-March as the coronavirus spread. The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Chaney and David Harrison, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits continued to surge at unprecedented levels, bringing the total number of applications to nearly 17 million since the coronavirus pandemic shut down swaths of the U.S. economy. The Labor Department reported on Thursday that another 6.6 million people submitted new applications for unemployment insurance in the week ended April 4. That is on top of a revised 6.9 million in the prior week, a record, and 3.3 million the week before.” See also, Unemployment claims are near 17 million in three weeks as coronavirus ravages economy. The claims in the week ending April 4 came on top of 10 million filed in the prior two weeks. Politico, Rebecca Rainey and Quint Forgey, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Unemployment claims remained high last week at 6.6 million, the Labor Department reported, as massive job losses continued to pile up due to the coronavirus pandemic. The claims, for the week ending April 4, flooded in as confirmed coronavirus cases approached 300,000 and as nearly every state ordered its citizens to stay at home. Economic forecasts that predict unemployment will exceed its historic 25 percent peak during the Great Depression are becoming routine, and the number of jobs lost in a mere three weeks now exceeds the 15 million that it took 18 months for the Great Recession to bulldoze from 2007 to 2009.”

Small-Business Aid Stalls in Senate as Democrats Demand More Funds.  Democrats objected to an emergency infusion of $250 billion for small-business loans without more help for hospitals, states and cities. Republicans refused. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “A Trump administration request for quick approval of $250 billion in additional loans to help distressed small businesses weather the coronavirus crisis stalled Thursday in the Senate after Republicans and Democrats clashed over what should be included in the latest round of government relief. The dispute was a prelude to what is likely to be a far more complicated and consequential set of negotiations over a larger infusion of federal aid that lawmakers expect to consider in the coming weeks on the heels of the $2 trillion stimulus law enacted late last month. The White House had asked lawmakers to move in the interim to inject more money into a new loan program intended to keep small businesses afloat and allow them to avoid laying off workers as the pandemic continues to batter the economy. But Democrats argued that as long as Congress was providing additional aid, it should include more money that was urgently needed for hospitals, states and cities confronting the coronavirus, as well as additional food assistance for Americans coping with its punishing economic toll. Republicans balked at that effort, saying the time for negotiating such additions was later.” See also, Senate at stalemate over more COVID-19 aid after Republicans and Democrats block competing proposals, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Lauren Fox, and Manu Raju, Thursday, 9 April 2020.

Federal Reserve Expands Corporate-Debt Backstops and Unveils New Programs to Aid States, Cities, and Small Businesses. The Latest round of emergency measures expands central bank’s footprint into credit markets it has previously avoided. The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The Federal Reserve is going farther than ever to shore up the U.S. economy, unveiling programs to lend directly to states, cities and midsize businesses that have seen revenues evaporate amid efforts to combat the novel coronavirus. The central bank also said Thursday it would expand previously announced plans to backstop lending to large companies by supporting riskier bonds issued by corporations that had recently lost their investment-grade status. Altogether, the Fed said nine lending programs it is creating or expanding would provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans, and officials signaled they were prepared to expand those programs as needed to stem long-lasting damage to the U.S. economy.” See also, With a $2.3 Trillion Injection, the Federal Reserve’s Plan Far Exceeds Its 2008 Rescue. The Federal Reserve said it would buy some municipal bonds and some riskier debt to help governments and companies. The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek and Peter Eavis, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The Federal Reserve said it could pump $2.3 trillion into the economy through new and expanded programs it announced on Thursday, ramping up its efforts to help companies and state and local governments suffering financial damage from the coronavirus. The central bank rolled out its relief package just as the government announced that 6.6 million more Americans were newly jobless, laying bare the severe damage to the economy as quarantines keep workers at home and grind entire sectors to a standstill. About 16 million people have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks.”

How Did the U.S. End Up With Nurses Wearing Garbage Bags? The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “On Saturday, March 21st, while Donald Trump was tweeting about the ‘Chinese virus’ and circulating praise for the ‘great job we’ve done,’ Eric Ries received a phone call from another Silicon Valley C.E.O. His friend Jeff Lawson, of the firm Twilio, told Ries that, to deal with the rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis, the White House was recruiting tech executives to help. Ries—the founder and C.E.O. of a new company, the Long-Term Stock Exchange, and the author of a best-selling book, ‘The Lean Startup,’ which had made him a well-known figure in the Valley—was an obvious choice for someone looking to stand up a high-tech solution to the disaster quickly. He had long preached the virtues of going to market as fast as possible with what he called M.V.P.: minimum viable product. America was watching, shocked, as doctors and nurses pleaded for protective gear and medical equipment such as ventilators. Ries was asked to help start a Web site that would match hospitals and suppliers. Sure, Ries said, he could have something up and running by Monday. What followed over the next two weeks was an inside glimpse of the dysfunction emanating from Trump’s Washington in the midst of the pandemic, a crash course in the breakdown that has led to nurses in one of the wealthiest countries in the world wearing garbage bags to protect themselves from a virus whose outbreak the President downplayed until it was too late to prepare for its consequences.”

Checkpoints, Curfews, Airlifts: Virus Rips Through Navajo Nation. The coronavirus is tearing across the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Facing a spike in deaths, Navajo officials are scrambling to respond. The New York Times, Simon Romero, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Faced with an alarming spike in deaths from what the tribal health department calls Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19 — or Covid-19 — Navajo officials are putting up checkpoints, assembling field hospitals and threatening curfew violators with 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. The measures are part of a scramble to protect more than 150,000 people on the vast Navajo reservation, which stretches 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, and tens of thousands of others who live in towns bordering the Navajo Nation. As of Wednesday night, the virus had killed 20 people on the reservation, compared with 16 in the entire state of New Mexico, which has a population 13 times larger.”

Poultry Worker’s Death Highlights Spread of Coronavirus in Meat Plants. Some employees are coming in sick, and one woman died after being ordered back to work. ‘Our work conditions are out of control,’ a longtime Tyson employee said. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan and Caitlin Dickerson, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic has reached the processing plants where workers typically stand elbow-to-elbow to do the low-wage work of cutting, deboning and packing the chicken and beef that Americans savor. Some plants have offered financial incentives to keep them on the job, but the virus’s swift spread is causing illness and forcing plants to close. Smithfield Foods’ pork plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., announced Thursday that it would close temporarily, after more than 80 employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Workers have come down with Covid-19 in several poultry plants in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.”

Under Cover of Covid-19, Donald Trump Ramps Up His War on Truth-Tellers, The Intercept, James Risen, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Three years into his presidency, Donald Trump’s corruption and blatant politicization have reached into every corner of the government. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed thousands of Americans, it’s more clear than ever that the officials who stayed in public service to try to curb Trump’s worst abuses are becoming his most numerous victims. Hoping that the country is too distracted by Covid-19 to notice, Trump has over the last few days engaged in a Stalinist purge of truth-tellers, leaving the survivors frightened and intimidated even as the federal government is shown to be too weak to counter the rampaging coronavirus.”

‘A Tragedy Is Unfolding'” Inside New York’s Virus Epicenter. In a city ravaged by an epidemic, few places have been as hard hit as central Queens. The New York Times, Annie Correal and Andrew Jacobs, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “In a city ravaged by the coronavirus, few places have suffered as much as central Queens, where a seven-square-mile patch of densely packed immigrant enclaves recorded more than 7,000 cases in the first weeks of the outbreak.”

Trump administration has expelled 10,000 migrants at the border during the coronavirus outbreak, leaving less than 100 in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The Trump administration has carried out nearly 10,000 summary deportations or ‘expulsions’ since March 21, using emergency public health measures during the coronavirus outbreak that have given U.S. Customs and Border Protection broad authority to bypass immigration laws, CBP officials said Thursday. The measures have allowed the agency to quickly turn away most unauthorized migrants — sending them back across the U.S.-Mexico border. The moves have dramatically slashed the number of detainees held in border stations, where they fear the coronavirus could spread, the officials said. CBP has fewer than 100 detainees in custody, down from nearly 20,000 at this time last year during the border crisis, officials said.”

Coronavirus Is Threatening One of Government’s Steadiest Services: The Mail. The Postal Service needs billions, the agency told Congress, and Democrats want to provide a bailout. The Trump administration may not agree. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Jim Tankersley, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Ravaged by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Postal Service appealed to lawmakers on Thursday for an $89 billion lifeline, telling them that it could run out of cash by the end of September if Congress fails to act. But as Washington begins to debate the next round of government relief to prop up the virus-plagued economy, a Postal Service bailout has already emerged as a political sticking point, with Democrats pressing to deliver one and President Trump, a persistent critic of the agency, opposed. The debate appears to be playing out along the same fault lines that have divided the two sides for years as they have quibbled over how to position the cash-strapped agency — one of the government’s oldest and most reliable entities — for an increasingly digital future. The coronavirus crisis has rapidly exacerbated those woes, officials told lawmakers on Thursday. Mail volume is down by nearly a third compared with the same time last year and dropping quickly, as businesses drastically cut back on solicitations, advertisements and all kinds of letters that make up the bulk of the mail service’s bottom line.”

Korean Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Says Coronavirus May ‘Reactivate’ in Cured Patients, Bloomberg, Kyunghee Park, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, the CDC said in a briefing on Monday. Rather than being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these people, given they tested positive again shortly after being released from quarantine, said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director-general of the Korean CDC. ‘While we are putting more weight on reactivation as the possible cause, we are conducting a comprehensive study on this,’ Jeong said. ‘There have been many cases when a patient during treatment will test negative one day and positive another.'”

Why Coronavirus Cases Have Spiked in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, The New York Times, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan — once heralded for early successes in battling the pandemic — are now confronting a new wave of coronavirus cases, largely fueled by infections coming from elsewhere. Singapore is also seeing a rise in local transmissions, with more than 400 new cases in the past week that have been linked to migrant worker dormitories.”

Attorney General William Barr calls current coronavirus restrictions ‘draconian’ and suggests they should be revisited next month, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Attorney General William P. Barr said Wednesday that some of the government-imposed restrictions meant to control the spread of covid-19 were ‘draconian’ and suggested that they should be eased next month. In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, Barr, long a proponent of executive power, said the government — and in particular state officials — had broad authority to impose restrictions on people in cases of emergency. But, he said, the federal government would be ‘keeping a careful eye on’ the situation, and stressed that officials should be ‘very careful to make sure that the draconian measures that are being adopted are fully justified. When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,’ Barr said.”

Coronavirus Numbers Reflect New York City’s Deep Economic Divide, The Intercept, Sharon Lerner, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The death rate from Covid-19 for black and Latino New Yorkers is roughly twice that of white New Yorkers, according to the latest city data. The death rate among Latino New Yorkers is 22.8 for every 100,000 people. Among African Americans, it is 19.8. In contrast, 10.2 of every 100,000 white New Yorkers has died from the new coronavirus. The numbers, which were released on Wednesday, are based on 63 percent of confirmed Covid-19 deaths in New York City. They are consistent with reporting from Louisiana, IllinoisMilwaukee, and Michigan, as well as preliminary national data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show that black people are dying in greater numbers from the virus. They are also in line with long-established health disparities in New York City, where the poor and people of color tend to die earlier and suffer worse health outcomes. The new numbers show the virus ravaging the city’s communities of color and spreading along the edges of New York’s vast economic divide. The five ZIP codes with the highest rates of positive tests for the coronavirus — in Corona, Cambria Heights, East Elmhurst, Queens Village, and Jackson Heights — have an average per capita income of $26,708, while residents in the five with the lowest rates — in Lower Manhattan, Tribeca, Battery Park City, and the east side of Midtown — had an average income of $118,166, according to an analysis of New York City data by The Intercept.”

Trump forges ahead with broader agenda even as coronavirus upends the country, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “In recent days, as the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the country, President Trump’s administration has ousted two key inspectors general, moved to weaken federal gas mileage standards, nominated a young conservative for a powerful appeals court and sent scores of immigrants back across the southern border without a customary hearing. It’s a whirlwind of activity taking place away from the spotlight that highlights how the twin crises of a viral outbreak and an economic slowdown have not slowed Trump’s aggressive push to advance his broader agenda in the months before he faces voters. In some cases, Trump is continuing to do what he had been doing, pushing policies that have won him plaudits among his conservative supporters. In others, he is using the broad powers granted to the executive branch amid a national crisis to pursue policy goals he has long sought and in some cases struggled to achieve.”

The shift to online learning could worsen educational inequality. As school goes digital, low-income students are being left behind. Vox, Anna North, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “[W]hile the transition to online education is an adjustment for everyone, it’s a lot more difficult for some families than for others. Like Tierra’s children, about 17 percent of students nationwide lack a computer at home, according to a 2019 analysis by the Associated Press. Eighteen percent lack broadband internet access. Low-income families and families of color are especially likely to be without these resources, according to the AP.”

Biden, Seeking Democratic Unity, Reaches Left Toward Sanders’s Ideas, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Sydney Ember, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. took some of his first steps to bring together the Democratic Party now that he is its presumptive presidential nominee, announcing proposals on Thursday to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 and to expand student debt forgiveness programs for low-income and middle-class families. The proposals are part of an explicit effort to appeal to the progressive wing of the party led by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who dropped out of the race on Wednesday…. Top Sanders aides had been intensifying talks with the Biden campaign in recent days to find common ground on policies. The Biden team’s willingness to move in Mr. Sanders’s direction was a key factor in the senator’s decision to exit the race.” See also, Biden moves closer to Sanders on health care and student debt, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “A day after becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former vice president Joe Biden sought to appeal to liberal supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday with a pair of new proposals to expand access to health care and curtail student loan debt. Biden proposed lowering the eligibility age for Medicare coverage from 65 to 60. He also came out in favor of forgiving student loan debt for people who attended public colleges and universities and some private schools and make up to $125,000 a year. The announcements came after private conversations between Biden’s team and aides to Sanders (I-Vt.), who announced Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign. While they do not put Biden in line with Sanders on two pillars of the democratic socialist’s sweeping agenda, they represent concessions that bring the two sides closer together.”

Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to allow absentee voting in November because of the coronavirus outbreak, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Amy Gardner, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced Thursday that the state will allow voters to cast mail-in ballots in the November general election if the coronavirus is still a factor this fall. The decision is a significant departure from Sununu’s past stance against widespread absentee voting and stands in contrast to the rhetoric coming from some Republicans, including President Trump.”

‘Unreasonable’ New Hampshire voter registration law is struck down. A judge found the law was unconstitutional and a ‘discriminatory burden on the rights of voters in New Hampshire.’ NBC News, Dareh Gregorian, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “A New Hampshire judge dismissed a state law that opponents said made it more complicated for students to register to vote, calling it ‘unconstitutional,’ ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unreasonable.’ New Hampshire remains a general election swing state, and after having lost by less than 3,000 votes in 2016, President Donald Trump has hoped to flip the state in his favor this year. Historically, college students have voted in larger numbers for Democrats. In a 54-page ruling made public Thursday, Superior Court Judge David A. Anderson said the law, known as Senate Bill 3, was ‘unconstitutional for unreasonably burdening the right to vote and violating equal protection under the New Hampshire Constitution.’ The state Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters and numerous college students sued in 2017 to block the Republican-backed law, which required new voters to fill out complicated forms and expose themselves to possible criminal prosecution and civil fines if they didn’t turn over certain proof-of-residence documents. Experts testified at trial about how complicated the forms were, noting that the first option given for voters was a sentence more than 100 words long.”

Inside Wisconsin’s Election Mess: Thousands of Missing or Nullified Ballots, The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “Three tubs of absentee ballots that never reached voters were discovered in a postal center outside Milwaukee. At least 9,000 absentee ballots requested by voters were never sent, and others recorded as sent were never received. Even when voters did return their completed ballots in the mail, thousands were postmarked too late to count — or not at all. Cracks in Wisconsin’s vote-by-mail operation are now emerging after the state’s scramble to expand that effort on the fly for voters who feared going to the polls in Tuesday’s elections. The takeaways — that the election network and the Postal Service were pushed to the brink of their capabilities, and that mistakes were clearly made — are instructive for other states if they choose to broaden vote-by-mail methods without sufficient time, money and planning.”

Cost of Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s trip last weekend to Guam? $243,000, his job, and isolation after coronavirus exposure, USA Today, Tom Vanden Brook, Wednesday, 8 April 2020: “Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s trip last weekend to address sailors aboard the COVID-19-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt cost taxpayers more than $243,000 for the 35-hour round trip on a Gulfstream 550, according to a Navy official, who spoke anonymously. Modly’s profanity-laced speech to the sailors, during which he branded the fired captain of the ship as ‘naive’ and ‘stupid’ for seeking aid, prompted Modly to offer his resignation Tuesday.” See also, The trip to Guam of former acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly, which led to his resignation, cost taxpayers an estimated $243,000, CNN Politics, Ryan Browne and Caroline Kelly, Thursday, 9 April 2020: “The recently resigned acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s Monday trip to Guam where he addressed the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and slammed their former commander, cost the Defense Department an estimated $243,000, according to a Navy official. Modly’s remarks led to his resignation a day later. Modly traveled to Guam aboard a C-37B VIP aircraft a modified Gulfstream jet. It costs $6,946.19 per hour to fly and the flight time for the Guam trip was about 35 hours for a total cost of $243,151.65. The cost of the trip was first reported by USA Today.