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


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


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


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!


Friday, 17 April 2020, Day 1,183:


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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 April 2020: Stocks Rally After Talk of Reopening Economy, The New York Times, Friday, 17 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 17 April 2020: Protesters rally against restrictions as some states set timelines to end stay-at-home orders, The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Rick Noack, Katie Mettler, Hannah Knowles, Derek Hawkins, John Wagner, Lateshia Beachum, and Allyson Chiu, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Several governors have taken steps to gradually reopen their states, with Texas, Minnesota, Vermont and Montana on Friday announcing dates for easing certain restrictions. President Trump unveiled broad guidelines Thursday but left specific plans up to governors. Meanwhile, President Trump seemingly took the side of protesters in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia who are defying social distancing orders to rally against the states’ safety measures intended to stop the coronavirus spread. In back-to-back tweets, Trump wrote: ‘LIBERATE MINNESOTA’ and then, ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN’ and then, ‘LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!’

Here are some significant developments:
  • Hundreds of nursing homes in areas with outbreaks have repeatedly violated infection control rules, a Washington Post analysis found. Of about 650 homes with publicly reported coronavirus cases, 40 percent have been cited more than once for violations related to infection control.
  • As officials weigh reopening the economy, experts still do not know how deadly covid-19 is. Without widespread testing, it remains nearly impossible to determine precisely the lethality of the virus.
  • The federal government will spend $19 billion on a financial relief program to aid U.S. farmers and ranchers struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump announced at Friday’s White House briefing.
  • Stocks gained for a second straight week on investor optimism over governments taking baby steps toward opening their economies and on early signs that science may be gaining on the coronavirus.
  • China’s gross domestic product shrank for the first time in decades as the coronavirus pandemic delivered a devastating blow to the world’s second-largest economy — a glimpse of what may be to come around the world.
  • The death toll in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, was revised upward by 50 percent on Friday. The change followed widespread criticism of China’s data, although officials offered several reasons for the revision, including at-home deaths that were not included in earlier statistics.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

‘Liberate’: Trump tweets support of protests against stay-at-home orders, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Trump encouraged protesters in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia who are defying social distancing orders to rally against the states’ safety measures intended to stop the coronavirus spread. In back-to-back tweets Friday morning, Trump wrote: ‘LIBERATE MINNESOTA’ and then, ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN’ and then, ‘LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!’ It’s unclear why Trump seems to be siding with the protesters given that the states in question have imposed restrictions that follow the recommendations laid out by Trump’s White House coronavirus task force last month that go by the name ‘The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines For America.’ When the guidelines were released, Trump urged all Americans to follow them for the sake of the country…. Minutes before Trump’s tweets, Fox News had shown a segment about a group calling itself ‘Liberate Minnesota,’ which had planned a protest that day outside the residence of Gov. Tim Walz (D) in opposition to his stay-at-home order. Fox also had on a Michigan sheriff to discuss people challenging the orders of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who has also publicly clashed with Trump over his handling of the public health crisis, skewered the president over the tweets. ‘The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19,’ Inslee said. ‘His unhinged rantings and calls for people to “liberate” states could also lead to violence.’ Vice President Mike Pence also got an earful from Democratic senators angry about Trump’s tweets during a conference call Friday. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) raised the issue, telling the vice president that Trump was trying to drive a wedge between governors and the federal government and asked why Trump was tweeting such sentiments.” See also, Trump foments resistance to Democratic-imposed shutdowns, but some Republican governors are also wary of moving too fast, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Toluse Olorunnipa, and Seung Min Kim, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Trump on Friday amplified his call to reopen the country, suggesting citizens should ‘liberate’ themselves even as governors and local officials in areas he said were ready to return to normal expressed concern about moving too soon. Republican governors have been slow to embrace Trump’s call to lift statewide stay-at-home orders in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that is killing thousands of Americans. And Democratic governors have increasingly denounced what they describe as a lack of federal leadership in a response effort plagued by shortfalls in testing and equipment…. The effort by Trump and some of his allies to portray a country split between a few hard-hit hot spots and a much larger expanse of America ready to quickly get back to work is at odds with hesitancy among state and local leaders about lifting the restrictions before the coronavirus crisis is more firmly under control.” See also, Trump Encourages Protest Against Governors Who Have Imposed Virus Restrictions. Trump’s stark departure from his message on Thursday night, when he announced guidelines for governors to reopen their states and said they would ‘call [their] own shots,’ suggested he was ceding any semblance of national leadership on the pandemic. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Sarah Mervosh, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Trump on Friday openly encouraged right-wing protests of social distancing restrictions in states with stay-at-home orders, a day after announcing guidelines for how the nation’s governors should carry out an orderly reopening of their communities on their own timetables…. Echoed across the internet and on cable television by conservative pundits and ultraright conspiracy theorists, his tweets were a remarkable example of a president egging on demonstrators and helping to stoke an angry fervor that in its anti-government rhetoric was eerily reminiscent of the birth of the Tea Party movement a decade ago.” See also, Trump breaks with his own guidelines to back conservative anti-quarantine protesters, Politico, Quint Forgey, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Donald Trump culminated a swerving, week-long power struggle against the nation’s governors with an apparent endorsement of protesters who have defied leaders of coronavirus-stricken states, public health experts and the most senior members of his own administration.” See also, Trump’s ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ tweets incite insurrection. That’s illegal. The Washington Post, Mary McCord, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Trump incited insurrection Friday against the duly elected governors of the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Just a day after issuing guidance for re-opening America that clearly deferred decision-making to state officials — as it must under our Constitutional order — the president undercut his own guidance by calling for criminal acts against the governors for not opening fast enough.”

Senate Democrats confront Vice President Mike Pence: ‘I have never been so mad about a phone call in my life,’ CNN Politics, Lauren Fox, Clare Foran, and Betsy Klein, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Senate Democrats grilled Vice President Mike Pence over coronavirus testing and President Donald Trump’s tweets during a tense phone call Friday afternoon on the pandemic response. A Democratic Senate aide told CNN that ‘almost every question’ from Democratic senators on the call ‘has been about testing,’ and said that the administration ‘has not given clear answers.’ The source said that at one point, Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said to Pence and everyone on the call, ‘I have never been so mad about a phone call in my life.’ King called the administration’s failure to develop a more widespread national testing regime a ‘dereliction of duty.'” See also, Senate Democrats are livid after receiving vague answers from Vice President Mike Pence about efforts to ramp up coronavirus testing, Politico, Burgess Everett, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Senate Democrats exploded in frustration during a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence and Trump administration officials on Friday afternoon, with one normally laid-back senator asserting it was the most maddening phone call he’s ever taken part in, according to participants and people familiar with the call. The call between President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and Senate Democrats on Friday left the Senate minority ‘livid,’ according to one Democrat on the call, because of the lack of clear answers about national testing for the disease.”

Public health experts say coronavirus testing must double or triple before the U.S. can safely reopen, NBC News, Sarah Fitzpatrick, Heidi Przybyla, Dan De Luce, Laura Strickler, and Adiel Kaplan, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Testing for the coronavirus would have to be at least doubled or tripled from its current levels to allow for even a partial reopening of America’s economy, public health experts say, but it is unclear how soon such an ambitious goal could be reached amid persistent shortages of testing supplies and a lack of coordination from the Trump administration. Without diagnostic testing on a massive scale, federal and state officials and private companies will lack a clear picture of who has been infected, who can safely return to work, how the virus is spreading and when stay-at-home orders can be eased, public health experts say.” See also, Experts Say Coronavirus Testing Needs to Triple Before the U.S. Can Reopen, The New York Times, Keith Collins, Friday, 17 April 2020: “As some governors consider easing social distancing restrictions, new estimates by researchers at Harvard University suggest that the United States cannot safely reopen unless it conducts more than three times the number of coronavirus tests it is currently administering over the next month.”

Antibody research indicates coronavirus may be far more widespread than known, ABC News, Christina Ng and Dr. Mark Abdelmalek, Friday, 17 April 2020: “A critical question in the path towards the future is how many people actually have protective novel coronavirus antibodies and possible immunity? Two research teams in California — backed by armies of dedicated volunteers — set out to answer this very question and the first set of results are in. The first large-scale community test of 3,300 people in Santa Clara County found that 2.5 to 4.2% of those tested were positive for antibodies — a number suggesting a far higher past infection rate than the official count. Based on the initial data, researchers estimate that the range of people who may have had the virus to be between 48,000 and 81,000 in the county of 2 million — as opposed to the approximately 1,000 in the county’s official tally at the time the samples were taken. ‘Our findings suggest that there is somewhere between 50- and 80-fold more infections in our county than what’s known by the number of cases than are reported by our department of public health,’ Dr. Eran Bendavid, the associate professor of medicine at Stanford University who led the study, said in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.”

Critics say influential Covid-19 model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington produces flawed information and shouldn’t guide U.S. policies, STAT News, Sharon Begley, Friday, 17 April 2020: “A widely followed model for projecting Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. is producing results that have been bouncing up and down like an unpredictable fever, and now epidemiologists are criticizing it as flawed and misleading for both the public and policy makers. In particular, they warn against relying on it as the basis for government decision-making, including on ‘re-opening America. It’s not a model that most of us in the infectious disease epidemiology field think is well suited’ to projecting Covid-19 deaths, epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told reporters this week, referring to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Other experts, including some colleagues of the model-makers, are even harsher. ‘That the IHME model keeps changing is evidence of its lack of reliability as a predictive tool,’ said epidemiologist Ruth Etzioni of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, who has served on a search committee for IHME. ‘That it is being used for policy decisions and its results interpreted wrongly is a travesty unfolding before our eyes. The IHME projections were used by the Trump administration in developing national guidelines to mitigate the outbreak. Now, they are reportedly influencing White House thinking on how and when to ‘re-open’ the country, as President Trump announced a blueprint for on Thursday.”

‘They’re Death Pits’: Virus Claims at Least 7,000 Lives in U.S. Nursing Homes. More than six weeks after the first coronavirus deaths in a nursing home, outbreaks unfold across the country. About a fifth of U.S. virus deaths are linked to nursing facilities. The New York Times, Farah Stockman, Matt Richtel, Danielle Ivory, and Mitch Smith, Friday, 17 April 2020: “The first warning of the devastation that the coronavirus could wreak inside American nursing homes came in late February, when residents of a facility in suburban Seattle perished, one by one, as families waited helplessly outside. In the ensuing six weeks, large and shockingly lethal outbreaks have continued to ravage nursing homes across the nation, undeterred by urgent new safety requirements. Now a nationwide tally by The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7,000, far higher than previously known.”

A sudden rise in coronavirus cases is hitting rural states without stay-at-home orders, CNN Politics, Michael Warren, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Just as cases are starting to plateau in some big cities and along the coasts, the coronavirus is catching fire in rural states across the American heartland, where there has been a small but significant spike this week in cases. Playing out amid these outbreaks is a clash between a frontier culture that values individual freedom and personal responsibility, and the onerous but necessary restrictions to contain a novel biological threat. The bump in coronavirus cases is most pronounced in states without stay at home orders. Oklahoma saw a 53% increase in cases over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over the same time, cases jumped 60% in Arkansas, 74% in Nebraska, and 82% in Iowa. South Dakota saw a whopping 205% spike.”

Trump Calls for Reopening Gyms in the U.S. the Day After He Spoke With the Owner of SoulCycle, The Daily Beast, Lachlan Markay, Friday, 17 April 2020: “President Donald Trump unveiled a proposal this week to reopen America’s gyms in spite of the coronavirus outbreak after a phone call that included the head of the company that owns luxury fitness brands Equinox and SoulCycle, who also happens to be a high-profile Trump supporter. In a memo issued on Thursday titled ‘Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,’ the White House included gyms among the businesses that would reopen to the general public during ‘phase one’ of its plan to jump-start the American economy, which has cratered amid nationwide stay-at-home orders and business closures.”

For the first time, wind energy overtakes coal in Kansas, one of only two states to do so, The Wichita Eagle, Kevin Hardy, Friday, 17 April 2020: “Wind energy has overtaken coal in Kansas for the first time.The American Wind Energy Association reports that wind accounted for the largest share of energy production in Kansas and Iowa in 2019 — the first time that wind was the top source of electricity for any states.”

The bump in coronavirus cases is most pronounced in states without stay at home orders. Oklahoma saw a 53% increase in cases over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over same time, cases jumped 60% in Arkansas, 74% in Nebraska, and 82% in Iowa. South Dakota saw a whopping 205% spike.


Saturday, 18 April 2020, Day 1,184:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 18 April 2020: Germany Starts Broad Antibody Testing to Assess Spread of Coronavirus; Israel Relaxes Restrictions, The New York Times, Saturday, 18 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 18 April 2020: Officials Say Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) Errors Caused Testing Delays, The New York Times, Saturday, 18 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 18 April 2020: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Says New York Appears to Be ‘Past the Plateau’ of Virus Cases, The New York Times, Saturday, 18 April 2020:

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 18 April 2020: Stocks Rally After Talk of Reopening Economy, The New York Times, Saturday, 18 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 18 April 2020: Conservatives protest coronavirus restrictions; Florida beaches reopen to crowds and criticism, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, Candace Buckner, and Samantha Pell, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “As the United States surpassed 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, conservative groups organized protests to local restrictions this weekend. The demonstrations, which have bubbled up in Maryland, Utah, Texas, California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado, come as several U.S. governors have taken steps to gradually reopen their states and ease restrictions — some of which kicked in this weekend.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Aerial snapshots of people flocking to a reopened beach in Jacksonville, Fla., made waves on the Internet on Saturday, spurring #FloridaMorons to trend on Twitter.
  • President Trump made inaccurate claims about the United States’ coronavirus testing in comparison to other countries during Saturday’s White House briefing, where he also complained at length about media coverage and criticism of his administration.
  • Most states are shuttering schools through the academic year, even as they move to reopen their economies.
  • The failure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to quickly produce a test kit was triggered by a glaring scientific breakdown at a CDC laboratory complex.
  • Concerns are rising in China over a potential new wave of covid-19 infections in a far northeastern province.
  • Deaths in Spain surpassed 20,000, while a spike in cases pushes Japan’s emergency medical system to the brink.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Officials Say Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Labs Were Contaminated, Delaying Coronavirus Testing, The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “Sloppy laboratory practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, federal officials confirmed on Saturday. Two of the three C.D.C. laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs, according to the Food and Drug Administration.” See also, Contamination at Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lab delayed rollout of coronavirus tests, The Washington Post, David Willman, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “The failure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to quickly produce a test kit for detecting the novel coronavirus was triggered by a glaring scientific breakdown at the CDC’s central laboratory complex in Atlanta, according to scientists with knowledge of the matter and a determination by federal regulators. The CDC facilities that assembled the kits violated sound manufacturing practices, resulting in contamination of one of the three test components used in the highly sensitive detection process, the scientists said. The cross contamination most likely occurred because chemical mixtures were assembled into the kits within a lab space that was also handling synthetic coronavirus material. The scientists also said the proximity deviated from accepted procedures and jeopardized testing for the virus. The Washington Post separately confirmed that Food and Drug Administration officials concluded that the CDC violated its own laboratory standards in making the kits. The substandard practices exposed the kits to contamination.”

With Broad, Random Tests for Antibodies, Germany Seeks Path Out of Lockdown. It was the first large Western democracy to contain the spread of the coronavirus and is now the first to methodically go about reopening its economy. Others are watching. The New York Times, Katrin Bennhold, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “3,000 households [have been] chosen at random in Munich for an ambitious study whose central aim is to understand how many people — even those with no symptoms — have already had the virus, a key variable to make decisions about public life in a pandemic. The study is part of an aggressive approach to combat the virus in a comprehensive way that has made Germany a leader among Western nations figuring out how to control the contagion while returning to something resembling normal life. Other nations, including the United States, are still struggling to test for infections. But Germany is doing that and more. It is aiming to sample the entire population for antibodies in coming months, hoping to gain valuable insight into how deeply the virus has penetrated the society at large, how deadly it really is, and whether immunity might be developing.”

U.S. sent millions of face masks to China early this year, ignoring pandemic warning signs, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Jeff Stein, Desmond Butler, and Tom Hamburger, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “U.S. manufacturers shipped millions of dollars’ worth of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government, a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents has found. The move underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat. In those two months, the value of protective masks and related items exported from the United States to China grew more than 1,000 percent compared with the same time last year — from $1.4 million to about $17.6 million, according to a Post analysis of customs categories which, according to research by Public Citizen, contain key personal protective equipment (PPE). Similarly, shipments of ventilators and protective garments jumped by triple digits. ‘Instead of taking steps to prepare, they ignored the advice of one expert after another,’ said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.). ‘People right now, as we speak, are dying because there have been inadequate supplies of PPE.'”

The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead, The New York Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Saturday, 18 April 2020: “The coronavirus is spreading from America’s biggest cities to its suburbs, and has begun encroaching on the nation’s rural regions. The virus is believed to have infected millions of citizens and has killed more than 34,000. Yet President Trump this week proposed guidelines for reopening the economy and suggested that a swath of the United States would soon resume something resembling normalcy. For weeks now, the administration’s view of the crisis and our future has been rosier than that of its own medical advisers, and of scientists generally. In truth, it is not clear to anyone where this crisis is leading us. More than 20 experts in public health, medicine, epidemiology and history shared their thoughts on the future during in-depth interviews. When can we emerge from our homes? How long, realistically, before we have a treatment or vaccine? How will we keep the virus at bay?”

Trump lashes out at governors over testing shortfalls, CNN Politics, Jeremy Diamond, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “President Donald Trump on Saturday repeatedly blamed governors for not making full use of coronavirus testing capacity in their states, even as several Democratic and Republican governors said they are facing shortages of critical supplies to conduct tests…. Trump’s criticism was the latest missive the President has fired at Democratic governors who in recent days have pressed the federal government for more help to address testing shortages amid mounting pressure for them to begin to reopen their economies.”

The White House praised hotels for housing doctors. Cities say Trump’s hotels aren’t participating. The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “Thousands of U.S. hotels have volunteered to help local authorities house doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at reduced rates — or even free — during the covid-19 pandemic. President Trump’s White House has praised these efforts. But so far, none of Trump’s own hotels are known to be participating. In five U.S. cities where President Trump’s company operates large hotels — New York, Chicago, Miami, Washington and Honolulu — local authorities said the Trump hotel was not involved in their efforts to provide low-cost or no-cost rooms to those fighting the novel coronavirus.”

Sunday, 19 April 2020, Day 1,185:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 19 April 2020: Chile to Issue Coronavirus ‘Immunity Cards’ to Those Who Recover, The New York Times, Sunday, 19 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 19 April 2020: Trump, Facing Criticism, Says He Will Increase Swab Production. Governors say reopening their economies must be linked with wider testing for the virus, but they continue to face shortages of supplies and testing kits. The New York Times, Sunday, 19 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 19 April 2020: Mayor Bill de Blasio Pleads With Trump for Funding to Alleviate Virus Damage. He compared Trump to Gerald Ford and asked if he was telling New York City to ‘drop dead.’ The New York Times, Sunday, 19 April 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 19 April 2020: Governors urge more federal help on coronavirus testing; protesters draw Trump’s praise, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Timothy Bella, Marisa Iati, Hannah Knowles, Teo Armus, Meryl Kornfield, Kim Bellware, and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “Governors across the political spectrum insisted that the federal government must step up its support for states trying to roll out mass testing to safely reopen the economy, and President Trump continued to defend his approach but said he would seek to speed production of swabs. Meanwhile, protests demanding the end of stay-at-home orders spread to more state capitals. Trump defended the protesters Sunday, arguing that some governors ‘have gone too far’ in their social-distancing requirements during the pandemic. And as deaths in the United States surpassed 40,000, Trump administration and congressional leaders say they are close to striking a $400 billion-plus deal to renew funding for a small-business loan program that ran out of money.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians, and public health experts at the World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about the coronavirus to Trump administration, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Lena H. Sun, and Emily Rauhala, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials. A number of CDC staff members are regularly detailed to work at the WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States.” See also, Washington Post reports that US officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) relayed real-time coronavirus information to the Trump administration, CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “A group of US officials working at the World Health Organization headquarters transmitted real-time information about the novel coronavirus directly to the Trump administration, US and international officials told the Washington Post. The reported line of communication undercuts President Donald Trump’s assertion that the virus’ spread in the US largely stems from a lack of communication from WHO.”

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio asks if Trump is telling the city to ‘drop dead’ over Covid-19, The Guardian, Edward Helmore, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “The New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, has stepped up his campaign for increased federal funding for US cities during the coronavirus crisis, asking Donald Trump whether his administration was ‘going to save New York City or are you telling New York City to drop dead?’ De Blasio’s dramatic language came during his press conference on Sunday, after he warned last week that he planned to cut a further $2bn from the city’s municipal services budget due to the economic downturn. He said the city was likely to lose at least $7.4bn in tax revenue over the current and next fiscal year.”

Maryland and Virginia governors blast Trump over protests and lack of coronavirus testing as cases continue to rise in the capital region, The Washington Post, Luz Lazo, Erin Cox, and Hannah Natanson, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “The rise in Washington-area coronavirus cases continued Sunday as leaders slammed President Trump for encouraging protests against stay-at-home orders and contradicted the White House’s claims that sufficient tests exist to reopen the nation’s economy. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) described Trump’s comments defending protesters as unhelpful and nonsensical, while Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the president’s claims that the country has enough tests for the virus are ‘delusional.’ Northam said Trump is focused on protests because he has not been able to deliver on his promise of supplying more tests. ‘We are fighting a biological war, and we have been asked as governors to fight that war without the supplies we need,’ Northam said Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ where he appeared with Hogan and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).” See also, Governors dispute Trump’s claim that there’s enough coronavirus testing, CNN Politics, Maeve Reston, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “Governors from both sides of the aisle on Sunday disputed President Donald Trump’s claims about the availability of coronavirus testing, escalating the erupting tension over the key challenge in reopening the nation. On CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday, the Republican governor of Maryland and the Democratic governors of Virginia and Michigan disputed Trump’s assertions that their states have enough testing to move toward reopening their states…. On the same program, Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the lack of testing is the number one problem in America and ‘has been since the beginning of the crisis. The administration, I think, is trying to ramp up testing. They are doing some things with respect to private labs,’ Hogan said. ‘But to try and push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing — somehow we aren’t doing our job — is just absolutely false.'” See also, ‘Delusional’: Governors Reject Vice President Mike Pence’s Claim on Virus Testing, The New York Times, Rick Rojas, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “Governors facing growing pressure to revive economies decimated by the coronavirus said on Sunday that a shortage of tests was among the most significant hurdles in the way of lifting restrictions in their states.” See also, Coronavirus Testing Is Hampered by Disarray, Shortages, and Backlogs. State officials and labs say competition for supplies and questionable results are prolonging the national crisis. The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Weaver and Rebecca Ballhaus, Saturday, 19 April 2020: “Amid efforts to expand coronavirus testing, laboratory operators and state health officials are navigating a thicket of supply shortages, widespread test backlogs, unexpected snafus and unreliable results, often with no referee—prolonging the national crisis. Public health experts say fast, widespread testing is a key requirement for safely reopening businesses and returning to something close to normal life, because it would allow officials to detect new cases quickly and stem outbreaks.” See also, Trump says government will step up coronavirus testing efforts after governors blast federal inaction, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Felicia Sonmez, and Mike DeBonis, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “President Trump said on Sunday that the federal government is stepping up efforts to obtain vital supplies for coronavirus testing, hours after several governors from both parties faulted his administration for not doing enough to help states. Public health experts say testing on a larger scale is a crucial step before resuming normal social and economic activity in the country. But Trump defended the administration’s approach of leaving testing largely to states.” See also, Trump invokes the Defense Protection Act (DPA) to compel the production of testing swabs, weeks after reported shortages. Trump announced an unnamed company will produce 20 million swabs per month. Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “President Donald Trump will use the Defense Production Act to compel an unnamed company to produce 20 million more coronavirus testing swabs every month — weeks after labs and public health officials started warning that shortages of these swabs were hurting efforts to ramp up testing nationwide. In his nightly press briefing on Sunday, Trump repeatedly referred to the swabs as ‘easy’ to procure — especially compared to the ventilators that he has previously compelled companies to manufacture. He even brought a swab as a prop, holding it up next to a Q-Tip before handing it to Vice President Mike Pence. Asked why his administration waited for weeks to use the Defense Production Act on swabs, Trump alternately claimed that states have ‘millions coming in’ already, that states can procure them on their own, and that governors ‘don’t know quite where they are’ and need the federal government’s help.”

The Trump Administration Has Erected a Blockade Stopping States and Hospitals From Getting Coronavirus Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “Whenever you start to think that the federal government under Donald Trump has hit a moral bottom, it finds a new way to shock and horrify. Over the last few weeks, it has started to appear as though, in addition to abandoning the states to their own devices in a time of national emergency, the federal government has effectively erected a blockade — like that which the Union used to choke off the supply chains of the Confederacy during the Civil War — to prevent delivery of critical medical equipment to states desperately in need. At the very least, federal authorities have made governors and hospital executives all around the country operate in fear that shipments of necessary supplies will be seized along the way. In a time of pandemic, having evacuated federal responsibility, the White House is functionally waging a war against state leadership and the initiative of local hospitals to secure what they need to provide sufficient treatment. Yesterday, a letter published by the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the extraordinary measures that had to be taken to secure the delivery into Massachusetts of equipment that had been bought and paid for. The NEJM, which featured the letter in its COVID-19 Notes series, is far from a platform of partisan alarm or hysteria — it is among the most sober and high-minded professional journals in the country.”

Antibody Tests, Seen as Key to Reopening the Country, Do Not Yet Deliver, The New York Times, Steve Eder, Megan Twohey, and Apoorva Mandavilli, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “In recent weeks, the United States has seen the first rollout of blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, widely heralded as crucial tools to assess the reach of the pandemic in the United States, restart the economy and reintegrate society. But for all their promise, the tests — intended to signal whether people may have built immunity to the virus — are already raising alarms. Officials fear the effort may prove as problematic as the earlier launch of diagnostic tests that failed to monitor which Americans, and how many, had been infected or developed the disease the virus causes. Criticized for a tragically slow and rigid oversight of those tests months ago, the federal government is now faulted by public health officials and scientists for greenlighting the antibody tests too quickly and without adequate scrutiny. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed about 90 companies, many based in China, to sell tests that have not gotten government vetting, saying the pandemic warrants an urgent response. But the agency has since warned that some of those businesses are making false claims about their products; health officials, like their counterparts overseas, have found others deeply flawed.” See also, Dozens of coronavirus antibody tests on the market were never vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), leading to accuracy concerns. Aggressive marketing of the tests could confuse those clamoring for the products to determine who may have developed disease-fighting antibodies. The Washington Post, Laurie McGinley, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration, criticized for slowness in authorizing tests to detect coronavirus infections, has taken a strikingly different approach to antibody tests, allowing more than 90 on the market without prior review, including some marketed fraudulently and of dubious quality, according to testing experts and the agency itself. Antibody, or serological, tests are designed to identify people who may have overcome covid-19, including those who had no symptoms, and developed an immune response. They are not designed to detect active infections. Some officials tout the blood tests as a way to reopen the economy by identifying individuals who have developed immunity and can safely return to work. But many scientists, as well as the World Health Organization, say evidence is lacking that even high-quality antibody tests can prove someone has immunity from the novel coronavirus and is not at risk of being reinfected.”

Pro-gun activists are using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “A trio of far-right, pro-gun provocateurs is behind some of the largest Facebook groups calling for anti-quarantine protests around the country, offering the latest illustration that some seemingly organic demonstrations are being engineered by a network of conservative activists. The Facebook groups target Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and they appear to be the work of Ben Dorr, the political director of a group called ‘Minnesota Gun Rights,’ and his siblings, Christopher and Aaron. By Sunday, the groups had roughly 200,000 members combined, and they continued to expand quickly, days after President Trump endorsed such protests by suggesting citizens should ‘liberate’ their states. The Dorr brothers manage a slew of pro-gun groups across a wide range of states, from Iowa to Minnesota to New York, and seek primarily to discredit organizations like the National Rifle Association as being too compromising on gun safety. Minnesota Gun Rights, for instance, describes itself as the state’s ‘no-compromise gun rights organization.'” See also, Rightwing groups are behind a wave of protests against Covid-19 restrictions, The Guardian, Jason Wilson, published on Friday, 17 April 2020: “A wave of planned anti-lockdown demonstrations that have broken out around the country to protest against the efforts of state governments to combat the coronavirus pandemic with business closures and stay-at-home orders have included far-right groups as well as more mainstream Republicans. While protesters in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and other states claim to speak for ordinary citizens, many are also supported by street-fighting rightwing groups like the Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.”

Schools Transform Into ‘Relief’ Kitchens, but Federal Aid Fails to Keep Up. Many school cafeterias are now operating more like community soup kitchens, even though the federal school meals program won’t reimburse districts for meals served to struggling adults. The New York Times, Erica L. Green and Lola Fadulu, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “After the coronavirus shut down America’s education system, districts fortified their school meals programs to ensure that their most needy students would stay fed. One month in, school leaders realize the federal programs set up to subsidize the meals of tens of millions of students cannot meet the demands of an emergency that has turned their cafeterias into food banks and community kitchens. Several districts are now feeding adults and sending days’ worth of food home for entire families. And they are doing so at a cost that under federal rules they will not recoup, and at a rate that is financially unsustainable. Under the child nutrition programs run by the Department of Agriculture, districts are partially reimbursed for each meal served to their poorest students. But districts are incurring costs that do not qualify, for adult meals, additional equipment and extra pay for food service workers who are risking their safety.”

#FloridaMorons trends after people flock to reopened Florida beaches, The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield and Samantha Pell, Saturday, 18 April 2020: “Aerial snapshots of people flocking to a reopened beach in Jacksonville, Fla., made waves on the Internet on Saturday. Local news aired photos and videos of Florida’s shoreline dotted with people, closer than six feet apart, spurring #FloridaMorons to trend on Twitter after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) gave the go-ahead for local beachfront governments to decide whether to reopen their beaches during a news briefing Friday. Duval and St. Johns counties have reopened their beaches, while Miami-Dade County officials said they are considering following suit.”

Lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo unfairly shuffled Paycheck Protection Program applications, USA Today, Dalvin Brown, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “A California-based company filed a class-action lawsuit against Wells Fargo citing unfair actions against some small businesses seeking government-sponsored coronavirus relief under the Paycheck Protection Program. In March, the Treasury Department announced the $349 billion forgivable loan plan for small businesses that helps them pay employees during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The fund ran out of money on Friday. The lawsuit filed on behalf of small business owners on Sunday alleges that Wells Fargo unfairly prioritized businesses seeking large loan amounts, while the government’s small business agency has said that PPP loan applications would be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The move by Wells Fargo meant that the bank would receive millions more dollars in processing fees, according to the lawsuit. ‘Making matters worse, Wells Fargo concealed from the public that it was reshuffling the PPP applications it received and prioritizing the applications that would make the bank the most money,’ the lawsuit filed in California alleged.”

The Foundations of American Society Are Failing Us, The New York Times, Bernie Sanders, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “We are the richest country in the history of the world, but at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, that reality means little to half of our people who live paycheck to paycheck, the 40 million living in poverty, the 87 million who are uninsured or underinsured, and the half million who are homeless. In the midst of the twin crises that we face — the coronavirus pandemic and the meltdown of our economy — it’s imperative that we re-examine some of the foundations of American society, understand why they are failing us, and fight for a fairer and more just nation. The absurdity and cruelty of our employer-based, private health insurance system should now be apparent to all. As tens of millions of Americans are losing their jobs and incomes as a result of the pandemic, many of them are also losing their health insurance. That is what happens when health care is seen as an employee benefit, not a guaranteed right. As we move forward beyond the pandemic, we need to pass legislation that finally guarantees health care to every man, woman and child — available to people employed or unemployed, at every age.”

Trump won’t say whether he will pardon his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and long-time friend Roger Stone, and he calls FBI investigators ‘human scum,’ CNN Politics, Nicky Robertson and Katelyn Polantz, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “President Donald Trump Sunday would not say whether he will pardon several former associates who were convicted after being charged as part of the Mueller probe, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and long-time friend Roger Stone. When asked about pardons at the coronavirus task force briefing, Trump responded: ‘You will find out.’ Trump also harshly criticized FBI officials for how they conducted the investigation of whether Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election, which the bureau started before Special Counsel Robert Mueller took it over. The President called FBI officials involved in the Russia investigation ‘human scum’ in the briefing because he believes the lives of several of his friends and colleagues were unnecessarily ruined because of the probe.”

A Crash Course on Climate Change, 50 Years After the First Earth Day, The New York Times, Sunday, 19 April 2020: “The science is clear: The world is warming dangerously, humans are the cause of it, and a failure to act today will deeply affect the future of the Earth. This is a seven-day New York Times crash course on climate change, in which reporters from the Times’s Climate desk address the big questions.”


Monday, 20 April 2020, Day 1,186:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 20 April 2020: Coronavirus Death Toll Soars in Turkey; World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Warns of Vaccine Roadblock. Singapore, an early success story, is having a surge in cases, while European countries start to ease restrictions. Oil prices nosedived as a worldwide surplus grew. The New York Times, Monday, 20 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 20 April 2020: Trump Says He Will Halt Immigration; States Start to Reopen Businesses. South Carolina eases some lockdown restrictions, and Georgia and Tennessee will follow suit. Cases at an Ohio prison surge, and oil prices plummet. The New York Times, Monday, 20 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 20 April 2020: Single-Day Death Toll in New York Dips Below 500, The New York Times, Monday, 20 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 20 April 2020: U.S. Oil Prices Plunge Into Negative Territory, The New York Times, Monday, 20 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 20 April 2020: Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee governors announce plans to ease coronavirus restrictions, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Lateshia Beachum, Samantha Pell, Steven Goff, Meryl Kornfield, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, Felicia Sonmez, Siobhán O’Grady, and Katie Mettler, Monday, 20 April 2020: “President Trump tweeted Monday night that he will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States. The president said he would be signing the order ‘in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.’ It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to or whether such an order would be possible. Meanwhile, Republican governors of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee announced earlier Monday plans to ease restrictions. In Georgia, despite not hitting its reopening benchmarks, Gov. Brian Kemp said gyms and salons will be allowed to reopen Friday. Restaurants and theaters may reopen next Monday, Kemp said.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Most Americans oppose protests calling for an end to stay-at-home orders, according to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll published Monday. The poll shows that 60 percent of Americans oppose the protesters while 22 percent support them and 18 percent were unsure.
  • The federal government plans to ramp up operations again as states ease restrictions, which would steadily send a little over 2 million government employees back to the office.
  • Oil prices dropped into negative territory because of the extraordinary decline in economic activity around the world. Because the world has a huge glut of oil, there’s hardly anywhere to put additional barrels and nobody is buying.
  • Several European nations were preparing to reopen some businesses on Monday, amid mounting pressure to arrest rapidly declining economic output. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged caution, warning about the threat of a relapse.
  • The number of hospital admissions of people suspected of having coronavirus in New York dropped over the weekend. Maryland received 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said some statewide measures meant to enforce social distancing would roll back on May 8.
  • The Trump administration and Congress are close to finalizing a deal that would inject roughly $300 billion into the small-business loan program that was overwhelmed with demand. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN she feels ‘optimistic and hopeful’ that lawmakers will come to a conclusion Monday night. ‘We can’t go until we have the final agreement, but we’re close,’ she said.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump Plans to Suspend Immigration to U.S., The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Michael D. Shear, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Monday, 20 April 2020: “President Trump said on Monday evening that he intended to close the United States to people trying to immigrate into the country to live and work, a drastic move that he said would protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy began to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak. ‘In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, ‘I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!’ In recent weeks, the Trump administration has used health concerns to justify aggressively restricting immigration. Even before the tweet, it had expanded travel restrictions, slowed visa processing and moved to swiftly bar asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, alarming immigration advocates who have said that Mr. Trump and his advisers are using a global pandemic to further hard-line immigration policies. But the president’s late-night announcement on Monday signals his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal off the country from the rest of the world. A formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days, according to several people familiar with the plan. Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration. It was not immediately clear what legal basis Mr. Trump would claim to justify shutting down most immigration.” See also, Trump Halts New Green Cards, but Backs Off Broader Immigration Ban, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Caitlin Dickerson, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “While numerous studies have concluded that immigration has an overall positive effect on the American work force and wages for workers, Mr. Trump ignored that research on Tuesday, insisting that American citizens who had lost their jobs in recent weeks should not have to compete with foreigners when the economy reopens…. The decision not to block guest worker programs — which provide specific visas for technology workers, farm laborers and others — is a concession to business groups, which assailed the White House on Tuesday.”  See also, Trump claims he will temporarily suspend immigration into US due to coronavirus fears, CNN Politics, Betsy Klein, Priscilla Alvarez, and Kevin Liptak, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Trump administration officials on Tuesday morning scrambled to finalize an executive order after President Donald Trump said in a late-night tweet he would temporarily suspend immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, Trump to suspend immigration to U.S. for 60 days, citing coronavirus crisis and jobs shortage, but he will allow some workers in, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Maria Sacchetti, and Tracy Jan, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “President Trump said Tuesday he will halt immigration to the United States for 60 days, a freeze that will block green card recipients from moving to the country but will continue to allow temporary workers on nonimmigrant visas to enter. The president provided a rationale for the unprecedented decision that was primarily economic, arguing that he wants Americans to have access to work as millions of people have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis.” See also, Executive Order Halting New Green Cards Includes Exceptions, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, published on Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday temporarily blocking the issuance of green cards to those outside the United States, but the measure includes numerous exemptions, like those for overseas spouses and young children of American citizens. The order, which will be in place for at least 60 days, will affect thousands of parents, adult children and siblings of citizens seeking to immigrate to the United States. Under the measure, a diversity visa lottery that issues about 50,000 visas each year will be suspended, and green card holders in the United States will be prevented from reuniting with their spouses abroad. But it does not apply to immigrants already in the United States, nor to those seeking temporary visas, including students or guest workers like farmers. Other exceptions include health care professionals and their families as well as people in the EB-5 program, who invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in programs that create jobs.”

Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina Say Businesses Can Reopen Soon, The New York Times, Rick Rojas and Michael Cooper, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Residents of Georgia will be allowed on Friday to return to the gym and get haircuts, pedicures, massages and tattoos. Next Monday, they can dine again in restaurants and go to the movies. With that announcement, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Monday joined officials in other states who are moving ahead with plans to relax restrictions intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, despite signs that the outbreak is just beginning to strike some parts of the country.” See also, Governor Brian Kemp sets Georgia on aggressive course to reopen, putting his state at the center of deepening national debate, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s move Monday to lift restrictions on a wide range of businesses, one of the most aggressive moves yet to reignite commercial activity in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, put his state at the center of a deepening national battle over whether Americans are ready to risk exacerbating the public health crisis to revive the shattered economy. The announcement from Kemp (R), who was among the last of the nation’s governors to impose a statewide stay-at-home directive, caused blowback from public health experts, who said the state did not yet meet the criteria issued by the White House, and set up a potential confrontation with the mayor of Atlanta and leaders from other cities advising residents to stay at home.” See also, The federal government unveils a plan to return to normal operations, The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler and Steven Goff, Monday, 20 April 2020: “The federal government on Monday unveiled a plan to return to normal operations — outlining a multipronged approach that largely relies on President Trump’s guidelines for reopening states, while leaving some decision-making in the hands of agency leaders. The memo, issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, says officials will ‘ramp back up government operations to the maximum extent possible, as local conditions warrant.’ It does not offer specific deadlines, noting that the federal government will calibrate its strategy in alignment with state, county and regional reopening efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, while also ‘maintaining practices that have proven successful in fighting the virus.'” See also, Some States Look to Reopen, but Others Want More Testing First, The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, Arian Camp-Flores, and Ruth Bender, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “U.S. governors are pursuing different routes to restart local economies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with several Southern leaders moving to reopen businesses while others voice concern about taking such steps without more robust testing capacity.” See also, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen businesses is political murder, Decaturish, George Chidi, Monday, 20 April 2020: “You really want to know what I think about the governor’s decision to reopen many businesses closed by COVID-19? It’s about making sure people can’t file unemployment. It isn’t about saving lives, certainly. It’s not about the peak of the curve. I think lots of people are going to ignore the governor and stay home regardless. This isn’t a decision being driven by epidemiology. It’s the rawest and most lethal of political decisions, and it will kill people.” See also, Georgia mayors are alarmed by Governor Brian Kemp’s ‘reckless’ plan to reopen the economy, The Guardian, Amanda Holpuch, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Georgia mayors said they were alarmed by the governor’s decision to reopen the economy this week, as the state joined several others in planning to relax restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. The mayor of Savannah called the decision ‘reckless, premature and dangerous.’ Ignoring public health experts’ warnings that reopening too quickly could cause another spike in cases, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, a Republican, said on Monday some businesses in the state could reopen this week.” See also, Governors chart different paths as they respond to the coronavirus, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Miriam Berger, and Katie Mettler, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “State governments continued Tuesday to chart differing paths for dealing with the coronavirus, with some stressing the importance of ongoing restrictions while others moved more quickly toward reopening economic and social activities, at times disregarding White House guidelines. South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and Florida have announced limited easing of business and recreational closures and social gatherings, to start between this week and the end of April. While some of those states have shown a fall in confirmed virus cases on some recent days, other days have presented increased numbers. None has charted the sustained, 14-day ‘downward trajectory’ outlined in federal guidelines issued last week.” See also, States rushing to reopen are likely making a deadly error, coronavirus models and experts warn, The Washington Post, William Wan, Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Joel Achenbach, published on Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

20 million coronavirus tests per day needed to fully open economy, ABC News, Teri Whitcraft, Bill Hutchinson, and Nadine Shubailat, Monday, 20 April 2020: “With President Donald Trump saying he wants to lift stay-at-home novel coronavirus orders and open up parts of the country, more than 45 economists, social scientists, lawyers and ethicists say there’s a growing consensus pointing to a major step necessary to put Americans back to work: dramatically upscaling testing. In a report titled ‘Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience,’ released on Monday morning, a blue-ribbon panel of thought leaders across the political spectrum called COVID-19 ‘a profound threat to our democracy, comparable to the Great Depression and World War II.’ ‘It’s a moment for a “Can Do America” to really show up and put itself to work,’ Danielle Allen, lead author of the report and a professor at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center on Ethics, told ABC News. The report says that ending the quarantine safely will require testing, tracing, and supported isolation, a combination known by the acronym TTSI.”

Frustrated by Lack of Coronavirus Tests, Maryland Got 500,000 From South Korea, The New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer, Monday, 20 April 2020: “When President Trump told governors that they needed to step up their efforts to secure medical supplies, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland took the entreaty seriously and negotiated with suppliers in South Korea to obtain coronavirus test kits. ‘The No. 1 problem facing us is lack of testing,’ said Mr. Hogan, a Republican, who has been among the many critics of the Trump administration’s repeated claims that states have adequate testing provided by the federal government. ‘We can’t open up our states without ramping up testing.’ In recent days, his wife, Yumi Hogan, a Korean immigrant who speaks fluent Korean, had been on the phone in the middle of the night helping to secure the final deal with two labs to sell Maryland the tests. ‘Luckily we had a very strong relationship with Korea,’ Mr. Hogan said. ‘But it should not have been this difficult.'”

Conservative activist family is behind ‘grassroots’ anti-quarantine Facebook events. A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting shelter-in-place restrictions. NBC News, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Protests against state stay-at-home orders have attracted a wide range of fringe activists and ardent Trump supporters. They have also attracted a family of political activists whom some Republican lawmakers have called ‘scam artists.’ A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting the shelter-in-place restrictions, according to an NBC News analysis of Facebook groups and website registration information. The groups were set up by four brothers — Chris, Ben, Aaron and Matthew Dorr — and have amassed more than 200,000 members collectively, including in states where they don’t reside, according to an NBC News analysis based on public records searches and Facebook group registrations.” See also, Healthcare Workers Stand in Street to Block Right-Wing Protest Against Colorado Stay-at-Home Order, Common Dreams, Jake Johnson, Monday, 20 April 2020: “A small group of frontline healthcare workers dressed in scrubs stood in the middle of a busy street in Denver, Colorado on Sunday to block hundreds of right-wing protestors traveling to a demonstration against Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order, which is aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Photojournalist Alyson McClaran captured the tense confrontation in a series of photos posted to social media on Sunday. Video clips also emerged on Twitter showing right-wing demonstrators screaming and honking at the nurses as they calmly stood their ground in the street. ‘They were blocking the roads until the police force stepped in,’ McClaran told the New York Times. ‘People were putting their cars right up against them.'” See also, The Quiet Hand of Conservative Groups in the Anti-Lockdown Protests, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Jim Rutenberg, and Lisa Lerer, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “An informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the White House, has been quietly working to nurture protests and apply political and legal pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”

‘The Big Guys Get Bailed Out’: Restaurants Vie for Relief Funds. Shake Shack was among the larger companies criticized for seeking small-business emergency loans from the federal government. Shake Shack said it would return the $10 million it had received from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The New York Times, David Yaffe-Bellany, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Buried deep in the 900-page stimulus package that Congress passed in March, a single paragraph has sparked an outcry from small restaurants as major chains and mom-and-pop places alike scramble to survive a devastating financial crisis. The provision, in a section outlining which small businesses qualify for loans from the federal government, allowed big chains like Shake Shack, Potbelly and Ruth’s Chris Steak House to get tens of millions of dollars while many smaller restaurants walked away with nothing when the $349 billion fund was exhausted last week. On Monday, Congress and the White House were nearing a deal to replenish that fund with $300 billion in additional relief. The inequity caused widespread outrage. Independent owners said it would create a post-pandemic landscape in which chains dominated and small, vibrant restaurants collapsed. Some lawmakers said the outcome had violated the spirit of the legislation.” See also, Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris, and other chain restaurants got big Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans when small businesses couldn’t, CNN Business, Alicia Wallace, Monday, 20 April 2020: “In fewer than two weeks, the funds in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $349 billion stimulus effort heralded as a means to help the nation’s small businesses pay their workers and keep their operations running, were exhausted.” See also, Trump administration and Republicans face heat after hotel and restaurant chains helped run small business program dry, The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Monday, 20 April 2020.

The Government Accountability Office, a watchdog out of Trump’s grasp, unleashes wave of coronavirus audits, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Lawmakers handed President Donald Trump $2 trillion in coronavirus relief — and then left town without activating any of the powerful new oversight tools meant to hold his administration accountable. But with little fanfare, Congress’ independent, in-house watchdog is preparing a blizzard of audits that will become the first wide-ranging check on Trump’s handling of the sprawling national rescue effort. And even as Trump has gone to war against internal watchdogs in his administration, the Government Accountability Office remains largely out of the president’s grasp because of its home in the legislative branch. The GAO has quickly taken advantage of its perch, exploring the early missteps inherent in launching a multitrillion-dollar law that touches every facet of American life. By the end of April, at least 30 CARES Act reviews and audits — ‘engagements,’ per GAO lingo — are expected to be underway, according to interviews with senior investigators.”

Brett Giroir, Trump’s testing czar, was forced out of a job developing vaccine projects in 2015. Now he’s on the hot seat. The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, says that his experience working on vaccine development projects at Texas A&M University helped prepare him for this historic moment. He once said that his vaccine effort was so vital that ‘the fate of 50 million people will rely on us getting this done.’ But after eight years of work on several vaccine projects, Giroir was told in 2015 he had 30 minutes to resign or he would be fired. His annual performance evaluation at Texas A&M, the local newspaper reported, said he was ‘more interested in promoting [him]self’ than the health science center where he worked. He got low marks on being a ‘team player.’ Now President Trump has given Giroir the crucial task of ending the massive shortfall of tests for the novel coronavirus. Some governors have blasted the lack of federal help on testing, which they say is necessary to enact Trump’s plan for reopening the economy.”

The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients. This is what I learned during 10 days of treating Covid pheumonia at Bellevue Hospital. The New York Times, Dr. Richard Levitan, Monday, 20 April 2020: “We are just beginning to recognize that Covid pneumonia initially causes a form of oxygen deprivation we call ‘silent hypoxia’ — ‘silent’ because of its insidious, hard-to-detect nature…. To my amazement, most patients I saw said they had been sick for a week or so with fever, cough, upset stomach and fatigue, but they only became short of breath the day they came to the hospital. Their pneumonia had clearly been going on for days, but by the time they felt they had to go to the hospital, they were often already in critical condition.”

White House is still scrambling to cover virus treatment for the uninsured, Politico, Susannah Luthi and Rachel Roubein, Monday, 20 April 2020: “The White House pledged over two weeks ago to cover coronavirus treatment for uninsured Americans — but the administration still doesn’t have a plan for how to do it. Trump officials are still grappling with key questions about how exactly to implement the treatment fund, including how to determine if a patient qualifies for the new federal dollars, an administration source said. Adding to the challenge, they’re still figuring out how to divvy up funding that hospitals and physicians say is desperately needed.”

Oil drops below $0, signaling extreme collapse in demand. But you’re still going to have to pay for gas. The Washington Post, Will Englund, Monday, 20 April 2020: “When the price of oil seemingly stepped through the looking glass Monday and tumbled into negative value, it summoned up an image of the world of petroleum turned wrong-side-round. In theory it meant that sellers would have to pay buyers $40 or more just to take a barrel of what used to be called Black Gold off their hands. It was fleeting, and symbolic, more than anything, and it won’t have much effect on the price of gasoline at the pump. But it showed just how much the coronavirus pandemic has crushed the world’s energy markets — and how the global effort to stabilize them was failing. And the very notion that a barrel of oil could be worth less than zero was a shock to many.” See also, What the Negative Price of Oil Is Telling Us, The New York Times, Neil Irwin, published on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic has caused a series of mind-bending distortions across world financial markets, but Monday featured the most bizarre one yet: The benchmark price for crude oil in the United States fell to negative $37.63.”

Judge orders Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to consider releasing all immigrants at risk of dying if infected by coronavirus, CBS News, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, Monday, 20 April 2020: “A federal judge in California on Monday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to actively and rapidly review the cases of all detained immigrants at increased risk of severe illness or death if they contract the coronavirus and determine whether they should be released. Judge Jesus Bernal of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said ICE needs to identify all immigrants in its custody who are either over the age of 55, pregnant or suffer from chronic medical conditions — like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer and HIV — in the next 10 days or within the first five days of detention for future detainees. He required the agency to make ‘timely custody determinations’ for all detainees who fall into any of the high-risk categories he outlined. Bernal underscored a sense of urgency in his order, admonishing ICE several times for what he described as inadequate and slow efforts to protect detainees.” See also, In Victory for Detained Immigrants, Federal Judge Orders ICE to Review for Release Every Person With COVID-19 Risk Factors, Southern Poverty Law Center, Monday, 29 April 2020.

Trump, Head of Government, Leans Into Antigovernment Message. With his poll numbers fading after a rally-around-the-leader bump, the president is stoking protests against stay-at-home orders. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Monday, 20 April 2020: “First he was the self-described ‘wartime president.’ Then he trumpeted the ‘total’ authority of the federal government. But in the past few days, President Trump has nurtured protests against state-issued stay-at-home orders aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronavirus. Hurtling from one position to another is consistent with Mr. Trump’s approach to the presidency over the past three years. Even when external pressures and stresses appear to change the dynamics that the country is facing, Mr. Trump remains unbowed, altering his approach for a day or two, only to return to nursing grievances. Not even the president’s re-election campaign can harness him: His team is often reactive to his moods and whims, trying but not always succeeding in steering him in a particular direction. Now, with Mr. Trump’s poll numbers falling after a rally-around-the-leader bump, he is road-testing a new turn on a familiar theme — veering into messages aimed at appealing to Americans whose lives have been disrupted by the legally enforceable stay-at-home orders.”

Doctors and Governors Vie for Masks in Cloak-and-Dagger Deals, The New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye, Andrew Jacobs, Jo Becker, and Tim Arango, Monday, 20 April 2020: “It was a stealth transaction, arranged through ‘someone who knew someone who knew someone,’ taking place at an undisclosed location in an unnamed mid-Atlantic state. The getaway vehicles were disguised as food service delivery trucks, and they mapped out separate routes back to Massachusetts to avoid detection. Those were the lengths that a hospital system in Springfield, Mass., went to this month to procure urgently needed masks for workers treating a growing number of patients with the coronavirus. Despite plans to reopen states, equipment to protect workers from the coronavirus remains in high demand. ‘The need for an organized, equitable distribution system is dire,’ a doctor said.”

Supreme Court Bans Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts for Serious Crimes, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 20 April 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Constitution banned non-unanimous jury verdicts in cases involving serious crimes. The decision will affect defendants and prisoners in Louisiana and Oregon, the only two states that have allowed such verdicts in recent years. The decision was badly fractured, with the justices sharply debating whether to adhere to an earlier decision.” See also, Supreme Court says state juries must be unanimous to convict for serious crimes, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 20 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 6 to 3 that state court juries must be unanimous to convict a defendant of a serious crime, a decision that scrambled the court’s usual ideological lineups and prompted soul-searching among some justices about when to overturn precedent. Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that do not require unanimity for major crimes, and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said each state’s decision was rooted in discrimination. Although unanimity is not mentioned in the Constitution’s guarantee of an unbiased trial, he wrote, it is clear what is required.”

Supreme Court says Montana landowners in Superfund fight must consult with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 20 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for some Montana landowners to pursue additional cleanup at a Superfund contamination site beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to do. The court ruled 7 to 2 that the EPA takes the lead in coordinating environmental cleanup plans, and that the Montana landowners were not free under state law to take further actions on their own.” See also, Supreme Court Rules Against Landowners in Montana Superfund Fight, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Landowners may not sue the Atlantic Richfield Company to force it to do more than a federal cleanup plan requires unless the Environmental Protection Agency consents, the court ruled…. The source of the toxic waste was a copper smelter near Butte, Mont., which for nearly a century processed ore and released lethal chemicals into the environment, including, according to court records, as much as 62 tons of arsenic and 10 tons of lead each day.”

Oxford University Passes Resolution Banning Investment in Fossil Fuels, The Oxford Student, Matthew Kayanja, Monday, 20 April 2020: “Oxford University has passed a motion requiring its endowment fund to divest from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and end future investment in funds that primarily hold stock in fossil fuel companies. The motion further requires endowment managers to request evidence of plans to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from companies across Oxford’s entire portfolio of investments. The preamble to the resolution hails it as a chance to put Oxford ‘in a strong position to act as a world leader on climate conscious investment’ in partnership with ‘the best available research on climate conscious business practises.’ The resolution was passed by Congregation, a decision-making body of the university made up of 5500 academic staff, members of governing bodies of colleges and societies as well as senior research, computing, library and administrative staff. Members were given until noon on the 20th of April to oppose or amend the resolution before a meeting of Congregation on the 28th of April, but with no such action being given by this time via email or post the motion was duly passed.”


Tuesday, 21 April 2020, Day 1,187:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 April 2020: U.N. Warns World Hunger Could Double as Global Economy Crashes, The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 April 2020: California Announces Early Coronavirus Deaths; Trump Narrows Immigration Ban. A 60-day pause in immigration will not apply to guest workers. The Senate passed a $484 billion aid package. The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 April 2020: Cuomo Says Trump Pledges to Help New York Double Virus Testing, The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 April 2020: U.S. Orders Chevron to Stop Producing Oil in Venezuela, The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 April 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 21 April 2020: Senate passes $484 billion coronavirus aid package; Study finds hydroxychloroquine is linked to higher death rate, The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, Siobhán O’Grady, Meryl Kornfield, John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, and Rick Noack, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug Trump has touted as a ‘game changer’ in treating covid-19, had no benefit and was linked to higher rates of death for Veterans Affairs patients, according to a study. The U.S. surpassed 800,000 confirmed cases, with more than 44,000 reported deaths. Globally, countries have reported 2.5 million infections and more than 175,000 covid-19 deaths.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Senate passed a $484 billion bill to replenish a small-business loan program and boost spending for hospitals and coronavirus testing. The House plans to vote on the measure Thursday.
  • President Trump said he will sign an executive order to suspend immigration to the U.S. for 60 days, a ban that would be unprecedented in the country’s history.
  • second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday, as a few governors begin scaling back restrictions and restarting their economies.
  • Cratering oil prices drove the Dow down more than 600 points, a sign that oil markets and the global economy may not stabilize for months.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved the first coronavirus test that allows patients to collect nasal samples at home to mail in for testing.
  • Munich’s Oktoberfest event and Pamplona’s annual running of the bulls were canceled. The Scripps National Spelling Bee outside Washington will not be held for the first time since 1945.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Senate Approves Aid for Small-Business Loan Program, Hospitals, and Testing, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Senate approved a $484 billion coronavirus relief package on Tuesday that would revive a depleted loan program for distressed small businesses and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing, breaking a partisan impasse over the latest infusion of federal money to address the public health and economic crisis brought on by the pandemic…. At the insistence of Democrats, the measure would provide $25 billion for testing and a mandate that the Trump administration establish a national strategy to help states and localities, which are required to outline their own plans for testing. It is a step that public health experts and governors have said will be crucial to allowing states and sectors of the economy to safely reopen in the weeks and months to come, although economists and health researchers say the funding is a fraction of what will ultimately be necessary to deploy the kind of testing and tracing that will be needed to restart large amounts of activity by the summer.” See also, Senate passes $484 billion bill that would expand small-business aid and boost money for hospitals and testing, The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Senate passed a $484 billion deal Tuesday to replenish a small-business loan program that’s been overrun by demand and to devote more money to hospitals and coronavirus testing. President Trump said he would sign it into law…. Democratic lawmakers say it should be just the beginning. Speaking on the Senate floor shortly before the legislation passed by voice vote, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said lawmakers needed to quickly begin work on another piece of legislation that would match the size and scope of last month’s $2 trillion Cares Act.” See also, Senate Passes Bill for More Small-Business Stimulus. The $484 billion bill now goes to the House, where a vote is expected on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal, Kristina Peterson and Andrew Duehren, Tuesday, 21 April 2020.

Autopsies reveal first confirmed U.S. coronavirus deaths occurred in California on 6 February and 17 February, making them the first documented COVID-19 fatalities in the United States, Los Angeles Times, Matt Hamilton, Paige St. John, and Rong-Gong Lin II, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Two coronavirus-infected people died in Santa Clara County on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, the medical examiner revealed Tuesday, making them first documented COVID-19 fatalities in the United States. Until now, the first fatality was believed to have occurred in Kirkland, Wash., on Feb. 29. Officials previously had said the first Silicon Valley death was March 9. But the Santa Clara County medical examiner revealed Tuesday that people who died Feb. 6, Feb. 17 and March 6 also died of COVID-19. ‘These three individuals died at home during a time when very limited testing was available only through the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. Testing criteria set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms,’ the county said in a statement. ‘As the Medical Examiner-Coroner continues to carefully investigate deaths throughout the county, we anticipate additional deaths from COVID-19 will be identified.'”

28,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Crisis, The New York Times, Jin Wu and Allison McCann, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “At least 28,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 11 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis. In the last month, far more people died in these countries than in previous years, The New York Times found. The totals include deaths from Covid-19 as well as those from other causes, likely including people who could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed.”

The Trump administration readies push to slash regulations as major part of its coronavirus economic recovery plan, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Robert Costa, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Senior White House and Trump administration officials are planning to launch a sweeping effort in the coming days to repeal or suspend federal regulations affecting businesses, with the expected executive action seen by advisers as a way to boost an economy facing its worst shock in generations, two people familiar with the internal planning said. The White House-driven initiative is expected to center on suspending federal regulations for small businesses and expanding an existing administration program that requires agencies to revoke two regulations for every new one they issue, the two people said. While the plan remains in flux, changes could affect environmental policy, labor policy, workplace safety and health care, among other areas.”

The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Authorizes First In-Home Test for Coronavirus, The New York Times, Katie Thomas and Natasha Singer, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it had granted emergency clearance to the first in-home test for the coronavirus, a nasal swab kit that will be sold by LabCorp. The agency said that LabCorp had submitted data showing the home test is as safe and accurate as a sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site. ‘With this action, there is now a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home,’ Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the F.D.A. commissioner, said in a statement. Patients will swab their own nose using a testing kit sent by the company, and will mail it in an insulated package back to the company. The test will be available to consumers in most states, with a doctor’s order, the agency said.”

Rockefeller Foundation Announces National Coronavirus Testing Plan With $15 Million Investment, Forbes, Leah Rosenbaum, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Rockefeller Foundation announced a new action plan to expand coronavirus testing on April 21st, and says it will make  a $15 million investment to make that a reality. The plan consists of three stages: expanding COVID-19 testing, launching a healthcare corps for testing and contact tracing, and creating universal digital platforms for coronavirus testing data. Currently, the U.S. tests about 1 million people for coronavirus each week; The Rockefeller Foundation wants to expand to 3 million tests per week within two months, and 30 million tests per week within six months.”

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC), warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating, The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season.”

David Beasley, executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Programme, says the coronavirus pandemic ‘will cause famine of biblical proportions,’ The Guardian, Fiona Harvey, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The world is facing widespread famine ‘of biblical proportions’ because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of the UN’s food relief agency has warned, with a short time to act before hundreds of millions starve. More than 30 countries in the developing world could experience widespread famine, and in 10 of those countries there are already more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation, said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. ‘We are not talking about people going to bed hungry,’ he told the Guardian in an interview. ‘We are talking about extreme conditions, emergency status – people literally marching to the brink of starvation. If we don’t get food to people, people will die.'”

Attorney General William Barr calls stay-at-home orders ‘disturbingly close to house arrest.’ Barr said the Justice Department may consider taking legal action against states that go too far. NBC News, Pete Williams, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the need for strong restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be passing and that the Justice Department might consider taking legal action against states that go too far…. Barr said the restrictions, such as shutting down businesses and requiring people to stay home, are intrusions on civil liberties that may be justified under the broad police powers states have to protect public health. But he said governors may go too far and interfere with interstate commerce, which is the domain of the federal government.” See also, Attorney General William Barr Says the Department of Justice Will Support Legal Action if Governors’ Restrictions Go ‘Too Far,’ NPR, Alana Wise, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would support legal action against states that continue to impose strict social distancing rules even after coronavirus cases begin to subside in their respective states. In a Tuesday interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Barr called some current stay-at-home orders ‘burdens on civil liberties’ and said that if they continued and lawsuits were brought, his department would side against the state.” See also, Attorney General William Barr Threatens Legal Action Against Governors Over Lockdowns, Bloomberg, Chris Strohm, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Justice Department will consider taking legal action against governors who continue to impose stringent rules for dealing with the coronavirus that infringe on constitutional rights even after the crisis subsides in their states, Attorney General William Barr said. Blunt means to deal with the pandemic, such as stay-at-home orders and directives shutting down businesses, are justified up to a point Barr said in an interview Tuesday on ‘The Hugh Hewitt Show.’ Eventually, though, states should move to more targeted measures, Barr said. He cited the approach laid out by President Donald Trump.”

New U.S. Treatment Guidelines for Covid-19 Say There Is No Proven Drug for Treating Coronavirus Patients, The New York Times, Denise Grady, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The federal agency led by Dr. Anthony Fauci issued guidelines on Tuesday that stated there is no proven drug for treating coronavirus patients, a finding that essentially reinforces Dr. Fauci’s dissent from President Trump’s repeated promotion of certain drugs without evidence to support their use. The report echoed what frustrated doctors already know: Not enough is known about the highly infectious virus or how to combat it. Months into the pandemic, a panel of experts convened by the research center Dr. Fauci leads, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, concluded that whenever possible, drug therapy should be given as part of a clinical trial, so that data can be collected to determine whether treatments work.”

A Panel of Experts Convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Recommends Against the Drug Combination Trump Has Been Promoting for Treating COVID-19, NPR, Joe Palca, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities. ‘The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was associated with QTc prolongation in patients with COVID-19,’ the panel said. QTc prolongation increases the risk of sudden cardiac death. The recommendation against their combined use would seem to fly in the face of comments made by President Trump suggesting the combination might be helpful. On March 21, for example, the president described them in a Tweet as having a ‘real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.'” See also, A malaria drug widely touted by Trump for treating COVID-19 showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals, Associated Press, Marilynn Marchione, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported. The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday. The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has not been reviewed by other scientists. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia paid for the work.” See also, Trump tones down the hydroxychloroquine hype, Politico, Quint Forgey, published on Monday, 20 April 2020: “President Donald Trump and his allies in conservative media have subtly scaled down their hyping of hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure for the coronavirus, according to a POLITICO review of White House briefings and cable news coverage. Although Trump had repeatedly promoted the decades-old malaria drug since the early days of the disease’s outbreak in the United States, his public statements regarding hydroxychloroquine have diminished significantly over the past week for reasons that remain unclear.” See also, Study finds anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine that Trump touted is linked to higher rates of death in Veterans Affairs coronavirus patients, The Washington Post, Christopher Rowland, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “An anti-malarial drug President Trump has aggressively promoted to treat covid-19 had no benefit and was linked to higher rates of death for Veterans Affairs patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, according to a study, raising further questions about the safety and efficacy of a treatment that has seen widespread use in the pandemic. The study by VA and academic researchers analyzed outcomes of 368 male patients nationwide, with 97 receiving hydroxychloroquine, 113 receiving hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, and 158 not receiving any hydroxychloroquine. Rates of death in the groups treated with the drugs were worse than those who did not receive the drugs, the study found. Rates of patients on ventilators were roughly equal, with no benefit demonstrated by the drugs.” See also, Fox News Stars Trumpeted Malaria Drug Hydroxychloroquine, Until They Didn’t. Laura Ingraham called hydroxychloroquine ‘a game changer.’ But after a month of coverage, she stopped discussing the drug on the air. The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, published on Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “For a month’s stretch, the Fox News star Laura Ingraham relentlessly promoted the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to her nearly four million nightly viewers. The drug was ‘a game changer’ in the fight against the coronavirus, the conservative anchor declared. She booked recovered patients to describe their ‘miracle turnaround’ — ‘like Lazarus, up from the grave,’ as Ms. Ingraham put it. Anyone who questioned the drug’s efficacy, she said, was ‘in total denial.’… But as of last Wednesday, Ms. Ingraham was no longer talking about hydroxychloroquine, and she didn’t bring it up on her show for a week. Her fellow Fox News prime-time stars Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity also cut back on referring to the drug. In fact, since April 13, hydroxychloroquine has been mentioned about a dozen times on Fox News, compared with more than 100 times in the four previous weeks, according to a review of network transcripts. The shift came as President Trump has dialed back his public zeal for the treatment — and as studies and health experts have increasingly cast doubt on the efficacy of the drug in treating coronavirus.” See also, Fox News hosts go mum on the covid-19 drug they spent weeks promoting, The Washington Post, Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi, published on Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

Democrats blast the Trump administration’s handling of federal workers in coronavirus crisis. Lawmakers say the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is stonewalling their requests for information. Politico, Daniel Lippman, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “As President Donald Trump tries to reopen the country after more than a month of lockdown, Democrats say the government’s top human resources office is stonewalling their efforts to understand how and when the federal government itself will return to normal. Specifically, the Office of Personnel Management is refusing to brief Capitol Hill on the status of the agency and federal employees’ teleworking arrangements, Democrats say.’ Congressional oversight isn’t an optional exercise to be left up to the Trump administration,’ said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the government operations subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. ‘Our committee has serious questions about OPM’s decision-making related to Covid-19, including unclear telework guidance; a lack of actions taken to protect federal employees; and now we learn, guidance or standards to reopen government that abdicate any leadership responsibility. This lack of accountability from OPM will not be tolerated.’ OPM is essentially the federal government’s HR department: It guides the 2-million-strong federal workforce, which makes up a disproportionately large percentage of employees across the Washington, D.C. area. And decisions about how to deploy federal workers are more firmly in the control of the president — who is eager to get the U.S. economy humming again — than are those of America’s governors and mayors…. ‘It has always been difficult to get information from this administration, but the refusal to provide Congress with a basic briefing during a pandemic is especially egregious,’ said a Democratic Senate aide. ‘We’ve never been denied a briefing like this before.'”

Trump (the Company) Asks Trump (the Administration) for Hotel Relief, The New York Times, Ben Protess, Steve Eder, and David Enrich, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “President Trump’s signature hotel in the nation’s capital wants a break on the terms of its lease. The landlord determining the fate of the request is Mr. Trump’s own administration. Trump International Hotel, just a few blocks from the White House, had been a favored gathering place for lobbyists, foreign dignitaries and others hoping to score points with the president. But like most hotels, it is now nearly empty and looking to cut costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, the president’s family business has inquired about changing its lease payments, according to people familiar with the matter, which the federal government has reported amount to nearly $268,000 per month.”

Corporate America seeks legal protection for when coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, Reuters, David Morgan, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “Major U.S. business lobbying groups are asking Congress to pass measures that would protect companies large and small from coronavirus-related lawsuits when states start to lift pandemic restrictions and businesses begin to reopen. Their concerns have the ears of congressional Republicans, though it is far from clear if the idea has the Democratic support it would need to pass in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.”

Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Put Aside Disputes During White House Meeting, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Jesse McKinley, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “President Trump and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, two New Yorkers who have alternately praised and quarreled with each other during the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged their mutual home state, met in person on Tuesday to try to resolve differences over testing and financial relief. After weeks of talking by telephone and through the news media, Mr. Cuomo traveled to Washington to sit down with the president at the White House and press for more federal assistance to expand testing for the virus and to help financially devastated state and local governments.”

According to the World Press Freedom Index Coronavirus Threatens Press Freedom Around the World, The New York Times, Jenny Gross, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic may threaten press freedom and worsen the crises that reporters around the world are facing, according to this year’s World Press Freedom Index, which evaluates the landscape for journalists in 180 countries and territories. The report, published on Tuesday by the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders, said the United States and Brazil were becoming models of hostility toward the news media. It also singled out China, Iran and Iraq for censoring coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has already redefined norms. New laws that some governments have passed with the ostensible goal of slowing the spread of the virus — ones that broaden state surveillance, for instance — have raised concerns about long-term negative effects on the news media and freedom of expression.”

Texas Democrats Plan to Mail Registration Forms and Postage to Potential Voters, HuffPost, Ja’han Jones, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Texas Democratic Party announced on Tuesday that it plans to send voter registration applications and postage stamps to every Texan looking to vote in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic makes in-person get-out-the-vote efforts nearly impossible. Texas is one of 10 states that doesn’t currently allow potential voters to register online, meaning they must either submit applications in person or print and mail applications on their own. The state Democratic Party said it created a website,, that will allow supporters of any party to request that an application and a stamp be mailed to them. The application is designed to come with a pre-addressed envelope addressed to each voter’s county clerk, so prospective voters will only need to drop the application in the mailbox to register.”

Vote by Mail in Wisconsin Helped a Liberal Candidate, Upending Old Theories, The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The liberal candidate in Wisconsin’s hard-fought State Supreme Court race this month prevailed in voting by mail by a significant margin, upending years of study showing little advantage to either party when a state transitions from in-person to mail voting. The gap suggests that Democrats were more organized and proactive in their vote-by-mail efforts in an election conducted under extraordinary circumstances, with voters forced to weigh the health risks of voting in person against the sometimes unreliable option of requesting and mailing in their ballots. Still, it is likely to add to the skepticism President Trump and Republicans have expressed about mail voting, which they worry would increase Democratic turnout at Republicans’ expense.”

We Are Living in a Failed State. The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken. The Atlantic, George Packer, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category. The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.”

“A crippling blow to the prestige of the United States:’ The Trump administration struggles to meet the moment, Politico, Ben White, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The global coronavirus crisis crashed into the United States in Washington state in January and quickly brought the richest and most powerful nation in the history of the world to its knees. And so far, the federal response has been too small in scope and short on creative solutions to meet the greatest challenge since World War II. The nation needs upward of 30 million tests per week to properly track the virus, health experts say. The country is testing only about 1 million a week now. It could take a public health army of more than 100,000 to track and trace those carrying the virus. There are only a few thousand so far. It may take $1 trillion just to keep small businesses alive, based on the current burn rate of the federal small business rescue program.”

Republican-Led Senate Intelligence Committee Review Backs Intelligence Findings on Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election to Help Trump, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Julian E. Barnes, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “For years, President Trump has derided the assessment by American intelligence officials that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to assist his candidacy, dismissing it without evidence as the work of a ‘deep state’ out to undermine his victory. But on Tuesday, a long-awaited Senate review led by members of Mr. Trump’s own party effectively undercut those allegations. A three-year review by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously found that the intelligence community assessment, pinning blame on Russia and outlining its goals to undercut American democracy, was fundamentally sound and untainted by politics. The I.C.A. reflects strong tradecraft, sound analytical reasoning and proper justification of disagreement in the one analytical line where it occurred,’ said Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the panel’s chairman. ‘The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions.’ The endorsement by Mr. Burr’s committee comes at a key moment for the intelligence agencies. Not only has Mr. Trump moved in recent months to install a loyalist in the top spy position, but Attorney General William P. Barr has also blessed a broad review of possible misconduct by investigators examining the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, apparently including work by intelligence officials.” See also, Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report confirms Russia aimed to help Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Politico, Martin Matishak and Andrew Desiderio, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Tuesday’s bipartisan report, from a panel chaired by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, undercuts Trump’s years of efforts to portray allegations of Kremlin assistance to his campaign as a ‘hoax,’ driven by Democrats and a ‘deep state’ embedded within the government bureaucracy.” See also, Senate Report Affirms U.S. Intelligence Findings on 2016 Russian Interference, The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help elect Donald Trump was accurate and based on strongly sourced information and sound analytical judgment, a bipartisan Senate report has concluded. The report, released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the January 2017 assessment made public by U.S. intelligence agencies at the direction of former President Obama correctly described Moscow’s interference operations and was delivered without political considerations. It also affirmed a classified version of the assessment.” See also, Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report unanimously endorses spy agencies’ finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race in bid to help Trump, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has unanimously endorsed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia conducted a sweeping and unprecedented campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The heavily-redacted report, based on a three-year investigation, builds on a committee finding nearly two years ago that the January 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russia was sound. The spy agencies also found that Russia sought to shake faith in American democracy, denigrate then-candidate Hillary Clinton and boost her rival Donald Trump.”

U.S. Warships Enter Disputed Waters of the South China Sea as Tensions With China Escalate, The New York Times, Hannah Beech, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “American warships have sailed into disputed waters in the South China Sea, according to military analysts, heightening a standoff in the waterway and sharpening the rivalry between the United States and China, even as much of the world is in lockdown because of the coronavirus.”

Earth Day Has Gone Digital. Here’s Where to Find It. The New York Times, Laurel Graeber, Tuesday, 21 April 2020: “It seems hard to celebrate the natural world when you’re sheltering in place. But even though many Earth Day events have been canceled, several New York institutions are honoring the holiday’s 50th anniversary online. Here you can learn how to raise butterflies indoors, compete in an Earth trivia contest, join citizen science projects and tour sites as close as the city forests and as distant as other planets. These virtual festivities are free, and some last more than a day. Below are select highlights; more possibilities nationwide are at”


Wednesday, 22 April 2020, Day 1,188:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 22 April 2020: Economic Chaos Fuels Hunger and Strongmen, The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 22 April 2020: Vaccine Chief Dr. Rick Bright Says He Was Removed After Questioning the Use of Hydroxychloroquine, the Drug Trump Promoted. The first known U.S. death from the illness came in early February in California. Trump says he ‘strongly’ disagrees with Georgia’s governor on reopening some businesses. The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 22 April 2020: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Draws Scorn With Plan for July 4 Fireworks. The mayor proposed that the annual Macy’s fireworks display go on, prompting some New Yorkers to accuse him of misplacing priorities. The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 22 April 2020: Airlines and Automakers Consider How to Reopen, The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 22 April 2020: Trump disagrees with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s aggressive plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, Brittnay Shammas, Jesse Dougherty, John Wagner, and Miriam Berger, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “President Trump said he told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) that he should be less aggressive on reopening his state. ‘Only in timing, I disagree,’ Trump said at Wednesday’s task force briefing. ‘I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he’s doing.’ ‘Our Country is starting to OPEN FOR BUSINESS again,’ Trump had tweeted earlier in the day. Meanwhile, Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which was involved in work on a coronavirus vaccine and treatments, said he was removed from his post for resisting efforts to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Earth Day: Greta Thunberg calls for ‘new path’ after pandemic, The Guardian, Jonathan Watts, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Greta Thunberg has urged people around the world to take a new path after the coronavirus pandemic, which she said proved ‘our society is not sustainable.’ The Swedish climate activist said the strong global response to Covid-19 demonstrated how quickly change could happen when humanity came together and acted on the advice of scientists. She said the same principles should be applied to the climate crisis. ‘Whether we like it or not, the world has changed. It looks completely different now from how it did a few months ago. It may never look the same again. We have to choose a new way forward,’ she told a YouTube audience in a virtual meeting to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. ‘If the coronavirus crisis has shown us one thing, it is that our society is not sustainable. If one single virus can destroy economies in a couple of weeks, it shows we are not thinking long-term and taking risks into account.'”

Greta Thunberg and Johan Rockström meet for a digital conversation about courage, solidarity, and opportunities in times of crisis, streamed from the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, YouTube, Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

An Earth Day Reminder of How the Republicans Have Forsaken the Environment, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The idea for Earth Day came to Gaylord Nelson all of a sudden one day in the middle of 1969. That summer, ‘teach-ins’ about the Vietnam War were all the rage. It occurred to Nelson, then the junior U.S. senator from Wisconsin: How about a ‘teach-in’ about the environment? To attract the widest possible audience, Nelson, a Democrat, invited Representative Pete McCloskey, a Republican from California, to co-chair the event. The response was way more enthusiastic than either man had anticipated: on April 22, 1970, some twenty million Americans—a tenth of the country’s population—took to the streets. It was the largest public demonstration in U.S. history, and, as Jamie Henn, one of the founders of, has put it, it ‘had bite.’ By the end of the year, a Republican President, Richard Nixon, had created the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was followed in relatively short order by the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. All of these measures were approved with overwhelming bipartisan support. Today, as Earth Day turns fifty, it’s hard to imagine more dolorous circumstances for the occasion. Covid-19 has forced online (or cancelled) virtually all the celebrations and protests that had been planned for the anniversary. The Trump Administration has barely even taken the day off from gutting the nation’s environmental regulations. (Last week, the Administration weakened rules governing the emission of mercury and other toxic chemicals from power plants; late last month, it weakened fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.)”

As people stay home, Earth turns wilder and cleaner, Associated Press, Seth Borenstein, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “An unplanned grand experiment is changing Earth. As people across the globe stay home to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, the air has cleaned up, albeit temporarily. Smog stopped choking New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, and India’s getting views of sights not visible in decades. Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30%. Rome air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down 49% from a year ago. Stars seem more visible at night.”

Coronavirus Death in California Came Weeks Before First Previously Known U.S. Death. The earliest U.S. deaths publicly attributed to the virus had been on Feb. 26, when two people died in the Seattle area. Santa Clara County said an autopsy showed a Feb. 6 death was also related. The New York Times, Thomas Fuller and Mike Baker, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Officials in Santa Clara County, Calif., announced late Tuesday that two residents there died of the coronavirus in early and mid-February, making them the earliest known victims of the pandemic in the United States. The new information may shift the timeline of the virus’s spread through the country weeks earlier than previously believed. The first report of a coronavirus-related death in the United States came on Feb. 29 in the Seattle area, although officials there later discovered that two people who had died Feb. 26 also had the virus. But Santa Clara County officials said that autopsies of two people who died at their homes on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 showed that the individuals were infected with the virus. The presence of the disease Covid-19 was determined by tissue samples and was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, county health officials said in a statement.” This information was published by The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, 21 February 2020, but it was reported by most other news organizations on Wednesday, 22 April 2020. See also, A Coronavirus Death in Early February Was ‘Probably the Tip of an Iceberg.’  The startling discovery that the virus was responsible for a Feb. 6 death in California raises questions about where else it might have been spreading undetected. The New York Times, Thomas Fuller, Mike Baker, Shawn Hubler, and Sheri Fink, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Weeks before there was evidence that the coronavirus was spreading in U.S. communities, Patricia Dowd, a 57-year-old auditor at a Silicon Valley semiconductor manufacturer, developed flulike symptoms and abruptly died in her San Jose kitchen, triggering a search for what had killed her. Flu tests were negative. The coroner was baffled. It appeared that she had suffered a massive heart attack. But tissue samples from Ms. Dowd, who died on Feb. 6, have now shown that she was infected with the coronavirus — a startling discovery that has rewritten the timeline of the virus’s early spread in the United States and suggests that the optimistic assumptions that drove federal policies over the early weeks of the outbreak were misplaced. The unexpected new finding makes clear that the virus was circulating in the Bay Area of California as early as January, even before the federal government began restricting travel from China on Feb. 2. It also raises new questions about where else the virus might have been spreading undetected. With little local testing throughout February — in part because of botched testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with strict guidelines that limited who could get tested — officials were not aware of the virus transmitting locally in the country until Feb. 26, in Solano County, Calif.” See also, Autopsies find first U.S. coronavirus death occurred in early February, weeks earlier than previously thought, The New York Times, Allyson Chiu and Teo Armus, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “At least two people who died in early and mid-February had contracted the novel coronavirus, health officials in California said Tuesday, signaling the virus may have spread — and been fatal — in the United States weeks earlier than previously thought. Tissue samples taken during autopsies of two people who died at home in Santa Clara County, Calif., tested positive for the virus, local health officials said in a statement. The victims died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, respectively. Initially, the nation’s earliest coronavirus fatality was thought to have occurred on Feb. 29, in Kirkland, Wash., a suburb of Seattle that rapidly became a hot spot. In March, health officials there linked two Feb. 26 deaths to covid-19, the disease caused by the new virus.” See also, First Coronavirus Deaths in the U.S. Came Earlier Than Authorities Previously Thought, The Wall Street Journal, Zusha Elinson, Preetika Rana, and Jon Kamp, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “A pair of newly reported deaths in California have challenged the longstanding timeline of the coronavirus pandemic, raising new questions about when and how the virus first arrived in the U.S. and the costs of the nation’s lack of preparation earlier in the winter.”

Covid-19 Arrived in Seattle. Where It Went From There Stunned the Scientists. The New York Times, Mike Baker and Sheri Fink, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Scientists traced the virus brought to the Seattle area in January. They were astonished to learn that the same branch of the virus traveled on through at least a dozen states and to other parts of the world.”

Rick Bright, Former Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Says His Doubts About the Effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine to Treat COVID-19 Led to His Ouster, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put ‘politics and cronyism ahead of science.’ Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and removed as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. He was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health. In a scorching statement, Dr. Bright, who received a Ph.D. in immunology and molecular pathogenesis from Emory University, assailed the leadership at the health department, saying he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several ‘potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections’ and repeatedly described by the president as a potential ‘game changer’ in the fight against the virus.” See also, Dr. Rick Bright, director of key federal vaccine agency, says his ouster was retaliation for his resistance to the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, and Betsy Klein, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says he was abruptly dismissed from his post in part because he resisted efforts to widen the availability of a coronavirus treatment pushed by President Donald Trump. Dr. Rick Bright had led BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, since 2016 until Tuesday, when he was reassigned to a narrower position. He also announced he will file a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general. ‘I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,’ Bright said in a lengthy statement issued Wednesday. ‘I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.'” See also, READ: Statement from Dr. Rick Bright, leader of federal vaccine agency, about his dismissal and reassignment, CNN Politics, Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

‘Instead of Coronavirus, the Hunger Will Kill Us.’ A Global Food Crisis Looms. The New York Times, Abdi Latif Dahir, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic has brought hunger to millions of people around the world. National lockdowns and social distancing measures are drying up work and incomes, and are likely to disrupt agricultural production and supply routes — leaving millions to worry how they will get enough to eat.”

World Health Organization warns: Coronavirus remains ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘will be with us for a long time,’ CNBC, Berkeley Lovelace Jr, and Jasmine Kim, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The World Health Organization warned world leaders Wednesday that they will need to manage around the coronavirus for the foreseeable future as cases level off or decline in some countries, while peaking in others and resurging in areas where the Covid-19 pandemic appeared to be under control. ‘Make no mistake, we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,’ WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. While social distancing measures put in place in numerous countries to slow the spread of the coronavirus have been successful, the virus remains ‘extremely dangerous,’ Tedros said. Current data show ‘most of the world’s population remains susceptible,’ he said, meaning outbreaks can easily ‘reignite.'”

Trump’s Scientists Push Back on His Claim That Coronavirus May Not Return This Fall, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “In February, President Trump told the public that the coronavirus should ‘go away’ by April. In March, he said that the virus may ‘wash’ away by summer. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump told the American public that the virus ‘won’t be coming back in the form that it was’ this fall or winter. He then mused that it might not come back at all. The scientists flanking him at a White House briefing explicitly said otherwise. ‘There will be coronavirus in the fall,’ Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, said as Mr. Trump looked on.”

What 5 Coronavirus Models Say the Next Month Will Look Like, The New York Times, Quoctrung Bui, Josh Katz, Alicia Parlapiano, and Margot Sanger-Katz, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “In the last few weeks, we’ve all become a little more familiar with epidemiological models. These calculations, which make estimates about how many people are likely to get sick, need a hospital bed or die from coronavirus, are guiding public policy — and our expectations about what the future holds. But if you look at the models, they don’t really agree.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s Early Missteps Set Back Coronavirus Response, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Stephanie Armour, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “On Jan. 29, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump the coronavirus epidemic was under control. The U.S. government had never mounted a better interagency response to a crisis, Mr. Azar told the president in a meeting held eight days after the U.S. announced its first case, according to administration officials. At the time, the administration’s focus was on containing the virus. When other officials asked about diagnostic testing, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began to answer. Mr. Azar cut him off, telling the president it was ‘the fastest we’ve ever created a test,’ the officials recalled, and that more than one million tests would be available within weeks. That didn’t happen. The CDC began shipping tests the following week, only to discover a flaw that forced it to recall the test from state public-health laboratories. When White House advisers later in February criticized Mr. Azar for the delays caused by the recall, he lashed out at Dr. Redfield, accusing the CDC director of misleading him on the timing of a fix. ‘Did you lie to me?’ one of the officials recalled him yelling. Six weeks after that Jan. 29 meeting, the federal government declared a national emergency and issued guidelines that effectively closed down the country. Mr. Azar, who had been at the center of the decision-making from the outset, was eventually sidelined.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Excludes ‘Dreamers’ From Coronavirus College Relief, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The Education Department will prohibit colleges from granting emergency assistance to undocumented students, even those known as Dreamers who are under federal protection, according to guidance issued to colleges and universities on Tuesday. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ordered higher education institutions to dole out more than $6 billion in emergency relief only to students who are eligible for federal financial aid, including U.S. citizens or legal residents. The directive effectively excluded tens of thousands of students who are living in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, an Obama-era policy that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. President Trump has moved to end the program, but that effort is awaiting Supreme Court review.”

Joseph Stiglitz, one of the world’s leading economists, says the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus is like that of a ‘third world’ country, The Guardian, Larry Elliott, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Donald Trump’s botched handling of the Covid-19 crisis has left the US looking like a ‘third world’ country and on course for a second Great Depression, one of the world’s leading economists has warned. In a withering attack on the president, Joseph Stiglitz said millions of people were turning to food banks, turning up for work due to a lack of sick pay and dying because of health inequalities. The Nobel prize-winning economist said: ‘The numbers turning to food banks are just enormous and beyond the capacity of them to supply. It is like a third world country. The public social safety net is not working.’ Stiglitz, a long-time critic of Trump, said 14% of the population was dependent on food stamps and predicted the social infrastructure could not cope with an unemployment rate that could hit 30% in the coming months.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says States Should Consider Bankruptcy, Rebuffing Calls for Aid, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Senator Mitch McConnell took a hard line on Wednesday against giving cash-short states more federal aid in future emergency pandemic relief legislation, saying that those suffering steep shortfalls amid the coronavirus crisis should instead consider bankruptcy…. Mr. McConnell’s comments were an explicit rejection of a top priority of Democrats who have pushed to spend tens of billions of dollars to help states. His staff members highlighted their partisan cast in a news release circulated a short time later, in which his statement appeared under the heading ‘Stopping Blue State Bailouts.’ The phrase suggested that the top Senate Republican was singling out for scorn some of the hardest-hit, heavily Democratic states such as California, Illinois and New York. The remarks drew a caustic reaction from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who called the bankruptcy suggestion ‘one of the saddest, really dumb comments of all time.’… Mr. Cuomo accused Mr. McConnell of hyperpartisanship, criticizing him for distinguishing among states based on their political leanings, rather than ‘states where people are dying. Why don’t we think about that? Not red and blue. Red, white and blue. They’re just Americans dying.'”

The Cold Calculations Leaders in the U.S. Will Have to Make Before Reopening. With no vaccine or cure, the president, governors, mayors and county executives will have to decide how many deaths would be acceptable to restore a shattered economy. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “How many deaths are acceptable to reopen the country before the coronavirus is completely eradicated?… Until there is a vaccine or a cure for the coronavirus, the macabre truth is that any plan to begin restoring public life invariably means trading away some lives. The question is how far will leaders go to keep it to a minimum. Some of the more provocative voices on the political right say that with tens of millions of Americans out of work and businesses collapsing, some people must be sacrificed for the greater good of restoring the economy quickly. To many, that sounds unthinkable, but less inflammatory experts and policymakers also acknowledge that there are enormous costs to keeping so much of the work force idle, with many of the unemployed struggling to pay for food, shelter or medical care for other health challenges.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Says ‘We Need to Spend What It Takes’ to Overcome Coronavirus Crisis, The Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is sensitive to concerns about rising federal debt but emphasized that low interest rates and the urgency of helping the economy during the coronavirus outbreak cut in the other direction. ‘This is a war, and we need to win this war and we need to spend what it takes to win the war,’ he said Wednesday morning on Fox Business. ‘We are sensitive to the economic impacts of putting on debt and that’s something that the president is reviewing with us very carefully.’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Congress should ‘push the pause button’ on future economic-relief packages and consider the potential impact on federal debt.”

Officials Say Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in the U.S. American officials were alarmed by fake text messages and social media posts that said President Trump was locking down the country. Experts see a convergence with Russian tactics. The New York Times, Edward Wong, Matthew Rosenberg, and Julian E. Barnes, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The alarming messages came fast and furious in mid-March, popping up on the cellphone screens and social media feeds of millions of Americans grappling with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Spread the word, the messages said: The Trump administration was about to lock down the entire country. The messages became so widespread over 48 hours that the White House’s National Security Council issued an announcement via Twitter that they were ‘FAKE.’ Since that wave of panic, United States intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages across platforms, according to six American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to publicly discuss intelligence matters. The amplification techniques are alarming to officials because the disinformation showed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones, a tactic that several of the officials said they had not seen before.”

The Untold Story of the Birth of Social/Physical Distancing, The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Jennifer Steinhauer, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The idea has been around for centuries. But it took a high school science fair, George W. Bush, history lessons, and some determined researchers to overcome skepticism and make it federal policy.”

A disturbing new study suggests Sean Hannity’s show helped spread the coronavirus, Vox, Zack Beauchamp, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, media critics have warned that the decision from leading Fox News hosts to downplay the outbreak could cost lives. A new study provides statistical evidence that, in the case of Sean Hannity, that’s exactly what happened. The paper — from economists Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth, and David Yanagizawa-Drott — focused on Fox news programming in February and early March. At the time, Hannity’s show was downplaying or ignoring the virus, while fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson was warning viewers about the disease’s risks. Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death.”

‘Find out the facts afterward’: Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman trends after saying casinos should reopen now, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella and Meryl Kornfield, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Standing in front of an empty storefront along Main Street, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) was beaming with optimism, believing businesses would make it through the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We’re all together in this and we are going to come out with a bang,’ she said earlier this month. On Tuesday, it became apparent what the independent mayor may have had in mind. She said she wants to reopen casinos, assuming 100 percent of the population are carriers of the novel coronavirus. Let them, and visitors, gather and gamble, smoke in confined spaces, touch slot machines all day — and let the chips, and apparently the infections, fall where they may. ‘Assume everybody is a carrier,’ the mayor said Tuesday on MSNBC. ‘And then you start from an even slate. And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.'” See also, The 20 most bizarre lines from Anderson Cooper’s absolutely wild interview with Carolyn Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas, CNN Politics, Chris Cilizza, published on Thursday, 23 April 2020: “On Wednesday afternoon, CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed independent Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Seems innocent enough, right? Mayor of a major American city appears on cable TV to talk about the challenges of coronavirus and how local, state and federal government can work together to ensure re-opening the economy is safe for citizens. Normal stuff! Except well, not. In fact, the exact opposite of normal — as Goodman just, well, said stuff. Much of which as either a) untrue or b) deeply irresponsible. I went through the transcript and pulled out the lines you need to see. (And you can watch the full interview here.)”

Pentagon plans to dispatch Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, the U.S. military’s top flight demonstration teams, to thank first responders and essential personnel, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “The Pentagon is planning a multicity tour of the U.S. military’s top flight demonstration teams to ‘champion national unity’ amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to senior U.S. officials and a memo obtained by The Washington Post. The Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, the demonstration squadrons for the Navy and Air Force, will fly over some cities together and others separately, according to the memo. The flyovers will take place in the next several weeks ‘to thank first responders, essential personnel, and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of COVID-19.'”

Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder Brian Harrison was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force, Reuters, Aram Roston and Marisa Taylor, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “On January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services appeared on Fox News to report the latest on the disease as it ravaged China. Alex Azar, a 52-year-old lawyer and former drug industry executive, assured Americans the U.S. government was prepared. ‘We developed a diagnostic test at the CDC, so we can confirm if somebody has this,’ Azar said. ‘We will be spreading that diagnostic around the country so that we are able to do rapid testing on site.’ While coronavirus in Wuhan, China, was ‘potentially serious,’ Azar assured viewers in America, it ‘was one for which we have a playbook.’ Azar’s initial comments misfired on two fronts. Like many U.S. officials, from President Donald Trump on down, he underestimated the pandemic’s severity. He also overestimated his agency’s preparedness. As is now widely known, two agencies Azar oversaw as HHS secretary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, wouldn’t come up with viable tests for five and half weeks, even as other countries and the World Health Organization had already prepared their own. Shortly after his televised comments, Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19. The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him ‘the dog breeder.’ Azar’s optimistic public pronouncement and choice of an inexperienced manager are emblematic of his agency’s oft-troubled response to the crisis.”

Tyson Foods idles largest pork plant in Iowa as virus slams industry, Associated Press, Ryan J. Foley, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Tyson Foods suspended operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is critical to the nation’s pork supply but was blamed for fueling a massive coronavirus outbreak in the region. The Arkansas-based company said the closure of the plant in Waterloo would deny a vital market to hog farmers and further disrupt U.S. meat supply. Tyson had kept the facility, its largest pork plant, open in recent days over the objections of alarmed local officials. The plant can process 19,500 hogs per day, accounting for 3.9% of U.S. pork processing capacity, according to the National Pork Board. More than 180 infections have been linked to the plant and officials expect that number to dramatically rise. Testing of its 2,800 workers is expected to begin Friday. Cases and hospitalizations in Black Hawk County have skyrocketed in recent days and local officials say the plant is the source of most infections.”

Tehran Launches Military Satellite as Trump Tells Navy to ‘Shoot Down’ Iranian Boats, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Iran successfully put into orbit what it called its first ‘military satellite’ on Wednesday, after a string of previous failures, just hours before President Trump declared he had instructed the Navy to sink any Iranian fast boats that ‘harass our ships at sea.’ The order, if followed, could sharply escalate the confrontations between the two nations.” See also, Trump instructs the Navy to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian gunboats that ‘harass’ U.S. ships, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, John Wagner, Dan Lamothe, and Carol Morello, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “President Trump said Wednesday that he has directed the Navy to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian gunboats that ‘harass’ U.S. ships, and U.S. officials said the threat was meant to warn Iran not to repeat what the Pentagon described as a provocative encounter last week in the Persian Gulf. It was the president’s most direct threat of military action against Iran since the two nations came close to war in January, when Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian general and Iran retaliated with attacks that harmed U.S. forces.”

U.S. Airstrikes Hit All-Time High as Coronavirus Spreads in Somalia, The Intercept, Nick Turse, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “In the first four months of this year, U.S. Africa Command has conducted more airstrikes in Somalia than it did during all of Barack Obama’s eight years in office. The massive escalation of America’s undeclared war in Somalia comes as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly appealed for a global ceasefire amid the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘There should be only one fight in our world today, our shared battle against Covid-19,’ he reiterated on April 3. ‘We must mobilize every ounce of energy to defeat it.'”

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee Endorses Joe Biden, Citing Private Conversations on Climate Policy, The New York Times, Alexander Burns, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent environmentalists, endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. for president on Wednesday after extensive private conversations in which Mr. Biden signaled he would make fighting climate change a central cause of his administration. Mr. Inslee, who mounted a long-shot presidential campaign of his own last year, said in an interview that he had spoken repeatedly to Mr. Biden in recent weeks and came away convinced that the former vice president was preparing to greatly expand his policy proposals for reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy.” See also, Al Gore Endorses Joe Biden for President: ‘This Is Not Complicated,’ The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Wednesday, 22 April 2020: “Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday, adding to the growing circle of prominent Democrats throwing their support behind him as the party works to coalesce before the general election. Mr. Gore announced his support in a tweet shortly before appearing, virtually, with Mr. Biden for a town hall-style Earth Day event. His endorsement followed one earlier in the day from Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who ran a climate-focused campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.”


Thursday, 23 April 2020, Day 1,189:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 April 2020: In Ecuador, Coronavirus Deaths Go Uncounted, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 April 2020: Death Toll Climbs in California; House Passes Aid Package, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 April 2020: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Says 21% of Those Tested in N.Y.C. Have Coronavirus Antibodies, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 April 2020: More Than 4 Million Filed Unemployment Claims Last Week, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 23 April 2020: House passes $484 billion coronavirus aid package as U.S. jobless figures soar, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Miriam Berger, Michael Brice-Saddler, Teo Armus, Samantha Pell, John Wagner, Steven Goff, Felicia Sonmez, Rick Noack, and Brittany Shammas, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The House on Thursday passed a $484 billion aid package to replenish a small-business loan program that was overwhelmed with demand. Trump has said he will sign the bill, which also includes funding for hospitals and a new coronavirus testing program. Meanwhile, the official death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the United States is closing in on 50,000, with the number of total reported cases approaching 862,000. In addition, more than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began to paralyze the economy — a figure that grew by 4.4 million last week, according to jobless figures released Thursday.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Vaccine expert Rick Bright is filing a whistleblower complaint, his attorneys said Thursday. Bright said he was ousted as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority because he resisted efforts to join President Trump in pushing hydroxychloroquine as a potential covid-19 cure.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was criticized by governors from both major parties for suggesting that states hit hard by the outbreak should be allowed to seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. ‘This is really one of the dumb ideas of all time,’ New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said.
  • More than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, a signal the tidal wave of job losses continues to grow during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Donald Reed Herring, the oldest brother of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), died of covid-19 in Oklahoma, Warren said Thursday. He was 86.
  • Millions of Americans are still waiting for their first unemployment check. The growing national backlog, according to a Post analysis, has proved particularly problematic in Florida — where fewer than 7 percent of applicants have received aid.
  • The NFL draft began Thursday night with general managers and coaches from the 32 teams and dozens of draft-eligible players participating remotely, many from their living room couches. Commissioner Roger Goodell asked viewers to participate in a moment of silence for victims of covid-19. Harry Connick Jr. then performed the national anthem from his home.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Supreme Court Rules Clean Water Act Covers Groundwater Discharges, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected waters indirectly through groundwater. The case, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, concerned a wastewater treatment plant on Maui, Hawaii, that used injection wells to dispose of some four million gallons of treated sewage each day by pumping it into groundwater about a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean. Some of the waste reached the ocean. Environmental groups sued, calling it ‘the clean water case of the century.’ A ruling in favor of the treatment plant ‘would open a massive loophole for every polluter in the country to avoid regulation,’ David L. Henkin, a lawyer with Earthjustice, said in November. In the Supreme Court, the Trump administration filed a brief supporting Maui County, which operates the treatment plant, saying that the law does not apply to discharges that travel through groundwater before reaching protected waters. In a 6-to-3 ruling, the court rejected what it called the extreme positions advanced by the parties and the administration, returning the case to an appeals court for reconsideration under a new standard. But the decision was on balance a victory for environmental groups, as it allowed at least some lawsuits over groundwater discharges. ‘This decision is a huge victory for clean water,’ said Mr. Henkin, who argued the case on behalf of environmental groups. ‘The Supreme Court has rejected the Trump administration’s effort to blow a big hole in the Clean Water Act’s protections for rivers, lakes and oceans.'” See also, Supreme Court rejects Trump administration’s view on key aspect of Clean Water Act, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s reading of a key part of the Clean Water Act as creating an ‘obvious loophole’ in its enforcement, and gave a partial win to environmentalists in a case from Hawaii. The court ruled 6 to 3 that a wastewater treatment plant in Hawaii could not avoid provisions of the act, which regulates the release of pollutants into rivers, lakes and seas, by pumping the pollutants first into groundwater, from which they eventually reach the ocean. Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s compromise language said an Environmental Protection Agency permit is required when a discharge is ‘the functional equivalent’ of a direct release into navigable waters. While environmentalists had won a broader victory in the lower court, they were happy to accept the Supreme Court’s ruling.”

Trump suggests ‘injection’ of disinfectant to beat coronavirus and ‘clean’ the lungs. A Homeland Security official, under questioning from reporters, later said federal laboratories are not considering such a treatment option. NBC News, Dartunorro Clark, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an ‘injection’ of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus during his daily briefing Thursday. Trump made the remark after Bill Bryan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology division, gave a presentation on research his team has conducted that shows that the virus doesn’t live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan said, ‘The virus dies quickest in sunlight,’ leaving Trump to wonder whether you could bring the light ‘inside the body.’ So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing,’ Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. ‘And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.’ He added: ‘I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.’ He didn’t specify the kind of disinfectant. Medical professionals, including Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health policy expert and an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, were quick to challenge the president’s ‘improper health messaging. This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous,’ said Gupta. ‘It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves.’ The maker of Lysol also issued a statement warning against any internal use of the cleaning product.” See also, Lysol maker warns against internal use of disinfectants after Trump’s comments. A spokesperson for the cleaning product company said it had a responsibility to give accurate information to the public. NBC News, Lauren Egan, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “The manufacturer of Lysol, a disinfectant spray and cleaning product, issued a statement warning against any internal use after President Donald Trump suggested that people could get an ‘injection’ of ‘the disinfectant that knocks (coronavirus) out in a minute.’ ‘As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),’ a spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based owner of Lysol, said in a statement to NBC News. ‘As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information,’ the statement continued, adding that the company believes it has a ‘responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.'” See also, ‘It’s irresponsible and it’s dangerous’: Experts rip Trump’s idea of injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19, NBC News, Jane C. Timm, Thursday, 23 April 2020. See also, Coronavirus: medical experts denounce Trump’s theory of ‘disinfectant injection,’ The Guardian, David Smith, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “Donald Trump has stunned viewers by suggesting people could receive injections of disinfectant to cure the coronavirus, a notion one medical expert described as ‘jaw-dropping.'” See also, Trump’s COVID-19 disinfectant ideas horrify health experts, Reuters, Kate Kelland and Raphael Satter, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s musings on whether injecting disinfectants might treat COVID-19 horrified medical professionals on Friday and raised fresh concerns that his stream-of-consciousness briefings could push frightened people to poison themselves with untested treatments. An international chorus of doctors and health experts urged people not to drink or inject disinfectant after Trump on Thursday suggested that scientists should investigate inserting the cleaning agent into the body as a way to cure COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Medical experts denounced Trump’s suggestions and leading Democrats blasted the Republican president. ‘It is unfortunate that I have to comment on this, but people should under no circumstances ingest or inject bleach or disinfectant,’ American Medical Association President Patrice Harris said in a statement. ‘Rest assured when we eventually find a treatment for or vaccine against COVID-19, it will not be in the cleaning supplies aisle.'” See also, Leader of group peddling bleach as a coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week. A few days before Trump promoted disinfectant as a treatment, Mark Grenon wrote to Trump saying chlorine dioxide ‘can rid the body of Covid-19’. The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “The leader of the most prominent group in the US peddling potentially lethal industrial bleach as a ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus wrote to Donald Trump at the White House this week. In his letter, Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is ‘a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body.’ He added that it ‘can rid the body of Covid-19.’ A few days after Grenon dispatched his letter, Trump went on national TV at his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Thursday and promoted the idea that disinfectant could be used as a treatment for the virus. To the astonishment of medical experts, the US president said that disinfectant ‘knocks it out in a minute. One minute!’… Trump did not specify where the idea of using disinfectant as a possible remedy for Covid-19 came from, and the source for his notion remains obscure. But the Guardian has learned that peddlers of chlorine dioxide – industrial bleach – have been making direct approaches to the White House in recent days.” See also, Trump Muses About Light as a Remedy for COVID-19, but Als0 About Disinfectant, Which Is Dangerous, The New York Times, William J. Broad and Dan Levin, published on Friday, 24 April 2o2o: “President Trump has long pinned his hopes on the powers of sunlight to defeat the Covid-19 virus. He returned to that theme at the White House coronavirus briefing on Thursday, bringing in a science administrator to back up his assertions and eagerly theorizing about treatments involving the use of household disinfectant that would be dangerous if put inside the body, as well as the power of sunlight and ultraviolet light…. Experts have long warned that ultraviolet lamps can harm humans if used improperly — when the exposure is outside the body, much less inside. The link between ultraviolet light and skin cancer is well established. Bleach and other disinfectants may kill microbes but they also can kill humans if swallowed or if fumes are too powerful. That is why bottles of bleach and other disinfectants carry sharp warnings of ingestion dangers. Mr. Trump’s comments prompted an explosion of warnings about the dangers of any improvised remedies. Emergency management officials in Washington State posted a warning on Twitter. ‘Please don’t eat tide pods or inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant,’ they wrote, before urging the public to rely only on official medical advice about Covid-19. ‘Just don’t make a bad situation worse.'” See also, Trump’s Suggestion That Disinfectants Could Be Injected Into the Body to Treat COVID-19 Prompts Aggressive Pushback, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Christine Hauser, Alan Yuhas, and Maggie Haberman, published on Friday, 24 April 2020. See also, ‘Don’t Try This at Home’: Even ‘Fox & Friends’ Balked at Trump’s Suggestion That Injecting Disinfectant Could Be a Treatment for Covid-19 Patients, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “In Maryland, so many callers flooded a health hotline with questions that the state’s Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that ‘under no circumstances’ should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus. In Washington State, officials urged people not to consume laundry detergent capsules. Across the country on Friday, health professionals sounded the alarm. Injecting bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol ’causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,’ Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said in an interview. ‘It can definitely be a fatal event.'” See also, Makers of Clorox and Lysol Warn Against Ingesting Bleach and Disinfectants, The New York Times, Christine Hauser and Alan Yuhas, published on Friday, 24 April 2020. See also, Trump floats another bogus coronavirus cure, and his administration scrambles to stop people from injecting disinfectants, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “The federal government scrambled Friday to stave off a potential wave of public health emergencies sparked by President Trump’s dangerous suggestion that injecting bleach or other household disinfectants into the body might cure people of the novel coronavirus. It was only the latest dubious medical tip from a president struggling to contain a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Americans. The Food and Drug Administration warned Friday against the use of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug that Trump repeatedly has promoted as a ‘game-changer’ miracle cure for covid-19 — because it has been found to cause serious heart rhythm problems.” See also, Trump’s remarks on disinfectants left even close aides shocked, NBC News, Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, and Monica Alba, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “Members of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force and aides in the West Wing were shocked on Thursday when he promoted the use of light and disinfectant to treat the deadly respiratory illness, according to administration officials. As Trump went off script to suggest people with the virus could be cured by UV rays or disinfectants ‘by injection inside,’ White House officials began texting one another to ask where he got that idea because they thought, as one adviser put it, ‘this was going to be bad.’ None of them seemed to know, as Trump did not consult with any task force members or administration officials before making his impromptu statement, which has now been universally rejected by health experts, the officials said. Instead, it appears Trump conflated and misinterpreted scientific information discussed with him in the Oval Office before Thursday’s daily briefing, according to the officials.” See also, Fact check: Trump lied when he said he was being ‘sarcastic’ when he talked about injecting disinfectant, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, published on Friday, 24 April 2020: “President Donald Trump lied Friday when he said he was being ‘sarcastic’ when he asked medical experts on Thursday to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus. Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about the comments during a bill signing on Friday, he said, ‘I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.’ He then suggested he was talking about disinfectants that can safely be rubbed on people’s hands. And then he returned to the sarcasm explanation, saying it was ‘a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.’ A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to look into it. Trump responded: ‘No, no, no, no — to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us.’ Facts first: Trump was not being ‘sarcastic’ on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to ‘check’ the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks.”

House Passes Relief for Small Businesses and Aid for Hospitals and Testing, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The House gave resounding approval on Thursday to a $484 billion coronavirus relief package to restart a depleted loan program for distressed small businesses and to provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing, and it moved to ramp up oversight of the sprawling federal response to the pandemic. President Trump said he would quickly sign the measure — the latest installment in a government aid program that is approaching $3 trillion — which passed with broad bipartisan support even as some liberal Democrats condemned it for being too stingy. But the fight over what should be included foreshadowed a pitched partisan battle to come over the next round of federal relief, which is likely to center on aid to states and cities facing dire financial straits…. Even as they dispensed with another nearly half-trillion taxpayer dollars, Democrats were moving to scrutinize the administration’s handling of the funds. Just before the aid package passed, they pushed through a measure creating a special House subcommittee to investigate the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the array of federal spending measures enacted to address it, defying objections from Mr. Trump and Republicans…. Nearly two dozen liberal groups, including Indivisible and Justice Democrats — the group that helped start the campaign of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York — wrote a letter to House Democrats urging them to stop ‘unnecessarily giving away leverage that people depend on you to use in order to save lives.’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who has said the measure was far too small and should include aid to struggling states and cities, was the sole Democrat who opposed the bill.” See also, House passes $484 billion bill with money for small businesses, hospitals, and testing to battle coronavirus, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The House overwhelmingly passed a $484 billion spending package Thursday as the unemployment crisis deepened, a stark illustration of how policymakers continue trying to rescue an unraveling economy amid growing despair. The legislation, approved 388-5, would restart a small-business loan program that was swamped by demand and allocate more money for health-care providers and virus testing. The vote was historic, as many lawmakers wore masks on the House floor, some even speaking through face coverings as they delivered impassioned remarks…. The Trump administration had initially asked Congress to approve $250 billion to bolster the Paycheck Protection Program with no strings attached, but Democrats refused. They pushed for spending for hospitals and testing as well as changes to the small-business program itself to make sure more money goes to lesser-served communities and through smaller lenders.” See also, The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, the Two Institutions Actively Deploying Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Taxpayer Funding, Moved to Assuage Concerns About Where the Money Is Going, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport and Jeanna Smialek, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The Trump administration moved on Thursday to ensure that large corporations with access to capital are not improperly taking emergency small-business loans and the Federal Reserve committed to greater immediate transparency about how its bailout funds are deployed, amid growing concerns about how hundreds of billions of dollars of economic relief money are being allocated. The actions came as Congress passed a $484 billion supplemental relief package to replenish an initial $349 billion program for small businesses, as well as providing more support for hospitals and expanding coronavirus testing capacity.” See also, House votes to create select committee to oversee coronavirus response, The Hill, Cristina Marcos, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The House on Thursday voted to create a select committee to oversee the federal response to the coronavirus crisis, with Republicans accusing Democrats of trying to use it as a cudgel against President Trump during an election year. The panel, to be led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), is set up to include 12 members — seven Democrats and five Republicans — and will have broad investigative authority over how taxpayer dollars are allocated and the Trump administration’s preparations for the crisis…. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the committee earlier this month, but Thursday was the first time the full House could vote to officially establish the panel. ‘The committee will root out waste, fraud and abuse,’ Pelosi said during House floor debate. ‘It will be laser-focused on ensuring that taxpayer money goes to workers, paychecks and benefits. And it will ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by health experts, and that the money invested is not being exploited by profiteers and price gougers.'”

Phunware, a data firm for Trump campaign, got millions in coronavirus small business help, CBS News, Stephen Gandel and Graham Kates, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “A digital technology company that specializes in the mass collection of smartphone location data and is working for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign received millions from the federal coronavirus relief fund for small businesses. The company, Phunware, which now has about 60 employees, was eligible for the low-interest loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, which is aimed at businesses with less than 500 workers. There is no allegation of illegality associated with its loan. But the size of the loan — $2.85 million — is nearly 14 times the current PPP average of $206,000. Meantime, hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses got nothing, because the nearly $350 billion loan program ran out of money in just two weeks.”

Jobless Numbers Are ‘Eye-Watering’ but Understate the Crisis. With 4.4 million added last week, the five-week total passed 26 million. The struggle by states to field claims has hampered economic recovery. The New York Times, Patricia Cohen, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “Nearly a month after Washington rushed through an emergency package to aid jobless Americans, millions of laid-off workers have still not been able to apply for those benefits — let alone receive them — because of overwhelmed state unemployment systems. Across the country, states have frantically scrambled to handle a flood of applications and apply a new set of federal rules even as more and more people line up for help. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that another 4.4 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week, bringing the five-week total to more than 26 million.” See also, 4.4 million workers in the U.S. sought jobless benefits last week, as economic pain continues across the United States, The Washington Post, Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “More than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, a signal the tidal wave of job losses continues to grow during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the fifth straight week that job losses were measured in the millions. From March 15 to April 18, 26.5 million people have probably been laid off or furloughed. The number of jobs lost in that brief span effectively erased all jobs created after the 2008 financial crisis. Jobless figures on this scale haven’t been seen since the Great Depression.” See also, About 4.4 Million U.S. Workers Filed for Unemployment Benefits Last Week, The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Chaney and Gwynn Guilford, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “About 4.4 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hurt the labor market, though the rapid pace of layoffs appeared to be easing. The millions of Americans who sought unemployment benefits last week continued a historic labor-market decline, bringing the total claims for the past five weeks to more than 26 million, the Labor Department said Thursday. Jobless claims, which are laid-off workers’ applications for unemployment insurance payments, had reached nearly seven million at the end of March as the coronavirus led to widespread business closures.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rips Mitch McConnell’s ‘blue state bailout’ by noting ‘your state, Kentucky, is living on the money that we generate,’ Yahoo! News/The Week, Kathryn Krawczyk, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says he doesn’t think this is a time for politics. But seeing as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ventured into that territory first, well, Cuomo has some things to say. McConnell drew bipartisan condemnation on Wednesday when he called federal funding for state and local governments ‘blue state bailouts,’ despite senators on both sides of the aisle asking for that funding. Cuomo took McConnell to task in a Thursday press conference, first laying out why he finds state and local government funding to be so important, and then decrying McConnell’s ‘obsessive political bias and anger.’ Cuomo then brought up some cold hard numbers. While New York state contributes billions more dollars to the federal government than it gets in return, McConnell’s state of Kentucky relies on billions of dollars of federal funding each year, prompting Cuomo to ask, ‘Sen. McConnell, who’s getting bailed out here? NY puts in to that federal pot $116B more than we take out … KY takes out $148B more than they put in. Sen. McConnell, who’s getting bailed out here? It’s your state that is living on the money that we generate'”

Trump disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci on US testing capacity, CNN Politics, Caroline Kelly, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “President Donald Trump said Thursday he disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci after the nation’s top infectious disease expert said the US needs to “significantly ramp up” testing. ‘We absolutely need to significantly ramp up, not only the number of tests but the capacity to actually perform them,’ Fauci said during a Time 100 Talks interview on Thursday. That way, he continued, ‘you don’t have a situation where you have a test, but it can’t be done because there’s not a swab, or not an extraction media or not the right vial — all of those things got to be in place. I am not overly confident right now at all, that we have what it takes to do that,’ Fauci added. During Thursday’s coronavirus task force news briefing — which Fauci was not at — Trump addressed Fauci’s remarks and said he thinks the country is doing ‘a great job. I don’t agree with him on that, no, I think we’re doing a great job on testing,’ Trump said.”

Trump hits CNN and Washington Post reporters as ‘fake news’ during his coronavirus briefing, The Hill, J. Edward Moreno, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “President Trump on Thursday lashed out at reporters who questioned a report from the Department of Homeland Security that suggested the new coronavirus can be suppressed by heat and humidity. ‘I’m the president and you’re fake news,’ Trump told Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker at a White House press briefing.”

They lived in a factory for 28 days to make millions of pounds of raw Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) materials to help fight coronavirus, The Washington Post, Meagan Flynn, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “At his factory just off the Delaware River, in the far southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, Joe Boyce clocked in on March 23 for the longest shift of his life. In his office, an air mattress replaced his desk chair. He brought a toothbrush and shaving kit, moving into the Braskem petrochemical plant in Marcus Hook, Pa., as if it were a makeshift college dormitory. The casual office kitchen became a mess hall for him and his 42 co-workers turned roommates. The factory’s emergency operations center became their new lounge room. For 28 days, they did not leave — sleeping and working all in one place. In what they called a ‘live-in’ at the factory, the undertaking was just one example of the endless ways that Americans in every industry have uniquely contributed to fighting coronavirus. The 43 men went home Sunday after each working 12-hour shifts all day and night for a month straight, producing tens of millions of pounds of the raw materials that will end up in face masks and surgical gowns worn on the front lines of the pandemic. No one told them they had to do it, Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich said. All of the workers volunteered, hunkering down at the plant to ensure no one caught the virus outside as they sought to meet the rocketing demand for their key product, polypropylene, which is needed to make various medical and hygienic items.”

Estimates Show Hidden Coronavirus Outbreaks Spread Through U.S. Cities Far Earlier Than Most Americans Knew, The New York Times, Benedict Carey and James Glanz, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “By the time New York City confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on March 1, thousands of infections were already silently spreading through the city, a hidden explosion of a disease that many still viewed as a remote threat as the city awaited the first signs of spring. Hidden outbreaks were also spreading almost completely undetected in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle, long before testing showed that each city had a major problem, according to a model of the spread of the disease by researchers at Northeastern University who shared their results with The New York Times. Even in early February — while the world focused on China — the virus was not only likely to be spreading in multiple American cities, but also seeding blooms of infection elsewhere in the United States, the researchers found.”

Fifty Thousand Americans Dead From the Coronavirus, and Trump Refuses to Mourn Them, The New Yorker, Susan Glasser, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “In just the past few days, President Trump has blamed immigrants, China, the ‘fake news’ and, of course, ‘the invisible enemy’ of the coronavirus for America’s present troubles. He has opined extemporaneously about his plans to hold a grand Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall and has announced that he planted a tree on the White House lawn in honor of Earth Day. He has offered his opinion on matters small and large, bragged about himself as ‘the king of ventilators,’ and spent much time lamenting the pandemic-inflicted passing of what he invariably (and inaccurately) calls ‘the greatest economy in the history of the world.’ Despite the flood of words, though, what has struck me the most this week is what Trump does not talk about: the mounting toll of those who have died in this crisis. So voluble that he regularly talks well past dinnertime at his nightly briefings, the President somehow never seems to find time to pay tribute to those who have been lost, aside from reading an occasional scripted line or two at the start of his lengthy press conferences, or a brief mention of a friend in New York who died of the disease soon after calling him at the White House.”

Full fields, empty fridges. Farmers plow their unused produce back into the field. Food banks struggle to feed millions of new unemployed. A federal plan will play matchmaker. The Washington Post, Laura Reiley, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “Across the country, an unprecedented disconnect is emerging between where food is produced and the food banks and low-income neighborhoods that desperately need it. American farmers, ranchers, other food producers and poverty advocates have been asking the federal government to help overcome breakdowns in a food distribution system that have led to producers dumping food while Americans go hungry. Late last week, the Trump administration stepped in, announcing a $19 billion program to help the struggling agriculture sector and distribute food to families in need. The aid package includes the government purchase of $3 billion in dairy, produce and meat products that will go to food banks and those in need. (About $16 billion is going to direct payments to farmers and ranchers.) But the effort must overcome the challenges that led to the disconnect in the first place: Fresh produce and dairy must be transported from farms to food banks in refrigerated trucks. Refrigerator and freezer storage space must be available on the receiving end to accommodate a surge of frozen meat. Food that originally was slated for restaurant supply must be repackaged for home use. And all of this must occur while maintaining social distancing and without increasing the demand for labor because food banks, while running low on supplies, are running even lower on volunteers.”

China pledges additional $30 million funding for World Health Organization, The Washington Post, Gerry Shih, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “China has committed $30 million to the World Health Organization one week after President Trump halted U.S. funding to the U.N. agency that has emerged as a battleground for influence between the two powers. Trump last week announced his intention to freeze U.S. contributions after slamming the global body as having ‘failed in its basic duty’ to respond quickly to the coronavirus outbreak, because of deference to Beijing. In announcing the donation Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang defended the WHO and said the agency under the leadership of Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been “actively fulfilling its duties and upholding an objective, scientific and impartial stance.”

Donald Reed Herring, Brother of Elizabeth Warren, Dies From Coronavirus, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “Donald Reed Herring, the oldest brother of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, died on Tuesday from Covid-19. He was 86. Ms. Warren confirmed Mr. Herring’s death in a series of tweets Thursday morning, calling him ‘charming and funny, a natural leader. What made him extra special was his smile — quick and crooked, it always seemed to generate its own light, one that lit up everyone around him,’ Ms. Warren wrote. ‘I’m grateful to the nurses and front-line staff who took care of him, but it’s hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say “I love you” one more time — and no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close.'” See also, Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother dies of covid-19, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that the eldest of her three brothers, Donald Reed Herring, had died of covid-19 in Oklahoma…. The death means that Warren is one of several top political figures who have been personally touched by the pandemic. The husband of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was hospitalized for the virus and has recovered. Former vice president Joe Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, also lost a longtime friend and adviser to the disease.”

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to Examine the Ouster of Rick Bright, the Health Official Who Questioned the Drugs Trump Pushed to Treat COVID-19, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and Kenneth p. Vogel, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “A key House subcommittee chairwoman said on Thursday that she planned to hold hearings into the departure of Rick Bright, who said he was removed as the head of an agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine after he pressed for rigorous vetting of unproven drugs embraced by President Trump to combat the virus. ‘I know that life is difficult for members to travel, but we can’t let that get in the way and I’m sure that other members would want to be a part of a hearing as well,’ said Representative Anna G. Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee. Ms. Eshoo, a California Democrat, helped create the agency that Dr. Bright oversaw, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The congresswoman spoke as Dr. Bright’s lawyers, in a statement, said that officials at the Health and Human Services Department, which BARDA is a part of, had made ‘demonstrably false’ statements about Dr. Bright’s tenure, and that they planned to file whistle-blower complaints against the agency.” See also, House Energy and Commerce Committee Representative Frank Pallone asks Health and Human Services Inspector General to investigate the ousting of Rick Bright, CNN Politics, Lauren Fox, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “House Democrats are calling for the Health and Human Services Inspector General to investigate the ousting of Dr. Rick Bright, the Trump administration official who until this week oversaw development and purchasing of vaccines and medicines to combat coronavirus. In his letter, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, asked the inspector general to ‘investigate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Bright’s reassignment’ and to examine ‘who made the decision to reassign Dr. Bright and when the decision was made.'”

Project Airbridge, Kushner-backed program chartering flights to address hospital shortages, raises questions in Congress, ABC News, Anne Flaherty, Kaitlyn Folmer, and Benjamin Siegel, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “A flight from China chartered by the U.S. government touched down at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday last week. Inside were nearly 6 million surgical masks and some respiratory equipment. But the supplies on board weren’t tucked into the national stockpile or distributed by the federal government among cities hardest hit by novel coronavirus despite the average taxpayer bill of $750,000 to $800,000 per flight. Instead, the masks and other life-saving equipment were owned by Medline, one of the nation’s largest privately held manufacturers and distributors of medical supplies. They were loaded onto cargo trucks and driven to the company’s warehouse in suburban Chicago. It was up to Medline to decide who gets the protective gear and what price they would pay.”

Home Alone at the White House: A Sour President, With TV His Constant Companion. As his administration grapples with reopening the economy and responding to the coronavirus crisis, President Trump worries about his re-election and how the news media is portraying him. The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Annie Karni, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “President Trump arrives in the Oval Office these days as late as noon, when he is usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television. He has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing. He makes calls with the TV on in the background, his routine since he first arrived at the White House. But now there are differences. The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen. And he makes time to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s briefings from New York, closely monitoring for a sporadic compliment or snipe. Confined to the White House, the president is isolated from the supporters, visitors, travel and golf that once entertained him, according to more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers who spoke about Mr. Trump’s strange new life. He is tested weekly, as is Vice President Mike Pence, for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.” See also, 12 of Trump’s worst coronavirus contradictions, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 23 April 2020.

New Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo made racist comments about Chinese people in now-deleted tweets, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott, and Em Steck, Thursday, 23 April 2020: “The new spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in a series of now-deleted tweets made racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, said Democrats wanted the coronavirus to kill millions of people, and accused the media of intentionally creating panic around the pandemic to hurt President Donald Trump. Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”