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


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


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!


Friday, 24 April 2020, Day 1,190:


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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 24 April 2020: Wall Street Rallies, Bucking Drop in Global Stocks, The New York Times, Friday, 24 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 24 April 2020: Young people with coronavirus are dying of strokes; U.S. coronavirus toll tops 50,000, The Washington Post, Jennifer Hassan, James McAuley, John Wagner, Katie Mettler, Brittany Shammas, Eva Dou, Michael Brice-Saddler, Candace Buckner, and Hannah Knowles, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes, physicians report. Doctors say some of the patients didn’t even know they were infected. Once thought to be a pathogen that primarily attacks the lungs, the coronavirus has turned out to be a much more formidable foe — impacting nearly every major organ system in the body. The known coronavirus death toll in the United States has surpassed 50,000, though the true figure is unknown. Experts have called the soaring U.S. toll an ‘underestimation’ because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only fatalities in which the virus is confirmed in a laboratory test and state health officials have divergent methods for counting covid-19 victims.

Here are some significant developments:
  • President Trump claimed Friday that he was speaking sarcastically when suggested disinfectants might be used inside the human body. The federal government scrambled Friday to stave off a potential wave of public health emergencies sparked by President Trump’s dangerous suggestion.
  • House Democrats plan to act swiftly with the next coronavirus relief package, but President Trump has been unclear about his priorities, creating an uncertain path forward. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office delivered a grim forecast of the economic trauma that could last into next year.
  • The Food and Drug Administration warned Friday that people should not take chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19 outside of a hospital or formal clinical trial, citing reports of ‘serious heart rhythm problems.’
  • AutoNation, a Fortune 500 company that runs a network of auto sellers, received nearly $95 million in federal small-business funds, according to internal company documents and two company employees.
  • Trump said he would not approve an emergency loan for the U.S. Postal Service if it did not immediately raise its prices for package delivery.
  • Trump spoke Friday with the president of Ecuador and pledged to provide the Latin American country with ventilators, a day after health authorities there reported 11,000 new infections due to a delay in testing.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 50,000, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The coronavirus’s U.S. death toll surged past 50,000 on Friday, marking another grim milestone in the pandemic that has upended life around the globe. Three months after the nation’s first confirmed case, the highly contagious virus has killed at an alarming rate: Just 10 days ago, the number of recorded deaths stood at 25,000. Experts have warned that the number of reported fatalities probably underestimates the true toll of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Amid a national debate over how to count the dead, methods have varied widely from state to state. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially included only those who tested positive for the virus, even with strict limitations on testing.” See also, U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 50,000, The Wall Street Journal, Talal Ansari, Lucy Craymer, and Jimmy Vielkind, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 50,000 as some states began reopening parts of their economies and President Trump signed stimulus legislation that boosts small businesses, hospitals and testing. Confirmed coronavirus cases world-wide Friday exceeded 2.78 million, with more than 195,000 dead, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounted for nearly a third of the cases, exceeding 890,000, and more than a quarter of the deaths, at 51,017, according to the Johns Hopkins data. Experts say a lack of widespread virus testing and differences in reporting standards could be masking the extent of the virus’s spread. The World Health Organization and leaders from around the globe called Friday for an initiative to speed up testing and vaccine development.”

Trump says he will block coronavirus aid for U.S. Postal Service if it doesn’t hike prices immediately, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein and Jacob Bogage, Friday, 24 April 2020: “President Trump on Friday threatened to block an emergency loan to shore up the U.S. Postal Service unless it dramatically raised shipping prices on online retailers, an unprecedented move to seize control of the agency that analysts said could plunge its finances into a deeper hole. ‘The Postal Service is a joke,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. To obtain a $10 billion line of credit Congress approved this month, ‘The post office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times,’ he said. Trump for years has alleged the Postal Service has charged too little for packages and personally pushed the head of the agency to charge far more to ship goods for big online retailers. Several administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Trump’s criticism of Postal Service rates is rooted in a desire to hurt Amazon in particular. They have said that he fumes publicly and privately at Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, for news coverage that Trump believes is unfair.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warns Against Use of Two Malaria Drugs Touted by Trump Outside of Clinical Trials, The Wall Street Journal, Thomas M. Burton, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration warned that two malaria drugs touted by President Trump and some doctors for treating the new coronavirus are linked to serious heart problems and should only be used on hospitalized patients or as part of clinical trials. The chemically similar drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine pose heart-rhythm dangers, including the too-fast heartbeat called ventricular tachycardia, the FDA said. In treating Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the drugs are often used with the antibiotic azithromycin—a combination that could cause heart problems, a panel convened by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has warned.” See also, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns about the use of hydroxychloroquine, which Trump promoted for treating COVID-19, CBS News, Jason Silverstein, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The FDA on Friday issued a warning against the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria drug that President Trump repeatedly touted as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The warning comes just days after a study suggested the drug had no benefit for coronavirus patients, and was even associated with more deaths. The FDA said there were reports that some patients treated with hydroxychloroquine showed ‘serious heart rhythm problems.’ Patients with other health issues, such as heart or kidney disease, showed an increased risk of heart problems when they were treated with the drug. ‘Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine,’ the agency wrote on its website, referring also to a similar drug.” See also, F.D.A. Warns of Heart Problems From Malaria Drugs Used for Coronavirus and Promoted by Trump, The New York Times, Denise Grady, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety warning on Friday about hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, malaria drugs that have been promoted by President Trump repeatedly and widely used to treat coronavirus patients despite the lack of evidence that they work. The drugs can cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in coronavirus patients, and should be used only in clinical trials or hospitals where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems, the Food and Drug Administration warned in a safety communication issued on Friday. Top health experts have regularly contradicted the president. This week, a federal official abruptly removed from his post as head of an agency involved in development of a vaccine, complained that he was pressured to endorse these drugs without adequate science. Administration officials said he had been dismissed for other reasons.” See also, FDA warns about hydroxychloroquine dangers, citing serious heart issues, including death, The Washington Post, Laurie McGinley, Christopher Rowland, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Carolyn Y. Johnson, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration warned Friday that doctors should not use the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19 patients outside a hospital or a clinical trial, citing reports of ‘serious heart rhythm problems.’ The drugs have been aggressively promoted by President Trump, who has called them a potential ‘game-changer,’ even though results from clinical trials have not yet shown the drugs to be effective for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. An increasing number of studies and reports have raised safety issues, making the drugs an example of how the president’s embrace of unproven medical ideas has potentially endangered Americans’ lives and put health agencies in a tough spot.”

Coronavirus Antibody Tests: Can You Trust the Results? A team of scientists worked around the clock to evaluate 14 antibody tests. A few worked as advertised. Most did not. The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The researchers worked around the clock, in shifts of three to five hours, hoping to stave off weariness and keep their minds sharp for the delicate task. They set up lines of laboratory volunteers: medical residents, postdoctoral students, even experienced veterans of science, each handling a specific task. They checked and rechecked their data, as if the world were depending on it. Because in some ways, it is. For the past few weeks, more than 50 scientists have been working diligently to do something that the Food and Drug Administration mostly has not: Verifying that 14 coronavirus antibody tests now on the market actually deliver accurate results. These tests are crucial to reopening the economy, but public health experts have raised urgent concerns about their quality. The new research, completed just days ago and posted online Friday, confirmed some of those fears: Of the 14 tests, only three delivered consistently reliable results. Even the best had some flaws.”

Want a mask contract or some ventilators? A White House connection helps. Trump and his top aides have played favorites in awarding coronavirus contracts and allocating scarce resources. NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Phil McCausland, and Cyrus Farivar, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Trump and his top aides have played favorites in awarding contracts and allocating scarce resources. Using the unilateral authority of the White House, Trump and his aides have consolidated power in a period of national crisis, picking winners and losers based in part on personal relationships, ideological affinity and partisan loyalty. Ultimately, that favoritism has created a two-track system of haves and have-nots in what Trump calls the ‘war’ against the coronavirus, a model revealed in dozens of interviews that NBC News conducted with federal, state and local officials, health industry professionals, emergency response veterans working on the crisis and current and former White House officials. Put simply, the fight for survival among businesses related to the COVID-19 fight — and for a slice of the billions of dollars going out the door — is about political influence.”

Navajo Nation Sees High Rate of COVID-19, and Contact Tracing Is a Challenge, NPR, Laurel Morales, Friday, 24 April 2020: “After New York and New Jersey, the place with the highest coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. is the Navajo Nation. Dr. Deborah Birx of the national coronavirus task force told the White House press corps the tribe is using strike teams to address the issue. ‘They’re really doing amazing work at their public health institutions with their governors and their mayors,’ Birx says. ‘They are in full contact tracing.’ But contact tracing — or tracking all the people that COVID-positive patients may have infected — has been a challenge on the Navajo Nation.”

Stephen Miller Says Trump’s Temporary Halt to Immigration is Part of a Broader Plan, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 24 April 2020: “President Trump’s decision to suspend family-based immigration because of the coronavirus is the beginning of a broader strategy to reduce the flow of foreigners into the United States, Stephen Miller, the architect of President Trump’s immigration agenda, told a group of conservative allies on Thursday. During a private conference call with the president’s supporters, Mr. Miller sought to reassure them of Mr. Trump’s commitment to their cause and urged them to publicly defend his executive order. He pledged that it was only a first step in the administration’s longer-term goal of shrinking legal immigration. ‘The first and most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor — mission accomplished — with signing that executive order,’ Mr. Miller said, according to an audio recording of the conference call obtained by The New York Times.”

Trump Commencement Speech to Bring 1,000 West Point Cadets Back to Campus, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Annie Karni, Friday, 24 April 2020: “For President Trump, who adores the pomp and precision of military ceremonies, this was the year he would finally get one of the special perks of being president — delivering the commencement address at West Point, the only service academy where he has not spoken. But the graduation was postponed because of the coronavirus, the cadets were sent home and officials at the school were not sure when it would be held or even whether it was a good idea to hold it. The Naval Academy, for its part, decided it was too risky to recall its nearly 1,000 graduating midshipmen to Annapolis, Md., for a commencement. Those graduates will have a virtual event. But the Air Force Academy, in contrast to the other schools, sent home its underclassmen, locked down its seniors on campus, moved up graduation, mandated social distancing — and went ahead with plans for Vice President Mike Pence to be its speaker. And so last Friday, the day before Mr. Pence was to speak at the Air Force ceremony in Colorado, Mr. Trump, never one to be upstaged, abruptly announced that he would, in fact, be speaking at West Point. That was news to everyone, including officials at West Point, according to three people involved with or briefed on the event. The academy had been looking at the option of a delayed presidential commencement in June, but had yet to complete any plans. With Mr. Trump’s pre-emptive statement, they are now summoning 1,000 cadets scattered across the country to return to campus in New York, the state that is the center of the outbreak.”

Separate investigations seek answers on problems with CDC’s coronavirus test kit, The Washington Post, David Willman, Friday, 24 April 2020: “For months, public health officials and members of Congress have wanted to know why the federal government fell short in its efforts to rapidly develop a test to help detect and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Two federal probes are underway into actions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that caused problems with test kits and delayed widespread detection efforts in the United States. But exactly when those examinations will yield answers is unclear, according to Trump administration officials. The reviews are being led by the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and, separately, by the department’s Office of Inspector General.”

Investigation Finds Health Officials Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Proper Gear and Training During a Chaotic Situation in January at March Air Reserve Base in California, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Federal health employees without adequate protective gear or training interacted with Americans quarantined at a military installation in California for possible exposure to the coronavirus, the top lawyer at the Department of Health and Human Services concluded on Friday. The report validated the central claim of a government whistle-blower who raised concerns this year about the deployment of employees of the agency’s Administration for Children and Families who were dispatched in late January to help care for Americans repatriated from Wuhan, China, during the coronavirus outbreak there. The report found that proper procedures to protect the employees ‘temporarily broke down’ amid a chaotic situation at March Air Reserve Base. But it rejected a second accusation of the same lapses at Travis Air Force Base, saying the procedures had been corrected in that instance.”

Navy Leaders Recommend Reinstating Brett E. Crozier, the  Captain of the Aircraft Carrier Theodore Roosevelt, Who Was Fired After Sending a Letter Pleading for Help to Fight the Coronavirus Outbreak on the Carrier, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Capt. Brett E. Crozier should be restored to command of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy’s top officials recommended on Friday. But Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who was briefed on the recommendations, has asked for more time to consider whether to sign off on reinstating the captain of the nuclear-powered carrier. Mr. Esper received the recommendation from the chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael M. Gilday, and the acting Navy secretary, James McPherson. Defense Department officials said earlier that they expected to announce the results of the Navy’s investigation into the matter on Friday afternoon.” See also, Navy recommends reinstating Captain Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, CNN Politics, Ryan and Barbara Starr, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Navy recommended to Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Capt. Brett Crozier be restored to command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier on Friday, according to an administration official. Esper was not prepared to immediately accept the recommendation from Admiral Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations after being briefed on the investigation into the circumstances around Crozier’s removal, telling top Navy officials he wanted more time to review their recommendations, two defense officials told CNN. The defense officials told CNN that the Navy intended to announce its recommendation at a press conference Friday afternoon but it was canceled after Esper did not immediately endorse it.”

Trump administration ducks and dodges to justify wall spending. In court and in the press, government officials have refused to detail the legal underpinnings of billions of dollars in transfers. Politico, David Rogers, Friday, 24 April 2020: “All but forgotten amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s border wall is now a story of two walls at once. One is the giant, steel barrier in the Southwest, powered by a steady stream of contract awards, including four worth over $900 million in April alone during the lockdown. The second is back in Washington, where the Defense Department continues to withhold information as to how precisely it diverted $3.6 billion in military construction appropriations to help speed this work.”

The Tax-Break Bonanza Inside the Economic Rescue Package. As small businesses and individuals struggle to obtain federal aid, the wealthiest are poised to reap tens of billions of dollars in tax savings. The New York Times, Jesse Drucker, Friday, 24 April 2020: “As the federal government dispenses trillions of dollars to save the economy, small businesses and out-of-work individuals are jostling to grab small slices of aid before the funds run out. But another group is in no danger of missing out: wealthy individuals and big companies that are poised for tax windfalls. As part of the economic rescue package that became law last month, the federal government is giving away $174 billion in temporary tax breaks overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies, according to interviews and government estimates.”

Trump plans to cut daily coronavirus briefings, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Friday, 24 April 2020: “President Trump plans to pare back his coronavirus press conferences, according to four sources familiar with the internal deliberations. He may stop appearing daily and make shorter appearances when he does, the sources said — a practice that may have started with Friday’s unusually short briefing. Trump’s daily press conferences — televised to a largely homebound population — have dominated the public discourse about the coronavirus. A number of Trump’s most trusted advisers — both inside and outside the White House — have urged him to stop doing marathon televised briefings. They’ve told him he’s overexposed and these appearances are part of the reason polls aren’t looking good for him right now against Joe Biden.” See also, Aides and allies are making concerted effort to get Trump to stop doing daily briefings, CNN Politics, Jim Acosta, Kristen Holmes, Dana Bash, and Gloria Borger, Friday, 24 April 2020.

Republican memo urges anti-China assault over coronavirus. The Senate Republican campaign arm distributed a 57-page strategy document to candidates. Politico, Alex Isenstadt, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent campaigns a detailed, 57-page memo authored by a top Republican strategist advising GOP candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by aggressively attacking China. The memo includes advice on everything from how to tie Democratic candidates to the Chinese government to how to deal with accusations of racism. It stresses three main lines of assault: That China caused the virus ‘by covering it up,’ that Democrats are ‘soft on China,’ and that Republicans will ‘push for sanctions on China for its role in spreading this pandemic.'” See also, Republican strategy memo advises Republican campaigns to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “A new Republican strategy memo advises Senate candidates to blame China for the coronavirus outbreak, link Democrats to the Chinese government and avoid discussing President Trump’s handling of the crisis. The 57-page memo, drafted by a D.C.-area GOP strategist, was distributed to campaigns this month by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It’s existence was first reported Friday by Politico. If asked whether Trump is at fault for the nation’s unpreparedness as the virus spread, the candidates are told, ‘don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China,’ according to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. The memo urges Republicans to acknowledge that U.S. public health officials ‘acted late,’ then say that is China’s fault.”

Joe Biden Steps Up Warnings of Possible Trump Disruption of Election, The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Friday, 24 April 2020: “For months, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has argued that under pressure and political duress, President Trump may pursue increasingly extreme measures to stay in power…. [O]n Thursday, he added some urgency to his warnings, suggesting that Mr. Trump might try to delay or otherwise disrupt the election. ‘Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,’ Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser, according to a news media pool report. Mr. Trump, he suggested, is ‘trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote. That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.’ It was an extraordinary claim for the presumptive Democratic nominee to make about an opponent.” See also, Joe Biden says Trump may try to postpone the election; Trump campaign dismisses that idea, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Former vice president Joe Biden predicted Thursday night that President Trump will seek to postpone the November election, telling supporters participating in an online fundraiser ‘that’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win. Mark my words I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,’ said Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. The November election date is set by federal law and would require an act of Congress to change. Any effort by Trump to do so unilaterally would undoubtedly prompt legal action. Biden cited Trump’s threat to veto the $2 trillion stimulus bill in response to the cornovarius outbreak if it contained money to bail out the U.S. Postal Service. ‘Imagine threatening not to fund the post office,’ Biden said. ‘Now what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote.”

New evidence surfaces in Tara Reade allegation against Biden. A 1993 video appears to show her mother calling the Larry King show to discuss’ problems’ while working for ‘a prominent senator.’ Politico, Holly Otterbein, Friday, 24 April 2020: “A 1993 video has surfaced that appears to show the mother of Tara Reade, the former aide to Joe Biden who has accused him of sexual assault, talking about ‘problems’ her daughter faced on CNN’s ‘Larry King Live.’ As first reported by the Intercept, an unnamed woman from San Luis Obispo, Calif., called into King’s show and said, ‘I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.’ Reade confirmed to POLITICO it was her mother’s voice. King asked the woman, ‘She had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?’ The caller replied, ‘That’s true.'” See also, New Evidence Supporting Credibility of Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden Emerges,The Intercept, Ryan Grim, Friday, 24 April 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic could be a call to action on climate change, The Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor, Friday, 24 April 2020: “Amid its horrors and tragedies, the coronavirus pandemic has driven home a startling reality. Travel bans and lockdowns have cleaned the globe, flushing the murk from Venice’s canals, clearing Delhi’s polluted smog, making distant snowy peaks visible for the first time in years from the shores of the Bosporus. With humans in retreat, nature reclaimed what was once its own in whimsical ways: Goats strutted through villages, antlered deer grazed on manicured city lawns and mountain lions found perches by suburban fences…. ‘A good way to think about the coronavirus pandemic is that it is like climate change at warp speed. What takes decades and centuries for the climate takes days or weeks for a contagious disease,’ New York University climate economist Gernot Wagner wrote last month. ‘That speed focuses the mind and offers lessons in how to think about risk in an interconnected world.’ The question now is who’s learning what lessons. The commemorations for the 50th annual Earth Day saw a litany of prominent climate campaigners link action on that front to the experience of the outbreak. For years, climate scientists have been calling on governments to ‘flatten the curve’ — that is, reduce emissions to lessen the likely catastrophic toll global warming will exact on societies in decades to come.”

Ohio Federal Court Protects Abortion Access During Coronavirus Pandemic, The Daily Beast, Pilar Melendez, Friday, 24 April 2020: “An Ohio federal court on Thursday continued to block the state’s Department of Health from restricting abortion access amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction that would allow surgical abortions to be performed on a case-by-case basis if the provider determines that delaying the procedure would push the patient past the point of ‘viability’ under state law, which is 22 weeks into a pregnancy. The injunction rules against restrictions on elective surgeries in Ohio that the health department has implemented during the outbreak. Barrett wrote Thursday that despite the state’s order, the ‘procedure is deemed legally essential to preserve a woman’s right to constitutionally protected access to abortions.’ ‘This is a crucial victory for Ohioans’ access to essential abortion care, and in the fight to ensure that the response to the COVID-19 crisis is grounded in public health, not politics,’ Elizabeth Watson, an attorney ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. Ohio is among a dozen other states—Arkansas, Alaska, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, and West Virginia—that have attempted to restrict abortion access amid the pandemic.”

Supreme Court denies states’ bid to revisit ruling on Trump’s ‘wealth test’ for immigrants. The ruling makes it harder for immigrants to seek residency in the U.S. if they have used public assistance benefits. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request to revisit its decision from January allowing the Trump administration to implement regulations that make it harder on immigrants to seek residency in the United States if they’ve used public assistance benefits. Citing extenuating circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, leaders in four states — New York, Connecticut, Illinois and Vermont — had asked the court to suspend the program because, they said, it was making even those legally entitled to benefits such as Medicaid wary of accessing them. The court’s order did not list any justices as objecting and said it ‘does not preclude a filing in the district court’ if the localities wanted to try that route.”

Trump administration plans to go to the Supreme Court in Mueller grand jury document dispute, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Friday, 24 April 2020: “The Trump administration on Friday said that it plans to ask the Supreme Court to block a lower court ruling that allows the House of Representatives to access secret grand jury material gathered in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The announcement was made in a court filing where the Justice Department asked the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to put its ruling and a May 1 deadline on hold while it prepares its appeal to the Supreme Court. Last month, the appeals court ruled, 2-1, that the Democratic-controlled House could see the grand jury material from the Mueller probe. The majority agreed that the House Judiciary Committee has a ‘compelling need’ to view the secretive details prosecutors had collected from witnesses and about President Donald Trump. If no court steps in to put the ruling on hold the material will be released by May 1, and the Justice Department wants to delay that deadline.”


Saturday, 25 April 2020, Day 1,191:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 25 April 2020: Americans Stranded Abroad Weigh Options; Spain Announces Easing of Restrictions, The New York Times, Saturday, 25 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 25 April 2020: Trump Suggests Daily Briefings No Longer Worth His Time as White House Considers Replacing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, The New York Times, Saturday, 25 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 25 April 2020: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces Expanded Virus Testing in New York, The New York Times, Saturday, 25 April 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 25 April 2020: World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no evidence recovery prevents second infection as coronavirus deaths surpass 200,000 worldwide, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Meryl Kornfield, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, Jesse Dougherty, and Candace Buckner, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “The World Health Organization on Saturday said there was not enough evidence that a person who has recovered from covid-19 is immune from a second infection. This comes as the known coronavirus death toll worldwide surpassed 200,000, though the true figure is unknown.

Here are some significant developments:

Testing Remains Scarce as Governors Weigh Reopening States, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Farah Stockman, and Sharon LaFraniere, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “As governors decide about opening their economies, they continue to be hampered by a shortage of testing capacity, leaving them without the information that public health experts say is needed to track outbreaks and contain them. And while the United States has made strides over the past month in expanding testing, its capacity is nowhere near the level Mr. Trump suggests it is. There are numerous reasons. It has proved hard to increase production of reagents — sensitive chemical ingredients that detect whether the coronavirus is present — partly because of federal regulations intended to ensure safety and partly because manufacturers, who usually produce them in small batches, have been reluctant to invest in new capacity without assurance that the surge in demand will be sustained. Some physical components of test kits, like nasal swabs, are largely imported and hard to come by amid global shortages. Health care workers still lack the protective gear they need to administer tests on a wide-scale basis. Labs have been slow to add people and equipment to process the swelling numbers of tests. On top of all that, the administration has resisted a full-scale national mobilization, instead intervening to allocate scarce equipment on an ad hoc basis and leaving production bottlenecks and shortages largely to market forces. Governors, public health officials and hospital executives say they are still operating in a kind of Wild West economy that has left them scrambling — and competing with one another — to procure the equipment and other materials they need.”

Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes, The Washington Post, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected.”

As they rushed to maintain U.S. meat supply, big processors saw plants become covid-19 hot spots and worker illnesses spike. Several big meat companies failed to provide masks to all workers, some of whom said they were told to keep working in crowded plants, a Post investigation finds. The Washington Post, Taylor Telford and Kimberly Kindy, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “Three of the nation’s largest meat processors failed to provide protective gear to all workers, and some employees say they were told to continue working in crowded plants even while sick as the coronavirus spread around the country and turned the facilities into infection hot spots, a Washington Post investigation has found. The actions by three major meat producers — Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods — continued even after federal guidelines on social distancing and personal protective equipment were published March 9, according to 25 interviews with employees, elected officials, regional health officials, union leaders and federal safety inspectors as well as dozens of documents, including worker complaints filed with local and federal officials. Because of outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, over the past several weeks Tyson, JBS and Smithfield have closed 15 plants, devastating rural communities and threatening the nation’s supply of beef and pork. Industry analysts say production is already down by at least 25 percent.”

White House in Talks to Replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, The Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Armour and Rebecca Ballhaus, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “Administration officials are discussing replacing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar following criticism of his management of the early response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to six people familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear if Mr. Azar will be ousted and in what timeline that might occur. Administration officials said the White House is hesitant to shake up the leadership of HHS during a pandemic, though they acknowledged that frustration with the secretary has been growing in recent weeks.”

World Health Organization (WHO) says no evidence shows that having coronavirus prevents a second infection, CNN, Lindsay Isaac and Jay Croft, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “The World Health Organization is warning that people who have had Covid-19 are not necessarily immune by the presence of antibodies from getting the virus again. ‘There is no evidence yet that people who have had Covid-19 will not get a second infection,’ WHO said in a scientific brief published Friday. It cautions against governments that are considering issuing so-called ‘immunity passports’ to people who have had Covid-19, assuming they are safe to resume normal life.” See also, World Health Organization Says There Is ‘No Evidence’ Yet That Recovered COVID-19 Patients Are Immune, NPR, Colin Dwyer, Saturday, 25 April 2020.

Trump expands battle with World Health Organization far beyond aid suspension, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Josh Dawsey, and Souad Mekhennet, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “President Trump and his top aides are working behind the scenes to sideline the World Health Organization on several new fronts as they seek to shift blame for the coronavirus pandemic to the world body, according to U.S. and foreign officials involved in the discussions. Last week, the president announced a 60-day hold on U.S. money to the WHO, but other steps by his top officials go beyond a temporary funding freeze, raising concerns about the permanent weakening of the organization amid a rapidly spreading crisis. At the State Department, officials are stripping references to the WHO from coronavirus fact sheets, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has instructed his employees to ‘cut out the middle man’ when it comes to public health initiatives the United States previously supported through the WHO. The United States will now attempt to reroute the WHO funds to nongovernment organizations involved in public health issues, according to interviews with U.S. officials and an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post.”

Trump says briefings are ‘not worth the effort’ amid fallout from disinfectant comments, The Guardian, Lauren Aratani, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “After more than a month of near-daily White House coronavirus press briefings, Donald Trump stayed behind closed doors on Saturday after advisers reportedly warned the president that his appearances were hurting his campaign. Trump himself referenced his absence when he wrote on Twitter that the briefings are ‘not worth the time & effort.’ The president wrote the tweet on Saturday evening, when he would usually be taking the podium to address journalists. ‘What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,’ he wrote. ‘They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!’… While the press briefings are meant to give members of the coronavirus task force an opportunity to provide updates on the state of Covid-19 in the country, the attention around the briefings has been centered on Trump’s use of the podium as his bully pulpit. The president has used the briefings as uncensored airtime, praising his administration for its response to the crisis while criticizing the media and Democrats for any negative comeback.” See also, Trump skips briefing amid fears of overexposure. In a tweet, Trump criticized the media’s ‘hostile questions’ and said it wasn’t ‘worth the time and effort.’ Politico, Stephanie Murray, Saturday, 25 April 2020.

Veterans Health Administration executive Richard Stone acknowledges a shortage of protective gear for its hospital workers at Veterans Affairs hospitals, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “For weeks, nurses and other employees at Veterans Affairs hospitals have said they were working with inadequate protective gear. VA officials denied it. But in an interview, the physician in charge of the country’s largest health-care system acknowledged the shortage — and said masks and other supplies are being diverted for the national stockpile. ‘I had 5 million masks incoming that disappeared,’ said Richard Stone, executive in charge of the sprawling Veterans Health Administration. He acknowledged that he’s been forced to move to ‘austerity levels’ at some hospitals. Stone said the Federal Emergency Management Agency directed vendors with equipment on order from VA to instead send it to FEMA to replenish the government’s rapidly depleting emergency stockpile.”

Prescriptions for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Surged as Trump Praised the Drugs in Coronavirus Fight, The New York Times, Ellen Gabler and Michael H. Keller, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “It was at a midday briefing last month that President Trump first used the White House telecast to promote two antimalarial drugs in the fight against the coronavirus. ‘I think it could be something really incredible,’ Mr. Trump said on March 19, noting that while more study was needed, the two drugs had shown ‘very, very encouraging results’ in treating the virus. By that evening, first-time prescriptions of the drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — poured into retail pharmacies at more than 46 times the rate of the average weekday, according to an analysis of prescription data by The New York Times. And the nearly 32,000 prescriptions came from across the spectrum — rheumatologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, psychiatrists and even podiatrists, the data shows. While medical experts have since stepped up warnings about the drugs’ possibly dangerous side effects, they were still being prescribed at more than six times the normal rate during the second week of April, the analysis shows. All the while, Mr. Trump continued to extol their use. ‘It’s having some very good results, I’ll tell you,’ he said in a White House briefing on April 13. The extraordinary change in prescribing patterns reflects, at least in part, the outsize reach of the Trump megaphone, even when his pronouncements distort scientific evidence or run counter to the recommendations of experts in his own administration. It also offers the clearest evidence yet of the perils of a president willing to push unproven and potentially dangerous remedies to a public desperate for relief from the pandemic. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration warned against using the drugs outside a hospital setting or clinical trial because they could lead to serious heart rhythm problems in some coronavirus patients. Days earlier, the federal agency led by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci — one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers on the pandemic — issued cautionary advice on the drugs, and stated that there was no proven medication to treat the virus.”

The pandemic at sea: The cruise industry’s decision to keep sailing for weeks after the coronavirus was first detected on a ship helped carry the virus around the globe and contributed to the mounting toll, health experts and passengers say, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Hannah Sampson, Dalton Bennett, and Andrew Ba Tran, Saturday, 25 April 2020: “A Post review of cruise line statements, government announcements and media reports found that the coronavirus infected passengers and crew on at least 55 ships that sailed in the waters off nearly every continent, about a fifth of the total global fleet. The industry’s decision to keep sailing for weeks after the coronavirus was first detected in early February on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan, despite the efforts by top U.S. health officials to curtail voyages, was among a number of decisions that health experts and passengers say contributed to the mounting toll. At least 65 people who traveled or worked on the ships have since died, according to The Post tally, although the full scope of deaths is unknown. A similar review by the Miami Herald also identified 65 deaths linked to ships.”


Sunday, 26 April 2020, Day 1,192:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 26 April 2020: Global Virus Death Toll Crosses 200,000; Italy to Ease Restrictions in May, The New York Times, Sunday, 26 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 26 April 2020: Summer Is Coming. Some States Are Reopening. Can We Keep Our Distance? The New York Times, Sunday, 26 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 26 April 2020: New York’s Leaders Elaborate on Plans to Reopen as Coronavirus Death Toll Drops, The New York Times, Sunday, 26 April 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 26 April 2020: White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx says social distancing in the U.S. will continue through the summer, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Marisa Iati, Hannah Knowles, Teo Armus, Siobhán O’Grady, Meryl Kornfield, Samantha Pell, and Steven Goff, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx on Sunday said social distancing will continue through the summer, as confirmed cases in the United States approach one million. Meanwhile, the task force briefing will return on Monday, according to the White House schedule. President Trump cast the briefings’ future into doubt with weekend tweets calling them a waste of time. The schedule does not say whether Trump would be present for the 5 p.m. event.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Trump pushed back on reports that White House officials are discussing whether to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Frustrations have grown over Azar’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, but Trump tweeted Sunday that such reports are ‘fake news.’
  • The World Health Organization clarified that people who have recovered from covid-19 will probably have an antibody response protecting them from a second coronavirus infection, backing off an earlier statement that there was ‘no evidence’ recovered patients gained immunity.
  • Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Sunday night that Italy would ease the West’s longest lockdown on May 4, gradually reopening parts of the economy.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to return to work on Monday after more than three weeks battling a coronavirus infection.
  • Chinese health officials claimed that Wuhan no longer has any coronavirus patients in hospitals, a significant step toward combating the virus in the city that was once its epicenter.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Covid-19 is ravaging one of the country’s wealthiest black counties, Prince George’s County in Maryland, The Washington Post, Rachel Chason, Ovetta Wiggins, and John D. Harden, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “The intensive care unit at Inova Alexandria Hospital has empty beds, and doctors are prepared for a rush of coronavirus patients that has yet to hit the largely white suburb. A dozen miles away at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Hospital Center, the ICU is full, and employees treat coronavirus patients in medical tents in the parking lot. Paramedics across Prince George’s County are summoned daily to help people struggling to breathe, and funeral home directors are searching for more places to store bodies. Prince George’s, one of the nation’s wealthiest majority-black counties, has reported the most coronavirus infections and some of the highest death tolls in the Washington region. In the hardest-hit neighborhoods, African American and Latino residents make up more than 70 percent of households. The grim statistics mirror data showing black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be infected with the novel coronavirus and more likely to die of it.”

One Rich New York Hospital, Mount Sinai, Got Warren Buffett’s Help. Publicly Funded University Hospital of Brooklyn Got Duct Tape. The New York Times, Michael Schwirtz, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “Every hospital in New York has struggled to cope with the pandemic, but the outbreak has laid bare the deep disparities in the city’s health care system. The virus is killing black and Latino New Yorkers at about twice the rate of white residents, and hospitals serving the sickest patients often work with the fewest resources. Wealthy private hospitals, primarily in Manhattan, have been able to marshal reserves of cash and political clout to increase patient capacity quickly, ramp up testing and acquire protective gear. At the height of the surge, the Mount Sinai health system was able to enlist private planes from Warren E. Buffett’s company to fly in coveted N95 masks from China. University Hospital of Brooklyn, which is publicly funded and part of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, has tried to raise money for protective gear through a GoFundMe page started by a resident physician.”

Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Leaders Did Not. The initial coronavirus outbreaks on the East and West Coasts emerged at roughly the same time. But the danger was communicated very differently. The New Yorker, Charles Duhigg, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “The initial coronavirus outbreaks in New York City emerged at roughly the same time as those in Seattle. But the cities’ experiences with the disease have markedly differed. By the second week of April, Washington State had roughly one recorded fatality per fourteen thousand residents. New York’s rate of death was nearly six times higher. There are many explanations for this divergence. New York is denser than Seattle and relies more heavily on public transportation, which forces commuters into close contact. In Seattle, efforts at social distancing may have been aided by local attitudes—newcomers are warned of the Seattle Freeze, which one local columnist compared to the popular girl in high school who ‘always smiles and says hello’ but ‘doesn’t know your name and doesn’t care to.’ New Yorkers are in your face, whether you like it or not. (‘Stand back at least six feet, playa,’ a sign in the window of a Bronx bodega cautioned. ‘covid-19 is some real shit!’) New York also has more poverty and inequality than Seattle, and more international travellers. Moreover, as Mike Famulare, a senior research scientist at the Institute for Disease Modeling, put it to me, ‘There’s always some element of good luck and bad luck in a pandemic.’ It’s also true, however, that the cities’ leaders acted and communicated very differently in the early stages of the pandemic. Seattle’s leaders moved fast to persuade people to stay home and follow the scientists’ advice; New York’s leaders, despite having a highly esteemed public-health department, moved more slowly, offered more muddied messages, and let politicians’ voices dominate…. Today, New York City has the same social-distancing policies and business-closure rules as Seattle. But because New York’s recommendations came later than Seattle’s—and because communication was less consistent—it took longer to influence how people behaved. According to data collected by Google from cell phones, nearly a quarter of Seattleites were avoiding their workplaces by March 6th. In New York City, another week passed until an equivalent percentage did the same. Tom Frieden, the former C.D.C. director, has estimated that, if New York had started implementing stay-at-home orders ten days earlier than it did, it might have reduced covid-19 deaths by fifty to eighty per cent. Another former New York City health commissioner told me that ‘de Blasio was just horrible,’ adding, ‘Maybe it was unintentional, maybe it was his arrogance. But, if you tell people to stay home and then you go to the gym, you can’t really be surprised when people keep going outside.’ More than fifteen thousand people in New York are believed to have died from covid-19. Last week in Washington State, the estimate was fewer than seven hundred people.”

13 Hours of Trump: He fills coronavirus briefings with attacks and boasts, but little empathy, The Washington Post, Philip Bump and Ashley Parker, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “President Trump strode to the lectern in the White House briefing room Thursday and, for just over an hour, attacked his rivals, dismissing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as a ‘sleepy guy in a basement of a house’ and lambasting the media as ‘fake news’ and ‘lamestream.’ He showered praise on himself and his team, repeatedly touting the ‘great job’ they were doing as he spoke of the ‘tremendous progress’ being made toward a vaccine and how ‘phenomenally’ the nation was faring in terms of mortality. What he did not do was offer any sympathy for the 2,081 Americans who were reported dead from the coronavirus on that day alone — among nearly 53,000 Americans who have perished since the pandemic began. What began as daily briefings meant to convey public health information have become de facto political rallies conducted from the West Wing of the White House. Trump offers little in the way of accurate medical information or empathy for coronavirus victims, instead focusing on attacking his enemies and lauding himself and his allies.”

260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Elaina Plott, and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “The self-regard, the credit-taking, the audacious rewriting of recent history to cast himself as the hero of the pandemic rather than the president who was slow to respond: Such have been the defining features of Mr. Trump’s use of the bully pulpit during the coronavirus outbreak. The New York Times analyzed every word Mr. Trump spoke at his White House briefings and other presidential remarks on the virus — more than 260,000 words — from March 9, when the outbreak began leading to widespread disruptions in daily life, through mid-April. The transcripts show striking patterns and repetitions in the messages he has conveyed, revealing a display of presidential hubris and self-pity unlike anything historians say they have seen before. By far the most recurring utterances from Mr. Trump in the briefings are self-congratulations, roughly 600 of them, which are often predicated on exaggerations and falsehoods. He does credit others (more than 360 times) for their work, but he also blames others (more than 110 times) for inadequacies in the state and federal response. Mr. Trump’s attempts to display empathy or appeal to national unity (about 160 instances) amount to only a quarter of the number of times he complimented himself or a top member of his team.”

Social distancing could last months, White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx says, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Paige Winfield Cunningham, and Meryl Kornfield, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “Some form of social distancing will probably remain in place through the summer, Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, said Sunday — the same day several governors expressed optimism about the course of the virus and outlined their plans for a piecemeal reopening of their economies. It was the latest instance of conflicting signals coming not just from state and federal leaders but also from within the Trump administration in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of more than 54,000 Americans. Last week, Vice President Pence predicted that ‘we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us’ by Memorial Day weekend. But on Sunday, Birx said in an interview on NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press’ that ‘social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases.’ She cited the need for further testing that would need to be developed following a scientific ‘breakthrough.'”

Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported, Financial Times, John Burn-Murdoch, Valentina Romei, and Chris Giles, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “The death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, according to an FT analysis of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries. Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods. If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000. To calculate excess deaths, the FT has compared deaths from all causes in the weeks of a location’s outbreak in March and April 2020 to the average for the same period between 2015 and 2019. The total of 122,000 amounts to a 50 per cent rise in overall mortality relative to the historical average for the locations studied. In all the countries analysed except Denmark, excess deaths far outnumbered the official coronavirus death tolls. The accuracy of official death statistics from the virus is limited by how effectively a country is testing people to confirm cases. Some countries, including China, have retrospectively revised up their death tolls from the disease.”

‘Outrageous,’ ‘irresponsible’: Governors slam Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over bankruptcy comments, NBC News, Allan Smith, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “Governors on Sunday criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying last week that he would prefer states to be able to declare bankruptcy rather than provide hundreds of billions in relief as state and local government revenue dries up. McConnell’s comments came as state and local governments pressed for funding in the latest coronavirus aid package — funding that ultimately was not included. However, President Donald Trump has indicated that emergency funding for state and local governments would be on the table for the next round of COVID-19 legislation.” See also, The misleading rhetoric on blue states needing to be ‘bailed out’ by the federal government, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Monday, 27 April 2020: “Since McConnell rejected the idea of providing assistance to states with budget shortfalls stemming from the pandemic last week, this idea that states (often Republican-led ones) shouldn’t be asked to pony up for other states (often, as Trump noted, Democratic-led ones) has become something of a mantra. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) made the point on Monday as well. ‘It’s not fair to the taxpayers of Florida,’ Scott said. ‘We sit here, we live within our means, and then New York, Illinois, California and other states don’t. And we’re supposed to go bail them out? That’s not right.’ The context that’s missing here is that the federal government weighs in to support states all the time. Noem’s and Scott’s states are, on net, beneficiaries of that support, while states like Illinois and New York are not. McConnell’s state of Kentucky is the most lopsided in terms of how much it gives to the federal coffers versus how much it gets. The Rockefeller Institute of Government regularly compiles an analysis of how much states give and get in federal support. Its most recent analysis, released in January, shows that eight states get less from the federal government than they contribute: Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Utah. Connecticut gets the least in return for its contributions, getting 84 cents back for every dollar it contributes. Kentucky, on the other hand, gets $2.41 back for each dollar. On a per capita basis, New Yorkers each contribute $1,125 more than they receive from the federal government. Residents of Illinois each get about $27 more back in value from the federal government than they contribute. Floridians, on the other hand, each net $1,169 from the federal government, while South Dakotans get $1,387. Each resident of Kentucky nets more than $10,000 on average.”

Large, Troubled Companies Got Bailout Money in Small-Business Loan Program, The New York Times, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, David Enrich, Jesse Drucker, and Stacy Cowley, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “The vast economic rescue package that President Trump signed into law last month included $349 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses. The so-called Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help prevent small companies — generally those with fewer than 500 employees in the United States — from capsizing as the economy sinks into what looks like a severe recession. The loan program was meant for companies that could no longer finance themselves through traditional means, like raising money in the markets or borrowing from banks under existing credit lines. The law required that the federal money — which comes at a low 1 percent interest rate and in some cases doesn’t need to be paid back — be spent on things like payroll or rent. But the program has been riddled with problems. Within days of its start, its money ran out, prompting Congress to approve an additional $310 billion in funding that will open for applications on Monday. Countless small businesses were shut out, even as a number of large companies received millions of dollars in aid.”

People receiving stimulus checks get letter signed by Donald Trump, CNN Politics, Joe Ruiz, Jason Hoffman, and Kevin Bohn, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “If you’re getting money from the federal government as part of the recent stimulus response to the coronavirus, you’ll also get a letter from President Donald Trump explaining why. CNN has obtained a copy of the letter signed by the President and sent to recipients of the stimulus payments. The one-page letter arrives in an envelope from the IRS as part of the Treasury Department, with both postage and fees paid for by the IRS, according to a notice on the envelope.” See also, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to introduce legislation preventing Trump from signing stimulus checks. ‘Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,’ Schumer said. Politico, Marianne Levine, published on Monday, 27 April 2020: “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to push for a provision in the next coronavirus package that would stop President Donald Trump from putting his name on any additional stimulus checks. The so-called ‘No PR Act’ would prohibit the use of federal dollars toward any material that promotes the names or signatures of Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. ‘President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,’ the New York Democrat said in a statement. ‘The No PR Act puts an end to the president’s exploitation of taxpayer money for promotional material that only benefits his re-election campaign.'”

Trump calls for journalists who covered the Russia investigation to return their ‘Noble Prizes’ in Twitter rant before deleting it, Business Insider, James Pasley, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “President Donald Trump lashed out at the news media on Sunday, telling media members in tweets he swiftly deleted to return their ‘Noble Prizes’ for their reporting on Russia. In the later-deleted thread, he wrote: ‘When will all of the “reporters” who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes) be turning back their cherished “Nobles” so that they can be given to the REAL REPORTERS & JOURNALISTS who got it right.’ He said he could give the Nobel Committee a ‘very comprehensive list’ of those he deemed ‘real’ reporters, and he then asked when it would demand the prizes back. He also said: ‘Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast!’ The Nobel Prize is not awarded for journalism. Prizes are awarded for literature, physics, chemistry, peace, physiology, and medicine, with a separate memorial prize in economic sciences. It’s possible Trump was thinking of the Pulitzer Prizes, which are awarded to journalists.” See also, Freed of briefing duty, wounded Trump airs full collection of grievances on Twitter, retweeting claim of ‘coup attempts,’ The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu, published on Monday, 27 April 2020: “President Trump’s first tweet Sunday came unusually late, popping up a few minutes after noon — hours behind schedule for a president who is often awake and tweeting as the sun rises. ‘Happy Birthday to Melania, our great First Lady!’ Trump tweeted at 12:06 p.m. The celebratory tweet kicked off a long day of tweeting and retweeting that really ramped up at around 2 p.m. when Trump observed, in response to a recent New York Times article, that those who know him regard him as ‘the hardest working President in history.’ Over the next seven hours or so, Trump took aim at everything and anyone he could, unleashing a barrage of more than two dozen tweets and retweets that targeted media outlets, high-profile commentators and hosts, and Democrats…. At one point, the president said reporters who covered him should return their ‘Noble Prizes,’ appearing to confuse the Nobel Prizes with the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Rather than correct himself, Trump deleted the ‘Noble’ tweets, but then said he meant to use the word ‘Noble,’ as a form of ‘sarcasm.’ Trump went on to retweet commentary ridiculing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden for his syntax.”

To Pressure Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Turns to the Obama-Era Nuclear Deal Trump Renounced, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Sunday, 26 April 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country. The strategy has been described in recent days by administration officials as they begin to circulate a new resolution in the Security Council that would bar countries from exporting conventional arms to Iran after the current ban expires in October. Any effort to renew the arms embargo is almost certain to be opposed by Russia and, publicly or quietly, by China. The Russians have already told American and European officials they are eager to resume conventional arms sales to Iran. In an effort to force the issue, Mr. Pompeo has approved a plan, bound to be opposed by many of Washington’s European allies, under which the United States would, in essence, claim it legally remains a ‘participant state’ in the nuclear accord that Mr. Trump has denounced — but only for the purposes of invoking a ‘snapback’ that would restore the U.N. sanctions on Iran that were in place before the accord. If the arms embargo is not renewed, the United States would exercise that right as an original member of the agreement. That step would force a restoration of the wide array of the sanctions that prohibited oil sales and banking arrangements before the adoption of the agreement in 2015. Enforcing those older sanctions would, in theory, be binding on all members of the United Nations.”


Monday, 27 April 2020, Day 1,193:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 27 April 2020: Scientists Race For a Coronavirus Vaccine, The New York Times, Monday, 27 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates on Monday, 27 April 2020: Texas and Ohio Push to Reopen; White House Promises to Help States Test, The New York Times, Monday, 27 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 27 April 2020: Deaths Dip in New York and New Jersey as Reopening Plans Take Shape, The New York Times, Monday, 27 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 27 April 2020: Stocks Rise as Oil Prices Plunge, The New York Times, Monday, 27 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 27 April 2020: Trump announces coronavirus testing guidance as more states outline reopening plans; global cases surpass 3 million, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Marisa Iati, Meryl Kornfield, Teo Armus, John Wagner, Steven Goff, Felicia Sonmez, and Adam Taylor, Monday, 27 April 2020: “President Trump announced national testing guidelines on Monday that continues to leave states in charge. A White House document described the federal government as the ‘supplier of last resort.’ Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 3 million worldwide; nearly one-third of the reported infections are in the United States.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

According to current and former U.S. officials, U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, The Washington Post, Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences. But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.”

New York City Deaths Reach 6 Times the Normal Level, Far More Than Coronavirus Count Suggests, The New York Times, Josh Katz and Margot Sanger-Katz, Monday, 27 April 2020: “More than 27,000 New Yorkers have died since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak in March — 20,900 more than would be expected over this period and thousands more than have been captured by official coronavirus death statistics. As of Sunday, the city had attributed 16,673 deaths to coronavirus, either because people had tested positive for the virus, or because the circumstances of their death meant that city health officials believed the virus to be the most likely cause of death. But there remains a large gap between this number and the total deaths above typical levels in the last six and a half weeks: more than 4,200 people whose deaths are not captured by the official coronavirus toll.”

U.S. Deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19. An analysis of federal data for the first time estimates excess deaths, the number beyond what would normally be expected, during that period. The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Andrew Ba Tran, Beth Reinhard, and Monica Ulmanu, Monday, 27 April 2020: “In the early weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths, nearly two times as many as were publicly attributed to covid-19 at the time, according to an analysis of federal data conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health. The excess deaths — the number beyond what would normally be expected for that time of year — occurred during March and through April 4, a time when 8,128 coronavirus deaths were reported. The excess deaths are not necessarily attributable directly to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They could include people who died because of the epidemic but not from the disease, such as those who were afraid to seek medical treatment for unrelated illnesses, as well as some number of deaths that are part of the ordinary variation in the death rate. The count is also affected by increases or decreases in other categories of deaths, such as suicides, homicides and motor vehicle accidents. But in any pandemic, higher-than-normal mortality is a starting point for scientists seeking to understand the full impact of the disease. The Yale analysis for the first time estimates excess deaths, both nationally and in each state, in those five weeks. Relying on data that the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released Friday, the analysis paints a picture of unusually high mortality that will come into sharper view as more data becomes available. The analysis calculates excess deaths by using a model to estimate how many people probably would have died absent the pandemic, and then subtracting that number from the overall deaths reported by the NCHS.”

40,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Outbreak, The New York Times, Jin Wu, Allison McCann, Josh Katz, and Elian Peltier, Monday, 27 April 2020: “At least 40,000 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 12 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.”

Trump Disinfectant Remarks Echo Claims by Miracle-Cure Quacks. Doctors and public health officials fear the attention could boost purveyors of dangerous elixirs who push ‘miracle cures’ with no basis in science. The New York Times, Andrew Jacobs, Monday, 27 April 2020: “President Trump’s public statements about using disinfectants to potentially treat the coronavirus have put him in the company of pseudoscientists and purveyors of phony elixirs who promote and sell industrial bleach as a ‘miracle cure’ for autism, malaria and a long list of medical conditions. The president’s comments, at a White House briefing last week, have already prompted widespread incredulitywarnings from health experts and a spike in calls to poison control centers around the country. The makers of Clorox and Lysol urged Americans not to inject or ingest their products. But some scientists fear Mr. Trump’s remarks could breathe life into a fringe movement that embraces the medicinal powers of a powerful industrial bleach known as chlorine dioxide. Among its adherents are Alan Keyes, the conservative activist and former presidential candidate who has promoted a chlorine dioxide-based product called Miracle Mineral Solution on his online television show.” See also, Trump said he takes no responsibility for any spike in people using disinfectants improperly, CNN Politics, Nikki Carvajal and Maegan Vazquez, Monday, 27 April 2020: “President Donald Trump said Monday that he takes no responsibility for any spike in people using disinfectants improperly after dangerously suggesting last week that ingesting it could serve as a coronavirus treatment. Asked about the increase during a White House news conference, Trump said: ‘I can’t imagine why.’ When asked if he takes any responsibility for the spike, Trump answered: ‘No, I don’t.’ Last week, Trump incorrectly suggested during a White House coronavirus briefing that ingesting disinfectants or taking in sunlight could possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients. A Department of Homeland Security official was discussing experiments where disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the virus on nonporous surfaces. Trump then mused about whether disinfectants could be used to treat the virus in humans — asking whether there is ‘a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.'”

A Department of Homeland Security official was discussing experiments where disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the virus on nonporous surfaces. Trump then mused about whether disinfectants could be used to treat the virus in humans — asking whether there is “a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.”

In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, Monday, 27 April 2020: “In the worldwide race for a vaccine to stop the coronavirus, the laboratory sprinting fastest is at Oxford University. Most other teams have had to start with small clinical trials of a few hundred participants to demonstrate safety. But scientists at the university’s Jenner Institute had a head start on a vaccine, having proved in previous trials that similar inoculations — including one last year against an earlier coronavirus — were harmless to humans. That has enabled them to leap ahead and schedule tests of their new coronavirus vaccine involving more than 6,000 people by the end of next month, hoping to show not only that it is safe, but also that it works.”

Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists, The Guardian, Damian Carrington, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be followed by even more deadly and destructive disease outbreaks unless their root cause – the rampant destruction of the natural world – is rapidly halted, the world’s leading biodiversity experts have warned. ‘There is a single species responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic – us,’ they said. ‘Recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity, particularly our global financial and economic systems that prize economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones.'”

New York cancels June primary because of coronavirus, CNN Politics, Kate Sullivan, Annie Grayer, and Liz Stark, Monday, 27 April 2020: “New York became the first state to cancel its presidential primary over coronavirus fears, the co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections said. Douglas Kellner told CNN the decision came after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign earlier this month, which ‘basically rendered the primary moot.’… The Democratic commissioners voted to remove a number of candidates who had ended their presidential campaigns from the ballot, including Sanders. That resulted in the cancellation of the primary, because former vice president Joe Biden was uncontested. ‘The decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the (Democratic National Committee),’ Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement. ‘Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.'”

The decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the (Democratic National Committee),” Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will push for vote by mail in next coronavirus relief package. Trump opposes mail-in voting and has urged Republicans to fight the effort. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Monday, 27 April 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that Democrats will push for a vote-by-mail provision in Congress’ next coronavirus relief package. In an interview on MSNBC’s LIVE with Stephanie Ruhle, Pelosi said that it’s important to protect the ‘life of our democracy’ as the coronavirus crisis continues.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorses Joe Biden for president in video remarks calling him the ‘personification of hope and courage,’ The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Monday, 27 April 2020.

‘The food supply chain for meat and poultry is breaking’: Tyson Foods raises coronavirus alarm in full-page ads and defends its safety efforts, The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd, Monday, 27 April 2020: “In a full-page newspaper ad published in The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday, Tyson Foods — which sells products ranging from frozen chicken nuggets to cuts of raw pork — said the coronavirus pandemic may disrupt the U.S. food supply chain and raise the price of meat. The company defended itself from criticism that it has not adequately protected its workers and pleaded for more government assistance in doing so.” See also, Major US meat producer Tyson Foods warns ‘food supply chain is breaking,’ The Guardian, Kenya Evelyn, Monday, 27 April 2020.

Trump Administration Has Enough Tests for 2% of Each State’s Population, Official Says. Health experts say not enough people will get tested under the White House blueprint; Democrats fault lack of details on expanding capacity. The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender and Brianna Abbott, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The Trump administration is prepared to send all 50 states enough tests to screen at least 2% of residents for the new coronavirus, a senior administration official said Monday, with the aim of rapidly expanding supplies in the coming weeks as the nation’s leaders look to reopen parts of the economy. The comments came on the same day that President Trump met with heads of major retailers, pharmacy chains and testing labs, including Walmart Inc. and CVS Health Corp., and the White House released what it called a blueprint on its testing plans…. The lack of widely available coronavirus tests has been a chief complaint from business leaders whom the Trump administration leaned on for economic advice. Mr. Trump told reporters on March 6 that anyone who wanted a test could get a test, a promise that remains unfulfilled.” See also, Trump Vows More Coronavirus Testing, but Far Less Than What Most Public Health Experts Say Is Necessary, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Monday, 27 April 2020: “President Trump, under growing pressure to expand coronavirus testing as states move to reopen their economies, unveiled a new plan on Monday to ramp up the federal government’s help to states, but his proposal runs far short of what most public health experts say is necessary. Mr. Trump’s announcement in the Rose Garden came after weeks of him insisting, inaccurately, that the nation’s testing capability ‘is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country,’ as he said on April 18. Numerous public health experts say that is untrue, and Mr. Trump’s plan may do little to fix it.”

Health experts call for $46.5 billion to expand contact tracing and isolation of infected people, The Hill, Peter Sullivan, Monday, 27 April 2020: “A group of leading health experts on Monday sent a letter to Congress calling for $46.5 billion to expand contact tracing and isolation of infected people in order to safely reopen the economy. ‘We are writing to propose Congress take swift action in upcoming legislation to give states the funding necessary to scale up our nation’s contact tracing ability and support voluntary self-isolation of infected and exposed individuals,’ write the 16 health experts, who include former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt. ‘This is fundamental to our ability to begin to reopen our economy while continuing to safeguard American lives.’ The letter asks for $12 billion to hire 180,000 new workers who would conduct contact tracing, meaning interviewing infected people to find out who they have been in contact with and then notifying those people so they can self-isolate for 14 days. The experts say this is important until a vaccine is developed.”

Next Wave of States Prepare to Reopen Despite Insufficient Coronavirus Testing and Contact Tracing, HuffPost, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee were set to join several other states in reopening businesses without the means to screen systematically for infected people who may be contagious but asymptomatic, and to trace their contacts with others they might have exposed. Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina have already forged ahead to restart their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that have thrown nearly one in six American workers out of their jobs. Public health authorities say increasing human interactions and economic activity now – without the means to do so safely – will only backfire, sparking a new surge of infections just as social-distancing measures appear to be bringing coronavirus outbreaks under control. Medical experts say strict adherence to business closures and stay-at-home orders imposed over the past several weeks by governors in 42 of 50 states have worked to level off rates of hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units.”

Attorney General William Barr directs prosecutors to look for state and local stay-home orders that go too far, NBC News, Pete Williams, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Attorney General William Barr directed the nation’s federal prosecutors Monday to watch for restrictions imposed by state and local governments during the coronavirus pandemic that may go too far, violating constitutional rights. ‘Many policies that would be unthinkable in regular times have become commonplace in recent weeks, and we do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public,’ Barr wrote. ‘But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis. We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected.’ He told the assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Rights Division, Eric Dreiband, and all of the country’s U.S. attorneys to ‘be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.’ He tasked the U.S. attorney in Detroit, Matthew Schneider, to help lead the effort.”

Officials Say Limits on Virus Relief Funds for States Are Too Tight, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Lawmakers and state officials say the Trump administration is unreasonably restricting how local governments can spend federal aid as they struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic and Republicans raise doubts about providing added financial relief to hard-pressed communities. The officials say new Treasury Department rules that prohibit local governments from using their share of $150 billion provided last month for “revenue replacement” are impractical. Requiring that such assistance be confined to costs directly tied to the pandemic will be of limited help, they say, particularly in communities that have a low incidence of Covid-19 cases but have seen their revenue dry up because of the government-ordered shutdown of the economy.” See also, As Trump puts partisan spin on federal aid for states, Republicans and Democrats warn of coming financial calamity, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Monday, 27 April 2020: “As states across the country see their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, attempts by President Trump and top Republican lawmakers to paint the issue in partisan terms have been directly challenged by a growing cast of voices from across the political spectrum. Republican and Democratic governors are warning of financial calamity if Washington doesn’t provide relief, some GOP lawmakers have joined with Democrats to call for a massive aid bill, and budget experts contend that leaving states to fend for themselves will only prolong the nation’s recovery from the economic shock brought on by the pandemic. Still, Trump has pushed the idea that a federal aid package would largely benefit what he portrays as fiscally irresponsible states run by Democrats. It’s the latest attempt by the president to cast a partisan frame around a crisis that has ravaged much of the country with little regard for political affiliation.”

Colorado and Nevada have joined a coalition of Western states coordinating a gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions, Politico, Jeremy B. White, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The governors of California, Washington and Oregon had already announced a regional pact aimed at restarting their economies as the pandemic’s spread has slowed. The addition of two more states means the group will encompass some 60 million Americans, or about a fifth of the nation’s population.”

Joe Biden Calls for More Virus Testing and a 100,000-Person Testing Corps, Bloomberg, Tyler Pager, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Joe Biden called on the Trump Administration to vastly expand the country’s testing capabilities for the coronavirus, including launching a new public health jobs corps of 100,000 people to assist with the testing and contact tracing, as he laid out his vision for safely reopening the economy in a new memo on Monday. In a lengthy plan written by Biden and his public health committee, the presumptive Democratic nominee criticized the president’s inaction on testing and detailed how the country should expand its capabilities in order to catch a spike in infections before it spreads.”

Small-Business Loan Program Resumes With Reports of Delays, The Wall Street Journal, Yuka Hayashi, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The U.S. government reopened the pipeline for small-business loans and grants Monday, triggering a fresh chorus of complaints from lenders and borrowers about delays and glitches plaguing the approval process. The Small Business Administration’s electronic loan portal was overwhelmed by demand shortly after it opened Monday morning, according to banking industry groups, that say the process was also stymied by last-minute changes in guidance on how to submit applications.”

The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19. They are working to cull the world’s most promising research on the coronavirus pandemic, passing on their findings to policy makers and the White House. The Wall Street Journal, Rob Copeland, Monday, 27 April 2020: “A dozen of America’s top scientists and a collection of billionaires and industry titans say they have the answer to the coronavirus pandemic, and they found a backdoor to deliver their plan to the White House. The eclectic group is led by a 33-year-old physician-turned-venture capitalist, Tom Cahill, who lives far from the public eye in a one-bedroom rental near Boston’s Fenway Park. He owns just one suit, but he has enough lofty connections to influence government decisions in the war against Covid-19. These scientists and their backers describe their work as a lockdown-era Manhattan Project, a nod to the World War II group of scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb. This time around, the scientists are marshaling brains and money to distill unorthodox ideas gleaned from around the globe. They call themselves Scientists to Stop Covid-19, and they include chemical biologists, an immunobiologist, a neurobiologist, a chronobiologist, an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, an epidemiologist and a nuclear scientist. Of the scientists at the center of the project, biologist Michael Rosbash, a 2017 Nobel Prize winner, said, ‘There’s no question that I’m the least qualified.’ This group, whose work hasn’t been previously reported, has acted as the go-between for pharmaceutical companies looking for a reputable link to Trump administration decision makers. They are working remotely as an ad hoc review board for the flood of research on the coronavirus, weeding out flawed studies before they reach policy makers.”

Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality. The coronavirus recession has exacerbated the racial and income divides in America. Lifting restrictions too soon will make them worse and leave workers with a bleak choice. The New York Times, Jim Tankersley, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Efforts to quickly restart economic activity risk further dividing Americans into two major groups along socioeconomic lines: one that has the power to control its exposure to the coronavirus outbreak and another that is forced to choose between potential sickness or financial devastation. It is a pick-your-poison fact of the crisis: The pandemic recession has knocked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of work. Rushing to reopen their employers could offer them a financial lifeline, but at a potentially steep cost to their health. State and federal officials have nowhere near the testing capacity that experts say is needed to track and limit the spread of the virus, and there is no vaccine yet. But states are already reopening, urged on by President Trump, who is eager to restart the United States economy.”

Amazon Warehouse Safety Is ‘Inadequate,’ New York Attorney General’s Office Says, NPR, Alina Selyukh, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Amazon may have violated federal safety standards for providing ‘inadequate’ protections to warehouse workers in New York, the state attorney general’s office says. In a letter to Amazon obtained by NPR, the office of New York’s top lawyer Letitia James says the company may have also broken the state’s whistleblower laws for firing a warehouse worker who helped organize a protest in Staten Island. ‘While we continue to investigate, the information so far available to us raises concerns that Amazon’s health and safety measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are so inadequate that they may violate several provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’ and other federal and state guidelines, James’s staff wrote in the letter, dated April 22.”

A Judge Sided With Native American Tribes Who Challenged How the Trump Administration Was Handling Coronavirus Relief Money, BuzzFeed News, Zoe Tillman, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The Trump administration cannot distribute coronavirus relief money intended to help Native American communities respond to the coronavirus pandemic to certain for-profit Native corporations, a federal judge ruled Monday evening. It’s the first loss in court for the government over how administration officials are managing the billions of dollars that Congress approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Dozens of tribal governments raced to court in the past two weeks to challenge the Treasury Department’s decision to make Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) eligible for $8 billion in funding set aside to benefit Native American tribes.”

Trump campaign lashes out over ‘Don’t defend Trump’ memo. A strategy memo on coronavirus distributed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee infuriated Trump aides. Politico, Alex Isenstadt, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Earlier this month, the Senate Republican campaign arm circulated a memo with shocking advice to GOP candidates on responding to coronavirus: ‘Don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China.’ The Trump campaign was furious. On Monday — just days after POLITICO first reported the existence of the memo — Trump political adviser Justin Clark told NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin that any Republican candidate who followed the memo’s advice shouldn’t expect the active support of the reelection campaign and risked losing the support of Republican voters. McLaughlin responded by saying he agreed with the Trump campaign’s position and, according to two people familiar with the conversation, clarified that the committee wasn’t advising candidates to not defend Trump over his response. The episode illustrates how the Trump political apparatus demands — and receives — fealty from fellow Republicans and moves aggressively to tamp down on any perceived dissent within the GOP. The president maintains an iron grip on his party, even as his poll numbers sag and he confronts fierce criticism from Democrats over his response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Briefings Were ‘Not Worth the Time,’ Trump Said. But He Couldn’t Stay Away. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Monday, 27 April 2020: “To the surprise of exactly no one, President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus news briefings on Monday, just two days after tweeting that they were ‘not worth the time & effort’ and just hours after his own White House officially canceled the planned appearance. The lure of cameras in the Rose Garden proved too hard to resist. For a president who relishes the spotlight and spends hours a day watching television, the idea of passing on his daily chance to get his message out turned out to be untenable despite his anger over his coverage. And so he was back, defending his handling of the pandemic and promising to reopen the country soon.”

A former neighbor of Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade has come forward to corroborate her sexual-assault account, saying Reade discussed the allegations in detail in the mid-1990s, Business Insider, Rich McHugh, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Tara Reade, a former staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office, has accused the Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her in a congressional hallway in 1993. Now Reade’s former neighbor Lynda LaCasse, a Biden supporter, tells Insider that Reade told her about the alleged assault in detail in 1995 or 1996: ‘This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.’ A former colleague of Reade’s also told Insider that Reade talked in the mid-1990s of being sexually harassed by her former boss in Washington, DC. The women have come forward just days after video emerged of a woman that Reade says is her mother calling into CNN’s Larry King Live in 1993 to talk about her daughter’s ‘problems’ with a prominent senator. Biden has not addressed the accusations, but a campaign spokesperson says they are false.” See also, Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Monday, 27 April 2020: “Some allies of President Trump pointed Monday to new claims by a woman who said she was told about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden decades ago, renewing attention to questions about the past behavior of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Apparent corroboration surfaced this week for elements of two accusations made by Biden’s former Senate aide Tara Reade, one involving harassment and the second a sexual assault. Biden has not commented on the allegations, but his campaign has denied them and pointed to his record on women’s rights and promotion of women in his offices.”

Supreme Court rules for insurance companies in Obamacare lawsuit seeking billions, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The government must make good on its promise in the Affordable Care Act to subsidize insurance companies for offering low-premium policies to at-risk customers, even though the price tag could be up to $12 billion, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. Congress has balked at making the payments to insurance companies, but the court decided 8 to 1 that refusing to pay was not an option. The decision reflects ‘a principle as old as the nation itself: The government should honor its obligations,’ wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor.” See also, Supreme Court Rules for Insurers in $12 Billion Obamacare Case, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the federal government must live up to its promise to shield insurance companies from some of the risks they took in participating in the exchanges established by President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.”

Supreme Court dismisses anticipated New York gun rights case because the law in question has been rescinded, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a major gun rights case from New York because the law in question has been rescinded, disappointing Second Amendment activists and several conservative justices, who said the court had been manipulated. But the setback for gun rights activists may only be temporary. It was clear from the decision that four justices — the minimum number needed to take a case — want to examine whether lower courts have been too quick to uphold gun control measures that might violate the Second Amendment. Awaiting the court’s action are cases involving the right to carry arms outside the home and restrictions on the kinds of weapons that can be sold and possessed.” See also, Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to New York City Gun Ordinance, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 27 April 2020: “The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would not decide what would have been its first decision on the scope of the Second Amendment in almost a decade, finding that New York City’s repeal of the gun control regulation under challenge had made the matter moot.”

Federal Court Rules Detroit Students Have a Constitutional Right to Literacy, The New York Times, Dana Goldstein, Monday, 27 April 2020: “For the first time in decades, a federal court has declared that American public school students have a constitutional right to an adequate education. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled last week that the state of Michigan had been so negligent toward the educational needs of Detroit students that children had been ‘deprived of access to literacy’ — the foundational skill that allows Americans to function as citizens — in violation of the 14th Amendment. The ruling came in response to a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of Detroit public school students that cited a litany of severe deficiencies: Rodent-infested schools. Unqualified and absentee teachers. Physics classes given only biology textbooks. ‘Advanced’ high school reading groups working at the fourth-grade level.”


Tuesday, 28 April 2020, Day 1,194:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 28 April 2020: Study Finds Coronavirus in Tiny Airborne Droplets in Wuhan, The New York Times, Tuesday, 28 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 28 April 2020: Spiking Death Rates Suggest Pandemic Toll Is Undercounted, The New York Times, Tuesday, 28 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Area Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 28 April 2020: Cuomo Calls Subway Cars Filled With Homeless People ‘Disgusting,’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 28 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 28 April 2020: Consumer Survey Shows Continued Concern, The New York Times, Tuesday, 28 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 28 April 2020: U.S. coronavirus cases surpass 1 million; Vice President Mike Pence shirks mask rules during visit to Mayo Clinic, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Adam Taylor, Antonia Noori Farzan, Siobhán O’Grady, Miriam Berger, John Wagner, Meryl Kornfield, Candace Buckner, and Samantha Pell, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “The U.S. and its territories have surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to figures compiled by The Post. The count represents nearly one-third of the world’s reported covid-19 cases and includes more than 57,000 deaths since February, though experts call those numbers an underestimation. Meantime, Vice President Pence visited the Mayo Clinic and spoke with patients and staff while not wearing a face mask, an apparent violation of the medical center’s policy during the coronavirus pandemic. Of the more than half a dozen people visible in video footage of the visit posted online by ‘PBS NewsHour,’ Pence is the only one not wearing a face mask.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top One Million as Some Lockdowns Ease, The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, Joshua Jamerson, and Stella Yifan Xie, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “California joined growing ranks of U.S. states and countries around the world preparing to ease coronavirus-containment measures, with many planning gradual rollbacks to help reduce the potential for new waves of infections. U.S. confirmed cases of the new coronavirus topped one million Tuesday, just over two weeks after they reached 500,000 and about three months since the first reported infection appeared, according to data Tuesday from Johns Hopkins University. Infections in the U.S. make up about a third of the 3.09 million cases reported world-wide. Experts warn the estimates understate the impact of the pandemic. More than 215,000 people world-wide have died from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and more than 921,000 people have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins data. U.S. deaths are above 58,000.” See also, US coronavirus cases surpass 1 million, and the death toll is greater than US losses in the Vietnam War, CNN Health, Steve Almasy, Christina Maxouris, and Nicole Chavez, Tuesday, 28 April 2020. See also, U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is Far Higher Than Reported, Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) Data Suggests, The New York Times, Josh Katz, Denise Lu, and Margot Sanger-Katz, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Total deaths in seven states that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic are nearly 50 percent higher than normal for the five weeks from March 8 through April 11, according to new death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is 9,000 more deaths than were reported as of April 11 in official counts of deaths from the coronavirus. The new data is partial and most likely undercounts the recent death toll significantly. But it still illustrates how the coronavirus is causing a surge in deaths in the places it has struck, probably killing more people than the reported statistics capture. These increases belie arguments that the virus is only killing people who would have died anyway from other causes. Instead, the virus has brought a pattern of deaths unlike anything seen in recent years.” See also, Covid-19 cases top 1 million in the United States, about a third of known cases worldwide, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and Felicia Sonmez, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Confirmed cases of covid-19 in the United States rose above 1 million Tuesday, representing about a third of known cases worldwide, as President Trump continued to defend his administration’s record on providing tests the country will need to reopen safely. The grim milestone was expected, even as some states move to lift restrictions meant to slow the spread of the disease. The 1 million mark and a U.S. death toll of more than 57,000 so far suggest that closures of schools, businesses and public spaces in many parts of the country over the past two months have helped. Some public health models had projected about 100 million cases in the United States by May and an eventual U.S. death toll above 2 million if no measures were taken to prevent the disease’s spread.”

How Trump and His Team Covered Up the Coronavirus in Five Days. Trump and senior administration officials manipulated Americans and played down the severity of the pandemic. The New York Times, Ryan Goodman and Danielle Schulkin, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “The strongest critics of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic point to its flat-footedness and the consequences of time lost. But the full account looks worse. Over the last five days of February, President Trump and senior officials did something more sinister: They engaged in a cover-up. A look at this window of time gives insight into how several members of the president’s team were willing to manipulate Americans even when so many lives were at stake.”

Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Unions Oppose, Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Lydia Mulvany, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that compels slaughterhouses to remain open, setting up a showdown between the giant companies that produce America’s meat and the unions and activists who want to protect workers in a pandemic. Meat processing plants around the U.S. have shut down because of the coronavirus, but Trump said in the order that ‘such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.’ Using the Defense Production Act, Trump is ordering plants to stay open as part of the critical infrastructure needed to keep people fed amid growing supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. The government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance.” See also, Trump Declares Meat Supply ‘Critical,’ Aiming to Reopen Plants, The New York Times, Ana Swanson and David Yaffe-Bellany, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “President Trump on Tuesday declared meat processing plants ‘critical infrastructure,’ in an effort to ensure that facilities around the country remained open as the government tried to prevent looming shortages of pork, chicken and other products as a result of the coronavirus. The action comes as meat plants around the country have turned into coronavirus hot spots, sickening thousands of workers, and after the head of Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest processors, warned that millions of pounds of meat would simply disappear from the supply chain. In an executive order issued late Tuesday, Mr. Trump said recent closures of meat processing facilities ‘threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.'” See also, Trump orders meat plants to stay open in pandemic. Facilities are declared critical infrastructure of their role in the nation’s food supply even as many become virus hot spots. The Washington Post, Taylor Telford, Kimberly Kindy, and Jacob Bogage, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday evening compelling meat processors to remain open to head off shortages in the nation’s food supply chains, despite mounting reports of plant worker deaths due to covid-19. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to classify meat plants as essential infrastructure that must remain open. Under the order, the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to a person familiar with the action who spoke about the order before it was signed by the president. The person was not authorized to disclose details of the order.” See also, Trump orders meat plants to stay open as worker deaths rise, Politico, Liz Crampton and Gabby Orr, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday night ordered meat-processing plants to continue operating, declaring them critical infrastructure as the nation confronts growing disruptions to the food supply. Meatpacking plants have become incubators for the virus as employees work side-by-side in dangerous conditions. Twenty meatpacking and processing workers have died from coronavirus, and at least 6,500 have been affected, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.” See also, Powerful Meat Industry Holds More Sway After Trump’s Order. The executive action signals that decisions around whether to close or reopen plants should be driven by the federal government, not local authorities. The New York Times, Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany, and Ana Swanson, published on Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Ever since slaughterhouses became coronavirus hot spots, the meat industry has been asking the Trump administration for help. Hundreds of employees have been getting sick or not showing up for work for fear of contracting the virus. Labor unions, which had been largely quiet in their dealings with many of the large meat companies before the pandemic, started to hold regular news conferences to highlight the growing number of deaths among their workers. And in some states, health departments were shutting down meatpacking plants, even as the companies warned that the nation’s meat supply was in peril. An industry used to getting what it wants was uncharacteristically on its heels. On Tuesday, President Trump finally gave the meat companies what they were looking for — a broad declaration that the slaughtering and processing of beef, chicken and pork is a ‘critical infrastructure’ and that federal agencies would now set the criteria for ensuring workers’ safety amid the pandemic.” See also, According to Trump, our meat supply is more important than meatpacking workers, The Washington Post, Eugene Robinson, published on Thursday, 30 April 2020: “If you work in a meatpacking plant, by order of President Trump, you are officially considered less essential than the steak you’re cutting up. You have to risk being infected with the deadly coronavirus so that those of us who can stay home — and still get paid — may continue to enjoy our hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken wings. Trump has stubbornly refused to use his executive powers to compel the production of personal protective equipment, such as masks and gowns, for front-line medical workers. He boasts about the chummy ‘partnerships’ he supposedly brokered with corporate bigwigs to acquire ventilators and to launch a still-inadequate testing program. But when executives from meat-processing companies began speaking out about the danger that outbreaks of covid-19 posed to their businesses, our meatloaf-loving president almost immediately invoked the Defense Production Act to force the plants to stay open — but not to guarantee that employees will be kept safe. Whose lives are put at risk by the order Trump issued on Tuesday? Low-income workers — many of them black or brown, many of them immigrants — who cannot afford to lose their jobs and who now must put their health at risk to stay employed.”

States tell workers they’ll lose unemployment benefits if they refuse to return to jobs, The Hill, Marty Johnson, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Some states that are reopening parts of their economies have warned employees that they’ll lose their unemployment benefits if they refuse to go back to work for their employers, even if they’re worried about contracting the coronavirus. ‘If you’re an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to, that’s a voluntary quit,’ Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Friday. ‘Therefore, they would not be eligible for the unemployment money.'” See also, U.S. workers who are too scared to go to work risk losing unemployment benefits, experts say, Reuters, Andy Sullivan, published on Thursday, 23 April 2020: “U.S. workers who refuse to return to their jobs because they are worried about catching the coronavirus should not count on getting unemployment benefits, state officials and labor law experts say.” See also, Laid-off workers may have to give up unemployment benefits as states reopen if they refuse to return to work, CNN Politics, Tami Luhby, published on Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “As businesses across the nation slowly begin to reopen, many laid-off workers face a difficult decision: Do they feel it’s safe enough to return to their jobs? Many people may not have much of a choice. Several states, including Iowa and Texas, are warning residents who are called back that they may be cut off from unemployment benefits — including the $600 bump authorized by Congress in March — if they refuse to return.”

Black activists and officials see a major threat in the South’s plans to reopen, The Washington Post, Errin Haines, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “As Southern governors are reopening the region this week, black activists are joining with local and federal lawmakers to sound the alarm about what they see as a looming threat to the Black Belt. They say the mostly white, male Republicans — who were reluctant to close their states but are now eager to reopen — are effectively issuing a ‘death sentence’ for millions of black Americans who have been disproportionately impacted both economically and medically by coronavirus…. Public health officials have said reopening states to commerce and freer movement comes with risks, particularly without robust testing and contact tracing. A coalition of mostly black female activists led by Black Voters Matter, the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Highlander Research and Education Center launched a petition to the governors of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida, pleading with them to extend their stay-at-home orders.”

Businesses Seek Sweeping Shield From Pandemic Liability Before They Reopen, The New York Times, Jim Tankersley and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Business lobbyists and executives are pushing the Trump administration and Congress to shield American companies from a wide range of potential lawsuits related to reopening the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, opening a new legal and political fight over how the nation deals with the fallout from Covid-19. Government officials are beginning the slow process of lifting restrictions on economic activity in states and local areas across the country. But lobbyists say retailers, manufacturers, eateries and other businesses will struggle to start back up if lawmakers do not place temporary limits on legal liability in areas including worker privacy, employment discrimination and product manufacturing. The biggest push, business groups say, is to give companies enhanced protection against lawsuits by customers or employees who contract the virus and accuse the business of being the source of the infection. The effort highlights a core tension as the economy begins to reopen: how to give businesses the confidence they need to restart operations amid swirling uncertainty over the virus and its effects, while also protecting workers and customers from unsafe practices that could raise the chances of infection.” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell draws ‘red line’ on coronavirus bill: It won’t pass without ‘liability protection,’ The Hill, Jordain Carney, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the next coronavirus bill has to include liability protections for employers or it will not pass the Senate. ‘My red line going forward on this bill is we need to provide protection, litigation protection, for those who have been on the front lines. … We can’t pass another bill unless we have liability protection,’ McConnell said during an interview on Fox News, calling the additional legal protections a ‘condition’ for the bill. The remarks from McConnell come as lawmakers are jockeying over the next coronavirus relief package, which would be the fifth bill passed by Congress aimed at addressing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The U.S. plans to lend $500 billion to large companies. It won’t require them to preserve jobs or limit executive pay. The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Peter Whoriskey, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “A Federal Reserve program expected to begin within weeks will provide hundreds of billions in emergency aid to large American corporations without requiring them to save jobs or limit payments to executives and shareholders. Under the program, the central bank will buy up to $500 billion in bonds issued by large companies. The companies will use the influx of cash as a financial lifeline but are required to pay it back with interest. Unlike other portions of the relief for American businesses, however, this aid will be exempt from rules passed by Congress requiring recipients to limit dividends, executive compensation and stock buybacks and does not direct the companies to maintain certain employment levels.”

Trump’s Response to Virus Reflects a Long Disregard for Science, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “At a March visit with doctors and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health agency at the heart of the fight against the coronavirus, President Trump spoke words of praise for the scientific acumen in the building — particularly his own. ‘Every one of these doctors said, “How do you know so much about this?” Maybe I have a natural ability,’ Mr. Trump said. It was a striking boast, even amid a grave health crisis in which Mr. Trump has repeatedly contradicted medical experts in favor of his own judgment. But a disregard for scientific advice has been a defining characteristic of Mr. Trump’s administration. As the nation confronts one of its worst public health disasters in generations, a moment that demands a leader willing to marshal the full might of the American scientific establishment, the White House is occupied by a president whose administration, critics say, has diminished the conclusions of scientists in formulating policy, who personally harbors a suspicion of expert knowledge, and who often puts his political instincts ahead of the facts. ‘Donald Trump is the most anti-science and anti-environment president we’ve ever had,’ said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. The president’s actions, he said, have eroded one of the United States’s most enviable assets: the government’s deep scientific expertise, built over decades. ‘It’s extraordinarily crazy and reckless,’ he said.”

As Amazon, Walmart, and Others Profit Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Their Essential Workers Plan Unprecedented Strike, The Intercept, Daniel A. Medina, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “An unprecedented coalition of workers from some of America’s largest companies will strike on Friday. Workers from Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx are slated to walk out on work, citing what they say is their employers’ record profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. The employees will call out sick or walk off the job during their lunch break, according to a press release set to be published by organizers on Wednesday. In some locations, rank-and-file union members will join workers outside their warehouses and storefronts to support the demonstrations.”

Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden for president, CBS News, Bo Erickson, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Tuesday, during a virtual ‘Women’s Town Hall’ focusing on how women were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saying she wanted to add her voice to ‘the many who have endorsed’ Biden, Clinton said, ‘Just think of what a difference it would make right now if we had a president who not only listened to the science, put facts over fiction, but brought us together….Think of what it would mean if we had a real president, not just someone who plays one on TV.'”

Mueller investigators said Roger Stone orchestrated hundreds of fake Facebook accounts in political influence scheme, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Evan Perez, Marshall Cohen, and Sara Murray, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Investigators from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation told a judge that Trump political adviser Roger Stone orchestrated hundreds of fake Facebook accounts and bloggers to run a political influence scheme on social media in 2016, according to court documents from the Mueller investigation unsealed on Tuesday. The disclosure came as the Justice Department on Tuesday made public dozens of search warrants from its investigation into Stone, after CNN and other news organizations sued for access to the files.” See also, Roger Stone search warrants reveal new clues, and mysteries, about 2016, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Nearly three-dozen search warrants unsealed late Tuesday reveal a web of contacts between longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other key figures in the long-running probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone, who was convicted last year of lying to House investigators during their own Russia probe, was never charged with aiding efforts by Russia. But his contacts with Assange add new details to a relationship that he long denied existed.” See also, Roger Stone Was in Contact With Julian Assange in 2017, Documents Show. Mr. Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump, had denied such a relationship, but newly revealed court documents unveiled private exchanges.The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, published on Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “One of the enduring mysteries left unsolved by the Mueller inquiry was whether Roger J. Stone Jr., President Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser, ever communicated during the 2016 presidential campaign with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Federal investigators chased the question for months to figure out who, if anyone, in Mr. Trump’s world knew that WikiLeaks was going to release a trove of damaging Democratic emails in an effort to bolster his chances of winning. Now hundreds of pages of court documents from the federal investigation of Mr. Stone, released late Monday, show that at least after the election, the two men had maintained a personal relationship. Mr. Stone had repeatedly denied that fact after federal and congressional inquiries got underway. Records show he exchanged messages with Mr. Assange in June 2017, seven months after Mr. Trump’s election victory. The men discussed a different federal inquiry into the release by WikiLeaks in 2010 of classified American documents, a decade-long saga that resulted in criminal charges against Mr. Assange.”

Are the Courts Finally Ready to Compel Don McGahn to Testify? Slate, Ashwin Phatak, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Committee on the Judiciary v. McGahn, a case concerning whether former White House counsel Don McGahn must comply with a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for his testimony. The key question before the court, hearing the case en banc and telephonically in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, was whether the House has standing to bring a civil action to enforce its subpoena against McGahn. The stakes, though, are much bigger than just this fight between McGahn and the Judiciary Committee. A holding that the House lacks standing will substantially hamper its ability to conduct effective oversight of the executive branch, both now and in the future. Thankfully, as Tuesday’s oral argument showed, most of the judges seemed to understand the gravity of this case and seemed likely to hold that the House has standing to bring this suit.” See also, May Congress Sue the executive Branch? Federal Appeals Court Hears Cases on Subpoena and Border Wall. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “A federal appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday in a pair of cases involving disputes between President Trump and the Democrat-controlled House that each raise a technical, yet constitutionally momentous, question: May a chamber of Congress sue the executive branch? In more than two hours of arguments before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, many of the judges appeared to be looking for a way to side with the House without opening the door to a floodgate of future lawsuits over routine political fights. The disputes involve a subpoena to a former White House lawyer and spending on a border wall. The eventual ruling by nine of the 11 active appeals court judges — two others, both former White House aides to Mr. Trump, recused themselves — may only be a way station for the dispute. The losing side is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court for a definitive pronouncement, given the long-term constitutional stakes.”

Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Two Months of Magical Thinking, Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman, Tuesday, 28 April 2020: “Obsessed with impeachment and their enemies and worried about the stock market, the president and his son-in-law scapegoated Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and treated the coronavirus as mostly a political problem as it moved through the country.”


Wednesday, 29 April 2020, Day 1,195:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 29 April 2020: As Coronavirus Deaths Spike, Brazil’s Leader Says, ‘So What? The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 29 April 2020: White House Embraces Optimism as Coronavirus Death Toll Passes 60,000, The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 29 April: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Defends Handling of Crowd at Rabbi’s Funeral, The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 29 April 2020: Wall Street Rallies as the Federal Reserve Promises to Shore Up the Economy, The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 29 April 2020: Remdesivir drug trial shows modest benefits in treating coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci says; White House does not plan to extend social-distancing guidance, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Siobhán O’Grady, Felicia Sonmez, Meryl Kornfield, Candace Buckner, Michael Brice-Saddler, Colby Itkowitz, and Teo Armus, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “President Trump will participate in a Fox News virtual town hall Sunday evening shot live from the Lincoln Memorial. The president also suggested Wednesday that he does not plan to extend federal social-distancing guidelines, leaving it to the governors to make decisions for their states. An NIH trial of remdesivir showed modest improvement in recovery time in covid-19 patients, which encouraged stock market investors. But the economic downturn is about to get worse, many analysts said. The second quarter is likely to show a decline of 30 percent or more.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a second wave of infections is ‘inevitable’ in the United States, which has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases — nearly one-third of the global total.
  • As antsy Americans show growing signs of ‘quarantine fatigue’ and officials face pressure to ease restrictions, factories, malls and state governments in many parts of the country are taking steps toward reopening.
  • ‘Frostbite’ toes and ‘second-week crashes’ are among the curious and sometimes dangerous phenomena among some covid-19 patients that have caught the interest of medical experts in recent weeks.
  • The U.S. economy shrank by 4.8 percent from January through March as it saw the worst slowdown in growth since the Great Recession.
  • Studies out of China show that traces of the virus can be detected in air, but it’s unclear whether the aerosols are actually infectious or a significant part of the pandemic.
  • Signaling confidence that it has contained the virus, China scheduled its big legislative meetings for late May. The ‘Two Sessions’ meetings had been postponed at the height of the outbreak.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Mass layoffs begin in cities and states amid coronavirus fallout, threatening education, sanitation, health, and safety. Millions of municipal workers could find themselves out of a job or without pay, according to local leaders, who say programs would fall into disarray unless Washington intervenes. The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Facing an urgent financial crisis, … cities and states nationwide are eyeing dramatic reductions to their workforces, threatening critical public-sector employees and first responders at a time when many Americans may need their local governments’ help the most. Even as President Trump and top Republicans contend that only big-spending, liberal-leaning states are to blame for mounting budget woes, a Washington Post review found the economic havoc wrought by the novel coronavirus is far more widespread — saddling Democratic and Republican mayors and governors alike with souring finances and major revenue gaps. Some local governments have already started laying off or furloughing thousands of their workers, and the numbers are likely to grow markedly in the absence of federal aid.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the US could be in for ‘a bad fall and a bad winter’ if it’s unprepared for an inevitable second wave of coronavirus, CNN Health, Christina Maxouris, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “A second round of the coronavirus is ‘inevitable,’ the nation’s top infectious disease doctor says, but just how bad it is will depend on the progress the US makes in the coming months. ‘If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci said. ‘If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.'”

Trump and His Son-In-Law Jared Kushner Engage in Revisionist History in Boasting of Success Over Coronavirus, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded one million. The American death toll surpassed that of the Vietnam War. And the economy was reported to have shrunk by nearly 5 percent. But the White House on Wednesday declared its response to the crisis ‘a great success story.’ As states begin to lift quarantines, President Trump is trying to recast the story of the pandemic from that of an administration slow to see and address the threat to one that responded with decisive action that saved lives. Recognizing that the crisis jeopardizes his chances of re-election, he and his allies want to convince his supporters that the cascade of criticism is unwarranted.” See also, Jared Kushner calls the US coronavirus response a ‘success story’ as cases hit 1 million, CNN Politics, Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, praised the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as a ‘great success story’ on Wednesday — less than a day after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States topped 1 million.”

Remdesivir Shows Modest Benefits in Coronavirus Trial, The New York Times, Gina Kolata, Peter Baker, and Noah Weiland, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Modest results from a federal trial of an experimental drug helped send the stock market soaring on Wednesday, another sign of the desperation for a viable treatment against the coronavirus. Just before markets opened, Gilead, maker of the antiviral drug remdesivir, announced that it was ‘aware of positive data’ about the drug’s performance in a federal trial, sending futures upward. Trading in the company’s shares was briefly halted. Later, in a briefing at the White House, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the trial had shown that treatment with the drug could modestly speed recovery in patients infected with the coronavirus. The improvement in recovery times ‘doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent,’ Dr. Fauci conceded, but ‘it is a very important proof of concept, because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.'” See also, Gilead’s remdesivir improves recovery time of coronavirus patients in a placebo-controlled trial conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The Washington Post, Christopher Rowland and Laurie McGinley, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The government’s first rigorous clinical trial of the experimental drug remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment delivered mixed results to the medical community Wednesday — but rallied stock markets and raised hopes that an early weapon to help some patients was at hand. The preliminary results, disclosed at the White House by Anthony S. Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which led the placebo-controlled trial, found that the drug accelerated the recovery of hospitalized patients but had only a marginal benefit in the rate of death. That falls short of the magic bullet or cure that many were hoping for in Gilead’s drug. But with no approved treatments for Covid-19, Fauci said, it will become the standard of care for hospitalized patients and serve as a key building block as clinicians hone their approach.” See also, U.S. Explores Emergency-Use Approval for Gilead Drug Remdesivir After Study Found It Helped Patients Recover From Covid-19, The Wall Street Journal, Joseph Walker, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Federal health regulators are exploring whether to greenlight the emergency use of a Gilead Sciences Inc. drug in serious Covid-19 patients, after U.S. government researchers reported the therapy helped the patients recover faster. President Trump said he was pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant the emergency-use authorization to the Gilead drug remdesivir. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Wednesday that hospitalized Covid-19 patients taking remdesivir in the institute’s study had a speedier recovery than patients taking placebo, according to preliminary results. The reported benefit was moderate, however, with remdesivir patients recovering in 11 days, or four days faster than the placebo group.”

53 days after Trump said anybody could get tested, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. is still a month away, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “When President Trump said on March 6 that anyone who wanted a coronavirus test could get one, it was immediately questionable. Contamination had delayed an effective coronavirus test from the federal government for weeks. Hospitals were required to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration to develop coronavirus tests nearly a month after the United States declared a public health emergency. The day before Trump’s remarks, Vice President Pence said there were not enough tests to meet the anticipated demand. On Tuesday, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, illustrated again how far off Trump’s March 6 claim was. Fauci was asked on CNN when everyone who needs a test will be able to get one. ‘Hopefully, we should see that as we get towards the end of May, the beginning of June,’ Fauci said. ‘That’s what I’m being told by the people who are responsible for the testing. I take them for their word.'” See also, Trump downplays need for coronavirus testing in another whiplash contradiction, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “On Monday, President Donald Trump instructed states to ‘maximize the use of all available testing platforms and venues’ as they begin to plan their reemergence from coronavirus lockdown. On Wednesday, he downplayed the edict and mused that maybe blanket testing wasn’t necessary as states move to reopen. ‘You’ll see some astonishing numbers — I don’t know that all of that’s even necessary,’ Trump said of nationwide testing efforts during an event at the White House. ‘You have some governors that love the tests, you have others that like doing it a different way, an old-fashioned way, with some testing.’ The comments — contradicting his own administration’s previous guidance and rebutting the expertise of health officials — were the latest in a string of confusing steps that appear to pit Trump against his own advice as he pivots to a post-pandemic American revival.”

Miscalculation at Every Level Left the U.S. Unequipped to Fight Coronavirus Pandemic, The Wall Street Journal, Alexandra Berzon, Melanie Evans, Stephanie Armour, and Austen Hufford, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The swine flu [in 2009], an outbreak of H1N1 flu, turned out to be a dry run for a major pandemic. But neither hospitals nor manufacturers nor the government made sweeping changes to be ready for one. Instead, each part of the medical-industrial equation acted in its own interest, and didn’t set aside resources that might have better prepared America for the coronavirus crisis. Each ignored warnings of shortages of protective equipment in case of a pandemic—shortages that handicapped the struggle against the virus early on and continue today.

A Wall Street Journal examination found:

—The hospital industry, in a bid to increase profit, slashed inventory of all supplies. Rather than bulk up after the swine flu, hospitals turned to inventory-tracking software to winnow stocks of protective gear and other supplies, hoping to be able to replenish it as needed.

—Manufacturers got bitten during the swine flu, ramping up production only to be left with few buyers when that crisis abated. Many mask and other device makers rebuffed later calls to build back emergency capacity, ceding a chunk of the market to overseas makers.

—The U.S. government focused more on preparing for terrorism than for a pandemic. Despite the severe 2009 flu, the government lacked a permanent budget to buy protective medical gear for its Strategic National Stockpile of supplies for health emergencies.

—The Trump administration further weakened the safety net as it rejiggered the Health and Human Services Department’s main emergency-preparedness agency, prioritized other threats over pandemics, cut out groups such as one that focused on protective gear and removed a small planned budget to buy respirator masks for the national stockpile, according to former officials.

‘The problem is a medical supply chain and a health-care system that we have built to be economically efficient…in exchange for resiliency,’ said Tara O’Toole, a Department of Homeland Security undersecretary of science and technology in the Obama years. ‘We have allowed ourselves to completely lose control over supply.'”

Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ Aims to Rush Coronavirus Vaccine, Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Drew Armstrong, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The Trump administration is organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal of making enough doses for most Americans by year’s end. Called ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ the program will pull together private pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and the military to try to cut the development time for a vaccine by as much as eight months, according to two people familiar with the matter. As part of the arrangement, taxpayers will shoulder much of the financial risk that vaccine candidates may fail, instead of drug companies. The project’s goal is to have 300 million doses of vaccine available by January, according to one administration official. There is no precedent for such rapid development of a vaccine.” See also, Trump Seeks Push to Speed Coronavirus Vaccine, Despite Safety Concerns, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “President Trump is pressing his health officials to pursue a crash development program for a coronavirus vaccine that could be widely distributed by the beginning of next year, despite widespread skepticism that such an effort could succeed and considerable concern about the implications for safety. The White House has made no public announcement of the new effort, called Operation Warp Speed, and some officials are apparently trying to talk the president down, telling him that it would be more harmful to set an unreasonably short deadline that might result in a faulty vaccine than to wait for one that is proved safe and effective. But after the existence of the effort was first reported on Wednesday by Bloomberg News, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed it.” See also, Administration describes a dash for a coronavirus vaccine that would be available in January, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Felicia Sonmez, and Erica Werner, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “The Trump administration is racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine that could be fielded nationwide by January, U.S. officials said Thursday, as national stay-at-home guidance expired. The January timeline represents a fast pace for vaccine development but still means there would be no fail-safe protection from the novel coronavirus until long after most Americans are likely to have returned to work or school and until after the November presidential election. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-disease specialist, said the goal is production of hundreds of millions of doses by January, an effort dubbed ‘Operation Warp Speed.'”

U.S. Buys 100,000 More Body Bags, Preparing for a ‘Worst Case’ Coronavirus Scenario, The Wall Street Journal, Mark Maremont, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The federal government ordered 100,000 new Covid-19 body bags, in what officials described as preparations for a ‘worst case’ scenario. The giant order last week for ‘human remains pouches’ comes as more than 58,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Trump on Monday said he expected the pandemic could cost 60,000 to 70,000 lives in the U.S. At the same time, some state governors have moved to start reopening businesses, citing encouraging trends of slowing infection rates.” See also, Federal government orders 100,000 new body bags as Trump minimizes the death toll, NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Phil McCausland, and Cyrus Farivar, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Federal coronavirus response documents obtained by NBC News suggest that Trump’s optimism about ‘Opening Up America’ is at odds with dire warnings from inside his administration.”

Conservative Groups Making a Legal Assault Against State and Local Coronavirus Restrictions Are Backed by the Justice Department’s Willingness to ‘Take Action,’ The New York Times, Lisa Lerer and Kenneth P. Vogel, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “A network of conservative leaders, donors and organizations has launched a legal onslaught against state and local restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, pushing to allow churches to hold services, businesses to reopen and people to be able to visit with family and friends. They have been emboldened in recent days by increasing signs of support from a powerful ally: The Justice Department. Justice Department officials have spoken on conference calls with leaders of conservative groups, who have flagged individual cases as worthy of the department’s review. Some cabinet officials have signaled that they back the effort by participating in private calls with conservative allies, according to multiple people involved with the calls. This week the Justice Department delivered the clearest show of support yet when Attorney General William P. Barr issued a memorandum directing two of his department’s top lawyers to lead an effort with other federal agencies to monitor state and local policies ‘and, if necessary, take action to correct’ those that ‘could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.'”

Florida medical examiners were releasing coronavirus death data. The state made them stop. Tampa Bay Times, Kathleen McGrory and Rebecca Woolington, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “State officials have stopped releasing the list of coronavirus deaths being compiled by Florida’s medical examiners, which has at times shown a higher death toll than the state’s published count. The list had previously been released in real time by the state Medical Examiners Commission. But earlier this month, after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the medical examiners’ death count was 10 percent higher than the figure released by the Florida Department of Health, state officials said the list needed to be reviewed and possibly redacted. They’ve now been withholding it for nine days, without providing any of the information or specifying what they plan to remove.”

Native Tribes Were Supposed to Get $8 Billion in COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0. HuffPost, Jennifer Bendery, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Tribal governments were supposed to get $8 billion in direct emergency relief from the CARES Act, the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that became law on March 27. More than a month later, they haven’t gotten any of it. Part of the reason is that the Treasury Department, which is charged with distributing that money, has been flailing in its dealings with tribes. Another reason stems from a lawsuit over whether Alaska Native Corporations are entitled to the money. A federal court on Monday agreed to stop funds from going to those corporations for now, which means Treasury has no reason to not funnel money immediately to the 574 federally recognized tribal governments struggling with the public health and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. In a Wednesday letter, House Democrats pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to distribute the money now because lives are at stake.”

‘Dangerous & disrespectful’: Doctors tear into Pence’s mask-less visit to the Mayo Clinic, NBC News, Jane C. Timm and Dareh Gregorian, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to wear a mask during his visit to the prestigious Mayo Clinic this week was potentially dangerous and sent the wrong message about the federal guidelines he regularly touts, doctors and health care officials said. Wearing a mask reduces disease transmission and protects both the wearer and the people around them, said Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert who is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor. It’s an effective tool for mitigating the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, which has claimed over 200,000 lives around the world. ‘If you’re asymptomatic and you’re just having a conversation,’ he said, ‘you can easily transmit the disease — just regular conversation.’ The Mayo Clinic requires everyone to wear masks inside the facility, but Pence ignored the rule and was the only person seen not wearing a mask during a tour of the clinic’s coronavirus lab Tuesday. The clinic said it made Pence’s office aware of the policy before the visit. Pence defended his decision afterward, telling reporters that he’s confident he doesn’t have the virus because he’s tested it for it regularly. ‘Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you,’ Pence said. While Pence was widely mocked for suggesting that a mask would stop him from looking workers in the eye, doctors and health care workers said it was a serious breach of safety regulations.”

Trump administration asks intelligence agencies to find out whether China and the World Health Organization hid information on the coronavirus pandemic, NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Courtney Kube, and Carol E. Lee, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The White House has ordered intelligence agencies to comb through communications intercepts, human source reporting, satellite imagery and other data to establish whether China and the World Health Organization initially hid what they knew about the emerging coronavirus pandemic, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News. A specific ‘tasking’ seeking information about the outbreak’s early days was sent last week to the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which includes the National Center for Medical Intelligence, an official directly familiar with the matter said. The CIA has received similar instructions, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.” See also, Trump Officials Are Said to Press the Intelligence Community to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs. Some analysts are worried that the pressure from senior officials could distort assessments about the coronavirus and be used as a weapon in an escalating battle with China. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Julian E. Barnes, Edward Wong, and Adam Goldman, published on Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic. Some intelligence analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battle with China over a disease that has infected more than three million people across the globe. Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.” See also, In Rare Move, U.S. Intelligence Agencies Confirm Investigating if Coronavirus Emerged From Lab Accident. No concrete evidence has emerged to support the theory; China has repeatedly denied it. The Wall Street Journal, Warren P. Strobel and Dustin Volz, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The U.S. intelligence community publicly confirmed it is trying to determine whether the coronavirus may have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic began. In an unusual public statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, also said that U.S. intelligence agencies concur with the broad scientific consensus that ‘the Covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.’ But ODNI, which coordinates the work of 17 U.S. spy agencies, said U.S. intelligence ‘will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.'” See also, Trump contradicts U.S. inteligence community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Alex Marquardt, Kylie Atwood, and Jim Acosta, published on Friday, 1 May 2020: “Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a ‘high degree of confidence’ the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion. The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to ‘rigorously examine’ whether the outbreak ‘began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.’ ‘Yes, I have,’ Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred. ‘I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,’ he said.”

After One Tweet to Trump, This Man Got $69 Million From New York for Ventilators. The Silicon Valley engineer, who had no background in medical supplies but was recommended by the White House, never delivered the ventilators. BuzzFeed News, Rosalind Adams and Ken Bensinger, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “On March 27, as emergency rooms in New York and across the country began filling with coronavirus patients struggling to breathe, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter to urge Ford and General Motors to ‘START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!’ One of the thousands of replies that the tweet attracted struck an equally urgent tone: ‘We can supply ICU Ventilators, invasive and noninvasive. Have someone call me URGENT.’ Its author was Yaron Oren-Pines, an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley. A specialist in mobile phone technology, he currently has just 75 followers on Twitter and no apparent experience in government contracting or medical devices. But three days later, New York state paid Oren-Pines $69.1 million. The payment was for 1,450 ventilators — at an astonishing $47,656 per ventilator, at least triple the standard retail price of high-end models. Not a single ventilator ever arrived. A state official, speaking on background because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the terms of the deal, said New York entered into the contract with Oren-Pines at the direct recommendation of the White House coronavirus task force. Nearly a month later, New York has terminated the contract, and the state is now trying to recover all of the money it paid the Silicon Valley electrical engineer.”

Exclusive: Trump says China wants him to lose his re-election bid, Reuters, Steve Holland, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump said he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is proof that Beijing ‘will do anything they can’ to make him lose his re-election bid in November. In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump talked tough on China and said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus. ‘I can do a lot,’ he said.”

Trump Political Appointees Manipulated The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Payday Lending Research, Ex-Staff Member Jonathan Lanning Claims, The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore and Stacy Cowley, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Last summer, on his final day of work at the nation’s consumer finance watchdog agency, a career economist sent colleagues a blunt memo. He claimed that President Trump’s appointees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had manipulated the agency’s research process to justify altering a 2017 rule that would have sharply curtailed high-interest payday loans. The departing staff member, Jonathan Lanning, detailed several maneuvers by his agency’s political overseers that he considered legally risky and scientifically indefensible, including pressuring staff economists to water down their findings on payday loans and use statistical gimmicks to downplay the harm consumers would suffer if the payday restrictions were repealed. A copy of the memo was obtained by The New York Times from a current bureau employee. Political appointees at the bureau, led by its director, Kathleen Kraninger, have pressed forward with the Trump administration’s deregulatory drive despite the logistical hurdles posed by the coronavirus pandemic. This week, the agency is expected to release the revised payday rule, which will no longer require lenders to assess whether customers can afford their fees before offering a loan.”

Michael Flynn’s defense claims FBI notes show agents tried to entrap the former national security adviser, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Matt Zapotosky, and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “New documents turned over by the Justice Department show FBI officials debated whether and when to warn Michael T. Flynn that he could face criminal charges as they prepared for a pivotal January 2017 interview in which the former national security adviser later admitted to lying about his Russia contacts. The documents show law enforcement seeming to contemplate in advance that Flynn would lie to them — with an unidentified person even musing in handwritten notes whether their purpose was to induce a lie, before ultimately concluding they should ‘protect our institution by not playing games.’ ‘What is our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?’ an unidentified person wrote in notes apparently taken before Flynn was interviewed on Jan. 24, 2017, four days after Trump took office. The new documents were turned over to Flynn’s defense April 24 and filed publicly Thursday after Attorney General William P. Barr in January ordered a review of how the former three-star Army general’s case was handled by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.” See also, Michael Flynn’s Lawyers Seize on Newly Released F.B.I. Documents, The New York Times, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner, published on Thursday, 30 April 2020: “President Trump’s allies cheered new documents unsealed on Wednesday in the criminal case of his former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, saying that internal investigative notes showed that Mr. Flynn was set up by F.B.I. officials intent on undermining the president. It will be up to a federal judge to decide if the notes and emails advance claims that Mr. Flynn was framed when he lied to the F.B.I. in January 2017 about his conversations with a Russian diplomat, a felony he twice pleaded guilty to.” See also, Trump Attacks Flynn Inquiry Amid New Revelations on F.B.I., The New York Times, Adam Goldman, published on Thursday, 30 April 2020: “President Trump revived his attacks on law enforcement on Thursday as a pair of former advisers, Roger J. Stone Jr. and Michael T. Flynn, renewed their fights against their criminal convictions.” See also, Trump Believes Michael Flynn Will Be ‘Totally Exonerated,’ NPR, Scott Neuman and Ryan Lucas, published on Thursday, 30 April 2020: “President Trump said Thursday that he thinks his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, will be ‘totally exonerated’ in light of recently unsealed FBI documents related to the bureau’s investigation of the former general…. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But Flynn changed course beginning last summer, and he now accuses the government of misconduct and setting him up.”

Former Lindsey Graham donor flips to back Democratic opponent in Senate race, The Hill, Tal Axelrod, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “A former top donor to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and business executive is jumping across the aisle to support Democrat Jaime Harrison in South Carolina’s Senate race. Richard Wilkerson, the former chairman and president of Michelin’s operations in North America, said he has known Harrison for years and is confident he can ‘bring lasting economic opportunity to the people of South Carolina.'”

Democratic Frustration Mounts as Biden Remains Silent on Sexual Assault Allegation. Activists and women’s rights advocates have urged Mr. Biden to address a former aide’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. His lack of response has angered them. The New York Times, Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “For more than three weeks, progressive activists and women’s rights advocates debated how to handle an allegation of sexual assault against Joseph R. Biden Jr. The conversations weren’t easy, nor were the politics: Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, faced one allegation; his opponent, President Trumpat least a dozen. Finally, several of the women’s groups prepared a public letter that praised Mr. Biden’s work as an ‘outspoken champion for survivors of sexual violence’ but also pushed him to address the allegation from Tara Reade, a former aide who worked in Mr. Biden’s Senate office in the early 1990s.” See also, The sexual allegations against Joe Biden: The corroborators, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “‘When journalists write about incidents that occurred long ago, especially serious allegations such as sexual misconduct, a key goal is to find people who will say that they heard about the incident at the time.’ That’s what we wrote back in 2016, when we first put together a list of the allegations of sexual misconduct against former president Bill Clinton and then-candidate Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. We later expanded the list for Trump in 2017, eventually reaching a total of 16 women, after more allegations emerged. (See the video below.) As we noted, contemporaneous accounts are essential to establishing the credibility of the allegation because they reduce the chances that a person is making up a story for political purposes. In the case of sexual allegations, such accounts can help bolster the credibility of the ‘she said’ side of the equation. Often, a sexual assault will happen behind closed doors. The contemporary corroborators can explain what they heard at the time and whether the story being told now is consistent with how the story was told years earlier. This does not necessarily mean the allegation is true, but it does give a journalistic organization more confidence to report on the allegation. Now, a serious allegation of sexual misconduct has emerged against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former vice president Joe Biden. A number of women have said Biden made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate displays of affection, but this claim goes further and says a sexual assault took place. The Biden campaign has issued a statement from deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield: ‘Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.’ Allegations of sexual misconduct concerning politicians often emerge piecemeal, with different news organizations running their own investigations. The Washington Post ran a lengthy article on the Biden allegation on April 12, but more details have emerged since then. As a reader service, here are the details of the allegation and the corroborating evidence that so far has emerged, following the same format as we did with the claims concerning Trump and Clinton. We will continue to update this article as warranted.” See also, Former neighbor of Biden accuser confirms she was told of an incident in the 1990s, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips and Matt Viser, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The former Senate aide who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault shared details of the alleged incident in a conversation in the mid-1990s, her former neighbor confirmed Wednesday. Lynda LaCasse told The Washington Post in a text message that while she lived near Tara Reade in 1995 and 1996, Reade told her that ‘Joe Biden sexually assaulted her.’ ‘She said that he had put her up against a wall, put his hand up her skirt and his fingers inside her,’ LaCasse said. She did not offer other details, referring The Post to Business Insider, which published an interview with LaCasse on Monday. The Post repeatedly left messages seeking to interview LaCasse, but she did not reply until Wednesday’s text.” See also, Stacey Abrams on sexual assault allegation against former VP: ‘I believe Joe Biden,’ CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Tuesday night that she believes the denial by former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign regarding onetime staffer Tara Reade’s allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. ‘I believe that women deserve to be heard and I believe they need to be listened to, but I also believe that those allegations have to be investigated by credible sources,’ Abrams, who has made a public and direct pitch to be Biden’s running mate, told CNN’s Don Lemon on ‘CNN Tonight.’ ‘The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden.'”

House Judiciary Committee says it wants to keep investigating Trump for possible impeachable offenses, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 29 April 2020: “The House Judiciary Committee says it needs grand jury secrets from the Mueller investigation as soon as Friday, so it can keep investigating President Donald Trump for potentially impeachable offenses, even during the coronavirus shutdown, according to a new court filing. The House told the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Wednesday the court shouldn’t delay access to the Mueller material, which the appeals court previously decided the House could see. The Justice Department has tried to keep the grand jury details from the House, asking last week to block the disclosure of the details because it wants to take the fight to the US Supreme Court. Currently, the deadline to release the grand jury materials is Friday.


Thursday, 30 April 2020, Day 1,196:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 30 April 2020: The Trump Administration and Major U.S. Manufacturers Have Pressured Mexico to Keep Factories That Supply the U.S. Operating During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Even as Outbreaks Erupt and Waves of Cases and Deaths Sweep the Companies, The New York Times, Thursday, 30 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates on Thursday, 30 April 2020: As Several States Loosen Rules, California Closes Some Beaches, The New York Times, Thursday, 30 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 30 April 2020: New York City Subway Service Will Halt From 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. So Trains Can Be Disinfected, The New York Times, Thursday, 30 April 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 30 April 2020: U.S. Stocks Have Their Best Month Since 1987, The New York Times, Thursday, 30 April 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 30 April 2020: Reopening of America: More than half of states will lift some coronavirus restrictions by the end of the week, The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, Miriam Berger, Michael Brice-Saddler, Samantha Pell, Steven Goff, Felicia Sonmez, Adam Taylor, and John Wagner, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions, with more than half set to be partially reopened by the end of this week. But governors have taken different approaches to loosen restrictions amid the pandemic. Some states have formed regional pacts, working together to decide how to safely lift restrictions. Others have faced criticism for allowing nonessential businesses and recreational activities to start up again, despite cases continuing to increase.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist, on Thursday confirmed the Trump administration is working to develop a coronavirus vaccine and aiming to produce hundreds of millions of doses by January, an effort dubbed ‘Operation Warp Speed.’
  • Vice President Pence’s office threatened to retaliate against a reporter who revealed that Pence’s office had told journalists they would need masks for Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic — a requirement Pence himself did not follow.
  • Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the pandemic. Trump strongly hinted during a White House event that he believes China may have used the virus to wreck the U.S. economy and a trade deal between the two countries.
  • More than 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total number of claims to roughly 30 million in six weeks.
  • A prominent U.S. virologist wrote Thursday that the country is likely to experience a prolonged plateau in cases rather than a second wave in the near future.
  • In Michigan, protesters, some armed, entered the state Capitol, demonstrating against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order as lawmakers inside were considering whether to extend the state’s expiring emergency declaration. Later in the day, Michigan’s House decided against extending the emergency declaration.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Stymied in Seeking Benefits, Millions of Unemployed Go Uncounted, The New York Times, Nelson D. Schwartz, Tiffany Hsu, and Patricia Cohen, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “With a flood of unemployment claims continuing to overwhelm many state agencies, economists say the job losses may be far worse than government tallies indicate. The Labor Department said Thursday that 3.8 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to 30 million. But researchers say that as the economy staggers under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of others have lost jobs but have yet to see benefits. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that roughly 50 percent more people than counted as filing claims in a recent four-week period may have qualified for benefits — with the difference representing those who were stymied in applying or didn’t even try because the process was too formidable.” See also, 3.8 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week, extending pandemic’s grip on the national workforce, The Washington Post, Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “More than 3.8 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, as the coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll burrowed deeper into the American workforce. The outbreak and subsequent recession have wiped away all jobs created since the Great Recession. Economists estimate the national unemployment rate sits between 15 and 20 percent, compared to about 25 percent at the peak of the Great Depression. For comparison, 4.4 million people applied for benefits for the week ending April 18, and 30.3 million have sought benefits in the past six weeks alone. That figure represents roughly 1 in 5 American workers.” See also, Nearly Four Million People Filed for Unemployment Benefits Last Week Bringing Total Claims to More Than 30 Million as States Struggle to Process an Unprecedented Wave Triggered by the Coronavirus Pandemic, The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Chaney, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “The latest weekly report on U.S. jobless claims showed that 12.4% of the U.S. workforce was covered by unemployment benefits in the April 18 week, a record dating back to the early 1970s. The surge in unemployment-insurance claims started six weeks ago when shutdowns to contain the virus became widespread. Americans also cut back on spending by 7.5% in March, the biggest monthly decline on record back to 1959, and saw personal income fall by 2%, the largest decrease since 2013. Stock markets slipped on the data’s accounting of economic damage from the virus.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (Republican) says thousands of coronavirus tests acquired by the state from South Korea are currently being protected by the Maryland National Guard at an undisclosed location, The Hill, Zack Budryk and J. Edward Moreno, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Asked in a Washington Post Live interview whether he was concerned the federal government would seize the tests, Hogan acknowledged ‘it was a little bit of a concern.’… Hogan said state officials ensured the plane landed at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport rather than Dulles International Airport in Virginia, noting that it was the first time a Korean Air passenger plane had landed at the airport. ‘We landed it there with a large contingent of Maryland National Guard and Maryland State Police, because this was an enormously valuable payload. It was like Fort Knox to us, because it’s going to save the lives of thousands of our citizens,’ Hogan continued. Asked whether the National Guard was continuing to protect the tests from seizure, Hogan responded, ‘They are.'” See also, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says coronavirus tests procured from South Korea are being protected by the National Guard at an undisclosed location, Washington Post Live, Thursday, 30 April 2020. See also, Transcript: A Conversation with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Washington Post Live, Thursday, 30 April 2020. See also, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan: Maryland protected coronavirus tests it secured from South Korea ‘like Fort Knox,’ CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc, Thursday, 30 April 2020.

The Disunited States of America: A Timeline, contributed by a good friend on Thursday, 30 April 2020:

March 16, 2020:

Trump tells governors to buy their own respirators and PPE equipment, refusing to invoke the Defense Production Act to procure vital equipment in bulk and forcing states to get into bidding wars with each other or make shady back-door deals to secure life-saving materials.

March 20, 2020:

Reports emerge that some states are receiving all the emergency supplies they ask for from the Strategic National Stockpile managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while others are only getting a small fraction of theirs. States with Republican governors like Florida get 100% of their orders. States with Democratic governors like Oregon get 10% of what they ordered.

Late March 2020:

Masks that typically cost 30 cents now routinely run up to $15 apiece and availability plummets as states are forced to outbid each other. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) abdicates its responsibility to coordinate the acquisition, supply and distribution of medical gear and instead the federal government blocks confirmed orders and confiscates purchases made by the states. The confiscated goods are added to the national stockpile.

March 27, 2020:

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (D), whom Trump has repeatedly insulted on Twitter and in interviews, says that companies with contracts to sell PPE to Michigan are cancelling them and redirecting those orders to the federal government because the White House has told them not to sell to Michigan. Trump says in a press conference that he has instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to call Governor Whitmer or Governor Jay Inslee (D) of Washington because they’re not “appreciative.”

March 28, 2020:

New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) calls for all 50 states to form a buying consortium to end the bidding wars. Under a sane executive, that’s what the federal government literally is.

April 2, 2020:

Massachusetts arranges secret pickup and delivery of 1.2 million N95 masks from China on a private plane of the Patriots NFL team. They deliberately kept it secret so the federal government would not confiscate the cargo.

April 3, 2020:

Jared Kusher, the idiot son-in-law of the idiot president who had been idiotically put in charge of distributing necessary materials, declares that the national stockpile — which was explicitly created to supply states with supplies and medicine in emergencies — is “our stockpile, it’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

This blatant lie is contradicted on the Department of Health and Human Services website, so hours after the press conference the administration changes the website text to match Kushner’s lie.

April 9, 2020:

California Governor Gavin Newsom calls California a “nation-state” that will buy in bulk the desperately-needed hospital supplies the federal government cannot and will not provide. If they have surplus, they will “export” those supplies to “states in need.”

April 13, 2020, AM:

April 13, 2020, PM:

  • Trump declares falsely that “the authority of the President of the United States [as regards the lifting of coronavirus restrictions] is total.” He reiterates his ignorance in tweets insisting the “decision to open up the states” belongs to the President, not the governors.
  • Massachusetts joins its neighbor states to form the Multi-State Council.

April 15, 2020:

April 16, 2020:

  • Midwest Partnership expands to include Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • Kansas and Missouri, which are so closely entwined they split a city (Kansas City) between them, coordinate pandemic response.
  • Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas agree to coordinate
  • The Navajo Nation, which is suffering extremely high rates of infection because it’s been 500+ years and we still can’t seem to stop slaughtering indigenous Americans with our pathogens, coordinates with its neighbors Arizona, Utah and New Mexico

April 17, 2020:

  • Mayors of the four largest cities in Tennessee (Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga) form task force to coordinate reopening of businesses.
  • North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri decline to join the Midwest Partnership and instead coordinate economic reopening with Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas, states along the Missouri River that already cooperate on flood response.
  • Vermont joins northeastern states in Regional Advisory Council (formerly the Multi-State Council).
  • New York flattens the curve enough it now has spare ventilators which it shares with Regional Advisory Council partner New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic pact’s Maryland and Midwestern Partnership’s Michigan.

 April 20, 2020:

  • Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina discuss coordinating the lifting of restrictions to reopen their economies. The Republican governors of those states pointedly exclude North Carolina, which has a Democratic governor, from the talks.

April 22, 2020:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) says in a radio interview that states, specifically blue states, should just go bankrupt rather than receive federal funds to bail out their corona-ravaged economies. It is against the law for states to declare bankruptcy.

April 23, 2020:

  • Public colleges and universities from 16 southern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia — form Higher Education Recovery Task Force to coordinate pandemic response and recovery. This is the only coordination group poor West Virginia is a part of, and it’s not governmental.
  • Montana uses mutual aid agreement with North Dakota to secure N95 masks.

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo squashes McConnell, reminding him New York is the number one donor state, giving $116 billion more to the federal government than it receives, while Kentucky is the number three taker state, receiving $148 billion more from the federal government than it gives. (Numbers cumulative for years 2015 through 2018.)

April 27, 2020:

  • Attorney General of the United States Bill Barr threatens to sue states/counties/cities whose coronavirus restrictions “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens” or causing “undue interference with the national economy.”

April 29, 2020: Cuomo beats McConnell and Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) like they owe him money. Which they do.

April 30, 2020:

  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan deploys the National Guard and state police to guard 500,000 COVID-19 tests flown in from South Korea and kept in a secret location to prevent their being confiscated by the federal government.

*All maps by Alfred Twu who has been following the state pacts from the beginning on Twitter.*

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Have Declined to Remove Trump’s Statements Suggesting That Disinfectants and Ultraviolet Light Were Possible Treatments for the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Sheera Frenkel and Davey Alba, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said in March that promoting bleach as a cure for the coronavirus was ‘misinformation that has imminent risk of danger’ and that such messages would immediately be removed from the social network. President Trump has now put Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments to the test. At a White House briefing last week, Mr. Trump suggested that disinfectants and ultraviolet light were possible treatments for the virus. His remarks immediately found their way onto Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites, and people rushed to defend the president’s statements as well as mock them. But Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have declined to remove Mr. Trump’s statements posted online in video clips and transcriptions of the briefing, saying he did not specifically direct people to pursue the unproven treatments. That has led to a mushrooming of other posts, videos and comments about false virus cures with UV lights and disinfectants that the companies have largely left up. A New York Times analysis found 780 Facebook groups, 290 Facebook pages, nine Instagram accounts and thousands of tweets pushing UV light therapies that were posted after Mr. Trump’s comments and that remained on the sites as of Thursday. More than 5,000 other posts, videos and comments promoting disinfectants as a virus cure were also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube this week. Only a few of the posts have been taken down.”

Old Drugs May Find a New Purpose: Fighting the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Carl Zimmer, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “In the early 1950s, psychiatrists began treating schizophrenia with a new drug called chlorpromazine. Seven decades later, the drug is still used as an anti-psychotic. But now scientists have discovered that the drug, also known as Thorazine, can do something entirely different. It can stop the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 from invading cells. Driven by the pandemic’s spread, research teams have been screening thousands of drugs to see if they have this unexpected potential to fight the coronavirus. They’ve tested the drugs on dishes of cells, and a few dozen candidates have made the first cut. They’re startlingly diverse. Some, like chlorpromazine, have been used for years — not for viral infections, but for conditions including cancer, allergies, arthritis, even irregular menstrual periods. Other drugs have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but they have already proven safe in clinical trials. Their track records might help them get approved faster than a drug designed from scratch. As researchers publish findings on these promising drugs, they’re starting tests on animals and people to see how well they perform. ‘I’m going to be brutally honest with you: 95 to 98 percent of these are going to fail,’ said Sumit K. Chanda, a virologist at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, Calif. ‘But we only need one or two.'”

Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan’s emergency measures, NBC News, Dartunorro Clark, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Hundreds of people protested outside the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing on Thursday, with some pushing inside while the Legislature was debating an extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters held signs, waved American flags and even carried firearms, while some chanted ‘Let us in!’ and ‘This is the people’s house, you cannot lock us out.’ Others tried to get onto the House floor but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms, according to NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit. A state police spokesman told NBC News that it is legal in Michigan to carry firearms as long as it’s done with lawful intent and the weapon is visible. Michigan United for Liberty organized the protest, dubbed the American Patriot Rally, to call for the reopening of businesses. State lawmakers, who are Republican-led in both chambers, on Thursday night declined to extend the state’s emergency declaration before it expired at midnight. Instead, they voted to bring a lawsuit to challenge Whitmer’s authority and actions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic governor quickly issued new orders stating that an emergency still exists, while also declaring new 28-day states of emergency and disaster.”

Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grieving to Others. Trump has led no national mourning for the more than 63,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “One morning this week, President Trump called food sector executives. That afternoon, he met with corporate leaders at the White House. The day before, he paraded small-business owners in the East Room, and the day before that, he showcased executives from retail giants like Walgreens and Walmart in the Rose Garden. As he presides over the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic collapse, Mr. Trump has hosted or called many people affected by the devastation, including health company executives, sports commissioners, governors, cruise boat company heads, religious leaders, telecommunications executives and foreign heads of state. One category that has yet to make his list: Americans who have lost someone to the pandemic. As the death toll from the coronavirus over eight weeks surpasses the total American military casualties in eight years of major combat in Vietnam, Mr. Trump has led no national mourning. In his daily news conferences, he makes only perfunctory references to those who have died as he stiffly reads opening remarks, exhibiting more emotion when grieving his lost economic record than his lost constituents.”

Trump is blaming Obama for leaving him with ‘broken tests’ for a virus that didn’t even exist when Obama was President. Yes, really. An exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta revealed just how impervious to correction Trump’s falsehoods can be. Vox, Aaron Rupar, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Observers of American politics sometimes wonder why White House reporters don’t do a better job asking President Donald Trump questions that expose his obviously false claims for what they are. An exchange on Thursday showed why it isn’t so simple. During a White House press availability on Thursday, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump to explain how it makes sense to blame former President Barack Obama for testing problems pertaining to a virus that didn’t even exist until nearly three years after he left office. ‘The last administration left us nothing. We started off with bad, broken tests, and obsolete tests,’ Trump asserted, prompting Acosta to jump in and ask: ‘You say “broken tests” — it’s a new virus, so how could the tests be broken?’ Acosta’s question succinctly revealed the fundamental absurdity of Trump’s ongoing efforts to pin blame for coronavirus testing problems on his predecessor. Trump, however, just plowed forward with variations of the same false claim over and over again…. Trump never answered Acosta’s question.”

Secret Service paid Trump’s D.C. hotel more than $33,000 for lodging to guard Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2017, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow, Josh Dawsey, and Carol D. Leonnig, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “The Secret Service rented a room at President Trump’s Washington hotel for 137 consecutive nights in 2017 — paying Trump’s company more than $33,000 — so it could guard Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin while he lived in one of the hotel’s luxury suites, according to federal documents and people familiar with the arrangement. Mnuchin, a financier from New York, lived in the Trump International Hotel for several months before moving to a home in Washington. Mnuchin paid for his hotel suite himself, a Treasury Department spokesperson said. But during his stay, the Secret Service also rented the room next door at taxpayer expense, to screen Mnuchin’s visitors and packages, according to three people familiar with that arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity. For that room, the Trump hotel charged the maximum rate that federal agencies were generally allowed to pay in 2017: $242 per night, according to the billing records. The Secret Service checked in Jan. 25, according to billing records obtained by The Washington Post, and didn’t make its last payment until June 12. The total bill was $33,154. The Post has identified dozens of instances where the Secret Service paid money to Trump’s businesses — spending taxpayer dollars, often with little or no disclosure at the time. Often, these payments were triggered by Trump’s own travel to his properties. This case is different, because it was set in motion by Mnuchin, one of Trump’s top appointees. In 2017, he chose a living arrangement that produced two revenue streams for Trump’s company. One came from Mnuchin. The other came from taxpayers.”

Joe Biden announces team that will lead his vice-presidential selection process, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Joe Biden’s campaign on Thursday morning announced four co-chairs who will lead a committee to select his running mate, formalizing a process that will be one of the most critical decisions of his campaign. The committee will be led by a range of officials who have been close to Biden at various points during his career, including former senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former White House counsel Cynthia C. Hogan. ‘Selecting a vice-presidential candidate is one of the most important decisions in a presidential campaign and no one knows this more than Joe Biden,’ said campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. ‘These four co-chairs reflect the strength and diversity of our party, and will provide tremendous insight and expertise to what will be a rigorous selection and vetting process.’ Biden has pledged to select a woman as his running mate, and attention has focused on fewer than a dozen potential candidates.” See also, Joe Biden Just Picked Senator Chris Dodd, a Guy With #MeToo Issues of his Own, To Be on His Vice Presidential Selection Committee, Vice, Cameron Joseph, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Facing blowback from an accusation of sexual assault, Joe Biden’s campaign has made a rather curious selection for his vice presidential selection committee: Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who has some #metoo issues of his own. Biden’s campaign announced Thursday morning that Dodd would serve as one of four co-chairs on Biden’s vice presidential selection committee, along with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and longtime Biden adviser Cynthia Hogan. A Biden campaign statement announcing Dodd’s appointment described him as ‘a longtime friend and colleague of Vice President Biden for almost forty years’ who ‘has earned a reputation as a leading voice on domestic and international issues during his service in the U.S. Congress.’ But that’s not Dodd’s entire reputation. Dodd was well known as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) wingman during the 1980s — The Almanac of American Politics described his ‘reputation as a party boy and a partner-in-nightlife-crime’ of the former senator. And that includes one rather serious allegation of sexual assault by Kennedy in which Dodd allegedly participated. The incident was initially reported in Penthouse and confirmed by GQ Magazine in a 1990 profile of Kennedy republished in 2016.” See also, Joe Biden Reveals Allies Who Will Help Pick a Running Mate, The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign on Thursday announced the leaders of his vice-presidential selection committee, moving his search for a running mate into a new and more serious phase. Mr. Biden, 77, has suggested that the vetting process can take until July — but as a former vice president himself who has promised to select a female running mate, he has already given significant thought to the choice, publicly detailing his criteria for the job.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she remains ‘satisfied’ with Biden’s response to sexual assault allegation and praises his ‘integrity,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she has ‘a great comfort level’ with how former vice president Joe Biden has addressed an allegation of sexual assault from the mid-1990s and praised him as ‘a person of great integrity.’ Pelosi’s comments — in a morning television interview and later at a news conference — amounted to her strongest defense of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, whose campaign has flatly denied the allegation of Tara Reade, who worked for Biden while he was a senator from Delaware.”

Trump seizes on coronavirus pandemic to speed up opening of public lands to industry, The Guardian, Jeremy Miller, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “The Trump administration has ratcheted up its efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic to overhaul and overturn Obama-era environmental regulations and increase industry access to public lands. The secretary of the interior, David Bernhardt, has sped efforts to drill, mine and cut timber on fragile western landscapes. Meanwhile, the EPA, headed by the former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, has weakened critical environmental laws and announced in March that it would cease oversight of the nation’s polluters during the Covid-19 crisis. The rollbacks appear to follow a playbook put forth by influential conservative thinktanks, urging the White House to use the pandemic as justification for curtailing, or eliminating, environmental rules and oversight. President Trump should have ‘the ability to suspend costly regulations without extensive process,’ according to a recent report by the Heritage Foundation.”

A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before, The New York Times, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Henry Fountain, and Denise Lu, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “New data from space is providing the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels. The information, in a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science, will help researchers better understand the largest driver of ice loss in Antarctica, the thinning of floating ice shelves that allows more ice to flow from the interior to the ocean, and how that will contribute to rising sea levels. Researchers have known for a long time that, while the continent is losing mass over all as the climate changes, the change is uneven. It is gaining more ice in some areas, like parts of East Antarctica, and losing it quickly in others, in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.”

Trump ally Roger Stone appeals sentence in Russia investigation, Associated Press, Michael Balsamo, Thursday, 30 April 2020: “Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, is appealing his three-year prison sentence following his conviction as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Stone’s lawyers filed the notice of appeal Thursday in federal court in Washington. They are appealing his prison sentence and a judge’s order denying Stone’s request for a new trial based on Stone’s accusations of jury bias. Stone was convicted in November on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.”