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


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


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Friday, 1 May 2020, Day 1,197:


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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

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

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 1 May 2020: U.S. Stocks End the Week Lower After Tech Earnings, The New York Times, Friday, 1 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 1 May 2020: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants emergency authorization to drug for coronavirus; White House blocks Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before the House Appropriations Committee, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Brittany Shammas, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, Michael Brice-Saddler, Steven Goff, and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 1 May 2020: “The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Gilead Sciences’s antiviral drug remdesivir for patients hospitalized with a severe case of covid-19. The agency’s nod, which was announced by President Trump, came two days after Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, announced that trial data showed the drug had a ‘clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.’

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Authorizes Emergency Use of Gilead Drug Remdesivir for Covid-19 Patients. Action comes after research showed the drug shortened recovery times in patients. The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Hackman and Thomas M. Burton, Friday, 1 May 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the drug remdesivir in Covid-19 patients after researchers reported that it shortened the recovery times in people who have fallen ill from the new coronavirus. The FDA action limits the use of the drug, produced by Gilead Sciences Inc., for only through the duration of the pandemic, but health regulators could grant full approval if more benefits emerge from a large study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other clinical trials under way.”

Trump Moves To Replace Christi A. Grimm, the Principal Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. She Issued a Report Identifying Critical Medical and Testing Shortages That Embarrassed Trump. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 1 May 2020: “President Trump moved on Friday night to replace a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services who angered him with a report last month highlighting supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. The White House waited until after business hours to announce the nomination of a new inspector general for the department who, if confirmed, would take over for Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who was publicly assailed by the president at a news briefing three weeks ago. The nomination was the latest effort by Mr. Trump against watchdog offices around his administration that have defied him. In recent weeks, he fired an inspector general involved in the inquiry that led to the president’s impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post overseeing virus relief spending and moved to block still another inspector general from taking over as chairman of a pandemic spending oversight panel. Mr. Trump has sought to assert more authority over his administration and clear out officials deemed insufficiently loyal in the three months since his Senate impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress ended in acquittal largely along party lines. While inspectors general are appointed by the president, they are meant to be semiautonomous watchdogs ferreting out waste, fraud and corruption in executive agencies.” See also, Trump replaces Christi A. Grimm, the Health and Human Services (HHS) watchdog who found ‘severe shortages’ at hospitals combating coronavirus, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, published on Saturday, 2 May 2020: “President Trump moved to replace the top watchdog at the Department of Health and Human Services after her office released a report on the shortages in testing and personal protective gear at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. In a Friday night announcement, the White House nominated a permanent inspector general to take the reins from Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who has run the office since January. The White House nominated Jason Weida, an assistant United States attorney in Boston, as permanent inspector general. The announcement said Weida was chosen because he has overseen ‘numerous complex investigations in healthcare and other sectors.’ He must be confirmed by the Senate. Grimm’s removal follows a purge of high-profile federal officials and inspectors general whose work has been critical of the president. Inspectors general at large agencies serve at the pleasure of the president, but they are considered independent monitors for waste, fraud and abuse.”

Report by pandemic experts predicts up to two more years of pandemic misery, CNN Health, Maggie Fox, Friday, 1 May 2020: “The new coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years—until 60% to 70% of the population has been infected, a team of longstanding pandemic experts predicted in a report released Thursday. They recommended that the US prepare for a worst-case scenario that includes a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter. Even in a best-case scenario, people will continue to die from the virus, they predicted. ‘This thing’s not going to stop until it infects 60 to 70 percent of people,’ Mike Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, told CNN. ‘The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology.’ Osterholm has been writing about the risk of pandemics for 20 years and has advised several presidents. He wrote the report along with Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, who is also a top expert on pandemics; Dr. Kristine Moore, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist who is now medical director for CIDRAP; and historian John Barry, who wrote the 2004 book ‘The Great Influenza’ about the 1918 flu pandemic.”

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the Trump administration missed some chances to slow the coronavirus, Associated Press, Mike Stobbe, Friday, 1 May 2020: “The U.S. government was slow to understand how much coronavirus was spreading from Europe, which helped drive the acceleration of outbreaks across the nation, a top health official said Friday. Limited testing and delayed travel alerts for areas outside China contributed to the jump in U.S. cases starting in late February, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘We clearly didn’t recognize the full importations that were happening,’ Schuchat told The Associated Press. The coronavirus was first reported late last year in China, the initial epicenter of the global pandemic. But the U.S. has since become the hardest-hit nation, with about a third of the world’s reported cases and more than a quarter of the deaths. The CDC on Friday published an article, authored by Schuchat, that looked back on the U.S. response, recapping some of the major decisions and events of the last few months. It suggests the nation’s top public health agency missed opportunities to slow the spread. Some public health experts saw it as important assessment by one of the nation’s most respected public health doctors. The CDC is responsible for the recognition, tracking and prevention of just such a disease. But the agency has had a low profile during this pandemic, with White House officials controlling communications and leading most press briefings.”

Trump Says He’s in No Rush to Give Money to States Short on Cash Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. He says, ‘If Democrats do it, they’re going to have to give us a lot.’ Bloomberg, Justin Sink and Jordan, Fabian, Friday, 1 May 2020: “President Donald Trump said he is ‘in no rush’ to provide federal assistance to states that are short of money because of the coronavirus, and said Democrats would have to make concessions if they want grants for state governments. ‘If they do it, they’re going to have to give us a lot,’ Trump said in a podcast interview with conservative commentator Dan Bongino that aired Friday. The National Governors Association, chaired by Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, has called on Congress to allocate an additional $500 billion in funding for state shortfalls.”

Public companies received $1 billion in stimulus funds meant for small businesses, The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Steven Rich, and Peter Whoriskey, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Publicly traded companies have received more than $1 billion in funds meant for small businesses from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, according to data from securities filings compiled by The Washington Post. Nearly 300 public companies have reported receiving money from the fund, called the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the data compiled by The Post. Recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more.” See also, Hotelier Monty Bennett’s Push for $126 Million in Small-Business Aid Draws Scrutiny, The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek and Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Monty Bennett’s sprawling hospitality company is the biggest known beneficiary of the government’s small-business relief program. The Texas conservative has remained unwilling to return his loans even as public anger builds over large companies getting the funds — a fact now drawing the scrutiny of a key lawmaker…. On Friday, Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, sent a letter to the Small Business Administration demanding a thorough review of use of the program by Mr. Bennett’s companies, saying that he is ‘deeply concerned that large, publicly traded companies, like Ashford, may be exploiting’ it.”

The Lucrative Trade in Human Blood Samples, The New York Times, Jane Bradley, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Around the world, scientists are racing to develop and mass produce reliable antibody tests that public health experts say are a crucial element in ending the coronavirus lockdowns that are causing economic devastation. But that effort is being hamstrung, scientists say, by a shortage of the blood samples containing antibodies to Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, that are needed to validate the tests. Recognizing a rare opportunity, some companies are seeking to cash in on the shortages, soliciting blood donations and selling samples at rich markups in a practice that has been condemned by medical professionals as, at the very least, unethical.”

Protests spread, fueled by economic woes and Internet subcultures, The Washington Post, Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, and Moriah Balingit, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Protests against coronavirus-related government restrictions continued to spread on Friday as a coalition of gun activists, vaccine opponents and anxious business owners used the organizing power of social media to build increasingly visible and vocal opposition movements in several states. Crowds waving signs, honking horns and demanding an immediate relaxation of measures imposed to slow the pandemic gathered in Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Raleigh, N.C., on Friday. More protests were planned for the weekend, including in the state capitals of Kentucky, Oregon and New Hampshire, despite polling consistently showing that most Americans support public-health restrictions by governors and mayors even as the economic toll mounts.”

Gunmen Are Stalking the Halls of the Michigan Legislative Chamber. Trump Responds With Trolling. Esquire, Charles P. Pierce, Friday, 1 May 2020: “The photo was arresting in that nobody was being arrested. It was taken by a Michigan state senator named Dayna Polehanki. It showed three men armed with automatic weapons standing in the gallery of the Michigan senate chamber while hundreds of other similarly accessorized citizens stormed around the capitol’s hallways and screamed at police officers outside. This photo rang a little ironic to those of us who remembered people being arrested and hauled out of the Wisconsin legislature for the crime of singing and holding signs…. At issue was Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s steadfast refusal to change her stay-at-home order, which has become a vehicle for performative outrage in the state’s Republican-majority legislature. On Thursday, with guns in the balcony of the state senate, Whitmer extended the state of emergency until the end of May…. It looks now like the legislature is going to sue the governor over this, but the nature of the latest protests marks a pole-vault over a line that never should be crossed. Parading high-powered weapons in a legislative chamber is something one expects to see in slightly less mature democracies than this one is alleged to be. And now the tactic is spreading to places like North Carolina. Clearly, this is a perilous escalation that calls for strong, decisive action by the federal government. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the President* of the United States: ‘The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.’ There is no way that the echo of the president*’s misguided comments over Charlottesville in that tweet is an accident. ‘Good people’?” See also, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan Reinstates State of Emergency as Protests Ramp Up. The governor’s moves were in response to the Republican-led Legislature’s refusal to extend the original emergency declaration. The New York Times, Jacey Fortin, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a prime political target in partisan clashes over stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus outbreak, signed three executive orders on Thursday to reinstate a state of emergency during the coronavirus pandemic. Her orders came on a day when protesters, some of them armed, gathered at the State Capitol in Lansing to oppose stay-at-home orders. State Senator Dayna Polehanki, a Democrat, shared a photograph of protesters with rifles inside the building, as well as a video of hundreds of people outside.” See also, Trump expresses support for angry anti-shutdown armed protesters in Michigan as more states lift coronavirus lockdowns. Trump tweeted that ‘these are very good people, but they are angry.’ The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and John Wagner, Friday, 1 May 2020: “President Trump expressed support Friday for armed protesters who had stormed the Michigan Capitol, demanding the state lift coronavirus restrictions, as researchers estimated that the coronavirus pandemic could stretch on for two more years. Trump tweeted Friday that ‘these are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!’ Trump said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ‘should give a little, and put out the fire.’ Hundreds of people, including a militia group armed with military-style rifles, rushed the State Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, with some forcing their way into the building and facing off with law enforcement. An angry mob screamed ‘Lock Her Up’ and insults about Whitmer. Trump’s ‘very good people’ language recalled his wording nearly three years ago, when he said there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. ‘See them, talk to them, make a deal,’ Trump wrote Friday.”

Native American Tribes Sue the Treasury Department Over Stimulus Aid as They Feud Over Funding, The New York Times, Mark Walker and Emily Cochrane, Friday, 1 May 2020: “A group of Native American tribes is suing the Treasury Department for failing to provide billions of dollars in coronavirus relief allocated for tribes in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, setting off one of the most significant legal battles between tribal governments and the United States in years. The human and economic toll of the pandemic has been particularly devastating for tribes across the country, which were already struggling with inadequate federal resources and are now among the most vulnerable and hardest hit by the virus. While the stimulus law mandated that $8 billion be provided to tribes by the end of April, tribal leaders say they have yet to receive any of the money, prompting the lawsuit on Thursday.”

Congress’s Doctor Brian P. Monahan Warns That He Does Not Have the Capacity to Test All 100 Senators for Coronavirus When They Return on Monday. At the White House, Trump and Many of His Aides Are Tested Repeatedly. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Nicholas Fandos, and Katie Rogers, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the tight-lipped doctor who attends to Congress, sent up on Thursday what some have construed as a warning: His office, he told senior Republican officials on a private conference call, cannot screen all 100 senators for the coronavirus when they return to work on Monday. Two miles down Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, the story is very different. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are tested frequently, aides who come into close contact with them are tested weekly and the list of people who need to be tested daily keeps expanding, according to officials familiar with the process. The stark contrast between the testing haves at the White House and the have-nots on Capitol Hill, first reported in Politico, makes clear that Mr. Trump’s pronouncement that ‘anybody that wants a test can get a test,’ as he said on March 6 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, is far from true. Although the rich and powerful are clearly favored, not even all the powerful have equal access. And beyond whether people can be tested, there are questions about the tests available. At the White House, the medical unit is using a rapid-testing kit developed by Abbott, which yields results in about five minutes. But Dr. Monahan told the Republican aides on Thursday that he lacked such equipment, and that it would take at least two days to get test results.”

Trump uses White House events to project return to normalcy while relying on testing that the public lacks, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Friday, 1 May 2020: “At the White House this week, President Trump sat less than six feet from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the Oval Office. He invited small-business owners to crowd behind the Resolute Desk for a photo shoot. His vice president toured a medical research center without a face mask in defiance of its policy. The daily images projected a sense of confidence that life, at least for the nation’s most prominent resident, is returning to a semblance of normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic — a visual cue to the public that conditions are improving as Trump pushes to restart sectors of the economy. Yet even as Trump aides have signaled that he could soon begin regular travel, the reality is that the White House has created a picture of security that is propped up by special access to the kind of wide-scale testing for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that most of the nation remains without. Trump, Vice President Pence and their aides are tested regularly, and all who enter the White House campus to meet with them are required to undergo on-site rapid tests developed by Abbott Laboratories, which provide results within 15 minutes.”

Northern California official ousted after saying the elderly, ill, and homeless should be left to die in coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Times, Matthew Ormseth, Friday, 1 May 2020: “A planning commissioner of a Northern California city was removed from his post Friday night after saying that just as a forest fire clears dead brush, ‘the sick, the old, the injured’ should be left to meet their ‘natural course in nature’ during the coronavirus outbreak. Via a Zoom meeting, the five-member City Council of Antioch, a city of about 110,000 people 35 miles east of Oakland, voted unanimously to remove Ken Turnage II from his post as chairman of the city’s planning commission. Turnage, who owns a home restoration company in Antioch, had characterized the elderly, the homeless and people with weak immune systems as a drain on society who should be left to perish as COVID-19 sweeps through Contra Costa County, where it has killed 28 people and infected 907 to date. ‘If we were to live our lives, let nature run its course, yes we will all feel hardship, we will all feel loss,’ he wrote on Facebook. But ‘as a species,’ he continued, the deaths would alleviate strain on the country’s healthcare and Social Security systems and free up jobs and housing.”

15 minutes after pledging not to lie, Trump’s new press secretary Kayleigh McEnany made an obviously false claim, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 1 May 2020: “White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held the first daily news briefing in more than a year Friday, her first since assuming her current role last month. McEnany, a veteran of rising to Donald Trump’s defense on cable news, when he was a candidate and now as president, was prepared for the moment, armed with voluminous talking points and an ability to seamlessly introduce them. The reporters in the room were clearly at least somewhat skeptical of the extent to which they could take McEnany at her word. At one point, a reporter asked her to pledge that she would never lie to the reporters and, by extension, the public. ‘I will never lie to you,’ McEnany replied. ‘You have my word on that.’ Fifteen minutes later, she raised a subject no one had asked about and quickly offered an obviously false claim about it.”

Joe Biden Denies Tara Reade’s Assault Allegation: ‘It Never Happened,’ The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Lisa Lerer, and Sydney Ember, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday denied an allegation of sexual assault by a former Senate aide, Tara Reade, breaking a monthlong silence that had frustrated some Democratic activists as his presidential campaign navigated issues of gender that are vitally important to many members of his party. Sounding emphatic and at times agitated in an interview on MSNBC, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, tried to address concerns about Ms. Reade’s claim by saying that she had a right to be heard while also insisting that he had not assaulted her. ‘No, it is not true,’ Mr. Biden said. ‘I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. Believing women means taking the woman’s claim seriously,’ Mr. Biden said, adding, ‘But in the end, in every case, the truth is what matters. And in this case, the truth is, the claims are false.’ Mr. Biden also called on the National Archives to release a complaint related to the allegation if one existed. At the same time he continued to oppose requests to release his Senate papers, which, he said, do not contain personnel records. The interview, as well as a statement Mr. Biden posted on Medium, amounted to his campaign’s most concerted effort yet to contain any possible damage to his candidacy just as the Democrat had turned his attention to unifying the party against President Trump. But Mr. Biden’s lack of response for so long was the latest example of caution and tentativeness in the Biden camp, worrying some Democrats about the campaign’s agility in a general election that is sure to be heated and highly personal.” See also, Joe Biden denies he sexually assaulted a former Senate aide and calls on the National Archives to release complaint if one exists, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Annie Linskey, and Sean Sullivan, Friday, 1 May 2020: “Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Friday denied that he sexually assaulted a former Senate aide, delivering his first public comments about an allegation that has prompted a collision between the presidential race and the #MeToo movement and forced a difficult reckoning in a party determined to unseat President Trump in November. In a lengthy written statement and later a television interview, Biden said unequivocally that former Senate aide Tara Reade’s claims that he reached up her skirt and penetrated her in 1993 were untrue. ‘This never happened,’ said Biden, who also insisted that women like Reade deserve to be treated with respect. Speaking on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ he repeated himself: ‘It was 27 years ago, this never happened, and when she first made the claim, we made it clear that it never happened, and that’s as simple as that.'”

A Federal Judge Vacates Oil and Gas Leases on 145,000 Acres in Montana, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 1 May 2020: “A federal judge on Friday vacated 287 oil and gas leases on almost 150,000 acres of land in Montana, ruling that the Trump administration had improperly issued the leases to energy companies in 2017 and 2018. The judge, Brian Morris of the United States District Court for the District of Montana, said the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management failed to adequately take into account the environmental impacts of the drilling. In particular, Judge Morris found that the officials had not accounted for the drilling’s impact on regional water supplies and the global impact that the increased drilling would have on climate change. The decision is at least the third such legal loss that criticized the Trump administration for failing to consider the cumulative impacts of expanding fossil fuel production on the warming of the planet. It comes as the Trump administration is seeking to eliminate the legal requirements that the government take such impacts into account at all.”


Saturday, 2 May 2020, Day 1,198:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 2 May 2020: As Restrictions Lift, Countries Brace for a New Reality, The New York Times, Saturday, 2 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 2 May 2020: Relaxed Rules and Warm Weather Test States, The New York Times, Saturday, 2 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 2 May 2020: Rallies continue against statewide restrictions aimed at slowing coronavirus spread, The Washington Post, Katie Mettler, Marisa Iati, Meryl Kornfield, Hannah Knowles, Miriam Berger, Steven Goff, and Candace Buckner, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “As more than half of America’s governors have relaxed coronavirus-driven restrictions, protests against stay-at-home orders have spread. In Nevada, a chanting crowd of protesters marched up to the door of the governor’s residence on Saturday, drawing police who stood with automatic weapons. And a group demanding to ‘Fully Open California’ organized to cause traffic gridlock in Laguna Beach. With confirmed U.S. deaths topping 65,000, efforts to reopen the country also are sparking outcries about public safety. But officials have battled crowds and some public resistance to mask-wearing and social distancing measures.

Here are significant developments:

  • In a rare joint statement, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said they are ‘respectfully’ declining the Trump administration’s offer to deploy rapid coronavirus testing capabilities on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers return to work Monday.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arguably the world’s most famous coronavirus patient, said that his condition was so serious that plans were made for how to announce his death if he didn’t pull through.
  • An Oklahoma city walked back a requirement that people wear face masks inside reopened stores and restaurants, citing threats of violence and physical abuse directed at employees.
  • In the latest sign of a struggling economy, investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Saturday recorded a $49.7 billion loss in the first quarter of the year.
  • Companies are launching vaccine trials at an unprecedented pace, but some worry about the trade-offs between speed and safety.
  • As many as 98 residents of a Manhattan nursing home may have died of the virus in one of the deadliest nursing home outbreaks reported in the United States.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Excess U.S. deaths hit estimated 37,100 in pandemic’s early days, far more than previously known, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Andrew Ba Tran, and Reis Thebault, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The United States recorded an estimated 37,100 excess deaths as the novel coronavirus spread across the country in March and the first two weeks of April, nearly 13,500 more than are now attributed to covid-19 for that same period, 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 Yale team’s analysis suggests that the number of excess deaths accelerated as the pandemic took hold. There were 16,600 estimated excess deaths just in the week of April 5 to April 11, compared with 20,500 over the prior five weeks. Though the team’s estimate of the impact early in the outbreak already paints a picture of unusually high mortality, the number is certain to grow as more deaths are reported to the federal government on a rolling basis. ‘I think people need to be aware that the data they’re seeing on deaths is very incomplete,’ said Dan Weinberger, a Yale professor of epidemiology who led the analysis for The Post.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the US just reported its deadliest day for coronavirus patients as states reopen, CNBC, William Feuer, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The United States just had its deadliest day on record due to the coronavirus as states across the country begin to ease restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus, according to data published by the World Health Organization. The U.S. saw 2,909 people die of Covid-19 in 24 hours, according to the data, which was collected as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday. That’s the highest daily Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. yet, based on a CNBC analysis of the WHO’s daily Covid-19 situation reports. Before May 1, the next highest U.S. daily death toll was 2,471 reported on April 23, according to the WHO. State officials have previously warned that data on Covid-19 deaths are difficult to analyze because they often represent patients who became ill and were hospitalized weeks ago.”

Maryland Cancels Big Coronavirus-Mask Order, The Wall Street Journal, Brody Mullins and Susan Pulliam, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The state of Maryland has canceled a large order of coronavirus supplies from a politically connected company and asked state law-enforcement officials to investigate the matter, Maryland officials said. Procurement officials with the state said they took action after waiting for more than 30 days for $12.5 million worth of masks and ventilators the state ordered from Blue Flame Medical LLC, a company launched a few weeks ago by a one-time fundraiser for the Republican party. The former fundraiser, Mike Gula, sent a letter to Maryland officials showing that the state’s order for roughly 1.5 million N95 masks was seized by government officials in China, where they were manufactured, according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Gula switched to a new supplier and plans to deliver the masks shortly, along with a separate $4 million order for more than 100 ventilators to the state, according to a Blue Flame Medical official.” See also, Maryland cancels $12.5 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contract with firm started by Republican operatives, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger and Juliet Eilperin, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The state of Maryland on Saturday terminated a $12.5 million contract for personal protective equipment with a firm started this spring by two well-connected Republican operatives. State officials said the company, Blue Flame Medical, failed to deliver masks and ventilators as promised and that the matter has been referred to Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) for review.”

Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, Carl Zimmer, Katie Thomas, and Sui-Lee Wee, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “Four months after a mysterious new virus began its deadly march around the globe, the search for a vaccine has taken on an intensity never before seen in medical research, with huge implications for public health, the world economy and politics. Seven of the roughly 90 projects being pursued by governments, pharmaceutical makers, biotech innovators and academic laboratories have reached the stage of clinical trials. With political leaders — not least President Trump — increasingly pressing for progress, and with big potential profits at stake for the industry, drug makers and researchers have signaled that they are moving ahead at unheard-of speeds. But the whole enterprise remains dogged by uncertainty about whether any coronavirus vaccine will prove effective, how fast it could be made available to millions or billions of people and whether the rush — compressing a process that can take 10 years into 10 months — will sacrifice safety.”

Auschwitz Museum condemns Nazi slogan at ‘Re-open Illinois’ protest, The Hill, Morgan Gstalter, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The Auschwitz Museum and Memorial condemned a protester who brought a sign featuring the Nazi slogan ‘Arbeit macht frei’ to a rally against Illinois’s stay-at-home orders. The museum’s official Twitter account responded to a photograph from the ‘Re-open Illinois’ protest, which showed a woman wearing an American flag face mask while carrying a sign reading ‘Arbeit macht frei, JB.’ The initials appear to be directed to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who is Jewish. [The Auschwitz Museum tweeted] ‘Arbeit macht frei was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of #Auschwitz. Those words became one of the icons of human hatred. It’s painful to see this symbol instrumentalized & used again to spread hate. It’s a symptom of moral & intellectual degeneration.'” See also, Auschwitz memorial condemns presence of Nazi slogan at US anti-lockdown rally in Illinois, The Guardian, Jedidajah Otte, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The organisation that runs the Auschwitz memorial has condemned the appearance at a US anti-lockdown rally of a picket sign bearing a Nazi slogan displayed above the entrance of the concentration camp. A demonstrator attending a rally in Illinois, where hundreds of people protested against the state’s lockdown and social distancing measures, was photographed carrying a sign bearing the words ‘Arbeit macht frei, JB.’ The German phrase translates as ‘work sets you free,’ with JB referring to the Illinois governor, JB Pritzker, who is of Jewish descent. The font of both instances of the letter ‘B’ on the picket sign bore a striking resemblance to the shape of the letter ‘B’ on the sign above the gates of Auschwitz, the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centres, where more than 1.1 million men, women and children were murdered.”

The coronavirus pandemic has made the US healthcare crisis far more dire. We must fix the system. The Guardian, Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “When it comes to our current healthcare system, the waste, cruelty and dysfunction was glaringly obvious even before the horrific pandemic we are now experiencing. Today, as millions of Americans lose their jobs and their healthcare benefits that come with them, it is now virtually impossible for any rational person to defend a system – unique among wealthy countries – that ties healthcare to employment, and is designed only to make huge profits for the insurance industry and drug companies, while ignoring the needs of ordinary Americans. Before the pandemic, 87 million people were uninsured or underinsured in our country, and more than 30,000 people died every year because they couldn’t get to a doctor when they needed to see one. More than half a million families declared bankruptcy each year because of medically related debt. One out of five Americans could not afford the outrageously priced prescription drugs their doctors prescribed to them. And our healthcare outcomes, from maternal deaths to life expectancy to infant mortality, lagged behind most other industrialized nations. And for all of that, the United States still spends nearly $11,000 on healthcare for every adult and child – more than twice the average of other major countries. That was before the pandemic. The situation is far more dire now.”

34 days of coronavirus pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen the U.S. between 29 March and early May 2020, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Robert Costa, and Lena H. Sun, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “The epidemiological models under review in the White House Situation Room in late March were bracing. In a best-case scenario, they showed the novel coronavirus was likely to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. President Trump was apprehensive about so much carnage on his watch, yet also impatient to reopen the economy — and he wanted data to justify doing so. So the White House considered its own analysis. A small team led by Kevin Hassett — a former chairman of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers with no background in infectious diseases — quietly built an econometric model to guide response operations. Many White House aides interpreted the analysis as predicting that the daily death count would peak in mid-April before dropping off substantially, and that there would be far fewer fatalities than initially foreseen, according to six people briefed on it…. For Trump — whose decision-making has been guided largely by his reelection prospects — the analysis, coupled with Hassett’s grim predictions of economic calamity, provided justification to pivot to where he preferred to be: cheering an economic revival rather than managing a catastrophic health crisis. Trump directed his coronavirus task force to issue guidelines for reopening businesses, encouraged ‘LIBERATE’ protests to apply pressure on governors and proclaimed that ‘the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself’ — even as polls showed that Americans were far more concerned about their personal safety. By the end of April — with more Americans dying in the month than in all of the Vietnam War — it became clear that the Hassett model was too good to be true. ‘A catastrophic miss,’ as a former senior administration official briefed on the data described it. The president’s course would not be changed, however. Trump and Kushner began to declare a great victory against the virus, while urging America to start reopening businesses and schools…. The span of 34 days between March 29, when Trump agreed to extend strict social-distancing guidelines, and this past week, when he celebrated the reopening of some states as a harbinger of economic revival, tells a story of desperation and dysfunction.”

Tara Reade, the former Senate staff person who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says ‘I didn’t use sexual harassment’ in my Biden complaint, Associated Press, Alexandra Jaffe, Don Thompson, and Stephen Braun, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office that did not explicitly accuse him of sexual assault or harassment. ‘I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,’ Reade said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. ‘I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.’ Reade told the AP twice that she did not use the phrase ‘sexual harassment’ in filing the complaint, but at other points in the interview said that was the behavior she believed she was describing. She said: ‘I talked about sexual harassment, retaliation. The main word I used – and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used uncomfortable. And I remember retaliation.’ Reade described the report after the AP discovered additional transcripts and notes from its interviews with Reade last year in which she says she ‘chickened out’ after going to the Senate personnel office. The AP interviewed Reade in 2019 after she accused Biden of uncomfortable and inappropriate touching. She did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Biden until this year, around the time he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.” See also, Biden accuser Tara Reade says that the complaint she filed, if it’s found, will not include the sexual assault allegation that she came forward with in March, NBC News, Ali Vitali, Mike Momoli, and Andrea Mitchell, Saturday, 2 May 2020: “Tara Reade, a former staffer accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault, specified Saturday that she’s ‘not sure’ what wording she might have used in the paper complaint she says she filed with a Senate personnel office in 1993. ‘I filed a complaint re sexual harassment and retaliation but I am not sure what explicit words are on that intake form until we all see it again,’ Reade told NBC News in a text message Saturday. Reade has said that the complaint, if it’s found, would not include the sexual assault allegation that she came forward with in March. She told the Associated Press in an interview Friday: ‘the main word I used — and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used uncomfortable. And I remember retaliation.’ Biden has insisted that no record exists, but nonetheless on Friday sent a letter to the Secretary of the Senate asking that they ‘take or direct whatever steps are necessary’ to determine where any such personnel record would exist, and release to the public any documents it finds related to any allegation Reade might have made.” See also, The agonizing story of Tara Reade, Vox, Laura McGann, published on Thursday, 7 May 2020: “In April 2019, a woman named Tara Reade reached out to me with a clear, consistent story to tell about her experience as a staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office in 1993. I spent hours on the phone with her, and many more tracking down possible witnesses and documents, trying to confirm her account. Reade told me that a senior aide told her Biden liked her legs and that he wanted her to serve cocktails at a fundraiser for him, a request she found demeaning and declined. When she later complained to others in the office that Biden would put his hands on her shoulder, neck, and hair during meetings in ways that made her uncomfortable, she says she was blamed and told to dress more conservatively. Within a few months, she said, her responsibilities had been stripped and she felt she was being pushed out of the job. She went back home to California deflated. Reade told me that she wanted me to think of this story as being about abuse of power, ‘but not sexual misconduct.’ Her emphasis was on how she was treated in Biden’s office by Senate aides, who she said retaliated against her for complaining about how Biden touched her in meetings. ‘I don’t know if [Biden] knew why I left,’ she said. ‘He barely knew us by name.’… I wanted to believe Reade when she first came to me, and I worked hard to find the evidence to make certain others would believe her, too. I couldn’t find it. None of that means Reade is lying, but it leaves us in the limbo of Me Too: a story that may be true but that we can’t prove.”


Sunday, 3 May 2020, Day 1,199:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 3 May 2020: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Blames Wuhan Lab for Coronavirus As Backlash Against China Grows. This claim is not backed by U.S. Intelligence. The New York Times, Sunday, 3 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 3 May 2020: Trump Acknowledges the U.S. Death Toll Could Reach 100,000, The New York Times, Sunday, 3 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 3 May 2020: Trump says it’s safe to reopen states, while White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx says protesters wearing no masks and disregarding social distancing is ‘devastatingly worrisome,’ The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Meryl Kornfield, Siobhán O’Grady, Hannah Knowles, Ruby Mellen, Candace Buckner, and Samantha Pell, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “President Trump expressed confidence at a Sunday town hall that the United States could reopen safely, as many Americans fear a return to normal coming too swiftly amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also offered support for protesters opposed to the lockdown measures that remain in place in many states. Earlier in the day, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said protesters’ disregard of social distancing is ‘devastatingly worrisome.’ Meanwhile, governors are outlining plans to reopen along widely varying timelines as federal officials defend the White House’s decision to let states decide.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Some officials are backing off requirements that people wear masks inside businesses, as cities, counties and states run into limits on their ability to maintain public health precautions with stay-at-home orders easing.
  • Video of a violent arrest during social distancing enforcement in New York City has gone viral, and police said they will investigate.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that ‘enormous evidence’ indicates that the covid-19 virus originated at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
  • Remdesivir, a drug that has shown promise in reducing recovery time for coronavirus patients, will start going out to U.S. hospitals this week, the CEO of the treatment’s manufacturer said Sunday.
  • Congressional leaders are girding for a huge fight over the reentry of millions of Americans to the workplace.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The Coronavirus Becomes a Battle Cry for U.S. White Supremacists and Their Anti-Government Agenda, The New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “America’s extremists are attempting to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a potent recruiting tool both in the deep corners of the internet and on the streets of state capitals by twisting the public health crisis to bolster their white supremacist, anti-government agenda. Although the protests that have broken out across the country have drawn out a wide variety of people pressing to lift stay-at-home orders, the presence of extremists cannot be missed, with their anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic signs and coded messages aimed at inspiring the faithful, say those who track such movements.”

Before Covid-19, Trump Aide Stephen Miller Sought to Use Disease to Close Borders, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson and Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “From the early days of the Trump administration, Stephen Miller, the president’s chief adviser on immigration, has repeatedly tried to use an obscure law designed to protect the nation from diseases overseas as a way to tighten the borders. The question was, which disease?… On some occasions, Mr. Miller and the president, who also embraced these ideas, were talked down by cabinet secretaries and lawyers who argued that the public health situation at the time did not provide sufficient legal basis for such a proclamation. That changed with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic…. But what has been billed by the White House as an urgent response to the coronavirus pandemic was in large part repurposed from old draft executive orders and policy discussions that have taken place repeatedly since Mr. Trump took office and have now gained new legitimacy, three former officials who were involved in the earlier deliberations said.”

Trump Foresees Virus Death Toll as High as 100,000 in the United States. But even as Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus has been deadlier than he had previously predicted, he pressed to reopen the country. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “President Trump predicted on Sunday night that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country may reach as high as 100,000 in the United States, twice as many as he had forecast just two weeks ago, even as he pressed states to reopen the shuttered economy. Mr. Trump, who last month forecast that fatalities from the outbreak could be kept ‘substantially below the 100,000′ mark and even as low as 50,000, acknowledged that the virus has proved more devastating than expected. But nonetheless, he said that parks, beaches and some businesses should begin reopening now and that schools should resume classes in person by this fall.”

Deborah Birx’s ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview lays bare the discord in Trump’s coronavirus response, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “The Washington Post published its latest in-depth investigation into the Trump administration’s uneven response to the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, an interview with a leading medical expert on the White House task force reinforced it. Appearing on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ Deborah Birx offered very different comments compared with President Trump’s on the projected coronavirus death toll and the protesters who recently stormed the Michigan State Capitol. Birx was asked about Trump’s projections in recent weeks that there would be between 50,000 and 60,000 deaths, which he later increased to 60,000 to 70,000. We are at over 66,000 deaths, with little sign in recent weeks of any significant downturn. Birx told host Chris Wallace that ‘our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other how to social distance.’ That contradicts what Trump said — and even what he went on to say later in the day. The president hasn’t just offered a more optimistic tone on the death toll; on April 20, he suggested 50,000 to 60,000 deaths had actually replaced the previous 100,000-to-240,000 goal that he had said would constitute a successful response.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces 7-state consortium for buying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Axios, Jacob Knutson, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware are forming a regional consortium to reduce competition when purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). Cuomo and other governors have long complained that competition between states, private businesses and the federal government for critical coronavirus supplies has needlessly driven up prices in a time of emergency.”

Vice President Mike Pence: ‘I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic.’ Pence’s reversal came after a sharp backlash to his flouting the institution’s policy. Politico, Rishika Dugyala, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said he should have worn a mask when visiting the Mayo Clinic, a reversal that came after a harsh backlash for not adhering to the hospital’s policy during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic and I wore it when I visited the ventilator plant in Indiana’ two days later, Pence said at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, nodding sheepishly.” See also, Pence acknowledges he should have worn a mask during his Mayo Clinic visit, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Hannah Knowles, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Vice President Pence acknowledged Sunday night that he should have worn a face mask during a visit last week to the Mayo Clinic, a rare admission of a mistake by a senior Trump administration official. Pence’s comments followed an uproar over his appearance Tuesday at the Rochester, Minn., facility, where news footage showed him speaking to staff members and patients without the face coverings that everyone else around him wore and that Mayo Clinic officials said were required under their policies.”

Trump Nominee Justin Walker Is Among Judges Opposed to Banning Membership in The Federalist Society, The New York Times, Rebecca R. Ruiz and Ben Protess, Sunday, 3 May 2020: “As the Senate this week considers elevating a politically connected judge to an influential federal appeals court, the judge has stepped into a fierce ideological debate about a legal group shaping President Trump’s rightward overhaul of the judiciary. The judge, Justin Walker of the U.S. District Court in Kentucky, has joined more than 200 federal judges — a majority of them appointed by Mr. Trump — in signing a letter that defends their right to be affiliated with the group, the Federalist Society. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, was written in March in response to a proposal by the ethics advisory arm of the federal judiciary that would block membership in the conservative group because of perceived bias. The ethics panel, composed of judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, suggested membership in the society could ‘call into question the affiliated judge’s impartiality.’ The panel also proposed banning membership in a liberal legal group, the American Constitution Society, which was founded as a counterweight to the Federalist Society and had influence in the Obama administration.”


Monday, 4 May 2020, Day 1,200:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 4 May 2020: China Cracks Down On Talk of Coronavirus Cover-Up in Wuhan, The New York Times, Monday, 4 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are covered in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 4 May 2020: Models Project Sharp Rise in Deaths as States Reopen. An internal Trump administration report expects about 200,000 daily cases by June. The White House bars coronavirus task force officials from testifying to Congress without approval. The New York Times, Monday, 4 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 4 May 2020: New York Looks Toward Restarting; New Jersey Will Keep Schools Closed, The New York Times, Monday, 4 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 4 May 2020: Stocks Waver as China Tensions Climb, The New York Times, Monday, 4 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Monday, 4 May 2020: Draft government report projects the U.S. coronavirus death rate will more than double by June 1 to more than 3,000 a day, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, John Wagner, Meryl Kornfield, Steven Goff, Kareem Copeland, Felicia Sonmez, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, and Katie Mettler, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Covid-19 deaths in the United States will rise to more than 3,000 a day by June 1, with new confirmed cases surging to about 200,000 daily, a draft government report projects. The predictions belie the projections made Sunday evening by President Trump, who said the U.S. could eventually suffer as many as 100,000 deaths. At 3,000 deaths per day and rising, the national total would quickly outstrip that number if the new report is correct.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

An Internal Trump Administration Report Projects a Near-Doubling of Coronavirus Deaths by June 1 to Over 3,000 a Day as Trump Presses States to Reopen Their Economies. The report forecasts about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of May, up from about 30,000 cases now. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Eileen Sullivan, Monday, 4 May 2020: “As President Trump presses states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in coronavirus infections and deaths over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths on June 1 — nearly double the current level. The projections, based on data collected by various agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and laid out in an internal document obtained Monday by The New York Times, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of May, up from about 30,000 cases now. There are currently about 1,750 deaths per day, the data shows. They are not the only ones forecasting more carnage. Another model, closely watched by the White House, raised its fatality projections on Monday to more than 134,000 American deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, by early August. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington more than doubled its previous projection of about 60,000 total deaths, an increase that it said partly reflects ‘changes in mobility and social distancing policies.’ The numbers underscore a sobering reality: While the United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks, the prognosis has not markedly improved. As states reopen — many without meeting White House guidelines that call for a steady decline in coronavirus cases or in the number of people testing positive over a 14-day period — the cost of the shift is likely to be tallied in funerals.” See also, An internal Trump administration draft report predicts covid-19 cases will reach 200,000 a day by June 1, and deaths will reach over 3,000 a day, The Washington Post, William Wan, Lenny Bernstein, Laurie McGinley, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 4 May 2020: “A draft government report projects covid-19 cases will surge to about 200,000 per day by June 1, a staggering jump that would be accompanied by more than 3,000 deaths each day. The document predicts a sharp increase in both cases and deaths beginning about May 14, according to a copy shared with The Washington Post. The forecast stops at June 1, but shows both daily cases and deaths on an upward trajectory at that point. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disavowed the report, although the slides carry the CDC’s logo. The creator of the model said the numbers are unfinished projections shown to the CDC as a work in progress. The work contained a wide range of possibilities and modeling was not complete, according to Justin Lessler, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who created the model. He said he didn’t know how the update was turned into a slide deck by government officials and shared with news organizations. The data was first reported by the New York Times.” See also, Draft government report projecting a surge of covid-19 cases, The Washington Post, Monday, 4 May 2020: “A draft government report projects covid-19 cases will surge to about 200,000 per day by June 1, a staggering jump that would be accompanied by more than 3,000 deaths each day.” See also, White House Rejects Government Report Projecting Rising Coronavirus Death Toll, NPR, Alana Wise, Monday, 4 May 2020: “The Trump administration on Monday pushed back against an internal government report, obtained by The New York Times, that predicts the daily coronavirus death toll could nearly double in the United States by early June. The Times story cites an internal CDC update, acquired from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that predicts the number of deaths per day from COVID-19 will reach about 3,000 by June 1. More than 68,000 people in the United States have already died from the coronavirus pandemic, summarily eclipsing an earlier estimate of a total U.S. death toll of 60,000 lives lost from the virus.”

Trump cheers on governors even as they ignore White House coronavirus guidelines in race to reopen, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Griff Witte, and Lenny Bernstein, Monday, 4 May 2020: “States across the country are moving swiftly to reopen their economies despite failing to achieve benchmarks laid out by the White House for when social distancing restrictions could be eased to ensure the public’s safety during the coronavirus pandemic. These governors’ biggest cheerleader is President Trump. A slew of states — such as Texas, Indiana, Colorado and Florida — have pushed forward with relaxing social distancing guidelines even as the number of people testing positive in many states has increased in recent weeks and testing continues to lag behind. White House recommendations released last month encouraged states to wait to see a decline in cases over a two-week period, as well as having robust testing in place for front-line workers before entering ‘Phase One’ of a gradual comeback. But Trump and some of his aides have backed away from their own guidelines, opting instead to hail the broad economic reopening that health experts say has started too quickly. The dichotomy comes as the White House also tried to distance itself from a draft federal government report predicting an explosion of new coronavirus cases and 3,000 daily deaths by June 1.”

Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Orders Companies to Submit Antibody Test Data. The agency had come under fire from members of Congress and other groups for allowing dozens of wildly inaccurate tests to proliferate without oversight. The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Monday, 4 May 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that companies selling coronavirus antibody tests must submit data proving accuracy within the next 10 days or face removal from the market. The antibody tests are an effort to detect whether a person had been infected with the coronavirus, but results have been widely varied. Since mid-March, the agency has permitted dozens of manufacturers to sell the tests without providing evidence that they are accurate. The F.D.A.’s action follows a report by more than 50 scientists, which found that only three out of 14 antibody tests gave consistently reliable results, and even the best had flaws. An evaluation by the National Institutes of Health, working with other federal health agencies, has also found ‘a concerning number’ of commercial tests that are performing poorly, the F.D.A. said.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: There is no scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab, National Geographic, Nsikan Akpan and Victoria Jaggard, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Anthony ‘Tony’ Fauci has become the scientific face of America’s COVID-19 response, and he says the best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China. Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shot down the discussion that has been raging among politicians and pundits, calling it ‘a circular argument’ in a conversation Monday with National Geographic. ‘If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,’ Fauci says. Based on the scientific evidence, he also doesn’t entertain an alternate theory—that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.”

World Leaders Join to Pledge $8 Billion for Vaccine as U.S. Goes It Alone. The E.U. organized a teleconference to raise money for coronavirus vaccine research, drawing contributions from around the world. The New York Times, Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Lara Jakes, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Prime ministers, a king, a prince and Madonna all chipped in to an $8 billion pot to fund a coronavirus vaccine. President Trump skipped the chance to contribute, with officials in his administration noting that the United States is pouring billions of dollars into its own research efforts. A fund-raising conference on Monday organized by the European Union brought pledges from countries around the world — from Japan to Canada, Australia to Norway — to fund laboratories that have promising leads in developing and producing a vaccine. For more than three hours, one by one, global leaders said a few words over video link and offered their nations’ contribution, small or large, whatever they could muster. For Romania, it was $200,000. For Canada, $850 million. It was a rare show of global leadership on the part of the Europeans, and a late-hour attempt at international coordination. Countries the world over have been pursuing divergent — and often competing — approaches to tackling the pandemic.”

Department of Homeland Security report: China hid virus’ severity to hoard supplies, Associated Press, Will Weissert, Monday, 4 May 2020: “U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show. Chinese leaders ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable.” See also, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report: China hid coronavirus’ severity in order to hoard medical supplies, NBC News, Abigail Williams, Dan De Luce, and Associated Press, Monday, 4 May 2020.

In Harm’s Way, The New York Times, Monday, 4 May 2020: “As countries ease restrictions on public life, health care workers around the world continue to risk their lives — and those of their families — to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Despite their stoic selfies, they feel scared, grief-stricken, guilty they can’t do more. In submissions and interviews, they reflect on what they have witnessed, the decisions they have made and how the pandemic has changed them. The Times will continue adding the stories of frontline health care workers.”

Tim Bray, an Amazon Vice President, Quit Over Firings of Employees Who Protested. Bray, an engineer who had been a vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing arm, said the firings were ‘evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture.’ The New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, Monday, 4 May 2020: “A prominent engineer and vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing arm said on Monday that he had quit ‘in dismay’ over the recent firings of workers who had raised questions about workplace safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Tim Bray, an engineer who had been a vice president of Amazon Web Services, wrote in a blog post that his last day at the company was on Friday. He criticized a number of recent firings by Amazon, including that of an employee in a Staten Island warehouse, Christian Smalls, who led a protest in March calling for the company to provide workers with more protections. Mr. Smalls’s firing has drawn the scrutiny of New York State’s attorney general. Mr. Bray also criticized the firing last month of two Amazon employees, Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham, who circulated a petition in March on internal email lists that called on Amazon to expand sick leave, hazard pay and child care for warehouse workers. They had also helped organize a virtual event for warehouse employees to speak to tech workers at the company about its workplace conditions and coronavirus response. Mr. Bray, who had worked for the company for more than five years, called the fired workers whistle-blowers, and said that firing them was ‘evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison,’ he wrote.” See also, Amazon Vice President Tim Bray Resigns and Calls the Company ‘Chickenshit’ for Firing Protesting Workers, Vice, Jason Koebler, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Tim Bray, a well known senior engineer and Vice President at Amazon has ‘quit in dismay’ because Amazon has been ‘firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.’ In an open letter on his website, Bray, who has worked at the company for nearly six years, called the company ‘chickenshit’ for firing and disparaging employees who have organized protests. He also said the firings are ‘designed to create a climate of fear.’ Amazon’s strategy throughout the coronavirus crisis has been to fire dissenters and disparage them both in the press and behind closed doors. There have been dozens of confirmed coronavirus cases at warehouses around the country, and workers have repeatedly said the company isn’t doing enough to protect them. Last week, Amazon ended a program that allowed workers to take unlimited unpaid time off if they fear getting sick from the coronavirus. Last Friday, Amazon workers together with Target, FedEx, Instacart, and Whole Foods workers, went on strike to protest their working conditions.”

Nearly every woman in a Louisiana prison dormitory has tested positive for COVID-19, Associated Press, Janet McConnaughey, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Nearly every woman in a Louisiana prison dormitory has tested positive for COVID-19, and two-thirds of them showed no symptoms, state figures show. The women at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel are housed in a dormitory for some of the inmates moved out of the Louisiana Correctional Women’s Institute after floods in 2016, Department of Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick said last week. He said 155 women without symptoms were tested after 39 became ill with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Monday, 192 inmates had tested positive, including 66 who had symptoms, according to Department of Correction statistics. The unit has about 195 inmates, though the number fluctuates, Pastorick said Monday.”

Vacancy on the Prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Is Under Scrutiny Ahead of Contested Confirmation Hearing for Justin Walker, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Just days before a high-profile Senate confirmation hearing to fill a vacancy on the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the court’s chief judge has opened the door to an inquiry into whether ethical improprieties occurred in the creation of the coveted opening. In an order dated May 1, Judge Sri Srinivasan asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to assign another circuit to look into a complaint filed by the progressive advocacy group Demand Justice, which questioned the timing and circumstances of Judge Thomas B. Griffith’s retirement announcement in early March. The advocacy group acted in March after disclosures that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who has focused intently on conservative judicial confirmations the past three years, had been contacting appeals court judges nominated by Republican presidents to encourage them to retire. In the case of Judge Griffith, his retirement opened the way for President Trump to nominate Justin Walker, a 37-year-old protégé of Mr. McConnell’s whom the senator had ardently promoted for the seat. With the number of federal judicial vacancies to fill nearly exhausted, Mr. McConnell has been urging those contemplating retirement to step aside this year if they want to assure that their successors will be nominated by a Republican president and confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.”

Supreme Court Hears First Arguments via Phone, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 4 May 2020: “On the whole, the Supreme Court’s first argument held by telephone went smoothly, with the justices asking short bursts of quick questions, one by one, in order of seniority, as the world, also for the first time, listened in.”

Renewables surpass coal in U.S. power generation throughout the month of April 2020, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Seth Feaster, Monday, 4 May 2020: “In a first for any month, renewables generated more electricity than coal on every day in April, new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. This impressive stretch actually began on March 25, when utility-scale solar, wind and hydropower collectively produced more than coal-fired generation, and has continued for at least 40 straight days through May 3, according to preliminary figures from the EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor. These figures are even more remarkable when compared to 2019’s total of 38 days when renewables beat coal. Last April had a total of 19 days when this happened—the most of any month in 2019—with the longest continuous stretch lasting just nine days. The transition away from coal for electricity generation has accelerated in 2020 due to a number of factors, particularly low gas prices, warmer weather, a significant amount of new renewable capacity connecting to the grid late last year, and more recently, lower power demand from the economic slowdown because of the coronavirus.”

Senate rejects Joe Biden’s call to release records on alleged misconduct complaint against him, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and Matt Viser, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Senate officials said Monday that they cannot legally release any potential records related to a complaint purportedly filed by a former aide to Joe Biden who has since accused him of sexual misconduct, rebuffing a request by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Tara Reade has accused Biden, who was then a senator from Delaware, of sexually assaulting her in 1993, although she has said a formal complaint she filed that year describes only harassment, not assault. Biden, who denies all the allegations, has responded in part by calling on the Senate to release all the documentation pertaining to the complaint that Reade says she filed. Responding to a letter Biden sent Friday, the secretary of the Senate’s office, on the advice of legal counsel, concluded that the ‘Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested.’ The office, which did not confirm or deny the complaint’s existence, based its decision in part on a review of confidentiality requirements.” See also, Senate Office Says It Can’t Release Records Biden Requested, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Monday, 4 May 2020: “On Friday, as he forcefully denied an allegation of sexual assault made against him by a former Senate aide, Joseph R. Biden Jr. called on the National Archives to release any complaint related to the accusation. But the National Archives immediately responded that any such personnel records would not be under its control but would rest with the Senate itself. Then the Biden campaign sent a letter to the secretary of the Senate asking the office to ‘direct a search’ for any relevant records, if they existed, and make the results of the search public. On Monday, the secretary of the Senate said that her office had no legal discretion ‘to disclose any such information.’ That prompted Mr. Biden’s personal attorney to respond to the Senate office asking, in effect, what his campaign needed to do to locate any relevant documents and arrange for their release.”

Joe Biden decries pandemic’s effects on black and Latino communities, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday highlighted plans to help African Americans and Latinos cope with the health and economic setbacks of the coronavirus, focusing on two communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic — and that constitute a crucial part of his party’s electoral coalition. During a live-streamed event hosted by a prominent Latino group, the former vice president urged greater protections for front-line workers at meatpacking plants, many of whom, he noted, are black and Latino. He also criticized President Trump for anti-immigrant rhetoric at a moment when he said the country is relying on immigrants to do important jobs. Later, Biden’s campaign released what it called ‘The Biden plan for black America,’ a blueprint that in part highlighted the disproportionate impact of the crisis on African American families and advocated more expansive steps to ensure that their businesses get access to economic relief.”

Joe Biden’s field organizers have approved a union contract, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Monday, 4 May 2020: “Unionized field organizers working for Joe Biden’s campaign have ratified a contract with his campaign, officials announced Monday, setting the stage for the first time a major party’s apparent presidential nominee will employ unionized workers under a collective bargaining agreement. The Biden campaign and Teamsters Local 238 announced the agreement in a joint statement. The union’s secretary-treasurer, Jesse Case, said it ‘includes overtime pay for all hours worked after 40 in a week, 100 percent employer-paid health insurance, a six-day work week, a union grievance procedure and other protections afforded by a union contract.'”


Tuesday, 5 May 2020, Day 1,201:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 5 May 2020: Top U.K. Scientist Resigns Over Coronavirus Distancing Violation. French doctors found that a patient had the virus on Dec. 27, suggesting that it was circulating long before containment efforts began. A major Philippine broadcaster critical of Duterte has been forced off the air. The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 5 May 2020: Trump Says Coronavirus Task Force Will Wind Down, The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 5 May 2020: New Count Reveals More Than 1,600 Previously Undisclosed Deaths Were Reported at Nursing Homes in New York. The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 5 May 2020: Wall Street Rallies for a Second Day as Oil Prices Rise. Airlines are averaging just 17 passengers on domestic flights and 29 on international flights. The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 5 May 2020: U.S. coronavirus deaths top 70,000; Vice President Mike Pence says White House task force might be disbanded, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Felicia Sonmez, Siobhán O’Grady, Meryl Kornfield, Samantha Pell, Candace Buckner, Colby Itkowitz, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, and John Wagner,Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Vice President Pence told reporters today that the coronavirus task force created to manage the federal government’s response to the pandemic could be disbanded within a month because ‘of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.’ The number of people who have died in the U.S. from covid-19 passed 70,000 on Tuesday, with nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases, according to state health departments and tracking by The Washington Post.

Here are some significant developments:
  • President Trump’s latest red line for the next phase of coronavirus legislation — a payroll tax cut for workers — has few fans in Congress, further complicating the path toward a new rescue package.
  • A complaint filed to the House suggests the coronavirus response being spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been hampered because it relies on volunteers that are under-qualified and ill-suited for the job.
  • A research paper, not yet peer-reviewed, reports that one strain of the virus has emerged in Europe and become dominant around the planet, leading the researchers to believe it has mutated to become more contagious. The bold hypothesis, however, was immediately met with skepticism by many infectious-disease experts.
  • Some public companies are declining to return the money given to them under the small-business Paycheck Protection Program, saying the initial rules never barred them from applying.
  • Rand Paul, who was the first senator to test positive, attended Tuesday’s Senate session without a face mask, declaring that he has immunity — even though experts remain uncertain whether recovered covid-19 patients are actually immune.
  • French doctors found a patient had covid-19 in December, signaling the disease may have reached Europe far earlier than previously thought.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Scientists say a now-dominant strain of the coronavirus could be more contagious than the original, Los Angeles Times, Ralph Vartabedian, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The new strain appeared in February in Europe, migrated quickly to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March, the scientists wrote. In addition to spreading faster, it may make people vulnerable to a second infection after a first bout with the disease, the report warned. The 33-page report was posted Thursday on BioRxiv, a website that researchers use to share their work before it is peer-reviewed, an effort to speed up collaborations with scientists working on COVID-19 vaccines or treatments. That research has been largely based on the genetic sequence of earlier strains and might not be effective against the new one. Scientists with major organizations working on a vaccine or drugs to combat the coronavirus have told The Times that they are pinning their hopes on initial evidence that the virus is stable and not likely to mutate the way the influenza virus does, requiring a new vaccine every year. The Los Alamos report could upend that assumption.”

Administration to Phase Out Coronavirus Task Force, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Maggie Haberman, and David E. Sanger, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Despite growing evidence that the pandemic is still raging, administration officials said on Tuesday that they had made so much progress in bringing it under control that they planned to wind down the coronavirus task force in the coming weeks and focus the White House on restarting the economy. Vice President Mike Pence, who has led the task force for two months, said it would probably wrap up its work around the end of May, and shift management of the public health response back to the federal agencies whose work it was created to coordinate. Other administration officials said that under plans still in discussion, the White House would consult with medical experts on a more informal basis and that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, would help oversee a group pushing for progress in developing a vaccine and treatments for the virus.” See also, White House Is Discussing Phasing Out Coronavirus Task Force. Pence says the Trump administration is considering shifting pandemic response to agencies around late May or early June. The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Restuccia and Michael C. Bender, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “The Trump administration is considering disbanding the White House’s coronavirus task force, administration officials said, as the virus continues to spread around the country and a key model projected that the current number of U.S. deaths could nearly double by this summer. President Trump confirmed the discussions during a trip to Arizona on Tuesday, saying the government was considering setting up a new group focused on ‘safety and opening.’ They are unfolding amid concerns by some health experts about a second outbreak of the virus as states increasingly relax economic restrictions.”

Senior scientist Dr. Rick Bright says the Trump administration ignored virus warnings, Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Michael Balsamo, and Colleen Long, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “The Trump administration failed to prepare for the onslaught of the coronavirus, then sought a quick fix by trying to rush an unproven drug to patients, a senior government scientist alleged in a whistleblower complaint. Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, alleges he was reassigned to a lesser role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug pushed by President Donald Trump. He said the Trump administration wanted to ‘flood’ hot spots in New York and New Jersey with the drug. ‘I witnessed government leadership rushing blindly into a potentially dangerous situation by bringing in a non-FDA approved chloroquine from Pakistan and India, from facilities that had never been approved by the FDA,’ Bright said Tuesday on a call with reporters. ‘Their eagerness to push blindly forward without sufficient data to put this drug into the hands of Americans was alarming to me and my fellow scientists.’ Bright filed the complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, a government agency that investigates retaliation against federal employees who uncover problems. He wants his job back and a full investigation…. ‘Time after time I was pressured to ignore or dismiss expert scientific recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections,’ Bright said in the call with reporters. ‘In other words, I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government.'” See also, Dr. Rick Bright, ousted vaccine director, files whistleblower complaint alleging coronavirus warnings were ignored, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, and Kevin Liptak, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, formally filed an extensive whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at a treatment favored by President Donald Trump led to his removal. ‘I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government,’ Bright said on a call with reporters after filing his complaint. Bright said in the complaint he raised urgent concerns about shortages of critical supplies, including masks, to his superiors in the Trump administration but was met with skepticism and surprise.” See also, Dr. Rick Bright, ousted vaccine official, alleges in a whistleblower complaint that he was demoted for prioritizing ‘science and safety,’ The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Laurie McGinley, Tuesday, 5 May 2020. See also, Whistle-Blower Rick Bright, the Ousted Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, Said He Was Pressured to Steer Contracts to Cronies of the Trump Administration, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “A federal scientist who says he was ousted from his job amid a dispute over an unproven coronavirus treatment pushed by President Trump said Tuesday that top administration officials repeatedly pressured him to steer millions of dollars in contracts to the clients of a well-connected consultant. Rick Bright, who was director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority until his removal in April, said in a formal whistle-blower complaint that he had been protesting ‘cronyism’ and contract abuse since 2017. Questionable contracts have gone to ‘companies with political connections to the administration,’ the complaint said, including a drug company tied to a friend of Jared Kushner’s, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. It said Dr. Bright was retaliated against by his superiors, who pushed him out because of ‘his efforts to prioritize science and safety over political expediency.'” See also, Dr. Rick Bright, Former Top Vaccine Scientist and Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Files Whistleblower Complaint, NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Tuesday, 5 May 2020.

How Jared Kushner’s Volunteer Coronavirus Task Force Led a Fumbling Hunt for Medical Supplies. Young, inexperienced workers scrambled to sort through tips on equipment desperately needed to fight the coronavirus while warehouses ran bare and doctors made their own gear. The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore, Andrew Jacobs, Jodi Kantor, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “This spring, as the United States faced a critical shortage of masks, gloves and other protective equipment to battle the coronavirus pandemic, a South Carolina physician reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an offer of help. Dr. Jeffrey Hendricks had longtime manufacturing contacts in China and a line on millions of masks from established suppliers. Instead of encountering seasoned FEMA procurement officials, his information was diverted to a team of roughly a dozen young volunteers, recruited by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and overseen by a former assistant to Mr. Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump. The volunteers, foot soldiers in the Trump administration’s new supply-chain task force, had little to no experience with government procurement procedures or medical equipment. But as part of Mr. Kushner’s governmentwide push to secure protective gear for the nation’s doctors and nurses, the volunteers were put in charge of sifting through more than a thousand incoming leads, and told to pass only the best ones on for further review by FEMA officials. As the federal government’s warehouses were running bare and medical workers improvised their own safety gear, Dr. Hendricks found his offer stalled. Many of the volunteers were told to prioritize tips from political allies and associates of President Trump, tracked on a spreadsheet called ‘V.I.P. Update,’ according to documents and emails obtained by The New York Times. Among them were leads from Republican members of Congress, the Trump youth activist Charlie Kirk and a former ‘Apprentice’ contestant who serves as the campaign chair of Women for Trump.” See also, Jared Kushner’s coronavirus effort said to be hampered by inexperienced volunteers, The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Ashley Parker, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “The coronavirus response being spearheaded by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has relied in part on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms with little expertise in the tasks they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs, according to numerous government officials and a volunteer involved in the effort. About two dozen employees from Boston Consulting Group, Insight, McKinsey and other firms have volunteered their time — some on paid vacation leave from their jobs and others without pay — to aid the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to administration officials and others familiar with the arrangement. Although some of the volunteers have relevant backgrounds and experience, many others were poorly matched with their assigned jobs, including those given the task of securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals nationwide, according to a complaint filed last month with the House Oversight Committee.”

Trump lashes out at conservative critics over new coronavirus ad: ‘They’re all LOSERS.’ The minute-long spot from The Lincoln Project apparently infuriated Trump. Politico, Quint Forgey, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “President Donald Trump late Monday lashed out online against a cadre of conservative critics seeking to thwart his reelection bid — a group that includes attorney George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The president’s multitweet screed came in response to the latest anti-Trump advertisement released earlier Monday by The Lincoln Project, the super PAC launched last December by a handful of prominent disaffected Republicans and former party members. The ominous, minute-long spot — titled ‘Mourning in America,’ a play on the famous 1984 campaign commercial and slogan of President Ronald Reagan — savaged the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and questioned: ‘If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?’ The ad apparently infuriated the president…. ‘I don’t know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad,’ Trump wrote of George Conway.”

Trump says ‘bailouts’ are unfair to Republicans since states needing aid are ‘run by Democrats,’ NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “President Donald Trump says it would be unfair to Republicans if Congress passes coronavirus ‘bailouts’ for states because, he said, the states that would benefit are run by Democrats…. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized Trump’s ‘bailout’ comments Tuesday, saying: ‘Every state has coronavirus cases, and it’s not just Democratic states that have an economic shortfall. Republican states have an economic shortfall. What we’re asking, every state is asking, because of the coronavirus, we need financial help in restarting the economy, and that’s what we’re asking for from the federal government,’ Cuomo said. ‘How do you call that a bailout, which is such a loaded word, such a rhetorical, hyperbolic word? It’s a “bailout.” There’s no bailout.'”

Americans are deeply wary of reopening as White House weighs ending covid-19 task force, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, William Wan, Dan Balz, and Emily Guskin, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Americans remain deeply wary of eating at restaurants, shopping at stores and taking other steps to return to normalcy, a poll shows, even as the White House is contemplating shutting down its coronavirus task force. With several covid-19 models taking a wrenching turn toward bleaker death forecasts in recent days because of reopening moves in some states, most Americans say they worry about getting the virus themselves and they oppose ending the restrictions meant to slow its spread, according to the Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.”

Brian D. Miller, the White House Lawyer Trump Tapped to Oversee the Treasury Department’s $500 Billion Bailout, Said He Would Not Be Influenced by Political Pressure, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “President Trump’s nominee to serve as the special inspector general for the Treasury Department’s $500 billion pandemic recovery fund vowed on Tuesday to be fair and impartial in his efforts to combat misuse of the bailout money, telling a Senate committee that he would resign if the White House pressured him to overlook wrongdoing. During two hours of intense questioning at his confirmation hearing, Brian D. Miller, who currently serves as a White House lawyer, tried to defuse fears that he would not be independent enough for the prominent oversight role and to alleviate concerns among senators and watchdog groups that he put Mr. Trump’s interests ahead of those of American taxpayers.” See also, Brian Miller, coronavirus watchdog nominee, pledges he won’t seek Trump’s permission to talk to Congress, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Zachary Warmbrodt, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “President Donald Trump’s pick to police his administration’s massive coronavirus economic rescue effort vowed Tuesday that he would not seek Trump’s permission before reporting to lawmakers. ‘Do you plan to gain presidential approval before investigating contacts, issuing reports or communicating with Congress?’ asked Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), during a confirmation hearing for Brian Miller, Trump’s pick as a newly created special inspector general for pandemic response. ‘No senator,’ Miller replied. Miller’s sworn assertion suggests he plans to uphold the language in the $2 trillion CARES Act, which requires the new inspector general to report to Congress anytime he is impeded in his investigative work. It’s a rejection of the position held by Trump, who in a March 27 signing statement said the newly established watchdog could not be permitted or required to report to Congress without ‘presidential supervision.’ ‘I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [IG] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required [by the Constitution],’ Trump said in the statement. In the exchange with Cortez Masto, Miller also indicated that he would inform Congress ‘immediately’ if any agencies asked him to withhold information, and that he would consider any effort to dole out massive sums of taxpayer money to states based ‘for political gain’ a violation that he would review.” See also, Brian Miller, inspector general nominee for coronavirus relief funds, pledges independence, but faces skepticism from Democrats, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Tuesday, 5 May 2020.

Representative John Ratcliffe vows to ‘speak truth to power’ if confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, The Washington Post, Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Rep. John Ratcliffe, President Trump’s pick to be the nation’s top intelligence official, vowed Tuesday to ‘speak truth to power’ and resist pressure from the president or any official to shade intelligence, seeking to assuage Democrats concerned about his willingness to provide candid information free from political considerations. ‘Regardless of what anyone wants our intelligence to reflect, the intelligence I will provide if confirmed will not be altered or impacted by outside influence,’ said Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican, in his confirmation hearing to become the director of national intelligence overseeing 17 intelligence agencies. The hearing was the first confirmation proceeding to be held in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) explained that to follow social distancing rules, senators would come in and out of the hearing room as they asked questions, rather than gather together, as is customary. Many wore masks under their chins. Hand sanitizer was on the dais.”

Trump Reboots 2020 Message to Play Up Post-Virus Era, Not Coronavirus Crisis, Bloomberg, Mario Parker, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “Donald Trump’s campaign is changing its message to refocus voters’ attention on what it predicts will be a rosy post-coronavirus world. The president’s re-election effort is gripped by polls showing Americans broadly souring on Trump and his performance managing the virus outbreak and the economic fallout. To combat that, the Trump campaign is reupping the winning slogan of 2016, ‘Make America Great Again.’ The new campaign message is that he can rebuild the economy better than presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who the Trump camp argues co-piloted a sluggish rebound from the 2008 financial crisis, according to two officials familiar with the strategy. They asked not to be identified discussing internal strategy.”

During a Private Call With Lawmakers, Texas Governor Greg Abbott Admits Dangers of Reopening the State, The Daily Beast, Olivia Messer, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “During a private call on Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott admitted that ‘every scientific and medical report shows’ state reopenings ‘ipso facto’ lead to an increase in novel coronavirus cases, even as he publicly announced plans that same week to end an executive stay-at-home order in the state. ‘How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?’ Abbott asked during a Friday afternoon phone call with members of the state legislature and Congress. ‘Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.'”

Judge Rules New York Must Hold Democratic Presidential Primary, The New York Times, Matt Stevens and Nick Corasaniti, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “A federal judge on Tuesday ordered elections officials in New York State to hold its Democratic primary election in June and reinstate all qualifying candidates on the ballot. The ruling came after the presidential primary was canceled late last month over concerns about the coronavirus. The order, filed by Judge Analisa Torres of United States District Court, came in response to a lawsuit filed last week by the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He sought to undo the New York State Board of Elections’ decision in late April to cancel the June 23 contest, a move it attributed to health and safety worries and the fact that the results would not change the primary’s outcome. On Tuesday night, Douglas A. Kellner, a co-chair of the New York Board of Elections, said the board was ‘reviewing the decision and preparing an appeal.’ And speaking on CNN, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the presidential primary would proceed per the court’s ruling at least for the time being, but he noted the potential for an appeal.” See also, Federal judge orders officials to restore New York primary, drawing cheers from Sanders camp, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and David Weigel, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Democratic candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders who were struck from the New York state ballot should be restored, ordering officials to conduct a presidential primary they had opted to cancel amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. In a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres wrote that the plaintiffs, which included former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, had presented a credible argument on the basis of constitutional rights. Yang praised the ruling on Twitter.”

Obama Privately Blasted a Republican Congressional Investigation Into Joe Biden and Ukraine, Calling It an Effort to Boost ‘Russian Disinformation,’ BuzzFeed News, Emma Loop, Tuesday, 5 May 2020: “The office of former president Barack Obama privately blasted a congressional investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as alleged Ukrainian election interference, calling it an effort ‘to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign,’ according to a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News. In March, Obama’s office told the National Archives and Records Administration — which maintains presidential records — that a request from two top Republican senators for Obama administration documents related to Ukraine was improper. ‘It arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine,’ said the letter, dated March 13. It pointed to comments made by Fiona Hill, a former senior National Security Council official in the Trump White House, during the impeachment investigation into the president, calling Ukrainian election meddling ‘a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services.'” See also, Obama Says Senate Republicans’ Biden Investigation Promotes ‘Russian Disinformation,’ The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, published on Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “The letter came in response to a November request from two Republican senators seeking Obama administration meeting records related to Ukrainian officials.”


Wednesday, 6 May 2020, Day 1,202:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 6 May 2020: Britain’s Boris Johnson Faces Virus Critics, but Israel’s Netanyahu Comes Out on Top, The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 6 May 2020: Germany and U.S. Are on Divergent Paths to Reopen, The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 6 May 2020: 64 Children in New York Have Had Illness Possibly Tied to Coronavirus, The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 6 May 2020: U.S. Businesses Take Steps to Reopen, The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 6 May 2020: Trump, reversing course, says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Meryl Kornfield, Samantha Pell, Herman Wong, Teo Armus, Antonia Noori Farzan, Kim Bellware, Mark Berman, Rick Noack, and Miriam Berger, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “President Trump said Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,’ Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law. More than 73,000 people in the United States have died from covid-19, with more than 1.2 million reported cases, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

Here are some significant developments:

  • President Trump said the work of the White House coronavirus task force would continue ‘indefinitely,’ a day after Vice President Pence, who heads the panel, said it would probably wind down its work by the end of the month.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo persisted in his criticism of China. ‘China could have spared the world a descent into global economic malaise,’ he said. ‘They had a choice but instead — instead — China covered up the outbreak in Wuhan.’
  • The White House press secretary on Wednesday dismissed the notion that all Americans should be able to receive coronavirus testing to feel safe going back to work, calling the idea ‘nonsensical.’
  • Hours after the Republican governor of Arizona accelerated plans to reopen businesses, saying the state was ‘headed in the right direction,’ Doug Ducey’s administration halted the work of a team of experts projecting it was on a much grimmer course.
  • After a peak week of sheltering in place in early April, residents in the United States began to inch out of their homes, according to new cellphone data. But even as states begin to ‘open up,’ more Americans appear to be staying put than sprinting out the door.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Online Retailers Spend Millions on Ads Backing Postal Service Bailout, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “A coalition of online retailers backed by Amazon began a seven-figure advertising blitz on Wednesday opposing President Trump’s demand that the beleaguered United States Postal Service ratchet up its package delivery rates to avoid bankruptcy amid the coronavirus crisis, its top lobbyist said. The coalition intends to spend more than $2 million on the campaign in an attempt to whip up Republican opposition to Mr. Trump’s idea, pressing lawmakers instead to support a multibillion-dollar rescue package proposed by Democrats that would help the Postal Service survive the sharp drop in revenue and mail volume caused by the pandemic. The ads began running nationally Wednesday night on Fox News’s ‘Hannity’ — one of Mr. Trump’s favorite programs — and will be featured on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on Thursday. They do not mention the president, but label his proposal to jack up delivery prices by 400 percent ‘a massive package tax’ on small businesses and Americans who rely on the mail for prescription drugs and other goods.”

Louis DeJoy, a top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally, is named postmaster general, giving Trump new influence over the Postal Service, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Lisa Rein, and Jacob Bogage, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “A top donor to President Trump and the Republican National Committee will be named the new head of the Postal Service, putting a top ally of the president in charge of an agency where Trump has long pressed for major changes in how it handles its business. The Postal Service’s Board of Governors confirmed late Wednesday that Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general. The action will install a stalwart Trump ally to lead the Postal Service, which he has railed against for years, and likely move him closer than ever before to forcing the service to renegotiate its terms with companies and its own union workforce. Trump’s Treasury Department and the Postal Service are in the midst of a negotiation over a $10 billion line of credit approved as part of coronavirus legislation in March.” See also, The Postal Service’s Board of Governor’s Choice to Head the Agency Raises Concerns Ahead of the 2020 Election. The growing appetite for mail-in voting is adding to worries about the selection of a Republican fund-raiser and Trump donor to be the postmaster general. The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, published on Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The installment of one of President Trump’s financial backers and a longtime Republican donor as the postmaster general is raising concerns among Democrats and ethics watchdogs that the Postal Service will be politicized at a time when states are mobilizing their vote-by-mail efforts ahead of the 2020 election. The Postal Service’s board of governors on Wednesday night selected Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman and veteran of the logistics industry, to lead the struggling agency, which faces insolvency and has frequently drawn the ire of Mr. Trump. The president has been pushing the post office to increase prices on companies that use it to deliver packages, such as Amazon, and has threatened to withhold funding if sweeping changes are not enacted. Those changes have failed to get off the ground, but with Mr. DeJoy at the helm there are growing concerns that the nation’s mail carrier could be weaponized.”

Experts warn Trump’s push to reopen the US risks ‘death sentence’ for many, The Guardian, Oliver Milman, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “Donald Trump has all but abandoned a public health strategy of societal restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and opted instead to push for a restart of the US economy, a move that experts have warned is premature and risks handing a ‘death sentence’ to many Americans. The US president has praised governors of states that have started to loosen restrictions on social distancing and business activity, even though he has admitted that people will suffer as a result. ‘Will some people be affected badly? Yes,’ Trump said on Tuesday. ‘But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.’ Public health experts have pointed out that Covid-19 infections and deaths are mounting dangerously in much of the US. New York has drawn attention as a global hotspot for the virus but has now flattened its rate of infections whereas large parts of the country are still to reach their own peak. When New York is discounted, the US is still on an upward trajectory of new infections.”

World Health Organization (WHO) says ‘there can be no going back to business as usual’ after coronavirus pandemic, CNBC, Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and William Feuer, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “The World Health Organization warned world leaders Wednesday that there can be “no going back to business as usual” following the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended economies and wreaked havoc on nearly every country across the globe. ‘This virus likes to find opportunities to spread and if these lockdown measures are lifted too quickly, the virus can take off,’ Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s lead scientist on Covid-19, said during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. ‘The only way to control and suppress this virus, this Covid-19, is to actually find [cases], quarantine those contacts, isolate the cases and it will be brought under control.'”

Trump touted reopening. Privately, his team sounded alarms. Tapes of conference calls of FEMA and HHS officials across the country reveal widespread worries about new waves of Covid-19 infections, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein and Adam Cancryn, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “President Donald Trump boasted on May 1 that his success in responding to the coronavirus pandemic has made ventilator, test kit and mask shortages a thing of the past, and that much of the country is ready to quickly send people back to work. ‘We’ve ensured a ventilator for every patient who needs one,’ he said. ‘The testing and the masks and all of the things, we’ve solved every problem. We solved it quickly.’ But that same day, his own health and emergency management officials were privately warning that states were still experiencing shortages of masks, gowns and other medical gear, according to a recording of an interagency meeting between FEMA and HHS officials across the country, conducted by conference call, which was obtained by POLITICO. Trump’s federal ‘Stay at Home’ guidelines had quietly expired the night before, leaving states to manage the pandemic as they saw fit. The officials also expressed concern that governors moving to reopen their economies while cases were still prevalent threatened to plunge the nation into a new and potentially deadlier chapter of the outbreak. ‘The numbers of deaths definitely will be high,’ Daniel Jernigan, director of the Center for Disease Control’s influenza division, said at the start of a May 1 conference call…. Minutes later, another official underscored the risk facing the U.S.: If all the states moved to lift their social distancing restrictions, hospitals nationwide could see a surge of new coronavirus cases, creating the potential for severe ventilator shortages within weeks.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admits the U.S can’t be certain the coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan lab, CNN Politics, Jennifer Hansler, Nicole Gaouette, and Michael Conte, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US does not have certainty about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, despite claiming over the weekend there was ‘enormous evidence’ the virus originated in a Chinese lab. Although he conceded he couldn’t be certain, Pompeo continued to push his lab claim, countering the leading theory among intelligence experts and international analysts that the virus came into human contact at a wet market. Assessments circulated among US intelligence-sharing allies have posited that it is ‘highly unlikely’ the virus originated in a lab. The US intelligence community has said it is looking into both possibilities.”

Blue Flame Medical, a Firm Set Up by Republican Operatives, Is Under Scrutiny Over Virus Contracts, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “A company created just six weeks ago by a pair of Republican operatives received hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from desperate state and local governments for coronavirus supplies, but is now facing a federal criminal investigation and a rising chorus of complaints from customers who say their orders never arrived. The company, Blue Flame Medical, had boasted that it could quickly obtain coveted test kits, N95 masks and other personal protective equipment through a Chinese government-owned company with which it had partnered, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. Blue Flame was started by a pair of Republican political consultants, Mike Gula and John Thomas, who did not have much experience in the medical supply field. Mr. Gula’s fund-raising firm has been paid more than $36 million since 2008 by a range of top Republican politicians and political committees, while Mr. Thomas has served as a general consultant to a number of campaigns.”

Live and Let Die plays as Trump visits mask factory in Arizona without a mask, The Guardian, Poppy Noor, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “During a pandemic that has seen more than 70,000 deaths in the US (almost a quarter of the global amount), there is probably no worse song the president could walk out to than Live and Let Die, a cover by the rock band Guns N’ Roses. But these are strange times, and so as Donald Trump walked around an N95 mask manufacturing plant in Phoenix, Arizona, that’s exactly what happened. The president was, of course, not wearing a mask. He never does. Even when standing next to a bin full of hundreds of masks, in a mask manufacturing factory, he still managed not to wear one.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty, and It Doesn’t Need Them, ProPublica, J. David McSwane, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “The Transportation Security Administration ignored guidance from the Department of Homeland Security and internal pushback from two agency officials when it stockpiled more than 1.3 million N95 respirator masks instead of donating them to hospitals, internal records and interviews show. Internal concerns were raised in early April, when COVID-19 cases were growing by the thousands and hospitals in some parts of the country were overrun and desperate for supplies. The agency held on to the cache of life-saving masks even as the number of people coming through U.S. airports dropped by 95% and the TSA instructed many employees to stay home to avoid being infected. Meanwhile, other federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs’ vast network of hospitals, scrounged for the personal protective equipment that doctors and nurses are dying without.”

As Hunger Swells, Food Stamps Become a Partisan Flash Point. Democrats are seeking to raise benefits as research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent amid the pandemic. But Republicans have balked at a long-term expansion of the program. The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “As a padlocked economy leaves millions of Americans without paychecks, lines outside food banks have stretched for miles, prompting some of the overwhelmed charities to seek help from the National Guard. New research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Among mothers with young children, nearly one-fifth say their children are not getting enough to eat, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution, a rate three times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession. The reality of so many Americans running out of food is an alarming reminder of the economic hardship the pandemic has inflicted. But despite their support for spending trillions on other programs to mitigate those hardships, Republicans have balked at a long-term expansion of food stamps — a core feature of the safety net that once enjoyed broad support but is now a source of a highly partisan divide. Democrats want to raise food stamp benefits by 15 percent for the duration of the economic crisis, arguing that a similar move during the Great Recession reduced hunger and helped the economy. But Republicans have fought for years to shrink the program, saying that the earlier liberalization led to enduring caseload growth and a backdoor expansion of the welfare state.”

Trump contradicts nurse in testy Oval Office exchange over coronavirus protective gear, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “A nurse found out Wednesday what happens when you contradict President Donald Trump on how well coronavirus response efforts are going while standing near him in the Oval Office. Trump clapped back at that nurse, Sophia Thomas, who said that access to sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment ‘has been sporadic.’ Her comments came during a National Nurses Day event at the White House meant to honor those first responders. Trump upon hearing a less-than-glowing description of the front lines, quickly shot back, ‘Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.’ The exchange underscored how sensitive Trump has been to suggestions that the United States has lagged in preparedness for the coronavirus outbreak under his watch.”

During a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, Democrats Press Judicial Nominee Justin Walker, a Protégé of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on His Health Care Views, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “Judge Justin Walker, President Trump’s pick for an influential appeals court, faced brutal questioning from Senate Democrats on Wednesday over his views on health care policy, as the 37-year-old nominee sought to dispel criticism that he was too inexperienced and ideologically driven for the post. The nomination of Judge Walker, a Louisville, Ky., native and protégé of Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has drawn fire from Democrats and liberal activists who suggest that Mr. McConnell maneuvered inappropriately to position his favored candidate for the powerful post. But during a sometimes surreal hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Democrats homed in instead on his ultraconservative positions, including his comment that the 2012 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act was ‘indefensible.’ ‘Why, in the middle of a pandemic, should we support a nominee who would take away health care for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions?’ asked Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the panel.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announces new rules on campus sexual assault, offering more rights to the accused, The Washington Post, Laura Meckler, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday released a sweeping new directive governing how schools must handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, granting new rights to the accused and handing colleges a clear but controversial road map to navigating these highly charged investigations. The new rule bars universities from using a single official to investigate and judge complaints, a popular model, and instead creates a judicial-like process in which the accused has the right to a live hearing and to cross-examine accusers. The rule also adds dating violence and stalking to the definition of sexual harassment. But it otherwise offers a narrow definition of harassment, requiring that it be severe and pervasive, as well as objectively offensive. ‘Today we release a final rule that recognizes we can continue to combat sexual misconduct without abandoning our core values of fairness, presumption of innocence and due process,’ DeVos told reporters. The new regulation, scheduled to take effect on Aug. 14, falls under the federal civil rights law known as Title IX, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools. The rule, first proposed in 2018, has come under fire from women’s rights groups and Democrats, who said it would allow assailants and schools to escape responsibility, discourage victims from coming forward, subject survivors to additional trauma and make college campuses less safe for women. ‘It’s about silencing survivors,’ Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on Twitter. She added, ‘The Title IX rule is a devastating blow.’ The move was also opposed by university officials, who argue that the new rule will turn their campuses into courtrooms incompatible with an academic atmosphere. On Wednesday, a leading advocacy group for colleges said the decision to implement the rule in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic reflected ‘appallingly poor judgment.’ Even before the 2,033-page regulation was released, opponents were vowing a legal challenge, hoping to halt or at least stall the new rule. ‘We will fight this rule in court, and we intend to win,’ Emily Martin, a vice president at the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group, said Wednesday. She said the core of the challenge would be that the Education Department was ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how agencies write regulations. She said the agency ignored evidence showing that the rule would harm survivors of sexual violence.” See also, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalizes regulations that give more rights to those accused of sexual assault on college campuses, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer and Veronica Stracqualursi, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday formally announced new protections for those accused of campus sexual harassment and assault, a controversial move that upends Obama-era guidance she had argued denied due process to the accused. The changes, which critics argue may discourage victims from coming forward, include provisions under the federal law Title IX that allow those accused of harassment or assault to question evidence and cross-examine their accusers.”

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List. The New York Times, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “After three years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo. Calling the rules unnecessary and burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses, his administration has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. Several major reversals have been finalized in recent weeks as the country has struggled to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 60 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. An additional 34 rollbacks are still in progress.”

Trump’s order to paint the border wall black could drive up the cost $500 million or more, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “President Trump is once more pushing to have his border wall painted black, a design change that is projected to add at least $500 million in costs, according to government contracting estimates obtained by The Washington Post. The president’s determination to have the steel bollards coated in black has fluctuated during the past several years, and military commanders and border officials believed as recently as last fall that they had finally talked him out of it. They consider the black paint unnecessary, costly and a significant long-term maintenance burden, and they left it out of the original U.S. Customs and Border Protection design specifications. Trump has not let go of the idea, insisting that the dark color will enhance its forbidding appearance and leave the steel too hot to touch during summer months. During a border wall meeting at the White House last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the president told senior adviser Jared Kushner and aides to move forward with the paint job and to seek out cost estimates, according to four administration officials with knowledge of the meeting.”

Captured US mercenary Luke Denman claims he planned to abduct Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, The Guardian, Tom Phillips and Julian Borger, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “An American mercenary captured after a bungled attempt to topple Nicolás Maduro has claimed he was on a mission to seize control of Venezuela’s main airport in order to abduct its leader – and he alleged that he was acting under the command of Donald Trump. Luke Denman was one of two US citizens seized by Venezuelan security forces this week after what appears to have been a catastrophically conceived bid to overthrow Maduro by sneaking into the South American country in a fleet of battered fishing boats.”

Trump vetoes congressional resolution limiting his military authority against Iran, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “President Trump on Wednesday vetoed a measure that would limit his authority to launch military strikes against Iran absent congressional approval — a long-expected move … that had been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.” See also, Trump Vetoes a Senate Resolution That Would Have Required Him to Seek Congressional Authorization Before Taking Military Action Against Iran, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Wednesday, 6 May 2020: “President Trump vetoed a Senate resolution on Wednesday that would have required him to seek congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran, rejecting a rare effort by the chamber to curb his authority and reasserting broad power to use military force…. The resolution was mostly symbolic and not legally binding. And Congress does not stand much of a chance of reversing the veto because the measure passed well short of the two-thirds supermajority needed for an override. The resolution was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, on Jan. 3, hours after Mr. Trump ordered a missile strike that killed a senior Iranian military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in Iraq. It directed Mr. Trump to ‘terminate the use of United States armed forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force against Iran.’ The Republican-led Senate approved the measure on Feb. 13, 55 to 45, with eight Republicans voting in favor. The Democratic-led House approved the measure on March 11, 227 to 186.”


Thursday, 7 May 2020, Day 1,203:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 7 May 2020: Stark Racial Gap Is Revealed in U.K. Coronavirus Death Toll, The New York Times, Thursday, 7 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 7 May 2020: Latinos in Some States Are Disproportionately Affected by the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Thursday, 7 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 7 May 2020: New York City May Limit Entry to Parks to Prevent Crowds, The New York Times, Thursday, 7 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 7 May 2020: Stocks Rise, With Tech Index Now Up for 2020, The New York Times, Thursday, 7 May 2020:

Many other developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 7 May 2020: White House ramps up internal coronavirus measures after Trump valet tests positive, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Marisa Iati, Mark Berman, Felicia Sonmez, Adam Taylor, Candace Buckner, Kareem Copeland, Keith McMillan, Antonia Noori Farzan, and Teo Armus, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The White House rapidly increased testing for those around President Trump Thursday after a staffer whose job potentially put him in close daily contact with the president had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It’s the president’s closest known contact with an infected person since the early days of the U.S. response to the pandemic. Covid-19 has killed more than 75,000 people in the United States, with around 1.25 million confirmed cases, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump administration shelves detailed Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advice on reopening the economy, Associated Press, Jason Dearen and Mike Stobbe, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Trump administration shelved a document created by the nation’s top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging coronavirus outbreak. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled ‘Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,’ was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance ‘would never see the light of day,’ according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. The AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who was not authorized to release it. The guidance was described in AP stories last week, prior to the White House decision to shelve it.” See also, Trump Administration Rejects the Center for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Reopening Plan, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “As President Trump rushes to reopen the economy, a battle has erupted between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the agency’s detailed guidelines to help schools, restaurants, churches and other establishments safely reopen. A copy of the C.D.C. guidance obtained by The New York Times includes sections for child care programs, schools and day camps, churches and other ‘communities of faith,’ employers with vulnerable workers, restaurants and bars, and mass transit administrators. The recommendations include using disposable dishes and utensils at restaurants, closing every other row of seats in buses and subways while restricting transit routes among areas experiencing different levels of coronavirus infection, and separating children at school and camps into groups that should not mix throughout the day. But White House and other administration officials rejected the recommendations over concerns that they were overly prescriptive, infringed on religious rights and risked further damaging an economy that Mr. Trump was banking on to recover quickly. One senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services with deep ties to religious conservatives objected to any controls on church services…. A spokesman for the C.D.C. said the guidance was still under discussion with the White House and a revised version could be published soon.”

U.S. Workers Filed 3.2 Million Unemployment Claims Last Week, Suggesting Job Loss Could Crest This Month, The Wall Street Journal, Eric Morath and Gwynn Guilford, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “U.S. workers have filed nearly 33.5 million applications for unemployment benefits in the seven weeks since closures were put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, showing a wave of layoffs that likely pushed April job losses to record levels. U.S. workers filed 3.2 million jobless claims last week, the Labor Department said. It was the fewest since the week ended March 14, before the pandemic caused claims to spike, but still fifteen-times early March readings.”

Most States That Are Reopening Fail to Meet the White House Coronavirus Guidelines, The New York Times, Keith Collins and Lauren Leatherby, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “More than half of U.S. states have begun to reopen their economies or plan to do so soon. But most fail to meet criteria recommended by the Trump administration to resume business and social activities. The White House’s guidelines are nonbinding and ultimately leave states’ fates to governors. The criteria suggest that states should have a ‘downward trajectory’ of either documented coronavirus cases or of the percentage of positive tests. Public health experts expressed criticism because ‘downward trajectory’ was not defined and the metrics do not specify a threshold for case numbers or positive rates. Still, most states that are reopening fail to adhere to even those recommendations: In more than half of states easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both, raising concerns among public health experts.”

Criticized on His Handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Goes to His Playbook: Deflect, Reject, and Minimize, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “Faced with intense criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, stubbornly high rates of new infections across much of the country and questions about whether he is pushing too soon to get the economy going again, President Trump has settled into a messaging routine: deflect, reject and minimize. Confronted with projections showing that the number of cases and deaths will continue to rise, Mr. Trump has mischaracterized how the models work. With states and many public health experts saying testing remains inadequate, he has countered with false and misleading comparisons to other countries. And when asked to reconcile the gap between his earlier sunny predictions of few deaths and the current situation, he has used false assertions to blame others and continued to rewrite the history of his own response.” See also, Trump tightens grip on coronavirus information as he pushes to restart the economy, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “President Trump in recent weeks has sought to block or downplay information about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic as he urges a return to normalcy and the rekindling of an economy that has been devastated by public health restrictions aimed at mitigating the outbreak. His administration has sidelined or replaced officials not seen as loyal, rebuffed congressional requests for testimony, dismissed jarring statistics and modelspraised states for reopening without meeting White House guidelines and, briefly, pushed to disband a task force created to combat the virus and communicate about the public health crisis.”

How Racism Is Shaping the Coronavirus Pandemic, The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “Evelynn Hammonds, who chairs Harvard’s department of the history of science, has spent her career studying the intersection of race and disease. She wrote a history of New York City’s attempt, a century ago, to control diphtheria, and is currently at work on a book of essays on the history of race, from Jefferson to genomics. Hammonds’s area of expertise is especially relevant today: while the data is incomplete, at this point in time, African-Americans represent nearly a third of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and thirty per cent of covid-19 cases, despite making up only about thirteen per cent of the population…. I spoke by phone with Hammonds, who is currently hosting a series of Webinars with academics and experts at Harvard on African-Americans and epidemics in American history, from the eighteenth century to the present day. As she stated in one of the sessions, ‘I can’t imagine saying that we have to wait until this pandemic has passed to make clear what kinds of structural inequalities and implicit and explicit biases are at work.'”

A Harvard study tying coronavirus death rates to pollution is causing an uproar in Washington, The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “An early study from Harvard University linking dirty air to the worst coronavirus outcomes has quickly become a political football in Washington. Presidential candidates, agency regulators, oil lobbyists and members of Congress from both parties are using the preliminary research to advance their own political priorities — well before it has a chance to be peer-reviewed. The stakes are high because the study’s tentative findings could prove enormously consequential for both the pandemic’s impact and the global debate over curbing air pollution. The researchers found that pollution emanating from everything from industrial smokestacks to household chimneys is making the worst pandemic in a century even more deadly.”

A House Oversight and Reform Committee Report Found That Americans Fleeing Asia and Europe in the First Quarter of 2020 to Beat Trump’s Travel Bans Faced Few Temperature Checks or Other Rigorous Screenings to See If They Were Bringing the Virus Home, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “President Trump’s go-to defense of his early response to the coronavirus is his decision to close down travel from China, the virus’s original epicenter, and then from ravaged Europe. But those hasty decisions led to exoduses of American citizens, with packed, chaotic airports and, according to a new congressional report, porous screenings for passengers who could have been bringing the coronavirus home with them. Medical officials on contract from the Department of Homeland Security checked the temperature of just 10 percent of more than 250,000 travelers at U.S. airports arriving from travel-restricted countries during a 10-week span from January to March, according to a report released Thursday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee, undercutting one of the centerpieces of Mr. Trump’s argument that his administration responded aggressively to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.”

After outcry, Arizona restores partnership with team projecting increased coronavirus cases, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “Arizona reversed course on Thursday and resumed a partnership with epidemiologists whose projections suggest the state may be moving too rapidly to reopen businesses as cases of the novel coronavirus mount. The turnaround, after a public outcry, marked the latest chapter in a skirmish over data and public policy that reflects the anguished national debate over how to incorporate scientific expertise to protect both lives and livelihoods during a pandemic that has killed more than 75,000 Americans and thrown 33 million out of work.”

One of Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins and Peter Morris, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “A member of the US Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN learned Thursday, raising concerns about the President’s possible exposure to the virus. The valets are members of an elite military unit dedicated to the White House and often work very close to the President and first family.” See also, Trump’s personal valet tests positive for coronavirus, NBC News, Peter Alexander, Shannon Pettypiece, and Monica Alba, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “One of President Donald Trump’s personal valets, who works in the West Wing serving the president his meals, among other duties, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the closest the virus is known to have come to the president, a White House official said. Since the White House medical unit was made aware of the case, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both tested negative, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Thursday. The White House did not say when the valet developed symptoms or when the president was last exposed to the individual. The news was first reported by CNN. After learning that one of his valets was infected, Trump became ‘lava level mad’ at his staff and said he doesn’t feel it is doing all it can to protect him, according to a person close to the White House. The source said the unknowingly infected valet was consistently close to the president throughout the day. Trump publicly disputed that Thursday, telling reporters that he’d had ‘very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman.'” See also, White House Is Rattled by a Military Aide’s Positive Coronavirus Test. President Trump said he and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as the White House staff, would now be tested on a daily basis. The New York Times, Michael Crowley and Michael D. Shear, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “President Trump said on Thursday that the White House staff would be tested every day for the coronavirus after a military aide who has had contact with him was found to have the virus. Asked by reporters about the aide, whom a senior administration official described as a personal valet to the president, Mr. Trump downplayed the matter. ‘I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman,’ he said. But he added that he and other officials and staff members at the White House would be tested more frequently.”

The Underground Efforts to Get Masks to Doctors, The New Yorker, Anna Russell, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “With supply chains gone haywire and the government doing little, ordinary citizens have organized to keep health-care workers protected.”

Scientists say ‘promiscuous treatment of nature’ will lead to more pandemics, The Guardian, Jonathan Watts, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “Humanity’s ‘promiscuous treatment of nature’ needs to change or there will be more deadly pandemics such as Covid-19, warn scientists who have analysed the link between viruses, wildlife and habitat destruction. Deforestation and other forms of land conversion are driving exotic species out of their evolutionary niches and into manmade environments, where they interact and breed new strains of disease, the experts say. Three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it is human activity that multiplies the risks of contagion.”

Justice Department Drops Michael Flynn Case, in Move Backed by Trump, The New York Times, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “After an extraordinary public campaign by President Trump and his allies, the Justice Department dropped its criminal case on Thursday against Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser. Mr. Flynn had previously pleaded guilty twice to lying to F.B.I. agents about his conversations with a Russian diplomat during the presidential transition in late 2016. The move was the latest example of Attorney General William P. Barr’s efforts to chisel away at the results of the Russia investigation. Documents that Mr. Flynn’s lawyers cited as evidence of prosecutorial misconduct were turned over as part of a review by an outside prosecutor whom Mr. Barr assigned to re-examine the case. Mr. Barr has cast doubt not only on some of the prosecutions in the investigation but also on its premise, assigning another independent prosecutor to scrutinize its origins. The decision for the government to throw out a case after a defendant had already pleaded guilty was also highly unusual. Former prosecutors struggled to point to any precedent and portrayed the Justice Department’s justification as dubious. By abandoning the case, the department undid what had been one of the first significant acts of the special counsel investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election interference — the prosecution of a retired top Army general turned national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.” See also, Experts Question the Justice Department’s Dropping of the Flynn Prosecution: ‘Never Seen Anything Like This.’ Abandoning the case is the latest step in a pattern of dismantling the work of the Russia investigators. A former prosecutor likened it to eating the department from the inside out. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said on Thursday. ‘I’ve been practicing for more time than I care to admit and I’ve never seen anything like this,’ said Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Georgetown University.” See also, Don’t Forget, Michael Flynn Pleaded Guilty. Twice. The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “It can be hard to recall, since so many members of President Trump’s inner circle have been indicted, convicted of federal crimes and even sent to prison, but the first felon to emerge from this administration was Michael Flynn. Mr. Flynn, who served less than a month as the national security adviser before resigning in disgrace, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to F.B.I. investigators about his communications with the Russian ambassador. When asked about the plea at the time, Mr. Trump said, ‘I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the F.B.I.’ That was true, of course. Mr. Flynn did lie, as he admitted to under oath in a court of law — twice. He told investigators, falsely, that he had not communicated with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, about possible changes to American foreign policy toward Russia even before Mr. Trump took office.” See also, Justice Department moves to drop case against Michael Flynn, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Justice Department moved Thursday to drop charges against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a stunning reversal that prompted fresh accusations from law enforcement officials and Democrats that the criminal justice system was caving to political pressure from the administration. The unraveling of Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI came after senior political appointees in the Justice Department determined lower-level prosecutors and agents erred egregiously in the course of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election…. The Justice Department’s abandonment of the Flynn case is a political windfall for Trump, who had already declared that he was considering a pardon for his former adviser. The Justice Department’s decision means he won’t have to become personally involved in the Flynn case.” See also, Flynn decision cheered by Trump and the right, as critics decry it as an attack on the rule of law, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Robert Costa, and Shane Harris, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Justice Department’s decision to drop its prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday was greeted as a triumph by President Trump and his allies, who have argued for years that Flynn was set up — but with dire alarm by Trump’s opponents, who saw the move as an attack on the rule of law.” See also, Justice Department to Drop Case Against Michael Flynn. The decision marks a dramatic reversal in the case against the former national security adviser. The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Justice Department moved to drop its case against Michael Flynn in a major reversal more than two years after the former national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. In a motion to dismiss the case, the department said on Thursday it didn’t believe prosecutors could prove the case against Mr. Flynn and sided with Mr. Flynn’s defense team, which has argued that officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to set him up in a January 2017 interview.” See also, Department of Justice drops criminal case against Michael Flynn. The move comes after Trump and his allies stepped up their assault on the legal case against the former national security adviser. Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Justice Department has abandoned its prosecution of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, throwing in the towel on one of the most prominent cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. The move represents a remarkable reversal two and half years after Flynn initially pleaded guilty to the FBI about his dealings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. In that time, the case has taken a number of dramatic turns: Flynn went from the precipice of being sentenced in 2018, to abruptly switching legal teams in 2019, to trying to withdraw his guilty plea in 2020. Flynn’s attempt to take back his plea led Attorney General William Barr in January to assign a federal prosecutor to review the case. It was that review that led to the move on Thursday to dismiss the case altogether. Department officials, including Barr, concluded in light of recently disclosed evidence that the FBI’s questioning of Flynn just four days after Trump’s inauguration lacked a proper investigative basis. Flynn admitted in front of two federal judges that he intentionally lied during that interview about his dealings with the Russian ambassador, but the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general formally retreated from those admissions in January.”

The Justice Department Asks the Supreme Court to Block the House Judiciary Committee From Seeing Mueller’s Grand Jury Secrets. The Justice Department asked the justices to temporarily halt a lower-court order, arguing that the executive branch would suffer irreparable harm if the evidence is disclosed. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block Congress from seeing grand jury secrets gathered in the Russia investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, saying the executive branch would suffer irreparable harm if lawmakers see the evidence. In a 35-page filing, Noel J. Francisco, the solicitor general, asked the justices to halt an order by a federal appeals court that imposed a May 11 deadline on the Justice Department to turn over the evidence to the House Judiciary Committee. He said the Justice Department should first get a chance to fully litigate an appeal of the ruling before the Supreme Court.” See also, The Trump administration asks the Supreme Court to stop release of certain secret grand jury material from Mueller’s special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Robert Barnes, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The Trump administration on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block a ruling that requires the Justice Department to give Congress certain secret grand jury material from Robert S. Mueller III’s special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in March cleared the way for Congress to access certain secret evidence from Mueller’s investigation in one of a set of separation-of-powers lawsuits between House Democrats and the Trump administration.”

Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael Are Charged With Murder in the Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The two white men who were seen on a widely shared video as one of them fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, were arrested and charged on Thursday in connection with the shooting — two days after the graphic footage became public and more than two months after the killing itself. The men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were each charged with murder and aggravated assault and booked into a jail in coastal Glynn County, Ga., where the killing took place, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. The details of Mr. Arbery’s killing — and the fact that no one had been arrested in the months since it happened — led to a wave of outrage nationwide from figures as diverse as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the basketball star LeBron James and Russell Moore, a prominent leader of the Southern Baptist Convention. Public pressure for an arrest intensified on Tuesday with the release of the video that showed Mr. Arbery running toward a truck, engaging in a struggle with a man holding a shotgun, and then falling to the ground…. The case is the latest in the United States to raise concerns about racial inequities in the justice system. Documents obtained by The New York Times show that a Georgia prosecutor who had the case for weeks before recusing himself over a conflict of interest had advised the Glynn County Police Department that there was ‘insufficient probable cause’ to issue arrest warrants for the McMichaels…. Gregory McMichael is a former officer with the Glynn County Police Department, and until his retirement last year, he spent many years as an investigator in the local district attorney’s office.” See also, Father and son charged in the killing of black Georgia jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, after video footage sparked outrage. State law enforcement official says there is no plan to investigate local authorities who failed to make arrests in the February shooting. The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler, Colby Itkowitz, and Cleve R. Wootson Jr., published on Friday, 8 May 2020: “A Georgia Bureau of Investigation official said Friday that there’s no plan to investigate the local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that failed to arrest or file charges against suspects in the fatal shooting of a black jogger in February. The state agency arrested Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and charged them with murder and aggravated assault Thursday evening, more than two months after 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was killed. The charges came days after a video showing the moments that led to Arbery’s death went viral, eliciting strongly worded condemnations from activists and politicians. Former vice president Joe Biden compared the incident to a lynching, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) called the shooting ‘absolutely horrific.'” See also, Ahmaud Arbery Should Be Alive, Rolling Stone, Jamil Smith, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “Convicting his killers is the start. But the family of this modern lynching victim can’t have justice in a country with laws that protect white people who kill black people.” See also, Ahmaud Arbery killing reignites debate over sharing graphic viral videos, The Guardian, Kenya Evelyn, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “The outrage surrounding the viral video of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery being shot just outside Brunswick, Georgia, is what prompted prosecutors to request a grand jury to consider charges, according to many social justice activists. The footage released this week shows Arbery jogging down a narrow two-lane road. A white law enforcement officer and his son, whose truck is stopped nearby, shoot Arbery within seconds of confronting him. ‘I am trembling with anger over what I just witnessed,’ wrote the activist Shaun King, who first posted the video on Twitter on Tuesday. He described the footage, filmed by an anonymous witness, as ‘one of the worst things I’ve seen in my entire life.’ Beyond the calls for justice, however, the manner by which King released the footage to the public has prompted a backlash. Although he prefaced the release of the video with a separate tweet, King drew immediate anger for sharing the graphic depiction of Arbery’s death without an explicit warning of its contents.” See also, Why is Georgia only now seeking  justice for Ahmaud Arbery? We know the terrible answers. The Washington Post, Editorial Board, Thursday, 7 May 2020: “What if Ahmaud Arbery had been white? What if the two men who confronted Mr. Arbery before one of them shot and killed him had been black? What if the graphic video showing a young man needlessly gunned down while on a Sunday afternoon jog had not been anonymously posted to the Internet but, instead, had been kept hidden? We all know the terrible answers. Had Mr. Arbery not been black, it would not have taken law enforcement authorities in Georgia more than two months to be shamed into seeking some semblance of justice in his killing. The announcement by a Georgia prosecutor that the case would be presented to a grand jury for consideration of criminal charges against the two men involved in the shooting came Tuesday, the same day that a video of the Feb. 23 shooting surfaced, sparking outrage and reigniting America’s debate about whether black lives matter. The arrest of the two men came two days later.”


Osterholm has been writing about the risk of pandemics for 20 years and has advised several presidents. He wrote the report along with Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, who is also a top expert on pandemics; Dr. Kristine Moore, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist who is now medical director for CIDRAP; and historian John Barry, who wrote the 2004 book “The Great Influenza” about the 1918 flu pandemicThe Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.