April 11, 2020

Week 178

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week, nearly 12,000 Americans died of the coronavirus. The U.S. became not only the country with the most cases by a factor of three, but also the country with the most deaths in the world. As American bodies piled up, Trump was obstinate and refused to change his approach, instead continuing to tweet grievances and holding daily campaign rallies masquerading as task force briefings, some lasting hours long.

It became clear this week that neither Trump nor our federal government would have a plan or much of a role to play in stopping the growing outbreak — unthinkable in the history of our country. Instead, states were left to fend for themselves, and Americans learned to count on one another to stay home and volunteer to help. Trump’s short-lived bump in the polls disappeared, and approval of his and the federal government’s handling of the outbreak fell considerably.

This week Trump pushed the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as his game changer, amplified by Fox News — taking a page from the Roger Ailes playbook of casting Trump as a hero bringing hope, and the “other media” and Democrats as villains who downplayed the drug to get back at Trump. Fox News and Trump allies also pushed other conspiracy theories, including that the death count was overstated.

As the week came to an end, Trump seemed on unfamiliar ground, unable to deploy his typical strategy of casting blame and making it stick and redirecting as Americans were dying, and dying alone — and the virus developed new hot spots in major cities and rural America.

  1. On Wednesday, CNN reported just 41% of Americans say the federal government is doing a good job of preventing the coronavirus spread, 55% say a poor job (net -14). Last week 48% said good job, 47% poor job (net +1).
  2. The poll also found 52% disapprove of the way Trump is handling the coronavirus, 45% approve, although his approval was little changed at 44% approve, 51% disapprove. 22% know someone with the virus.
  3. On Saturday, NYT reported that since China disclosed the coronavirus outbreak on New Year’s Eve, more than 430,000 have arrived in the U.S. on direct flights from China, including flights last week.
  4. Nearly 40,000 have traveled in the two months since Trump imposed restrictions on such travel on February 2, on 279 direct flights from China. Screening procedures have been uneven according to interviews.
  5. Trump has repeatedly bragged his travel measures impeded the spread saying things like, “That was probably the biggest decision we made so far.” Direct flights last week landed in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump picked White House lawyer Brian Miller as coronavirus inspector general for the $500 billion rescue fund for industry. Miller defended Trump during impeachment proceedings.
  7. Miller served for nine years as IG for the General Services Administration, but he was viewed by Democrats as a loyalist to Trump. Sen. Richard Blumenthal likened it to putting the “fox in charge of the henhouse.”
  8. On Saturday, at the daily task force briefing, Trump gave a rambling, incoherent speech, offering no specifics, but rather aired a variety of grievances. Trump warned the coming week will be “one of the toughest.”
  9. Trump said, “There’s going to be a lot of death, unfortunately. There will be a lot of deaths.” So far, 7,100 Americans had died, with 278,000 cases. Dr. Deborah Birx said Detroit, Louisiana, and New York were the hot spots.
  10. Trump reversed himself again, saying, “The cure could not be worse than the virus,” adding, “at a certain point, some hard decisions are going to have to be made,” regarding social distancing guidelines currently in place.
  11. Trump added, “I want fans back in arenas. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air.”
  12.  Trump said millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine were being placed in the federal stockpile, even though it has not been approved by the FDA, and urged patients to take it, saying, “What do you have to lose?”
  13. Trump added, “I really think they should take it. But it’s their choice. And it’s their doctor’s choice or the doctors in the hospital…Try it, if you’d like,” and adding, “if this drug works, it will be not a game changer because that’s not a nice enough term.”
  14. Trump said he also had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India about procuring millions more doses of hydroxychloroquine from that country. India is the world’s main supplier of generic drugs.
  15. Dr. Anthony Fauci looked on, but did not speak. Trump also suggested azithromycin, known as Z-Pak, saying, “that’s an antibiotic. It can clean out the lung. The lungs are a point of attack for this horrible virus.”
  16. Trump added, “We’re coming to a time that’s going to be very horrendous, probably a time like we haven’t seen in this country,” adding, “We’re getting to that point where it’s going to be really some very bad numbers.”
  17. Fauci said there were signs social distancing was working. Trump added, “but again, we’re not going to destroy our country,” saying we have a “decision” to make and the “cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
  18. On Sunday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp faced criticism for reopening beaches a day after issuing a stay-at-home order. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told NBC News Kemp was closing schools while opening beaches.
  19. On Sunday, Fauci told “Face the Nation” on the coronavirus, “I will not say we have it under control, we are struggling to get it under control,” but added mitigation efforts are showing some success in places like New York.
  20. On Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told “Meet the Press” that “The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment,” adding, “It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives.”
  21. Adams also told “Fox New Sunday” this week will be “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” and, “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment…happening all over the country.”
  22. While not calling for a national shutdown, Adams asked holdout governors to at least “give us a week” of restrictions, saying health officials warned of an accelerating rate of infections and deaths.
  23. On Sunday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told “State of the Union” if Trump “had started in February building ventilators, getting ready…we would not have the problems we have” and “very many fewer people would die.”
  24. Pritzker said we “now know that intelligence sources and all the best advice that was given…in January and early February” but Trump and White House did not act, adding Trump should have invoked the Defense Production Act.
  25. On Sunday, NYT reported the official count of death understates the coronavirus death toll due to inconsistent protocols, limited testing resources, and a patchwork of decision making.
  26. Patients who died at home often are not tested, and between states, protocols for testing at funeral homes and availability of tests factor in. One home said of three patients who tested positive, one death certificate listed it.
  27. Hospital officials also say early in the outbreak, testing was not available for patients with flulike systems. Experts who study mortality said it might take scientists months to calculate the number of mortalities.
  28. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told “This Week” the military will use face masks. He voiced support of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, saying he made a “tough call” but he has “faith and confidence in him.”
  29. Asked if the Pentagon received an intelligence assessment on Covid-19 in China last November from the National Center for Medical Intelligence, Esper said, “I can’t recall, but we have many people that watch this closely.”
  30. On Sunday, Michael Atkinson said in a statement that Trump’s “loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General.”
  31. On Sunday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to the hospital, on doctors’ advice, after experiencing persistent coronavirus symptoms still ten days after testing positive.
  32. On Sunday, at the daily press briefing, Trump again promoted hydroxychloroquine, repeatedly asking, “What do we have to lose?” and adding, “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”
  33. Trump added, “we have no time” for lengthy studies, and “if it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early,” adding people may need a doctor’s approval but that personally, “I’ve seen things that I sort of like.”
  34. A reporter asked Fauci for his opinion on the the drug, asking, “What is the medical evidence?” Fauci opened his mouth to answer, but Trump cut in, saying, “Do you know how many times he’s answered that question?”
  35. Trump also fired back at Gov. Pritzker, saying he is “complaining all the time,” and “He’s not able to do what he’s supposed to be able to do as a governor. He has not performed well.”
  36. On Sunday, American Medical Association president Patrice Harris told CNN she would not prescribe the drug if she had a coronavirus patient, citing the drug’s well-known side effects can cause fatal heart problems.
  37. Harris said, “You could lose your life,” adding, “It’s unproven. And so certainly there are some limited studies, as Dr. Fauci said. But at this point, we just don’t have the data to suggest that we should be using this.”
  38. On Sunday, WAPO reported Rudy Giuliani is promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine to Trump. He told the Post he now spends his day speaking to doctors, patients, and hospital executives promoting it too.
  39. Giuliani is one of several Trump allies who downplayed the severity of Covid-19 and now are embracing cures, worrying health experts. Last week, he was locked out of Twitter for promoting disinformation.
  40. On Sunday, Axios reported that the coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday, in a blow up between economic adviser Peter Navarro and Fauci over the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.
  41. Navarro had a stack of folders and dropped them on the table, saying studies overseas show “clear therapeutic efficacy.” Fauci said there was only anecdotal evidence, and studies in France and China were inadequate.
  42. An animated Navarro said, “That’s science, not anecdote.” In addition to Navarro, Giuliani and Fox News host Sean Hannity are pushing hydroxychloroquine. Most task force members had a cautious approach.
  43. On Sunday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a 9 p.m. curfew for residents, and urged them to wear masks. The city also closed all recreational sports, including tennis and basketball courts.
  44. On Sunday, the Bronx Zoo said Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, tested positive for the coronavirus. She, her sister, two Amur tigers, and three African lions developed dry coughs and were expected to recover.
  45. Later Sunday, Trump called in to Sean Hannity’s show, saying he would “love” to open the country, and we might “open up sections and also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”
  46. Trump added, “I think New York is getting ready if not already, but getting ready to peak and once it peaks, it will start coming down and it’s going to come down fast.”
  47. On Monday, the number of global deaths topped 70,000. The virus has spread to 183 countries and regions, with 1.3 million cases. The U.S. had the most confirmed cases, with 338,000.
  48. On Monday, the U.S. surpassed 10,000 deaths, standing at 10,530, including 4,758 in New York — roughly 1 in 8 of all death worldwide. In New York City, there were 67,551 cases and at least 3,048 deaths.
  49. On Monday, Dr. Craig Smith, surgeon in chief of New York–Presbyterian Hospital said, “The steadily positive slope we’ve watched for a month is grinding and relentless,” adding, this is “our Fallujah.”
  50. On Monday, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Brett Giroir told the “TODAY” show Americans should limit their visits to the grocery store, and if they do go, to wear a mask.
  51. On Monday, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council told CNBC, “No one could have predicted the exponential rise of this.” This statement is obviously false.
  52. On Monday, NYT reported Navarro starkly warned the Trump regime in a January 29 memo that the coronavirus crisis could cost the U.S. $6 trillion and put a possible death toll at half a million Americans.
  53. The memo is the highest-level alert known to have circulated inside the West Wing. It warned, “The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless” in a full-blown outbreak.
  54. A second memo on February 23, which was addressed to Trump directly through the offices of the National Security Council, warned, “There is an increasing probability of a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic.”
  55. The memo added the virus “could infect as many as 100 million Americans, with a loss of life of as many as 1–2 million souls,” and laid out expected level of needed medical supplies.
  56. On Monday, acting Navy Secretary Modly addressed the crew of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, saying Capt. Brett Cozier was “too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer” if he thought the letter would not leak, or did it “on purpose.”
  57. On Monday, Trump lashed out at NYT and WAPO over reporting on his coronavirus response, tweeting, “Advertising in the Failing New York Times is WAY down. Washington Post is not much better.”
  58. Trump added, “they are Fake News sources of information, to a level that few can understand, or the Virus is just plain beating them up,” and adding, “Fake News is bad for America!”
  59. Trump also tweeted Democratic candidate Joe Biden “wants a “Virtual” Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up,” asking what happened to the phone call “he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?”
  60. After his tweet, a phone call was set up between the two and reportedly lasted for 15 minutes. Biden has publicly criticized Trump’s slow response to the crisis, and said Trump should stop talking and listen to experts.
  61. On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services IG Ann Maxwell issued a report based on conversations with 323 hospitals between March 23–27, calling it “the first objective, independent, national look” at how hospitals are faring.
  62. The report found U.S. hospitals were facing “severe” and “widespread” shortages of needed medical supplies, hampering their ability to test and respond to coronavirus adequately, as well as protect medical staff.
  63. Hospitals were forced to make their own disinfectant from in-house chemicals, and tried to source face masks from places like nail salons. They also complained of running low on toilet paper and food.
  64. Hospitals reported “frequently waiting 7 days or longer for test results,” saying the “scarcity” of tests and time to get results “meant presumptive positive patients greatly strained bed availability, supplies, and staffing.”
  65. The report also found “some hospitals reported that the multiple changes in guidance contributed to a greater sense of confusion, fear, and distrust among staff that they can rely on hospital procedures to protect them.”
  66. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had seen a decline for the second day in deaths, hospital, and ICU admissions, indicating the state’s curve may be flattening, and the state may have reached its apex.
  67. On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state is loaning 500 ventilators to New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. Cuomo thanked him, saying New York has already fallen back on “plan B, C, D” to locate equipment.
  68. On Monday, WAPO reported U.S. grocery workers are beginning to die of the coronavirus, with major supermarket chains like Trader Joe’s and Walmart reporting their first employee deaths in recent days.
  69. Some companies began installing plexiglass sneeze guards at cash registers, and are requiring customers to stand at six feet apart in line. Companies are also taking steps to ramp up home delivery.
  70. On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency for one month to cover seven prefectures, including Tokyo and the city of Osaka. Japan had just 3,900 cases andd 92 deaths.
  71. On Monday, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, said in a letter to shareholders the pandemic “is only one example of the bad planning and management that have hurt our country.”
  72. Dimon added, “As a nation, we were clearly not equipped for this global pandemic, and the consequences have been devastating.” Dimon also predicted a “bad recession” combined with financial stress similar to 2008.
  73. On Monday, Boris Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit in the evening, after his condition worsened. Johnson asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to “deputise for him where necessary.”
  74. On Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sen. David Perdue made an unusually high number of stock buys and sell starting on January 24, the day Senators got a coronavirus briefing.
  75. On the day of the briefing, Perdue made the first of 10 purchases of shares of DuPont de Nemours, which produces PPE. He also in that period sold shares of Caesar Entertainment, a casino.
  76. On Monday, at the daily briefing, Trump said, “we certainly want to try” to lift restrictions on life by April 30, but gave no concrete answer on when, saying, “Tremendous progress has been made in a very short period.”
  77. Asked about his call with Biden, Trump said it was a “wonderful, warm conversation,” and “very nice,” saying, “He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that,” and said he could not share what was said.
  78. Asked about a handful of memos written by Navarro, Trump claimed, “I didn’t see them. I didn’t look for them.”
  79. Asked about the HHS IG report, Trump mocked, “Did I hear the word inspector general?” adding, “It’s just wrong,” and berated the reporter, saying, “You should say, ‘Congratulations. Great job’ instead of being so horrid.”
  80. When a second reporter, John Karl of ABC News asked about the backlog of testing found in the IG report, Trump said, “You’re a third-rate reporter and what you just said is a disgrace, OK?” and, “You will never make it.”
  81. Asked about the troubled rollout of the Small Business Administration’s relief program, Trump berated the reporter: “I wish you’d ask the question differently. You’re just incapable of asking a question in a positive way.”
  82. Trump was also asked about the outcry over Modly’s remarks. Trump said the comments were “rough” and pledged to get involved. Two hours later, Defense Secretary Mark Esper demanded Modly publicly apology.
  83. Closing out the brief, Trump said Democrats “shouldn’t be allowed to win” the 2020 election after everything he has done to stop the pandemic, saying he was “artificially stopped” by the virus.
  84. Later Monday, Modly apologized to Crozier, his family, and the crew in a statement, saying, “Let me be clear, I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naive nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite.”
  85. On Monday, the American Hospital Association said in a statement the IG report “accurately captures the crisis that hospitals and health systems, physicians and nurses on the front lines face.”
  86. On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, issued an executive order postponing Tuesday’s primary, which included the presidential primary and hundreds of local elections, until June 9.
  87. Shortly after, the GOP-controlled state legislature challenged the order, sending it to the state’s supreme court, which ruled 4-2, split along ideological lines, to overturn the governor and hold the primary.
  88. An hour later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines that absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7 and received by 4 p.m. on April 13 to count. WI law typically requires ballots by 8 p.m.
  89. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned the ruling will cause “massive disenfranchisement,” saying voters will “have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety, or they will lose their right to vote.”
  90. On Tuesday, voters in Milwaukee were forced to choose between following public order to stay at home, or standing in line for hours to vote, after the city closed all but five of its more than 100 polling places.
  91. Two-thirds of Wisconsin’s black voters live in Milwaukee. Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the virus there, accounting for 626 of 1,387 confirmed cases, and 36 of 51 deaths.
  92. On Tuesday, a poll worker wrote in an op-ed, “Wisconsin made me risk my life to help people vote,” adding, “Push for mail-in ballots. Push for voting reform,” and if I die, “you have my permission to politicize my death.”
  93. On Tuesday, ABC News reported U.S. intelligence officials warned in a November report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence that the coronavirus was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region.
  94. The report warned the virus was spreading quickly and changing the patterns of life and business, as well as posing a threat to the population. The report was based on wire and computer intercepts, and satellite images.
  95. The report concluded “it could be a cataclysmic event,” and was reportedly briefed multiple times to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House.
  96. The Pentagon, after not commenting on Tuesday, issued a statement Wednesday evening, denying the report existed. Esper had been asked by George Stephanopoulos about the report on “This Week” but obscured.
  97. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump fired Stephanie Grisham as White House press secretary after nine months. Grisham never held a daily press briefing. She will return to being First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff.
  98. Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows hired Kayleigh McEnany, 31, a vocal defender of Trump, to replace her. Meadows and Grisham clashed. Alyssa Farah, a top spokeswoman at the Pentagon, will also join press staff.
  99. On Tuesday, Reuters reported Modi is lifting India’s export ban on hydroxychloroquine after Trump threatened retaliation on a phone call Monday. India had put a hold on exports due to a depleted supply.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump fired Glenn Fine, who had served as acting inspector general for the Defense Department since 2016, and was charged with overseeing how the regime spent the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
  101. Last week, an umbrella group of agency inspectors general named Fine the chairman of a new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, with an $80 million budget to oversee how the relief money is spent.
  102. Fine is a former DOJ inspector general, and has a reputation for aggression and independence in scrutinizing law-enforcement powers. Trump abruptly named Sean O’Donnell, a loyalist and the E.P.A’s IG, to replace Fine.
  103. On Tuesday, acting Navy Secretary Modly resigned. He was replaced by Acting Undersecretary of the Army, James McPherson. As of Tuesday, 230 crew members of the Roosevelt tested positive.
  104. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff accused Trump appointee acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell in a letter of improperly overhauling the intelligence community.
  105. Schiff said under Grenell’s management, every Senate-appointed official in the DNI’s hierarchy had been removed, without consulting Congress, and Trump “did not nominate you for confirmation as permanent DNI.”
  106. Schiff sounded an alarm about Michael Atkinson’s abrupt removal, and asked Grenell whether he prevented him from completing any of his unfinished work before Trump placed him on administrative leave.
  107. On Tuesday, the LA Times reported that while Trump has told states to fend for themselves in getting medical equipment, the federal government has been quietly seizing coronavirus supplies across the country.
  108. Officials at hospitals and clinics in seven states say FEMA has seized medical supplies, however the Trump regime has not publicly said how it decides which supplies to seize or where to reroute them.
  109. Jared Kushner has said the federal government is using a data-driven approach. Officials in Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, Texas, Alaska, Oregon, and California said they had supplies taken with no explanation.
  110. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign announced record fundraising for his 2020 re-election of $7.4 million in the first quarter, the highest amount since he came to Washington in 1985.
  111. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Supply Chain Resilience task force, a key coronavirus task force charged with shipping and distributing goods, will work remotely after a member of the group tested positive.
  112. On Tuesday, University Hospital Center of Nice in France suspended its hydroxychloroquine experimental treatment for Covid-19 patients, after it became a major risk to at least one cardiac patient.
  113. The head of the cardiology department at the Pasteur hospital in Nice said in an interview the side effect had already been identified, and some patients had to stop treatment and are being monitored with ECG tests.
  114. On Tuesday, Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, called Trump’s promoting hydroxychloroquine while ignoring side effects “inexcusable,” saying it poses a lethal risk for some patients.
  115. On Tuesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 72% of all U.S. adults, including 79% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans, support mail-in ballots for voting in November if the coronavirus is still a threat.
  116. Also 89% said they were concerned about the virus. Just 42% approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak, down six points from last week. The U.S. had 385,000 coronavirus cases and more than 11,900 had died.
  117. On Tuesday, at the daily briefing, Trump continued to push hydroxychloroquine, saying, “You are not going to die from this pill,” adding though he is not a doctor, “I really think it’s a great thing to try.”
  118. Trump continued attacking mail-in voting, despite having voted this way himself, claiming without evidence, “Mail ballots, they cheat, people cheat. Mail ballots are very dangerous thing for this country.”
  119. Trump said of aid to the WHO, “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it,” accused the WHO of being “China-centric” and slow to sound alarms about coronavirus, saying, “They could have called it months earlier.”
  120. Trump added, “They call it wrong. They really, they missed the call.” This is a false claim. The WHO sounded the alarm in the earliest days of the crisis, and repeatedly warned about the emergence of the virus in China.
  121. Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson have also criticized the WHO, as have numerous Republicans. Sen. Rick Scott told Fox News on Monday that “if they had done their job, everybody would have gotten more ready.”
  122. Carlson also disparaged some “members of the media” for criticizing Trump on hydroxychloroquine, saying, “It is probably the most shameful thing I, as someone who has done this for 20 years, has ever seen.”
  123. On Tuesday, Biden told CNN he had a “good call” with Trump, saying, “I laid out what I thought he should be doing…four or five specific points,”and adding, “I indicated that it is about taking responsibility.”
  124. On Tuesday, NYT reported Black Americans are being infected and killed by the coronavirus at alarming and disproportionately high rates in several states and big cities.
  125. Longstanding inequalities make Black Americans less likely to be insured, and more like to have pre-existing conditions. Many live in segregated neighborhoods that lack good jobs and supermarkets with healthy choices.
  126. On Thursday, WAPO reported black men wearing masks and bandanas, as suggested by the CDC, were being profiled by police. Two men in Illinois say they were followed by police after leaving Walmart.
  127. On Tuesday, NYT reported that Americans being quarantined has changed the way we use the internet. There is a rise in use of apps and websites that allow people to connect personally, for work and for school.
  128. The thirst for information on the virus has caused a huge surge in local newspapers, some 50 to 150%, and well as established news sources like CNBC, WAPO and NYT, while visits to partisan sites have decreased.
  129. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it,” falsely claiming “voter fraud,” and saying it “doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”
  130. On Wednesday, as Singapore reported a second wave of coronavirus infections with 142 new cases, the government imposed a second full lockdown. Singapore has had just 6 deaths so far.
  131. On Wednesday, NYT reported that new research revealed the coronavirus started to circulate in New York City by mid-February, before the first confirmed case, and was brought from Europe, not Asia.
  132. The research found the hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs were put in place. Trump banned China flights on January 31.
  133. The Trump regime initially limited testing only to people who had come from China and displayed symptoms, missing the quiet spread. One doctor working on the study said, “It was a disaster that we didn’t do testing.”
  134. On Wednesday, WHO director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a plea for global solidarity, warning that politicizing the pandemic was “playing with fire” and that disunity and blame would result in deaths.
  135. On Wednesday, CNN reported a committee of the National Academy of Sciences sent a letter to the White House saying the current coronavirus tests sometimes misses positive cases — in one study 16 of 51 cases.
  136. On Wednesday, a somber Gov. Cuomo ordered flags in New York be flown at half-staff, announcing the deadliest day so far with 779 dead. New York continued to see a flattening in new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU adds.
  137. On Wednesday, Quinnipiac found on handling of the coronavirus response: Fauci: 78% approve, 7% disapprove; Your state’s governor: 74/24; Cuomo: 59/17; Trump: 46/51; and Congress: 44/46.
  138. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy…must be quickly forgotten.”
  139. Trump added, “Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!” His tweets came as the U.S. had more than 400,000 cases, 28% of worldwide cases, and nearly 2,000 Americans died on Tuesday.
  140. Minutes later, Trump tweeted, “The Radical Left Democrats have gone absolutely crazy that I am doing daily Presidential News Conferences,” adding, “They actually want me to STOP!”
  141. Trump added, “They tried to shame the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof,” adding, “Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale type numbers.”
  142. On Wednesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez warned South Florida is still weeks away from its coronavirus peak. Florida had more than 15,000 cases, with 8,000 in the southeastern Miami region.
  143. On Wednesday, Kansas Republican leaders revoked Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s order limiting religious gatherings to 10 people ahead of Easter, as the number of cases passed 1,000 and the death toll jumped 40% to 38.
  144. Kelly sued lawmakers on Thursday, saying Kansas lives are on the line and “I took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution.” Three of the state’s 12 clusters have stemmed from church gatherings.
  145. On Wednesday, AP reported the Trump regime is considering loosening rules to allow Americans who have been exposed but have no symptoms to return to work. More than 14,000 Americans were dead.
  146. On Wednesday, NBC News reported the White House is working on a plan to cut aid to the WHO, as Trump tried to deflect blame for his mishandling of the crisis. The regime is also looking at the timeline of their response.
  147. On Wednesday, WAPO reported three months into the coronavirus epidemic, the Trump regime still lacks a national strategy for testing, something experts say is key to slowing the spread and resuming daily life.
  148. In the absence of federal leadership, several states are developing their own testing systems, such as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut working together, as well as California and Utah.
  149. Testing varies widely between states. Some like New York, using private labs, have tested 1,645 of every 100,000 people, while Texas has tested 297 and Georgia 381. On a per capita basis the U.S. is behind many countries.
  150. On Wednesday, NYT reported that while the coronavirus was slow to spread to rural areas, more than two-thirds of rural counties now have positive cases, with one in ten having at least one death.
  151. Doctors and elected officials are warning the virus could overwhelm rural counties that are older, sicker, and poorer than much of the country, and have limited access to medical care, including beds, staff, and equipment.
  152. Several of the hold-out states that have not issued stay-at-home order, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas have large rural populations — some say it violates personal liberties.
  153. Rural doctors and nurses are already calling in sick and being quarantined. The loss of 120 rural hospitals in the past decade leaves many areas defenseless, while other hospitals are now in the process of closing.
  154. Rich ski towns like Sun Valley and Vail have some of the highest infection rates in the country. Indian reservations, which suffer from high poverty and inadequate medical services, are confronting a huge increase in cases.
  155. On Wednesday, NYT reported that there are at least 1,324 coronavirus cases in U.S. prisons, including at least 32 deaths. Some state and local agencies have not released information on cases or deaths.
  156. Cook County jail in Illinois is the country’s largest known source of infection, with 238 inmates and 115 staff cases. The jail said the figure is likely low because most of the 4,500 inmates have not been tested.
  157. The outbreak has caused authorities across the country to release inmates awaiting trial or serving time for nonviolent crimes. Inmates say there are few protections in place, and guards do not always wear masks.
  158. On Wednesday, at the daily briefing, Trump repeated that we will be able to reopen “sooner rather than later,” adding, “We’ll be sitting down with many different people and making a determination…fairly soon.”
  159. Asked again if he was briefed on the Navarro memos, Trump said, “I don’t remember that. I’ve now seen the memo…Peter sends a lot of memos. I didn’t see the memo. … But no, I didn’t see the memo at the time.”
  160. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said 50,000 Americans have been brought back from 90 countries. He backed off from attacking China, saying, “This is not the time for retribution,” but for “clarity and transparency.”
  161. Asked about a leadership change at the WHO, “This is not the time to be doing that kind of change,” he said. “There’ll be a lot of time to look back and see how the World Health Organization performed.”
  162. Fauci and Birx rejected an increasingly popular theory on Fox News put forth by Tucker Carlson and and Brit Hume that the coronavirus death toll is inflated because people are dying regardless of other medical conditions.
  163. Birx noted if people have an underlying condition, it is exacerbated by the virus that causes the disease Covid-19. Fauci added, “You will always have conspiracy theories when you have a very challenging public health crisis.”
  164. On Wednesday, former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told former colleague Sean Hannity on his radio show of people dying from the coronavirus that many “both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway.”
  165. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that coronavirus lockdown measures are “draconian” and should be revisited at the end of April.
  166. Barr added, “I think we have to allow people to adapt more…and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed,” adding he was “very concerned” about encroachments on freedom of religion.
  167. Barr also said of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, “What happened to him [Trump] was one of the greatest travesties in American history,”
  168. Barr added, “Without any basis, they started this investigation of his campaign,” and said “even more concerning” is “a whole pattern of events while he was president … to sabotage the presidency.”
  169. On Wednesday, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said arrest warrants were out for Julia Rendleman, a freelance photographer for NYT, and Alec MacGillis, a ProPublica reporter, for trespassing on campus.
  170. On Thursday, AP reported 1 in 10 Americans have lost their job in the past three weeks, as the Department of Labor announced another 6.6 million filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to 16.8 million.
  171. On Thursday, CNN reported according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade association, just 69% of American paid this month’s rent, down from 82% in April 2019.
  172. On Thursday, WSJ reported farmers are dumping food product as closed restaurants, hotels, and schools hurt demand. As much as 7% of all milk produced last week was dumped.
  173. Sanderson Farms said demand from restaurants was down 60-65%, causing it to break eggs rather than hatch them. Consumption patterns are changing, and packaging and such meant for restaurants does not work for consumers.
  174. Two major dairy industry groups sent a “milk crisis plan” to the Department of Agriculture this week, urging for help to purchase the milk for the nation’s feeding program or to pay farms that cut production.
  175. On Thursday, San Antonio Express News reported a record-setting 10,000 cars lined up at the San Antonio Food Bank. Cars started lining up before dawn for households hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus.
  176. Roughly 6,000 households pre-registered, and thousands more showed up. The food bank stayed open four extra hours, and called the Food Bank warehouse to send in more trucks. Workers were brought to tears.
  177. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNBC, “We could have a depression because so many people are out of work.” On reopening, she said, “Data, data, data, evidence, science — that is the answer.”
  178. On Thursday, with Trump eager to reopen the economy, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC the U.S. economy could be ready to reopen by the end of May, saying as soon as Trump “feels comfortable.”
  179. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell echoed the sentiment in an interview, saying, “We need to have a plan nationally for reopening the economy. We all want it to happen as quickly as possible.”
  180. On Thursday, Fauci told the WSJ, “When you gradually come back, you don’t jump into it with both feet,” and going forward we should have “compulsive hand-washing,” and “don’t ever shake anybody’s hands.”
  181. On Thursday, Fauci told the “TODAY” show that the country is entering a “very bad week,” but thanks to social distancing measures, the final death toll currently “looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000.”
  182. The figures is based on a new projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which predicted the U.S. death toll through early August. The projection also showed deaths will peak on April 11.
  183. Fauci cited “glimmers of hope” in New York where hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and intubations are down. He said testing will be important to reopening, adding many may have been infected and asymptomatic and not know it.
  184. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s advisers and GOP allies are worried that the daily briefings have devolved to campaign rhetoric of belittling Democratic governors, attacking the media, and trafficking innuendo.
  185. Trump is effectively wagering he can win re-election amid a national crisis on a platform of polarization. Republicans and regime officials want him to limit his error-filled appearances and focus instead on the economy.
  186. As Bernie Sanders dropped out and Biden became his opponent, Trump has mostly lost the small approval bump he got at the start of the crisis. Three polls show Biden leading. He trails governors and Fauci in polling.
  187. Even as a senior campaign adviser said Trump was handing Biden ammunition, publicity-obsessed Trump is unlikely to give up the appearances, telling aides he loves the free television time and the ratings.
  188. Some Republicans want Trump to step back and put Fauci in charge, and include a broad range of the country’s leaders, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for an all-hands-on-deck national emergency.
  189. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump is weighing creating a new economy-focused coronavirus task force, including Mnuchin, Kudlow, Ivanka and Kevin Hassett, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.
  190. On Thursday, CNN reported that Pence’s office is blocking public health officials, including Birx and Fauci, from appearing on CNN unless the network broadcasts the daily briefings, including portions with Pence and other officials.
  191. Currently, CNN is broadcasting Trump and questions, which sometimes includes health officials, and then cuts to fact checking what Trump said. Major networks had stopped broadcasting Trump, but have not been singled out.
  192. On Thursday, Politico reported that Trump’s approval rating is dipping back down, after a short bump with the coronavirus outbreak. Presidents typically surge in a time of crisis — Trump’s rise was short and small.
  193. On Thursday, the WSJ Editorial Board excoriated Trump in an op-ed titled “Trump’s Wasted Briefings,” saying he has “concluded that the briefings could be a showcase for him,” perhaps a substitute for campaign rallies.
  194. They noted his outbursts against critics are “notably off key,” as this is “a once-a-century threat to American life and livelihood.” The board also criticized long briefings, saying they should be no more than 45 minutes.
  195. On Thursday, Cuomo announced a “breathtaking” 799 deaths, saying the pandemic had far eclipsed the horror of 9/11, and that he never thought any New Yorker would experience such mass death in a generation.
  196. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the WSJ “always “forgets” to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are “through the roof” (Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale…), calling them “Fake News.”
  197. On Thursday, states in the South and Midwest saw a spike in cases: Illinois added 1,500 cases to 15,000 with 462 dead, Michigan saw 117 deaths and passed 1,000 total, Kansas saw 150 new cases, three times the day prior.
  198. On Thursday, Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis said he was mulling re-opening schools in May, saying Covid-19 “doesn’t seem to threaten” kids, and added, “Even if it’s for a couple of weeks, we think there would be value in that.”
  199. On Thursday, a prestigious National Academy of Sciences committee told Trump in a letter that the coronavirus will not go away with warmer weather, as Trump has claimed.
  200. On Thursday, NYT reported the United States Postal Service appealed to Congress for an $89 billion rescue package, saying it could run out of cash by the end of September, with mail volume down nearly one-third.
  201. Democrats have pressed to give the USPS most of what it wants, but Trump has resisted, saying the agency should solve its own problem by raising prices on packages delivered for big online retailers like Amazon.
  202. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that Covid-19 may “reactivate,” saying 51 patients testing positive again after being cured.
  203. On Thursday, Trump’s campaign took heat for an ad showing Biden with former Washington governor Gary Locke, who is Chinese-American, claiming, “Biden stands up for China … while China cripples America.”
  204. On Thursday, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu announced New Hampshire will allow voters to cast mail-in ballots in the November election if the coronavirus is still a factor — a break from his previous position and with Trump.
  205. On Thursday, and again on Friday, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin. There was no U.S. readout. Putin said they discussed a cut in global oil production and the coronavirus outbreak.
  206. On Thursday, the Dow Jones jumped 282 points, or 1.2%, capping off the stock market’s best week since 1974, rallying 12.7%. The stock market was closed Friday for Good Friday.
  207. During the week, the Federal Reserve unveiled plans to inject an additional $2.3 trillion into programs aiming to get money to small businesses and to help bolster municipal finances.
  208. On Thursday, WAPO reported behind closed doors Trump is pushing to reopen much of the country on May 1, concerned about the sagging economy and its impact on his reelection prospects.
  209. On Thursday, at the daily briefing, Trump said the U.S. was at the “top of the hill,” adding, “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.”
  210. The briefing was Trump’s 26th appearance in 27 days, appearing each evening in prime television viewership time as Americans are stuck at home. The briefings have become increasingly long and devoid of news.
  211. While Americans are tuning in, desperate for information, the briefings have devolved into a daily reality show filled with dangerously inaccurate information. Trump seemed to heed the WSJ, and kept his remarks brief.
  212. Reporters attending the briefing were tested as a precaution, after a member of the press corp left Tuesday after feeling symptoms, but later tested negative. All reporters have their temperatures checked upon entry.
  213. On Thursday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said, “After hearing all of the stories where hydroxychloroquine is credited with saving lives, it is amazing that the left and the medical establishment is still in total denial.”
  214. On Friday, WAPO reported that Fox News hosts have tried to turn the hydroxychloroquine controversy into a culture war, part of a Roger Ailes playbook of having heroes and villains and a theme across the network.
  215. The Fox News shows this week followed that theme of emphasizing that the critics of the drug are wrong, and overstating its danger just to get at Trump. The network appeared to be in a feedback loop with Trump.
  216. On Friday, NPR reported a doctor in Texas used his GOP connections to get hydroxychloroquine to give to dozens of elderly patients at a nursing home diagnosed with Covid-19, in what he called an “observational study.”
  217. Dr. Robin Armstrong, a prominent GOP activist, admitted it will be difficult to quantify an improvement from the drug. In some cases, he didn’t discuss with families before prescribing the drug. Doctors raised ethical concerns.
  218. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “in only 4 days, we had the biggest Stock Market increase since 1974,” and “great chance for the really big bounce when the Invisible Enemy is gone!” More than 17,000 were dead.
  219. On Friday, CNN reported that due to the surge of deaths in New York, victims who are not claimed at morgues within 14 days will be buried on New York’s Hart Island. The plots will be marked for future identification.
  220. On Friday, Cuomo said he signed an executive order which will allow out-of-state funeral directors to come help with the virus toll. Some funeral directors said they had run out of body bags.
  221. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Nobody wants to say that if Elizabeth Warren gets out of the race before Super Tuesday, Crazy Bernie Sanders wins virtually every state in a blowout.”
  222. On Friday, Fauci told MSNBC he expects a “real degree of normality” by the November elections, saying he hopes “by November we would have things under such control that we could have a real degree of normality.”
  223. On Friday, at an early and hours-long daily briefing on Good Friday, Trump announced he plans to appoint a council to advise him and make recommendations on how to best reopen the country.
  224. Trump said, “I’m going to surround myself with the greatest minds.” When asked what metrics they will use to evaluate opening parts of the country, Trump pointed to his temple and said, “The metrics right here.”
  225. Trump said he would listen to experts, but he would decide when to reopen, claiming, “I’ve made a lot of big decisions in my life. This is by far the biggest decision of my life.” States have their own restrictions in place.
  226. Trump lied, saying, “We’re in great shape in every way. Ventilators, protective clothing — we’re not getting any calls from governors…We’re getting very few calls from governors or anybody else needing anything.”
  227. Trump congratulated himself on “tremendous progress,” adding, “In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives.” More than 18,600 were dead.
  228. Trump also said the coronavirus is “a very brilliant enemy,” adding, “the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can’t keep up with it.” Antibiotics are not used for treatment of viruses.
  229. Asked about racial disparity, Surgeon General Adams, who is a black man, said Americans of color should follow safety procedures for “your Big Mama,” including to “avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs.”
  230. On Friday, the WHO director-general Ghebreyesus warned, “Lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence,” adding, “The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.”
  231. On Friday, a Fox News poll found 80% of voters nationwide said they favored the federal government announcing a stay at home order for everyone but essential workers.
  232. On Friday, the U.S. passed 500,000 confirmed cases, 29% of all cases in the world, and more than triple the number of next country Spain. While Spain and Italy were seeing fewer case, the U.S. continued a sharp increase.
  233. Shortly after, the global coronavirus death toll crossed 100,000, with more than 1.6 million cases. More than 18,000 Americans were dead, roughly 18% of the world’s total, and with 29% of the world’s cases.
  234. On Friday, Boris Johnson was taken out of the ICU as his condition stabilized. So far, 8,958 British people have died. Moscow’s mayor announced tighter restrictions starting Monday, as Russia experienced a spread of the virus.
  235. On Saturday, the U.S. passed Italy to have the most coronavirus deaths in the world, reaching 19,424 and surpassing Italy’s total of 18,849. There is widespread concern that lack of testing has led to a U.S. undercount.
  236. WAPO reported the CDC only counts deaths in which the virus is confirmed in a laboratory test. There has been lack of testing accessibility throughout the country, and questions on the accuracy of testing.
  237. On Saturday, NYT reported that during January, numerous officials in the government including top White House advisers, cabinet departments, and intelligence agencies sounded alarms and called for aggressive action.
  238. Trump in January played down the seriousness of the virus, and focused on other issues. Instead of taking action, Trump focused on controlling the message and protecting gains in the economy.
  239. Trump’s response, post impeachment, was also colored by distrust and disdain for the “Deep State” — the very people with long experience who could have guided him on steps needed to slow the virus and save lives.
  240. In January, the National Security Council office responsible for tracking pandemics raised the option of keeping Americans at home from work and shutting down some large cities. Trump waited until March.
  241. Despite Trump’s denials, he was told about Navarro’s memos. HHS Secretary Alex Azar warned Trump on a January 30 call, the second warning in two weeks. Trump said Azar was being alarmist.
  242. Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, in a January 28 email warned, “The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe,” and added, “Now I’m screaming, close the colleges and universities.”
  243. Trump’s only action in January was to limit travel with China on January 31, after internal debate and dissent by Mnuchin who was concerned about the impact on the pending trade deal with China.
  244. At a Capitol Hill briefing on February 5, senators pushed regime officials to take the virus more seriously. Sen. Christopher Murphy tweeted shortly after: “Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough.”
  245. On February 21, Dr. Robert Kadlec, the top disaster response official at the HHS, convened the coronavirus task force to discuss a lockdown. It took three more weeks for Trump to impose any measures.
  246. Trump announced social distancing guidelines on March 16. As markets cratered, he repeatedly considered lifting restrictions. He did not think the regime should be blamed for lack of testing, saying it was up to states.
  247. On Saturday, Trump declared Wyoming a disaster due to the coronavirus at the request of the governor, adding it to the long list of states, territories, and the District. All 50 states were covered by federal declarations.
  248. On Saturday, there was no public daily briefing. Vice President Pence convened a meeting of the task force, closed to the media, and not listed on Trump’s daily schedule.
  249. As the week came to a close, there were 1,733,792 worldwide cases and 106,649 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 506,188 cases (nearly 3 in 10 worldwide), 19,701 deaths (18.4%), and a mortality rate of 3.9%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, April 11, 2020

Workers wearing personal protective equipment bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. On Thursday, New York City’s medical examiner confirmed that the city has shortened the amount of time it will hold on to remains to 14 days from 30 days before they will be transferred for temporary internment at a City Cemetery. Earlier in the week, Mayor Bill DeBlasio said that officials have explored the possibility of temporary burials on Hart Island, a strip of land in Long Island Sound that has long served as the city’s potter’s field.