This is the first of a daily news round up we will share as the story on the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. 

Driving the Day: “a slew of new cases announced over the weekend suggest the virus has spread throughout the country while the U.S. government tested only a narrow subset of the population for it.” [Axios, 3/2/20]

Key Point: We now know that while the administration was failing to provide for adequate testing, the virus was spreading and today we are seeing the consequences.

What to Watch For: The president is meeting with Big Pharma. Will he put peoples’ health above drug company profits and insist that any any vaccine or treatment be affordable for everyone? Secretary Azar last week: “We can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest. Price controls won’t get us there.”

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE — 3/2/20

  • Vice President Pence appeared on CNN State of the Union and refused to disavow Donald Trump Jr’s assertion that Democrats are rooting for coronavirus to kill millions of people to hurt Trump. Pence characterized Don Jr’s sentiment as “understandable.” Pence claimed that Democrats have been engaging in irresponsible rhetoric about the outbreak.
  • On Fox News Sunday, Alex Azar said that “there will be no retaliation” against the whistleblower and that nobody who greeted the coronavirus evacuees without protective gear was symptomatic or diagnosed with the disease.
  • A “senior administration official” responded dismissively to a question from CNBC reporter Eamon Javers about what Wall Street traders should know from the White House before the start of the trading week with “Tell them > 30 k fatalities per year domestically b/c of flu. Tell them we are ending war in Afghan. Tell them we were due for market correction.”
  • New cases of the virus were announced in Florida, New York State, Rhode Island and Washington State, where a second elederly victim of the disease has died.
  • The president will meet with drug manufacturers at the White House today and hold a campaign rally in Charlotte, NC. He will visit NIH in Bethesda on Tuesday and is set to visit the CDC in Atlanta on Friday. The vice president and Deborah Birx will hold a briefing at 5:00 PM today.

National Headlines

Axios: Lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated

Bloomberg: CDC Teams Race to Catch Up to Spread of Coronavirus in U.S.

CNN: Two dozen new cases of coronavirus were reported in the US over the weekend

CNN: CDC hasn’t revealed information to doctors that would help coronavirus patients

Kaiser Health News: Nursing Home Outbreak Spotlights Coronavirus Risk In Elder Care Facilities

New York Times: Coronavirus May Have Spread in U.S. for Weeks, Gene Sequencing Suggests

New York Times (Opinion): What the Plague Can Teach Us About the Coronavirus

Politico: U.S. health officials probe coronavirus test problems at CDC

Politico: Pence warns that more coronavirus cases are coming

Politico: Alex Azar: War powers on the table to increase medical supplies

Politico: The glaring loophole in U.S. virus response: Human error

Reuters: Trump vows to screen travellers after first American dies of coronavirus

Talking Points Memo: Pence Says Claim That Dems Are Politicizing Coronavirus Is ‘Justified’

In The States

Associated Press: Two people in Tampa Bay area test ‘presumptively positive’ for Coronavirus

Wall Street Journal: First Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in New York State

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Spreads in U.S., as Rhode Island Confirms State’s First Case

KXAN: San Antonio Mayor: CDC released patient who later tested positive for COVID-19

USA Today: Scientist: Hundreds may already be infected by coronavirus in Washington state alone

CNN: 8 people test positive for coronavirus in Washington state. A possible nursing home outbreak is investigated

New York Times: Nursing Home is a Focus as Signs Grow of Coronavirus’s Spread in U.S.

KIRO: Second man in King County with coronavirus dies

Economic Impact

CNBC: Dow futures drop 300 points after volatile overnight session as market struggles to rebound

New York Times: Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford

Reuters: U.S. officials talk down coronavirus market panic, tout economic strength

USA Today: Nervous about buying a plane ticket? American waiving change fees amid coronavirus crisis

Trump Tweets