Driving the Day:

Mixed messages:
At a House Oversight Committee hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the current U.S. testing system is “failing.” “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing…Let’s admit it.” Meanwhile: Fauci’s assertion directly contradicts President Trump’s false claim that anyone who wants a test gets one: “‘Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth,’ he said. ‘If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test.’”

What to Watch For: Today President Trump will meet with industry executives to discuss coronavirus response. Despite a promise of “daily briefings,” the coronavirus task force did not hold a formal press briefing yesterday and it is unclear whether one will be held today. On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci will appear on all of the Sunday morning news shows.

Coronavirus Update 

  • On a day that saw the cancellation of nearly every major sporting event in the country and the sweeping closure of schools across the country, in a meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar, Trump falsely claimed that every American returning to the country was being tested for coronavirus, saying, “We have a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested.” Trump also claimed that, “The testing is going very smooth” in this country. Asked about why he didn’t alert European leaders before imposing travel restrictions, resulting in confusion and chaos at airports, Trump said “It takes a long time to make the individual calls.” Late in the day Thursday, the New York TimesWashington Post, and Wall Street Journal all reported on the chaos and failure of the president’s address to the nation on Wednesday night.

  • Congressional talks on a coronavirus relief bill are ongoing. Nancy Pelosi said at 9:00 PM Thursday night that an agreement was “close” and would hopefully be arrived at by Friday. Pelosi released a letter outlining a “near” agreement with the Trump administration that includes free testing, paid leave, enhanced unemployment insurance, food assistance and more funding for Medicaid. Earlier in the day, Mitch McConnell dismissed the House package as an “ideological wish list” and announced that recess will be delayed to deal with the crisis.

  • At a House Oversight Committee hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci said of the current testing situation in the US, “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing…Let’s admit it.” Fauci said at an impromptu press briefing that he believes Trump’s travel restrictions from Europe will make a difference in reducing coronavirus infections in the US. In the Oversight hearing Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) also pushed CDC Director Redield to commit to providing free testing for every American.

  • After being read a Trump tweet in which the president blamed Democrats and the media for hyping the coronavirus threat, Vice President Pence said, “Obviously there has been some irresponsible rhetoric.” Pence also insisted that he’s “still shaking hands” despite repeated warnings from the CDC to avoid the practice.

  • Joe Biden delivered an address outlining his plans to fight coronavirus. Trump and his campaign immediately lashed out, blaming Biden and the Obama administration for deaths during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 and attacking the CDC in a series of tweets. Barack Obama tweeted on Wednesday night to explain the concept of social distancing and flattening the curve saying, “If you’re wondering whether it’s an overreaction to cancel large gatherings and public events (and I love basketball), here’s a useful primer as to why these measures can slow the spread of the virus and save lives. We have to look out for each other.”

By The Numbers
Friday, March 13, 2020, 7:00 AM
Number of US cases: 1,660
Number of US deaths: 41
Number of states with confirmed cases: 46
Total Number of People Tested in US: 11,515

Federal Health Response
Axios: The two uncertainties of the coronavirus
Buzzfeed: Trump’s Surprise Europe Travel Ban Left Travelers Scrambling To Find Out WTF Was Happening
Buzzfeed: A Top Health Official Said The US Is “Failing” At Testing For The Coronavirus
Buzzfeed: Members Of Congress Are Furious At The Lack Of Information On Coronavirus Testing
CNN: ‘We are flying blind’: Lawmakers fume amid lack of coronavirus testing and answers
CNN: Airlines Are Scrambling To Understand And Implement New Coronavirus Travel Restrictions
Kaiser Health News: Coronavirus Puts Prisons In Tight Spot Amid Staff Shortages, Threats Of Lockdown
The Independent: Trump claimed fees for coronavirus treatment will be waived. The health care industry has no idea what he’s talking about
NPR: Singapore Wins Praise For Its COVID-19 Strategy. The U.S. Does Not
New York Magazine (Opinion): Coronavirus Shows Us America Is Broken
New York Times: The Tickets Home Were $5,000. They Paid It.
New York Times: Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test
New York Times (Opinion): Coronavirus School Closings: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
New York Times (Editorial): It’s Time to Declare a National Emergency
Politico: Trump officials did sound the coronavirus alarm. They just don’t work there anymore.
ProPublica: The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases
Talking Points Memo: States Clamor For Trump Emergency Declaration
Talking Points Memo: Medical Community Demands Trump Declare COVID-19 A National Emergency
Yahoo News: CDC tested only 77 people this week; coronavirus testing slow around the nation
Yahoo News: Trump considers travel restrictions to California and Washington in attempt to stop coronavirus spread
Wall Street Journal: FDA Grants New Coronavirus Test Emergency Approval
Washington Post: After Trump promised ‘anybody’ can get coronavirus testing, patients and doctors still complain of roadblocks
Washington Post (Opinion): Quarantining cities isn’t needed. But a fast, coordinated response to covid-19 is essential.

Federal Economic Response
Boston Globe (Opinion): Needed: A finance agency to handle the financial meltdown from the coronavirus
Buzzfeed: The Trump Administration Will Move Ahead With Its Plan To Kick People Off Of Food Stamps Despite The Coronavirus Outbreak
CNBC: ‘Everybody is upside down:’ Lobbyists flooded with calls from corporate clients worried about coronavirus
HuffPost: Trump Administration Refuses To Postpone Food Benefit Cut
Modern Healthcare: High-Deductible Plans May Waive Cost-Sharing For Coronavirus Tests
New York Times: Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Would Dwarf The 2008 Bank Bailout
Politico: Fed announces massive cash injection to relieve U.S. debt market
Politico: ‘I don’t want to use the b-word’: Trump aides race to rescue the economy
Wall Street Journal: Fed to Inject $1.5 Trillion in Bid to Prevent ‘Unusual Disruptions’ in Markets

Leadership
The Atlantic (Ideas): The Worst Outcome
The Atlantic (Ideas): Trump Is Failing To Prepare Americans for A Disturbing New Reality
Bloomberg: Meadows Enters West Wing After Self-Quarantine Over Coronavirus
Bloomberg: Inside the Oval Office, a Fierce Fight Over Trump’s Virus Speech
The Bulwark: The Coronavirus According to Donald Trump
Buzzfeed: Coronavirus Is The Nightmare Situation People Worried About When Trump Won
CNN: Fact check: Trump makes four key errors or omissions in Europe travel announcement
CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely claims anybody who returns from Europe is being tested for coronavirus
Daily Beast: Trump’s Coronavirus Speech Sparks ‘Total Chaos’ in His Own Administration
GQ: Trump Voters Wanted to Blow up the System. Well, Here We Go.
The Hill: Poll: Trump Approval Dips To 46 Percent Amid Coronavirus
HuffPost: Trump Twiddles His Thumbs With Economy In A Tailspin
HuffPost: Trump Runs To Travel Ban Comfort Zone But Ignores The Bigger Coronavirus Problems
The Intercept: Bolsonaro Aide Who Visited With Trump Tested Positive For Coronavirus — And Three Other Members Of The Delegation Have Flu-like Symptoms
Los Angeles Times: Trump coronavirus response puts administration weaknesses under harsh spotlight
The Nation: An Internal Pandemic Document Shows the Coronavirus Gives Trump Extraordinary Powers
NBC: Pence says there’s been ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ from people downplaying coronavirus
New York Times: Trump and Pence Won’t Be Tested After Meeting With Infected Brazilian Official
New York Times (Analysis): The President as Bystander: Trump Struggles to Unify a Nation on Edge
Politico (Opinion): Mr. President, Shut Up About Coronavirus
Vox: Coronavirus is the Trump catastrophe we’ve been terrified of
Vox: Trump is breaking his own agency’s coronavirus guidelines by not self-quarantining
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Crisis Tests Trump’s Unusual Governing Style
Wall Street Journal: White House Evaluates Trump Exposure to Coronavirus
Washington Post: For Trump, the coronavirus crisis is all about the numbers — and they don’t look good
Washington Post: Coronavirus pandemic tests clout of cruise industry and its long-standing ties to Trump
Washington Post: Ten minutes at the teleprompter: Inside Trump’s failed attempt to calm coronavirus fears
Washington Post: Cancellations hit Trump’s hotels and clubs amid coronavirus outbreak
Washington Post (Analysis): ‘It will go away’: A timeline of Trump playing down the coronavirus threat

Congress
ABC News: House Democrats Rush To Finalize Bill To Address Economic Pain Of Coronavirus Outbreak Ahead Of Recess
HuffPost: House Democrats Set Up Coronavirus Paid Leave Standoff With Senate
The Intercept: GOP Lawmaker Who Voted Against Paid Sick Leave In Florida Takes Paid Leave From Congress
Los Angeles Times: Democrats Propose Economic Stimulus To Soften Coronavirus Blow
Louisville Courier Journal: Mitch McConnell rejects Democrat’s coronavirus plan as liberal ‘wish list’
Miami Herald: Rick Scott to self-quarantine after Bolsonaro aide tests positive for coronavirus
New York Times: Democrats And White House Race To Strike Deal For Coronavirus Relief Package
Politico: Pelosi and Mnuchin fail to reach deal on coronavirus aid package
Reuters: U.S. House Leaders Unveil Coronavirus Bill; Capitol Tours Suspended
Talking Points Memo: Senate Cancels Its Planned Recess Next Week As Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens
Washington Post: Coronavirus Rescue Proposal Addresses Unemployment Insurance, Paid Sick Leave And Food Assistance

Affordability and Access
Talking Points Memo: Porter Strong-Arms CDC Director Into Committing To Free Coronavirus Testing For All Americans

Media
CNN: How Fox News misled viewers about the coronavirus
Daily Beast: Trump Supporters Fuel Dangerous ‘Election Year’ Coronavirus Claim
Daily Beast: Trump Allies Are Downplaying Coronavirus Panic—And Profiting Off It at the Same Time
Daily Beast: Fox News Hosts Downplay Coronavirus, but Network Brass Take It Very Seriously, Memo Shows
Washington Post (Analysis): For weeks, conservative media joined Trump in downplaying the threat of the coronavirus

Campaigns and Elections
CNBC: Nancy Pelosi cancels major New York fundraiser amid coronavirus fears
CNN: Democratic debate moved from Arizona to Washington, DC, over coronavirus concerns, DNC announces
Foreign Policy (Opinion): It’s Time to Cancel the U.S. Presidential Campaign
Politico: Coronavirus consumes Trump’s reelection bid
Roll Call: Presidential candidates argue over coronavirus response
New York Times: How the Coronavirus Changed the 2020 Political Campaign
Tampa Bay Times: Trump will ‘probably not’ hold Tampa rally later this month amid coronavirus concerns, he said
Washington Post: Biden and Sanders aim to project presidential stature on coronavirus after Trump’s shaky address

International
BBC: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau self-isolating over coronavirus fears
Buzzfeed: Many Families Are Going To Lose Loved Ones In The “Worst Public Health Crisis For A Generation”, Boris Johnson Has Warned
NBC News: Coronavirus: Europe Wakes Up To Chaos And Confusion As Trump Restricts Travel
New York Times: Merkel Gives Germans a Hard Truth About the Coronavirus
New York Times: The World Has a Plan to Fight Coronavirus. Most Countries Are Not Using it.
New York Times: Tom Hanks Got Sick in Australia, Where Coronavirus Testing Isn’t Such a Hassle
New York Times: Italy’s Health Care System Groans Under Coronavirus — a Warning to the World
Reuters: Italy and South Korea virus outbreaks reveal disparity in deaths and tactics
Washington Post: Coronavirus burial pits so vast they’re visible from space

Economic And Social Impacts
Buzzfeed: Basically All Professional Sports Are Shutting Down Temporarily Because Of The Coronavirus Pandemic
Buzzfeed: It’s Not Just Food And Hand Sanitizer — Panicked Coronavirus Shoppers Are Stocking Up On Guns And Body Armor
CNN: The NCAA is canceling March Madness
CNBC: Economist Alan Blinder says the US is probably already in recession
New York Times: Something Weird Is Happening on Wall Street, and Not Just the Stock Sell-Off
New York Times: Stocks Plunge by the Most Since 1987
New York Times: Meet the Firefighters, Nurses and Janitors on the Coronavirus Front Lines
Vice: Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon Should Suspend Data Caps Because of Coronavirus
The Verge: Disney park employees panic as parks remain open amid coronavirus pandemic
Vox: Coronavirus will also cause a loneliness epidemic
Washington Post: ‘I’m a hand-shaker’: Many older Americans are playing down the coronavirus threat while others opt for safety

Personal Preparedness
The Atlantic (Ideas): The Shift Americans Must Make To Fight The Coronavirus
The Atlantic: The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’
Buzzfeed: How Millennials Are Talking To Their Boomer Relatives About The Coronavirus
USA Today: Dine out or eat in during the coronavirus crisis? Here’s what public health and food safety experts say

In The States
Florida
Miami New Times: Activists Say ICE Check-Ins Put Elderly Immigrants at Risk for Coronavirus

Michigan
Michigan Advance: GOP wants feds to reinstate Medicaid work rules, even as coronavirus hits Michigan

New York
New York Times: New York’s Major Cultural Institutions Close in Response to Coronavirus

Ohio
Columbus Dispatch: Coronavirus: Ohio to close schools, ban gatherings of more than 100 people
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s clear coronavirus response seen as contrast to White House approach
The Hill: Ohio health official estimates 100,000 people in state have coronavirus

Texas
Texas Tribune: She’s a Texas nurse who treats cancer patients — and she can’t get a coronavirus test. That’s not unusual.

Trump Tweets
“For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it. It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped. President Obama made changes that only complicated things further. Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now. The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]

“‘The Obama White House had to immediately issue an apology for Joe Biden’s remarks, and any alarm that he might have caused, an alarm about a Swine Flu outbreak that took 6 months for President Obama to declare a National Emergency, and that killed 12,000 Americans.’ @LouDobbs” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/12/20]

“Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people. The response was one of the worst on record. Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/12/20]

“Just had a great conversation with Prime Minister Abe of Japan. I told him that the just completed Olympic venue is magnificent. He has done an incredible job, one that will make him very proud. Good things will happen for Japan and their great Prime Minister. Lots of options!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/12/20]

“108 countries are dealing with the CoronaVirus problem, some of which we are helping! [@realDonaldTrump, 3/12/20]