Driving the Day: From David Leonhardt at the New York Times, “A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus…He could have taken action. He didn’t.”

What to Watch For: President Trump will hold video conferences with the G7 and with governors. The coronavirus task force will hold a press briefing at 10:30 AM. The Senate returns to session today while the House remains in recess.

Coronavirus Update:

  • At the Sunday evening task force press briefing, President Trump gave brief opening remarks and claimed that coronavirus is “something that we have total control over.” Trump added, “Relax. We’re doing great. It all will pass.” Trump then departed the briefing without taking questions. Minutes later, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that “the worst is yet ahead of us.” HHS Secretary Alex Azar refused to answer questions about the number of ventilators on hand in the United States citing “national security” even though Dr. Fauci said on the Sunday shows that there are 12,000 ventilators in the “stockpile.” Vice President Pence urged people not to horde groceries and said that stores would remain open and supplied, and that grocers are working with local food banks to ensure needs are met.

  • On the Sunday shows, Dr. Fauci urged a “dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see in restaurants and bars.” Hours later, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) appeared on Fox News to tell people that “it’s a great time to go to a local restaurant.” In his morning appearances, Dr. Fauci said that domestic travel restrictions “have not been seriously discussed,” but by evening, the US appeared closer to nationwide shutdown and governors across the country moved to close bars, restaurants and stores.

  • On Meet the Press, Governor Jamie Pritzker (D-IL) assailed the Trump administration for response to the virus, including the mass crowds waiting for customs at O’Hare airport on Saturday night. Pritzker said governors are “on our own out here” and the federal government has “fallen down” on responding to the crisis.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appeared on Good Morning America on Monday morning to plead for more federal guidance and assistance, including activating the armed forces to build hospital capacity. Cuomo emphasized that New York only has 600 ICU beds and 80 percent are already occupied. Cuomo said, “We have been behind this disease from day one… The wave is going to break on the hospital system.”

By The Numbers
Saturday, March 16, 2020, 7:00 AM
Number of US cases reported: 3,602
Number of US deaths: 66
Number of states with confirmed cases: 49 + Washington, DC and Puerto Rico
Total Number of People Tested in US: 38,631

Los Angeles Times: How one man’s coronavirus infection created a web of potential infection around the world
New York Times: Two Emergency Room Doctors Are in Critical Condition With Coronavirus
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Deaths Outside China Exceed Those Inside

Federal Health Response
ABC (Opinion): The coronavirus paradox – our lowest point and finest hour
Associated Press: US moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears
Axios: Surgeon general asks hospitals to stop elective surgeries
Axios: The problems with our coronavirus testing are worse than you think
Buzzfeed: An Unprecedented Group Of Immigration Prosecutors, Lawyers, And Judges Are Calling For Courts To Be Closed
CNBC: CDC recommends canceling events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks throughout US
CNN: Top infectious disease expert doesn’t rule out supporting temporary national lockdown to combat coronavirus
Deutsche Welle: Germany and US wrestle over coronavirus vaccine
Miami Herald: Thousands leave Miami cruise ship without screenings after former passenger got COVID-19
New York Times: U.S. Offered ‘Large Sum’ to German Company for Access to Coronavirus Vaccine Research, German Officials Say
Politico: White House eyes additional cash for Pentagon, Homeland Security as virus outbreak widens
Reuters: Germany tries to halt U.S. interest in firm working on coronavirus vaccine
USA Today (Opinion): The best thing everyday Americans can do to fight coronavirus? #StayHome, save lives
Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Push Off Surgeries to Make Room for Coronavirus Patients
Washington Post: Most federal workers will report to the office Monday — as the rest of the country isolates itself
Washington Post: Without guidance from the top, Americans have been left to figure out their own coronavirus solutions
Washington Post: Federal vaccine development sites ill-suited to counter covid-19 epidemic
Washington Post: Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China
Washington Post (Opinion): Landing at Dulles Airport, I encountered a case study in how to spread a pandemic

Federal Economic Response
Bloomberg: Fed Cuts Main Interest Rate to Near Zero, Vows Massive Bond-Buying Program
CNN: Trump congratulates Federal Reserve for slashing interest rates: ‘It makes me very happy’
New York Times: Trump’s Student Loan Interest Waiver Isn’t What You May Think
New York Times: ‘There Is Plenty of Food in the Country’
Talking Points Memo: Mnuchin Expects Economic ‘Rebound’ From Coronavirus Outbreak
Talking Points Memo: Kudlow Insists Supply Lines ‘Working Pretty Well’ As Grocery Stores Clear Out

Leadership
Axios: Pence’s presidential moment
Axios: How Trump snapped out of hoax mode
Axios: Google scrambles to catch up with Trump’s website claims
Axios: Trump’s Google claims fit his pattern of tech hype
CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely claims US has ‘tremendous control’ of the coronavirus
CNN (Analysis): Trump says the pandemic crisis was ‘unforeseen’ — but lots of people foresaw it
Daily Beast: Illinois Gov: White House Staffer Yelled at Me About Tweet on Airport Crowding
The Guardian: Trump ‘offers large sums’ for exclusive access to coronavirus vaccine
New York Times: When Facebook Is More Trustworthy Than the President
New York Times (Opinion): A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus
Politico: Trump’s Florida sanctuary becomes a gilded petri dish for a global disease
Politico: Poll: Voters split on Trump’s handling of coronavirus outbreak
Politico: Trump finds his MAGA movement fracturing over coronavirus
Politico (Analysis): The incompetence pandemic
Talking Points Memo: Nunes Says People Should ‘Go To Local Pub’ Instead Of Flooding Grocery Stores

Congress
The Hill: Graham tests negative for coronavirus
HuffPost: Ted Cruz Praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Good Advice’ On Coronavirus Conduct

Affordability and Access
Popular Information: Supermarket sick
Washington Post: Fears mount about impact of coronavirus on homeless

Campaigns and Elections
The Atlantic: The Coronavirus Debate
NBC: Sanitizer. Skip the handshake. No audience. An unusual debate, thanks to coronavirus.
New York Times: New York Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election

International
New York Times: A Lockdown, Paris-Style: ‘We Can’t Live Without Bread’
New York Times: Restrictions on Movement Grow as Governments Try to Slow Coronavirus
New York Times: Europeans Erect Borders Against Coronavirus, but the Enemy Is Already Within

Economic And Social Impacts
The Atlantic: Deep Clean, Then Clean Again
Chicago Tribune: Grubhub suspends fees to help restaurants meet payroll as coronavirus fears hit dining sales
CNBC: Stock futures drop — hit ‘limit down’ — even as Fed slashes rates; S&P 500 ETF down 9%
New York Times: The Man With 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Just Donated Them
Seattle Times: Starbucks to close some stores, eliminate seating in all others to slow spread of coronavirus
Wall Street Journal: How Coronavirus Remade American Life in One Weekend
Washington Post: Life in the time of coronavirus: Anxious Americans pivot to new routines
Washington Post: With unprecedented force and speed, a global recession is likely taking hold
Washington Post: All bets are off: Casinos grind to a halt over coronavirus

Personal Preparedness
Buzzfeed: If You Go Out Now, You Might Feel Guilty Later. I Do.

In The States
California
LA Times: As coronavirus spreads, housekeepers in L.A. declare staying home ‘a luxury’
LA Times: To help fight coronavirus, California seniors should isolate and bars should close, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

Massachusetts
Boston Globe: Baker closes schools, restricts restaurants, bans gatherings over 25 as community spread of coronavirus seen in 7 Mass. counties

New York
New York Times: Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Schools, Restaurants and Bars Are Shut Down

Oklahoma
CNN: Oklahoma governor faces backlash over ‘packed’ restaurant tweet amid coronavirus pandemic

Washington
HuffPost: Seattle’s Nursing Home Nightmare Could Be A Preview Of Things To Come
Seattle Times: Washington state to shut down restaurants, bars, and cap gatherings at 50 to stop spread of coronavirus

Washington, DC
Washington Post: ‘There’s no blueprint for this’: Students embark on an unprecedented remote learning plan

Trump Tweets
“The individual Governors of States, and local officials, must step up their efforts on drive up testing and testing sights, working in conjunction with @CDCgov and the Federal Government!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]

“The Fake and Corrupt News never called Google. They said this was not true. Even in times such as these, they are not truthful. Watch for their apology, it won’t happen. More importantly, thank you to Google!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]

“There will be a News Conference by the CoronaVirus Task Force today at the White House, 5 P.M. @VP We are working closely with the Governors of our Country’s great States, which are a very big factor. They are working hard, along with us, to get the job properly done. The USA was never set up for this, just look at the catastrophe of the H1N1 Swine Flu (Biden in charge, 17,000 people lost, very late response time), but it soon will be. Great decision to close our China, and other, borders early. Saved many lives!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]

“We are doing very precise Medical Screenings at our airports. Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful. We must get it right. Safety first!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]

“TODAY IS A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. GOD BLESS EVERYONE!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]

“Amazing how the Fake News never covers this. No Interest on Student Loans. The Dems are just talk!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/15/20]