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By March 18, 2020No Comments

Driving the Day: According to the New York Times, “Trump Slowly Enlisting More Agencies in ‘Whole of Government’ Response to Virus…Hospital ships stayed at port, veterans hospitals awaited orders and requests for help went unanswered, as much of the government remained on the sidelines.”

What to Watch For: On Wednesday, the president will hold telephone briefings with business executives, physicians, and nurses. The coronavirus task force will hold a press briefing at 11:30 AM. The Senate is in session and expected to vote on the phase two relief package after a delay orchestrated by Senator Rand Paul.

Coronavirus Update:

  • At a lengthy afternoon press conference, President Trump praised his administration’s efforts to fight the virus saying “the only thing we haven’t done well is to get good press.” Although just weeks he was calling the virus a “hoax” being inflamed by the “fake news media,” Trump claimed that, “I’ve always known this is a pandemic… I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” Trump said he’s been “very tough” on states that haven’t been aggressive enough in their response, and then praised Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia for doing a good job since the state has no reported cases. Hours later, West Virginia reported its first case.

  • Trump again urged Americans to stay home and “enjoy their living room” and said that domestic travel restrictions were still “possible.”

  • Trump claimed that the Department of Homeland Security did an “incredible” job screening passengers at airports, despite reports of hours long backups and crowds of people standing shoulder to shoulder at O’Hare and DFW. Trump concluded his press conference by saying that no offer was ever made for the US to use the WHO-certified tests and added that it was a “bad test.” In fact, the US did reject the WHO-certified test, which is considered the gold standard test for coronavirus, and it was the initial CDC test that was actually “bad.”

  • Vice President Pence asked construction companies to donate their industrial masks to the medical community and to forgo additional orders of masks at this time. Dr. Deborah Birx asked hospitals and dentists not to do procedures over the next two weeks that don’t need to be done, and emphasized that young people are the “core group” that will stop coronavirus if they take steps to protect their parents and grandparents.

  • At the Tuesday briefing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin backed “sending checks to Americans immediately” as estimates for the next stimulus package topped $1 trillion. Trump said that the administration is “going big” with a “big infusion” rather than an incremental approach. At the Senate lunch, Mnuchin warned that the US could possibly see unemployment rise as high as 20 percent if strong action is not taken.

By The Numbers
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 8:00 AM
Number of US cases reported: 5,881
Number of US deaths: 107
Number of states with confirmed cases: 50 + Washington, DC and Puerto Rico
Total Number of People Tested in US: 58,536 (may not include private labs)

Talking Points Memo: Placing Ourselves in Time in A World We Never Imagined
Stat: A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data

Federal Health Response
Associated Press: To keep seniors safe at home, Medicare expands telemedicine
The Atlantic (Ideas): NIH Director: ‘We’re on an Exponential Curve’
Axios: Tech’s moment to shine (or not)
Bloomberg: In Coronavirus Testing Ramp-Up, U.S. Called Private Sector in Late
Buzzfeed: US Immigration Offices Are Going To Temporarily Close Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic
Buzzfeed: Immigrants Waiting At The Mexican Border Are At High Risk Of Contracting The Coronavirus, Experts Warn
CNBC: Group run by former Google CEO to hold meeting with venture capitalists about ways to fight coronavirus
CNN: US and Canada preparing to suspend non-essential travel between the two countries
The Hill: Millennials are ‘core group’ that will stop coronavirus, White House task force says
Los Angeles Times: He gave his wife CPR as she died after contracting coronavirus. Officials won’t test him
New York Magazine (Column): Part of the Coronavirus Conventional Wisdom Has Become Too Pessimistic
New York Times: Trump Slowly Enlisting More Agencies in ‘Whole of Government’ Response to Virus
New York Times: Once Political B-Listers, Governors Lead Nation’s Coronavirus Response
New York Times: U.S. Lags in Coronavirus Testing After Slow Response to Outbreak
New York Times: Did Federal Officials Really Question W.H.O. Tests for Coronavirus?
New York Times: U.S. Virus Plan Anticipates 18-Month Pandemic and Widespread Shortages
New York Times: Citing Coronavirus, Trump Will Announce Strict New Border Controls
New York Times (Editorial): Stop Saying That Everything Is Under Control. It Isn’t.
Politico: Trump’s immigration crackdown could hurt coronavirus containment efforts
Politico: Schools complain of ‘total confusion’ over White House, CDC guidelines on coronavirus
Vox: 7 potentially deadly errors the US is making in its coronavirus response
Washington Post: Pentagon offers respirators, ventilators and labs in expanding coronavirus response
Washington Post: Pence asks construction companies to donate masks to hospitals as shortages loom
Washington Post: Federal personnel chief quits abruptly amid coronavirus planning for the workforce of 2.1 million
Yahoo: Pentagon has tested fewer than 500 for the coronavirus

Federal Economic Response
The Atlantic (Ideas): The Coming Bailout Is a Moral Failure
Bloomberg: Bank of America Pledges $100 Million to Fight Health Crisis
Politico (Magazine): Republicans Adopt Andrew Yang’s Cause. He Isn’t Celebrating.
Politico: Mnuchin: ‘We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately’
Politico: Coronavirus layoffs surge across America, overwhelming unemployment offices
Wall Street Journal (Editorial): The Fiscal Stimulus Panic

CNN: Fact check: Trump tries to erase the memory of him downplaying the coronavirus
Daily Beast: Mar-a-Lago Was a Petri Dish. Testing Nearby Is Still a Mess.
Bloomberg: Trump Pushed Aides to Seek a Trillion Dollars in Virus Response
Kaiser Health News: The High Cost Of Being Trump’s Enemy
New York Times: At Party for Donald Trump Jr.’s Girlfriend, Donors Helped Pick Up the Tab
New York Times: Trump Now Claims He Always Knew the Coronavirus Would Be a Pandemic
NPR: Poll: As Coronavirus Spreads, Fewer Americans See Pandemic As A Real Threat
Politico: Poll: Most Americans don’t trust Trump on coronavirus information
Washington Post: As much of America takes drastic action, some Republicans remain skeptical of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic
Washington Post: The Coronavirus Show has but one star — and the rest are supporting players

HuffPost: Conservatives Worry Too Much Coronavirus Relief Will Make People Lazy
NBC: Senate coronavirus vote delayed after Rand Paul pushes doomed amendment
New York Times: Congress Is Knitting a Coronavirus Safety Net. It Already Has Big Holes.
Politico: Republicans suddenly find a bailout they can back
Politico: Cory Gardner self-quarantines after coronavirus exposure
Politico: Democrats say Mnuchin squeezed paid sick leave program
Politico: Emergency stimulus to soar above $1 trillion
Politico (Magazine): Washington Learns to Love ‘Money for Everyone’
Politico (Magazine): Pelosi Has Trump Over a Barrel

Bloomberg: Hospital Workers Make Masks From Office Supplies Amid U.S. Shortage
CBS: Coronavirus pandemic straining medical supplies, forcing nurses to reuse masks with “no protection”
The Hill: Critical supplies shortage hampers hospitals, health providers
New York Times: These Places Could Run Out of Hospital Beds as Coronavirus Spreads
ProPublica: Are Hospitals Near Me Ready for Coronavirus? Here Are Nine Different Scenarios.
Roll Call: Bracing for coronavirus, hospitals call for more funding
The Verge: Medical company threatens to sue volunteers that 3D-printed valves for life-saving coronavirus treatments
Vox: US hospitals are struggling to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic

Democratic Response
The Hill: Obama urges Americans to ‘model’ behavior on health professionals
Washington Post: Democratic groups to spend millions hitting Trump over coronavirus response
Washingtonian: Hell Yes, Democrats Should Politicize Coronavirus

ProPublica: Inside the Pro-Trump Facebook Group Where First Responders Call Coronavirus a Hoax
Vanity Fair: “Dishonesty…Is Always an Indicator of Weakness”: Tucker Carlson on How He Brought His Coronavirus Message to Mar-a-Lago
The Verge: Facebook was marking legitimate news articles about the coronavirus as spam due to a software bug

Campaigns and Elections
Politico: Maryland postpones primary, shifts special election to mail voting over coronavirus
Politico (Opinion): Don’t stop the primaries!
Politico: Welcome to the zombie coronavirus campaign of 2020
Time: Coronavirus Is Already Affecting Voter Turnout in Primaries. And There Are Many More To Go
USA Today: As coronavirus pandemic delays 2020 primaries, is it time to worry about the November election?

Axios: Coronavirus could fuel Middle East unrest
Axios: It isn’t democracy vs. authoritarianism
New York Times: Watch the Footprint of Coronavirus Spread Across Countries

Economic Impacts
Arizona Republic: American Red Cross faces ‘severe blood shortage’ due to coronavirus cancellations
Axios: Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Americans hit by stress, job losses
Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Declare Global Recession Under Way
Business Insider: Amazon is suspending all shipments other than medical supplies and household staples to its warehouses amid coronavirus crisis — read the memo it just sent sellers
Business Insider: Trader Joe’s is paying bonuses to store employees amid an ‘unprecedented’ sales increase, as some workers demand ‘hazard pay’
Buzzfeed: Bar And Restaurant Staff Are Terrified Of How They’ll Pay Rent This Month Because Of The Coronavirus
Los Angeles Times: Restaurants are pivoting to takeout and delivery. Will it be enough to survive?
Los Angeles Times: Bidet sales soar as toilet paper sells out amid coronavirus fears
NPR: Poll: Nearly 1 In 5 Households Have Lost Work Because Of Pandemic
New York Times (Opinion): Our Internet Isn’t Ready for Coronavirus
New York Times: They Clean the Buildings Workers Are Fleeing. But Who’s Protecting Them?
Vice: Amazon’s Supply Chain Is Breaking and Small Businesses Are Screwed
Vice: Best Buy Is Working ‘Full Capacity’ During Coronavirus, Despite Huge Risks
Vice: Restaurant Owners and Staff Are About to Go Broke Because of Coronavirus: ‘The Abyss We’re Going Into Is the Scary Part’
Vox: A grocery store clerk explains what it’s like on the front lines of coronavirus panic

Vox: Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more
Washington Post: Coronavirus looks different in kids than in adults

Social Impacts
HuffPost: Abortion Access Is Under Threat As Coronavirus Spreads
New York Times: Kevin Durant Says He Has Tested Positive for the Coronavirus
New York Times: How Cardi B’s Off-the-Cuff Video Became a Coronavirus Anthem
New York Times (Opinion): They Went Off the Grid. They Came Back to the Coronavirus.
Washington Post: It’s ‘quarantini’ time. People say cheers to video happy hours when they’re stuck at home.
Washington Post: This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of the world

Personal Preparedness
Buzzfeed: When The People You Love Can’t Accept That They Need To Stay Home
Fast Company: Want to do something good during your coronavirus quarantine? Do mutual aid
New York Times (Essay): Someday, We’ll Look Back on All of This and Write a Novel
New Yorker: How to Practice Social Distancing
Slate: You Don’t Have to Work All the Time Now

In The States
Buzzfeed: An ER Doctor Was Diagnosed With COVID-19 — After Attending A National Conference For ER Doctors
Los Angeles Times: With masks at the ready, ICE agents make arrests on first day of California coronavirus lockdown

Hartford Courant: Connecticut unemployment claims reach 30,000 since Friday as coronavirus takes toll on state’s economy

Miami Herald: Three deaths at one Fort Lauderdale ALF stoke coronavirus fears

CNN: A coronavirus patient refused to quarantine, so deputies are surrounding his house to force him to
New York Times: ‘All Around Us Is Chaos’: Inside a Rural Town Upended by the Virus

Stat: Hospital in Boston will be converted into Covid-19 treatment center

New York
New York Times: N.Y. May Need 18,000 Ventilators Very Soon. It Is Far Short of That
New York Times: M.T.A., Citing Huge Drop in Riders, Seeks $4 Billion Virus Bailout
New York Times: In Virus Hot Spot, Lining Up and Anxious at Drive-in Test Center

Washington Post: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus response has become a national guide to the crisis

Washington, DC
DCist: Coronavirus Is Causing Industry-Wide Layoffs In D.C., Hitting Service Workers Particularly Hard
WAMU: One Type Of Small Business That’s Thriving During Coronavirus? Locally-Owned Grocery Stores
WAMU: Facing Likely Economic Downturn From Coronavirus, D.C. Council Passes Emergency Relief Bill
Washington Post: Testing positive: One woman’s journey from perfect health to the coronavirus

West Virginia
CNN: West Virginia was the 50th state to report a coronavirus case. This may be the reason it took so long
Washington Examiner: ‘Go to Bob Evans and eat’: West Virginia governor breaks with other states on coronavirus guidance

Trump Tweets
“I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA concerning the Chinese Virus!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you. The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault! Will be stronger than ever!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“The world is at war with a hidden enemy. WE WILL WIN!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/17/20]

“Federal Government is working very well with the Governors and State officials. Good things will happen! #KILLTHEVIRUS” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/17/20]

“Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be much more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/17/20]

“Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same.” But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big “hotspot”, West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it….”