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By March 19, 2020No Comments

Driving the Day: The Los Angeles Times reports, “Coronavirus forces reckoning for Trump’s healthcare cuts…The widening coronavirus pandemic is forcing the Trump administration to pause, and even reverse, its years-long effort to roll back healthcare regulations and restrict access to the nation’s medical safety net.”

What to Watch For: President Trump will visit FEMA headquarters today. The coronavirus task force will hold a daily press briefing at 11:00 AM. The Senate is in session and Mitch McConnell is expected to present his phase three coronavirus relief package today.

Coronavirus Update:

  • At the daily task force briefing on Wednesday, President Trump announced that he was invoking the Defense Production Act to activate production of needed masks and ventilators. Hours later he tweeted that he had not actually invoked the act, just prepared for it in the event of a “worst case scenario in the future.” Trump announced that he was deploying two Navy hospital ships that are “in tip-top shape” to assist, but Secretary of Defense Mark Esper later said that the ships will not treat coronavirus patients and wil take weeks to deploy. Asked about asymptomatic NBA players and other wealthy people getting access to testing when others cannot, Trump said that “perhaps that’s been the story of life” for the rich to have greater access.

  • During his briefing, Trump complained that “hospitals are supposed to have ventilators too.” On Wednesday night, HHS Secretary Alex Azar appeared on Fox News and said that it was not the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that localities and states have enough swabs and face masks.

  • At the briefing, Trump claimed that “people like the job we’re doing,” and that his approval rating is 95 percent in the Republican Party. He boasted about a poll showing him beating “Sleepy Joe Biden” in Florida. Trump continued to emphasize that the virus was “nobody’s fault” but alluded that “some people could say it was somebody’s fault.”

  • The Senate passed the phase two relief package, including free testing and paid sick leave for workers, 90-8 and it was signed by the president on Wednesday evening. Two members of Congress have now tested positive for coronavirus — Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Rep. Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL). Republican members of Congress continued to downplay the virus, with Sen. Ron. Johnson (R-WI) voting against the relief packaging and saying that people should keep the virus in perspective because it might only kill 3.4 percent of the population, and Sen. John Cornyn blaming China for the virus because “people eat bats” there.

  • After months of referring to it as the coronavirus, Trump continued to tweet calling the disease the “Chinese virus.” Asked at the press briefing whether he was putting Asian Americans at risk by calling the virus the “Chinese virus,” Trump said “Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it.” Trump complained that China should have given the US much “earlier notice” about the virus. Kellyanne Conway downplayed Trump’s use of the phrase saying, “I’m married to an Asian.”

By The Numbers
Thursday, March 19, 2020, 8:00 AM
Number of US cases reported: 8,317
Number of US deaths: 147
Total Number of People Tested in US: 82,571 (may not include private labs) 

Axios: Americans are losing their sense of invincibility toward coronavirus
New York Times: Younger Adults Comprise Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.

Federal Health Response
Affordability and Inequality
Axios: How to protect the homeless from the coronavirus
New York Times (Opinion): This Is One Anxiety We Should Eliminate for the Coronavirus Outbreak
Los Angeles Times (Editorial): Coronavirus makes jails and prisons potential death traps. That puts us all in danger

Immigration and Travel
Bloomberg: Americans Stuck Abroad Told Not to Wait for U.S. Assistance
Buzzfeed: A Local Sheriff Said No To More Immigrant Detainees Because Of Coronavirus Fears. So ICE Transferred Them All To New Facilities.
Buzzfeed: Trump Translated His English-Only Guidance On The Coronavirus Into Spanish After Members Of Congress Complained
Los Angeles Times: Trump Administration Takes Steps To Close Border To Migrants, Citing Coronavirus
New York Times: Americans Stranded Abroad: ‘I Feel Completely Abandoned’
ProPublica: The Trump Administration Drove Him Back to China, Where He Invented a Fast Coronavirus Test
Reuters: U.S. limits Mexico guest worker visas, sends farmers scrambling
Washington Post: ICE to stop most immigration enforcement inside United States, will focus on criminals during coronavirus outbreak

National Security
CNN: Esper confirms Navy hospital ships won’t treat coronavirus patients and will take weeks to deploy
Defense One: US Air Force Flew Half a Million Coronavirus Test Swabs From Italy to Tennessee
NBC News: DHS Faces Coronavirus With Scores Of Vacancies And A Leadership Vacuum
New York Times: Coronavirus Disrupts Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
Newsweek: Exclusive: Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples The Government
Politico: ‘It is not science fiction anymore’: Coronavirus exposes U.S. vulnerability to biowarfare
Politico: Documents show undisclosed coronavirus cases at DHS
Reuters: U.S. sanctions Iran, seeks release of Americans amid coronavirus outbreak

Bloomberg: Virus Pandemic Exercise Got One Thing Wrong: the U.S. Response
Foreign Policy (Voice): Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown Is Coming
The Hill: Trump signs coronavirus aid package with paid sick leave, free testing
The Independent: ‘Act like you have the virus’: US surgeon general says 15-day lockdown won’t be enough as coronavirus cases rise
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus forces reckoning for Trump’s healthcare cuts
New York Times: As Schools Look for Guidance, Educators Are Left Asking, ‘What?’
New York Times (Opinion): The Coronavirus Is Here to Stay, So What Happens Next?
Politico: Auto industry could shift to make ventilators
ProPublica: Letter Carriers Say the Postal Service Pressured Them to Deliver Mail Despite Coronavirus Symptoms — and Often Without Hand Sanitizer
Reuters: Special Report: How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus
Talking Points Memo: Census Suspends 2020 Count’s Field Operations Until April Due To COVID-19
Washington Post: Coronavirus Closures Accelerate Nationwide, But Wide Gaps Remain

Shortages and Testing
Bloomberg: Trump Gives U.S. Broad Control Over Health-Care Supply Chain
CNN: Severe shortages of swabs and other supplies hamper coronavirus testing
Kaiser Health News: As Coronavirus Testing Gears Up, Specialized Swabs Running Out
Politico: FDA turns to Twitter to help track testing supply shortages
Sports Illustrated: How Have NBA Players Been Able to Access Coronavirus Tests?
Vice: How the CDC Botched Basic Science in Its Attempt to Make a Coronavirus Test
Wall Street Journal: How Washington Failed to Build a Robust Coronavirus Testing System
Washington Post: Trump ban on fetal tissue research blocks coronavirus treatment effort

Federal Economic Response
Bloomberg: Mnuchin Warns Virus Could Yield 20% Jobless Rate Without Action
Bloomberg: Despite Global Crisis, Trump Resists Calls for Tariff Relief
Bloomberg: Taxpayers Can Delay Payments for 90 Days, Must File by April 15
New York Times: Andrew Yang May Be Out, but His Basic Income Idea Is Getting a Second Look
New York Times: Washington Weighs Big Bailouts to Help U.S. Economy Survive Coronavirus
Politico: Governors brace for coronavirus budget cliff as tax dollars evaporate
Reuters: U.S. airlines shares plunge after cash-free Washington rescue proposal
Time: USDA Fights for Food Stamp Changes That Could See Hundreds of Thousands Lose Assistance Amid the Pandemic
Wall Street Journal: The Government Wants to Send You Money—but How Soon Will It Arrive?
Washington Post: Trump’s $1 trillion stimulus is a gamble for reelection — and a sea change for Republicans once opposed to bailouts
Washington Post: HUD orders 60-day foreclosure moratorium for homeowners affected by coronavirus

Bloomberg: Melania Trump to Appear in Coronavirus Public Service Ads
The Bulwark: COVID-19 and the Missing Call to Sacrifice
CNN (Analysis): Trump, finally, takes the coronavirus emergency seriously
NBC News: Timeline: Trump administration’s response to coronavirus
New York Times: The President vs. the Experts: How Trump Downplayed the Coronavirus
Politico: Trump team’s new mission: Defend the ‘wartime president’
Politico: Trump adopts the greatest hits of the 2020 Dems
Vox: Trump spent weeks downplaying the coronavirus. He’s now pretending that never happened.
Washington Post: Kushner coronavirus team sparks confusion, plaudits inside White House response efforts

Buzzfeed: Despite The Coronavirus Outbreak, Senators Said They Will Keep Going To Capitol And Voting Together
HuffPost: Congress Passes Coronavirus Aid Bill, Sends It To Trump’s Desk
Miami Herald: Miami’s Mario Diaz-Balart is first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Sen. Ron Johnson is telling people to keep coronavirus in perspective
NBC: Sen. Cornyn: China to blame for coronavirus, because ‘people eat bats’
NPR: 2 Members Of Congress Test Positive For COVID-19, Others Quarantine After Contact
New York Magazine (Column): GOP Senator Upbeat Coronavirus May Kill ‘No More Than 3.4 Percent of Our Population’
New York Times: Congress Races To Respond While Defying Ban On Mass Gatherings
Roll Call: White House halts participation in Hill’s coronavirus hearings
Vox: Exclusive: Sen. Warren to ask Trump to deploy Army Corps of Engineers for coronavirus help
Vox: Pressure is growing to allow members of Congress to vote remotely amid coronavirus concerns
Washington Post: Negotiations intensify on Capitol Hill over massive stimulus legislation as coronavirus fallout worsens

ABC: The Battle To Protect Healthcare Workers On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Pandemic
Associated Press: US nursing homes warn of looming shortage of masks and gowns
Bloomberg: Hospitals, Cities Hit by Surging Interest Rates in 2008 Echo
HuffPost: How To Get More Ventilators And What To Do If We Can’t
NBC: ‘A death sentence’: Critically ill patients denied transplants amid coronavirus outbreak
New York Magazine: The Hospital Deluge Is Coming. Washington Has Done Almost Nothing to Prepare.
New York Times: Doctors Fear Bringing Coronavirus Home: ‘I Am Sort of a Pariah in My Family’
New York Times: There Aren’t Enough Ventilators to Cope With the Coronavirus
Politico: Hospitals need a surge – of doctors
Stat: Frustrated and afraid about protective gear shortages, health workers are scouring for masks on their own
Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Facing Coronavirus Are Running Out Of Masks, Other Key Equipment

Associated Press: Carlson says he felt obligation to meet with Trump on virus
Buzzfeed: “I’m Not An Epidemiologist But…”: The Rise Of The Coronavirus Influencers
CNN: New polls show effect of right-wing media’s dismissive and conspiratorial coronavirus coverage
CNN: Facebook has a coronavirus problem. It’s WhatsApp.

Campaigns and Elections
Arizona Republic: Sen. Martha McSally suspends TV ads, door-to-door canvassing amid coronavirus pandemic
Associated Press: Switching Remaining Primaries To Vote-By-Mail Not So Easy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Democrats sue to extend Wisconsin’s deadlines for online voter registration and counting absentee ballots
The Intercept: Illinois Used Nearly 50 Facilities For Low-income Seniors In Chicago As Polling Locations On Tuesday
New York Times: How Much Does Voting Spread Viruses?
New York Times (Opinion): No Stimulus Without Election Protection
Washington Post: Nationwide drive to safeguard voting intensifies as coronavirus spreads
Washington Post: For Biden and Sanders, campaigning during coronavirus can be awkward

Axios: Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up
Bloomberg: China May Help Hard-Hit Carmakers by Relaxing Emission Curbs
Buzzfeed: Everyone In Iceland Can Get Tested For The Coronavirus. Here’s How The Results Could Help All Of Us.
Financial Times: Aggressive testing helps Italian town cut new coronavirus cases to zero
Foreign Affairs: The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus Poses Dreadful Choice For Global Leaders: Wreck Your Economy Or Lose Millions Of Lives
New York Times: China Hits a Coronavirus Milestone: No New Local Infections
New York Times: Power Struggle Hampers Iran’s Coronavirus Response
New York Times (Opinion): I’m a Doctor in Italy. We Have Never Seen Anything Like This.
Vice: 3.5 Million Iranians Could Die From Coronavirus If The Outbreak Is Not Controlled
Wall Street Journal: Lessons From Italy’s Hospital Meltdown. ‘Every Day You Lose, the Contagion Gets Worse.’
Wall Street Journal: Lockdown of Recovering Italian Town Shows Effectiveness of Early Action

Economic Impacts
ABC News: Small Business Owners Tapping Into Personal Savings, 401(K)S And More Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Bloomberg: Traders ‘Liquidating Positions Everywhere’ Upend Markets
Buzzfeed: These Retailers Have Been Staying Open. Employees Say They’re Afraid For Themselves And Others.
Buzzfeed: They Still Have Jobs At Grocery Stores And Pharmacies. Does That Mean They’ll Catch The Coronavirus?
CNBC: NYSE to temporarily close floor, move to electronic trading after positive coronavirus tests
Detroit Free Press: Detroit automakers Ford, General Motors, FCA agree to close all US plants
HuffPost: Guns, Ammo Retailers Report Sales Surge Across U.S. Amid Coronavirus Fears
HuffPost: Hospitality Workers Union Estimates 80% To 90% Of Members Will Lose Jobs During Coronavirus
Los Angeles Times: Amid coronavirus outbreak, drive-in theaters unexpectedly find their moment
Mother Jones: Minnesota and Vermont Just Classified Grocery Clerks as Emergency Workers
New York Magazine: Is Anyone Even Listening? The restaurant industry is begging for help. Its cries have been met with a deafening silence.
New York Times: Pandemic Erodes Gig Economy Work
Politico: No need to hoard: There’s plenty of food in the system
Popular Information: Publix health
Slate: It’s Staggering How Many Coronavirus-Related Layoffs Have Already Happened
Wall Street Journal: As Coronavirus Empties Workplaces, Some Holdouts Have Wanted Employees to Show Up

The Guardian: Japanese flu drug ‘clearly effective’ in treating coronavirus, says China
New York Times: Can Smart Thermometers Track the Spread of the Coronavirus?

Social Impacts
CNN (Opinion): Grieving for my mother in the age of Covid-19
HuffPost: Panic Attacks And Night Terrors: The Mental Health Toll Of Coronavirus
Time: As Cities Around the World Go on Lockdown, Victims of Domestic Violence Look For A Way Out
Vox: What it’s like to have a baby during the coronavirus pandemic
Washington Post: Millions of U.S. grandparents care for young kids — and are high risk for covid-19

Personal Preparedness
New York Times: Is It OK to Take a Walk?
The Wirecutter: How to Properly Care for a Sick Person at Home (and Not Get Sick Yourself)

In The States
Colorado Sun: Coronavirus is running so rampant in Colorado’s mountains residents, visitors should “minimize all contact with other people”
Denver Post: ICE immigration arrests continuing in Denver despite coronavirus outbreak

AFP: On Miami Beach, the party’s over — almost
Tampa Bay Times: More than 200 Pinellas inmates sleep on floor as coronavirus creates bottleneck

New Jersey
New York Times: Coronavirus Ravages 7 Members of a Single Family, Killing 2

New York
New York Times: My Coronavirus Test: 5 Days, a Dozen Calls, Hours of Confusion
New York Times: Coronavirus in N.Y.: ‘Huge Spike’ in Brooklyn Hasidic Community
Wall Street Journal: New York City Residents May Have To Shelter In Place, De Blasio Says

WCPO: DeWine closes salons, urges only highest-risk Ohioans to seek COVID-19 testing

Associated Press: Sick staff fueled outbreak in Seattle-area care centers

Trump Tweets
“I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“Today I spoke with American physicians and nurses to thank them for their tireless work. Doctors and nurses are at the front lines of this war and are true American HEROES! With their help, America will WIN.” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“I want all Americans to understand: we are at war with an invisible enemy, but that enemy is no match for the spirit and resolve of the American people. It cannot overcome the dedication of our doctors, nurses, and scientists — and it cannot beat the LOVE, PATRIOTISM, and DETERMINATION of our citizens. Strong and United, WE WILL PREVAIL!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“Thank you to our great American businesses for going above and beyond to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/18/20]

“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]