Driving the Day: On a press call today with Senator Chris Murphy, Protect Our Care will unveil a new poll from PPP showing that voters are very concerned about the spread of coronavirus and strongly disapprove of the Trump administration’s response.

  • Trump’s handling of the coronavirus could threaten his reelection. By a 20-point margin, voters say his administration’s handling of the virus makes them less likely to vote for him this fall. Independents say they’re less likely to vote for Trump by 32 points because of how he’s dealt with this issue.

  • Only 37% of voters agree with Trump’s assessment that his administration is doing a “great job” dealing with the coronavirus, while 53% disagree.

What to Watch For: Today, the president will travel to Scranton, PA for a Fox News town hall at 6:30 PM. The vice president will travel to Minnesota to talk with 3M about increasing manufacture of face masks and protective gear. He will also travel to Washington state to meet with Gov. Jay Inslee address coronavirus response there. CNN will hold a “coronavirus town hall” beginning at 10:00 PM.

Coronavirus Update

  • At a meeting with airline executives, President Trump blamed the Obama administration for difficulties with the coronavirus test saying, “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing & we undid that decision a few days ago so that testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion.”

  • Vice President Pence attempted to clarify that Trump was referring to the fact that “the last administration asserted FDA jurisdiction over testing,” but experts pointed out that the the “regulatory jurisdiction” over lab tests being criticized by Trump was actually a draft guidance and not a regulation, and former Obama White House Ebola Czar Ron Klain responded, “Wasn’t a problem in rolling out massive Ebola testing program in 2014. if Trump people couldn’t manage, why didn’t they fix it 3 months ago?” Barack Obama then tweeted about the outbreak for the first time urging his followers to “Protect yourself and your community from coronavirus with common sense precautions: wash your hands, stay home when sick and listen to the @CDCgov and local health authorities. Save the masks for health care workers. Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science.”

  • At the airline meeting, Trump also hailed the “positive impact” of the virus, which he said meant that “People are staying in our country and they’re shopping and they’re using our hotels in this country.” In reality, the outbreak is “devastating” the domestic conference travel industry and Americans are reducing their shopping trips. At least nine people in the US have died from the virus.

  • On Wednesday night Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News and provided dangerously incorrect information to the roughly 3.5 million viewers of the show. Trump said he believed WHO estimates of the coronavirus death rate are “false” and that based on his “hunch,” he believes the actual number is “way under 1%.” Trump then said “a lot of people will have this and it’s very mild” and implied that it was all right for people to continue to go to work while sick, directly contradicting directives from the CDC and state and local public health authorities.

  • Pence met with nursing home executives and said new inspection procedures would be announced to detect and contain coronavirus. This followed an NBC report that detailed the Trump administration’s attempted rollback of nursing home regulations that could put residents at risk.

  • Pence confirmed an announcement from Seema Verma that coronavirus testing has been named an “essential health benefit” that will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. This benefit will only apply to ACA-compliant plans, which does not include short term “junk” plans that the Trump administration has greatly expanded access to. EHBs also do not apply to self-funded plans offered by large corporations and unions. Republican plans to repeal the ACA and the Texas lawsuit now before the Supreme Court would eliminate EHBs all together.

  • Pence and members of the task force did not respond to questions at their daily briefing about testing for the uninsured, but the vice president’s spokesperson, Katie Miller, said that testing has been provided for free to state labs. She did not address whether commercial testing would be provided for uninsured patients. The CEO of Moderna, the biotech company working on a vaccine, committed to pricing the product in line with other vaccines that prevent respiratory infections, but declined to give an exact price.

  • The House and Senate reached a deal on an $8.3 billion coronavirus funding bill. The bill leaves it up to the HHS Secretary to ensure that the commercial price of vaccines is affordable while providing $300 million for HHS to buy vaccines for the poor, and contains no offsets. The funding bill passed the House 415-2 with Ken Buck (R-CO) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) voting no. During debate over the funding bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wore a gas mask on the House floor, in contravention of CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus. Hours later the CDC director again urged members of the public not to buy respirator masks so that they will be available for health professionals.

Federal Preparedness
ABC News: Democratic Lawmaker On HHS Memo Linked To Whistleblower Complaint: ‘Totally Insufficient’
Associated Press: Frustration Rising Over Lack Of Access To Coronavirus Tests
Associated Press: San Antonio: CDC Planned To Drop Cruise Passengers At Mall
CNN: As US Coronavirus Death Toll Rises, CDC Says Communities Should Start Thinking About Ways To Stop Its Spread
Bloomberg: Feverish Americans Sweat It as Virus Testing Expands Slowly
Bloomberg: Some VA Stockpiles of Protective Medical Masks Aren’t Usable
Daily Beast: A U.S. Embassy Refused to Test Exposed Staff for Coronavirus
The Hill: Cicilline Urges CDC Chief To Alert States Of Travelers From Any Countries With Coronavirus
The Hill: Trump administration issues new guidance for nursing homes to combat coronavirus
HuffPost: Coronavirus Reveals A Gaping Hole In U.S. Workplace Safety Law
Kaiser Health News: Coronavirus Stress Test: Many 5-Star Nursing Homes Have Infection-Control Lapses
New York Times: Coronavirus Testing Offered With Just a Doctor’s Approval, C.D.C. Says
PBS NewsHour: With Novel Coronavirus Deaths Rising, Health Officials Face Grilling On Capitol Hill
Politico: Widespread Coronavirus Testing Could Still Be Weeks Away
Wall Street Journal: For Travelers Returning From Coronavirus Hot Spots, Little Clarity On Quarantining

Affordability
Bloomberg: Pharma’s Virus Response May Impact Trump’s Drug Pricing Plans
Business Insider: The CEO of the buzzy biotech that’s working on a potential coronavirus vaccine just pledged he won’t set a high price for the shot
New York Times (Editorial): Best Treatment for the Coronavirus? Paid Sick Leave
New York Times: Waive Fees For Coronavirus Tests And Treatment, Health Experts Urge
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Response Plan Exposes Vulnerabilities in U.S. Health-Care System
Washington Post: As coronavirus spreads, the people who prepare your food probably don’t have paid sick leave

Leadership
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus hits critical moment in U.S.: Obama, Trump urge Americans to remain calm
Associated Press: A Disconnect Between Trump And Health Officials On Virus
Bloomberg: Trump Blames Obama Decision for Coronavirus Test Kit Shortage
CNN (Analysis): Coronavirus tests Trump’s credibility gap
The Hill: Pence pressed over coronavirus response in testy Senate briefing
HuffPost: Amid A Global Crisis, Trump Keeps Lying And Misleading About Pretty Much Everything
New York Times: Trump Makes Room For Experts, But Still Takes A Leading Role On Coronavirus
New York Times: Criticized for Coronavirus Response, Trump Points to Obama Administration
Politico: Trump launches an urgent fight to save his ticket to reelection
Politico: A few months? Trump’s vaccine hyperbole complicates coronavirus message
Vox: Trump donated $100,000 of his salary to fight coronavirus. He’s made much more than that off the presidency.

Congressional Activity
Politico: House swiftly passes bipartisan $8.3B coronavirus package
Buzzfeed: Senators Insist They Will Be Fine During A Coronavirus Outbreak And Won’t Need To Shut Down Congress
CNN: Rep. Matt Gaetz wears gas mask on House floor during vote on coronavirus response package

Economic Impacts
Axios: United Airlines cutting April flights amid coronavirus fears
Axios: The emerging coronavirus economy
Buzzfeed: Etsy Is Removing Coronavirus-Themed Merchandise
CBS News: Coronavirus Fears Shadow This Year’s March Madness Tournament
CNN: Oil consumption just fell off a cliff. OPEC is facing a huge test
CNN: Starbucks forced to halt the use of personal cups at its stores because of coronavirus
Financial Times: US companies tell Fed coronavirus has hit manufacturing, tourism
The Hill: Poll: Coronavirus Fears Dampen Sentiment About The Economy
The Hill: Facebook To Give ‘WHO As Many Free Ads As They Need’ For Coronavirus Response
Hollywood Reporter: ‘No Time To Die’ Release Delayed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak
New York Times: Sick Workers and Spooked Customers: Coronavirus Threatens Small Businesses
Vice: Coronavirus Porn Is Going Viral on Pornhub
Wall Street Journal: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: Coronavirus Is ‘Going to Affect the Next Year’
Wall Street Journal: Stocks Jump on Virus Spending, Biden Wins
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Is Devastating The Conference Circuit
Washington Post: Purell prices are spiking on Amazon, as sanitizer speculation becomes a cottage industry
Washingtonian: The Washington Post Cancels Nonessential Travel Over Coronavirus Concerns

Opinion And Analysis
The Atlantic (Ideas): The Coronavirus Is Exposing the Limits of Populism
Foreign Affairs (Opinion): Pandemic Disease Is a Threat to National Security
Talking Points Memo (Opinion): The Best Way To Keep Big Pharma Interests Out Of Coronavirus Response Is To Ditch Azar
Time (Ideas): Want a Coronavirus Vaccine, Fast? Here’s a Solution
Wall Street Journal (Opinion): Covid-19 May Have You Working At Home

In The States
California
The Hill: Emergency declared in Los Angeles area after 6 new coronavirus cases reported
KNBC: New Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in West Los Angeles
KRON: Grand Princess cruise to return to San Francisco early as CDC investigates ‘small cluster’ of coronavirus cases linked to ship
Los Angeles Times: Santa Clara Advises Seniors To Avoid Large Gatherings As Two New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed
Los Angeles Times: Battling Coronavirus, California Distributing Millions Of Face Masks To Healthcare Providers
NBC: Medical screener at LAX airport tests positive for coronavirus
USA Today: First Californian to die from coronavirus likely caught it on cruise ship, health officials say

Florida
Tampa Bay Times: Coronavirus tests DeSantis’ pick for Florida surgeon general

Georgia
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Coronavirus to test Georgia’s chronic health gaps

Iowa
Des Moines Register: Coronavirus: Iowans Already Feeling Virus’ Effect In Business, Travel

New Hampshire
New Hampshire Public Radio: 2nd Person Tests Positive For Novel Coronavirus In N.H.

New York
New York Times: Coronavirus In N.Y.: Second Case Sets Off Search For Others Exposed
NBC News: Coronavirus Forces New York City Subways, Trains To Clean Up Their Act
Washington Post: How coronavirus spread in New York: From a man to his family. Then a neighbor. Then friends.

North Carolina
North Carolina Health News: Coronavirus Confirmed In North Carolina

Texas
Associated Press: San Antonio: CDC Planned To Drop Cruise Passengers At Mall