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By March 6, 2020No Comments

Driving the Day: Vice President Pence admitted the administration’s response is inadequate, saying that there are not enough tests available stating, “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.”

What to Watch For: The president will sign the emergency funding bill today. Trump was scheduled to visit the CDC in Atlanta today, but the trip has been canceled because, “The CDC has been proactive and prepared since the very beginning and the President does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency.” Instead, Trump will visit the scene of the deadly tornadoes in Nashville and attend a campaign fundraiser in Palm Beach. Trump was scheduled to address the HIMSS health technology conference in Orlando next week, but the conference has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The coronavirus task force will brief the press at 5:00 today. Over the weekend Mike Pence will meet with leaders in the cruise industry. Dr. Anthony Fauci will appear on Fox News Sunday.

Coronavirus Update 

  • At a Fox News town hall in Scranton, President Trump said there was a silver lining to coronavirus, which is that “People are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the US — and I like that.” This came amid reports of catastrophic losses for the domestic travel industry and panic buying by American consumers as well as another nearly 1,000 point loss in the stock market. Trump concluded “It’s all going to work out. Everybody needs to be calm. We have plans for every single possibility.”

  • On a trip to Washington state, Vice President Pence supported Trump’s dismissal of the WHO’s estimate of a 3.4% death rate from the virus saying, “I support the president’s judgement that we’re going to continue to learn more about this.” Appearing on CNN, Dr. Fauci also gave tempered support to Trump’s assertion, saying that “clearly” the death rate was lower than 3.4% but it was unknown how much lower. An anonymous administration official attempted to clean up Trump’s remarks on Hannity about sick people continuing to go to work, telling NPR that the president was referring to telework.

  • Trump admitted that he is ignoring CDC advice to stop shaking hands saying “there’s no nice way” not to do it. On a visit to Washington state, Pence used an “elbow bump” to safely greet participants in his briefing. On a visit to 3M in Minnesota, Vice President Pence urged healthy people not to buy or wear facemasks and reduce the supply available for those who really need them. This came less than 24 hours after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) facetiously wore a gas mask on the floor of the House while debating the coronavirus funding bill.

  • The Senate passed the emergency coronavirus spending bill 96-1, with Rand Paul voting no. During debate on the bill, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) continued to push the false narrative that the Grassley drug pricing bill would ensure that coronavirus drugs are affordable.

  • Questions about the affordability and availability of testing and treatment continued with Washington and California mandating that insurers waive copays and deductibles for testing and AHIP, the country’s largest health insurance trade group, announcing that its members will voluntarily cover all coronavirus tests. Vice President Pence admitted that there are not enough tests available saying, “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.” A cruise ship with thousands of potentially ill passengers remains anchored off San Francisco as acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli and HHS Assistant Secretary Robert Kadlac testified that there is not sufficient quarantine and treatment capacity available to bring people ashore.

  • nurse at a Kaiser hospital in northern California has come forward to say that she is currently in quarantine after treating a coronavirus patient and being denied testing by the CDC even though her doctor and county public health provider have ordered it. In response, a CDC spokesperson said they were unaware of the nurses case but would “recommend a health care worker who had contact with a confirmed case and then became ill be tested.” A Vice reporter said she returned from a reporting trip to the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak and was asked no questions at US customs at JFK about where she had been or if she had had contact with sick people. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN’s New Day on Friday morning to say that virus screening got off to “a slow start” and there were some “missteps” with regard to the CDC’s test, but the problems have now been addressed.

Federal Preparedness
Axios: We should have seen the coronavirus coming
CNN: Pence admits ‘we don’t have enough tests’ to meet demands as delay in coronavirus testing persists
CNN: DHS denies 241 people entry at US ports and airports over coronavirus
Bloomberg: U.S. to Miss Rollout Goal This Week on Virus Tests, Senators Say
Bloomberg: The Search for New Drugs for Coronavirus Faces Long Odds
Kaiser Health News: During A Pandemic, States’ Patchwork Of Crisis Plans Could Mean Uneven Care 
Kaiser Health News: Blood Drives — And Donors — Fall Off As Coronavirus Worries Grow
NBC News: Officials Say Coronavirus Tests Are Here. Where Are They?
NBC News: Scientists were close to a coronavirus vaccine years ago. Then the money dried up.
New York Times: Nursing Homes Are Starkly Vulnerable To Coronavirus
Politico: Nursing homes inspectors to focus on preventing infections, CMS says
Politico: Squabble over mask shortage erupts as coronavirus spreads
Time: ‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work
Washington Post: Expanded Coronavirus Testing May Overwhelm Lab Capacity, Say Some Experts
Washington Post: Sick cruise passengers await coronavirus test results at sea as officials debate quarantine
Washington Post: This regulation could protect health-care workers from the coronavirus. It hangs in limbo.
Washington Post: State Department blames ‘swarms of online, false personas’ from Russia for wave of coronavirus misinformation online

Data for Progress: Voters Support Capping the Cost of the Coronavirus Vaccine
The Hill: Coronavirus testing could cost some patients extra
Huff Post: How The Government Could Make Coronavirus Treatment Affordable
New York Times: The Rich Are Preparing for Coronavirus Differently
Politico: Insurers promise to cover coronavirus tests, relax coverage policies
Politico: How the drug industry got its way on the coronavirus
Wall Street Journal: States, Insurers Move to Limit Coronavirus Testing Costs for Patients

Huff Post: Amid A Global Crisis, Trump Keeps Lying And Misleading About Pretty Much Everything
Mother Jones: Here Are 17 Ways the Trump Administration Bungled Its Coronavirus Response
NPR: Trump’s Gut Collides With Science On Coronavirus Messaging
Politico: White House sidelines Azar from coronavirus response
Politico: Trump’s coronavirus musings put scientists on edge
Politico: A presidency of two for coronavirus: Trump hands his sidekick the job of a savior
Politico: The coronavirus is a globalist. Here are 5 ways that’s a problem for Trump.
Talking Points Memo: Trump Tries To Downplay Coronavirus Death Rate, Claims Virus Is ‘Not That Severe’
Talking Points Memo: The Trump Coronavirus Team Keeps Falsely Blaming Obama For Testing Disaster
Vox: “This is just my hunch”: Trump goes on Fox News and spreads misinformation about the coronavirus
Washington Post: Trump’s Inaccurate Coronavirus Vaccine Timeline
Washington Post: The Trump administration’s greatest obstacle to sending a clear message on coronavirus may be Trump himself
Washington Post (Analysis): Trump’s habit of fudging inconvenient numbers enters dangerous territory

Congressional Activity
The Hill: Congressional Leaders Downplay Possibility Of Capitol Closing Due To Coronavirus 
NBC: Senate passes $8.3 billion emergency bill to combat coronavirus
Politico: 6 things to know about the coronavirus funding package
Roll Call: Congressional leaders talk contingency plans for coronavirus on Capitol Hill

Economic Impacts
Axios: Southwest Airlines CEO compares coronavirus travel declines to post-9/11
Bloomberg: Airline Warnings Show Coronavirus’s Sudden Risk to U.S. Travel
Bloomberg: Costco’s February Sales Boosted by Surge in Virus-Fueled Demand
Buzzfeed: Uber Finally Told Its Drivers What To Do About Coronavirus: Wash Their Hands
CNN: ‘This is a crisis.’ Airlines face $113 billion hit from the coronavirus
Kaiser Health News: With Coronavirus Lurking, Conferences Wrestle With Whether To Cancel
USA Today: Coronavirus: Working At An Airport Without Health Insurance
Wall Street Journal: Amazon Dogged by Price Gouging as Coronavirus Fears Grow
Washington Post: U.S. markets tank as coronavirus outlook worsens

Opinion And Analysis
Crooked Media: Joe Biden, Republicans and Coronavirus
New York Times (Opinion): Trump’s Calamitous Coronavirus Response
New York Times (Opinion): When Coronavirus Quarantine Is Class Warfare
Playboy: COVID-19, Libel Lawsuits and the Search for Answers at the White House
ProPublica: I Lived Through SARS and Reported on Ebola. These Are the Questions We Should Be Asking About Coronavirus.
Wall Street Journal (Opinion): The Case for a Big Coronavirus Stimulus
Washington Post (Outlook): Testing for the coronavirus might have stopped it. Now it’s too late.

In The States

Los Angeles Times: On Grand Princess, confusion, missteps reigned as coronavirus spread, passengers say
New York Times: California Reports First Coronavirus Death As Symptoms Swirl On Cruise Ship
Sacramento Bee: California directs some health insurers to waive co-pays, deductibles for coronavirus tests

Baltimore Sun: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Wants To Tap Millions Of Dollars In Emergency Funds To Prepare For Coronavirus
Politico: Maryland declares state of emergency as 3 coronavirus cases confirmed

Boston Globe: Biogen employees test positive for coronavirus as third case is announced in Mass.
WBUR: Gov. Baker Urges Schools, Colleges To Cancel International Travel Due To Coronavirus Concerns

New York
New York Times: After Family Gets Coronavirus, New York Suburb Is Gripped by Anxiety
New York Times: Coronavirus in N.Y.: 2,733 People Are Under Quarantines in City

North Carolina
Charlotte Observer: Contacts Of NC Coronavirus Patient Under Voluntary Quarantine
North Carolina Health News: Officials Say Get Ready For Coronavirus

WTVF: Gov. Bill Lee announces first confirmed case of coronavirus in Williamson County

Dallas Morning News: Houston-Area Man May Be First Texas Case Of Coronavirus Outside Quarantine

NPR: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft Tell Seattle Workers To Stay Home
New York Times: ‘We Anticipate She Has the Coronavirus. We Do Not Anticipate Her Fighting This.’
Reuters: Washington State Urges Patience As Covid-19 Test Delays Stoke Anger

Trump Tweets

“Gallup just gave us the highest rating ever for the way we are handling the CoronaVirus situation. The April 2009-10 Swine Flu, where nearly 13,000 people died in the U.S., was poorly handled. Ask MSDNC & lightweight Washington failure @RonaldKlain, who the President was then?” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/5/20]

“With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/5/20]

“I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work. This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats, in particular MSDNC. Comcast covers the CoronaVirus situation horribly, only looking to do harm to the incredible & successful effort being made!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/5/20]