1/ Trump recommended all Americans avoid groups of 10 or more people, stop discretionary travel, avoid bars, restaurants, gyms, and other public places for the next 15 days, saying the coronavirus pandemic “is a bad one, this is a very bad one, this is bad in the sense that it’s so contagious, it’s just so contagious, sort of record-setting type contagion.” Trump also recommended that schools close nationwide and for parents to homeschool their children when possible. Trump, however, said he was not considering a national curfew to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, but that Americans should expect cases to extend into at least July. Trump then proceeded to give his administration’s response to the epidemic a 10 out of 10, saying “I think we’ve done a great job.” There have been more than 4,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 71 deaths. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / NPR / Bloomberg / The Guardian / Bloomberg / NBC News / CNBC)

  • The CDC recommended canceling all gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. (CNN)

  • San Francisco ordered 7 million residents to “shelter in place” until April 7 to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. Mayor London Breed said the city “will require people to stay home except for essential needs,” adding that places like grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and banks will remain open. The order affects residents of six Bay Area Counties, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties. (KRON 4 / CNBC / Bloomberg)

  • Governors in 26 states and the District of Columbia announced statewide school closures, impacting nearly 30 million children across the U.S. — more than half of the nation’s school enrollment. (Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

  • Ohio postponed the state’s primaries until June. Ohio is one of four states with primaries scheduled on Tuesday, along with Arizona, Florida and Illinois. (WBNS 10 / Columbus Dispatch / NBC News / Politico)

  • Georgia elections officials postponed the state’s March 24 presidential primary until May due to the coronavirus. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / NBC News)

  • Most of the 2.1 million federal workers in the U.S. reported to work in person today, despite widespread closures and recommended social distancing. The Trump administration urged agencies in the D.C. area to “offer maximum telework flexibilities” to employees who are eligible for remote work, but the directive was not mandatory and left out most government employees. 15% of federal workers are located in the D.C. area. Mike Pence, meanwhile, sent White House staff an email recommending social distancing and to “avoid physical contact” with their colleagues. (Washington Post / Axios)

2/ The House passed a coronavirus aid package, which directs tens of billions of dollars for paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, free testing, and other resources intended to help stem the crisis and stabilize financial markets. Trump endorsed the legislation on Twitter and Mitch McConnell suggested that it has support in the Senate. (Vox / NBC News / Washington Post)

3/ The Dow dropped nearly 3,000 points – its worst day since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987 and its third-worst day ever. The S&P 500 fell 12%, wiping out its 2019 gains and is now down almost 30% from its all-time high reached less than a month ago. All U.S. indices are now in a bear market. Trump, meanwhile, acknowledged that the U.S. “may” be heading toward a recession, but promised there would be a “tremendous surge” in the economy as a result of “pent-up demand” and that “the market will take care of itself […] once we get rid of the virus.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

  • The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero and offered to buy at least $500 billion in Treasury securities and $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities in order to protect the U.S. economy. The moves represent the most dramatic steps taken by the U.S. central bank since the 2008 financial crisis. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Vox / NPR / Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post)

  • Trump applauded the Federal Reserve’s move to cut interest rates, saying “It makes me very happy,” adding that “people in the market should be very thrilled.” The last time the Fed cut rates so low was during the global financial crisis just more than a decade ago. (CNN / CNBC)

  • U.S. airline industry asked more than $50 billion in federal assistance — more than three times the size of the industry’s bailout after the Sept. 11 attacks. The request included $25 billion in grants for passenger carriers, $4 billion in grants for cargo, and $25 billion in loan guarantees. Trump said it’s “not their fault” and that his administration will back airlines “100%” but did not specify if there would be loans or a bailout of the airline industry. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN)

4/ Trump offered “large sums” of money to a German company for exclusive access to a COVID-19 vaccine so that it would be available in the U.S. first. Trump offered the CEO of CureVac roughly $1 billion for access to a vaccine “only for the United States” at the White House on March 2. Germany’s Health Ministry confirmed that Trump had made the offer and that Berlin has been offering CureVac financial incentives to remain in Germany. (Welt / New York Times / Politico / Reuters / Vox / Washington Post / The Guardian)

  • Trump told governors that states should work on getting their own respirators and ventilators, and to not wait for the federal government to provide them. (New York Times)

  • Trump tested negative for the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the White House started checking the temperatures of anyone in close contact with Trump or Mike Pence. (CNN / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post)

  • The first clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine will begin today. The vaccine will be tested on 45 young, healthy volunteers, who will receive different doses of the experimental vaccine that were co-developed by the the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. Officials said it will take anywhere from a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine. (Associated Press)

  • An emergency room doctor at EvergreenHealth in Washington state tested positive for coronavirus and is in critical condition. The hospital at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in King County. (Seattle Times)

  • The White House announced more coronavirus drive-through and walk-through testing locations will open this week. The sites will be equipped to test 2-4,000 people per day. Priority status will be given to healthcare workers, first responders, people over the age of 65, as well as those with respiratory symptoms and fevers above 99.9 degrees. Adm. Brett Giroir, who is coordinating testing efforts for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the U.S. is currently “going from somewhat manual, relatively slow phases, to a testing regimen that we can test many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of individuals per week, and maybe even more.” Officials said roughly 2 million tests are expected to be available this week and more than 10 states currently have drive-through testing sites. (NPR)

5/ The Dept. of Health and Human Services was hit with a cyberattack. The activity was a distributed denial of service – not a hack – designed to overload the HHS servers with millions of hits over several hours. The attack reportedly didn’t succeed in significantly slowing the agency’s systems. (Bloomberg / ABC News / Axios)

poll/ 60% of Americans believe the worst is yet to come for the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, 40% say their daily lives will change as a result of the pandemic, and 45% approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic — almost identical to his 46% overall job performance rating. (NBC News)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Trump is “strongly considering” a full pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about the nature of his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration. “After destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has ‘lost’ the records of General Michael Flynn,” Trump tweeted shortly after the Justice Department initiated a review of the criminal case against Flynn. “How convenient,” he added. “I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!” Flynn is currently attempting to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that he was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct during his initial trial. (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN)

  2. The Supreme Court will delay oral arguments over concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The court was scheduled to hear a handful of high-profile cases starting next week, including the March 31 argument over Trump’s attempts to keep Congress and a New York prosecutor from seeing his tax returns and other financial documents. The court has not disrupted its own operations since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which resumed a month later. The justices still plan to conduct their regular closed-door conference on Friday, but some of them will likely participate over the phone. The announcement did not say when oral arguments would resume. (NBC News / Politico / Associated Press)

  3. Mitch McConnell has been privately contacting sitting federal judges and urging them to retire so they can be replaced while the Republicans still hold the Senate and the White House. McConnell and other Senate Republicans have contacted an unknown number of Republican-nominated judges who are eligible to retire and reminding them that if they don’t retire soon they may have to wait another eight years before they can leave under another Republican administration. More than 90 Republican-nominated judges are either currently eligible or will become eligible this year to enter “senior status,” which allows their spots on the bench to be filled, even though they’ll still be allowed to hear cases, hire clerks, and receive full pay. (New York Times)


👑 Portrait of a President.

  • Inside the Trump administration’s troubled coronavirus response: Infighting, missteps and a son-in-law hungry for results. (Washington Post)

  • Inside Trump’s failed attempt to calm coronavirus fears: In the most scripted of presidential settings, a prime-time televised address to the nation, Trump decided to ad-lib — and his errors triggered a market meltdown, panicked travelers overseas and crystallized for his critics just how dangerously he has fumbled his management of the coronavirus. (Washington Post)

  • How Trump changed course on coronavirus: In the span of 48 hours, from the moment markets plunged after a confusing and stiff Oval Office address to his national emergency declaration from the Rose Garden, Trump watched his own assessment of the viral outbreak transform in extraordinary fashion, forcing him into a course correction. (Politico)

  • Inside the fight over Trump’s virus speech: The speech was Trump delivering – one day late – a report he promised to the nation on his virus plan. It came after a rolling, day-long series of meetings at the White House, capped by Trump’s decision to endorse the travel restrictions. But beyond the travel ban, the economic measures he announced – paid family leave and small business loans – were modest and vague. (Bloomberg)

  • How the White House bungled the coronavirus response: Trump’s own advisers acknowledged to NBC News that the failure to focus on widespread testing was a major misstep. (NBC News)

  • Trump finds his MAGA movement fracturing over coronavirus. While the MAGA movement is divided over how seriously to take the coronavirus threat or how to tackle it, the message among his supporters is increasingly unanimous: If Trump fails to control the virus, prevent its spread and prove his leadership, much less save the economy, he will lose the election and cripple his movement. (Politico)

  • The complete list of Trump’s attempts to downplay the coronavirus threat. Trump made his first public comments about the coronavirus on Jan. 22, saying “we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” (New York Times)


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