1/ The CDC recommends all Americans wear simple “non-medical, cloth” masks in public. Trump, however, said “You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it. It’s only a recommendation.” Trump stressed several times that the CDC’s new guidelines are “voluntary” and that he would not be wearing a mask the CDC is now recommending. Trump also underscored that medical masks should be reserved for health care workers and that masks are not a substitute for social distancing. (CNN / NPR)

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci: “I don’t understand why” all states are not under stay-at-home order. 39 states and Washington, D.C. are currently under stay-at-home orders while 11 other states have not issued stay-at-home orders. Pence, meanwhile, said that Trump has decided he doesn’t want to tell states what to do. “At the president’s direction, the White House coronavirus task force will continue to take the posture that we will defer to state and local health authorities on any measures that they deem appropriate.” (NBC News / Washington Post)

  • ✏️ Americans are underestimating how long coronavirus disruptions will last, public health experts warn. While coronavirus cases are expected to peak in mid-April, quickly reopening businesses or loosening shelter-in-place rules would inevitably lead to a new surge of infections, they said. (Stat News)

  • ✏️ When can America reopen from its coronavirus shutdown? The answer depends how you weigh human health against the economy. (Politico)

2/ Trump signed a Defense Production Act order requiring 3M to prioritize N95 respirator mask orders from the U.S. government, cutting off 3M’s ability to export face masks abroad. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the administration was concerned about whether 3M’s production is being delivered to the U.S. 3M Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman, meanwhile, called it “absurd” to suggest that the company isn’t doing all it can to increase availability of masks in the U.S., adding that it has doubled its global production of N95 respirators to more than 1 billion per year or nearly 100 million every month. 3M also said the administration asked it to stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America, which the company said raises “significant humanitarian implications” and will backfire by causing other countries to retaliate against the U.S. Trade and legal experts agree that new mandates could cause other governments to clamp down on exports of masks, ventilator parts and pharmaceuticals that the U.S. needs. (NPR / Politico / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)

  • Trump hasn’t ordered GM to produce ventilators under the Defense Production Act despite saying he would nearly a week ago. (USA Today)

  • ✏️ Federal government spent millions to ramp up mask readiness, but that isn’t helping now. (Washington Post)

  • ✏️ Taxpayers Paid Millions to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator for a Pandemic. Instead, the Company Is Selling Versions of It Overseas. (ProPublica)

3/ The Trump administration changed its description of the Strategic National Stockpile after Jared Kushner suggested that the stockpile wasn’t meant for states to use. “And the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said during the White House coronavirus task force press conference. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” The Department of Health and Human Services website previously described the stockpile as the “nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.” After journalists noted that Kushner’s claim contradicted the program’s description, the website was updated to say “The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well.” (Politico / Washington Post)

  • 🙇‍♂️ Portrait of a Son-in-Law.

  • Kushner Puts Himself in Middle of White House’s Coronavirus Response. Trump’s son-in-law has become a central player in the administration’s effort to curb the pandemic. But critics say he is part of the problem. (New York Times)

  • Behind the scenes: Kushner takes charge of coronavirus response. Trump’s son-in-law sets up shop at FEMA as his portfolio balloons to include manufacturing, supplies and long-term planning. (Politico)

  • Inside Jared Kushner and Peter Navarro’s efforts to rescue the White House’s coronavirus response. (CNN)

  • Jared Kushner’s family business could benefit from a provision in the federal recovery bill that allows owners of apartment buildings to freeze federal mortgage payments on low- and moderate-income properties. Kushner Companies controls thousands of low- and moderate-housing units across the country, some of which are funded through an $800 million federally backed loan the firm received in 2019. (Politico)

4/ The White House is missing 50% of the coronavirus testing data. Dr. Deborah Birx said part of the recent coronavirus stimulus bill requires all data from coronavirus tests be reported to the CDC, but she hasn’t received it yet. “I’m telling you, I’m still missing 50% of the data from reporting,” Dr. Birx said. “I have 660 [thousand] tests reported in. We’ve done 1.3 million. … So, we do need to see – the bill said you need to report. We are still not receiving 100% of the tests.” Birx did note, however, that the number of positive tests “is tracking very closely with a number of cases diagnosed.” (CNN)

  • ✏️ Experts and Trump’s advisers doubt the White House coronavirus task force’s 240,000 coronavirus deaths estimate. The experts said they don’t challenge the numbers’ validity but that they don’t know how the White House arrived at them, because the models have not been released. (Washington Post)

5/ The Trump administration ended a pandemic early-warning program in China two months before the coronavirus started spreading in Wuhan. The PREDICT program identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. It also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories. Field work ceased when the funding for PREDICT ran out in September 2019, and organizations that worked on the program laid off dozens of scientists and analysts. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Last year: Two Trump administration officials listed the threat of a pandemic as the issue that worried them most. Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly claimed that “Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019. (CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1159: The Trump administration eliminated a CDC disease expert position in China a few months before the coronavirus pandemic began. The position, known as resident adviser to the U.S. Field Epidemiology Training Program in China, was funded by the CDC and was focused on helping detect disease outbreaks in China. No other foreign disease experts were embedded to lead the program after Dr. Linda Quick had to leave her post in July amid the U.S. trade dispute with China. The post was officially discontinued as of September 2019. The CDC first learned of a “cluster of 27 cases of pneumonia” of unexplained origin in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31. (Reuters)

  • 📌 Day 1162: The Trump administration fired more than two-thirds of the staff working at a key U.S. public health agency operating in China leading up to the coronavirus outbreak. Staff at the CDC’s Beijing office was slashed from roughly 47 people to 14 people since Trump took office. The CDC has worked in China for the last 30 years. The National Science Foundation and the USAID office, which helped China monitor and respond to outbreaks, also shuttered their Beijing offices on Trump’s watch. (Reuters/New York Times)

6/ The Trump administration plans to use the federal stimulus package to pay hospitals to treat uninsured people with the coronavirus. Hospitals would have to agree not to bill the patients or issue unexpected charges. Trump, meanwhile, hinted that he is considering using Medicare and Medicaid to pay for health care for the uninsured after he decided to not reopen the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets. (Politico)

  • The 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship docked in New York City is currently treating 20 patients. The U.S.N.S. Comfort was sent to New York to relieve pressure on hospitals by treating non-coronavirus patients. The Navy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles, has had a total of 15 patients. (New York Times / CNN)

7/ The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from 3.5% in March as payrolls decreased by 701,000 from the prior month. The Labor Department data doesn’t reflect the magnitude of jobs being lost due to the coronavirus pandemic and mainly covers the early part of March. The change in unemployment rate is the largest one-month increase in the rate since January 1975. (NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  • The unemployment rate is probably around 13% – higher than at any point since the Great Depression. (New York Times)

  • The federal government’s $350 billion small business loan program got off to a rocky start as banks tried to figure out how to process applicants based on guidelines the Trump administration published hours earlier. Bank of America said more than 58,000 customers applied for $6 billion in loans. (CNBC / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

8/ Trump’s new chief of staff is privately discussing bringing on a new White House Press Secretary. Mark Meadows is reportedly considering whether to tap Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany for the position. It is unclear whether Meadows plans to replace Trump’s current press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, or simply bring in someone else to supplement Grisham’s work. (Axios)

poll/ 52% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while only 47% approve. 89% said the outbreak has disrupted their daily routine. 84% said they think they will be able to resume their regular routine by the end of the summer. (ABC News)


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