👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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- Editor’s note: I’m apparently not very good at following my own publishing schedule. WTF Just Happened Today? was supposed to be off today for Good Friday (and will be Monday, April 13, in observance of Easter), but here we are. As a result, today’s post is short – more of a limited/supplemental edition. And, as a reminder, WTFJHT publishes Monday-Friday, except for federal, market holidays, and some random holidays, including Donald Trump’s birthday. Anyway, have a great, socially distant weekend and remember to wash your damn hands (and to tip your blogger)!
1/ The Trump administration continued to push to reopen much of the country by May 1 despite concerns from health experts and economists of a possible COVID-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the coronavirus is under control. At his daily briefing on Thursday, Trump said “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.” But on Friday, Trump walked that back, saying “we’re not doing anything until we know this country is going to be healthy,” adding “We’re looking at a date, we hope we’ll be able to fulfill a certain date.” CDC guidance on social distancing is set to expire April 30. Trump added that he was creating a new council of doctors and business leaders devoted to “opening our country,” which will be separate from the Coronavirus Task Force. (Washington Post / CNBC / CBS News / Politico)
CDC Director: ‘Very Aggressive’ Contact Tracing Needed For U.S. To Return To Normal. (NPR)
[Opinion] I’ve read the plans to reopen the economy. They’re scary. “Even if you can imagine the herculean political, social, and economic changes necessary to manage our way through this crisis effectively, there is no normal for the foreseeable future. Until there’s a vaccine, the US either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness.” (Vox - Ezra Klein)
[Opinion] Getting Down to Planning the Next Year and the Interim New Normal. “Put simply, we won’t be able to get back to even a semi-normal social and economic life until we have a system in place that will prevent us from rapidly falling right back into a cycle of more outbreaks, lockdowns, deaths in the tens of thousands and economic shocks.” (Talking Points Memo – Josh Marshall)
2/ New projections from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services show a spike in coronavirus infections if shelter in place, school closures, and social distancing orders are lifted after 30 days. The projections, dated April 9, outlined three scenarios: doing nothing to mitigate the spread; a “steady state” where schools remain closed until summer, 25% of Americans work from home, and social distancing continues; and a 30-day shelter in place, on top of those “steady state” restrictions. The report concludes that lifting restrictions after 30 days would result in “a greater rebound peak after the mitigation is relaxed.” Trump, meanwhile, called relaxing the restrictions “without question, it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico)
3/ Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is open to reinstating Navy captain who was relieved of his post after asking for help dealing with a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship. Esper said his “inclination is always to support the chain of command,” but that he has “taken nothing off the table” when it comes to the possibility of reinstating Capt. Brett Cozier. Cozier was relieved after a letter he sent to Esper asking for help with the outbreak was leaked to the media. (The Hill)
- 📌 Day 1174: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned a day after he ridiculed and then apologized to a captain he had ousted for raising concerns about a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Modly, speaking to the ship’s crew over a loudspeaker, called Capt. Brett Crozier “too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this,” accusing him of a “betrayal of trust.” Capt. Crozier was relieved of command last week by Modly after writing a letter to senior Navy officials outlining the challenges of trying to contain a coronavirus outbreak aboard the ship and requested that sailors be allowed to quarantine on land. Defense Secretary Mark Esper accepted Modly’s resignation and selected Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson to replace Modly as acting Navy secretary. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Axios)
poll/ 52% of Americans under 45 have lost their job, been placed on leave, or had their hours cut. Overall, 33% have already lost their job, been furloughed, or had their hours reduced, with 41% of those already reporting having trouble covering basic costs. (Data For Progress)
Record Bankruptcies Predicted in Next Year as Unemployment Soars. (Bloomberg)
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