Day 1181: "The ultimate authority."
Daily Damage Report.
Global: Total confirmed cases ~1,979,000; Total deaths: ~125,200; Total recoveries: ~471,000. (Johns Hopkins University)
U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~599,000; Total deaths: ~25,200; Total recoveries: ~45,000
Markets: Dow 📈; S&P 500 📈; Nasdaq 📈
Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / CBS News / The Guardian / NPR
✏️ Our Pandemic Summer: The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself. (The Atlantic)
✏️ Coronavirus distancing may need to continue until 2022, say experts. Scientists say one-time lockdown will not bring pandemic under control. (The Guardian)
1/ YESTERDAY: Trump interrupted the daily coronavirus task force briefing to play a heavily-edited, campaign-style highlight reel of video clips and soundbites praising himself and the steps his administration has taken to combat the virus over the last four months. “Everything we did was right,” Trump said, while calling the New York Times a “fake newspaper.” Trump prefaced the video as his response to a recent report in the Times that revealed he wasted several weeks doing nothing to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the U.S., despite several warnings and calls to action from senior U.S. officials and public health experts. While the video played, Trump grinned and pointed to the screen when he saw clips of himself speaking. At one point Trump paused to boast, “But I guess I’m doing okay because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the president of the United States, despite the things that are said.” CNN stopped its live coverage of the briefing and accused Trump of playing “a propaganda video at taxpayer expense in the White House briefing room.” The briefing began with Trump turning to Dr. Anthony Fauci and asking him to “say a few words before we go any further.” Fauci offered a not-quite-apology for confirming the report that he and other health experts had made mitigation recommendations to Trump as early as the third weekend of February and said that earlier mitigation “could have saved lives.” (Washington Post / The Hill / The Intercept / The Guardian / Daily Beast)
- Reporter to Trump: What did you do for the entire month of February? CBS reporter Paula Reid grilled Trump about the Trump administration’s lack of action for the entire month of February as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading across the U.S. (CNN)
2/ Trump falsely claimed “I have the ultimate authority” over states to reopen the country once the coronavirus pandemic shows signs of receding, despite governors forging ahead with their own plans. Trump added: “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total and that’s the way it’s got to be. … It’s total. The governors know that.” When asked by reporters what provisions of the Constitution gave him the power to override the states if they wanted to remain closed, Trump responded by saying: “Numerous provisions,” without naming any. “The president of the United States calls the shots. [States] can’t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States.” The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, meanwhile, states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News)
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Trump against trying to reopen the state against his wishes, saying it would create “a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades” and could result in a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases. “The only ways this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis,” Cuomo said. Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at Democratic state governors, suggesting they were “mutineers” after Cuomo said he would refuse any order by the president to reopen the economy too soon. (NBC News / Politico)
3/ Dr. Anthony Fauci: “We’re not there yet” with testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy. Dr. Fauci added that Trump’s May 1 target for restarting the economy is “overly optimistic,” saying that there will be new outbreaks in locations where social distancing has been eased, but public health officials don’t yet have the capabilities to rapidly test, isolate new cases, and track down everyone that an infected person came into contact with. (Associated Press / Reuters)
- The 4 plans to end social distancing, explained. The plans all say the U.S. needs more testing. But they differ on how much more. (Vox)
4/ More than 80% of the benefits of a tax change in the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually. The provision temporarily suspends a limitation on how much owners of businesses formed as “pass-through” entities can deduct against their nonbusiness income, such as capital gains, to reduce their tax liability. The provision was inserted into the legislation by Senate Republicans and will cost taxpayers about $90 billion in 2020. (Washington Post)
5/ The spread of the coronavirus through the food and grocery industry is expected to cause disruptions in production and distribution of certain products as increasing numbers of workers are falling ill with the virus in meat processing plants, warehouses, and grocery stores. Industry leaders say shortages could increase, but insist that people will have enough to eat; they just may not have the usual variety. (New York Times)
6/ The CIA has advised its workforce that taking an anti-malarial drug touted by Trump for the coronavirus has potentially dangerous side effects, including sudden death. A CIA website for employees about the coronavirus addressed the topic on March 27, noting “At this point, the drug is not recommended to be used by patients except by medical professionals prescribing it as part of ongoing investigational studies. There are potentially significant side effects, including sudden cardiac death, associated with hydroxychloroquine and its individual use in patients need to be carefully selected and monitored by a health care professional,” adding in bold type: “Please do not obtain this medication on your own.” (Washington Post)
poll/ 57% of Americans think Trump waited too long to act in response to the coronavirus. 85% of Democrats and 56% of Independents feel that way, while 71% of Republicans say they’re happy with the speed of Trump’s response. 20% of Republicans think Trump should have moved faster. (YouGov)
poll/ 55% of Americans say the U.S. government was not prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. 30% said the government was “not at all prepared,” while 25% said it was “not so prepared.” (Business Insider)
poll/ 49% of voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, compared to 45% who approve. For the first time, a plurality of voters disapprove of Trump’s COVID-19 response. (Morning Consult)
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