👋 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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🔥 Daily Damage Report.
🌍 Global: Total confirmed cases ~2,547,000; Total deaths: ~177,000; Total recoveries: ~680,000. (Johns Hopkins University)
🇺🇸 U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~817,000; Total deaths: ~44,300; Total recoveries: ~75,000
💰 Markets: Dow 📉; S&P 500 📉; Nasdaq 📉
✏️ 28,000 missing deaths: Tracking the true death toll of the coronavirus crisis. (New York Times)
✏️ The malaria drug widely touted by Trump showed no benefit – and more deaths – in a U.S. veterans study. About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too. (Associated Press)
✏️ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities. Trump, however, has suggested the combination might be helpful. (NPR)
✏️ Trump faces his next coronavirus test: Trump’s advisers recognize his bumpy rollout of coronavirus testing represents a major vulnerability in an election year. (Politico)
✏️ We are living in a failed state: The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken. (The Atlantic)
1/ The White House and congressional leaders reached agreement on a $484 billion coronavirus relief package to replenish the depleted small business loan program, and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing. The legislation will increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program by $310 billion, add $60 billion to a separate small business emergency grant and loan program, direct $75 billion to hospitals, and provide $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program. The Senate approved the measure. The House, however, is not expected to take action until Thursday morning at the earliest (to allow lawmakers time to return to Washington for a recorded vote), because Republican leaders pushed back on an effort to change the House rules to allow members to vote remotely by proxy. Trump said he would sign it into law. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Politico)
2/ Trump declared – via tweet – that he will sign an executive order suspending most immigration to the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming the move will “protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens” from “the Invisible Enemy.” The announcement comes as Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is ready to re-open despite the continued spread of the coronavirus and a U.S. death toll in the tens of thousands. A senior administration official added that the move has been “under consideration for a while,” but provided no details about the plan. Trump previously restricted travel from China and Europe to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and most immigration into the country has already been paused, as the government has temporarily stopped processing nonworker visas. The new policy will deny entry for people seeking most types of work visas for 60 days, but exempt people seeking jobs in “food production and directly helping to protect the supply chain,” which could apply to seasonal farmworker visas. (New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / Reuters / CNN / CBS News)
- The Trump administration is planning to repeal or suspend federal regulations for small businesses and expand an existing program that requires agencies to revoke two regulations for every new one they issue. While the plan remains in flux, changes could affect environmental policy, labor policy, workplace safety and health care, among other areas. (Washington Post)
3/ The director of the CDC warned that a second wave of the coronavirus will likely be worse because it will probably coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean. We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.” (Washington Post)
The World Health Organization warned that we must “ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future” as many countries lift lockdowns and other social distancing measures. (ABC News)
4/ Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department will consider taking legal action against governors who continue to impose strict social distancing rules after coronavirus cases begin to subside. Barr called some current stay-at-home orders “burdens on civil liberties” and if lawsuits were brought, his department would side against the state. Barr’s comments come days after Trump called on states under stay-at home orders – specifically Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia – to be “liberated.” (Bloomberg / NPR / The Guardian)
- Several Southern states took steps to reopen businesses despite health officials warning that reopening too early without expansive testing could lead to a surge in new infections. South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee all moved to relax social distancing and stay-at-home orders. (Wall Street Journal)
5/ The Trump Organization asked the Trump administration for rent relief on the Trump International Hotel because of the coronavirus pandemic. The hotel is in a federally owned building on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Trump Organization inquired with the General Services Administration about changing the nearly $268,000 per month lease payments on the 60-year lease the company signed in 2013. (New York Times)
6/ A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report reaffirmed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Trump in the Oval Office. The report rejects Trump’s repeated claims that a “deep state” intelligence community was biased against him and that Kremlin assistance to his campaign was a “hoax,” perpetrated by Democrats. The committee found “specific intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government demonstrated a preference for candidate Trump,” and that Putin “approved and directed” aspects of the interference. (Politico / Axios / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / ABC News)
poll/ 58% of Americans favor vote-by-mail this November because of concerns that the coronavirus may still be a public health threat. 39% do not support vote-by-mail. (NBC News)
- Health officials in Milwaukee identified at least seven new cases of coronavirus that appear to be linked to the April 7 election. Six of the cases are in voters and one is a poll worker. Advocates of vote-by-mail say Wisconsin’s experience should be a warning to other states, saying this could be “the tip of the iceberg.” (NBC News / ABC News / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
poll/ 54% of Americans rate Trump’s coronavirus response as poor or not so good. By contrast, 72% of Americans give positive ratings to the governors of their states for the way they have dealt with the crisis. (Washington Post)
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