• 🔥 Daily Damage Report.

  • 🌍 Global: Total confirmed cases ~2,623,000; Total deaths: ~183,000; Total recoveries: ~707,000. (Johns Hopkins University)

  • 🇺🇸 U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~842,000; Total deaths: ~46,400; Total recoveries: ~77,000

  • 💰 Markets: Dow 📈; S&P 500 📈; Nasdaq 📈

  • 💻 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNBC / The Guardian / NPR / ABC News / CBS News / CNN

  • ✏️ Notables.

  • The World Health Organization warned that coronavirus remains “extremely dangerous” and “will be with us for a long time.” While social distancing measures put in place in numerous countries to slow the spread of the coronavirus have been successful, current data show “most of the world’s population remains susceptible,” meaning outbreaks can easily “reignite.” (CNBC)

  • Concerns are growing that any economic recovery this year could be short-lived because of a resurgence of the coronavirus and a spike in bankruptcies and defaults. White House officials have touted the possibility of a V-shaped recovery as soon as this summer, but some economists believe a W-shaped recovery is increasingly likely. (Washington Post)

  • Health chief’s early missteps set back coronavirus response: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar waited for weeks to brief Trump on the threat, oversold his agency’s progress in the early days, and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health care divisions under his purview. (Wall Street Journal)

  • The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services tapped a former dog breeder with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19 in the pandemic’s early days. The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Some officials in the White House called him “the dog breeder.” (Reuters)

  • Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis left the U.S. looking like a “third world” country on course for a second Great Depression, one of the world’s leading economists warned. Joseph Stiglitz said millions of people were turning to food banks, turning up for work due to a lack of sick pay, and dying because of health inequalities. (The Guardian)

  • 👑 The Trump administration struggles to meet the moment: The federal response has been too small in scope and short on creative solutions to meet the greatest challenge since World War II. (Politico)


1/ The director of the federal agency responsible for developing a coronavirus vaccine was removed after pressing for rigorous vetting of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, which Trump has repeatedly embraced. Dr. Rick Bright cited “clashes with political leadership” as a reason for his abrupt dismissal as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as well as his resistance to “efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.” Dr. Bright said that science, not “politics and cronyism” must lead the way, adding that he believed he was removed from his post because he insisted that “the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic” be put toward “safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit.” He was assigned a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health. (New York Times /New York Times / CNN / STAT News / CNBC / Axios)

  • READ: Statement from leader of federal vaccine agency about his reassignment

  • Trump brushed off questions about hydroxychloroquine after weeks of touting the anti-malarial drug as a potential “game changer” against the advice of his own public health officials. On Tuesday, a new government study suggested that the drug didn’t offer any benefit in fighting COVID-19 and that its use was correlated with more deaths. When asked about the study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump responded: “I don’t know of the report. Obviously, there have been some very good reports, and perhaps this one is not a good report. But we’ll be looking at it.” (ABC News / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 1188: 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)

  • 📌 Day 1188: 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)

  • STUDY: Sean Hannity viewers were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules and had higher local rates of infection and death than Tucker Carlson viewers. [Editor’s note: Including this not for the easy dunk, but because it illustrates how your media habits – what and who you watch – affects your worldview and decision-making ability. My recommendation for upping your media literacy is to read broadly, think critically, and maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.] (Vox)

2/ State and local governments are warning of layoffs and pay cuts after getting left out of the latest federal coronavirus relief package. The $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed last month included $150 billion in direct help for state and local governments, but an additional $150 billion in aid did not make it into the latest package, which is expected to pass Congress this week. A Congressional Research Service report last week said that “early evidence suggests that the COVID-19 economic shock will have a notable impact on state and local budgets,” pointing to the “sizable share of economic output” that derives from state and local governments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, promised a “major package” of aid for state and local government in the next stimulus legislation. Mitch McConnell, however, said Congress should “push the pause button” on future economic relief packages and consider the potential impact on federal debt. McConnell later said he “would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route” rather than giving them a federal bailout. Separately, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “This is a war, and we need to win this war and we need to spend what it takes to win the war.” (NBC News / Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The first U.S. death from the coronavirus happened in early February – nearly three weeks earlier than U.S. health authorities had previously known. Two newly reported deaths in California have challenged the timeline of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. Until now, the earliest known fatalities from the virus were believed to have occurred on Feb. 26 near Seattle. But tissue samples taken from two people who died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 in Santa Clara County, CA tested positive for COVID-19. It’s still unclear how those two people contracted the virus, but local public health officials say the cases are believed to be community transmissions. (New York Times / Washington Post / Los Angeles Times / San Francisco Chronicle / Wall Street Journal)

  • Chinese intelligence operatives pushed fake text messages and Facebook posts in March claiming the Trump administration was planning to lock down the entire country in order to prevent looting and rioting related to the coronavirus. One of the messages warned that the Trump administration planned to announce the lockdown “as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters.” The fake messages cited a Department of Homeland Security source who said he “got the call last night” and was told to “pack and be prepared for the call today with his dispatch orders.” The messages became so widespread in mid-March that the White House National Security Council had to make an announcement to clarify that they were “FAKE.” The exact origin of the messages is unclear, but six U.S. officials said American intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages and texts across the country. (New York Times)

4/ The Trump administration blocked undocumented college students from receiving emergency federal aid assistance for expenses like food, child care, and housing. Congress allocated $6 billion in its economic rescue package to colleges to grant to students to cover expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Education Department, however, issued guidance mandating that the money be given to students who qualify for federal financial aid, meaning U.S. citizens and some legal permanent residents. (Politico / The Hill)

5/ Trump threatened – via Twitter – to “shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats” that “harass” U.S. Navy ships at sea. The threat comes days after the Pentagon claimed 11 Iranian ships took “dangerous and provocative” actions near U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships while they were conducting training operations in international waters in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian ships reportedly came within 10 yards of the bow of a U.S. Coast Guard ship. Defense Department officials characterized it as more of a warning to Iran than a shift in policy. (CNBC / CBS News / NBC News)

6/ The White House director of social media was promoted to deputy chief of staff for communications. Dan Scavino’s appointment was one of several changes by the new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the fourth person to hold the job under Trump. (New York Times)

poll/ 72% of Florida voters think social distancing rules should continue into May. 76% say that the state’s economy should only reopen when public health officials deem it safe, compared to 17% who say it should reopen even if public health officials warn against it. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ 61% of Americans support stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying the restrictions are “about right,” 26% say the restrictions don’t go far enough, and 12% say they go too far. 22% of Republicans say the restrictions go too far, while 5% of Democrats say the same. (Associated Press)


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