• 🔥 Daily Damage Report.

  • 🌍 Global: Total confirmed cases ~4,783,000; Total deaths: ~318,000; Total recoveries: ~1,777,000. (Johns Hopkins University)

  • 🇺🇸 U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~1,505,000; Total deaths: ~90,200; Total recoveries: ~283,000

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

  • The first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in people appears to stimulate an immune response against the virus. Moderna said the early-stage human trial for a coronavirus vaccine produced COVID-19 antibodies in all 45 participants and the vaccine also produced neutralizing antibodies in at least eight participants. The findings do not prove that the vaccine works. Many vaccines fail to pass muster, even after showing positive signs in early testing. The FDA, however, gave Moderna permission to begin the second stage of testing and the company said a vaccine could be ready for emergency use as early as the fall, if it proves to work safely in subsequent testing. Moderna’s announcement comes days after one of its directors, Moncef Slaoui, stepped down from the board to join Operation Warp Speed, a White House initiative to speed up vaccine development. (New York Times / CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • FRIDAY: The House approved a rule change to allow lawmakers to vote remotely during the coronavirus pandemic – the most radical change to its rules in generations – allowing its members pass a $3 trillion pandemic relief package to send aid to state and local governments and another round of direct $1,200 payments to taxpayers. Republicans have made clear that the relief package is dead on arrival in the Senate and the bill faces a veto threat from Trump. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN)

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

  • 👑 Portrait of a president.

  • A Sitting President, Riling the Nation During a Crisis. By smearing his opponents, championing conspiracy theories and pursuing vendettas, President Tru​mp has reverted to his darkest political tactics in spite of a pandemic hurting millions of Americans. (New York Times)

  • We could stop the pandemic by July 4 if the government took these steps. A $74 billion investment in testing, tracing and isolation could rescue the economy — quickly. (Washington Post)


1/ Trump claimed that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine “right now” and that he started taking it “a couple of weeks ago” despite the fact he continues to test negative for the coronavirus. Trump said he consulted with the White House doctor, who recommended he take the unproven treatment for COVID-19 that he has repeatedly promoted. Trump said he hadn’t been exposed, but started taking the drug because “I get a lot of positive calls about it.” Trump said he said he doesn’t know if it works, but claimed “if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get sick and die.” The FDA, however, has warned against hydroxychloroquine’s use for COVID-19 outside of a hospital setting due to a risk of serious heart problems. Trump added: “So far, I seem to be okay.” [Editor’s note: This is breaking news and the blog post will be updated.] (CNBC / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNN – Daniel Dale / NBC News / Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN)

  • Clinical trials, academic research, and scientific analysis of hydroxychloroquine indicate that the drug significantly increases the risk of death for certain patients. Evidence showing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 has also been scant. (Washington Post)

  • Trump’s campaign team is pursuing scenarios that would allow him to return to in-person rallies. Trump’s last rally was in March. (CNN)

  • Eric Trump claimed that the coronavirus will “magically” disappear after the November election. He suggested that the virus was a politically expedient Democratic ploy meant to prevent his dad from holding rallies across the country. Eric said his dad’s “greatest tool” is “being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time,” and suggested that social distancing restrictions and stay-at-home orders were part of a “cognizant strategy” by Democrats to keep Joe Biden competitive in the November election. “You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3,” Eric Trump told Fox News. “And guess what, after November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.” (Washington Post)

2/ After a former top vaccine official called the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic slow and chaotic, Trump took to Twitter to complain that whistleblowers like Rick Bright are “causing great injustice and harm” to the nation. Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, criticized Trump for failing to have a plan in place to address the coronavirus outbreak and repeated his claim that he was retaliated against after raising concerns about hydroxychloroquine. Trump tweeted that he had never met nor heard of Bright and claimed that the former federal vaccine doctor was a “disgruntled employee.” Bright responded, saying he was not a disgruntled employee but instead “frustrated at a lack of leadership.” (CBS News / Washington Post / The Hill)

  • 📌 Day 1202: The federal scientist involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, alleges that he was removed from his position for pushing back on “efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and that he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency.” In the complaint, Bright charged the Department of Health and Human Services with “an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement,” saying the agency’s chaotic response was the result of “pressure from HHS leadership to ignore scientific merit and expert recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections and cronyism.” Bright was removed from his post on April 20 after having served as BARDA director for nearly four years. He was reassigned to a narrower role at the National Institutes of Health. (NBC News / NPR / CNN / Washington Post / Axios / CBS News)

  • 📌 Day 1210: The top U.S. vaccine doctor who was ousted in April testified that the U.S. could face the “darkest winter in modern history” because the Trump administration was unprepared for the coronavirus. According to Dr. Rick Bright’s prepared testimony, “Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.” Dr. Bright testified that the Department of Health and Human Services “missed early warning signals” in January, February, and March about a potential shortage of medical supplies and “forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook” early on. Dr. Bright filed a whistleblower complaint last week, alleging that he was ousted over his attempts to limit the use of hydroxychloroquine — the unproven drug touted by Trump — to treat the coronavirus. (CNN / Axios / Politico)

  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro blamed the CDC for faulty coronavirus testing, saying the agency “really let the country down.” Navarro’s criticism came after CDC director, Robert Redfield, appeared remotely at a Senate committee hearing last week. Redfield detailed the CDC’s efforts to combat the pandemic, saying “We need to rebuild our nation’s public health infrastructure: data and data analytics, public health laboratory resilience and our nation’s public health workforce.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called Navarro’s comments “inaccurate and inappropriate.” (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

3/ Trump fired the State Department inspector general, who had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Steve Linick was investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer run personal errands for him, including walking his dog, picking up his dry cleaning, and making dinner reservations for him and his wife. Linick was also investigating Pompeo’s decision to bypass Congress and expedite last year’s $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia by declaring an emergency. Pompeo reportedly refused to sit for an interview with Linick as part of the probe. Trump informed Congress of the move in a letter late Friday, saying that he “no longer” had full confidence in Linick. Lawmakers from both parties criticized Linick’s firing, with congressional Democrats launching an investigation to determine whether was an act of illegal retaliation intended to shield Pompeo from accountability. Pompeo, meanwhile, said he recommended that Linick be fired because the independent watchdog was “undermining” the department. Pomepo would not address specifics, except to say it was not in retaliation, because he did not know beforehand that Linick was investigating allegations that he had an aide run personal errands for him. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Washington Post / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

4/ A $500 billion Treasury Department fund created by the CARES Act in March to help prop up large segments of the U.S. economy has barely lent any money, according to a Congressional Oversight Commission report. The commission was created by the CARES act to oversee how the taxpayer money is being used. The first report was issued even though it still doesn’t have a chairman. (Washington Post)

  • Trump will meet with the governor of Kansas at the White House today to discuss how to protect the U.S. food supply and agricultural sector from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, also plans to discuss her own strategy for reopening Kansas’s nonessential businesses. The meeting comes a day before Trump is scheduled to leave Washington and visit Michigan for the first time since the pandemic began, where he will participate in a tour of a Ford plant that is manufacturing ventilators. (The Hill)

5/ Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests may have spread coronavirus hundreds of miles after returning to all parts of their states. The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps and was used it to track the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, and Florida. (The Guardian)

  • A report suggesting that the coronavirus was intentionally released from a lab in Wuhan, China was based on probably false evidence. The 30-page report produced by defense contractor Sierra Nevada claims to rely on cell phone location data, social media postings, and commercial satellite imagery to conclude that some kind of “hazardous event” occurred in October 2019 at the Wuhan Institute for Virology, allowing COVID-19 to escape into the world. But the sample size for the cell phone data is too small, there are selfies taken at the conference the report claims was canceled the following month after the “hazardous event,” and additional satellite imagery shows a much more mundane reason for the lack of traffic around the same time as the supposed incident: road construction. The director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies called the report “an illustrated guide on how not to do open source analysis.” (Daily Beast)

6/ Sen. Marco Rubio will temporarily serve as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after Sen. Richard Burr said he would step aside as chairman while he faces an FBI investigation into his stock trades. (Politico)

7/ Attorney General William Barr dismissed Trump’s attempts to rebrand the Russia investigation as a criminal plot engineered by Barack Obama. Barr said he did not expect the prosecutor he handpicked to review the 2016 FBI investigation into Trump’s campaign would investigate Obama or Joe Biden. Barr said that John Durham was examining some aspects of the case as potential crimes but that he was focused on other people, saying “I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either [Obama or Biden].” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)


Become a member.

Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.
Learn more