— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 18, 2020
He’s at it early. I like how he thinks calling governors “failing” means “working very well with”.
It is also voting day in 4 state primaries, including Ohio and Arizona. Biden is expected to win big and further his quest to be presumptive nominee.
Dow tarted off optimistic at opening but it is down 200 points at 10 a.m. It is now about where it was on the day Trump took office.
UPDATE: It turned up about 1000, and then slid down 500 points during a Trump press conference. At the moment (3:00 pm) it is up 816 points… to just over 21,000.
There’s a reason that Republicans have been very, very slow to recognize that we are in a crisis. They may not be realizing it even now because they’ve been convinced by their president and his Fox Greek Chorus that it’s a plot to destroy their Dear Leader.
But it appears that Trump and Fox may have decided their plan to stick their fingers in their ears and sing “lalalala” wasn’t working:
Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham accused the news media of whipping up “mass hysteria” and being “panic pushers.” Fox Business host Trish Regan called the alleged media-Democratic alliance “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”
But that was then.
With Trump’s declaration on Friday that the virus constitutes a national emergency, the tone on Fox News has quickly shifted.
On his program on Friday, Hannity — the most watched figure on cable news — lauded the president’s handling of what the host is now, belatedly, referring to as a “crisis.”
“Tonight, we are witnessing what will be a massive paradigm shift in the future of disease control and prevention,” he said. “A bold, new precedent is being set, the world will once again benefit greatly from America’s leadership. . . . The federal government, state governments, private businesses, top hospitals all coming together, under the president’s leadership, to stem the tide of the coronavirus.”
Just a week ago, Hannity shrugged at the pandemic. “So far in the United States, there’s been around 30 deaths, most of which came from one nursing home in the state of Washington,” he said last Tuesday. “Healthy people, generally, 99 percent recover very fast, even if they contract it.”
By way of comparison, he added: “Twenty-six people were shot in Chicago alone over the weekend. I doubt you heard about it. You notice there’s no widespread hysteria about violence in Chicago. And this has gone on for years and years. By the way, Democratic-run cities, we see a lot of that.”
Ingraham, whose program follows Hannity’s, also seems to have had a fast-dawning recognition that the social and economic dislocation of the virus was more than just a Democratic talking point wielded against the president.
In late February, Ingraham called Democrats the “pandemic party” and displayed photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) alongside enlarged images of coronavirus molecules. “How sick that these people seem almost happiest when Americans are hurting,” she said.
Her advice: “We need to take care of our seniors. If you’re an elderly person or have a serious underlying condition, avoid tight, closed places, a lot of people, don’t take a cruise maybe. Everyone else wash your hands, use good judgment about your daily activities. Yeah, pragmatic thinking, especially if you’ve been overseas recently in one of the hardest-hit areas.”
In fact, health experts have repeatedly said that everyone, not just “seniors” or the chronically ill, should avoid contact with other people, a strategy known as “social distancing.” Their advice extends to people everywhere, not just those who recently traveled abroad. (On Friday, Ingraham tweeted that it was a “great time to fly if not in at-risk population!” The tweet was later deleted.)
By Wednesday, after Trump announced a travel ban on people from the European Union, Ingraham had started calling the pandemic “this dangerous health crisis.” She characterized warnings issued by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Anthony S. Fauci about the potential spread of the disease as “sobering and scary to hear.”
There are more examples in the full article — about Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and Trish Regan whose show was canceled after she claimed the virus was a Democratic plot.
This has been a stunning illustration of the destructive nature of Fox News and its symbiotic relationship with this grotesque fun-house mirror of a presidency. It has taken them two full months to realize that they were actually hurting their Dear Leader and killing their own audience with this nonsense.
At least one reasonable Fox person may have influenced Trump. Trending Politics reported:
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is quite literally taking matters into his own hands to warn about the coronavirus.
Carlson reportedly drove to Mar-a-Lago to warn President Donald Trump that the coronavirus outbreak is a massive threat.
The New York Times reports that the Fox News host has been pleading with Trump to take the COVID-19 pandemic more seriously.
“Last Saturday, Mr. Carlson drove from his residence in Florida to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort, and spoke directly with Mr. Trump about the virus, according to a person with knowledge of their conversation,” reports the Times.
Axios also reports that Carlson was one of “a number of informal Trump advisers” who “emphasized to the president that this was not the flu and urged him to act fast.”
Trump is REALLY gaslighting now:
Trump, who not a month ago characterized Democratic criticism of the coronavirus response as a "hoax," now claims, "I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic." pic.twitter.com/6GTpZ59b75— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2020
This was Trump eight days ago. https://t.co/1xVFAYbzws— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 17, 2020
I can't believe how little Trump is pressed at these news conferences. A few days ago he was mocking and downplaying the threat from #COVID19. Our inability to test has proven to be catastrophic. And yet he's rarely pressed on these failures and when he is, there's no follow up.— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) March 17, 2020
Why did Trump cut the pandemic response team?— dσxxεd Ъuт หσт σuт 🌊🌊 (@twmentality1) March 17, 2020
"People we've cut…haven't been used for…many years. If we ever need em we can get em very quickly. Rather than spending the money, I'm a business person, I don't like having 1000s of people around when you don't need em." pic.twitter.com/MOoKyH8xme
We have a shortage of masks & this is how Trump wants to use them. https://t.co/Dn1Wr2DGvA— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) March 17, 2020
But governors seem to be picking up the slack:
UPDATE: New York State will open Drive-Thru #Coronavirus Testing Facilities in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Staten Island, and Rockland County.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 17, 2020
We are opening the Nassau facility today.
Also, the Trump administration expressed support on Tuesday for sending direct cash payments to Americans in the next two weeks as part of a massive economic stimulus package that is taking shape in Washington, something the White House hopes could stanch the economic free fall caused by the coronavirus.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday. “And I mean now, in the next two weeks.”
The cash payment idea, which originated in Congress, is part of a roughly $850 billion stimulus plan that the White House is trying to push into law as soon as possible. It could become one of the largest federal emergency fiscal packages ever assembled.
I don’t imagine that mailing everyone a thousand dollars will do any harm, but it seems like a pretty inefficient way of doing things. It would be better to use that $300 billion to target the people and businesses most affected by government mandated measures like restaurant closures, social distancing, and so forth. If those people feel confident that there’s a strong bipartisan commitment to making their income whole for at least the next several months—or close to it—they’ll continue to spend normally. Families that aren’t affected as much will most likely adapt and simply spend their income on different things instead of cutting back.
Amazon is prioritizing the stocking and shipping of high-demand household necessities from its warehouses, including groceries, baby products, health and medical supplies, beauty and personal care items, pet supplies, and industrial and household items amid the coronavirus outbreak, as reported by CNBC. What does this mean in practice? Not too much is likely to change if your order consists of household basics, but the online retail giant’s decisions mark a big change for e-sellers.
Oh, this is a nice recap of the week that was:
And Trump… just now… trying to be a war president:
The world is at war with a hidden enemy. WE WILL WIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2020
The first coronavirus cases in the U.S. and South Korea were discovered around the same time in January, but you can see that according to official government accounts, the U.S. tested far fewer patients in the weeks after. 2/ pic.twitter.com/4AM8j7OnCo— NYT Graphics (@nytgraphics) March 17, 2020
Everything is cancelled. Schools, courts, public buildings… bars and restaurants are open, but few are going. Broadway shut down. And everybody is social distancing.
I am remote working. First time doing that. Can’t say I enjoy it.
How bad will this be? Well, that depends on two factors which are largely unknown: (1) How contagious this is and (2) the fatality rate. Here’s one scenario:
As The New York Times reported last week, epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently prepared four scenarios. Their calculations showed a large range of possible fatalities in the United States: between 200,000 and 1.7 million Americans over the course of Covid-19, assuming minimal efforts to contain it.
Few things kill anywhere near so many people in this country. These comparisons assume that the entire coronavirus pandemic runs its course in one year, though it could well take longer.
Dr. Lawler’s estimate, 480,000 deaths, is higher than the number who die in a year from dementia, emphysema, stroke or diabetes. There are only two causes of death that kill more Americans: cancer, which kills just under 600,000 in a year, and heart disease, which kills around 650,000.
A coronavirus death toll near the top of the C.D.C. range (1.7 million) would mean more deaths from the disease than the number of Americans typically killed by cancer and heart disease put together.
Trump had a press conference Friday, backed up by scientists and others. I thought it was better than his Oval Office speech, in that they APPEARED to have their shit together. Trump (finally) declared this a national emergency.
That was until Trump announced a website that does not exist.
Trump said Google is building a site to guide people to coronavirus testing. Here’s what’s really going on.
Two days after President Donald Trump announced that Google was racing to build a site to help Americans find coronavirus testing, people are still confused about what’s actually going on. In the aftermath of the announcement, reports emerged that Google was not fully aware of the plan Trump said the company was participating in. Given the threat the novel coronavirus poses to the US, this is not a good sign.
At a Sunday press conference, Trump said his earlier comments about Google had been “substantiated” and thanked “the head of Google, a great gentleman.” It’s increasingly clear, however, that Google itself is not building the website that Trump described last week. Here’s what’s really going on:
Google does have a plan for responding to the coronavirus, but it’s not what the president said it was. Rather than creating a site that guides people to testing locations, Google is building something much simpler. The company announced on Saturday that it is “partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk, and testing information.”
The site Trump promised on Friday sounds much more like what’s being developed by the life sciences research company Verily, which is related to Google but is a distinct company. Verily said on Friday after Trump’s speech that it “is in the early stages of development” of a tool to triage potential coronavirus patients and “is planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.” Verily used to be a subsidiary of Google, but now both Google and Verily are subsidiaries of their parent company Alphabet. Since Google and Verily are separate companies, it’s hard to know how closely the two are collaborating on the efforts.
So another screw-up.
Look, the testing debacle is complicated, and it’s complicated in the sense that there have been a series of missteps that have led to the testing problems that we have right now: The decision not to use the WHO kit that most of the other countries have. The decision to go our own way, which is not necessarily unreasonable; CDC has a long track record of developing tests are quite, quite good.
But then just having failure after failure in our own approach and what I have really seen as a lack of urgency and lack of priority in making widespread testing available.
That has been just really stunning to me. It leaves us less prepared and worse off on this pandemic than a vast majority of other countries. We are a country, I’ve often said with the best public health agency in the world, and we have great resources, ingenuity, technology. This is not where we should be struggling. And yet kind of political ineptitude has landed us here.
On the plus side, the flow of tests seems to be happening finally. But that means the numbers of infected are rising, because we KNOW about them.
The market? It rebounded on Friday at the press conference. Not as much as it lost that week, but it did go up. The Dow surged 1,985 points, or 9.4%, to close at 23,185.62
However, investors were unassuaged by news that the Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates to near zero.
So, this morning….
The Dow and S&P 500 index plunged over 9% in the first few minutes of trading on Monday before triggering an automatic trading halt, as investors panicked about the mounting damage from the #coronavirus pandemic on the global economy https://t.co/bm6WDMfSxY pic.twitter.com/hM0ogPlHQH— Reuters (@Reuters) March 16, 2020
Again, for the third time this month, the “circuit breaker” kicked off.
At the moment (11:15 a.m.) the Dow is down 1,631.[UPDATE – 3:30 pm — it’s down an amazing 2,456 — almost 10.6%] [UPDATE – 4:05 pm — Dow closes 3000 points down (actually 2,999) or 12.93%. Another record drop. Worse drop in three decades.]
For reference:— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 16, 2020
The Dow closed at 19,827.25 on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017.
The Dow closed at 20,188.52 today.
With the total percentage loss ending up at -9.99%, today stands as the fourth worst day in Dow Jones history.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 12, 2020
The only days to see bigger losses were Black Monday in 1987 and the two-day plunge in 1929 that sparked the Great Depression. pic.twitter.com/83i1VIGAML
I’m not promising to do this every day, but having done it once it’s now fairly easy to update. Note that the y-axis on these charts now goes up to 140x because the base trendline from Italy has continued to grow. That will continue to go up until the number of new cases flattens out.
It’s worth noting that these growth rates are all based on official figures, and obviously they depend on how widespread testing is in various countries. The US numbers, for example, may be artificially low simply because we don’t have test kits available. We won’t know for sure until kits become widely available and we begin testing larger numbers of people.
Also worthy of note is that actions we take now will affect the growth of coronavirus a couple of weeks from now, but our growth rate over the next two weeks or so is probably set in stone no matter what we do. This is partly because of simple inertia in our public habits, and partly because the pool of victims that will be identified in two weeks already exists. They’re asymptomatic right now, but they won’t be for long. We should be preparing for a 10x increase in coronavirus cases over the next two weeks.
The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.
We are right there with Italy.
By the way, they banned flights from China before we did. Just saying.
Here’s how the number of confirmed cases in the US compare to select other countries, based on days since each country reached 100 confirmed cases, according to data we analyzed from the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. (This is an adaptation of a widely shared chart made by the Financial Times’s John Burn-Murdoch.)
As of March 15, the Johns Hopkins research data shows about 3,500 confirmed cases in the US. The actual number of cases is likely much higher. As you can see, the confirmed cases in the US are already more in line with Iran and Italy than with places like Hong Kong and Singapore, where the governments were able to mobilize more quickly. Japan, like the US, has been criticized over not having enough tests to properly judge the true number of cases.
And the slow start of testing in the US is only going to exacerbate the situation.
Another development? The partisan divide. Fox News (who makes sure to call it the WOHAN virus or the CHINESE virus, because xenophobia) frequently has guests on who downplay the seriousness. And then you have the right wing blogosphere:
As a result, conservatives are more likely to NOT social distance or take serious action.
Contrast to how Fox handled Ebola in 2014:
So I guess I should write — for future generations — what this is like. Well, it’s weird. Introverts like me are adapting fine. Of course, a lot depends on how long we will all be cooped up like this. I was doing shows, expecting to do a lot of St. Patty’s Day gigs this month with my Irish band, etc. That’s all been cancelled.
On the other hand, there is an unusual camaraderie. Everyone is in the same boat, but apart, We check in on each other. We use social media to have fun, and inform each other. It’s a lot like the post-9/11 weeks, but with better social media. Nobody is too far apart.
But the economy. I am still working. Service employees and gig employees are really feeling. This is the start of a very long recession.
UPDATE: Hmmmm… interesting development coming from… ROMNEY?!?
! @MittRomney offers this proposal to address the coronavirus: “Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy.”— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 16, 2020
The complete abandonment of any leadership whatsoever. That’s what we are witnessing in Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that is now killing Americans at an exponentially increasing rate.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Donald Trump told state governors on an emergency pandemic conference call.
Yes. He said that.
President Trump told a group of governors on Monday morning that they should not wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for respirators needed to treat people with coronavirus.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
The suggestion surprised some of the governors, who have been scrambling to contain the outbreak and are increasingly looking to the federal government for help with equipment, personnel and financial aid. Last Wednesday, Mr. Trump directed his labor secretary to increase the availability of respirators, and he has generally played down fears of shortages.
Governors Jay Inslee of Washington, whose state is at the epicenter of the domestic outbreak, and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico both reacted angrily to the administration’s slow response to the crisis.
“If one state doesn’t get the resources and materials they need, the entire nation continues to be at risk,” said Ms. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat.
Mr. Trump used much of the call to repeat the same upbeat theme he has offered in public, assuring the governors: “We’re going to get it remedied and hopefully very quickly.”
Alluding to the Federal Reserve’s emergency intervention, Mr. Trump also told the governors that the central bank’s purchase of $500 billion of Treasury bonds and $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities would “probably go up substantially from that level.”
Without directly trying to fault President Barack Obama as he has recently, Mr. Trump wrongfully said, “we broke down a system that was broken, very badly broken” and vowed to create one “that I think is going to be the talk of the world.”
The deleted tweet: pic.twitter.com/z26KydtDYO— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 16, 2020
Trump and team give a press conference just before the market close. FINALLY, he has taken it seriously:
Someone seems to have had a serious talk with the President this morning. Or maybe he had a talk with himself. But a different affect.— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 16, 2020
Whether it's the market decline or just the enormity of the situation finally sinking in, Trump is far more sober today — even passing up a chance to bash Gov. Cuomo. Will be interesting to see if that attitude sticks and how it changes opinion among R voters.— David Lauter (@DavidLauter) March 16, 2020
LITERALLY EVERY SCIENTIST AND DOCTOR ON EARTH FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS:— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) March 16, 2020
“This is bad. Really bad.”
TRUMP [TODAY]: “Nobody knew how bad it was.”
He’s actually tweeting helpful information, like this:
This week Trump finally was no longer able to sustain a narrative minimizing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. The week started with 387 cases in 28 states, and ended with more than 2,500 cases in 49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 51 Americans dead. Trump continued to blame everyone but himself: the Obama administration for lack of testing, the Federal Reserve for stock market volatility, the media for creating panic and holding him to account. On Friday, he called a national emergency as the country was gripped with fear and uncertainty.
The stock market, to which Trump has hitched his re-election, had another tumultuous week, gyrating up and down with historic movements, and entering bear territory. A furious Trump addressed the country some days, and hid on others as one by one, normal parts of American life, from professional sports to Broadway shows, were cancelled. Million of K-12 and college students will also start Monday with weeks long school closures and remote learning, with an unknown return date.
This week, numerous Republican lawmakers who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and Mar-a-Lago self-quarantined due to exposure to those who tested positive. Nonetheless, all week both Trump and Pence continued to shake hands and, until week’s end, refused to be tested. The first containment zone was established in New Rochelle, New York after a single case last week mushroomed to over 173 in Westchester County by the end of the week. A lack of testing meant the country really had no idea how widespread the outbreak had become, as reporting indicated Trump knew about the threat from the virus months ago, but sought to hide it by minimizing testing and avoid taking action to warn the public.
- On Tuesday, a Gallup survey found approval of Congressional Republicans (40%) topped Democrats (35%) for the first time since 2003. GOP rating was +6 since October and impeachment, while Democrats was -3.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval rose 6 points to 33%, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stayed at 39%. Sen. Mitt Romney was viewed more favorably by Democrats (56%) than Republicans (23%).
- On Saturday, NYT reported Trump was upset on February 25 that Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC went public after the number of new cases of coronavirus outside China surpassed the inside, saying it would panic the markets.
- Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director, first alerted Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on January 3 about the coronavirus. On January 18, the day after the CDC dispatched 100 people to screen travelers, Azar informed Trump.
- Four days later in Davos, Trump said, “We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” On January 28, the State Department evacuated the American Consulate in Wuhan and voluntarily quarantined passengers.
- By the end of January, the virus was out of control in China, where 23,000 passengers travel to the U.S. each day. Trump was concerned a travel ban would hurt trade negotiations. Finally on January 30 Trump agreed to a ban.
- All along, public health experts’ desire to inform the public was met with hesitation from Trump and his regime, who were concerned about panicking the public and the markets, and gave false assurances instead.
- On Saturday, the American Conservative Union announced in a statement on Twitter that an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week had tested positive for the coronavirus.
- On Saturday, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp told the Post that he interacted with the infected person at the event. The White House said neither Trump or Vice President Mike Pence was in “close proximity to the attendee.”
- On Saturday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference warned Congress at least two people who attended the policy conference from February 28 to March 2 have tested positive for the coronavirus.
- On Saturday and Sunday, Trump played golf. Top officials met in the Situation Room for daily coronavirus briefings. WAPO estimated Trump has golfed about 217 times, once every five days, during his time in office.
- On Saturday, Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago, “I’m not concerned at all” about the threat posed to the White House by the coronavirus, adding he planned to continue to keep holding “tremendous” political rallies.
- Trump then attended a lavish birthday party for Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Donald Jr. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil attended, as did Pence, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rudolph Giuliani, Tucker Carlson, and Rep. Matt Gaetz.
- On Sunday, at 2:00 a.m., Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced at a press conference that Northern Italy will be on lockdown until April 3, impacting 16 million people, due to the coronavirus.
- On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan,” adding, “We moved VERY early to close borders,” and, “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad.”
- Trump added, “The New York Times is an embarrassment to journalism,” adding, “they will be a dead paper after I leave, which will be in 5 years,” and repeated the refrain, “Fake News is the Enemy of the people!”
- On Sunday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told “This Week” his agency’s plan would be in place “within 72 hours” to deal with passengers on the cruise ship. The ship was set to dock Monday.
- When pressed on the plan for the 3,500 passengers, Carson said, “They’re coming up with one,” and when asked for details said, “It hasn’t been fully formulated.”
- On Sunday, the U.S. reached at least 539 coronavirus cases in 34 states, and the death toll reached 22. A growing number of schools were shutting down across the country.
- On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told “Fox New Sunday” regional lockdowns could become necessary. He added and that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions should abstain from travel.
- Fauci said the regime would “take whatever action is appropriate,” adding, “I don’t think it would be as draconian as ‘nobody in and nobody out,’” but if there is community spread, “there will be what we call mitigation.”
- On Sunday, when asked if 73 year-old Trump should continue rallies, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told “State of the Union” that Trump was “healthier than what I am.” He later walked back his comment on Twitter.
- On Sunday, WAPO reported Trump was photographed at CPAC shaking hands with Matt Schlapp, who shook hands with the infected man. The White House maintained Trump was not in direct contact.
- Later Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz said at a news conference that he shook hands at CPAC with the infected man, saying he is not experiencing any symptoms, but he will remain at his home in Texas this week.
- Shortly after, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted that he and three staffers were under self-quarantine “after sustained contact at CPAC” with the infected person, adding, “We are all asymptomatic and feel great.”
- On Sunday, the CDC issued new guidance warning travelers, especially the elderly and those with compromised health, to avoid long airplane trips and to “defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.”
- Later Sunday, Trump tweeted an image by his social media director Dan Scavino of him playing a fiddle, which seemed to be an allusion to Roman emperor Nero who fiddled as Rome burned around him.
- The image included the words “Nothing can stop what’s coming,” a popular phrase used by far-right conspiracy group QAnon. Trump added the words, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”
- Trump also retweeted a doctored video of Joe Biden at a rally appearing to inadvertently endorse Trump. For the first time, Twitter applied its new “manipulated media” label, calling it a deceptively edited video.
- On Sunday, AP reported the White House task force overruled CDC health officials who wanted to warn seniors and physically fragile Americans not to fly on commercial airlines because of the coronavirus.
- The CDC submitted the recommendation as part of a plan to control the virus. In a tweet, Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller denied the AP story, and called it “complete fiction.”
- The CDC quietly updated its website last Friday to tell older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney disease to “stay home as much as possible,” but did not specify flying.
- On Sunday, AP reported Trump will skip the St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at the Capitol. A spokesperson blamed it on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she is tearing the “nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric.”
- On Sunday, Fiona Hill, the former White House adviser on Russia, told “60 Minutes” that Putin “sadly, has got all of our political class, every single one of us, including the media, exactly where he wants us.”
- Hill added of Putin, “He’s got us feeling vulnerable, he’s got us feeling on edge, and he’s got us questioning the legitimacy of our own systems,” saying Russia knows how to “exploit” divisions in the U.S.
- On Sunday, the Scotsman reported a European Union agency issued a series of far-reaching decisions in an obscure case that could open the door for any other third party to use, and monetize, the Trump name in Europe.
- On Sunday, BuzzFeed reported a 22-year-old Guatemalan woman died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at a Texas hospital, the eighth death in fiscal 2020 starting October 1 — the same of all of 2019.
- On Monday, at 1:25a.m., Trump mocked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called for a state of emergency in his state and told MSNBC in the afternoon, “I’m battling the mixed messages from the federal government.”
- Trump tweeted, “There are no mixed messages, only political weaponization by people like you and your brother, Fredo!” — making reference to CNN host Chris Cuomo, the governor’s brother.
- Overnight, the price of oil plunged 24% amid the OPEC deal failure, the worst day since the 1991 Gulf War and second worst day on record.
- On Monday, the New York Federal Reserve said that it would increase the amount of liquidity to banks for their short-term funding needs, as stock market futures traded down as much as 7% ahead of the market open.
- On Monday, CNBC reported Twitter had reached a deal with investors Elliott Management and Silver Lake which would allow CEO Jack Dorsey to remain in place. Elliott’s founder is a donor to Trump.
- On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power…to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”
- Trump added, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer said, “You will pay the price for this. You won’t know what HIT YOU,”” adding, “That is far beyond simple rhetoric. That is a physical threat,” and, “Trouble ahead!”
- Trump also tweeted, “Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren singlehandedly destroyed the Bernie Sanders campaign by stripping voters away,” adding, “The DNC is doing it to Bernie again!” and, “Will he ever get angry?”
- Trump also tweeted, “the Democrats are trying to smear Bernie with Russia, Russia, Russia,” and, “The Obama/Biden Administration is the most corrupt Administration in the history of our Country!”
- Trump also tweeted, “Great job being done by the @VP and the CoronaVirus Task Force,” and, “The BEST decision…which saved many lives. Our VERY early decision to stop travel” from certain places.
- Shortly before the stock market opened, Trump tweeted, “So much FAKE NEWS!” Trading was halted 19 minutes after the open as Standard & Poor’s fell more than 7%, triggering circuit breakers.
- Shortly after, Trump blamed the drop on oil prices, tweeting, “Saudi Arabia and Russia are arguing over the price and flow of oil. That, and the Fake News, is the reason for the market drop!” The cause was the coronavirus.
- Trump also sought to downplay the coronavirus, tweeting, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu,” saying, “there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
- On Monday, WAPO reported D.C. health officials urged hundreds of congregants at Christ Church to self-quarantine Rev. Timothy Cole, the church rector, became the city’s first known coronavirus patient.
- On Monday, Amazon told employees in New York and New Jersey to work from home during the month of March. As of Monday, there were 113,300 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and at least 3,892 had died.
- On Monday, Reps. Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz self-quarantined after saying they were exposed. A photo showed Collins was exposed at CPAC. Collins toured the CDC with Trump on Friday and shook his hand.
- Gaetz also touched the infected person at CPAC. He attended a party at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, and traveled with Trump on Air Force One from Florida Monday. Shortly after take-off he learned he was exposed.
- Gaetz said once he learned of the contact, he placed himself in an unoccupied office aboard AF1. Earlier in the week, Gaetz wore a gas mask after a constituent died, seeming to make light of the outbreak.
- On Monday, Conte announced all of Italy will be placed under lockdown conditions, including closing of schools, theaters, gyms, pubs, and sporting events. There are over 9,000 cases of coronavirus and 463 deaths in Italy.
- On Monday, WAPO reported according to aides, Trump sees the media coverage of the coronavirus “as everyone just being out to get him.” At an event of the weekend, he told people, “It’s not that big of a deal.”
- Trump was in a gleeful mood at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night. He is proud of his initial response of imposing restrictions on travelers from China, and believes he is not getting enough credit.
- Even as the CDC advised people not to shake hands, Trump shook hands with supporters at Orlando Airport there to watch Air Force One land on Monday. The White House said Trump was “conducting business as usual.”
- On Monday, Vanity Fair reported Trump treated the coronavirus outbreak as a media war that he could message around, saying his rosy assessment was detached from reality in ways that made the epidemic worse.
- Trump has been displeased with Larry Kudlow’s inability to calm markets, but pleased with Kellyanne Conway spinning his Fox News town hall mistake. He was also furious with how he looked at the town hall.
- Trump aides have also said he is afraid that journalists will purposely try to catch the coronavirus and give it to him aboard Air Force One. He has also told Secret Service to bar anyone who coughs from the White House.
- On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Vanity Fair Magazine, which will soon be out of business, and their third rate Fake reporters…wrote yet another phony & boring hit piece,” adding, “The facts are just the opposite.”
- On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 2,013 points, or 7.8%, on fears of the coronavirus outbreak, in the worst day of trading since 2008. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 7.6%.
- The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell below 0.5% for the first time in history, at one point hitting 0.318%. Regulators urged banks to make sure that “customers and members” impacted get the funding they need.
- On Monday, Trump, Pence, and members of the coronavirus task force held a briefing at 6:30 p.m. Trump said he would discuss “a possible payroll tax cut or relief, substantial relief” with Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
- Trump added,“the main thing is that we’re taking care of the American public,” then introduced Pence who he said had “been working 24 hours a day.” Shortly after, Trump left without taking reporters’ questions.
- Pence was asked whether he and Trump had been tested. Pence said, “I have not been tested for the coronavirus.” Pence said of Trump, “I honestly don’t know the answer,” after fears Trump may have been exposed.
- When asked about Trump saying there were 15 cases of coronavirus and it would soon be zero at the last press briefing, Pence said Trump was referring to the vast majority of people who will “get better completely.”
- Sec. Azar claimed, “we have over 1 million tests that have shipped from CDC and to private contractors,” adding, “we now have a total of 2.1 million tests that are available, either shipped or waiting to be shipped.”
- When reporters asked how many have been tested, Azar said, “I could not give you a number of how many Americans,” and Pence said, “We’ll come back. We’ll come back.”
- Shortly after, Mark Meadows, who Trump announced Friday would be his new acting chief of staff, said he would self-quarantine until Wednesday after learning he may have come in contact with the infected man at CPAC.
- On Monday, Cambridge-based Biogen confirmed 70 people who attended its conference in Boston February 26–27, where managers came from all over the world including Italy, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
- On Monday, Fox Business host Trish Regan spoke of a “chorus of hate being leveled” at Trump, while the chyron next to her read: “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam,” comparing it to the Mueller probe and Ukraine-gate.
- On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity told viewers, “we’re scaring people unnecessarily,” adding “they” are trying to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.”
- Later Monday, the White House said Trump has not been tested for coronavirus because “he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms.”
- On Tuesday, in a carefully scripted appearance, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would reset the term-limit clock to zero, allowing him to seek additional terms.
- The obscure provision would allow Putin to serve two additional six-year terms — for 32 years in total. It must still be approved by Russia’s Constitutional Court and a nationwide referendum in April.
- On Tuesday, Russia-state news agency TASS reported Trump canceled his plans to travel to Moscow on May 9 to attend the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We have been informed via diplomatic channels that President [Trump] will not attend.” The planned visit was not reported by any U.S. media outlets.
- On Tuesday, after stock futures rallied overnight on Trump’s economic response at the press briefing, the White House admitted it was far from ready to roll out specific economic proposals in its response to Covid-19.
- On Tuesday, Trump lauded his favorite cable-TV show, tweeting, “Wow! @foxandfriends blew away the competition of Morning Joke” on “MSDNC,” adding, “that’s what you get when you treat “Trump” fairly!”
- Trump also quoted a tweet by an ally which said, “Now, more than ever, we need the wall,” and added, “Going up fast. We need the Wall more than ever!” There were 755 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and seven in Mexico.
- The tweet Trump quoted referred to the “China Virus.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted Monday referencing “the Chinese coronavirus,” and other GOP lawmakers called it the “Wuhan virus.”
- Trump also sent a series of tweets about the coronavirus. Trump pressured the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “The Federal Reserve must be a leader, not a very late follower, which it has been!” Rates were already under 1%.
- Trump also tweeted, “Our pathetic, slow moving Federal Reserve, headed by Jay Powell, who raised rates too fast and lowered too late,” adding, “They now have as much as a two point advantage…Also, stimulate!”
- Trump also taunted Pelosi, tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi just said, “I don’t know if we can be ready this week.” In other words, it’s off to vacation for the Do Nothing Democrats. That’s been the story with them for 1 1/2 years!”
- Trump also tweeted, “Our CoronaVirus Team has been doing a great job. Even Democrat governors have been VERY complimentary!” This statement is obviously false.
- Trump also tweeted, “If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible,” adding, “I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!”
- Trump also tweeted, “Best unemployment numbers in the history of our Country. Best employment number EVER,” adding, “Vote Republican, unless you want to see these numbers obliterated!”
- Later Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield broke with Trump while testifying before the House, when he was asked by Rep. Katherine Clark if the CDC felt “structural barriers” at the borders “would be of any use in mitigating” the growing outbreak. Redfield answered, “Not that I’ve seen.”
- When asked about Republicans referring to Covid-19 as a Chinese virus, Redfield also differed, telling lawmakers it was wrong to refer to it that way.
- On Tuesday, New York Gov. Cuomo deployed the National Guard to New Rochelle to establish a containment area, the first in the country. The city has 108 confirmed cases of the state’s 173. Schools will close for two weeks.
- Cuomo stressed the state is not restricting people from leaving the area, but rather the National Guard will supply food and water. Large gatherings in places of worship or the like will also be banned.
- On Tuesday, a woman in Midtown Manhattan punched an Asian woman for not wearing a mask, saying, “Where is your corona mask, you Asian b—h.” Police are probing the case as a possible hate crime.
- On Tuesday, after House Democrats were briefed by the congressional physician, Speaker Pelosi rejected calls to shutter the Capitol, saying, “We are the captains of the ship. We are the last to leave.”
- On Tuesday, after lunch with Senate Republicans, Trump told reporters he has not been tested for the coronavirus because his doctors advised him against it since he does not have symptoms, saying, “I feel extremely good.”
- When asked how long the economy will suffer, Trump said, “It hit the world, and we’re prepared and we’re doing a great job with it and it will go away, stay calm,” and said of U.S consumers, “a lot of good things are gonna happen.”
- WAPO reported at lunch Trump pitched Republicans on a payroll tax cut through the November election at a cost of $400 billion. He also floated letting Americans delay their tax filing and reimbursing for sick leave.
- On Tuesday, the Dow Jones rallied more than 1,100 points in a highly volatile session, on hopes the federal government stimulus mentioned by Trump at the press briefing coming to fruition.
- On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump and allies have been taking phone calls from worried energy sector allies since Monday, and are considering federal assistance for oil and natural gas producers hit by falling oil prices.
- Harold Hamm, a Trump supporter and adviser, lost $2 billion on his stake in Continental Resources. Hamm called Trump aides to ask that they prevent Russia and Saudi Arabia from slashing oil prices sold to the U.S.
- Trump said at Monday’s press briefing the government will provide help for parts of the economy hit by the coronavirus, including the hospitality, cruise, and travel industries. The shale industry will also probably be included.
- On Tuesday, a growing list of colleges and universities canceled in-person classes, including Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, and Hofstra. More than half a million students were affected.
- On Tuesday, the Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments scheduled for the week, and instead chose which Ivy League teams would receive automatic berths to March Madness.
- On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said private labs that started running coronavirus tests in the city Friday are reporting so many cases, officials are having a hard time keeping up. There are 36 cases so far.
- On Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts as confirmed cases rose to 92. So far, 19 states have declared emergencies, which gives tools and funding to fight the virus.
- On Tuesday, Politico reported a shortage of “RNA extraction” kits in lab materials is threatening to delay coronavirus test results. CDC Director Redfield said “the availability of those reagents” is being looked at.
- On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both canceled their scheduled rallies in Ohio that evening after primary voting due to the coronavirus — the first cancellations. Biden addressed the media only in Philadelphia.
- On Tuesday, Trump again inserted himself in the Democratic primary, tweeting, “Pocahontas, working in conjunction with the Democrat Party, totally destroyed the campaign of Bernie Sanders.”
- On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee said the next Democratic debate in Phoenix between Sanders and Biden on Sunday would move forward, but without a live audience.
- On Tuesday, Dr.Fauci told reporters at the Task Force daily press briefing that “What we would like the country to realize is that as a nation we can’t be doing the kinds of things we would be doing a few months ago.”
- Fauci added, “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now, if and when the infections will come, and they will come.”
- When reporters asked about Trump shaking hands, Pence said he and Trump will continue to do so, saying, “As the president has said, in our line of work you shake hands when someone wants to shake your hand.”
- Trump was a no-show at the daily briefing, raising concerns from investors that the economic stimulus he mentioned at Monday’s briefing was not imminent. Stock futures traded lower.
- Later Tuesday, Google advised all employees in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to work from home until at least April 10 due to coronavirus. The company has more than 100,000 employees.
- On Tuesday, NYT reported Dr. Helen Chu, an infectious disease expert in Seattle, started testing in late January when the first coronavirus case first landed in her area using nasal swabs on those with symptoms.
- To repurpose their flu test for the coronavirus, Dr. Chu needed the support of state and federal officials, but all rejected the idea. On February 25, she and her team began coronavirus tests without government approval.
- They found a positive test for a teenager with no recent travel history. In the coming days, testing would find two had already died from the coronavirus in the Seattle region, and 20 more died in the coming days.
- Monday night, state officials told Dr. Chu’s team to stop testing. The failure to tap the flu test was one of a series of missteps by the Trump regime to get a picture of the true scale of the outbreak.
- The CDC claimed approximately 8,500 specimens or nose swabs have been taken since the outbreak began. By comparison, South Korea has had the capacity to test 10,000 people per day since late February.
- The CDC published the genetic sequence of the coronavirus in January, and released criteria for who should be tested, which included those who had a fever and respiratory issues and had traveled to Wuhan, China.
- The criteria for testing were so strict that a man who traveled to Wuhan did not meet it, and later tested positive. When the CDC finally started shipping test kits, local officials reported the kits were producing invalid results.
- By February 24, cases were popping up around the country. The Association of Public Health Laboratories made an “extraordinary and rare request” to the FDA to allow local officials to create their own tests.
- The day after Dr. Chu was told to stop testing, the CDC and FDA relented, and started to relax rules to allow clinical labs to begin their own testing. The teen boy who tested positive was sent home and his school closed.
- On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “There is another Russia, Russia, Russia meeting today,” adding, “It is headed up by corrupt politician…Adam “Shifty” Schiff.” This is false — the briefing was for all House members.
- On Tuesday, William Evanina, a U.S. intelligence official, told Congress in a briefing that the intelligence community does not yet have evidence that Russia is interfering in 2020 to benefit a particular candidate.
- Evanina, the head of national counterintelligence, tempered the previous briefing. The answer came in response to a question by McConnell. One official said, “Both question and response were clearly pre-drafted.”
- An official at the briefing, which also included NSA Director Paul Nakasone and FBI Director Christopher Wray, took away that the Trump regime does not have a solid grip on dealing with foreign interference.
- At the House briefing, both Pelosi and Chair Schiff challenged Evanina of why his assessment differed from that of Shelby Pierson last month. Senators were disconcerted that acting DNI Richard Grenell did not appear.
- A DNI spokesperson said the agency never told Congress that Grenell would participate, although his name was on a February 27 list. Reporting indicated he was worried his lack of preparedness would upset Trump.
- On Tuesday, House Democrats won a significant court victory as a federal appeals court panel granted them the right to see the redacted pages in the 448-page Mueller report. The ruling came after a year-long trial.
- Pelosi said the ruling “is an unequivocal rejection of the President’s insistence that he is above the law and his blanket refusal to cooperate,” and also “another rebuke of Attorney General Barr’s brazen efforts.”
- On Wednesday, the 14-member Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a bi-partisan panel that studied preparedness for cyberattacks for nearly a year, released its report that found the U.S. lacks key abilities.
- The report found the U.S.’s current approach is fundamentally flawed, and endangers our national and economic security, and is in need of immediate change, or a cyberattack could create chaos.
- The report made 75 recommendations, including the creation of committees in Congress dedicated solely to cybersecurity, and the addition of a Senate-confirmed post of national cyber director in the White House.
- On Wednesday, Sen. Chris Murphy called for an investigation into agencies complying with congressional probes into Hunter Biden and Burisma, saying they are being “weaponized” by Trump to hurt his political opponents.
- In a letter to the inspectors general of the National Archives, State and Treasury Departments, and DHS, Murphy noted the double standard of not cooperating with “legitimate congressional investigations” into Trump.
- Later Wednesday, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Ron Johnson called off the vote to subpoena Andrii Telizhenko as part of his panel’s probe into Hunter Biden and Burisma.
- In the run-up to the vote, Democrats on the panel called for intelligence briefings, saying the panel’s investigation could aid Russian disinformation efforts. Johnson will instead subpoena for the Blue Star documents.
- On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned at a news conference that 70% of Germany, some 58 million people, could contract the coronavirus as there is no known cure.
- On Wednesday, Italy’s PM Conte ordered all businesses, except grocery stores and pharmacies, to close. Italy is second to China in coronavirus cases, with more than 12,000 patients and 800 deaths.
- On Wednesday, Axios reported Congress’ in-house doctor told lawmakers’ staffers in a closed-door briefing that he expects 70–150 million people in the U.S. — roughly one-third of the country — to contract the coronavirus.
- The doctor said 80% of people who contract the virus will fully recover. Notably, many lawmakers are at high-risk, because they are over 60 years-old or have underlying health conditions and interact with many people.
- On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo questioned the low rate of testing, saying, “China did something like 200,000 tests per day. South Korea did about 15,000 tests per day. The United States has only done about 5,000 tests to date.”
- Cuomo said New York will contract out to private labs to increase testing, saying he had spoke with 28 private labs in the state to help provide additional testing. So far the state has 212 confirmed cases.
- On Wednesday, Dr. Fauci testified before the House Oversight Committee, warning, “I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” and said a vaccine is at least 12–18 months away.
- Fauci added, “How much worse we’ll get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate.”
- Fauci said Covid-19 is at least 10 times “more lethal” than the flu, saying he ultimately believes the WHO mortality rate will be close to 1%, while the flu is at 0.1%. So far there are 1000 cases and 31 deaths in the U.S.
- When asked about fatalities, Fauci said it is “totally dependent upon how we respond to it,” adding, “If we’re complacent and don’t do really aggressive containment and mitigation” it could be “many, many millions.”
- Dr. Stephen Redd, head of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response said a total of 1,784 people had been tested. Meaning only 77 were tested in the past two days (CDC number on Sunday was 1,707).
- Carolyn Maloney, the panel’s chair, announced that Trump had called an emergency meeting for top health officials at the White House, so experts’ opening statements and testimony would be considerably shortened.
- The regime claimed the meeting was “part of the Administration’s ongoing whole-of-government response,” but Maloney said “they are saying it was scheduled yesterday. However, that’s not what your staff just told us.”
- On Wednesday, at a gathering of cabinet officials and Wall Street executives, when asked if he was taking coronavirus serious enough, Trump pointed at CNN’s Jim Acosta and said, “That’s CNN, fake news.”
- On Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced Covid-19 is officially a pandemic. The virus has infected more than 120,000 worldwide in at least 114 countries, and killed more than 4,000 people.
- On Wednesday, Oakland joined San Francisco in banning all mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors said they would play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday at Chase Center without fans.
- On Wednesday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement that the March Madness basketball tournament would be played, but with attendance limited to “essential personnel and limited family.”
- Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Someone needs to tell the Democrats in Congress that CoronaVirus doesn’t care what party you are in. We need to protect ALL Americans!” as his re-election prospects were weakening.
- Trump added, “America is the Greatest Country in the world. We have the best scientists, doctors, nurses and health care professionals,” adding, “together” we will “prevent, detect, treat and create a vaccine.”
- Trump also tweeted, “I am fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus!” and said he would address the country at 9 p.m.
- Trump also attacked the media, tweeting, “The Media should view this as a time of unity and strength,” adding, “We have a common enemy…the CoronaVirus,” adding his first concern is for “life & safety” of the U.S.
- On Wednesday, Reuters reported the White House has instructed federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified. The step is unusual, and has hampered the regime’s response to the outbreak.
- Officials say dozens of high-level discussions have occurred since mid-January on topics including the scope of infections, quarantines, and travel restrictions in an HHS Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility.
- HHS staffers were often left out of the loop, told that meetings, which included Azar, were classified. Officials say it was a tool for the White House and National Security Council to keep participation low.
- On Wednesday, CNN reported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate Democrats are preparing a letter to ask Trump to issue a national emergency declaration for the coronavirus.
- On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump is reluctant to declare a national emergency, fearing it would contradict his messaging that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu, and cause panic.
- Trump is waiting on Jared Kushner, who he has empowered to talk to relevant parties and gives his findings. The regime is “not comfortable with the optics of national emergency” and its impact on the stock market.
- On Friday, Spectator reported just before midnight Wednesday, Kurt Kloss, a doctor whose daughter is married to Kushner’s brother, asked a group of emergency room physicians on a Facebook post for advice on coronavirus.
- Kloss wrote, “I have direct channel to person now in charge at White House,” and referenced Jared. Hundreds of doctors replied by Thursday morning with suggestions on how to combat the escalating outbreak.
- On Wednesday, the Dow Jones dropped 1,400 points and entered into an official bear market, down 20% from its high, on the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the uncertainty around the fiscal response.
- On Wednesday, WAPO reported in an explosive tirade on Monday, Trump pushed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to encourage Fed Chair Powell to do more to stimulate the economy and stop the stock market’s fall.
- Trump fumed that Powell, who was recommended by Mnuchin, should never have been appointed, and is damaging his presidency. Attendees said the meeting showed how furious Trump has become.
- Later Wednesday, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was postponed over the coronavirus, the first time in more than 250 years that the parade, which draws 150,000 marchers and 2 million spectators, will not go on.
- Later Wednesday, in an Instagram post, actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson said they had tested positive for Covid-19 in Australia, after having symptoms resembling a cold, as well as body aches and slight fevers.
- Later Wednesday, Politico reported a staffer in Sen. Maria Cantwell’s D.C. office tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case on Capitol Hill. Cantwell will close her offices in D.C. and Seattle.
- Later Wednesday, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first NBA player to announce he had tested positive for the coronavirus. On Thursday, after the team was tested, a second player tested positive.
- Shortly after, the NBA suspended the season, starting on Thursday. The suspension was announced just before the Jazz were tipping off against the Thunder at Oklahoma City. The game was delayed, then canceled.
- On Thursday, Gobert apologized, saying, “I was careless and have no excuse” after touching all the microphones and recording devices reporters had placed on the table Monday as he left a news conference.
- On Friday, the police chief in Westerly, Rhode Island said a child had contracted the coronavirus after getting an autograph from an NBA player when the Boston Celtics played the Utah Jazz on March 6.
- On Wednesday, Trump gave his second Oval Office speech, a prime-time, 10-minute televised speech during which he went off script and ad-libbed. The speech was riddled with errors, and nationalist and xenophobic sentiment.
- In the speech largely written by Kushner and Stephen Miller, Trump falsely claimed that health insurers “have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments.” This is not true — it applies only to testing.
- Trump praised his regime, calling it “the most aggressive and comprehensive effort” in modern history to confront a “foreign virus,” and that “tough measures…will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”
- Trump blamed European and Chinese people for bringing the coronavirus to the U.S., and acknowledged the seriousness of the virus. So far, 1,200 were infected and 33 dead in the U.S., and 127,000 infected worldwide.
- Trump said he would suspend “all travel from Europe to the United States,” although the ban only applied to foreign citizens, and falsely said the ban would include cargo and trade. The ban applied to 26 countries.
- Trump also tried and failed to sound empathetic and reassuring, saying, “This is not a financial crisis….This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome as a nation and as a world.”
- After he spoke, his aides rushed to correct his statements and assure other countries that trade would not be affected. It was also not clear why the 26 countries were included but not the U.K., which has a high infection rate.
- As Trump was speaking, futures for the Dow Jones started to fall, and continued falling as he spoke. Despite saying the markets would be “just fine,” futures continued to fall overnight into the open on Thursday.
- On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported ahead of Trump’s speech, he listened to his aides argue about whether barring Europeans from traveling to the U.S. could trigger a global depression.
- On Thursday, the Federal Reserve pumped $198 billion into short-term funding banks use for operation as part of a stepped-up program to help keep liquidity flowing. Demand was strong.
- On Thursday, Pence told the “TODAY” show, “There’s been some irresponsible rhetoric,” adding, “President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well being of the people of this country.”
- It was unclear what rhetoric Pence was referring to. He also said Trump’s announcement to ban travel to Europe for 30 days was “one more example of how he’s putting the health of America first.”
- On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference that as many as 10,000 in Britain may already have the coronavirus. So far. there are 596 confirmed cases, and 10 deaths.
- Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, said the worst-case scenario projected that 80% of the country would contract the virus, and with a 1% mortality rate, it would result in roughly 500,000 deaths.
- On Thursday, Dr. Fauci told Congress on testing, “the system does not — is not really geared to what we need right now,” and, “That is a failing,” and adding, “It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”
- Fauci also said of testing, “The idea of anybody getting it easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that.”
- On Thursday, Dr.Ashish Jha, head of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told PBS, “We have, in the CDC, arguably the best public health agency in the world,” adding, “The federal response has been a fiasco.”
- On Thursday, after relentless hearing questioning by Rep. Katie Porter, who used a white board to show the cost of coronavirus testing to be an estimated $1,331 out of pocket, CDC director Redfield committed to free testing.
- On Thursday, as Pelosi and the House ramped up to take action on a coronavirus relief bill, McConnell, who was about to leave town for a 7 day recess, backtracked and said the Senate would resume session next week.
- On Thursday, Trump spoke to reporters while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, saying of the coronavirus, “I think it’s going to work out well for everybody, but it’s a world problem. You do need separations.”
- Trump downplayed the impact, saying, “it goes away, it’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths,” and falsely claimed things are “going very smoothly,” and “we’re very much ahead of everything.”
- Trump defended his choice to ban 26 countries, but not the U.K., saying, “Its got the border. Its got very strong borders. And they’re doing a very good job.” This is false — the U.K. has among the highest number of cases.
- Trump told reporters the markets will be “just fine” as stocks continued to sell off on stories of the coronavirus spread. More than a dozen states and several cities had announced a state of emergency.
- Trump also indicated that Ireland, which is not part of his new ban, is “basically the UK.” The two leaders did not shake hands.
- On Thursday, 2020 candidate Biden delivered a speech condemning Trump’s slow and chaotic response to the coronavirus, and saying, “the coronavirus does not have a political affiliation.” Sanders did the same.
- On Thursday, New York City Mayor de Blasio declared a state of emergency, and banned gatherings of more than 500 people. Broadway theaters canceled all performances through April 12.
- On Thursday, at least six states — Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky, and New Mexico — will close their public schools starting Monday for two weeks, impacting million of students.
- On Thursday, there were more than 1,650 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 46 states, and 41 were dead. On Thursday, there were roughly 400 news cases, the largest jump in a day so far.
- On Thursday, the National Hockey League suspended the remainder of its 2019–2020 regular season due to concerns of the coronavirus outbreak. Major League Soccer suspended its season for 30 days.
- On Thursday, the NCAA changed course, and canceled the remaining basketball tournaments, citing “the evolving COVID-19 public health threat,” and not wanting to “contribute to spread of the pandemic.”
- On Thursday, Disney announced it was closing Disney World and Disneyland. The company urged its employees at Walt Disney Studios and Television, ESPN, and its parks and products divisions to work from home.
- On Thursday the Supreme Court announced on its website that it will be closed to the public as of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, but will remain open for official business. All public lectures and tours were also suspended.
- On Thursday, the Dow Jones plunged 2,353 points, or 10% — the biggest fall since the 1987 stock market crash. The trade down started overnight after Trump’s speech. Global stock markets also continued to fall.
- On Thursday, as the stock market fell, the Fed announced it would pump $1.5 trillion into the financial system in a dramatic market intervention. This was the second straight day the Fed intervened, and third overall.
- On Thursday, amid widespread panic, and despite Pence saying Monday that the White House coronavirus task force would hold a daily press briefing, no briefing was held.
- On Thursday, Fox News host Martha McCallum grilled Seema Verma, a top health official, over whether there will be enough ventilators to treat the growing number of patients. Verma refused to give a straight answer.
- On Thursday, the Pentagon announced it had launched a missile strike against an Iran-backed militia group that hit a military base in Iraq on Wednesday that killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier.
- On Thursday, Germany labeled part of the far-right Alternative for Germany party as extremist, and said it would place its most influential leaders under surveillance, the first time in postwar history.
- Later Thursday, in false and misleading tweets, Trump compared his coronavirus response to that of the Obama administration to the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, attacking “Sleepy Joe Biden,” who was in charge.
- Trump falsely claimed, “Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!” A recent Quinnipiac poll found 43% approve of Trump’s handling.
- Trump also quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, tweeting false claims such as “Obama White House had to immediately issue an apology for Joe Biden’s remarks,” and Obama took six months to declare a national emergency.
- On Friday, Trump continued to tweet false information, saying, “Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem.”
- Trump also falsely blamed the delay on coronavirus testing on Obama, tweeting, “All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go,” and, “For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it.”
- On Friday, Trump again attacked the Fed, tweeting, “The Federal Reserve must FINALLY lower the Fed Rate,” adding, “Powell and group are putting us at a decided economic & physiological disadvantage.”
- Trump also repeated his xenophobic and false claim, tweeting, “we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths,” adding, “If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!”
- On Friday, Reuters reported Mexico, which has just 26 coronavirus cases and no deaths, is considering tightening its northern border to the U.S. to contain the spread. The U.S. already has more than 1,800 cases.
- On Friday, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll found two-thirds of Americans are very (26%) or somewhat concerned (40%) about contracting the coronavirus. Just 26% were not so concerned, and 7% not concerned.
- On whether they approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, 43% approve and 54% disapprove, with the polling falling along party lines.
- On Thursday, CNN reported Fabio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian President Bolsonaro, tested positive for the coronavirus. Wajngarten traveled to Mar-a-Lago with Bolsonaro over the weekend.
- Wajngarten posted photos on Instagram standing with Trump and Pence. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump and Pence “had almost no interactions” with him and “do not require being tested.”
- Later Thursday, Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez placed themselves in quarantine, saying they may have been in contact with Wajngarten. Suarez also met with Bolsonaro backstage at an event.
- On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was a guest at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, announced he would self-quarantine out of “an abundance of caution.” He was the third U.S. Senator to do so.
- On Thursday, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tested positive. The PM put himself in self-quarantine for two weeks, as will some members of his cabinet.
- On Friday, reporting in Brazil indicated that Bolsonaro had tested positive for the coronavirus. His son, congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, confirmed to Fox News and said more tests results are expected later today.
- Shortly after, Eduardo re-appeared on Fox News and said the test was negative. When asked if his father had test positive, he said, “I don’t have this information…I never listened that it was positive in the first exam.”
- Shortly after, Mayor Suarez announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, four days after hosting an event with Bolsonaro. Suarez said he will self-quarantine for 14 days.
- On Friday, Australia’s minister for home affairs, Peter Dutton, said he tested positive. He tweeted a photo of himself standing alongside Attorney General William Barr, Ivanka, and Kellyanne Conway last Friday.
- On Friday, when pressed on MSNBC, Dr. Fauci reluctantly admitted “yes,” someone who had been exposed to the coronavirus the way Trump was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, should “self-isolate and find a test.”
- On Friday, China’s richest man, Jack Ma, said he would donate one million face masks and 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the U.S. He also donated millions of masks and test kits to Japan, South Korea, Iran, and Europe.
- Ma said, “Based on the counter-epidemic experience we have gained in the past months, quick and accurate test solution and protective equipment for medical workers are the key goods to stop the epidemic from escalating.”
- On Friday, CBS News the State Department hauled in the Chinese ambassador after a Chinese official tweeted a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus may have originated with U.S. military and spread by them in Wuhan.
- On Friday, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania announced their public schools would close as of Monday, bringing the total states with school closures to nine.
- On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said in a statement she would introduce a coronavirus relief bill, saying, “The American people expect and deserve a coordinated, science-based, and whole of government response.”
- Pelosi added, “This legislation is about testing, testing, testing.” Her plan included free coronavirus testing for everyone, including the uninsured, two weeks of paid sick leave, and increased unemployment benefits.
- On Friday, speaking at the White House Rose Garden, Trump announced, “To unleash the full power of the federal government … I am officially declaring a national emergency,” adding, “two very big words.”
- Trump, flanked by Pence, Azar, Dr. Deborah Birx, Verma, and corporate CEOs, said the declaration would “open up access” to up to $50 billion “for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.”
- Trump also announced that 1.4 million tests would be available next week, and 5 million would be available in the next month, adding, “I doubt we’ll need that,” and said there were plans for drive-thru testing sites.
- Several corporate CEOs took turns speaking, all offering Trump high praise of his performance. Trump shook hands with most of the business leaders, a breach of best practices recommended by public health officials.
- Trump announced the federal government would purchase “large quantities” of oil for the U.S. strategic oil reserve, sending oil and gas stocks sharply higher before the market close.
- Trump claimed Google was working on a website that would be “very quickly done” to help the public “determine whether a test is warranted.” Later, Google said the tool is still “in the very early stages of development.”
- At Trump’s behest, CEOs of Target, Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS pledged to make space available in their store parking lots for coronavirus testing; later they said they had few details from the regime about the plans.
- Trump also announced other measures like waiving interest on federal student loans, and offering guidance to suspend all visitations to nursing homes. Pence offered glowing praise of Trump’s performance.
- After, Trump took questions from reporters. When asked if he should take responsibility for the failure to disseminate a larger quantity of testing kids, Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
- Trump again seemed to blame the Obama administration for the lack of testing, saying, “We were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”
- When asked by PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, who is a black woman, why he disbanded the pandemic office in the White House in 2018, Trump snarled and called the question “nasty,” adding, “I didn’t do it.”
- When pressed by Alcindor about shutting down the office, Trump replied, “You say we did that, I don’t know anything about it,” and seemed to wave to other regime officials. So far there were 2,200 cases and 49 deaths.
- When pressed on getting tested after his exposure at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said he was not exposed, but that “I think I will do it anyway. Fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”
- On Friday, stocks climbed after Trump’s business friendly speech, with the Dow Jones closing up 1,985 points or 9.2% higher — the biggest rally since 2008, rebounding from Thursday’s losses.
- On Friday, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced the state would postpone its 2020 presidential primary scheduled for April 4 to June 20, and its May 9 general election to July 25 due to the coronavirus.
- Shortly after, state officials in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio — all of which are holding primaries on March 17 ― said they would hold their primary as scheduled on Tuesday.
- On Friday, Daily Beast reported in a memo to staff, Fox News executives said it was “prohibiting all non-essential business travel since last Monday” due to Covid-19. On air, the network has been encouraging viewers to fly.
- “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers Friday morning, “It’s actually the safest time to fly,” adding, “Everyone that I know that’s flying right now, terminals are pretty much dead. Ghost towns.”
- On Friday, Fox Business put Trish Regan’s show on hiatus, citing “due to the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage,” after her segment Monday suggesting liberals were overstating the coronavirus.
- On Friday, WAPO reported food companies and grocery store chains are bracing for labor shortages that could impact workers who manufacture, deliver, and unpack groceries in stores in the coming months.
- Supermarkets and distributors are balancing how to keep shelves stocked and their workers safe. Some chains are already rationing products on shelves, as people stock up as they would ahead of a hurricane.
- In the coming weeks, millions of Americans who previously got food at restaurants or in school or work cafeterias will be eating at home. Industry officials are unsure how they will replenish their stock.
- Supermarkets are focusing on essentials like fresh food, milk, dairy, meat, eggs, and water. Some foods are also heavily sourced from China and will have a lag while production ramps back up.
- Some experts say the current shortages are temporary supply-chain glitches. Some are less concerned about food supply and more concerned about the agencies that regulate the flow of goods at the border.
- On Friday, Politico reported Mark Green, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development will depart at the end of March. USAID is one of the agencies tasked with responding to the global coronavirus outbreak.
- On Friday, the U.S. military announced it is banning all domestic travel until May 11: “This restriction will halt all domestic travel, including Permanent Change of Station, and Temporary Duty.”
- On Friday, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear the cases about whether the House can enforce a subpoena against Don McGahn and whether the House can sue Trump to block using funds for his wall.
- Late Friday, the Brazilian Embassy announced in a tweet that acting Brazil ambassador Nestor Forster, who sat at Trump’s table at Mar-a-Lago last Saturday, tested positive for the coronavirus, the third person to do so.
- Late Friday, CNN reported a White House physician said in a memo that Trump is showing no symptoms, and therefore does not need to be tested or quarantined, despite interactions with others who tested positive.
- On Saturday, the NY Post reported Bolsonaro will get retested for the coronavirus early next week to rule out any chance he caught the virus while at Mar-a-Lago.
- On Saturday, after midnight, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi after multiple times the deal was near-collapse because Trump was waffling, the House passed a coronavirus relief bill 363–40.
- The bill provides for free testing and two weeks of sick leave for workers affected by the coronavirus, with the government reimbursing 100% of the cost. The bill did not include some of the other Democratic priorities.
- Leader McConnell however had already left D.C. on Friday to attend a judicial event with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Kentucky, and was not around to negotiate the bill or bring it up to a vote.
- On Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company will close all its stores for two weeks, saying the company had learned lessons from the outbreak in China about the effectiveness of social distancing.
- On Saturday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced he was setting up a coronavirus command center, to expand on testing. The state has 123 confirmed cases, 94 of which are linked to the Biogen conference.
- On Saturday, Trump cheered Friday’s stock market bounce which came after one of the worst day for the market, tweeting, “BIGGEST STOCK MARKET RISE IN HISTORY YESTERDAY!”
- Trump also tweeted, “Attending meetings on Covid-19 in the White House. Working with States and local governments, many of whom have done a great job. Full report latter!” and tweeted, “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”
- On Saturday, AP reported the White House will conduct temperature checks on anyone who has been in close contact with Trump or Pence, after days of his direct and indirect exposure to Covid-19.
- Trump has been reluctant to get tested for fear it would project weakness or worry. Multiple lawmakers who had similar level of exposure have not only gotten tested, but also have self-quarantined.
- On Saturday, Trump held a news conference at the White House, telling reporters he had been tested for the coronavirus and is awaiting the results, adding he had his temperature taken and it was “totally normal.”
- Reporters who attended the briefing also had their temperatures checked. One reporter was not allowed in after having a temperature above the 100.4-degree guidelines in three checks over 15 minutes.
- Pence said he and his wife Second Lady Karen would also “be more than happy to be tested,” despite the doctors’ guidance, and said he would be contacting White House medical staff to arrange it.
- Trump said the U.S. would also suspend travel from the U.K. and Ireland, bringing the total number of restricted countries to 28, and is considering domestic travel restrictions for some hot spots.
- Dr. Fauci said, “We have not reached our peak. Now, we will see more cases and we will see more suffering and death, predominately…the vulnerables in our society,” the individuals with conditions and “the elderly.”
- When NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell pressed Trump on his shaking hands at the Rose Garden briefing, Trump cut her off and said, “Wait a minute, just take it nice and easy, just relax.”
- Surgeon General Jerome Adams gave the media “straight talk from the nation’s doctor,” telling the press “no more bickering, no more partisanship, no more criticism or finger-pointing” in news coverage.
- On Saturday, Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, who was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, said she got tested after having a fever and flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining.
- As the week came to a close, there were more than153,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, and 5,789 deaths. In the U.S. there were more than 2,500 cases in 49 states and D.C. and Puerto Rico, and 51 deaths.
There are very few times in modern life where we can honestly say: No one alive has ever experienced what the next two months will be like around the world, but here we are. No one alive has any idea what the next two months will be like.— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) March 12, 2020
Light blogging for the past few days because I have been sick. Not coronovirus, Just allergies.
COVID-19 is here. And the Trump Administration is blowing it.
On Monday, the 123-year-old Dow Jones logged a 2,014-point drop, its largest in history, which equates to a 7.79% decline. Then markets recovered 1167 points on Tuesday, only to shed 1,464.94 points during the session, or 5.9%, on Wednesday.
Today, Thursday, at 10:15, the Dow is down 1,850. About 6 minutes into the trading day, the S&P 500 plunged 7 percent, setting off an automatic 15-minute trading halt known as a circuit breaker. Additional breakers would have been tripped at 13 percent and 20 percent. (This also happened on Monday).
UPDATE at 1:05 pm: Although it went down below 2,000, stocks are rebounding on news that the Fed will pump half a trillion into short term banking fund — now at negative-925.
UPDATE at 1:45 pm: Well, that was short-lived. Down 1,865 again.
- The Dow fell by 9.99% or 2,352.60 points to close at 21,200.62
- The Nasdaq tumbled 9.43%, or 750.25, to close at 7,201.80
- The S&P 500 dropped 9.5% or 260.74 points to close at 2,480.64
For the Dow, it was the largest single-day percentage decline since the stock market crash in 1987 (when markets were sufficiently scarred to institute failsafe measures for the future, to prevent similar, shocking declines)
BREAKING: Stocks jump from session lows as Fed announces it will pump more than $500 billion into short-term bank funding, expand types of security purchaseshttps://t.co/01lODFXUdl pic.twitter.com/T3m2oUzkXj— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) March 12, 2020
At the moment, the markets have now wiped out roughly 83 percent of the gains of the entire Trump presidency.— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) March 12, 2020
The WHO declared this a pandemic yesterday.
China says it has passed the peak of the outbreak.
Tom Hanks says he and his wife have the coronavirus.
UPDATE: pic.twitter.com/UTlO4MTVxI— ACC Men’s Basketball (@accmbb) March 12, 2020
MLB is suspending all operations according to @JeffPassan— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) March 12, 2020
There are “only” 1,328 confirmed cases in the United States, but that number is probably low. Why? Because we’ve hardly done testing.
The lack of coronavirus tests in the United States is a confusing problem. It’s not as if American scientists needed to invent a new test. Tests already exist — in small numbers in this country and in much larger numbers in South Korea and elsewhere.
So why haven’t American government agencies or companies been able to produce more test kits and why have only about 5,000 Americans been tested so far?
“Labs and states are worried,” Andy Slavitt, a former director of Medicare and Medicaid, wrote yesterday: They “expect next to no availability to continue for weeks.”
The short answer is a lack of preparation and poor execution by the federal government. The initial tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a technical problem — and federal officials were then too slow to find alternatives.
In his Oval Office address last night, President Trump tried to blame Europe for the spread of the virus in the United States. But Europe isn’t the problem (and the fact that indexes tied to the future of the stock market began falling during his speech suggests investors were unnerved by what Trump was saying). A much bigger problem is the lack of testing in the United States.
As Vox’s Brian Resnick and Dylan Scott explain: “Accurate testing is critical to stopping an outbreak: When one person gets a confirmed diagnosis, they can be put in isolation where they won’t spread the disease further. Then their contacts can be identified and put into quarantine — so that they don’t spread the virus if they’ve become infected, too. That’s particularly important for a virus like this one, which seems able to spread before people show symptoms, or when their symptoms are mild.”
How exactly have American officials botched the tests?
After problems arose with the C.D.C.’s test, officials could have switched to using successful tests that other countries were already using. But the officials refused to do so, essentially because it would have required changing bureaucratic procedures.
The federal government could also have eased regulations on American hospitals and laboratories, to allow them to create and manufacture their own tests, as Melissa Miller of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine told The Washington Post. But federal officials did not do so for weeks. The Times’s Sheri Fink and Mike Baker reported this week about a Seattle lab with a promising test that was blocked by “existing regulations and red tape” while “other countries ramped up much earlier and faster.”
These delays meant that the United States has wasted much of the past two months. “In January and February, China bought the world time with its aggressive action to contain the viral outbreak in its borders,” Vox’s Resnick and Dylan wrote. “The testing fiasco in the U.S. indicates we didn’t use that time well.”
Joanne Kenen of Politico has explained:
On Saturday Jan. 11 — a month and a half before the first Covid-19 case not linked to travel was diagnosed in the United States — Chinese scientists posted the genome of the mysterious new virus, and within a week virologists in Berlin had produced the first diagnostic test for the disease. Soon after, researchers in other nations rolled out their own tests, too, sometimes with different genetic targets. By the end of February, the World Health Organization had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries. The United States was not among them.
In the Oval Office address, Trump claimed that his administration’s response has been better than that of other countries. The evidence just doesn’t match those claims.
The House is set to vote on Thursday on a sweeping aid package for people affected by the coronavirus, with a measure that would establish a national paid leave program, expand food assistance, offer free coronavirus testing and bolster unemployment insurance. The proposal also includes $500 million to provide assistance to low-income pregnant women and some mothers who are laid off because of the outbreak; $400 million to assist food banks; and $250 million to deliver packaged meals to low-income seniors.
Trump said last night that he was suspending most travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, beginning on Friday, to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions do not apply to Britain, he said.
Mr. Trump imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who in the previous two weeks have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area. The limits, which take effect on Friday at midnight, will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families, although they could be funneled to certain airports for enhanced screening.
But Trump wrongly said he is banning European goods.Trump said his “prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.” This is not true.
Trump wrongly said he was suspending “all travel from Europe” Trump said during his Oval Office address, “We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.” The United Kingdom was the only country he identified as exempt. But the travel suspension does not apply to all of Europe. The UK is not the only exempt country.
Referring to Americans abroad, Trump created confusion in two ways. First, by referring to “Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings,” he did not make clear that US citizens can return from Europe even if they have not been screened before they take off for the US. The screening comes after they land in the US. Second, Trump did not mention that he is exempting a variety of non-US citizens, including permanent US residents and certain family members of both citizens and permanent residents.
Again, Trump said he was suspending travel “from Europe to the United States.” But as it turns out, the suspension applies not only to people flying in from Europe but to people “who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”
The president assured Americans that the nation’s health insurers “have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments.” But they had not. A spokesperson for the America’s Health Insurance Plans trade association later confirmed to reporters that insurers had agreed to suspend copayments for testing alone, not the treatment of the disease. Either the president misspoke, the prepared text of his national address was irredeemably sloppy, or the White House has not been coordinating closely with the health-insurance industry ahead of the address. Whatever the explanation, it isn’t acceptable.
It’s simply stunning that the president announced the wrong policy in a critical, prepared address. He said his ban applied to trade then said it didn’t. This is completely unacceptable. It shouldn’t be “baked in” to anything other than the continued case that this man is unfit.
This is all from a huge series of mismanagement from the Trump Administration, and Trump himself.
The president of the United States gave an 11 minute Oval Office speech 2 hours ago meant to calm the American public and since then the White House has been cleaning up everything he got wrong. Absolutely bananas— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 12, 2020
I’ve written several Oval Office addresses, and heard many over the decades— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) March 12, 2020
Not aware of *any* of them that required even one “actually, the President meant to say..” clarification immediately afterwards, let alone a string of them
These are usually carefully vetted statements
Where does this Trump statement rank among the worst presidential moments of all time? TRUMP: And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done (2/26/20)
Trump is falsely blaming the Obama administration for the slow rollout of U.S. tests for the new coronavirus—ignoring his administration’s own fumbles in responding to the health crisis and mischaracterizing Obama-era policies.
Not true. In fact, the lack of regulation of medical tests was so concerning to Obama aides that the FDA proposed the idea – and found bipartisan support on Capitol Hill – of increasing oversight of medical testing to protect patients from being given tests they don’t need or from inaccurate results.
But the Obama administration ultimately never acted on the proposal and it never became a regulation. Instead, in January 2017, it issued a “discussion paper” as it left the matter up to Trump.
Last Saturday, the FDA invoked a 2004 law – passed well before Trump or Obama took office – to specifically authorize coronavirus tests to be developed in private laboratories like hospitals and given to patients without prior federal approval.
Worth noting though is that this power was something Health Secretary Alex Azar and the FDA have had since coronavirus became a global health crisis in late January.
School districts in many parts of the country are suspended. Games and gatherings have been cancelled. The Capital is closed. Even Trump finally decided to suspend rallies. The NBA has suspended the rest of its season.
Let’s listen to David Frum:
The Worst Outcome: If somebody other than Donald Trump were in the White House, the coronavirus crisis would not be unfolding this way.
At every turn, President Trump’s policy regarding coronavirus has unfolded as if guided by one rule: How can I make this crisis worse?
Presidents are not all-powerful, especially not in the case of pandemic disease. There are limits to what they can do, for good or ill. But within those limits, at every juncture, Trump’s actions have ensured the worst possible outcomes. The worst outcome for public health. The worst outcome for the American economy. The worst outcome for American global leadership.
Trump’s Oval Office speech of March 11 was the worst action yet in a string of bad actions.
Here are the things the president did not do in that speech.
He offered no guidance or policy on how to prevent the spread of the disease inside the United States. Should your town cancel its St. Patrick’s Day parade? What about theatrical productions and sporting events? Classes at schools and colleges? Nothing.
He offered no explanation of what went wrong with the U.S. testing system, nor any assurance of when testing would become more widely available. His own previous promises of testing for anyone who needs it have been exploded as false. So what is true? Nothing.
Layoffs are coming, probably on a very large scale, as travel collapses and people hunker down at home. Any word for those about to lose their jobs? Only the vaguest indication that something might be announced sometime soon.
It’s good to hear that there will be no co-pays on the tests nobody seems able to get. What about other health-care coverage? Any word on that? Nothing.
The financial markets have plunged into a 2008-style crash, auguring a recession, perhaps a severe one. The Trump administration has had almost two months to think about this crisis. It has trial-ballooned some ideas. But, of course, fiscal policy would require assent from the House of Representatives. Trump is still pouting at Speaker Nancy Pelosi. So—aside from some preposterously unconvincing happy talk about the economy—again: nothing.
There was one something in the speech: a ban on travel from Europe, but not the United Kingdom. It’s a classic Trump formulation. It seeks to protect America by erecting a wall against the world, without thinking very hard how or whether the wall can work. The disease is already here. The numbers only look low because of our prior failure to provide adequate testing. They will not look low even four days from now. And those infected with the virus can travel from other countries and on other routes. Trump himself has already met some.
The travel ban is an act of panic. Financial futures began crashing even as Trump was talking, perhaps shocked by his lack of an economic plan, perhaps aghast at his latest attack on world trade. (The speech seemed to suggest an embargo on European-sourced cargo as well, but that looks more like a mental lapse of Trump’s than a real policy announcement. The ban on cargo was retracted by a post-speech tweet, although the ban remains in the posted transcript of the speech.) Among other things, the ban represents one more refutation by Trump of any idea of collective security against collective threats. While China offers medical assistance to Italy, he wants to sever ties to former friends—isolating America and abandoning the world.
This crisis is not of Trump’s making. What he is responsible for is his failure to respond promptly, and then his perverse and counterproductive choice of how to respond when action could be avoided no longer. Trump, in his speech, pleaded for an end to finger-pointing. It’s a strange thing for this president of all presidents to say. No American president, and precious few American politicians, have ever pointed so many fingers or hurled so much abuse as Donald Trump. What he means, of course, is: Don’t hold me to account for the things I did.
But he did do them, and he owns responsibility for those things. He cannot escape it, and he will not escape it.
More people will get sick because of his presidency than if somebody else were in charge. More people will suffer the financial hardship of sickness because of his presidency than if somebody else were in charge. The medical crisis will arrive faster and last longer than if somebody else were in charge. So, too, the economic crisis. More people will lose their jobs than if somebody else were in charge. More businesses will be pushed into bankruptcy than if somebody else were in charge. More savers will lose more savings than if somebody else were in charge. The damage to America’s global leadership will be greater than if somebody else were in charge.
There is always something malign in Trump’s incompetence. He has no care or concern for others; he cannot absorb the trouble and suffering of others as real. He monotones his way through words of love and compassion, but those words plainly have no content or meaning for him. The only thing that is real is his squalid vanity. This virus threatens to pierce that vanity, so he denied it as long as he could. What he refuses to acknowledge cannot be real, can it?
And even now that he has acknowledged the crisis, he still cannot act, because he does not know what to do. His only goal now is to shove blame onto others. Americans have to face the fact that in the grip of this pandemic, the Oval Office is for all practical purposes as empty as the glazed eyes of the man who spoke from that office tonight.
I’ve been watching Presidential speeches for decades. have never seen a President look more nervous, more unsure of what he was saying, than tonight.— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) March 12, 2020
One of our two major political parties – the one in charge of the White House and the Senate – is incapable of competent, responsible governance. https://t.co/K8IgYa4LQe— Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@AJentleson) March 12, 2020
There’s also the issue of Trump’s xenophobia, echoed by much of the right wing media. Seated behind his desk in the White House Wednesday, Trump looked into the camera and warned Americans of an enemy who has infiltrated our borders. We are at war, he said, with a “foreign virus.”
It’s a tactic meant to distract from what his administration has and hasn’t done, in this case to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Trump said of his administration’s work.
That is not the language of the Trump era. Trump rode into office on a message of division, of fear and hate and xenophobia. He announced his campaign in 2015 by smearing Mexicans. Even his inaugural address was laced with dark notes. “From this day forward,” he said during his address, “it’s going to be only America first.”Xenophobia isn’t a bug in the system for him; it’s a feature.
Throughout his time in office, again and again, he’s rallied his supporters through fear of outsiders — whether it was fear of travelers from Muslim-majority countries or asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. He’s portrayed foreigners as filthy and derided others’ homelands as “shithole countries.”
Now, faced with explaining his government’s response to an outbreak that’s getting worse, he’s relying on the same tropes.
Just now, Trump shows off his inattentiveness to the situation:
people are dying and there aren’t enough test kits to go around and the bottom has dropped out of the stock market and THIS is what you obsess over. come on man, resign and let that god-mad science-denier do your job until November, after which we’ll get a real leader in place— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) March 12, 2020
The shoe shine shop at 30 rock is empty. I’ve never seen it without a line. 5 workers just waiting. The owner is trying to stay upbeat but he says it’s already getting hard.— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) March 12, 2020
Brazil’s press minister Fabio Wajngarten (on the right) has tested positive for Coronavirus. He’s pictured next to Donald trump at Mar a Lago on Saturday #Brazil #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/oB2jKDVKiL— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 12, 2020
Locally, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday morning it has identified two cases of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Forsyth County, where I live.
Trump claims (falsely) all Americans returning to country are being tested:”We have heavily tested. If an American coming back or anybody coming back, we have a tremendous testing set up where people coming in have to be tested … if it shows positive … We have to quarantine.” pic.twitter.com/ndGlKmSFJh— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 12, 2020
30 minutes earlier… https://t.co/4tW8pcJI1A— Ellen Garrett (@WWonTwit) March 12, 2020
So when you hear Republicans complaining that the proposed COVID-19 bill in the House is “pushing a political agenda,” that is once again projection. Democrats didn’t include abortion language. Republicans are apparently the ones demanding it. https://t.co/OgMUW5neeD— Amy Sullivan (@sullivanamy) March 12, 2020
Crises clarify. The bigger the crisis, the more the clarity, which is why the incompetence, dishonesty, and sheer callousness of the Trump Presidency have been clearer in recent days than ever before. As the coronavirus, as of Wednesday an official pandemic, spreads, the lives of Americans depend on the decisions made—or not made, as the case may be—by a President uniquely ill-suited to command in this type of public-health catastrophe. In that sense, the last few weeks may well have been the most clarifying of Donald Trump’s Presidency.
In a prime-time address to the nation on Wednesday night, Trump declared war on the “foreign virus,” blaming first China and then the European Union for spreading it, and insisting that it carried “very, very low risk” for Americans. The starkly militaristic and nationalistic tone of the address sounded scary and ignorant and utterly inadequate at a time when the country is being radically upended, with travel halting, workplaces and schools shuttering, and hospitals bracing for impact. The “foreign virus” will not be contained or shut out by a European travel ban, which the President announced, any more than it was by a China travel ban, which he had previously decreed. It is already here in states across the nation, and experts warn that it could infect millions and kill hundreds of thousands in a worst-case scenario. Trump spoke little about that, beyond a vague nudge to Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and a warning to “elderly Americans” to be “very, very careful” and avoid “nonessential travel.” He failed to explain or even address the shocking lack of testing of Americans—a stark contrast to the response by other countries—and did not warn the public about or advise them on how to handle the difficult days ahead. Even the major measure that he announced, the European travel ban, required immediate clarification and correction from Administration officials who said it did not apply to trade, as Trump indicated in his remarks, or permanent residents. His former homeland-security adviser, Thomas Bossert, immediately panned the ban as a “poor use of time & energy.”
In short, Trump was detached from the unfolding reality of a global crisis that is unlike any in memory. I’ve watched Presidential speeches for a few decades now. I cannot recall one that was less equal to the moment.
Trump spoke from the Oval Office exactly five weeks to the day since the end of his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, which left him with essentially unchecked power after the Republican-led Senate voted against his removal. So much has happened since the trial, which already seems as if it happened in another era, but there is a through-line: Trump himself, constantly conflating the national interest with his personal interest. As the coronavirus spread and the President initially ignored, downplayed, and lied about it—even dismissing coverage of the risks as a media-inflamed “hoax”—the costs of the Senate’s impeachment decision have been cast in sharp relief. It will be a long time before we can reckon with the full damage done by an Administration whose incompetence, disinformation, and sheer bungling in the early stages of the crisis have been at once predictable and breathtaking.
The critics were quick to declare this to be Trump’s Katrina, Trump’s Chernobyl, even Trump’s “Pandumbic,” as “The Daily Show” named it. What is striking to me, however, is how much the last few weeks represented Trump merely being Trump. This wasn’t a situation in which the folly of the system or the depth of mismanagement was suddenly revealed to the man at the top, but a case in which the man at the top was the folly.
It’s almost unbelievable from the vantage point of the present moment, when we are in the midst of an officially designated global pandemic and a consequent economic crisis that threatens to plunge the United States and the rest of the planet into a recession, but consider how the President of the United States has spent his time since the coronavirus infection reached America in mid-January. He has:
Publicly attacked the judge, prosecutors, and jury forewoman in the case of Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political associate who was convicted of lying to Congress and other offenses.
Fired his Ambassador to the European Union and a National Security Council adviser on Ukraine, and purged others who figured in the impeachment investigation as he fulminated to aides about “snakes” in his Administration.
Fired the acting director of National Intelligence, after an intelligence briefing to Congress about Russia’s ongoing efforts to interfere in the 2020 election.
Nominated as his new director of National Intelligence a highly partisan Republican congressman who was forced to withdraw from the exact same job last summer for inflating his résumé.
Sued, through his campaign, the Times, CNN, and the Washington Post for publishing opinion articles that he did not like.
Installed a new, twenty-nine-year-old personnel chief in the White House who had been previously fired and marched off the premises, and gave him a mandate to revamp the vetting process for Administration officials, with a new emphasis on loyalty.
As the novel coronavirus spread from China across Asia and Europe and to the United States, Trump used his Presidential Twitter feed, his four campaign rallies, his trip to India, and various public appearances in February to attack by name dozens of targets, including the Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor; “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” and her “impeachment hoax”; the “failed” and “sanctimonious” Senator Mitt Romney; the “puppet” Senator Joe Manchin; the “lightweight” Senator Doug Jones, a “Do Nothing Stiff”; Jay Powell, his appointee as chairman of the Federal Reserve; John Kelly, his former White House chief of staff, who was in “way over his head”; and Jeff Sessions, his former Attorney General.
The President, who has made name-calling such a signature of his boorish public persona that it is rarely even pointed out any more, also found time to demean the Democratic Presidential candidates running against him—“Mini Mike” Bloomberg came in for particular animus before he dropped out, belittled by the President as a “stumbling, bumbling,” “weak and unsteady” “5’4” mass of dead energy.” As criticism of his response to the virus escalated, Trump doubled down on his attack on journalists as “the enemy of the people” and targeted individual journalists by name, calling them “wacko” and talentless.
All of this he did while the epidemic spread. At the same time, Trump was claiming that the illness was being contained; that it dies in warmer weather; that it was not coming to the United States; that it was about to disappear; and that it was not very serious. Indeed, had you read only communications from the President about the spreading coronavirus, you would have been subjected to a barrage of lies and misinformation and self-serving bombast, information that even at the time it was being said was clearly and unequivocally untrue.
I reviewed all of the one thousand and forty-nine tweets and retweets that Trump sent in the five weeks between his impeachment acquittal and Wednesday afternoon, counting forty-eight that mentioned coronavirus. By far the largest number of these—twenty-one—bragged in some way about the Administration’s response to a crisis that Trump claimed was being contained because of his fast, early action to shut the “boarders” with China. The next largest group of tweets attacked Democrats or the media or both for not giving him credit, or for seeking to create panic, rather than recognizing what a good job he has been doing. It was only on February 24th that the President sent his first tweet about the illness arriving in America. “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” Trump tweeted. At the time, there were fifty-three confirmed cases in the country, a number that by March 1st had risen to more than a hundred. Just last week, Trump told Americans that coronavirus cases were “going very substantially down.”
Amazingly, these statements continued throughout this week, as the World Health Organization finally declared the novel coronavirus to be pandemic and chided nations—read the United States—for “alarming levels of inaction.” On Sunday, Trump claimed, “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.” On Monday, before the stock market crashed and a congressman who had flown with him on Air Force One had to quarantine himself, the President began the day by blaming the media and Democrats for seeking “to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant.” By the end of that catastrophic day, an unrepentant Trump appeared at a White House press conference and said, “We have been handling it very well” before promising a major, very, very big economic recovery proposal with no specifics. He concluded, “This blindsided the world, and I think we’ve handled it very, very well.” On Tuesday, he returned to this theme after visiting the Capitol for a private lunch with applauding Republican senators. “It will go away,” Trump said of the virus, on the day that more than a thousand cases were registered in the United States. “Just stay calm. It will go away.”
We don’t know whether this is Trump’s long-delayed reckoning, the overdue moment of accountability for a man who has escaped such reckonings his entire life. The election is not for many months. The dizzying events of just the last few weeks—the remarkable upending of the Democratic Presidential race, the hubris and foolishness of the Administration’s initial response to the virus—may be long forgotten by then.
That does not make this any less of a significant milestone in this most unbelievable of American Presidencies. On Wednesday, the respected government medical expert Anthony Fauci told Congress that the worst is yet to come. “Yes, yes it is,” he said. Trump cannot tweet this virus away or lie it into oblivion. The virus does not care if he gives tax cuts to friendly oil barons or bails out his own hotels with federal dollars, possibilities that have been floated in recent days. Trump may believe that only Republicans matter to his political fortunes, but he has yet to find a doctor who can insulate his base, and his base only, from the ravages of this disease. Nor will he.
Trump has spent years devaluing and diminishing facts, experts, institutions, and science—the very things upon which we must rely in a crisis—and his default setting during the coronavirus outbreak has been to deny, delay, deflect, and diminish. His speech on Wednesday night was a disappointment but not a surprise. He told us what we already knew: America is in big trouble.
That word ‘almost’ https://t.co/7vVTTmZRSM— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) March 12, 2020
1:50 pm: Biden just gave a coronavirus speech. Very presidential. Pay attention to science, etc.
This is what Trump should have said but he is too incapable and incompetent https://t.co/St6SSbPAxr— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) March 12, 2020
The only bad thing about Biden’s speech is that Trump’s ego will make him do the exact opposite of everything he said.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) March 12, 2020
Trump campaign fires back at Biden after his virus remarks: “In the past, Joe Biden has shown terrible judgment and incompetence in the face of public health issues.”— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) March 12, 2020