U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a “precautionary step” as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, The Guardian reports.
“It is understood Johnson remains in charge of the government, although Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and first secretary of state, is poised to take charge if he should worsen.”
New York Times: “Across the United States, even as coronavirus deaths are being recorded in terrifying numbers — many hundreds each day — the true death toll is likely much higher.”
“More than 9,100 people with the coronavirus have been reported to have died in this country as of this weekend, but hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic, as a result of inconsistent protocols, limited resources and a patchwork of decision-making from one state or county to the next.”
CBS News: Fauci says deaths will keep rising even as new cases stabilize
Scott Gottlieb: “Some imagine that the coronavirus will run its tragic course in the spring, with the direst results avoided by intense social-distancing and other mitigation efforts, and then our lives can more or less return to normal in the summer.”
“But that isn’t realistic. Even if new cases start to stall in the summer heat, the virus will return in the fall, and so will fresh risk of large outbreaks and even a new epidemic. People will still be reluctant to crowd into stores, restaurants or arenas. Schools may remain closed. The public’s fears won’t relent simply because there are fewer new cases. We’ll be running an 80% economy.”
“The only way out is with technology. Aggressive surveillance and screening can help warn of new infection clusters that could turn into outbreaks, but that won’t be enough. A vaccine could beat the virus, but there won’t be one this year. The best near-term hope: an effective therapeutic drug. That would be transformative, and it’s plausible as soon as this summer. But the process will have to move faster.”
“As the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment,” the AP reports.
“A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers.”
“By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile.”
CNN: Trump’s mismanagement undercuts his CEO image.
“In mid-March, President Trump personally pressed federal health officials to make malaria drugs available to treat the novel coronavirus, though they had been untested for COVID-19,” Reuters reports.
“Shortly afterward, the federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science.”
NBC News: “The composite sketch drawn from interviews NBC conducted in recent days with more than a dozen individuals involved in various aspects of the crisis reveals a fight for mortal and economic survival in which men and women, states and cities, and hospitals and businesses of all kinds have been left without sufficient support, even at a time when Congress and the Federal Reserve are pumping cash into the system and many businesses who want to provide assistance have found they can’t connect with federal agencies.”
“Many of those who spoke to NBC did so on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the president… But taken together, their stories reveal that ill preparation for the pandemic has been compounded both by policies that have been implemented and by the Trump administration’s inability to coordinate the distribution of health care assets — from ventilators, masks and gloves to available doctors — and the effort to backstop an economy suddenly thrust into reverse.”
Capt. Brett Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, the New York Times reports.
Joe Biden sharply criticized the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed from his post as commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after speaking up in a leaked letter to his superiors about the handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel, the Washington Post reports.
Said Biden: “I think it’s close to criminal, the way they’re dealing with this guy. … The idea that this man stood up and said what had to be said, got it out that his troops, his Navy personnel, were in danger, in danger — look how many have the virus.”
President Trump suggested that he fired the inspector general for the intelligence community in retaliation for impeachment, saying the official was wrong to provide an anonymous whistleblower complaint to Congress as the law requires, the AP reports.
Said Trump: “Never came in to see me, never requested to see me… That man is a disgrace to IGs.”
“At least one-fourth of the U.S. economy has suddenly gone idle amid the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented shutdown of commerce that has darkened stores from Manhattan to Gilpin County, Colo., the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The study, by the economic-analysis firm Moody’s Analytics, offers one of the most comprehensive looks yet at how much of the world’s largest economy has shut down in the past three weeks, and which states and regions are being slammed the hardest. While the full extent of the economic damage won’t be apparent for years to come, the abrupt halt of commerce caused by state-imposed closures has never occurred on such a wide scale.”
Wall Street Journal: “What happens next in sports may be beyond the control of leagues and the television networks that pay them billions of dollars. The people with the power are the ones who packed the stands. And sports will only be normal once the public decides it’s socially and psychologically acceptable to be around thousands of strangers again.”
“When they can even begin to think about that is impossible to say. The novel coronavirus has caused so much damage and behaves so unpredictably that major events are canceled deep into the summer. It’s no longer a given that play will resume this year.”
Washington Post: “It is possible the rest of the 2020 sports calendar, including college football and the NFL, also will be lost, according to interviews with and public comments from more than a dozen sports leaders and public health experts.”
“In a conference call with major league sports commissioners on Saturday, President Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, ESPN reports.
“Trump also said he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, sources said, although it is currently unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline amid the current coronavirus pandemic.”
“Rudy Giuliani has cast himself in a new role: as personal science adviser to a president eager to find ways to short circuit the coronavirus epidemic,” the Washington Post reports.
“In one-on-one phone calls with Trump, Giuliani said, he has been touting the use of an anti-malarial drug cocktail that has shown some early promise in treating covid-19, but whose effectiveness has not yet been proved. He said he now spends his days on the phone with doctors, coronavirus patients and hospital executives promoting the treatment, which Trump has also publicly lauded.”
“What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose? Take it.” — President Trump, quoted by The Guardian, urging Americans worried about Covid-19 to take a little-studied anti-malaria drug for the disease.
“In September 2018, the Trump administration received detailed plans for a new machine designed to churn out millions of protective respirator masks at high speed during a pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.
“The plans, submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services by medical manufacturer O&M Halyard, were the culmination of a venture unveiled almost three years earlier by the Obama administration.”
“But HHS did not proceed with making the machine.”
“This country is re-learning what it understood during the Cold War — we don’t elect presidents for the good days, we elect them to handle the bad days. Donald Trump is incapable of handling a bad day, let alone a protracted pandemic.” — Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), quoted by NBC News.
Rachel Maddow spoke directly to President Trump in a fiery segment:
“Mr. President, there are things that only you can do here. But the most important thing that you can do is put somebody in charge. You know, you’ll love it, because whoever you pick, you can blame that person at the end when there are still 100,000 or 200,000 dead Americans piled up in the nation’s funeral homes and crematoriums and cemeteries. Pick somebody you’re looking forward to scapegoating and blaming and saying that it was all their fault from the beginning.”
It’s worth watching the entire clip.
Bloomberg: “As it confronts the worst economic disaster since the 2008 financial crisis, the Treasury Department is riddled with vacancies among its political appointments. Of 20 Senate confirmed roles reporting to the secretary, seven aren’t filled, and four are held by acting officials. The domestic finance unit, which should be handling the brunt of the work related to the coronavirus outbreak, is particularly empty. It has no top boss and is missing three assistant secretaries, who are the next level down.”
“Keir Starmer has promised to rebuild the nation’s trust in the Labour party after winning a stunning victory to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader,” The Guardian reports.
“By securing 56.2% of the votes of almost half a million Labour members and affiliates, he has emerged with a huge and powerful mandate to lead the party as he chooses, after four-and-a-half years of the Corbyn project, during which two general elections were lost.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court Friday said it will scrap the oral argument schedule for the rest of the term amid the coronavirus pandemic but left open the possibility that it might hear a few cases before the term ends in late June,” NBC News reports.
“Nine cases were to be argued during the two-week session beginning April 20, including one of the most important of the term — a challenge to the current system used for electing the president. The court was to decide whether presidential electors must vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their states or whether they are free agents.”