WTF. Start back to work…hmmmm
A horrific day…despite what T says.
A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.
“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital.
Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday morning, New York City reported 16,788 confirmed cases and 199 deaths.
Coronavirus has officially hit my neck of the woods, with 3 cases known in my county so far.
In other news:
Weirdness in Italy:
I want the networks to shut down T’s pressers, where he is telling lies, but also doing campaigning. Unfortunately there is no clear direction on this. Big ratings dictate this.
The nation’s television news outlets, especially the three major cable-news networks, are grappling with a nagging paradox as President Donald Trump continues to orchestrate his White House briefings on the novel coronavirus pandemic*.
On the one hand, their ratings have never been higher, and viewers’ appetites for the live sessions have shown no signs of dwindling. On the other hand, journalists and executives at MSNBC, CNN and the often Trump-friendly Fox News—which scored an impressive 6.2 million viewers for Sunday’s installment of the Trump show, according to Nielsen—are increasingly facing the likelihood that they are becoming an uncritical and unvetted transmission belt for propaganda and misinformation.
“These White House sessions—ostensibly meant to give the public critical and truthful information about this frightening crisis—are in fact working against that end,” wrote Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, summarizing such concerns. “Rather, they have become a daily stage for Trump to play his greatest hits to captive audience members. They come in search of life-or-death information, but here’s what they get from him instead: Self-aggrandizement… Media-bashing… Exaggeration and outright lies.”
In an echo of the self-criticism expressed during the 2016 presidential race, when the cable networks repeatedly broadcast Trump’s campaign rallies live and unexpurgated, top MSNBC anchors have already argued publicly that their own network should not air the president’s pandemic musings in full.
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough **tweeted during Trump’s briefing on Monday that there was “no public benefit to this briefing,” and the cable news networks should “cut away.” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who anchor’s the network’s most highly rated program, also repeatedly called for news networks to stop carrying Trump’s statements live, saying that the president’s daily comments contribute to the spread of misinformation.
“If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,” Maddow said on her show earlier this week. “Not out of spite, but because it’s misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”
That T’s approval ratings have improved with this ‘handling’ of the coronavirus…
Does Trump deserve more blame for a coronavirus-triggered recession than Bush did for the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, or Carter did for the rampant inflation and the oil crisis of 1979 and 1980? Well, the Democrats will say yes — especially given Trump’s slow-footed, erratic response on coronavirus — and the White House will say no. But the more a recession brings hardship to families and communities, the more the Republican side of the argument will be pushing uphill.
But what about Trump’s approval rating improving since the coronavirus crisis began? Indeed, Trump’s approval rating has improved in recent days so that it’s among the highest ratings of his presidency. As I mentioned, his approval rating among voters is now roughly 45 percent, which is up from 43 or 44 percent since early March, while his disapproval rating has fallen from 52 to 53 percent to 51 percent.
Popularity of T 44.6 % Approval and 50.7% Disapprove (combinations of polls)
This should get everyone’s attention…particularly the President, for whom he thinks he’s doing a 10. She writes impassioned and desperately. Let’s hope she gets heard.
Dear Mr. President,
I am an emergency medicine resident physician in one of the biggest hospital systems in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. In the past several weeks, I have taken care of countless patients with COVID-19 ― some who didn’t seem so sick and some blue in the face and gasping for air 70 times a minute. I have put my face inches from theirs and inserted breathing tubes into their trachea, putting myself and everyone else in the room at exponentially higher risk of contracting this disease.
As I’ve sat in a room full of coughing patients for 60 hours a week, I have worried about my own safety now and in the coming months as this pandemic gets worse and our completely inadequate supply of personal protective equipment rapidly disappears. There is a major shortage of face masks, along with other supplies, across the country and without them, it can be next to impossible to keep health care workers safe and working to support the increasing number of patients who are arriving at our hospital and clinic doors.
I have sent some not-so-sick patients home and I have seen some patients die right in front of my eyes. I have spoken on the phone to the sobbing mother of a young man admitted to the intensive care unit, and told her, “No, you are not allowed to enter the hospital to see your critically ill son because we are not letting family members into the hospital during this pandemic.” To say that I have experienced countless heartbreaking moments over the past several weeks would be an understatement.
In the next couple of days or weeks, we will run out of hospital beds and ventilators. The number of critically ill COVID-19 patients who come to my hospital seems to double every day. If things continue this way, I will soon be forced to make decisions about who deserves a shot at life and who I will allow to die, and that is an unthinkable thing to have to consider, much less do.
Tell me ― when there is only one ventilator available, should it go to the young nurse or the elderly woman with multiple comorbidities who has an advanced directive that says “do not intubate/do not resuscitate”? How about the single mother of three? Or the deeply respected emergency medicine attending doctor I worked with last week? How about the middle-aged man with some medical comorbidities and corny jokes who reminds me of my father ― or is my father? Or maybe the person in prison for rape? How about the person of color in jail for marijuana possession? How about a beloved and wealthy celebrity? How about the homeless person with alcohol use disorder who spits on my fellow medical professionals and me when we try to help? How about the homeless person who lives on my street corner and smiles at me every day and says “God bless you”? It’s not so easy choose, is it?
This past week, between 12-hour shifts working in the emergency department and the newly created COVID respiratory unit, I have done everything I can think of to stop that nightmare scenario from arriving. I have posted on social media begging my friends and family to stay home. I have signed countless petitions and contacted my local government pleading for more personal protective equipment and ventilators. If I learn of other things I can do, I will do those, too.
My governor, Andrew Cuomo, has tirelessly worked to obtain more personal protective equipment and ventilators. He has begged you to nationalize the effort to acquire medical supplies and you have denied him. He’s begged for citizens to stay home and, while some are listening, many are not and if they don’t, it will be disastrous. But there’s only so much the governor ― or any of us ― can do alone. At this point, there may be only so much we can do together. But we must try.
On Tuesday you told Fox News you would “ love to have the country opened up and raring to go by Easter.” You said you chose Easter because, “you will have packed churches all over our country, I think it would be a beautiful time and it is just about the timeline that I think is right.” The thought of this makes me nauseous. If we do that, exponentially more people will get this disease, our hospital system will not have the capacity to handle it, and health care professionals like me will have to let countless people die while continuing to put our own lives ― and possibly the lives of the people we love ― at risk.
When we run out of ventilators ― and we will if we lift the social distancing restrictions that are in place and this pandemic continues to spread as it already has ― I will not be ready to make these decisions about who deserves to live and who deserves to die. When those moments come, I do not know how I will be able to sleep at night. Will you? Now is not the time to let our guards down.
You have the power to be remembered as someone who did the right thing. I beg you to help me and other health care workers save countless lives ― possibly including our own ― so that we as a nation don’t have to suffer the unthinkable devastation looming on the horizon. I beg you to take this pandemic more seriously and I am begging you to do it now.
Rachel Sobolev, MD
Rachel Sobolev is a second year emergency medicine resident in New York City. She feels passionately about being right at the intersection of health care and current events, and providing high quality health care to all types of people regardless of their background.
A small point but a bigger meaning within the context.
(A difference without a distinction perhaps)
T said we are by far doing more testing than S.Korea.
A) we are bigger country…so big number to start
B) we got started too late…not really close to beginning like S.Korea.
C) T wants to sound impressive. #NeverBelieveHisBS
Bill Kristol’s take on Trump withholding funds:
I use this site to DL videos off of twitter:
Video in post:
Zilch…none…zero preparation. That was what T’s early response was… WTF
Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook - POLITICO
But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.
“Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?”
Senate Bill passed tonight and goes to the House on Friday for a final vote. Four Conservative Senators were not able to curtail any additional unemployment funds that they felt de-incentivized workers to return to work.
Have heard that the funds could go out to individuals in 3 weeks.
Lawmakers acted with unusual speed and cooperation to produce the largest economic rescue package in history.
The sprawling legislation, which passed 96-0, would send checks to more than 150 million American households, set up enormous loan programs for businesses large and small, pump money into unemployment insurance programs, greatly boost spending on hospitals, and much more.
Illustrating how grave the situation has become in the United States, the most liberal and conservative senators joined to support the mammoth spending bill.
The Senate vote sends the bill to the House, where Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced a vote to approve it Friday morning. President Trump said he intends to sign it immediately.
The vote came on the eve of the release of new figures from the Labor Department on the number of workers who applied for unemployment benefits during the week ending March 21. The number is expected to set a new record, with estimates ranging from 2 to 4 million. The prior record was just under 700,000 during a week in October 1982.
“The gears of the American economy have ground to a halt,” said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Our country has faced immense challenges before, but rarely so many at the same time.”
The bill would extend $1,200 to most American adults and $500 for most children, create a $500 billion lending program for businesses, cities and states, and a $367 billion employee retention fund for small businesses. It would direct $130 billion to hospitals and provide four months of expanded unemployment insurance, among other things.
Lawmakers and the White House were bombarded with lobbyists and special interest groups seeking assistance during the negotiations, and the price tag rose from $850 billion to $2.2 trillion in just a matter of days.
With confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States climbing swiftly to over 65,000 Wednesday with more than 900 deaths, lawmakers acknowledged that no amount of economic relief from Congress could stop the pain for the American public. In addition to layoffs, many workers are dealing with salary reductions or furloughs. And despite Trump’s push to restart much of the economy by April 12, there are growing signs that the drag on business could last well into the second half of the year.
Schumer touted the measure as “unemployment insurance on steroids,” but in one of the final hang-ups Wednesday a group of four conservative senators raised concerns that the program would provide incentives for people to leave the workforce since in some cases they might end up making more on unemployment than would at their job.
Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with the objecting senators – Ben Sasse (Neb.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Rick Scott (Fla.) – with Mnuchin explaining that it was the most efficient way to structure the program since the alternative would require working with a patchwork of different state unemployment systems.
An amendment the senators offered to try to scale back the new program was defeated Wednesday.
Late resistance also came from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who voiced complaints Wednesday that the legislation didn’t do enough to help his state, the hardest-hit in the country by the virus, where doctors and hospitals are pleading for relief.
I can’t find the post but this is responding to the article about what Bill Gates said in his latest TEDTalk.
Matt Gaetz has squandered any good will he got from being right for the first time in his life by going back to being a total moron.
The video in this is haunting:
‘People Are Dying’: 72 Hours Inside a N.Y.C. Hospital Battling Coronavirus
An emergency room doctor in Elmhurst, Queens, gives a rare look inside a hospital at the center of the coronavirus pandemic. “We don’t have the tools that we need.”
This hard-hitting question really shows who Trump is. He makes it all about himself, about his re-election, and shows that he just can’t handle this.
3 Rules for the Trump Pandemic
Our Internet Isn’t Ready for Coronavirus
Many people are having to work and learn from home. Residential broadband networks might not be able to keep up.
This story is one to watch. It feels very out of left field, and the guy doesn’t seem to actually KNOW if any of his patients have Covid-19, he’s just running with it. But Trump’s supporters and conservative media are loving him, so it’s best to be aware of this. All of his “success” seems to be self-reported, too, a traditional red flag for hoaxes, frauds, or misguided helpers.
His community elders feel differently and want him to stop making videos about this or leave:
On Trump and disinformation:
Kathy Griffin may have the coronavirus:
Nurse dies in New York hospital where workers are reduced to using trash bags as protective medical gear
Why Congress had to pass the Stimulus package…the 3.3 unemployed (today’s numbers.)
This stimulus package is a monetary relief for this pandemic and this job loss rate.
The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982.
Claims had been expected to hit a record 1.5 million for the week, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers last week, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million.
The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982. The previous week, which reflected the period before the worst of the coronavirus hit, was 282,000, which was higher than expected at the time.
Consensus estimates from economists surveyed by Dow Jones showed an expectation for 1.5 million new claims, though individual forecasts on Wall Street had been anticipating a much higher number. The surge comes amid a crippling slowdown brought on by the coronavirus crisis.
Good but heartbreaking (and lengthy recap) on how the CV pandemic is wreaking havoc on our hospital systems - staff, economy, and the continuing threats we face from Washington Post’s Politics newsletter - Daily 202
Putting most of it here…skim or read…it’s impossibly complicated, sad, exasperating…and we are just getting started in the US to get a handle on it’s impact.
The 1918 flu hit the United States in three waves — a mild outbreak in the spring, the deadliest wave in the fall and a final spike when the virus returned that winter. All told, the pandemic infected a third of the world’s population and killed at least 50 million people, including at least 675,000 Americans.
One of them was the great-grandmother of Debbie Birx, the lead coordinator of the federal government’s coronavirus task force. “My grandmother, for 88 years, lived with the fact that she was the one, at age 11, who brought home flu to her mother … when her mother had just delivered,” said Birx, 63. “She never forgot that she was the child that was in school that innocently brought that flu home.”
Her middle name is Leah in honor of her great-grandma who succumbed to the deadliest outbreak in modern history. “This is why we keep saying to every American: You have a role to protect each and every person that you interact with,” Birx explained. “It’s why we are social distancing.”
The 1918 case study weighs on leaders of the public health community as they scramble to ramp up capacity and spur vaccine development in preparation for a sustained war against covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. “We’re dealing with Cycle A right now, not the one that could come in the fall of 2020 – although we’re getting prepared for it by the innovations that are being worked on,” Birx said at the White House on Wednesday evening.
Tony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there are growing indications this coronavirus could become cyclical and seasonal. “And the reason I say that is that what we’re starting to see now in the Southern Hemisphere – in southern Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere countries – is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season,” said Fauci, 79. “If, in fact, they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we’ll get a cycle around here the second time.”
Fauci, who has run the infectious disease center since 1984, said the risk of secondary and tertiary waves is why accelerating vaccine research is so critical, as well as conducting randomized and controlled trials of drugs already on the market that might be effective. “Because I know we’ll be successful in putting this down now, but we really need to be prepared for another cycle,” he said.
The United States now has 69,197 confirmed cases and 1,046 reported deaths from the contagion. Vice President Pence said on Wednesday night that 432,000 coronavirus tests have now been administered nationwide. Many other Americans probably have the virus but still have not been able to get tested. The world has 480,446 confirmed cases and 21,571 deaths related to the coronavirus.
Fauci said he joined a conference call earlier in the day that was organized by the World Health Organization during which Chinese medical experts warned that they’re starting to see a second wave coming on. “One of the things that was striking to me, and I just throw it out there because it’s something that we will face … is that our Chinese colleagues are very concerned because they went through the entire cycle of the curve … and they have very, very few cases,” he said. “But what they’re starting to see as they’re relaxing the constraints on travel is that they’re getting imported cases. And they wanted to warn us that, when we get successful, make sure you very carefully examine how you’re going to release the constraints on inputs.”
This warning, from Fauci and his Chinese counterparts, comes as President Trump continues to agitate for relaxing guidance encouraging social distancing and work stoppages in a bid to jumpstart the economy as quickly as possible. The president said he hopes that churches can be full on Easter. “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily – I don’t do that – but the country wants to get back to work,” Trump said at Wednesday’s daily briefing, as he was flanked by Fauci and Birx.
Fauci left little doubt that he thinks this is a bad idea. Birx, the more diplomatic of the two scientists, has carefully avoided getting crosswise with the president. She said during the briefing that some of the worst-case models being circulated by some epidemiologists are overly alarmist because they assume that no efforts will be made to flatten the curve of transmission across three separate cycles of the virus slamming the United States. “Our job right now is to carefully detail … what the infrastructure needs are and ensure that we’re meeting them,” she said.
Trump seemed to acknowledge that he understands there could be additional waves of coronavirus cases, but mostly he patted himself on the back during the 73-minute briefing. He again falsely claimed that nobody anticipated an outbreak like this. “Nobody could have ever seen something like this coming, but now we know, and we know it can happen and happen again,” he said. “And if it does, somebody is going to be very well prepared because of what we’ve learned and how we’ve done.”
Successful wartime presidents effectively manage the expectations of the citizenry. Trump focuses so much on winning individual news cycles, like a reality TV show star who thinks of each day as an episode, that he often loses sight of this long game amid a pandemic he likens to a war. With premature celebration, the president risks a “Mission Accomplished” moment akin to President George W. Bush’s 2003 speech aboard an aircraft carrier announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq or Vice President Dick Cheney’s declaration in 2005 that the insurgency, which sprang up after Bush declared victory, was in its “last throes.”
“Nobody has done the job that we’ve done,” Trump said at the end of a day that saw the death toll spike and horror stories emerge from hospitals in his hometown. “And it’s lucky that you have this group here, right now, for this problem, or you wouldn’t even have a country left.”
Trump’s boastful, self-congratulatory tone in these briefings is so jarringly at odds with the ground truth. Consider the stories that follow.
Our domestic health care system is stretching past the breaking point
Hospitals are considering universal do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients.
“Hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic are engaged in a heated private debate over a calculation few have encountered in their lifetimes — how to weigh the ‘save at all costs’ approach to resuscitating a dying patient against the real danger of exposing doctors and nurses to the contagion of coronavirus,” Ariana Eunjung Cha reports. “The conversations are driven by the realization that the risk to staff amid dwindling stores of protective equipment — such as masks, gowns and gloves — may be too great to justify the conventional response when a patient ‘codes,’ and their heart or breathing stops. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members — a wrenching decision to prioritize the lives of the many over the one. … The new protocols are part of a larger rationing of lifesaving procedures and equipment — including ventilators — that is quickly becoming a reality here as in other parts of the world battling the virus. …
“Officials at George Washington University Hospital in the District say they have had similar conversations, but for now will continue to resuscitate covid-19 patients using modified procedures, such as putting plastic sheeting over the patient to create a barrier. The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, one of the country’s major hot spots for infections, is dealing with the problem by severely limiting the number of responders to a contagious patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest. Several large hospital systems — Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Geisinger in Pennsylvania and regional Kaiser Permanente networks — are looking at guidelines that would allow doctors to override the wishes of the coronavirus patient or family members on a case-by-case basis due to the risk to doctors and nurses, or a shortage of protective equipment … But they would stop short of imposing a do-not-resuscitate order on every coronavirus patient."
Some health-care workers are resisting orders to work without adequate protection.
“To do so, they must buck the pandemic’s all-hands-on-deck ethos, the medical tradition of accepting elevated risk in a crisis and the threat of discipline from employers. Confrontations and difficult personal decisions are occurring as hospital administrators enforce rationing of masks, face shields and other equipment for workers worried about protecting themselves,” Lenny Bernstein and Ariana report. “Labor unions have noted that in China, where supplies were more plentiful, health-care workers were told to double up on gowns and other protective equipment. They have warned of a catastrophe if many health-care workers fall ill.”
Thirteen deaths in one day: Inside the “apocalyptic” surge at one NYC hospital.
“In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died,” the Times reports. “Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals as it moves toward becoming dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of ‘Team 700,’ the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed. A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead."
- A worker at a New York City hospital where nurses wear trash bags as protection, due to a shortage of supplies, died from the coronavirus. (New York Post)
- New York University’s medical school is offering its senior students the chance to graduate early so they can go work in local hospitals. (Newsweek)
- New York City morgues are near capacity, DHS warned. (Politico)
- A Brooklyn rabbi who once rescued 56 families from the Nazis died from the virus. Just two months ago, an emotional Rabbi Romi Cohn stood before Congress and delivered the opening prayer on the day that marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. He was 91. (Julie Zauzmer)
- D.C. will open emergency child-care centers for the children of health-care workers. (Perry Stein and Ovetta Wiggins)
- The Washington National Cathedral found 5,000 medical masks stored in its crypt. The masks are safe to use and will be donated to area hospitals. (Michelle Boorstein)
Doctors and nurses warn that the virus is killing even more Americans than we know.
“In the U.S., state and county authorities are responsible for collecting data on cases of COVID-19 and deaths. The data is then reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, one ER doctor who works at multiple hospitals in a hard-hit county [said] ‘those medical records aren’t being audited by anyone at the state and local level currently and some people aren’t even testing those people who are dead,’" BuzzFeed News reports. "'We just don’t know. The numbers are grossly under-reported. I know for a fact that we’ve had three deaths in one county where only one is listed on the website,’ the doctor said.”
The U.S. military is failing to utilize skilled immigrant doctors who are desperate to help.
Dozens of immigrant physicians who enlisted through a Pentagon program meant to harness their medical skills are stuck taking out trash and filing paperwork, even as the military mobilizes doctors to fight the growing coronavirus pandemic. Six recruits with relevant training — a pulmonary specialist, an epidemiologist and two internal medicine practitioners, among others — are frustrated that the glacial pace of security checks has slowed their chance to serve at a crucial moment, they told The Post. “The inertia comes as the nation braces for a mounting crisis of dwindling hospital staff as health-care workers contract the virus and are forced to quarantine,” Alex Horton reports. “It is unclear whether the military has enough doctors to treat its own troops and family members throughout the pandemic. The Pentagon’s top health official, Thomas McCaffery, warned Tuesday the military health system is facing a ‘surge in demand.’ More than 250 service members have been infected.”
More than 140 nursing homes have confirmed cases, but federal officials won’t say which ones.
"A news release from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that regulates nursing homes, said 147 nursing homes had a resident with coronavirus, and that figure included only nursing homes, not elder care facilities. … [It] tucked the new figure in the seventh paragraph,” Peter Whoriskey and Maria Sacchetti report.
Unprotected and unprepared, home health aides who care for the elderly are bracing for the worst.
“At least 12 million people in the United States depend on such services every year, according to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, many of them older or coping with severe disabilities,” Peter Jamison reports. "Many who require medical services or help with the basic tasks of daily living are likely to be confined to their homes in the weeks and months ahead. Yet the providers of those services say they are unprepared to step into the breach, hamstrung by regulations ill-suited to the current pandemic and unable to access protective gear that could shield workers and clients alike from infection. ‘There’s no doubt that we’re being sort of forgotten in all this, and I fear that mentality is going to eventually come back and punish us,’ said Joe Russell, executive director of the Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice.”
Some cancer patients face delayed surgeries and scaled-back treatments.
“Cancer will be diagnosed in estimated 1.8 million people in the United States this year, according to the American Cancer Society, and more than 600,000 will die of the disease. Now, with the virus racing through the country, cancer doctors and patients are taking sometimes drastic steps to try to deal with the crisis,” Laurie McGinley reports. “Nationwide, oncologists are delaying some surgeries and paring back treatments to reduce patients’ hospital time and risk of infection. Cancer-fighting pills taken at home are being substituted for IV therapies administered at hospitals and clinics. With blood donations falling sharply, doctors are switching to regimens that require fewer transfusions. In many places, clinical trials, the last hope of many desperately ill patients, are being closed to new patients.”
A man who planned to bomb a hospital died as the FBI tried to arrest him.
“A man who plotted to bomb a Missouri hospital during the coronavirus crisis was killed during a shooting this week after he went to pick up what he thought was a vehicle rigged with explosives, not knowing he was doing so as the FBI looked on,” Matt Zapotosky reports. “The FBI said Timothy Wilson, 36, was the ‘subject of a months-long domestic terrorism investigation, which revealed him to be a potentially violent extremist, motived by racial, religious, and anti-government animus.’ Authorities said in the release that Wilson had planned to commit a bombing and — because of the pandemic — ‘decided to accelerate his plan’ to use a vehicle bomb to attack a hospital.”
- Wilson considered targeting a school with a large population of black students, a mosque, and synagogue before ultimately settling on the hospital, the Times reports.
- “The news comes at a time when counterterrorism experts have warned neo-Nazi extremists adhering to ‘accelerationism’—a hyper violent doctrine among the far-right seeking to hasten the collapse of society through terrorist acts—have discussed using the global coronavirus pandemic to spur the disintegration of vulnerable governments dealing with the crisis,” Vice News reports
The Senate advanced the $2 trillion stimulus bill.
“Lawmakers acted with unusual speed … to produce the largest economic rescue package in U.S. history. The sprawling legislation, which passed 96 to 0, would send checks to more than 150 million American households, set up enormous loan programs for businesses large and small, pump billions of dollars into unemployment insurance programs, greatly boost spending on hospitals, and much more,” Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane report. “The Senate vote sends the bill to the House, where Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) announced a vote to approve it Friday morning. Trump said he intends to sign it immediately. … In a fresh reminder of the dangers reaching into the Capitol itself, a spokesman for Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, announced just minutes before the vote that Thune was returning to South Dakota to self-quarantine because he was feeling unwell. Thune was one of four senators absent for Wednesday night’s vote, and the other three absences were also due to the coronavirus — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has tested positive, and GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah, who self-quarantined … House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had initially favored passing the bill by ‘unanimous consent,’ which would require agreement from all members of the chamber. But one prominent liberal — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — had already suggested she could oppose it.” (Today is Pelosi’s 80th birthday, Karen Tumulty notes in a deep dive on the speaker.)
This bill won’t prevent a recession.
The Labor Department said this morning that 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. “Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April,” Heather Long and Alyssa Fowers report. “Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once. Despite the ominous news about laid off workers, the stock market rose Thursday with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining 400 points, or about 2 percent. Wall Street investors cheered the Senate’s massive government aid package.”
“Economists say Congress’s response was too slow, too stingy and too focused on big Wall Street firms during the Great Recession, and that prevented a faster turnaround. Many analysts say Congress deserves some credit for doing better this time,” Heather adds. “But economists say two key problems remain: Fixing the health crisis and getting money to people in time. Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG, predicts it will take at least six to 10 weeks for the government to get a significant amount of the money disbursed. That’s a long time for laid-off workers and small-business owners with no money coming in to wait. It makes it less likely they will bounce back quickly.”
What’s in the bill?
“It contains a number of measures aimed directly at helping workers … and others to shore up the government safety net, with provisions such as more food stamp spending and more robust unemployment insurance benefits. It also includes numerous provisions to help businesses weather the impending crunch, providing them with zero-interest loans, tax breaks and other subsidies,” Jeff Stein reports. “The bill also includes some measures aimed at the public health crisis, providing at least $100 billion for American hospitals to help them survive what is expected to be an overwhelming influx of patients.” The final version also includes:
- $1,200 checks per adult and $500 per child for tens of millions of families. The benefit would be smaller for taxpayers earning over $75,000 annually. Over 80 percent of American adults will receive a payment. (We made a calculator so you can see how much, if anything, you’ll get.)
- An increase in unemployment insurance benefits for four months.
- $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans for passenger airlines; $17 billion for companies deemed critical to national security and $425 billion for other businesses, cities and states.
- Close to $400 billion in loans for small businesses.
- Provisions that stand to benefit specific industries and interest groups, including restaurants, community banks and for-profit colleges. (NYT)
- $175 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments.
- $114 billion to prop up transportation networks across the nation that have been battered as passengers stay home.
Taxpayers are bailing out executives who have dodged taxes and regulations.
The biggest airlines, hotel conglomerates, cruise lines and coal-mining companies are lining up to take government handouts. “Writing checks to some of the companies in need of help may require some Americans to swallow hard and look away,” Jonathan O’Connell reports. “Airlines and hotel chains have in recent years dramatically increased spending on stock buybacks (which can pump up a share price without building anything or hiring anyone) … The hotel giant Hilton, for instance, announced a $2 billion stock buyback on March 3, weeks after coronavirus cases began affecting the industry. Cruise lines for years have avoided taxes and U.S. safety regulations by registering their vessels abroad [like Liberia and Panama]. Coal companies put some of their workers in harms way and are now asking to get out of a tax that generates money to compensate former miners who have black lung disease. … Even Boeing, the aerospace manufacturer that is accused of misleading pilots and federal safety inspectors about lapses that led to two of its 737 Max jets to crash (killing 346 people), is poised to receive a portion of a $17 billion loan program designated for businesses deemed ‘critical to maintaining national security.’”
Quote of the day
"I think the corporate bailout was too much too soon, and maybe we didn’t need it ever,” said Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard and a 2016 Republican presidential candidate. (MSNBC)
The bill prevents Trump and his family from benefiting from loan programs.
“The provision, which was touted by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an early-morning letter to colleagues, would also apply to Vice President Pence, members of Congress and heads of federal departments, as well as their children, spouses and in-laws,” John Wagner and David Fahrenthold report.
Politicians jockeying for coronavirus tests are finding that proximity to Trump is the fastest route.
“Late last month, Mick Mulvaney, who was still the acting White House chief of staff at the time, told a crowd of conservative activists that the media was exaggerating the threat posed by covid-19 … But unbeknownst to attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mulvaney had already received a coronavirus test, at the recommendation of the White House physician,” Juliet Eilperin, Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim report. “The easy access … high-ranking politicians have gotten to coronavirus tests highlights the extent to which members of America’s elite continue to have greater access to medical care during the pandemic, even as federal officials emphasize that testing should be reserved for health care providers and people who are seriously ill.”
More on the federal response:
- The Government Accountability Office said in 2015 that the government should develop a plan to protect the aviation system against an outbreak. It never happened. (Ian Duncan and Lori Aratani)
- Trump’s team has largely ignored the National Security Council’s own playbook on how to respond to pandemics. The 69-page document, which was finished in 2016, provides a step-by-step list of priorities. (Politico)
- Live from his basement, Joe Biden wants you to remember that an election is still going on. Democrats urged Biden’s campaign to try to wrestle a place onstage to better compete with Trump. Abruptly, Biden has begun doing so. (Matt Viser and Annie Linskey).
Coming soon, here’s what you need to know
Gov Inslee frustrated by T’s response…asking for a ‘Tom Brady’ like character to get this country in the right track.
After Trump told governors that his administration was ready to be the “backup” for states in crisis, Inslee spoke up and said to the president, “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady,” a reference to the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who has been friendly with the president, said the people familiar with the exchange with the president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private conference call.
After Trump told governors that his administration was ready to be the “backup” for states in crisis, Inslee spoke up and said to the president, “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady,” a reference to the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who has been friendly with the president, said the people familiar with the exchange with the president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private conference call.
And of course T tangles it
Looks like Pelosi wants the vote to happen soon.