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Donald J. Trump Has Failed In His Response To Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Page 5

The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures.
By David Frum

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up. Trump now fancies himself a “wartime president.” How is his war going? By the end of March, the coronavirus had killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. By the first weekend in April, the virus had killed more Americans than any single battle of the Civil War. By Easter, it may have killed more Americans than the Korean War. On the present trajectory, it will kill, by late April, more Americans than Vietnam. Having earlier promised that casualties could be held near zero, Trump now claims he will have done a “very good job” if the toll is held below 200,000 dead. The United States is on trajectory to suffer more sickness, more dying, and more economic harm from this virus than any other comparably developed country. That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault.

By John Haltiwanger

"I don't take responsibility at all." That was President Donald Trump on March 13, declining to take responsibility for a nationwide shortage in testing kits for the novel coronavirus that put the US way behind other nations in responding to the virus. Those six words encapsulate how Trump has largely approached the coronavirus pandemic: He has shirked any semblance of responsibility, lashed out at those who've sought to hold him accountable, attempted to rewrite the history of his bungled response, and scapegoated or blamed others for the myriad failures of his administration and the federal government. The president has often taken such an approach to crises.

On February 24, President Trump tweeted, ‘The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.’ It wasn’t.
By Michael A. Cohen Globe Columnist

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.” With these words, on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump sounded a new and welcomed tone on the coronavirus. But make no mistake, hard days lie ahead because of the president’s botched, selfish, and incompetent response to the coronavirus crisis. A change in tone can’t change that catastrophic reality. Trump’s calls for vigilance are a bit like declaring it’s time to close the barn doors after the horses have escaped — and the barn is on fire and it’s threatening to burn the entire farm down. Tens of thousands of Americans (and possibly more) are likely to die because of the president. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Trump’s public statements and actions have followed a similar trajectory: They have been dishonest, misleading, fantastical, and dangerous. It would blow over soon, he said early on. It would go away when the weather got warmer. “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he tweeted. It wasn’t.

By Rem Rieder

During a visit to Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence made several false claims about President Donald Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In remarks to employees of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa, June 16, Pence said Trump “shut down all travel from China.” The president did impose travel restrictions on China but did not shut down all travel. Pence also said that Trump took the action before there had been a single case of the disease in this country. That also is not accurate. And finally, Pence said that Trump’s action gave the United States time to set up its response to the pandemic. But some disease experts say the Trump administration did not use that time effectively. There have been more than 2.1 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in the United States and more than 116,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late last year. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the China travel restrictions on Jan. 31. The restrictions, which went into effect Feb. 2, prohibited non-U.S. citizens who had traveled to China within the previous two weeks from entering the U.S. But the new rules didn’t apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members.

By Louis Jacobson June 16, 2020

VP Mike Pence says Oklahoma flattened the COVID-19 curve. That’s False.

If Your Time is short
• Oklahoma’s daily caseload has risen consistently in June, and to levels higher than at any point in the pandemic. See the sources for this fact-check

President Donald Trump is receiving criticism for his decision to restart in-person, indoor rallies with an event in Tulsa on June 20. During a White House roundtable on June 15, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s decision by praising Oklahoma’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. At a discussion of issues affecting older Americans, Pence said, "The president and I have both spoken to (Oklahoma) Gov. Kevin Stitt in the last several days and even earlier today. And Oklahoma has really been in the forefront of our efforts to slow the spread. And in a very real sense, they've flattened the curve. And today, their hospital capacity is abundant. The number of cases in Oklahoma — it's declined precipitously, and we feel very confident going forward with the rally this coming weekend." However, Pence’s remarks represent an unduly optimistic reading of Oklahoma’s actual coronavirus data. (The Trump campaign and the White House did not respond to inquiries.)

By Jacqueline Howard and Arman Azad, CNN

(CNN) The Food and Drug Administration has revoked its emergency use authorization for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19. Hydroxychloroquine was frequently touted by President Donald Trump, and he has claimed to have used it himself. After reviewing the current research available on the drugs, the FDA determined that the drugs do not meet "the statutory criteria" for emergency use authorization as they are unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19 based on the latest scientific evidence, the agency noted on its website on Monday. "FDA has concluded that, based on this new information and other information discussed in the attached memorandum, it is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of HCQ and CQ may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks," FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton wrote in a letter to Gary Disbrow of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on Monday. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been tied to serious cardiac events as well as other side effects among Covid-19 patients. "Accordingly, FDA revokes the EUA for emergency use of HCQ and CQ to treat COVID-19," Hinton wrote in the letter, using abbreviations for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. "As of the date of this letter, the oral formulations of HCQ and CQ are no longer authorized by FDA to treat COVID-19."

The first-of-its-kind trial adds badly needed evidence to the politicized debate over whether hydroxychloroquine treats or prevents COVID-19.
By Jeremy Olson Star Tribune

An anti-malaria drug that has been trumpeted as a therapy for COVID-19 was unable in a University of Minnesota clinical trial to prevent the onset of the infectious disease. The results of the nation’s first randomized trial with the drug, hydroxychloroquine, against COVID-19 will disappoint doctors who had hoped for new therapies amid the pandemic. Many prescribers had given it off-label to COVID-19 patients — in the absence of other options — and President Donald Trump had been an early champion of the drug and said in mid-May that he was taking it for the preventive benefit, a benefit that the U study could not verify. “While we are disappointed that this did not prevent COVID-19, we are pleased that we were able to provide a conclusive answer,” said Dr. David Boulware, leader of the U trial. “Our objective was to find an answer.” Results published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine showed little difference in the onset of COVID-19 in 414 people who took hydroxychloroquine and a comparison group of 407 that took only folic acid vitamins. All participants had at least moderate risk for COVID-19 after being exposed to others in their homes or workplaces who had the illness. There was a small difference, as 11.8% of people taking the drug developed COVID-19, compared with 14.3% of those taking vitamins, the study showed. However, that difference was considered statistically insignificant. Even if valid, the small difference means that 42 people would have to take the drug prophylactically to prevent one COVID-19 case. That would be costly and expose people to drug side effects. The study showed that 40% experienced mild side effects such as nausea, but it allayed fears that widespread use of the drug could result in cardiac and other complications.

By Kathryn Watson

President Trump announced Friday that he's "terminating" the United States' relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China has total control over it. As he listed a litany of grievances with China, the president announced he's suspending the entry of certain Chinese nationals and sanctioning Chinese officials who have eroded Hong Kong's freedom. The president for weeks has expressed frustration with China, blaming the communist country and in part the W.H.O. for the spread of the deadly virus that has left more than 100,000 dead in the U.S. "Our actions will be strong, our actions will be meaningful," Mr. Trump said. But he hasn't always been so harsh on China. In the early days of the pandemic, the president applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the pandemic. "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus," the president tweeted on January 24. "The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" But as time went by and the virus' devastation swept the country, his tune changed. In what was billed by the White House as a news conference, the president took no questions Friday, despite the long list of national news stories.

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

(CNN) Donald Trump repeatedly attacked then-President Barack Obama for golfing during times of tragedy and disaster from 2011 to 2016, a CNN KFILE review of his comments finds. In media appearances, posts on social media, and speeches as a commentator and later as candidate for president, Trump said Obama's golfing made it appear he was tired of being president, adding that Obama should have given up golf when his White House term started. "He may play more golf than any human being in America, and I'm not sure that's good for the President," Trump said in one January 2015 comment. The President is now facing his own criticism for golfing twice during Memorial Day weekend as the coronavirus death toll in the United States approaches 100,000 -- an action he defended as "exercise" accompanied by attacks on Obama's golfing habits. Trump previously drew criticism for golfing during Hurricane Dorian in September of 2017 and later that month attended a golf tournament and his own New Jersey club after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico. Trump said the media never covered, "all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint?" "Barack was always playing golf," he added in a tweet. Since taking office, Trump has golfed and traveled more than Obama, a CNN fact check on Monday reported -- with the President spending one out of every 4.92 days so far at a golf property. Speaking on Fox News in March 2011, Trump criticized Obama for golfing when Japan was hit by the earthquake and tsunami that damaged several nuclear facilities. "For him to be playing golf, simultaneously with that happening -- you're talking about the day of and the day after -- to be playing golf I think is very inappropriate," Trump said at the time. "The image of him on a golf course, while Japan is in that kind of trouble," he added. "This is catastrophic trouble, I think is totally inappropriate." In a tweet on November 18, 2013, a day after several tornado outbreaks struck the Midwest, Trump tweeted, "President Obama played golf yesterday???" Trump's trip this past weekend to the golf course was his first since March 8, when there were 550 cases of the coronavirus in the US.

2014 criticisms
Trump was a frequent critic of Obama golfing in 2014, attacking him for golfing after the beheading of journalist James Foley and when there were two confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States. "This was a bad time to be playing golf," he added. Speaking on Fox News' "On The Record" in October 2014, Trump said Obama's golfing after the beheading made it appear he was tired of being president. "You wouldn't think that that's something that's not a PR person has to say it's not a good time for you to be playing golf," he said. "That's really bad. That was just bad. And it just looks to me like he's tired of the position." In September 2014, Trump mixed mockery with his criticism, offering Obama a lifetime of free golf if he resigned from office in a viral tweet. "If Obama resigns from office NOW, thereby doing a great service to the country—I will give him free lifetime golf at any one of my courses!," Trump tweeted. "It was a terrible image," Trump said of Obama golfing after a news conference of Foley's beheading.

By Christopher Rowland

The drug that buoyed expectations for a coronavirus treatment and drew international attention for Gilead Sciences, remdesivir, started as a reject, an also-ran in the search for antiviral drugs. Its path to relevance didn’t begin until Robert Jordan plucked it from mothballs. A Gilead scientist at the time, Jordan convinced the company seven years ago to let him assemble a library of 1,000 castoff molecules in a search for medicines to treat emerging viruses. Many viral illnesses threaten human health but don’t attract commercial interest because they lack potential for huge drug sales. “I kept asking them, ‘Is this okay?’ ” said Jordan, who is now a vice president at a pharmaceutical start-up. “These don’t represent a commercial opportunity but a public health opportunity. Gilead gave me their blessing to do this on the side.” To make progress, Gilead needed help from U.S. taxpayers. Lots of help. Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support. Now that big government role has set up a political showdown over pricing and access. Despite the heavy subsidies, federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug, potentially a blockbuster therapy worth billions of dollars. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price in coming weeks. Critics are urging the Trump administration to take a more aggressive approach. “Without direct public investment and tax subsidies, this drug would apparently have remained in the scrapheap of unsuccessful drugs,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said earlier this month. Doggett and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) have asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for a detailed financial accounting of federal support for remdesivir’s discovery and development.

By Daniel Dale and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

Washington (CNN) Criticized for golfing twice on a Memorial Day weekend during which the US coronavirus death toll approached 100,000, President Donald Trump responded Sunday and Monday by drawing attention, again, to former President Barack Obama's golfing. Trump denounced the media, which he called "sick with hatred and dishonesty," for supposedly failing to mention that Saturday was his first time golfing in three months. (CNN, among other outlets, did note that it was his first golf outing since March 8.) Trump also accused the media of failing to talk about "all of the time Obama spent on the golf course, often flying to Hawaii in a big, fully loaded 747, to play. What did that do to the so-called Carbon Footprint?" "Barack was always playing golf," he said in one of his five golf-related tweets. Facts First: Trump has spent much more time playing golf than Obama did through this point of the term -- after repeatedly attacking Obama's golfing and claiming he would not play if he got elected himself. Just Trump's airplane trips to his Mar-a-Lago Club and residence in Florida, from which he has often taken a motorcade ride to a nearby golf course he owns, have required far more air travel than Obama's once-a-year Hawaii vacations did through this point in the term.

Obama vs. Trump: Golf by the numbers
Obama played 98 rounds of golf through this point in his presidency, according to data provided to CNN by Mark Knoller, a veteran CBS News White House correspondent who is known for tracking presidential activities. By contrast, Knoller said, Trump has spent all or part of 248 days at a golf course. CNN's own count has Trump at 266 days spending some time at a Trump golf course. Since Trump and his aides often refuse to confirm that he actually played golf during a visit to a golf club, even when he has been spotted in golf attire, it is not possible to definitively say how many times Trump has golfed as President. And some of Trump's rounds, like when he plays with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, mix leisure with official business. Regardless, it is clear that Trump has spent more time golfing than Obama. And Trump's own golf-related "carbon footprint" has been bigger than Obama's even if you count only air travel. Through this point in his first presidential term, Obama had made three vacation trips to his birth state of Hawaii for a total of 29,978 miles in the air, Knoller tweeted, while Trump has made 30 trips to Palm Beach, Florida, the home of Mar-a-Lago, for a total of 51,540 miles. Obama played 333 rounds during his eight years as president, according to Knoller. In other words, Obama played golf once every 8.77 days as president. Trump, conversely, has been at a golf club once every 4.92 days so far.

By Yelena Dzhanova

The World Health Organization on Monday temporarily suspended its trial of hydroxycholoroquine, the drug backed by President Donald Trump to combat the deadly coronavirus, over safety concerns. “The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press briefing. “The other arms of the trial are continuing,” Tedros said. “This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine in Covid-19. I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.” Hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential game changer in fighting the coronavirus, is an anti-malarial drug that’s also used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Numerous clinical trials are looking to see if it’s effective in fighting the coronavirus, but it is not a proven treatment. But despite the lack of scientific evidence presenting hydroxychloroquine as a viable coronavirus treatment option, Trump told reporters earlier this month that he has been taking the drug to avoid contracting the disease.

By Christina Zhao

A Philadelphia pastor has warned his congregation that President Donald Trump's order for churches to be allowed to reopen immediately is "political pandering," and that science still suggests it's not safe to gather in large crowds. Trump on Friday pushed for the reopening of churches across America that have been closed amid the pandemic to stop people gathering and worsening the coronavirus outbreak. "Allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend. If they don't do it, I will override the governors," the president said at the White House. "In America we need more prayer, not less." Senior pastor Alyn Waller, of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, home to one of the city's largest African American congregations, told his 31,000 Facebook followers in a video on Saturday that Trump's move is "political pandering to the right, extreme right-wing, to make a point for their votes." Waller maintained that while the church is "essential," it is more than just a Sunday morning in-person service. "If your church was closed because you could not worship in a sanctuary, then you weren't being the church," he said. The pastor also informed his congregation that he will continue to hold services through Zoom and Facebook Live until health authorities deem it safe to gather in large groups. "The truth of the matter is the science still suggests that it is not safe to gather in large crowds," Waller said.

By Robert Kuznia, Curt Devine and Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) In the early weeks of the US coronavirus outbreak, staff members in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tracked a growing number of transmissions in Europe and elsewhere, and proposed a global advisory that would alert flyers to the dangers of air travel. But about a week passed before the alert was issued publicly -- crucial time lost when about 66,000 European travelers were streaming into American airports every day. A whistleblower holding an envelope. The delay, detailed in documents obtained by CNN, is the latest example to emerge of a growing sense of disconnect between the CDC and the White House. In interviews with CNN, CDC officials say their agency's efforts to mount a coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been hamstrung by a White House whose decisions are driven by politics rather than science. The result has worsened the effects of the crisis, sources inside the CDC say, relegating the 73-year-old agency that has traditionally led the nation's response to infectious disease to a supporting role.

An analysis of 96,000 patients shows those treated with hydroxychloroquine were also more likely to suffer irregular heart rhythms
By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Laurie McGinley

A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients on six continents found that those who received an antimalarial drug promoted by President Trump as a “game changer” in the fight against the virus had a significantly higher risk of death compared with those who did not. People treated with hydroxychloroquine, or the closely related drug chloroquine, were also more likely to develop a type of irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that can lead to sudden cardiac death, it concluded. The study, published Friday in the medical journal the Lancet, is the largest analysis to date of the risks and benefits of treating covid-19 patients with antimalarial drugs. It is based on a retrospective analysis of medical records, not a controlled study in which patients are divided randomly into treatment groups — a method considered the gold standard of medicine. But the sheer size of the study was convincing to some scientists. “It’s one thing not to have benefit, but this shows distinct harm,” said Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “If there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it.” David Maron, director of preventive cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said that “these findings provide absolutely no reason for optimism that these drugs might be useful in the prevention or treatment of covid-19.” Past studies also found scant or no evidence of hydroxychloroquine’s benefit in treating sick patients, while reports mounted of dangerous heart problems associated with its use. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration last month warned against the use of the drug outside hospital settings or clinical trials.

A woman who took the politicized anti-malarial drug for 19 years to treat lupus still contracted COVID-19
By Matthew Rozsa

A woman in Wisconsin who has taken hydroxychloroquine for 19 years to treat her lupus has a message for the rest of America: I got COVID-19, despite taking the medicine, so you shouldn't assume it will keep you safe. The lupus patient, who only identified herself as Kim, told the local ABC affiliate WISN on Wednesday that she has taken the anti-malarial drug for nearly two decades to help manage the pain caused by her lupus. Between that, and the fact that she only left her home to visit the grocery store once the pandemic started, Kim believed she was safe from a possible coronavirus infection. That changed in mid-April when she began to experience COVID-19 symptoms including fever, coughing and weakness. After her oxygen saturation levels tested at 78 SpO2 (95 or higher is normal), she was sent to an emergency room where she tested positive for COVID-19. "When they gave the diagnosis, I felt like it was a death sentence. I was like, 'I'm going to die,'" Kim told WISN. "I'm like, 'How can I be sick? How? I'm on the hydroxychloroquine.' They were like, 'Well, nobody ever said that was the cure or that was going to keep you safe' and it definitely did not." President Donald Trump has spent months touting hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure for COVID-19, despite the dearth of reliable scientific evidence supporting his assertion. On Monday he told reporters that he had been taking the drug, gloating, "I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this."

By Lenny Bernstein

Researchers who examined the lungs of patients killed by covid-19 found evidence that it attacks the lining of blood vessels there, a critical difference from the lungs of people who died of the flu, according to a report published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Critical parts of the lungs of patients infected by the novel coronavirus also suffered many microscopic blood clots and appeared to respond to the attack by growing tiny new blood vessels, the researchers reported. The observations in a small number of autopsied lungs buttress reports from physicians treating covid-19 patients. Doctors have described widespread damage to blood vessels and the presence of blood clots that would not be expected in a respiratory disease. What’s different about covid-19 is the lungs don’t get stiff or injured or destroyed before there’s hypoxia,” the medical term for oxygen deprivation, said Steven J. Mentzer, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and part of the team that wrote the report. “For whatever reason, there is a vascular phase” in addition to damage more commonly associated with viral diseases such as the flu, he said. The research team compared seven lungs of patients who died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with lung tissue from seven patients who died of pneumonia caused by the flu. They also examined 10 lungs donated for transplant but not used. The lungs, acquired in Europe, were matched by age and gender.

Social distancing a week earlier could have saved 36,000 American lives, study says
By Teo Armus

On March 8, it was mostly business as usual in the United States. As the Lakers faced the Clippers in a much-anticipated Los Angeles basketball matchup, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rallied before a packed crowd in Michigan. In Miami, thousands squeezed onto the beach for a massive dance party. With 500 coronavirus infections reported nationwide at the time, the outbreak seemed like a distant threat to many Americans. But by the following Sunday, the nation had entered a different universe: 2,000 confirmed cases, dozens of deaths, and shutdown orders in Illinois, Ohio and New York City, among other parts of the country. What if those sweeping measures imposed by March 15 — a federal warning against large gatherings, health screenings at airports, states of emergency declared by governors and mayors — had been announced a week earlier? New research from Columbia University epidemiologists offered one possible answer on Wednesday. If the same kind of social distancing had been in place seven days earlier, their study found, the United States could have prevented 36,000 deaths through early May — about 40 percent of fatalities reported to date. “If you don’t take steps to fight the growth rate aggressively, you get much worse consequences,” Jeffrey Shaman, an environmental health sciences professor who led the study, told The Washington Post. His team’s analysis used infectious-disease modeling to examine the spread of the virus from March 15, when many people nationwide began staying home, until May 3. The researchers examined transmissions within each county, movement between counties and deaths to chart how the virus spread — and killed — over seven weeks.

By Joe Sommerlad, Danielle Zoellner

Nancy Pelosi has doubled down on her attacks against Donald Trump by saying he and his aides have "doggy doo" on their shoes when speaking to CNN. A battle heightened between the speaker of the house and the president after she called Mr Trump "morbidly obese". CDC offiicals have also attacked Trump and his administration, according to CNN. Officials within the public health office accused the president of "muzzling" science in favour of politics when handling the coronavirus pandemic. This comes after Mr Trump made the extraordinary claim that it is a “badge of honour” for the US to lead the world in coronavirus infections - currently 1.56m and more than 92,250 deaths - as it simply means the country is doing more testing than others.

By Nikki Carvajal and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump claimed Monday he is taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug he's long touted as a potential coronavirus cure even as medical experts and the US Food and Drug Administration question its efficacy and warn of potentially harmful side effects. Speaking at a meeting of restaurant executives, Trump said he began taking the antimalarial drug after consulting the White House doctor, though stopped short of saying his physician had actually recommended the drug. "A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it," Trump said. He later said he'd been taking it every day for a week and a half. The admission was a dramatic development in Trump's attempts to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus, which began earlier in the outbreak and has been met with resistance from medical professionals. Because the drug is prescribed to treat malaria and other conditions, Trump has cast it as safe and suggested coronavirus patients have little to lose by trying it. But at least one study has shown the drug does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It follows a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn't fight the virus. Even before these reports were published, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drug for coronavirus patients. Trump said he hadn't been exposed, and that he started taking the drug because he had heard from frontline responders who sent him letters saying they were taking it preventatively. "Here's my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it," Trump said. Asked if the White House doctor recommended he begin taking hydroxychloroquine, Trump demurred. "I asked him what do you think, he said, 'Well if you'd like it,' " the President told reporters. While Trump admitted he doesn't know if the drug works, he claimed "if it doesn't, you're not going to get sick and die."

The president seems more interested in blaming his predecessor than tackling the coronavirus – so what’s driving Trump’s fixation?
by David Smith in Washington

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump once sat together in the Oval Office. “I was immediately struck by Trump’s body language,” wrote journalist Jon Karl in his memoir Front Row at The Trump Show. “I was seeing a side of him I had never seen. He seemed, believe it or not, humbled.” It was November 2016 and, just for once, Trump was not in charge of the room, Karl recalls. Obama was still president, directing the action and setting the tone. His successor “seemed a little dazed” and “a little freaked out”. What the two men discussed in their meeting that day, only they know. But what became clear in the next three and a half years is that Obama remains something of an obsession for Trump; the subject of a political and personal inferiority complex. Observers point to a mix of anti-intellectualism, racism, vengeance and primitive envy over everything from Obama’s Nobel peace prize to the scale of his inauguration crowd and social media following. Ben Rhodes, a former Obama national security aide, tweeted this week: “Trump’s fact-free fixation on Obama dating back to birtherism is so absurd and stupid that it would be comic if it wasn’t so tragic.” “Birtherism” was a conspiracy theory that Trump started pushing in 2011 (“He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one but there is something on that birth certificate – maybe religion, maybe it says he’s a Muslim, I don’t know.”) . Nine years later, he has come full circle with “Obamagate”, which accuses his predecessor of working in league with the “deep state” to frame Trump for colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election. There is zero evidence for this claim. Indeed, a case could be made that the supposed “deep state” did more to help Trump than hurt him when the FBI reopened an investigation into his opponent, Hillary Clinton, just before election day. When questioned by reporters, Trump himself has struggled to articulate what “Obamagate” means. Ned Price, a former CIA analyst, dubbed it “a hashtag in search of a scandal”. But his allies in the Republican party and conservative media are stepping up to build a parallel universe where this is the big story and Obama is at the center of it. Sean Hannity, a host on Fox News, demanded: “What did Barack Obama know and when did he know it?” Over the past week, the channel’s primetime shows have devoted more coverage to the bogus crimes of “Barack Hussein Obama” than to the coronavirus pandemic – and Trump’s mishandling of it. Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill, said: “Donald Trump always need a foil. This riles up his base because they cling to anything that diverges responsibility for anything from Donald Trump over to someone else. And in this case Barack Obama is the boogeyman of the month.” Beyond political expediency, there is a more profound antipathy at work. From the Iran nuclear deal to the Trans Pacific Partnership, from environmental regulations to the Affordable Care Act, Trump has always seemed to be on a mission to erase his predecessor’s legacy. With few deep convictions of his own, Obama became a negative reference point for Trump. Between 22 November 2010 and 14 May 2020, he tweeted about Obama 2,933 times, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.

Trump says “if we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” Nope.
By Aaron Rupar

Nearly four months since the first coronavirus case in the US was reported, President Donald Trump continues to struggle to come to grips with how testing for the virus works and why it’s important. During remarks on Thursday at the Owens & Minor distribution center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Trump tried to downplay the severity of the US’s coronavirus outbreak by arguing the country wouldn’t be leading the world in cases if it weren’t for the fact that so much testing is being done here — as if coronavirus cases simply wouldn’t exist if we didn’t test to find them. “Don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing,” Trump said. “When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases. They [the media] don’t want to write that.” It stands to reason that conducting more tests correlates with finding more cases — but that’s a good thing. More testing helps public health experts and policymakers understand the full scope of the problem, isolate those who have tested positive, and then trace their contacts to help contain potential outbreaks. But for Trump, the downside is it undercuts his argument that it’s already safe for states to lift stay-at-home orders that are hurting the economy and therefore hurting his reelection hopes. - Trump makes rocks look smart.

The new guidelines provide brief checklists meant to help key businesses and others operating in public reopen safely.

The CDC on Thursday released previously withheld guidance documents on reopening schools, restaurants and other institutions locked down during the pandemic, one week after the White House ordered the agency to revise an earlier draft it deemed "too prescriptive." The new CDC guidelines, which appear to be watered down from previously leaked versions, provide brief checklists meant to help key businesses and others operating in public reopen safely. In separate one-page documents, the CDC offers decision-making tools for schools, workplaces, camps, child care programs, mass transit systems, and bars and restaurants.  the White House had rejected at least two prior CDC drafts providing more detailed recommendations for reopening, according to documents published by the Associated Press in the previous week. A White House spokesperson last week said the administration requested changes because draft agency guidance didn't comport with President Donald Trump's strategy of putting states in charge of reopening decisions. The new guidance comes as dozens of governors, to varying degrees, have begun easing restrictions on businesses and social activities, and Trump urges them to move faster — even as his health officials warn against moving too quickly. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Tuesday warned that reopening the country too early could yield “really serious” consequences if states don’t have the capacity to respond to new infections. The CDC said its newly released tools are meant to give state and local areas control over their reopening strategies. In many instances, they are shorter and less specific than previously reported drafts.

A preliminary study has cast doubt on the efficacy of the Abbott device, which can provide results in minutes.
By Nick Visser

The Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday a coronavirus test touted by the White House may provide false results. The agency said the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test, which was given emergency authorization by the FDA in March, may return false negatives in some cases where patients actually have the coronavirus. The FDA said it had received 15 reports that the device didn’t reflect accurate results. “We are still evaluating the information about inaccurate results and are in direct communications with Abbott about this important issue,” Tim Stenzel, director of the FDA’s office of in vitro diagnostics, said in a statement.“This test can still be used and can correctly identify many positive cases in minutes. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a high-sensitivity authorized molecular test.” The agency noted it was sharing its concerns publicly “in the spirit of transparency,” clarifying that “no diagnostic test will be 100% accurate.” More than 1.4 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 85,000 have died. Cases have continued to climb, but President Donald Trump and other lawmakers have urged some regions to reopen in an effort to kickstart an economy devastated by the pandemic. The FDA stressed Thursday that any patient tested for COVID-19 who was given negative results but had ongoing symptoms consistent with the virus should have their results confirmed by another test.

Rick Bright warns US could face 'darkest winter in modern history' if leaders don't act quickly.

Whistle-blower Rick Bright warned on Thursday that the United States lacks a plan to produce and fairly distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. The nation could face "the darkest winter in modern history" unless leaders act decisively, he told a congressional panel. Bright alleges he was removed from a high-level scientific post after warning the administration of US President Donald Trump to prepare for the pandemic. Bright said, "We don't have [a vaccine plan] yet, and it is a significant concern." Asked if lawmakers should be worried, he responded, "absolutely". Bright, a vaccine expert who led a biodefence agency in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the country needs a plan to establish a supply chain for producing tens of millions of doses of a vaccine, and then allocating and distributing them fairly. He said experience so far with an antiviral drug that has been found to benefit COVID-19 patients has not given him much confidence about distribution. Hospital pharmacies have reported problems getting limited supplies. The White House has begun what it calls "Operation Warp Speed" to quickly produce, distribute and administer a vaccine once it becomes available. Appearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Bright said one of his lowest moments came when his repeated efforts to jump-start US production of respirator masks went nowhere. Bright recalled getting emails in late January from Mike Bowen, an executive at a medical supply company called Prestige Ameritech, indicating that our N95 mask supply was "completely decimated." "And he said, 'We're in deep s***. The world is. And we need to act,'" Bright said. "And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no response. From that moment I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our healthcare workers because we were not taking action. We were already behind the ball."

CBS This Morning

President Trump is defying top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is urging schools to reopen, even as those officials warn they are worried about a spike in infections across the country as states ease restrictions. Weijia Jiang reports.

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump hoped this would be the week he emerged into a nation recovering from pandemic. Instead the pandemic came to him. A day after breaking his White House self-isolation for a cross-country trip meant to signal the country's readiness to restart, Trump received word that one of his Oval Office valets tested positive for the virus. Two days later, Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary also tested positive, setting off another round of tests, delaying the vice president's trip to Iowa and causing more hand-wringing inside the White House about who might be infected. Ivanka Trump's personal assistant also tested positive for coronavirus, a source familiar told CNN on Friday night, although she has been teleworking for nearly two months and has not been around the President's daughter in several weeks. The arrival of coronavirus to the West Wing only served to illustrate the continued spread of the disease months into a pandemic that's taken more than 77,000 American lives and turned a once hot economy to ice. Even the nightly deep cleanings, regular testing and a lot of wishful thinking couldn't prevent the virus from arriving on Trump's doorstep. Meanwhile, Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, will self-quarantine for 14 days after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus, an FDA spokesman confirmed to CNN. And Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is following suit, self-quarantining for two weeks after he was exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, a CDC spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Saturday. As Trump agitates for states to loosen their restrictions and allow Americans back into workplaces and businesses, the sight of his aides contracting the disease did little to boost confidence the nation is ready to return to normal, even as jobless claims skyrocket to never-seen-before levels and options for reviving the economy fall short.

By Maegan Vazquez, Kaitlan Collins, John Harwood and Jim Acosta, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus. Miller is now the second White House staff member known to have tested positive for the coronavirus this week, after one of Trump's personal valets tested positive on Thursday. "She's a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive," Trump said during a meeting with Republican members of Congress at the White House. The President said that Miller has not come into contact with him but noted that she has been in contact with Pence. Miller was frequently in contact with members of the press, and the White House is now making more coronavirus testing available to journalists, a White House official told CNN's Jim Acosta. Katie Miller is married to Trump's senior adviser, Stephen Miller.

Researchers at Columbia University who tested 1,400 patients with the controversial malaria drug said it did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube.
By Marilynn Marchione

A new study finds no evidence of benefit from a malaria drug widely promoted as a treatment for coronavirus infection. Hydroxychloroquine did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube in a comparison that involved nearly 1,400 patients treated at Columbia University in New York, researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although the study is observational rather than a rigorous experiment, it gives valuable information for a decision that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients have already had to make without clear evidence about the drug’s risks and benefits, some journal editors and other doctors wrote in an editorial. “It is disappointing that several months into the pandemic, we do not yet have results” from any strict tests of the drug, they wrote. Still, the new study “suggests that this treatment is not a panacea.” President Donald Trump repeatedly urged the use of hydroxychloroquine, which is used now for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It has potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use for coronavirus infections except in formal studies.

By Kaitlan Collins and Peter Morris, CNN

(CNN) A member of the US Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump's personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN learned Thursday, raising concerns about the President's possible exposure to the virus. The valets are members of an elite military unit dedicated to the White House and often work very close to the President and first family. Trump was upset when he was informed Wednesday that the valet had tested positive, a source told CNN, and he was subsequently tested again by the White House physician. In a statement, the White House confirmed CNN's reporting that one of the President's staffers had tested positive. "We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus," deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. "The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health." A White House source said the valet, a man who has not been identified, exhibited "symptoms" Wednesday morning, and said the news that someone close to Trump had tested positive for coronavirus was "hitting the fan" in the West Wing. Trump, who is a self-described germophobe, has chastised aides before who coughed or sneezed in his presence. He has claimed to rarely get sick himself. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the senior staffers who regularly interact with them are still being tested weekly for coronavirus, two people familiar told CNN. The White House is continuing to use the rapid Abbott Labs test, which provide results in about 15 minutes. Several officials who have received the test said it's often administered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the West Wing on the White House grounds. A medical official swabs the staffer's nostrils and informs them that they'll be notified within the next several minutes if it's positive. Still, the White House has not enforced strict social distancing guidelines for staffers and few people inside the building wear masks during the day, including valets.

By Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, formally filed an extensive whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that his caution at a treatment favored by President Donald Trump led to his removal. "I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government," Bright said on a call with reporters after filing his complaint. Bright said in the complaint he raised urgent concerns about shortages of critical supplies, including masks, to his superiors in the Trump administration but was met with skepticism and surprise. While Bright said some officials shared his concerns -- including top White House trade adviser Peter Navarro -- he describes an overall lack of action at the top of the administration even as the virus was spreading outside of China. Bright had led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority since 2016 when he was reassigned last month to a narrower position at the National Institutes of Health. An attorney for Bright told reporters on Tuesday he was scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next week. Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, the chairwoman of the House's Health Subcommittee, told CNN last month she planned to call in Bright to testify before her panel as she reviews the circumstances of his removal. In his whistleblower complaint, Bright says he raised concerns about US preparedness for coronavirus starting in January but was met with "indifference which then developed into hostility" by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services. Later, he says he pushed back on HHS's leadership when they sought to make "potentially harmful drugs" available for treating Covid-19, including hydroxychloroquine, which had been repeatedly touted by Trump as a potential cure despite a lack of robust testing. "His efforts to prioritize science and safety over political expediency and to expose practices that posed a substantial risk to public health and safety, especially as it applied to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, rankled those in the Administration who wished to continue to push this false narrative," the complaint reads. READ: Rick Bright's full whistleblower complaint

But even as President Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus has been deadlier than he had previously predicted, he pressed to reopen the country.
By Peter Baker

WASHINGTON — President Trump predicted on Sunday night that the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country may reach as high as 100,000 in the United States, far worse than he had forecast just weeks ago, even as he pressed states to reopen the shuttered economy. Mr. Trump, who last month forecast that fatalities from the outbreak could be kept “substantially below the 100,000” mark and probably around 60,000, acknowledged that the virus has proved more devastating than expected. But nonetheless, he said that parks, beaches and some businesses should begin reopening now and that schools should resume classes in person by this fall. “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” the president said in a virtual “town hall” meeting at the Lincoln Memorial hosted by Fox News. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this.” But he credited himself with preventing the toll from being worse. “If we didn’t do it, the minimum we would have lost was a million two, a million four, a million five, that’s the minimum. We would have lost probably higher, it’s possible higher than 2.2” million. The death toll passed 67,000 on Sunday, more than the total American deaths in the Vietnam War and already higher than the president’s earlier prediction. More than 1,000 additional deaths have been announced every day since April 2 and while the rate appears to have peaked, it has not begun to fall in a significant, sustained way. The model embraced by the White House a month ago had assumed the death rate would begin to fall substantially by mid-April.

By Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government was slow to understand how much coronavirus was spreading from Europe, which helped drive the acceleration of outbreaks across the nation, a top health official said Friday. Limited testing and delayed travel alerts for areas outside China contributed to the jump in U.S. cases starting in late February, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We clearly didn’t recognize the full importations that were happening,” Schuchat told The Associated Press. The coronavirus was first reported late last year in China, the initial epicenter of the global pandemic. But the U.S. has since become the hardest-hit nation, with about a third of the world’s reported cases and more than a quarter of the deaths. The CDC on Friday published an article, authored by Schuchat, that looked back on the U.S. response, recapping some of the major decisions and events of the last few months. It suggests the nation’s top public health agency missed opportunities to slow the spread. Some public health experts saw it as important assessment by one of the nation’s most respected public health doctors. The CDC is responsible for the recognition, tracking and prevention of just such a disease. But the agency has had a low profile during this pandemic, with White House officials controlling communications and leading most press briefings.

By Tal Axelrod

A top health official said Friday that the U.S. was too slow in banning travel from Europe and that the delay in closing the nation’s borders to travel from the continent helped accelerate the coronavirus’s spread. “The extensive travel from Europe, once Europe was having outbreaks, really accelerated our importations and the rapid spread,” Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told The Associated Press. “I think the timing of our travel alerts should have been earlier.” President Trump has repeatedly touted his Jan. 31 decision to halt travel into the country from China, where the coronavirus originated. However, nearly 2 million travelers from Italy and other European countries entered the U.S. in February, according to a CDC article published Friday. Travel from Europe was not halted until March 11. “We clearly didn’t recognize the full importations that were happening,” said Schuchat.

By D'Angelo Gore

President Donald Trump falsely claimed that his administration was not initially able to meet the increasing demand for ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients because “we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration.” We can’t say for sure how many ventilators there were in the Strategic National Stockpile when Trump took office, but there were likely thousands. A 2017 article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated there were roughly 9,000 ventilators in the federal stockpile as of at least 2010, and ventilators in the U.S. stockpile had never been distributed in the 20 years prior to the global coronavirus outbreak in 2020, according to Richard Branson, a respiratory care specialist and professor at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who advises the federal government on ventilator supplies. Reporters also described seeing some of the government’s stash of ventilators in 2016, when they toured at least one of the secret U.S. warehouses where the breathing machines and other equipment are stored in the event of a health crisis, such as a pandemic. Trump repeatedly has made the general claim that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies was “empty” or “bare” when he took office. That’s false, as we have written before. But he specifically said there weren’t any ventilators when answering reporters’ questions during a recent White House event about his administration’s efforts to protect seniors from contracting the novel coronavirus. Seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, particularly those in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.

   Trump, April 30: We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration. The cupboards were bare, as I say often.  And not only are the cupboards full now, we have ventilators; we’re the king in the world of ventilators. We have thousands and thousands of them now being delivered.

But it’s not true that the Trump administration did not inherit any ventilators. Reporters said they saw ventilators during a tour of one of the U.S. facilities housing the stockpile’s massive inventory. “As we walk, I hear a loud hum. It’s a giant freezer packed with products that have to be kept cold,” wrote NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce in June 2016 — only months before Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. “Just outside it, there are rows upon rows of ventilators that could keep sick or injured people breathing. [Shirley] Mabry explains that they’re kept in a constant state of readiness. ‘If you look down to the side you’ll see there’s electrical outlets so they can be charged once a month,’ she says. Not only that—the ventilators get sent out for yearly maintenance.” VICE News also reported seeing the machines when its film crew visited one of the facilities for an episode of “VICE News Tonight” that aired in December 2016. “[A]lthough we couldn’t reveal where it was or what exactly it had inside. It looked like a prepper’s Ikea, with row after row of containers filled with mystery medications and equipment — including that one item everyone’s been talking about lately, ventilators,” Vice News said.

By Tom Porter

US Vice President Mike Pence's office threatened to punish a reporter who exposed that it knew Pence was supposed to wear a face mask for his visit to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday. Pence, who leads the White House's coronavirus task force, has been widely criticized for flouting official guidance and not wearing a mask during his visit to the renowned clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Karen Pence, the vice president's wife, has defended her husband, saying in a Fox News interview on Thursday that he was unaware of the clinic's rule requiring visitors to wear a mask or face covering. But in a tweet on Thursday, the Voice of America reporter Steve Herman said Pence's office knew all along about the face-mask rule. "All of us who traveled with him were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required by the @MayoClinic and to prepare accordingly," he wrote.

Trump says he's seen evidence virus started in Chinese lab, but U.S. intel disagrees. President Trump claimed Thursday he's seen evidence the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab and he threatened tariffs on Beijing over its role in the global pandemic. The president's assertion was undermined by his intelligence office and his top diplomat, who said, "We don't know precisely where it began." Scientists believe the virus jumped from animals to humans, emerging in China late last year, possibly from a market selling exotic animals for meat. But speculation has swirled about a top-secret lab, reinforced by internet rumors and right-wing radio hosts -- and increasingly taken up by Mr. Trump. Asked if he had seen anything giving him a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the source of the outbreak, the president replied, "Yes, I have." He refused to give details. However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated he hadn't seen definitive evidence. "We don't know precisely where it began," he said. "We don't know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We don't know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place. We don't know those answers." - Trump lies about his lies so you cannot believe anything he says.

An exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta revealed just how impervious to correction the president’s falsehoods can be.
By Aaron Rupar

Observers of American politics sometimes wonder why White House reporters don’t do a better job asking President Donald Trump questions that expose his obviously false claims for what they are. An exchange on Thursday showed why it isn’t so simple. During a White House press availability on Thursday, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump to explain how it makes sense to blame former President Barack Obama for testing problems pertaining to a virus that didn’t even exist until nearly thee years after he left office. “The last administration left us nothing. We started off with bad, broken tests, and obsolete tests,” Trump asserted, prompting Acosta to jump in and ask: “You say ‘broken tests’ — it’s a new virus, so how could the tests be broken?” Acosta’s question succinctly revealed the fundamental absurdity of Trump’s ongoing efforts to pin blame for coronavirus testing problems on his predecessor. Trump, however, just plowed forward with variations of the same false claim over and over again. “We had broken tests. We had tests that were obsolete. We had tests that didn’t take care of people,” Trump insisted, before pivoting to bashing Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden for their handling of the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, which killed about 12,500 Americans. (As of April 30, the coronavirus has killed more than 61,000 people in the US.) Trump never answered Acosta’s question. Watch:

Trump is attacking Obama for not developing tests for a virus that didn’t exist when he was president. Seriously.
By Aaron Rupar

Barack Obama left office in January 2017. The coronavirus didn’t arrive in the United States until three years later. Yet over the weekend, President Donald Trump repeatedly tried to pin blame on his predecessor for the testing failures and shortage of medical supplies that have marred his administration’s response to the pandemic. “I started with an obsolete, broken system from a previous administration,” Trump claimed during his daily press briefing on Saturday, later adding: “Unfortunately, some partisan voices are attempting to politicize the issue of testing, which they shouldn’t be doing, because I inherited broken junk. Just as they did with ventilators where we had virtually none, and the hospitals were empty.” Trump sounded the same theme on Sunday. Asked by ultra-sycophantic One America News Network if he sees the government’s testing failures as “a function of lax oversight from the Obama/Biden administration,” Trump indicated he does. “We inherited a lot of garbage,” Trump said. “We took, ah, they had tests that were no good, they had, all the stuff was no good. It came from somewhere, so whoever came up with it.” “Our stockpiles were empty,” he added. “We had horrible stockpiles, we had horrible ventilators, we had very few of them too ... CDC had obsolete tests, old tests, broken tests, and a mess.” This is totally nonsensical. The CDC couldn’t have bad tests left over from the Obama administration, because the coronavirus test didn’t exist until this year. And the stockpile was far from empty — its problem was that it was poorly maintained, an issue that rests on the Trump administration’s shoulders. Of course, it’s not surprising that Trump is trying to blame Obama. His political rise was fueled by pushing racist conspiracy theories about America’s first black president, and a central theme of Trump’s political life is trying to erase Obama’s legacy across a spectrum of issues. But even by Trump’s standards, the brazenness involved in this particular effort to rewrite history is jarring. So while it’s a sad commentary on our times that such an examination is even necessary, what follows is a look at why Obama is not, in fact, to blame for the coronavirus killing more people in America than in any other country.

Trump was president for three full years before the coronavirus hit
First of all, Trump was president for three full years before the first official coronavirus case was reported in the US on January 20, 2020. However, Trump failed to start replenishing the national stockpiles of ventilators, masks, and other medical supplies. (In fact, Trump actually fired the government’s pandemic response team in spring 2018.) Beyond that, it’s simply not the case that Obama left the national stockpiles empty. FactCheck.org recently detailed how news reports in 2016 described the warehouses that store the Strategic National Stockpile as “packed with stuff,” filled with “row after row of containers filled with mystery medications and equipment — including that one item everyone’s been talking about lately, ventilators.” Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there were nearly 13,000 ventilators in the national stockpile. Some of them were broken down. That total may not have been enough to meet the demands created by the coronavirus, but even when it became clear that additional supply was required, Trump was slow to act. The Associated Press, citing a review of federal purchasing contracts, recently reported that federal agencies “largely 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,” the AP added. So not only did Trump do nothing to replenish the national stockpile during his first three years in office, but he also waited nearly two months after the first US coronavirus case to begin addressing its shortfalls.

Blaming Obama for the CDC’s testing failures is totally absurd
Perhaps the federal government’s biggest coronavirus-related failure was the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) testing mishaps. Instead of using kits developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC insisted on developing its own. But its initial tests didn’t work reliably, resulting in a delay that allowed the virus to spread across the country in a mostly undetected manner in February and early March. As previously mentioned, Trump on Sunday tried to blame Obama for this. Watch: But Trump’s talking point that the CDC “had obsolete tests, old tests, broken tests” because of Obama makes absolutely no sense. A test for the novel coronavirus obviously couldn’t be developed before the virus was discovered, which first happened in China in late 2019 — nearly three years after Obama left office. Responsibility for the CDC’s decision not to use the WHO coronavirus test and its subsequent failure to develop its own in January and February rest entirely with the organization and its leadership, including CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, whom Trump appointed to the role in March 2018.

Obama literally provided Trump with a blueprint
In addition, the Trump administration failed to follow a detailed pandemic response playbook put together by Obama’s National Security Council in 2016. A recent report from Politico detailed how following that document’s guidance could’ve resulted in the Trump administration responding in a quicker and more decisive manner:

Yahoo News
By Dylan Stableford

The United States passed 60,000 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than three months earlier than had been predicted by a model the White House has frequently used. Until recently, the 60,000 mark was touted by President Trump as a measure of success. Just 10 days ago, Trump said that as many as 60,000 Americans were expected to die from the coronavirus. That was far below earlier estimates of 100,000 to 200,000 from the White House coronavirus task force, and the high range of over 2 million predicted by British researchers on the assumption that no social distancing measures would be implemented.  “Now we’re going toward 50 — I’m hearing, or 60,000 people. One is too many. I always say it,” Trump said during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “But we would have had millions of deaths instead of — it looks like we’ll be at about a 60,000 mark, which is 40,000 less than the lowest number thought of.”

Trump’s executive order requiring industrial meatpackers to keep operating is murder.
By Kate Aronoff

Invoking the Korean War–era Defense Production Act, Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday mandating that American meat production keep running at all costs—workers and grave threats to public health be damned. According to the United Food and Commercial Workers, 20 industry employees—many working shoulder to shoulder at a rapid clip, without proper protection, in what was already one of the country’s most dangerous jobs—have already died. In dramatic full-page ads in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday, Tyson Foods warned that the country’s food supply chain was breaking. A Tyson facility in Waterloo, Iowa, had to be shut down last weekend after being linked to 200 cases of Covid-19. Many workers have been walking off their meatpacking jobs in protest at pitiful conditions. As of Monday, 44 percent of the Waterloo plant’s workforce had tested positive for coronavirus; 90 percent of cases in surrounding Black Hawk County can be traced back to the plant. At least 4,400 meatpacking workers across 80 plants in 26 states had tested positive as of Wednesday. These spreads could now be replicated around the country as shuttered meatpacking facilities limp back to life, including in some parts of the United States already proving to be coronavirus hot spots. Trump’s executive order could give the plants further license to ignore guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is voluntary anyway. These facilities were already a danger to public health. The increasingly consolidated industrial meat-raising and meatpacking operations run by Tyson, Smithfield, and the other companies now begging for federal assistance have long been veritable petri dishes for zoonotic pathogens. Their business models rely on what author Mike Davis has called “vast excremental hells, containing tens of thousands of animals with weakened immune systems suffocating in heat and manure while exchanging pathogens at blinding velocity with their fellow inmates.” As it infects workers with the coronavirus, industrial animal agriculture may well be brewing the next deadly, world-stopping pandemic. Meanwhile, the factories’ rampant air and water pollution, and the health conditions they provoke, make the inordinately poor, black, and brown communities surrounding them more vulnerable to Covid-19 and other diseases. That’s not even to mention factory farming’s gargantuan contributions to global warming, which itself increases the likelihood of future zoonotic epidemics.

US agencies 'repeatedly warned' president about COVID-19 in classified memos earlier this year, Washington Post reports.

US intelligence agencies repeatedly warned President Donald Trump about the threat of the novel coronavirus outbreak in more than a dozen classified briefings earlier this year, according to the Washington Post. In a report published on Monday, the US newspaper cited current and former US officials, who revealed that Trump had been alerted in January and February, even as he continued to downplay the threat of the contagion that was first reported in China in December. The repeated warnings were included in the president's daily brief, which for weeks tracked the worldwide spread of the virus, raising the alarm about its potential consequences, the Post said. One official told the US newspaper that by mid to late January, the coronavirus was being mentioned more frequently as one of the report's core articles or as an "executive update". The first case of coronavirus in the US was reported on January 21 and entry to travellers from China was blocked on February 2. As cases rose, travel from Europe was banned on March 11 and Trump declared a national emergency two days later. Trump has faced increased scrutiny over his response to the outbreak in the US, which is nearing a million confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday. The US also has the world's highest coronavirus death toll with more than 56,000 fatalities.

By Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump received more than a dozen warnings about the coronavirus outbreak in daily briefings in January and February, but continued to downplay the virus' threat and severity, the Washington Post reported Monday. Citing current and former US officials, the paper reported that the warnings came in the President's Daily Brief, a summary of intelligence reports from the various agencies, which tracked the virus' proliferation, highlighted China's inaccurate characterization of the disease and its death toll and warned of potential widespread ramifications related to the pandemic. Officials told the Post that the President, who frequently forgoes the briefings and has become impatient with the summaries of the brief he now receives a couple of times per week, did not seem to absorb the warnings. They added that focused efforts tracking the virus were on par with prior instances of monitoring security threats, including active terrorism and international clashes. An official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which manages the briefing, told the Post that "the detail of this is not true" and declined to explain or elaborate. CNN has reached out to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for comment. Without yet responding separately to CNN's request, acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell tweeted about the story, "This isn't true." White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley in a statement to CNN asserted that Trump had taken decisive action early on in the pandemic. "President Trump shut down flights from China and Europe and was called xenophobic, he talked about defeating Coronavirus in the State of Union and (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi tore it to shreds, and he asked Congress for billions to protect hardworking Americans and small business, but the Democrats delayed the bill," Gidley said in the statement to CNN. US officials told the Post that the briefings included both overarching reports on elements of the worldwide state of the pandemic, as well as more concise accounts on the virus' status. The news builds on prior reporting that officials had prepared information and attempted to convey it to the President for months. Intelligence US spy agencies were tracking the rise of the novel coronavirus as early as November, weeks before that information was included in Trump's daily intelligence briefing, a former US military official told CNN.

By Rick Pearson - Chicago Tribune

As talk in Washington has swiftly moved to the next coronavirus relief package, President Donald Trump on Monday questioned whether federal taxpayers should provide money of “poorly run” states and cities run by Democrats, specifically citing Illinois. “Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump asked on Twitter. “I am open to discussing anything, but just asking,” the president added. Trump’s question was a reversal from late last week when, after the federal Paycheck Protection Program received a new injection of funds, he indicated support for addressing state and local government revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic as part of the next round of relief. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said despite Trump’s tweet, he was confident the administration and Congress would include funding for states in the next federal relief package. “If we don’t get any further federal aid, it will be extremely difficult not just for the state of Illinois but for many states. Not just for the ones that have Democratic governors but for Republican states as well,” Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus briefing.

President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
By Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima

U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences. But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material. The advisories being relayed by U.S. spy agencies were part of a broader collection of worrisome signals that came during a period now regarded by many public health officials and other experts as a squandered opportunity to contain the outbreak. As of Monday, more than 55,000 people in the United States had died of covid-19. The frequency with which the coronavirus was mentioned in the PDB has not been previously reported, and U.S. officials said it reflected a level of attention comparable to periods when analysts have been tracking active terrorism threats, overseas conflicts or other rapidly developing security issues.

U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic
By Shane Harris, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey and Ellen Nakashima

U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting. The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak. Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month, as officials scrambled to keep citizens in their homes and hospitals braced for a surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Intelligence agencies “have been warning on this since January,” said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information. “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”

The president inflamed an already fierce debate over whether the federal government should bail out states battling the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump on Monday signaled opposition to bailing out states whose economies have collapsed under the weight of the coronavirus — bolstering an argument from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that has been met with bipartisan animus among the nation’s governors. “Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?” Elaborating on Trump’s position in an interview on Fox News, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said, “I think that the president has said that he is not eager to go around bailing people out, but he’s willing to negotiate.” The president’s social media post inflamed an already fierce debate over further federal assistance to states expending vast financial resources to battle a highly infectious outbreak while exacerbating perilous budget gaps. Trump’s tweet also came as governors expressed new levels of outrage over McConnell’s suggestion last week that individual localities should pursue bankruptcy rather than request more aid from the U.S. government to shore up their rapidly depleting reserves. During his daily news conference Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo charged that scolding states and cities seeking federal help is antithetical to the ambition of a national rebuild that will require a wide distribution of funds across the country. “This is not the time to be talking about dollars and cents among members of the community that are trying to mutually support and help each other,” he said. But even if a sort of tally sheet “for who owes what to whom” were to be tracked, Cuomo continued, New York would be the most qualified recipient based on its flow of tax revenues to Washington. “If you want to do an analysis of who is a giver and who is a taker, we are the No. 1 giver. Nobody puts more money into the pot than the state of New York. We’re the No. 1 donor,” he said, adding that McConnell’s home state of Kentucky is one of the “taker states” that collects more federal dollars than it directs to the government through taxes. “I understand we’re one nation. You put in the pot what you need, I put in what I need. You take what you need, and that’s the way it’s always been,” Cuomo said. “But if you actually want to call for an accounting — which I think is repugnant at this time, and I don’t think it’s constructive and I don’t think it’s healthy — you’re making a mistake because you lose.” Cuomo’s criticism came after he announced over the weekend more than $10 billion in state spending cuts, including a reduction of $8.2 billion in aid to recipients such as schools, health care programs and municipalities. The governor, a Democrat, has forcefully denounced McConnell’s resistance to additional aid for days, calling the senator’s statements “really dumb” and sarcastically daring Congress to rewrite bankruptcy law to allow states to declare. States do not have the ability to declare bankruptcy under current law, and modifying the bankruptcy code would likely prove a daunting task for lawmakers. Cuomo also praised Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, for rebuking McConnell’s stance on state bankruptcies, remarking that “it is hard for a governor, especially Andy, who is a relatively new governor, to stand up to a senior official and speak truth to power.”

Now the country that planned D-Day can't handle delivering medical supplies — and it's not just about Trump
By Heather Digby Parton

Since the day after Donald J. Trump as elected in 2016, I've been fretting about the effect of his obvious unfitness and incompetence for the "world order" as we have known it. I've made clear that I don't believe there's any reason why the U.S. should be the perpetual guarantor of security for half the world, nor is it forever obligated to provide some kind of Pax Americana. That was a consequence of America's unique position after World War II, having had the good fortune to escape the destruction of our homeland, which left us in the position of the last country standing. To our credit (and for our own profit) we did handle the aftermath of that war more competently than the world handled the aftermath of World War I. But it has been clear to me from the moment Donald Trump came down that elevator that if he won, the world order as we knew it, which was already unstable, was going to be turned upside down with no coherent plan to replace it. His one simple understanding of the world was that he, and the United States, have been treated unfairly. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. America and Donald Trump had it all. Throughout the Cold War and the red-baiting and the military adventurism and the overweening self-regard that we assumed was our right as the Leader of the Free World, we managed to do a lot of things wrong and the price for that has been high. This is true even though, as Salon's Andrew O'Hehir wrote in this searing account of America's precipitous decline as revealed by the coronavirus, the American people hardly noticed: We have an ingrained national tendency to behave as if the rest of the world simply doesn't exist — or, on a slightly more sophisticated level, as if it were just a colorful backdrop for our vastly more important national dramas. O'Hehir rightly observes that empires inevitably collapse, but America's almost childlike inability to admit it even is an empire, even as it crumbles, may be unique in human history. Still, for all its myopic arrogance, the one thing America clearly did right — and was justifiably proud of — was to create a technologically advanced society that was the envy of the world. For all our faults, Americans knew how to do things. We could get the job done. Now the country that sent men to the moon and brought them home again, all the way back in the 1960s, is a fumbling mess, unable to manage the simple logistics of getting supplies from one place to another or coordinating a national set of guidelines in a public health crisis. The vaunted CDC, long thought of as the greatest scientific disease research facility in the world, fumbled in making a test that had already been produced in other countries. Donald Trump is a completely incompetent leader — we know this. Literally any other president would have done a better job. He couldn't accept that the crisis was real and that his "plan" to spend the year holding fun rallies and smearing his Democratic rival was going to be interrupted by his duties as president. So he lived in denial until the situation was completely out of hand. Other leaders would have listened to experts and pulled together a team that knew how to organize a national response. And no other president would be so witless as to waste precious time and resources with magical thinking about quick miracle cures. But it's not just him, is it? The U.S. government seems to have lost its capacity to act, and the private sector is so invested in short-term profit-making that it's lost its innovative edge. The result is that the United States of America, formerly the world's leader in science and technology, now only leads the world in gruesome statistics and body counts.

By Nicholas Wu, John Fritze - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Since the first coronavirus case was diagnosed in the United States more than three months ago, President Donald Trump has repeatedly made assertions about the illness and floated treatments that medical experts in his own administration have had to walk back. From predicting in February that the virus would "miraculously" disappear, to touting an untested anti-malaria drug at his daily press conferences, Trump has often ventured far afield of science to put a positive light on the pandemic. The latest example of that came Thursday, when Trump suggested that scientists look into whether ultraviolet light or disinfectants could play some role in treating patients with the disease. His remarks prompted a rebuke from doctors and urgent warnings from state health agencies warning against self-treatment. As the controversy mushroomed, the White House blamed the media for sensationalizing his remarks. The president later said he was being sarcastic. But the episode was only the latest in a pattern of questionable claims or off-the-cuff remarks the president has made about the virus in recent weeks.

Can light treat the coronavirus?
Noting a government study on the impact sunlight has on killing coronavirus on surfaces and in the air, Trump leaped to the idea of whether the method could be used for treating patients as well. He suggested that scientists should look into whether bringing "light inside the body" could have some effect. "Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light – and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it," Trump said to a health official Thursday. "And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too."

Trump touts power of disinfectants
Trump didn't stop at light, however. He also noted that the Department of Homeland Security was studying the effect disinfectants – on surfaces – could have on the coronavirus. The president again wondered aloud whether that impact could be translated somehow into fighting the virus in people. "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute," Trump said. "And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that." Trump's remarks drew a sharp response from state health officials, doctors and even the parent company of the nation's best-known spray disinfectant, Lysol. Several of those entities reported receiving phone calls from Americans who had questions about disinfectants and warned Americans against ingesting them. Reckitt Benckiser Group, the parent company of Lysol, posted a statement early Friday asserting that "we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body." Members of Trump's administration also weighed in. "PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/medication to yourself or a loved one," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said.

By William Cummings - USA TODAY

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday he "can't really explain" President Donald Trump's public speculation last week about studying disinfectant in the search for a COVID-19 treatment, but he advised the president to make sure his news conferences on the coronavirus are "fact-based." Hogan, a Republican and chairman of the National Governors Association, said on ABC News' "This Week" that from the beginning of the outbreak, it's been important that officials communicate "very clearly on the facts because people listen to these press conferences." "They listen when the governor holds a press conference, and they certainly pay attention when the president of the United States is standing there giving a press conference about something as serious as this worldwide pandemic," Hogan said. "And I think when misinformation comes out or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message." Thursday, Trump invited Bill Bryan, undersecretary of science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, to brief White House reporters about a study that found the coronavirus did not survive long when exposed to sunlight or disinfectants. After the presentation, Trump pondered the possibility of introducing disinfectants or ultraviolet light into the human body to kill the virus. The idea prompted alarm from health experts and drew immediate social media mockery. Disinfectant manufacturers Clorox and Lysol issued statements reminding people it was unsafe to ingest their products. Hogan said that after Trump's remarks, Maryland saw "hundreds of calls come into our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol cleaning products – whether that was going to help them fight the virus. So we had to put out that warning to make sure that people were not doing something like that, which would kill people actually to do it." Hogan advised Trump to "stick to a message and make sure that these press conferences are fact-based."

He can’t make his disinfectant remarks go away. So he’s trying to douse them with doubt.
By Peter Kafka

President Donald Trump has several huge fights on his hands: America is under attack from a brutal pandemic. Its economy is collapsing. And he is facing a difficult reelection campaign. In the absence of real plans to solve any of these, Trump is relying on a move that comes reflexively for him: Blasting out messages that are either pointless digressions or outright lies — not to persuade people, but to distract and confuse them. Take, for instance, a tweet he took the time to fire off Saturday afternoon that seemed petty even by his own Twitter standards: He wanted people to know exactly who he was talking to when he made his jaw-dropping remarks last week about injecting light and disinfectant to cure Covid-19.

Was just informed that the Fake News from the Thursday White House Press Conference had me speaking & asking questions of Dr. Deborah Birx. Wrong, I was speaking to our Laboratory expert, not Deborah, about sunlight etc. & the CoronaVirus. The Lamestream Media is corrupt & sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020

Like other things Trump says, this one has elements of truth embedded in a slurry of falsehood. We can sort through that shortly. What’s more important than the message here is the tactic he’s using. Trump isn’t really interested in correcting the record, but he does want to create doubt. And that’s because a fog of generalized distrust is one of Trump’s primary political tools, as journalism critic Jay Rosen has pointed out. “The Republican Party and the Trump campaign and the MAGA coalition are going to have to produce confusion and doubt on a scale that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” Rosen told me in a recent conversation. “The key for the Trump campaign is to create confusion, not belief. And that’s what we’re going to see in the months ahead: the massive effort to create doubt and confusion about things that are overwhelmingly clear from the public record.” Trump’s message this weekend is a perfect encapsulation of the strategy. It doesn’t exonerate him in any way. But it is supposed to chip away at the authority of the media outlets that cover him. The accumulated weight of these niggles are meant to dissuade persuadable voters from believing ... anything.

Surrounding a little bit of truth with a lot of misleading other stuff helps create distrust
Trump does have the smallest of points with respect to his Saturday tweet: At various points in his April 23 press conference, he was indeed addressing Bill Bryan, an official from the Department of Homeland Security, who had given a presentation about how sunlight might affect the coronavirus. In the viral clip where Trump muses about bringing UV light inside the body or using an “injection” of disinfectant, Trump is talking to Bryan, who is sitting next to Birx, but mostly obscured by Trump’s podium.

"The disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. It gets in the lungs" -- Trump seems to suggests that injecting disinfectant inside people could be a treatment for the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/amis9Rphsm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2020

And the viral clip of Birx reacting to Trump’s comments can make it appear as if he was talking to her:

By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent

Washington (CNN) To end Sunday's "State of the Union" on CNN, anchor Jake Tapper took a few moments to reflect on President Donald Trump's recent comments on treatment for the coronavirus. Below is a full transcript of Tapper's remarks: The President on Thursday did something so incredibly bizarre, some folks are having trouble wrapping their heads around it. After hearing from a Department of Homeland Security official about ways the biology of the novel coronavirus was being studied and the virus' susceptibility to sunlight and ultraviolet rays in the air and to disinfectants on nonporous solid surfaces, such as doorknobs, the President mused aloud about injecting ultraviolet rays and disinfectant into the human body. "And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, you can -- which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way....Then I see the disinfectant knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs," Trump said. Injection of disinfectant into the human body, it's the kind of musing that is so nonsensical children laugh about it. It's also the word of the President of the United States of America, a man so beloved and trusted in some circles. Government emergency tip lines had to issue warnings for constituents to not use disinfectants to treat the virus. Lysol had to issue a public warning to consumers that under no circumstances is internal admission of disinfectants appropriate. After the President's statement, his new press secretary who is apparently so eager to defend her boss she seems to not understand that we can all hear the words she says and read the words she issues. She claimed that the President had been taken out of context. He of course had not. His musings were there for all to see and hear. And then the President undermined his own press secretary by claiming he had been sarcastic and he was challenging reporters, which was just a bald-faced lie. In fact, while attempting to spin this, the President even said to a reporter that surely the reporter understood he was being sarcastic because the President had said it right to him. And the reporter told the President he had not been there at the time. "Some doctors felt they needed to clarify that, after you ..." the reporter said. "Well, of course, all they had to do was hear -- just you don't know the way it was asked. I was looking at you," Trump said. "No sir. I wasn't there yesterday," the reporter said.

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN)Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that his state has received "hundreds of calls" from residents asking about the effectiveness of ingesting disinfectants to treat coronavirus after President Donald Trump dangerously suggested that it could be a possible treatment for the deadly virus. "We had hundreds of calls in our hotline here in Maryland about people asking about injecting or ingesting these disinfectants, which is, you know, hard to imagine that people thought that that was serious. But what people actually were thinking about this, was this something you could do to protect yourself?" Hogan, a Republican, said in an interview on CBS. Trump suggested during a White House coronavirus briefing on Thursday that ingesting disinfectants could possibly be used to treat people who have the virus, prompting cleaning product companies and state health officials to issue warnings about the dangers of doing so. The President also suggested sunlight might be a treatment. Hogan, who has sparred with Trump at times during the crisis, said Sunday it's "always critically important ... for a leader to put out the facts and to be as open and honest and transparent as possible." "And I think it's critical that the President of the United States, when people are really scared and in the middle of this worldwide pandemic, that in these press conferences that we really get the facts out there," he said. "And unfortunately, some of the messaging has not been great." The comments from Hogan come even as some Republicans and administration officials downplayed the President's suggestion, with Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who is also a doctor, casting doubt earlier Sunday on whether people would actually inject themselves with disinfectants. "The President speaks in such a way, people are not going to inject themselves. And when I hear this kind of conversation around that, I think to myself, we should be talking about how do we use data to guide where we can reopen the economy, not about what the President said on Lysol because really no one is going to inject themselves with Lysol," Cassidy told CNN's John King on "Inside Politics." Later Sunday morning, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, sidestepped the opportunity to amplify warnings from health officials about the dangers of ingesting disinfectants.

By Jason Lemon

Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, commented on Sunday of "a wrong message" being sent following President Donald Trump's controversial remarks about disinfectants and the coronavirus last week--pointing out that his state had received "hundred of calls" from residents wondering if it was safe to ingest cleaning products. During a Thursday press conference, Trump questioned whether it would be possible to inject disinfectants into the human body to combat the novel coronavirus. Health experts and companies making cleaning products--as well as many elected officials--quickly warned the public against attempting to inject or ingest disinfectants, as such actions could lead to serious illness and possible death. The president later claimed the remark was "sarcastic" and has since shared advice via Twitter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that warned against using disinfectants in such a manner. But Hogan took issue with the remarks in an interview with ABC's This Week on Sunday. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency warned that “under no circumstance” should disinfectants be ingested.

Gov. Larry Hogan says they received “hundreds of calls” seeking guidance following Trump’s comments and it’s important to communicate “facts.” https://t.co/CuqjanBsBd pic.twitter.com/ud4WVz3Zr5
— ABC News (@ABC) April 26, 2020

"Well, look I think it's really important, this has been important to me since day one, about communicating very clearly on the facts," Hogan said. "Because people listen to these press conferences. They listen when the governor holds a press conference and they certainly pay attention when the president of the United States is standing there giving a press conference about something as serious as this worldwide pandemic."

The U.S. president's comments prompted doctors and the makers of household disinfectants to issue statements urging people not to ingest or inject cleaning products.
By Dan Evon

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested during a White House briefing that injecting disinfectants could treat COVID-19. On April 23, 2020, social media users encountered numerous comments that claimed U.S. President Donald Trump had suggested injecting disinfectants as a cure for COVID-19 during a White House press briefing. As many of these comments included jokes instead of a link to Trump’s alleged remarks, some people were left wondering what Trump actually said about disinfectants, injections, and COVID-19. The comment in question came shortly after a presentation by William N. Bryan, the acting undersecretary for science and technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, about how heat and humidity could impact the spread of COVID-19 during the summer months. Bryan mentioned a recent, non-peer-reviewed study that showed how disinfectants and sunlight could kill the coronavirus on non-porous surfaces such as counters or door handles. Bryan’s presentation focused on how light and disinfectants affected the coronavirus on surfaces. But when Trump took the podium, he started talking about what would happen if light and disinfectants were “brought inside the body” to fight the virus. Here’s the official White House transcript of Trump’s remarks (emphasis added):

Anderson Cooper 360

CNN's Jim Acosta discusses why President Trump ended the coronavirus briefing without taking questions and how a White House official tried to move a CNN reporter to the back of the room. Source: CNN

Mark Grenon wrote to Trump saying chlorine dioxide ‘can rid the body of Covid-19’ days before the president promoted disinfectant as treatment
By Ed Pilkington

The leader of the most prominent group in the US peddling potentially lethal industrial bleach as a “miracle cure” for coronavirus wrote to Donald Trump at the White House this week. In his letter, Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”. A few days after Grenon dispatched his letter, Trump went on national TV at his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Thursday and promoted the idea that disinfectant could be used as a treatment for the virus. To the astonishment of medical experts, the US president said that disinfectant “knocks it out in a minute. One minute!” He went on to say: “Is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.” Trump did not specify where the idea of using disinfectant as a possible remedy for Covid-19 came from, and the source for his notion remains obscure. But the Guardian has learned that peddlers of chlorine dioxide – industrial bleach – have been making direct approaches to the White House in recent days. Grenon styles himself as “archbishop” of Genesis II – a Florida-based outfit that claims to be a church but which in fact is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the US. He brands the chemical as MMS, “miracle mineral solution”, and claims fraudulently that it can cure 99% of all illnesses including cancer, malaria, HIV/Aids as well as autism. Since the start of the pandemic, Genesis II has been marketing MMS as a cure to coronavirus. It advises users, including children, to mix three to six drops of bleach in water and drink it. In his weekly televised radio show, posted online on Sunday, Grenon read out the letter he wrote to Trump. He said it began: “Dear Mr President, I am praying you read this letter and intervene.” Grenon said that 30 of his supporters have also written in the past few days to Trump at the White House urging him to take action to protect Genesis II in its bleach-peddling activities which they claim can cure coronavirus. On Friday, hours after Trump talked about disinfectant on live TV, Grenon went further in a post on his Facebook page. He claimed that MMS had actually been sent to the White House. He wrote: “Trump has got the MMS and all the info!!! Things are happening folks! Lord help others to see the Truth!”

The US president plans to ‘pare back’ his daily coronavirus briefings after falsely claiming his suggestion to inject cleaning products had been ‘sarcastic’
By David Smith and Kari Paul

For Donald Trump, it was the strangest and most news-making thing he could have done: instead of taking questions from journalists, dominating the nation’s airwaves yet again, the US president gave a short pre-written statement and then stalked off the stage. The abrupt end of Friday night’s daily press conference, which has become a ribald, unruly and often shocking ritual in America during the coronavirus pandemic, was probably the clearest sign yet of how badly Trump’s bizarre statements over disinfectant have shaken his administration. Instead of going on the offensive after the world reacted with shock and horror to his Thursday night suggestion that the coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into a human body, Trump claimed he was being “sarcastic” and then retreated from public view. The New York Times reported that some officials in the White House thought “it was one of the worst days in one of the worst weeks of his presidency.” But it was Trump’s silence on Friday night that spoke volumes. White House coronavirus taskforce briefings are often two-hour primetime marathons but on Friday Trump turned on his heel as reporters shouted questions in vain. Perhaps it was a fit of pique, or perhaps revenge on the reporters that he sees as persecutors. He may also have reached a tipping point with his own advisers warning that the televised briefings are hurting him far more than they help. Right on cue, minutes later, the Axios website reported that Trump plans to “pare back” his coronavirus press conferences, according to four of its sources. Next week, it said, “he may stop appearing daily and make shorter appearances when he does”. If he does that then Trump’s remarks over disinfectant will have been the straw that broke the camel’s back over the nightly ritual of the virus briefings. For weeks they have dominated the US headlines as the nation struggles to come to terms with a pandemic that has cost 50,000 American lives. They have provided a canvas for Trump’s rage, a platform from which he can attack his enemies and – only occasionally – a place where an American president can seek to reassure a scared and besieged public enduring stay-at-home orders to curb the virus. But Trump’s remarks over disinfectant changed all that. On Thursday, Trump had suggested that doctors study the idea of people receiving injections of disinfectant to combat the virus. He also extolled the potential and unproven benefits of ultraviolet light. Medical experts, politicians and even disinfectant makers denounced the suggestion and warned the public against consuming the product. Trump’s comments generated internet memes and headlines around the world. His old nemesis from 2016, Hillary Clinton, chimed in with a quick jab on Twitter. “Please don’t poison yourself because Donald Trump thinks it could be a good idea,” she said. His new nemesis for the 2020 election, former vice-president Joe Biden, also pitched in. “I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach,” he said, mixing mockery with a public service announcement. From almost the moment the words left Trump’s mouth it was clear some sort of damage limitation was needed. But, as shock and amazement traversed the globe, it was slow in coming. When it did arrive, on Friday lunchtime, it was a clean-up attempt that clearly could have gone better. At a White House event Trump tried on Friday to justify his dangerous comments, falsely claiming that he was “asking a question sarcastically to reporters”.

Video meeting seen as global endorsement of WHO and sign of Trump’s isolation on world stage
By Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

Global leaders have pledged to accelerate cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine and to share research, treatment and medicines across the globe. But the United States did not take part in the World Health Organization initiative, in a sign of Donald Trump’s increasing isolation on the global stage. The cooperation pledge, made at a virtual meeting, was designed to show that wealthy countries will not keep the results of research from developing countries. The meeting also represented a symbolic endorsement of the United Nations body in the face of Trump’s decision to suspend US payments and condemn its leaders as subordinates of the Chinese Communist party. China and the US have accused each other of bullying and disinformation over the coronavirus outbreak, damaging efforts to secure cooperation at the G20, the natural international institution to handle global health outside the UN. Instead an ad hoc grouping of 20 world leaders and global health figures were on the call, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the American philanthropist Bill Gates. Britain will co-chair a joint coronavirus global response summit on 4 May aimed at raising funds for vaccine research, treatments and tests. Macron told the meeting: “We will continue now to mobilise all G7 and G20 countries so they get behind this initiative. And I hope we will be able to reconcile around this joint initiative both China and the US, because this is about saying the fight against Covid-19 is a common human good and there should be no division in order to win this battle.” The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “We are facing a common threat that we can only defeat with a common approach. Experience has told us that even when tools are available they have not been equally available to all. We cannot allow that to happen.” More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including six already in clinical trials, according to Seth Berkley, the chief executive of the Gavi vaccine alliance, a public-private partnership that leads immunisation campaigns in poor countries. Berkley said it was critical that there was not a repeat of the experience in 2009, when the H1N1 vaccine did not reach developing countries until very late.

By Reality Check team BBC News

President Donald Trump has questioned whether injecting people with disinfectants and exposing patients' bodies to UV light could help treat the coronavirus. The Reality Check team has been looking into both of these issues.

Claim 1
"I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs." Mr Trump suggested injecting patients with disinfectants might help treat coronavirus. Using a disinfectant can kill viruses on surfaces, but this is crucially only about infected objects and surfaces - not about what happens once the virus is inside your body. Not only does consuming or injecting disinfectant risk poisoning and death, it's not even likely to be effective. Doctors have appealed to people not to ingest or inject disinfectant, as there are concerns people will think this is a good idea and die. "Injecting bleach or disinfectant at the dose required to neutralise viruses in the circulating blood would likely result in significant, irreversible harm and probably a very unpleasant death," says Rob Chilcott, professor of toxicology at the University of Hertfordshire." He adds that it would also "not have much effect on viral particles within the cells". Reckitt Benckiser, a leading manufacturer of disinfectant products including Lysol and Dettol, has issued a statement in response to the president's comments. It said: "We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)." Mr Trump has subsequently defended his comment claiming "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters."

Claim 2
"I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too... So, we'll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute - that's pretty powerful." Mr Trump has also floated the idea of exposing patients to "ultraviolet or just very powerful light". There is some evidence that, in general, viruses on surfaces die more quickly when exposed directly to sunlight. But we don't know how much or how long they have to be exposed for UV light to have an effect. And again, this is only about infected objects and surfaces - not about what happens once the virus is inside your body.

By Robert Farley and Eugene Kiely

At an April 23 press briefing, President Donald Trump mused about the possibility of using “very powerful light” and injecting disinfectant into the body to kill COVID-19 – a suggestion that, in the case of disinfectant, was roundly criticized by experts as dangerous. A day later, he said he was being “sarcastic.” There’s no clear indication in his remarks that Trump was joking, either in his initial comment or when he returned to the topic later in the briefing. But we’ll leave it for readers to judge.

The Briefing
At the briefing, William Bryan, who leads the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, addressed the media about recent DHS research on how well the coronavirus survives on nonporous surfaces in heat, humidity and sunlight. Bryan said the “virus dies the quickest in the presence of direct sunlight” and also talked about the testing of disinfectants that quickly kill the virus on surfaces. Trump then spoke about the powers of sunlight and disinfectant, turning at times to address Bryan.

   Trump, April 23: A question that probably some of you are thinking of if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting, right? And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.

Here, Bryan responded to a reporter’s question about injecting a cleaner into the body, and Trump backtracked on his previous speculation about an “injection”:

   ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, April 23: The president mentioned the idea of a cleaner, bleach and isopropyl alcohol emerging. There’s no scenario where that could be injected into a person, is there?

   Bryan: No, I’m here to talk about the finds that we had in the study. We don’t do that within that lab at our labs.

   Trump: It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.

Later in the briefing, Trump suggested applying “light and heat to cure,” and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, responded to Trump’s question by saying she hasn’t heard of heat or light “as a treatment.”

Social Security numbers a must for both spouses if they file joint tax returns

Washington: President Donald Trump was sued over a provision of the coronavirus relief package that could deny $1,200 (Dh4,407) stimulus checks to more than 1 million Americans married to immigrants without Social Security Numbers. The suit was filed Friday by an Illinois man using the pseudonym John Doe, who seeks to represent all others in his position. Doe claims a carve-out in the relief package discriminates against him "based solely on whom he chose to marry." The $2 billion Cares Act, approved by Congress last month, provides $1,200 payments to US taxpayers who earn as much as $75,000 - plus $500 for each child. But to be eligible, both spouses in families that file joint tax returns must have Social Security numbers - unless one of them is a member of the military. That leaves 1.2 million Americans ineligible, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago. The lawsuit cites the Migration Policy Institute which says on its website that's how many "unauthorized" immigrants in the US are married to Americans.

Experts across the board insist that household cleaners should not be used internally on humans.
By Cody Fenwick

Facing a barrage of fact-checks, criticism, and mockery, President Donald Trump and his defenders are trying to make excuses for his absurd and dangerous suggestion on Thursday that injecting people with disinfectants might help fight COVID-19. To be 100 percent clear: There's no reason to think this would work, and it is an even potentially fatal idea. Experts across the board insist that household cleaners should not be used internally on humans. Because this is an obvious fact, Trump and his supporters are desperate to find an excuse for his dangerous suggestion. And unfortunately for them, two of the excuses they've already offered are contradictory. To review, here's what Trump actually said:

And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out, in a minute. One minute. Is there a way we can do something like that? By injection, inside, or almost a cleaning, 'cause you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. You're going to have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds interesting to me.

These remarks came after a discussion of a recent study on sunlight and disinfectants' abilities to kill the virus on surfaces, outside of the body. Before discussing disinfectants, Trump also preposterously speculated that light could somehow be used externally or internally on the human body to treat COVID-19, which Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, dismissed. Watch the remarks below:

After hearing presentation President Trump suggests irradiating people's bodies with UV light or injecting them with bleach or alcohol to deal with COVID19. pic.twitter.com/cohkLyyl9G — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 23, 2020

If you watch the remarks, there's really no ambiguity about what Trump is saying. He's trying to extrapolate from studies about effective methods of cleaning the virus in the environment to treating humans who are infected. It's a frankly childish understanding of medicine, but he presented it as a fascinating possibility — and on national TV, no less, where some vulnerable and susceptible viewers may actually take his claims seriously. So how could one possibly defend these remarks? Breitbart, a far-right website that closely aligns itself with the president, took a widely mocked stab at offering an excuse in the form of "fact check":

CLAIM: President Donald Trump suggested injecting people with disinfectant to cure coronavirus.

VERDICT: False. Trump was speaking generally about new information about sunlight, heat, and disinfectant killing the virus.

This is not so. As the clip shows, Trump was talking about using this information as a possible basis for testing potential treatments of COVID-19.

By Daniel Dale

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump lied Friday when he said he was being "sarcastic" when he asked medical experts on Thursday to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus. Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about the comments during a bill signing on Friday, he said, "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen." He then suggested he was talking about disinfectants that can safely be rubbed on people's hands. And then he returned to the sarcasm explanation, saying it was "a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside." A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to look into it. Trump responded: "No, no, no, no -- to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us."

Facts First: Trump was not being "sarcastic" on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to "check" the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks. Here's what Trump said Thursday while looking in the direction of coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Department of Homeland Security science official Bill Bryan: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you're going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds -- it sounds interesting to me."

[The Week]
By Peter Weber ,The Week

In its $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, Congress authorized a $10 billion loan for the U.S. Postal Service, projecting a $13 billion shortfall this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its hit on mail, catalogs, and advertisements. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a bipartisan push for a USPS bailout in the package, and before he approves the emergency USPS loan, he wants unprecedented leverage over how the independent agency is run, The Washington Post reports. Mnuchin has been pushing for significant changes at the USPS since President Trump named them as a priority in an Oval Office meeting more than a year ago, the Post reports. Trump has publicly criticized the Postal Service for years, usually pairing his grievances with USPS management and Amazon and its owner, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Post. Mnuchin, like Trump, wants the USPS to charge higher rates for package delivery — Trump reportedly wanted to double Amazon's rate, specifically — and Treasury officials tell the Post that Mnuchin is also seeking authority to review senior hiring decisions, appoint the next postmaster general, and drive collective bargaining strategy to squeeze concessions out of the powerful postal unions. The USPS is also expected to play a larger role in the November election as people mail in their ballots. Loan discussions are still ongoing. The USPS's business decisions are typically made by the five-member board of governors, appointed by the president, and the independent Postal Regulatory Commission. The board of governors has previously rejected Mnuchin's restructuring recommendations, the Post repots. Trump has frequently singled out Amazon in his USPS tweets and comments, claiming incorrectly that the Postal Service loses money by delivering Amazon's packages.

By Colin Dwyer

Please, everyone, do not try what the president just suggested at home. That is the consensus from doctors, at least one manufacturer and even President Trump's own administration, after he speculated about possible treatments for the coronavirus during his task force briefing Thursday. After introducing research reflecting the disinfectant capabilities of ultraviolet light on surfaces, Trump mused that scientists may try to find a way to place strong disinfectants directly inside the body to treat a patient's infection. "I see the disinfectant — where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump floated, with a caveat that one would "have to use medical doctors." (You can read his full remarks here.) When asked about the comments on Friday, Trump told reporters that he was simply asking the question "sarcastically" — "just to see what would happen." "That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to a reporter," he explained. Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of the coronavirus task force, treated the question seriously during the briefing, however. And she was the first to answer the president when he asked if "the heat and the light" was an avenue to explore: "Not as a treatment," she said.

By Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, Brittany Shammas and Colby Itkowitz

Amid a flurry of backlash and ridicule, President Trump walked back his suggestion that scientists test whether disinfectants, like bleach, could be injected inside the human body to fight the coronavirus, claiming Friday that he had said it sarcastically. The president offered his idea for a cure in the White House briefing room Thursday after a presentation that mentioned that disinfectants can kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces and in the air. “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” - Trump is the only person in the world that would lie and claim he was being sarcastic during a pandemic that is killing people around the world.

By Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Some patients developed irregular heart beats and nearly two dozen died after taking doses daily, the researchers said. Scientists say the findings should “serve to curb the exuberant use” of the drug, touted by President Trump as a potential “game changer.” Citing a “primary outcome” of death, researchers cut short a study testing anti-malaria drug chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 after some patients developed irregular heart beats and nearly two dozen died after taking doses daily. Scientists say the findings, published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should prompt some degree of skepticism from the public toward enthusiastic claims and perhaps “serve to curb the exuberant use” of the drug, which has been touted by President Donald Trump as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the coronavirus. Chloroquine gained widespread international attention following two small studies, including one with 36 Covid-19 patients published March 17 in France, found that most patients taking the drug cleared the coronavirus from their system a lot faster than the control group. The JAMA report said those trials didn’t meet the publishing society’s standards. “These weak findings, bolstered by anecdotal reports and media attention, have fostered widespread belief in the efficacy of these agents,” according to a separate warning about prescribing the drugs issued Friday alongside the JAMA study. The New York Times previously reported that the trial was halted over safety concerns, but the full details of the study weren’t revealed until they were published Friday. The research is fraught with political implications. A federal vaccine scientist who was ousted from leading an agency dealing with Covid-19 plans to file a whistleblower complaint alleging retaliation for his resistance to promoting the drugs touted by Trump, his lawyers said Thursday.

The green light from the president and Pence came in separate private conversations with the GOP governor.
By Associated Press

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp that they approved of his aggressive plan to allow businesses to reopen, just a day before Trump pulled an about-face and publicly bashed the plan, according to two administration officials. The green light from Pence and Trump came in separate private conversations with the Republican governor both before Kemp announced his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions and after it was unveiled on Monday, the officials said. Trump’s sudden shift came only after top health advisers reviewed the plan more closely and persuaded the president that Kemp was risking further spread of the virus by moving too quickly. “I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump said Wednesday, just a day after telling reporters that he trusted Kemp’s judgment. “He knows what’s he’s doing.” On Thursday, he was even harder on the governor: “I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp, I wasn’t at all happy.” The extraordinary reversal — and public criticism of a GOP ally — is only the latest in a series of contradictory and confusing messages from the president on how and when he believes governors should ease stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of the deadly virus. It demonstrates the political risk for governors in following the unpredictable president’s guidance. Trump has been urging states to begin reopening for two weeks, believing that certain portions of the country were now ready to resume aspects of normal life even against the recommendations of many of his own health experts. Even though few states have met the benchmarks established by the White House, the president has cheered on efforts to “Liberate!” some states and has offered encouragement to the states that announced plans to forge forward. Kemp was among the first Republican governors to take the cue. His order, announced Monday, allows businesses like gyms, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to open on Friday under certain restrictions.


As Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp faces growing backlash over his announcement that some businesses will be allowed to reopen this week, CNN's Jim Acosta reports on what shifted Trump's tone on the matter. #CNN #News

By Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd and Brittany Shammas

After a presentation Thursday that touched on the disinfectants that can kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces and in the air, President Trump pondered whether those chemicals could be used to fight the virus inside the human body. “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” The question, which Trump offered unprompted, immediately spurred doctors, lawmakers and the makers of Lysol to respond with incredulity and warnings against injecting or otherwise ingesting disinfectants, which are highly toxic. “My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea,” Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told The Washington Post. “This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous.”

By Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Friday against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after “serious” poisoning and deaths were reported. The agency said it became aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak. It also warned physicians against prescribing the drugs to treat the coronavirus outside of a hospital. “Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia,” the agency wrote in the notice. “We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information.” The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Friday against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after “serious” poisoning and deaths were reported. The agency said it became aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak. It also warned physicians against prescribing the drugs to treat the coronavirus outside of a hospital. “Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia,” the agency wrote in the notice. “We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information.”

A Homeland Security official, under questioning from reporters, later said federal laboratories are not considering such a treatment option.
By Dartunorro Clark

President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an "injection" of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus during his daily briefing Thursday. Trump made the remark after Bill Bryan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security's science and technology division, gave a presentation on research his team has conducted that shows that the virus doesn't live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan said, "The virus dies quickest in sunlight," leaving Trump to wonder whether you could bring the light "inside the body." "So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it's ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn't been checked because of the testing," Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. "And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that, too." He added: "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that." He didn't specify the kind of disinfectant. Medical professionals, including Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health policy expert and an NBC News and MSNBC contributor. were quick to challenge the president's "improper health messaging." “This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous," said Gupta. "It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves." The maker of Lysol also issued a statement warning against any internal use of the cleaning product.

By Ted Johnson

President Donald Trump’s briefing on Thursday was devoted in part to a presentation from a Homeland Security official who presented data suggesting the coronavirus does not survive as long in high humidity and sunlight. The presentation came from William Bryan, an official with the Department of Homeland Security, who said that solar light had a “powerful” impact on killing the virus. But he also said that they were studying how disinfectants eradicate the virus within minutes. Later, Trump suggested that such findings could be applied to a study of killing the virus within the body. “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous ultra violet or just very powerful light,” he said, looking toward Bryan and Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force. “And I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you are going to test it.” He added, “And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you could do either through the skin or in some other way. I think you said that you are going to test that, too. And then I saw the disinfectant, where knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way we could do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning. As you see it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” Bryan later said that using disinfectant to clean the lungs is not possible. “Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work,” Trump then said. After Trump advanced the possible effects of sunlight, he got testy after a reporter questioned whether it was spreading rumors of potential miracle cures. Phil Rucker of The Washington Post said to Trump, “Respectfully, sir, you’re the president, and people tuning into the briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do. They’re not looking for rumor.” Trump responded, “Hey Phil. I’m the president, and you’re fake news. And know what I will say to you? I will say it to you very nicely because I know you well. I know the guy, I see what he writes. He is a total faker. He then said that it was merely an idea to test. “Are you ready? It is just a suggestion, from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man,” Trump said. “[Bryan] is talking about sun. He’s talking about heat, and you see the numbers. I’m just here to present talent. I am here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. So if heat is good, if sunlight is good, that is a great thing as far as I am concerned.”

By Caroline Kelly

(CNN) President Donald Trump said Thursday he disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci after the nation's top infectious disease expert said the US needs to "significantly ramp up" testing. "We absolutely need to significantly ramp up, not only the number of tests but the capacity to actually perform them," Fauci said during a Time 100 Talks interview on Thursday. That way, he continued, "you don't have a situation where you have a test, but it can't be done because there's not a swab, or not an extraction media or not the right vial -- all of those things got to be in place." "I am not overly confident right now at all, that we have what it takes to do that," Fauci added. During Thursday's coronavirus task force news briefing -- which Fauci was not at -- Trump addressed Fauci's remarks and said he thinks the country is doing "a great job." "I don't agree with him on that, no, I think we're doing a great job on testing," Trump said. Fauci's comments run counter to Trump's regular assurances that American coronavirus testing is on solid footing, including on Wednesday when he told reporters "we're doing more testing, I think, than probably any of the governors want." Trump and his political allies have touted the total number of coronavirus tests conducted in the US but the country still lags behind Italy in per capita tests performed. Fauci's comments also come as several governors look to partially reopen their states' economies by loosening some restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus -- despite concerns of subsequent increases in coronavirus cases and vacillating support from the administration. Public health experts widely agree that to control the epidemic in the absence of strict social distancing measures, states and localities will need to build the capacity for additional testing and contact tracing.

By Scott MartelleEditorial Writer

By now we should all be inured to the whiplash-inducing comments of President Trump, who, as my father used to say, could screw up an iron ball. Just last week he was tweeting his support to armed anti-government activists and conservative protesters seeking an end to stay-at-home orders in three states with Democratic governors: Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota. The president also, contradicting his top health advisors, says he wants an early resumption of normal business and social activity. Well, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican Trump backer, seemed to take the president seriously (silly man) and announced that Georgia would begin rolling back stay-at-home restrictions, just the kind of move demanded by the folks Trump encouraged to “LIBERATE” (the all-caps were his) other states. Trump’s response to Kemp’s move? “I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing,” Trump said late Wednesday. “I think it’s too soon.” So, it’s fine to “liberate” Michigan, but too soon to “liberate” Georgia? The folks at the federal Centers for Disease Control — based in Atlanta — must be having some, um, interesting internal discussions over that. Of course, this is all politics, and part of Trump’s standard operating procedure to goad, troll and agitate to create as much chaos, uncertainty and smoke as he can. Amid the noise, he pushes forward his agenda, keeps flogging his supporters like a jockey at Santa Anita Park and tries to keep those who disagree with or oppose him on a defensive footing. That’s no way to lead a country, even one that isn’t in the midst of a dangerous pandemic.

"I'm accurately quoted in the Washington Post"
By Alex Henderson

At his nightly White House press conference on Wednesday, April 22, President Donald Trump was hoping that the three health officials he had with him — Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx — would join him in downplaying the possibility that a second coronavirus wave could occur in the fall. But things did not go as Trump had hoped, and none of the health officials entertained that possibility. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 included a first wave that was deadly and a second wave during the fall that was much worse, and Redfield recently warned that history could repeat itself with the coronavirus pandemic — that a second wave in the fall could likely be even worse than all the death and suffering that is happening now. But Trump, during the Wednesday press conference, claimed that coronavirus might "go away" and not return with a vengeance in the fall — and that Redfield was misquoted in a Washington Post article published the day before on April 21. Redfield, however, refused to join Trump in his claim that the Post was reporting "fake news" and told reporters, "I'm accurately quoted in the Washington Post." And Redfield didn't back down from his warning that this fall and the 2020/2021 winter could be even deadlier than what it occurring now.

By David Jackson - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to move quickly to reopen parts of the state's economy, but said the final call belongs to the governor. "I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree, strongly, with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump told reporters, saying the state's coronavirus case numbers don't meet the threshold needed to reopen under the White House's guidelines. At the same time, Trump added, Kemp "must do what he thinks is right." Kemp said he appreciated Trump's critique – and praised his "bold leadership and insight during these difficult times" – but would stick with a plan in which businesses re-open carefully with restrictions designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. "Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials," Kemp said in a series of tweets. "We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians."

By Amanda Macias

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s top officials recommended Friday that the captain relieved of duty after sounding the alarms of a growing coronavirus outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier should be reinstated. The decision to reinstate Navy Capt. Brett Crozier’s command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sits with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The Pentagon boss, who was briefed on the recommendations following a U.S. Navy investigation, has yet to sign off on the reinstatement of the captain. He is expected to make a decision Friday. The latest revelation follows a messy string of events that resulted in the resignation of the acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. Modly relieved Crozier after the captain’s letter pleading for help to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus aboard the aircraft carrier was leaked to the media. Modly then took a 35-hour trip, which cost taxpayers $243,000, to address the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. In the address, delivered via the ship’s loudspeaker, Modly doubled down on his decision to relieve Crozier and called the former vessel’s captain “naive” and “stupid.” Hours later Modly issued an apology to the Navy.

By Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond and Betsy Klein, CNN

(CNN) The director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says he was abruptly dismissed from his post in part because he resisted efforts to widen the availability of a coronavirus treatment pushed by President Donald Trump. Dr. Rick Bright had led BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, since 2016 until Tuesday, when was reassigned to a narrower position. He also announced he will file a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general. "I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit," Bright said in a lengthy statement issued Wednesday. "I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science -- not politics or cronyism -- has to lead the way." He cited "clashes with political leadership" as a reason for his sidelining, as well as his resistance to "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections." Bright clashed directly with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Bob Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, two people familiar with the situation told CNN. One source said the "political leadership" Bright referred to in his statement is Azar. Bright previously did not respond to repeated requests for comment on his departure by CNN. The Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on Bright's statement. Bright said he "limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit." Trump repeatedly promoted that therapeutic treatment for coronavirus, touting its possible effects at White House briefings as recently as April 13. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Bright's move in a statement to CNN Tuesday and said he will now lead a new government project: a public-private partnership on vaccine development and treatment.

By Kristen Holmes, Kaitlan Collins and Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday night and expressed support and praise for the Republican's move to reopen businesses in his state starting Friday, a source familiar with the call said. The call came as public health officials warned that Kemp is moving too quickly, some business owners said they would keep their doors closed and mayors said they feared Kemp's action would deepen the coronavirus crisis in their communities. Trump and Pence complimented Kemp on his performance as Georgia governor, the source said. Another person familiar with the call said it went well. Kemp, a staunch ally of Trump, on Monday announced Georgia would allow nail salons, massage therapists, bowling alleys and gyms to open Friday. In-person church services can resume. And restaurants and movie theaters can open Monday. His order also bars cities from imposing their own restrictions on businesses. It's the most aggressive move yet to reopen a state's economy as Trump optimistically pushes for a May 1 end to some statewide lockdowns. It also came as a surprise to mayors and some members of Kemp's own coronavirus task force. Kemp made the decision to reopen the state's businesses at least a day before announcing it but did not inform the White House beforehand, a source familiar with the matter said. Data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows that as of Wednesday, Georgia had seen 20,166 confirmed cases of coronavirus and had recorded 818 deaths resulting from the virus. "In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus' spread, today we're announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy," Kemp told reporters Monday. Kemp's decision has drawn criticism from public health experts who have repeatedly stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early.

By Elizabeth Cohen and Dr. Minali Nigam, CNN

(CNN) Coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine, a treatment touted by President Trump, were no less likely to need mechanical ventilation and had higher deaths rates compared to those who did not take the drug, according to a study of hundreds of patients at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers. The study, which reviewed veterans' medical charts, was posted Tuesday on medrxiv.org, a pre-print server, meaning it was not peer reviewed or published in a medical journal. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia. In the study of 368 patients, 97 patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a 27.8% death rate. The 158 patients who did not take the drug had an 11.4% death rate. "An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone. These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs," wrote the authors, who work at the Columbia VA Health Care System in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia. Researchers also looked at whether taking hydroxychloroquine or a combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, had an effect on whether a patient needed to go on a ventilator. "In this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19," the authors wrote.

By David Wallace-Wells

Whenever you start to think that the federal government under Donald Trump has hit a moral bottom, it finds a new way to shock and horrify. Over the last few weeks, it has started to appear as though, in addition to abandoning the states to their own devices in a time of national emergency, the federal government has effectively erected a blockade — like that which the Union used to choke off the supply chains of the Confederacy during the Civil War — to prevent delivery of critical medical equipment to states desperately in need. At the very least, federal authorities have made governors and hospital executives all around the country operate in fear that shipments of necessary supplies will be seized along the way. In a time of pandemic, having evacuated federal responsibility, the White House is functionally waging a war against state leadership and the initiative of local hospitals to secure what they need to provide sufficient treatment. Yesterday, a letter published by the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the extraordinary measures that had to be taken to secure the delivery into Massachusetts of equipment that had been bought and paid for. The NEJM, which featured the letter in its COVID-19 Notes series, is far from a platform of partisan alarm or hysteria — it is among the most sober and high-minded professional journals in the country. It’s worth reading the correspondence, written by an executive running a small health system, at some length:

Our supply-chain group has worked around the clock to secure gowns, gloves, face masks, goggles, face shields, and N95 respirators. These employees have adapted to a new normal, exploring every lead, no matter how unusual. Deals, some bizarre and convoluted, and many involving large sums of money, have dissolved at the last minute when we were outbid or outmuscled, sometimes by the federal government. Then we got lucky, but getting the supplies was not easy. A lead came from an acquaintance of a friend of a team member. After several hours of vetting, we grew confident of the broker’s professional pedigree and the potential to secure a large shipment of three-ply face masks and N95 respirators. The latter were KN95 respirators, N95s that were made in China. We received samples to confirm that they could be successfully fit-tested. Despite having cleared this hurdle, we remained concerned that the samples might not be representative of the bulk of the products that we would be buying. Having acquired the requisite funds — more than five times the amount we would normally pay for a similar shipment, but still less than what was being requested by other brokers — we set the plan in motion. Three members of the supply-chain team and a fit tester were flown to a small airport near an industrial warehouse in the mid-Atlantic region. I arrived by car to make the final call on whether to execute the deal. Two semi-trailer trucks, cleverly marked as food-service vehicles, met us at the warehouse. When fully loaded, the trucks would take two distinct routes back to Massachusetts to minimize the chances that their contents would be detained or redirected.

By Anna Hecht

Hogan, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” described the lack of testing as the biggest problem in the nation since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. Hogan is a Republican governor and chair of the National Governors Association. He once considered running against Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. The governors of Michigan and Virginia also said testing remained inadequate. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and chair of the National Governors Association, on Sunday dismissed as “absolutely false” Trump administration claims that states have adequate coronavirus testing capacity to begin gradually reopening their economies. Hogan, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” described the lack of testing as the biggest problem in the nation since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. The Maryland governor said he has “repeatedly” made that argument on behalf of America’s governors on both sides of the political aisle to leaders in Washington. “The administration I think is trying to ramp up testing, they are doing some things with respect to private labs, but to try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just to get to work on testing, somehow we are not doing our job -- is just absolutely false,” said Hogan, who once considered challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. “Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests not only from the federal government but from every private lab in America and from all across the world and we continue to do so,” Hogan added.

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN - The New York Times

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.” With these three short tweets last week, President Donald Trump attempted to kick off the post-lockdown phase of America’s coronavirus crisis. It should be called: “American Russian roulette: The COVID-19 version.” What Trump was saying with those tweets was: Everybody, just go back to work. From now on, each of us individually, and our society collectively, is going to play Russian roulette. We’re going to bet that we can spin through our daily lives — work, shopping, school, travel — without the coronavirus landing on us. And if it does, we’ll also bet that it won’t kill us. More specifically: As a society, we will be betting that as large numbers of people stop sheltering in place, the number of people who will still get infected with COVID-19 and require hospitalization will be less than the number of hospital beds, intensive care units, respirators, doctors, nurses and protective gear needed to take care of them. own president is now urging them to liberate themselves — before we have a proper testing, tracking and tracing system set up. Until we have a vaccine, that kind of system is the only path to dramatically lowering the risk of infection while partially opening society — while also protecting the elderly and infirm — as Germany has demonstrated. And as individuals, every person will be playing Russian roulette every minute of every day: Do I get on this crowded bus to go to work or not? What if I get on the subway, and the person next to me is not wearing gloves and a mask? What if they sneeze? Do I get in the elevator at the office if there is another person on it? Do I go into the office lunchroom or not? Do I stop for a drink at this bar, where the stools are 6 feet apart, or that crowded one my friends chose? Do I use this toilet or that drinking fountain? Do I send my kid back to school or not? Do I stay in a hotel? Ride an airplane? Let the plumber in? Do I go to the doctor to check that strange lump or not?

The reopen America protests are the logical conclusion of a twisted liberty movement.
By Charlie Warzel

At a string of small “reopen America” protests across the country this week, mask-less citizens proudly flouted social distancing guidance while openly carrying semiautomatic rifles and waving American flags and signs with “ironic” swastikas. They organized chants to lock up female Democrat governors and to fire the country’s top infectious disease experts. At one point during protests at the Michigan Capitol, the group’s orchestrated gridlock blocked an ambulance en route to a nearby hospital. For those who’ve chosen to put their trust in science during the pandemic it’s hard to fathom the decision to gather to protest while a deadly viral pathogen — transmitted easily by close contact and spread by symptomatic and asymptomatic people alike — ravages the country. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise. This week’s public displays of defiance — a march for the freedom to be infected — are the logical conclusion of the modern far-right’s donor-funded, shock jock-led liberty movement. It was always headed here. Few demonstrate this movement better than Alex Jones of Infowars — one of the key figures of Saturday’s “You Can’t Close America” rally on the steps of the Capitol building in Austin, Tex. For decades, Mr. Jones has built a thriving media empire harnessing (real and understandable) fear, paranoia and rage, which in turn drive sales of vitamin supplements and prepper gear in his personal store. The Infowars strategy is simple: Instill a deep distrust in all authority, while promoting a seductive, conspiratorial alternate reality in which Mr. Jones, via his outlandish conspiracies, has all the answers. He’s earned the trust of a non-trivial number of Americans, and used it to stoke his ego and his bank account. And he never lets reality get in the way (case in point, holding a stay-at-home order protest in Texas the day after the state announced it would begin efforts to carefully reopen in coming weeks). Former employees have described Mr. Jones to me as master of manipulating the truth into a convenient worldview in which Infowars and its listeners are constantly victimized by powerful institutional forces. “We kept saying ‘We’re the underdogs’ — that was our mantra,” one former employee told me in 2017. To make this work, Mr. Jones molds the day’s news into conspiratorial fables.

By Lisette Voytko - Forbes Staff

The Washington Post reported Sunday that over a dozen Americans working at the World Health Organization provided “real-time” information about the emerging coronavirus to the White House, seeming to undercut President Trump’s accusations that the WHO failed to communicate the extent of the disease’s threat. U.S. physicians, researchers and public health experts⁠—many connected to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention⁠—were working at WHO’s Geneva headquarters as part of a years-long rotation, the Post reported, and they provided information about the coronavirus to the White House as it emerged late last year. CDC officials were consulting with their WHO counterparts since the outbreak began, with sensitive information being shared with U.S. officials (including Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar) in a CDC secure facility, the Post reported. The WHO often told CDC about its plans or announcements days in advance, the Post reported, citing an unnamed CDC official. Trump earlier blamed WHO for delays in response to the virus as well as a lack of transparency, but an April 11 New York Times report said warnings issued to the administration by different parts of the federal government in January and February were ignored. Three days after the Times report, Trump announced a hold on $500 million in funding from the U.S. to the WHO, a move that Democrats say is illegal.

By Allan Smith

Governors across the country on Sunday pushed back on the Trump administration's claims that states are conducting a "sufficient" level of coronavirus testing. Speaking with CNN's "State of the Union," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said it was "delusional" to suggest the states have enough tests to soon begin reopening their economies. "That's just delusional to be making statements like that," Northam said. "We have been fighting every day for PPE. And we have got some supplies now coming in. We have been fighting for testing. It's not a — it's not a straightforward test. We don't even have enough swabs, believe it or not. And we're ramping that up. But for the national level say that we have what we need, and really to have no guidance to the state levels, is just irresponsible, because we're not there yet." Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told CNN that the "lack of testing" is "probably the number one problem in America, and has been from the beginning of this crisis." "And I have repeatedly made this argument to the leaders in Washington on behalf of the rest of the governors in America," Hogan said. "And I can tell you, I talk to governors on both sides of the aisle nearly every single day. The administration, I think, is trying to ramp up testing, and trying — they are doing some things with respect to private labs. But to try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing, and they should just get to work on testing, somehow we aren't doing our job, is just absolutely false." He added that governors have been "fighting and clawing to get more tests" from both the federal government and private labs, and are continuing to do so. He echoed Northam in saying there are shortages of swabs needed to conduct the tests, among other necessities. "So, look, I think they have made some strides at the federal level," Hogan said. "I think states are all working hard on their own to find their own testing. Lab capacity has been increasing. But it's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there, and the governors should just get it done. That's just not being straightforward." Public health experts have said testing would need to be at least doubled, or even tripled from current levels in order to allow for even a partial reopening of America's economy. Without such a massive increase, officials will lack a clear picture of who is infected, who can safely return to work, how and where the virus is spreading, and whether stay-at-home orders can begin to be eased, those experts said.

"I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage demonstrations and encourage people to go against the president’s own policy," said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
By Allan Smith

Governors across the country on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump's expression of solidarity with those protesting various state-issued stay-at-home orders, saying his comments are "dangerous" and "don't make any sense." "I don't know any other way to characterize it, when we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people's health, literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, told ABC's "This Week," adding, "To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can't remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing." Inslee said Trump's comments were "dangerous" because they "can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives." Trump's promotion of the protesters was "hobbling our national efforts to protect people from this terrible virus." "And it is doubly frustrating to us governor because this is such a schizophrenia, because the president basically is asking people: Please ignore Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. Please ignore my own guidelines that I set forth, because those guidelines made very clear, if you read them — and I don't know if the president did or not — but, if you read them, it made very clear that you cannot open up Michigan today or Virginia," Inslee said. "Under those guidelines, you need to see a decline in the infections and fatalities. And that simply has not happened yet."

By Daniel Politi

Protesters gathered in several states across the country Saturday to demand an end to stay-at-home orders that were put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The demonstrations took place in several states, including Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. Many of those who broke social-distancing rules carried signs that had phrases like, “This is tyranny, not quarantine” and “Shut down the shutdown.” One of the largest rallies took place in Austin, where some 300 people gathered with many carrying signs, flags, T-shirts, and caps that made their support for President Donald Trump explicit. Protesters chanted, “Let us work!” and “Fire Fauci” as many did not seem to believe there was any need to keep distance from each other while they shook hands and hugged at the protest that was heavily promoted by conspiracy-theory peddling website Infowars. Some attendants were disappointed by the scene that unfolded on the steps of the Capitol. “We thought it was going to be a lot bigger than this,” a protester told the Austin American Statesman. Several hundred people also gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse on Saturday to protest the state’s stay-at-home order with some chanting, “We are not sheep.” “I believe that we’re over reacting to this. Ohio numbers are not that large for us to have people lose their businesses. It’s just not warranted,” one protester said. “I would like to see Ohio open up now! None of this is warranted for our numbers.” - Trump, Fox News, GOP and the right wing are putting American lives at risk, they do not care about the American people just the dollars they are losing.

By Scott McDonald

President Donald Trump held his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Saturday speaking partially of the virus itself, partly hammering away at "fake news" and one New York Times reporter, and a good chunk of time criticizing China and how it handled the outbreak of COVID-19. Asked whether there should be consequences to China if it was responsible for all of the virus spread, Trump said sure, unless it was a "mistake." "If they were knowingly responsible, then certainly," Trump said. "But if they made a mistake, a mistake is a mistake is a mistake." Trump did not indicate what those consequences would be, but said China "made many mistakes" along the way, and that China was against the United States closing off Chinese travelers in January once the virus began its spread. He said "this crisis could have been stopped in China." "They didn't like the idea of closing off our country. They said it was a bad thing to do, actually, and they've since taken that back," Trump told reporters and TV audience. "But it was a very lucky thing that we did it. Very lucky. We would have had numbers that were very significantly greater. [Dr. Anthony] Fauci said that. He said it would have been very significantly greater had we not that. "But it's still a very depressing subject, because there's a lot of death. If it were stopped very early on, at the source, before it started blowing into these proportions, you have 184 countries that would have been in a lot better shape." Coronavirus cases have topped 2.3 million worldwide, with nearly 160,000 deaths around the globe by April 18. The United States leads all countries in both cases (734,000) and deaths (38,000).

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