800,000 Doctors Implore Trump to Maintain Social Distancing — A council representing over 800,000 U.S. doctors signed a letter Friday imploring Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that dismissing public health experts’ guidance will jeopardize millions of Americans and cause further chaos in hospitals fighting the coronavirus pandemic. “We need your leadership in supporting science-based recommendations on social distancing that can slow the virus,” the council wrote. Common Dreams reports mandated social distancing is falling on partisan lines among states; the council asks that Trump only lift distancing restrictions in accordance with public health and medical experts. “Lifting restrictions sooner will gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans and extend the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Trump and Wall Street Want Work Despite Coronavirus — The Wall Street Journal argued last week for lifting the U.S.’s already inadequate response measures to the coronavirus, as social distancing is harming corporate profits. Donald Trump delayed enacting federal public health measures in an attempt to mitigate economic impacts—this cost lives and exacerbated national spread. Jacobin reports the U.S. is to the point where only a five-week national lockdown can avoid a public health catastrophe. In encouraging the return to work, Trump and Wall Street claim to be looking after workers’ economic health to avoid greater fallout later on.

Billionaire rhetoric about protecting ordinary Americans’ jobs obscures how the rich prioritize profits over lives; if helping people survive was the goal, Trump would support Bernie Sanders’s plan to disburse a monthly $2,000 and paid sick leave to all. Trump and Wall Street would advocate using the Defense Production Act to mass produce masks, ventilators, and other equipment to mitigate the public health catastrophe.

Trump’s Personality Flaws are Risking American Lives — As a narcissist, Donald Trump fixates on his most immediate personal need: reelection. To avoid inconveniencing his prospects in the emergence of coronavirus, he denied the threat, claimed he knew better than experts, and espoused BS instead of adopting early measures to slow the virus. Beyond narcissism, Trump’s responses are informed by his obsession with revenge and fatalism. Trump slandered and threatened withholding aid to governors Jay Inslee and Andrew Cuomo after they criticized his insufficient response to the outbreak. Trump is toying with lives in the case of New York, which needs federal help to get enough ventilators. And his encouragement to return to work and normal life by Easter—cashing in on death to patch the economy—echoes his fatalistic outlook of nuclear war, points out Mother Jones.

Insufficient Federal Reserves and Response for Medical Equipment — The Strategic National Stockpile has only 16,600 ventilators, reports the Center for Public Integrity. This reserve, meant to fortify hospitals in crisis, offers a meager supplement to the U.S. medical system’s estimated 160,000 breathing machines. The U.S. could have as many as 742,000 patients who need ventilators in a severe outbreak and over 64,000 in a moderate outbreak. New York City alone has said it needs an extra 15,000.

Lacking proper protection, medical workers are making their own protective equipment, reports ProPublica. Better equipped doctors and nurses are reusing the same surgical mask again and again over a shift’s course. The lethargic federal response to the outbreak blindsided hospitals—the Trump administration had cut various public health programs in past years and was slow to implement COVID-19 testing.

How the COVID Tracking Project Fills the Data Gap — Two staff writers for The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer, and the founder of medication-discovery platform Related Science, Jeff Hammerbacher, merged data on coronavirus testing throughout the U.S. to create the COVID Tracking Project. This intensive effort to update daily coronavirus testing numbers—including a state-by-state counts—aims to pressure decision-makers into reporting results. The total number of tests done nationwide, according to the CDC, is less than half what the Tracking Project has compiled. Without testing, it’s impossible to learn about the virus’s spread, where it is concentrated, or how great risk of infection is for individuals, says Columbia Journalism Review.

DNC and Biden Campaign Claimed Primaries Were Safe — Donald Trump’s spread of misinformation concerning coronavirus amounts to public endangerment—as does anyone’s encouragement to gather in mass and in close proximity. Joe Biden’s campaign insisted in spite of CDC warnings that voters get to the polls, but media holding Trump accountable have failed to do the same for the Democratic candidate’s campaign, points out FAIR. While Bernie Sanders advocated for primaries to be delayed following the CDC’s March 15 advisement of limiting gatherings to below 50 people, Senior Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders encouraged voters to get to the polls, wrongly stating that the CDC deemed voting locations safe. At least two poll workers at locations described as safe by DNC chair Tom Perez and the Biden campaign have contracted COVID-19.

Asian Americans Report Hundreds of Racist Incidents — In response to the uptick in microaggressions and discrimination facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) following the coronavirus outbreak, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) launched the incident reporting site Stop AAPI HateColorlines reports the site has collected 650 accounts of discrimination, including hate violence, with Asian Americans profiled as threatening disease carriers. But the numbers “don’t make evident the fear and anxiety that community members feel when they leave their homes to buy groceries, pick up prescriptions, or just leave their homes for a walk in their neighborhoods,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of A3PCON.

How Coronavirus Is Impacting Small Businesses — Small businesses, which tend to already operate on slim profit margins, face a revolutionizing challenge in the coronavirus pandemic. Fair Observer discusses changes the pandemic may effect on the U.S. economic landscape. The pandemic will highlight the importance of comprehensive and useful health benefits, including among small businesses, to better protect the whole population. And while the economic turmoil facing bars, restaurants, and event venues is evident, the home improvement industry will slow, too. With worry about mortgage payments and the revitalization of the economy, big projects will go on hold, affecting small appliance stores, builders, and contractors.

Dorothee Benz with the tweet of the week:

Polluting Industries Cash-In on COVID-19 — Polluting industries in the U.S. are advancing their own interests to benefit from the government attention to the coronavirus pandemic and the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill. Following a request from the oil industry, the Environmental Protection Agency suspended its enforcement of environmental laws. Critics say this will let the industry pollute indefinitely. The plastics industry is trying to save the single-use plastic bag, which many states have banned or are banning. Seeing an opportunity to profit, the Plastics Industry Association has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare the bans on plastic bags a health risk—citing research paid for by the plastics industry. Greenpeace describes the move as “a profit-driven distraction.” A handful of states are suspending or delaying bans on plastic bags, reports InsideClimate News.


1. Coronavirus: Dr Fauci warns US death rate could tip ‘100,000 to 200,000’ cases and ‘millions’ might be infected (The Independent)

2. How Not to Tank Your Relationship in Quarantine (The Atlantic)

3. The U.S. Military Hasn’t Faced A Threat Like Coronavirus In A Century (HuffPost)

4. Coronavirus: Trump backs away from New York quarantine (BBC)

5. US awol from world stage as China tries on global leadership for size (The Guardian)