Navigating Coronavirus — April 23

Navigating Coronavirus
6 min readApr 23, 2020

It’s been 57 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have 849,000 cases and 47,600 deaths — more deaths than any other country in the world.


  • Trump and Republicans are out of step with Americans on ending social distancing. We have a lot of new data below on where Americans fall on ending social distancing. The upshot: (1) They don’t believe it should end soon. (2) When it does end, they want it to be extremely gradual. (3) They need a lot of reassurances to feel comfortable going back to everyday life — and Trump’s declarations are not enough. (More below)
  • Top messages on re-opening >>
  • 89% agree: Everyone wants life to return to normal, but we have to listen to the public health experts who know how to best handle coronavirus to guide us through this health crisis before we can safely reopen the country.
  • 83% agree: We can’t fix the economy if we don’t solve our public health problems first, including having far more testing. If we reopen the country too soon we risk more people becoming sick and being unable to work.
  • 82% agree: If we reopen the country too soon, we risk falling backward on all the hard work we’ve accomplished so far and we will be unprepared to handle the coronavirus if it comes back in our communities this fall.


Message guidance on the latest developments with President Trump’s handling of the crisis.

1. Trump’s rush to end social distancing is dangerous and threatens the economy and people’s health.

We need to re-open safely, and Trump and his rightwing allies are putting lives and the economy even more at risk by refusing to do what’s necessary before re-opening.

  • NEW NAVIGATOR DATA >> By 40 points, Americans reject a premature opening “in the next few weeks” (67–27%), as 81% are still worried that someone close to them is going to become infected with coronavirus.
  • MORE >> 91% favor a cautious approach if we are to re-open in the next few weeks (including 89% of Republicans and 87% of Independents), and nearly two-thirds (63%) say it must be a very cautious opening, with only a handful of businesses and services while many things remain closed.
  • POLITICO: “A new road map from the nation’s governors for reopening the economy urges a cautious approach, saying the White House must dramatically ramp up testing and help states bolster other public health measures before social distancing can be safely pulled back.”

Americans are far from comfortable with ending social distancing and want to see widespread testing and guidance from experts before resuming normal life.

  • NEW NAVIGATOR DATA >> Three-quarters of Americans say, even if governors end social distancing in their state in the next few weeks, they still plan on staying home and only going out for essential needs (76–24%).
  • MORE >> What is needed to make them more comfortable?
  • 75% say if health experts like Dr. Fauci declared it safe
  • 73% say widespread testing
  • 73% say if there was widespread availability of masks
  • 73% say if the CDC could perform reliable contact tracing

As protestors have clamored to end social distancing, Americans have become more concerned it will end too soon — a sign that Trump’s rhetoric could create backlash for him.

  • BIG SHIFT >> 65% of Americans are more concerned that we are going to end social distancing too soon than go on too long — up 5 points in just two days (60% on 4/20) and 9 points in a week (56% on 4/16).

2. Trump continues to ignore and punish experts.

  • BREAKING YESTERDAY: “The doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for a rigorous vetting of a coronavirus treatment embraced by President Trump.”
  • When the CDC Director warned a second wave of coronavirus this winter could be worse, Trump lashed out and tried to force him to say he was “misquoted.”
  • NEW NAVIGATOR DATA >> 71% of Americans trust Dr. Fauci to tell the truth in this crisis, compared to only 42% who trust Trump. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans oppose Trump firing Dr. Fauci, including about half of Republicans (48%).
  • CAN’T MAKE IT UP >> “Former Labradoodle breeder tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force” (Reuters)

3. Trump’s early downplaying and refusal to take the threat seriously made this worse.

New reports prove that, as Trump was downplaying coronavirus in January and February, it was already infecting and killing Americans.

  • CNN: 2 Californians died of coronavirus weeks before previously known 1st US death




  • As Trump pushes ahead with rolling back social distancing, Americans want key benchmarks and are not prepared to return to normal. The vast majority of Americans plan to stay inside even if restrictions are lifted, and say they would be more comfortable with re-opening by following experts’ guidance and implementing public health measures that Trump is still resisting.
  • Messages on re-opening that resonate most focus on a response driven by experts and tying openings to public health decisions. Trump’s message of opening because “the cure can’t be worse than the disease” is very unpopular.


The latest on how the economic crisis sparked by coronavirus is actually fueled by years of President Trump’s conservative economic policies, focusing today on Trump’s conservative allies holding up additional support for workers and families.

While workers and families continue to suffer the impacts of this public health and economic crisis, Trump’s conservative allies in the Senate are “slamming the brakes” on any additional government support.

  • Despite Trump’s dangerous focus on ending the quarantines before public health experts say it’s safe, there is much more that needs to be done to help workers and families keep their heads above the water until this crisis is over.
  • This shouldn’t be partisan or controversial. Even some Republican governors are calling for additional support to prevent state cuts that would be devastating for hospitals, schools, and other local worker and family priorities.
  • Trump is making sure that Wall Street and massive corporations get their slush funds — but if everyday people don’t have money in their pockets and states are forced to slash their budgets, the economic turmoil is going to be far longer and more damaging than it needs to be.

This legislation can’t be the final word — and workers, families, and the economy can’t afford to wait.

  • That is why progressives continue to push for Congress to move quickly on additional legislation that prioritizes aid to families and communities and enact the structural changes needed to make our economy more resilient over the long term.


NEW REPORT >> With more bad unemployment news expected this morning, conservative policies in key states are preventing unemployed Americans from getting more money. (via National Employment Law Project)

  • FLORIDA >> Unemployed Floridians are receiving $118 less per week than the national average.
  • NORTH CAROLINA >> Unemployed North Carolinians are receiving $106 less per week than the national average.
  • ARIZONA >> Unemployed Arizonans are receiving $137 less per week than the national average.
  • WISCONSIN >> Unemployed Wisconsinites are receiving $47 less per week than the national average.

Navigating Coronavirus is a joint project of Governing for Impact, Groundwork Collaborative, The Hub Project, and Navigator Research.

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Navigating Coronavirus

A daily product to help you navigate Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and government response efforts. A project informed by @NavigatorSurvey.