Navigating Coronavirus — July 14

In today’s email, we have breaking news that more than 5 million Americans have lost health insurance during the pandemic thanks to Trump’s mismanagement. We also look at Trump’s ongoing failures on testing, PPE, and addressing the growing outbreaks, as he spews wild conspiracies attacking leading health experts. And we again focus on the looming unemployment crisis in just two weeks if Congress and Trump refuse to act.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 138 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have 3.4 million cases and more than 138,000 deaths.

THE LATEST

1. TRUMP’S MISMANAGEMENT OF THIS CRISIS HAS COST MILLIONS THEIR HEALTH CARE.

Because Trump failed to control this virus or come up with a plan to contain it, millions of Americans have now lost their health insurance during a global pandemic — and his administration is still fighting to wipe out coverage for millions more.

  • NYT: “The coronavirus pandemic stripped an estimated 5.4 million Americans of their health insurance between February and May, a stretch in which more adults became uninsured because of job losses than have ever lost coverage in a single year.”
  • “In Texas alone, the number of uninsured jumped from about 4.2 million to nearly 4.9 million, the research found, leaving three out of every 10 Texans uninsured.”
  • IT DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS BAD >> Trump downplayed the threat and refused to act early on, and it made the health and economic impacts worse. Now, we’re about to go through it all again — as many communities have to lock down again because Trump rushed us into an unsafe reopening.

2. TRUMP IGNORED EXPERTS AND RUSHED TO END SOCIAL DISTANCING, MAKING THE COUNTRY SICK AND UNINSURED WITH NO END IN SIGHT.

Trump refused to listen to the nation’s leading medical experts who said we needed to be careful about reopening or risk a huge backslide, and now, he’s pushing conspiracy theories that these experts are lying about the virus just to hurt Trump — revealing yet again how self-absorbed he is.

  • Reuters: “Trump bashes U.S. health experts, Fauci urges caution, as virus cases surge”
  • “Trump on Monday took a swipe at health experts in his government leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus… Trump retweeted to his 83 million followers the accusations of a former game show host that ‘everyone is lying,’ including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

These lies and self-promotional conspiracies come as the outbreak gets even worse, and experts including Dr. Fauci — who Trump’s White House is seeking to discredit — warn of its dangers.

  • Fauci: “We haven’t even begun to see the end of it yet.”
  • AP: “The United States was grappling with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world on Monday, as Florida shattered the national record for a state’s largest single-day increase in new confirmed cases and the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is worsening globally and that ‘there will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future.’”

3. AFTER ALL THESE MONTHS, TRUMP STILL HAS NOT FIGURED OUT TESTING FOR INFECTIONS OR PPE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS.

129 days since Trump said, “Anybody who wants a test can get a test,” there’s still no national testing plan to guarantee people can get tested and delays are so long that the disease is spreading while people wait for results.

  • Kaiser: “As COVID Testing Soars, Wait Times For Results Jump To A Week — Or More”
  • ABC Charlotte: “Frustrations grow as backlogs create delays in COVID-19 test results”

Trump still has no plan to address PPE shortages, but we are right back where we started with nurses rationing PPE and fearing for their lives.

  • Axios: “Health workers fear new shortages of protective equipment”
  • “Health care workers faced severe shortages of face masks, gowns and other protective equipment at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re afraid it’s happening again now.”
  • Yahoo: “Internal document reveals shortfall in coronavirus supplies — including body bags — in U.S. stockpile”

Instead of solving these problems, Trump is lashing out and blaming others — even trying to blame President Obama for his own failures on testing, despite the fact Obama hadn’t been president for more than three years when the pandemic hit.

  • Marketwatch: “As COVID-19 cases surge and many states reopen, Trump administration points finger at Democrats, media — and Fauci”
  • CAN’T MAKE IT UP >> USA Today: “Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says U.S. has ‘inexcusable’ problems with COVID-19 testing”

NAVIGATOR TRACKING

  • Disapproval of Trump’s handling of the pandemic hit a record high. The first week of July, 58% disapproved, a new high in our tracking. And he was underwater on every issue including the economy.
  • Before the July 4th holiday and the latest spike in cases, the number of Americans who said the “worst is yet to come” in the pandemic was already increasing. In the month of June, the number went up 15 points — to 59% — the highest mark in two-and-a-half months.
  • Even before the current spike in outbreaks, Americans were already increasingly concerned by reopening.
  • The number of Americans saying Trump isn’t doing enough to fight coronavirus hit 58%, a record high in our tracking. Even 1 in 5 Trump 2016 voters say he isn’t doing enough.

ECONOMIC CRISIS IN CONTEXT

We are just two weeks away from Trump cutting the incomes of millions of Americans during a pandemic and economic crisis — unless Congress stands up to him and takes action.

  • Congressional Democrats have made it clear that they will fight to extend the expanded unemployment benefits and protect a key lifeline for workers and families.
  • But Trump’s proposal? Cut income for unemployed workers, increase profits and tax breaks for corporations like Walmart, put more money into the pockets of the rich with a capital gains tax “holiday.”
  • Trump’s advisors continue making the bizarre claim that the expanded unemployment benefits are hurting the economy by preventing workers from getting back on the job, but the reality is that many jobs are still unsafe to return to due to Trump’s bungling of the coronavirus response.
  • FACT CHECK >> “The GOP’s One Big Excuse for Cutting Off Unemployment Benefits Isn’t Even True”
  • Trump’s advisor says extending the expanded benefits would be “political kryptonite” — but the reality is that people across the country strongly support an extension and favor candidates who would maintain incomes over those who would cut it.

READ >> Washington Post op-ed: “Uncertainty can ruin an economy. The bungled covid-19 response just adds to it.”

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

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