Navigating Coronavirus — October 1

Navigating Coronavirus
7 min readOct 1, 2020

In today’s email, we examine how Trump has spent this week, including during the debate, lying about coronavirus, downplaying the threat, and overruling experts — even as the virus surges and outbreaks across the country get worse. We also have new Navigator polling on the pandemic, which includes some indicators that Americans may be feeling the onset of a new “wave” of the virus. Finally, we look ahead to this morning’s unemployment numbers and tomorrow’s jobs report and how they will reveal the economic damage of Republicans’ decision to ignore more relief while instead rushing a partisan SCOTUS power grab.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 217 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have 7.4 million cases and 211,000 deaths.


  • TRUMP KEEPS LYING AND DOWNPLAYING THE VIRUS >> In the debate Tuesday, Trump said he did a phenomenal job handling the pandemic while he dismissed the severity of the virus, denied his failed response, and kept up his rush toward an unrealistic and unsafe vaccine.
  • Trump on his head of vaccine development and CDC director siding with experts on when a vaccine will be available: They are “both wrong.”
  • TRUMP VS. FAUCI ON MASKS >> After mocking Joe Biden at the debate for wearing a mask, Trump lied about Dr. Fauci’s position on masks, forcing Fauci to set the record straight.
  • Also: Trump’s entire family removed their masks and sat maskless on the front row the entire debate, flouting Ohio’s mask mandate and public health guidelines.
  • THROUGH IT ALL, CASES ARE RISING >> States are seeing upticks in infections and deaths — including among childrensetting off alarm bells for a deadly fall and winter to come.



At the debate, Trump continued to downplay the severity of coronavirus while ignoring the 205,000 Americans who have died and the 7 million who have been infected with the virus. He defended his Superspreader rallies while mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask and dismissing his top health officials’ critical public health guidance. He also continued to insist that a vaccine was “just weeks away” despite mounting doubt and concern from experts.

  • WEARING A MASK COULD HAVE SAVED 100,00 LIVES >> On the debate stage, Biden correctly pointed out that mask wearing could save 100,000 lives, as Trump threw his own public health team under the bus and lied about their guidance on the importance of mask wearing.
  • The Hill: “Trump downplays CDC guidance on masks”
  • RUSHING AN UNSAFE VACCINE >> Trump is also ignoring expert warnings about the safety of a rushed vaccine — he continues to promise it will be available by Election Day, putting politics ahead of the American people.
  • STAT: “Trump’s debate highlights his hunger for a rushed, election-eve vaccine approval”
  • Vox: “‘Trump promised 200,000 Covid-19 vaccinations a day. That’s 5 to 9 years to vaccinate the US’: Despite Trump’s debate promises, experts say vaccines will take months or years to roll out.”

Trump’s refusal to take responsibility and attempt to cover up his failure has become a pattern. We recently learned that he’s even using $300 million in taxpayer dollars on an HHS propaganda campaign to hide his mistakes.

  • Politico: “The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to ‘defeat despair’ about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds […] 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign’s scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic.”


Cases across the U.S. are rising again — and some states in the midwest are on the brink of major uncontrolled outbreaks. Last week we saw the highest single-day increase since mid-August.

  • Axios: “The U.S. is now averaging over 43,000 new cases per day, a 16% increase from a week ago […] The coronavirus is surging once again across the U.S., with cases rising in 22 states over the past week.”
  • CBS: U.S. soars past 7 million COVID-19 cases as some states relax restrictions

We are clearly on the precipice of a new “wave” of coronavirus with no plan in place to handle it…



  • NEW WAVE? As cases tick upward and experts warn of a deadly fall and winter, new Navigator polling includes several indicators that look a lot like how public opinion began to shift at the start of the summer surge in June.
  • MORE SAY THE WORST IS YET TO COME >> While Americans began feeling more optimistic as case and death rates leveled off at the end of the summer, the number of Americans who are concerned that the worst is yet to come is beginning to trend back up (now at 52%), near equivalent to the number on June 22 when summer cases were rising.
  • MORE BELIEVE CASES ARE RISING >> The number of people who see an uptick in cases is at the same level as mid-June, right when the last surge began.
  • GREATER CONCERNS ABOUT HEALTH THAN ECONOMY >> 60% are more concerned about coronavirus’ impact on people’s health than on the economy overall, the highest number in nearly two months.
  • Americans remain concerned with Trump’s handling of all issues, and by 10 points, people feel that Trump is focused on the issues that matter to himself rather than focusing on the issues that matter to them. Nearly 60% of people think that Trump made the coronavirus crisis worse because of his mistakes.
  • Coronavirus remains far-and-away Americans’ top concern — putting Trump’s downplaying and dismissal of the crisis in even starker relief.


The latest on how the economic crisis sparked by coronavirus is being fueled by President Trump’s actions and years of conservative economic policies, focusing today on the this morning’s unemployment numbers and the need for Trump and his allies to focus on helping families and the economy through this public health and economic crisis, not jamming another extreme Supreme Court nominee through the Senate.

This morning, we will hear the latest number of workers filing for unemployment as Trump’s promised recovery has fizzled and workers and families continue to struggle.

  • It has now been almost five months since House Democrats passed legislation that would have prevented major income cuts for 30 million Americans and extended key support for workers and families.
  • Instead of working with Democrats on COVID-19 response legislation, Trump and his allies have blocked any additional support and have instead focused on jamming another rightwing conservative onto the Supreme Court who would strip health care from millions of people during a pandemic and make this crisis even worse than it already is.
  • MUST READ: “The covid-19 recession is the most unequal in modern U.S. history…Seven months into the recovery, Black women, Black men and mothers of school-age children are taking the longest time to regain their employment.”

Important reminder: “Trump said he would bring jobs back to Ohio’s manufacturing workers. Instead, he deserted them.”

WATCH: When all of us — white, Black and brown — work together, we can build a thriving economy that delivers meaningful opportunity and prosperity for everyone.

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.