Navigating Coronavirus — October 14

The “fall surge” experts have been warning about? It’s here. Cases are rising, deaths are up, and President Trump and Republicans continue to do nothing about it. We have the latest on this, informed by a NEW Navigator poll on the scale of the pandemic (it’s getting much worse) and how Americans view Trump’s (and Biden’s) leadership on it.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 226 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have more than 8 million cases and 220,000 deaths in the U.S., and Trump and 38 other contacts have been diagnosed after a super spreader event at the White House.


The fall coronavirus surge is here. Cases are rising, deaths are up, and we still have no plan to stop it.

  • Axios: “After the first brutal wave of outbreaks, other countries did much better than the U.S. at learning from their mistakes and preventing more of their population from dying.”
  • DON’T FORGET HOW WE GOT HERE >> Early on, Trump failed to prepare and mobilize the response needed to control the pandemic — allowing coronavirus to spread wildly across the country. He constantly downplayed the threat, overruled or ignored health experts and scientists, and now — nearly seven months into the crisis — Trump himself is irresponsibly spreading the virus after his own infection.
  • Americans are feeling the pain of the fall surge: The share of Americans saying cases are increasing in their state is up 6 points in just one week, as desire for more aggressive social distancing measures also increases.
  • LOOK AT THE TRACKING >> Thanks to nearly 7 months of Navigating Coronavirus’ tracking polls, we can look back and see that this week’s data looks a lot like what we saw at the beginning of the summer surge.
  • As Americans feel this pandemic getting worse, they overwhelmingly list it as their top concern — and they increasingly say Trump isn’t doing enough to address it.
  • WHAT IT MEANS >> Republicans and President Trump continue to pretend like this pandemic doesn’t exist, holding superspreader events, putting coronavirus relief on hold, and rushing a lifetime Supreme Court appointment before the election. They are way out of step with what Americans want them to focus on.

By traveling all across the country on the tail end of his own infection — flouting coronavirus restrictions in states with surging COVD-19 cases — Trump has become a super spreader himself: health experts say he could still be contagious.

  • Washington Post: “Fauci says Trump is ‘asking for trouble’ by holding rallies with no social distancing”


  • SHOT: “Iowa reports 17 COVID-19 deaths, 580 coronavirus cases as hospitalizations hit new high”
  • CHASER: “In a campaign frenzy, Trump heads to Iowa — where Covid-19 is currently ‘out of control’”


  • SHOT: “Florida will be ‘like a house on fire’ in weeks with loose coronavirus restrictions, infectious disease expert says”
  • CHASER: “‘Trump holds packed rally after Covid diagnosis as he struggles in polls’: President addresses mostly maskless crowd in key swing state of Florida”

This irresponsible behavior is dangerous — and it’s totally out of touch with what Americans want to see from President Trump.

  • Americans are deeply concerned by Trump’s behavior: the share of Americans describing him as “irresponsible” has gone up 8 points in two months.
  • Unlike Trump, who is running around the country holding large events and pretending the virus doesn’t exist, Americans are overwhelmingly cautious when it comes to reopening the country and doing things like this — including two-thirds of independents and more than a third of Republicans.
  • TRUMP OR BIDEN >> Unlike Trump, Americans see Biden as being responsible with the virus and transparent with information about his own health — and trust him to get things back to normal.
  • Wow: Biden has a 59-point net advantage over Trump when it comes to whether his behavior is demonstrating good leadership.

Trump’s war on experts has also taken a dramatic and personal turn. For this entire pandemic, Trump has overruled experts and ignored science at every turn. But now, his campaign is personally harassing Dr. Fauci while twisting his words to make it seem like he is endorsing Trump.

  • DR. FAUCI: “The Trump Campaign Is ‘In Effect, Harassing Me’”
  • Politico: “Trump attacks Fauci amid campaign ad feud”



Millions of Americans are at risk of getting coronavirus, nearly 220,000 have died, and tens of millions have lost their jobs.

But instead of doing anything about it, Republicans are ramming through a lifetime Supreme Court appointment who can be seated in time to invalidate the Affordable Care Act amidst the pandemic.

And to top it all off, they are holding these hearings with total disregard for public health and safety in the Capitol.


  • AP: “Graham has linked himself to Trump after years of mocking the president. And he said in the past that he would not consider Supreme Court nominations in presidential election years. Yet there he was, gavel in hand, refusing to get tested just beforehand or to enforce a mask-wearing rule for those in the cavernous hearing room. Trump and a circle of supporters who attended a recent Rose Garden ceremony for Barrett had been infected. At least two members of Graham’s committee, Sens. Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, have also tested positive.”
  • Axios: “White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows refused to speak to reporters outside Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing on Monday after they requested that he keep his face mask on. Why it matters: Meadows has been working out of the White House, which has become a hotspot for the coronavirus over the past two weeks.

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.