Navigating Coronavirus — October 19

Navigating Coronavirus
5 min readOct 19, 2020


In today’s email, we have the latest on just how severe the coronavirus outbreak is becoming across the country, as Trump ignores the problem and actively puts people in harm’s way at packed, often indoor events in hotspot states.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 231 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have more than 8.3 million cases and 224,000 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 surge is happening before our eyes, as coronavirus ravages the country at a scale we haven’t seen since this summer. This week, the U.S. hit another grim milestone: 8 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19.

And the outlook is bleak: outbreaks are growing in nearly every state, seven states just set single day case records, and hospitals across the midwest are struggling to care for all the hospitalized patients.

  • Washington Post: “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July”
  • CNN: “As coronavirus surges across the US, only 2 states are trending in the right direction”
  • Washington Post: “‘Hospitals ‘bursting at the seams’ as virus rages across Midwest’: Health-workers across the Midwest are issuing dire warnings that hospitals and health-care facilities are “bursting at the seams” amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Eight hospitals in the Kansas City area in Missouri had to temporarily stop accepting ambulances Wednesday night.”
  • WISCONSIN >> “Aspirus Wausau Hospital opens another COVID-19 unit as patient load multiplies in 3 weeks”
  • NEW MEXICO >> The US state of New Mexico is experiencing a 101% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations so far this month,
  • MISSOURI >> In Missouri, hospitals are reaching capacity in every region of the state. “ICU beds are very limited in several regions,” said Dave Dillon, a spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association. “This is a finite resource and if Missouri cannot bring down the infection rate, we will meet or exceed our capacity to care for the most critical Covid-19 patients.”

It didn’t have to be this way. Trump sidelined scientists from the start and failed to put in place a national testing plan, which could have curbed the virus. Instead, he pushed states to reopen before they were ready and allowed superspreader events that violated public health guidelines — letting the virus spread unchecked.

  • NYT: “‘Out of Control’: When Schools Opened in a Virus Hot Spot”
  • Washington Post: “How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest”
  • “More than 330 coronavirus cases and one death were directly linked to the rally as of mid-September, according to a Washington Post survey of health departments in 23 states that provided information. But experts say that tally represents just the tip of the iceberg, since contact tracing often doesn’t capture the source of an infection, and asymptomatic spread goes unnoticed. In many ways, Sturgis is an object lesson in the patchwork U.S. response to a virus that has proved remarkably adept at exploiting such gaps to become resurgent.”


States are in crisis mode as Trump hits the campaign trail, holding super spreader rallies in virus hotspots. His reckless behavior is enabling the spread of coronavirus, while his top advisors ignore science.

  • NYT: “Trump Boasts About Crowd’s Size in Florida as Fauci Warns Large Rallies Are ‘Asking for Trouble’”
  • CNN: “Trump visits states with large Covid outbreaks, but doesn’t acknowledge the spikes”
  • UNBELIEVABLE >> Trump’s own Coronavirus Task Force categorized Wisconsin as a “red zone,” alerting residents to avoid large and indoor gatherings. The task force even warned that ignoring social distancing guidelines “will lead to preventable deaths.” But Trump held a packed indoor rally anyway.
  • Chicago Tribune: “At large Wisconsin rally, President Trump downplays pandemic as state’s coronavirus cases hit record levels”
  • “The rally at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville packed several thousand people into a setting where social distancing was not an option and only about one-third of his supporters wore a mask. The event also required attendees to ride crowded shuttle buses to and from a parking lot a couple of miles away.”
  • FATAL IRONY >> Trump drew older Floridians to a packed, indoor rally where he told them they should stay home for their safety.
  • Politico: “President Donald Trump on Friday vowed to shield America’s senior citizens from the coronavirus and directed them to stay home amid the pandemic, addressing a crowd of elderly supporters at an indoor event where mask-wearing was sporadic and not mandated […] The 500 or so attendees, a good portion of whom did not wear masks, were kept away from the blistering Florida heat in an air-conditioned ballroom. Their seats were separated somewhat, but many chairs were closer together than the six feet required under most social-distancing guidelines.”

As Trump continues his irresponsible campaign tactics, the White House is also putting staff and the public at risk. His top coronavirus advisor, Scott Atlas, is lying about masks and spreading misinformation while considering a wildly dangerous strategy that will kill more Americans.

  • CNN: “Twitter removes tweet from Trump coronavirus adviser that undermined importance of masks”
  • USA Today: “Herd immunity strategy endorsed by White House a ‘ridiculous’ way to stop COVID-19, scientists say — it will just kill people”
  • Former CDC Director Tom Frieden: “A half-million more people could die if America pursues a ‘herd immunity’ plan”
  • EVEN TRUMP’S CLOSEST ALLIES ARE CRITICIZING HIM >> Washington Post: “After leaving hospital, Chris Christie blames White House lapses for ‘false sense of security’”

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.