Navigating Coronavirus — October 26

In today’s email, we look at the state of the pandemic in America, as Trump refuses to grasp its severity even as it wreaks havoc yet again inside his own White House.

Over the next 8 days and beyond, watch for daily 5:45 emails from my colleague Laura Hatalsky on Navigating the Vote. We’ll have the latest on protecting our democracy and ensuring the integrity of the vote.

But for now, read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 242 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have more than 8.8 million cases and 230,000 deaths in the U.S.

THE LATEST

TRUMP IS NOT ONLY IGNORING AMERICANS’ TOP CONCERN — HE’S MAKING IT WORSE.

At the end of the day, this election is going to come down to one issue: coronavirus. The pandemic is at the top of Americans’ minds, and the pandemic is getting worse.

We are firmly in the middle of a fall surge: on Friday, the U.S. hit its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, surpassing previous records from this summer. Cases are rising in 42 states, death tolls and hospitalizations are up, and what is the president doing to address it?

Nothing.

The White House has given up.

It’s hard to view this election as anything other than a referendum on Trump’s failed pandemic response. Americans are crying out for leaders to take it seriously and offer solutions, but Trump is continuing to ignore the crisis, downplay the virus, and overrule experts — actions that have been chronic characteristics since the pandemic began.

And right as this crescendo of coronavirus chaos hits before the election, there’s yet another outbreak in Trump’s own White House — and how are they handling it?

By trying to cover it up — and taking their super-spreading onto the campaign trail.

  • POLITICO: “White House’s top ranks hit with new round of coronavirus cases”
  • CNN: “At least 5 of Vice President Pence’s aides test positive for coronavirus”
  • “[White House Chief of Staff Mark] Meadows and the vice president’s office were attempting to keep news of a new illness quiet, a source told CNN. The source described Pence’s and Meadows’s behavior as a ‘coverup’ for trying to conceal the news from the public.”
  • “Despite contact with multiple people who recently tested positive, Mike Pence is refusing to quarantine in defiance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”
  • CAN’T MAKE IT UP >> Pence is continuing his schedule on the campaign trail, despite being a “close contact” with infected people, and his staff is claiming it’s because he’s an “essential worker.”

HOW WE GOT HERE: TRUMP IGNORED EXPERTS, DOWNPLAYED THE VIRUS, AND REFUSED TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE CRISIS.

Trump let the U.S. spiral to the worst outbreak in the world:

  • We have the highest number of cases and deaths, and Americans are 7 times more likely to die than people from other wealthy countries.
  • 8 million Americans were pushed into poverty, tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs, and 23 million are still relying on unemployment aid.
  • 12 million Americans have lost their health insurance during a global health crisis as Trump is still trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip millions more of their coverage — which his Supreme Court nominees may be poised to do in just a few weeks, even as the pandemic rages.

It never had to be this bad, and we can change this dire reality. We can listen to experts, believe in science, and put in place a national plan to test, trace and vaccinate. We can ramp up PPE availability, reopen safely, and finally begin to return life to normal.

It starts next week.

Go vote.

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.