Navigating Coronavirus — September 2

Navigating Coronavirus
7 min readSep 2, 2020


In today’s email, we have new Navigator polling on coronavirus — and on how the parties are viewed by the American public after both conventions. We also take a look at how Trump is making this crisis worse as he repeats the same pattern of ignoring science and putting his political motives ahead of Americans’ interests. Finally, we have the latest on the depths of the economic crisis caused by Trump’s inaction.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 188 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have 6.2 million cases and 189,000 deaths.


  • NEW NAVIGATOR POLL >> By double digits, Americans say the pandemic should be our leaders’ top priority right now, but they also name it as the top issue Republicans are not focusing enough on. Meanwhile, Americans say it is the top issue Democrats are focused on.
  • MORE NEW POLLING >> Republicans are seen as focusing on their own base and the wealthy, while Democrats are perceived as looking out for people of color, low-income people, and young people.


Message guidance on the latest developments with President Trump’s handling of the crisis.


Trump’s pandemic response has become predictable: ignore science, refuse to take responsibility, and pretend the virus doesn’t exist. He consistently neglects warnings and dismisses experts while refusing to change his tone or attitude — he’s still showing no signs of leadership and won’t enact a national strategy despite continued outbreak alarm bells and a mounting death toll.

  • DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO >> Documents released this week revealed that, as Trump pressured states to reopen schools and businesses, his task force was giving him increasingly alarming reports about the unmitigated spread of coronavirus across the country. Similar task force reports are being shared with new hotspot states, which recommend interventions that Trump repeatedly dismisses and violates himself — including mask mandates and limitations on large gatherings.
  • CNN: “Task force report shows dire warnings to Iowa, the state with the highest case rate this week”
  • HOW BAD IS IT IN IOWA? >> “Iowa’s exploding COVID-19 outbreaks at state universities in Ames and Iowa City are now disasters that can only be fully measured on a global scale.”
  • FEND FOR YOURSELVES >> That has been Trump’s message to governors trying to lead their states through crisis. His approach has created chaos and confusion and forced states to compete for resources, leaving lasting supply shortages.
  • DEEP DIVE — HOW WE GOT HERE: WSJ: “How Trump Sowed Covid Supply Chaos. ‘Try Getting It Yourselves.’: A landmark White House move left states to secure medical equipment themselves, causing problems that still haven’t abated”
  • CNN: “Nurses are still seeing shortages in personal protective equipment”
  • TESTING IS OVERRATED >> Trump has made it his mission to scale back testing nationwide, and now the guy in charge of our testing strategy is implying that it’s far-fetched to think that we should have enough quick and accurate tests to fight this virus.
  • White House Testing Czar on *TUESDAY*: “Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he doesn’t want to answer any more questions about when every American can quickly and cheaply get a COVID-19 test.”


The White House announced that they are refusing to join the World Health Organization’s global effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine — a shortsighted decision that will make it harder to fight the virus and prolong the pandemic and leave America on its own, as other nations work together to defeat this pandemic.

  • Washington Post: “More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development, secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population… [Trump’s decision] eliminates the chance to secure doses from a pool of promising vaccine candidates — a potentially risky strategy.”
  • “America is taking a huge gamble by taking a go-it-alone strategy,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University.”

Trump has also shown that he cares more about cheap PR stunts than real medical innovation. He consistently pushes unproven treatments, and now his “medical breakthrough” is being refuted by experts at the National Institute of Health.

  • Buzzfeed: “An NIH Panel Said There’s No Good Data To Show That Plasma Treats COVID, Contradicting Trump”



  • The Democratic convention left a far more positive impression than the Republicans’ — and the same was true of Biden’s speech vs. Trump’s. However, Trump’s approval numbers have ticked back to the levels they were before either convention.
  • Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of shutting down again if health experts say it’s necessary. Additionally, the vast majority want to keep social distancing in place until we have a vaccine.
  • BE SMART >> Trump attacked Biden for saying he would shut down the country again if health experts said it was necessary to get the virus under control, but two-thirds of the country agrees with Biden’s position. This is yet another example of Trump leading with his chin; he is aggressively taking a position on the pandemic that Americans overwhelmingly oppose.
  • Republicans are driving up the belief that the worst of the pandemic is over. Views on the pandemic are still split along party lines — 60% of Republicans say “the worst is over” while only 20% of Independents say the same — but 3 in 4 Americans say that we won’t return to normal until 2021 or after.


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 how Trump’s economy continues to crumble following a month of delay and inaction.

Workers and the economy continue to struggle as Trump and his administration continue to block critical government lifelines that kept families’ heads above water and prevented the economy from full collapse.

Trump continues to try to jam through his unworkable payroll tax scheme and is now being criticized for treating federal workers like “guinea pigs”even the Chamber of Commerce says big business shouldn’t implement the policy.

Trump continues pointing to the stock market and claiming that his policies are succeeding, but the stock market is not the economy, and he and his administration “risk sounding out of touch cheerleading a still-struggling economy with a jobless rate over 10 percent — above its peak during the Great Recession.”

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.