Navigating Coronavirus — September 22

In today’s email, we have new Navigator polling on the Supreme Court vacancy, including a dive into what the most effective messages against a rushed pre-election process are. We also look at how Trump and Republicans are rushing quickly to ram this nomination through, even as they sit on their hands and do nothing on the pandemic as it gets worse.

Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…

It’s been 208 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have more than 7 million cases and 204,000 deaths.



President Trump has dropped everything to rush quickly into a partisan Supreme Court confirmation process, despite sitting on his hands for months when it comes to addressing the worsening pandemic.

Trump and Senate Republicans should be focused on one thing: getting us out of the pandemic and helping our economy recover. They should not move heaven and earth to rush a Supreme Court nomination while they refuse to act on our health, safety, and economy in this pandemic.

He may have a plan for his partisan judicial power grab, but he still has no plan for getting the pandemic under control as the outbreak gets worse.

  • NO CONTACT TRACING >> More than six months into the pandemic, we still have no national contact tracing and containment strategy to track the spread — and now, we’re seeing alarming outbreaks due to air travel.
  • Washington Post: [The CDC identified] nearly 11,000 people who potentially were exposed to the virus on flights. But though the agency says some of those travelers subsequently fell ill, in the face of incomplete contact tracing information and a virus that incubates over several days, it has not been able to confirm a case of transmission on a plane. That does not mean it hasn’t happened, and recent scientific studies have documented likely cases of transmission on flights abroad.”
  • BOTCHED TESTING >> Trump still hasn’t implemented a real national testing strategy, and it’s leaving Americans struggling to get tested when they suspect they may have the virus.
  • CAN’T MAKE IT UP >> Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes “had to go to three different urgent care centers before she was finally given a test.” She then tested positive for COVID-19.
  • STILL NOT ENOUGH PPE >> Early on, Trump failed to enact the Defense Production Act quickly enough to mobilize emergency resources to hospitals and frontline workers. But the White House still hasn’t been able to get it right and shortages still remain — leaving our frontline health care professionals without enough personal protective equipment.
  • Washington Post: “‘The N95 shortage America can’t seem to fix’: Nurses and doctors depend on respirator masks to protect them from covid-19. So why are we still running low on an item that once cost around $1?”
  • MIXED MESSAGING ON THE VIRUS >> Trump’s war with experts is creating chaos and confusion — as he and his allies overrule public health officials, eroding trust and confidence and putting Americans at risk.
  • CNN: “CDC abruptly removes guidance about airborne coronavirus transmission, says update ‘was posted in error’”
  • Vox: “‘CDC reverses guidelines, telling people to get tested for Covid-19 even without symptoms’: Previous guidance changes seemed to be politically motivated to favor Trump. The CDC just walked them back.”

REMEMBER >> In the middle of this pandemic chaos that Trump refuses to address, the first order of business for his new justice would be to approve Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and rip away health care from millions of Americans — including protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions like COVID-19.



  • By 20 points, Americans want the winner of the November election to pick Justice Ginsburg’s replacement, and Democrats in Congress are 10 points more trusted than Trump on appointing a Supreme Court justice.
  • MORE >> By 15 points, progressives win a back-and-forth argument on whether to consider a Supreme Court nomination in an election year when considering the Republican timeline from 2016.
  • Mitch McConnell is deeply unpopular. He is 24 points underwater, and just 40% support his decision to hold hearings and bring Trump’s Supreme Court nominee up for a vote.
  • MESSAGING >> Focus on how the Republicans are prioritizing this over the pandemic. Among persuadables, the most effective message is that Republicans are dropping everything to rush this nomination while refusing to act on our health, safety and economy during the pandemic.
  • MAKE THE CASE STRONGLY >> After Americans hear our arguments for waiting until after the election to consider this nomination, opposition to a pre-election confirmation process increases by a net of 13 points.
  • The top issue for Americans in the court debate? The Affordable Care Act. It’s also the top issue among independents by a significant margin.

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.