Navigating Coronavirus — September 4

THE LATEST

  • IS A “VACCINE” THIS YEAR’S OCTOBER SURPRISE? Trump has strong-armed independent agencies like the CDC and FDA throughout the pandemic, overruling the experts and attacking his own top health officials. He’s been bullying the FDA to approve a vaccine before it finishes clinical trials, and now he’s pressuring the CDC to prepare to rush it to market just days before the 2020 election — alarming health experts who warn that isn’t enough time to adequately test the vaccine to ensure it’s safe and effective.
  • NYT: “The CDC tells health officials to be ready to distribute a vaccine by November, raising concerns over politicized timing.”
  • AP: “Health officials worry nation not ready for COVID-19 vaccine”
  • Epidemiologist, Saskia Popescu told NYT: “This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications. It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine.”
  • DR. FAUCI: In an interview Wednesday, Fauci said he wouldn’t be comfortable with a vaccine unless it was shown in clinical trials “to be clearly safe and effective.”
  • MORE POLLING >> Approval by Fauci and the FDA are key to Americans feeling comfortable about a vaccine. Trump’s endorsement doesn’t carry much weight; in fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans wish Trump would stay out of vaccine development entirely.
  • COVERING UP CASES >> Trump’s strategy to boost his approval ratings also includes artificially reducing positive test results to make it look like he’s got the outbreak more under control. He’s making it harder to control the virus by further narrowing an already inadequate testing strategy just for his own political interests.
  • Politico: “Just eight weeks from election day, the White House has stopped trying to contain the coronavirus — shifting instead to shielding the nation’s most vulnerable groups and restoring a sense of normalcy. The change is part of a concerted effort by the White House to increase public approval of President Donald Trump’s pandemic response — and bolster his reelection chances — by sharply reducing COVID-19 case counts and the number of deaths and hospitalizations attributed to virus, according to five people familiar with the strategy.”
  • NOTHING TO SEE HERE >> “It has to do with the president wanting to shift the attention away from testing,” said a Republican close to the administration who has advised elements of the response. “The challenge is that they didn’t want to find more cases. They didn’t want the numbers to keep going up.”
  • THE REAL MOTIVE >> A former senior CDC official said: “I think there’s a goal, and the goal is reelection. And all other goals have been subverted to serve that one.”
  • Axios: “Colleges drive a new wave of coronavirus hotspots”
  • Centre Daily: “PSU football doctor: 30–35 percent of COVID-19-positive Big Ten athletes had myocarditis”

**NEW** NAVIGATOR POLLING ON SCHOOL AND CAMPUS REOPENINGS…

  • Overwhelmingly, Americans remain cautious about school reopenings — and concerns are very high that reopenings could cause more people to get sick. Support for reopening schools is rising, but it isn’t changing the fact that people remain cautious and concerned about it because of the potential for spread to children, families, teachers, and communities.
  • As the school year largely restarts, people are less enthusiastic about hybrid learning than either fully in-person or fully remote. There is a partisan divide on this too — Republicans are more likely to say schools in their area are fully in-person and say it’s going well, while Democrats say schools in their area are remote and that it’s going well.
  • With the rash of outbreaks on college campuses, Americans blame students and colleges themselves — as well as Trump. Parents blame Trump most, and Americans express serious concerns with the recklessness of Trump pushing schools to reopen.
  • MORE >> If you’ve heard of Betsy DeVos, you are overwhelmingly likely to view her negatively. Those who say they are familiar with her dislike her by a 2-to-1 margin.

**NEW** NAVIGATOR POLLING ON THE POSTAL SERVICE AND PANDEMIC VOTING…

  • The vast majority of Americans continue wanting to see the Postal Service fully funded, as few see the issue as being resolved.
  • As Trump has continued his all-out assault on mail voting, the number of Americans who say they would take advantage of mail voting amidst the pandemic is decreasing. Among those planning to vote by mail, almost all plan to return their ballot right away.

ECONOMIC CRISIS IN CONTEXT

  • This is the 4th week in a row that total initial claims have risen and the 24th week in a row showing more initial unemployment claims than we saw in the worst week of the Great Recession.
  • As the economy continues to teeter on the brink and more and more temporary layoffs are becoming permanent, Trump and his allies still refuse to allow emergency expanded unemployment benefits to be reinstated to help workers and the economy.
  • Remember >> This morning’s jobs report will be a snapshot from mid-August, before the impact of Trump’s cutoff of emergency unemployment benefits and other key supports had time to ripple through the economy.
  • It will also still reflect some of Trump’s dangerous push to “reopen the economy” that may have juiced short term economic numbers but ultimately led to worse outcomes for workers and the economy.
  • One thing that will be crystal clear from this morning’s report: Trump and his allies’ refusal to reinstate emergency expanded unemployment benefits is devastating for families and the economy and needs to end.
  • They may say that the economy can “scrape by without another relief package,” but that is simply not true for the millions of workers and families who are already feeling the pain from his inaction.

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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.

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Navigating Coronavirus

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.

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