Democrats blocked a vote on the $2 trillion stimulus bill, prompting an eruption of bipartisan fury on the Senate floor. Democrats have said the bill does too much to help corporations and not enough to support workers.
President Donald Trump seemed to agree, saying on Sunday, March 22, 2020: “I don’t want to give a bailout to a company and then have somebody go out and use that money to buy back stock in the company and raise the price and then get a bonus. … So, I may be Republican, but I don’t like that. I want them to use the money for the workers.”
Trump seems to be weighing whether to loosen restrictions on social distancing to boost the economy, tweeting on Sunday “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” But this goes directly against what his own health experts are telling him, which is that scaling back distancing measures could devastate hospitals.
“We really, really need everyone to stay at home,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Monday. “There are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”
The U.S. is reporting over 41,000 cases with more than 500 deaths. Monday, March 23 was the first day the U.S. reported more than 100 deaths in a single day.
Anthony Fauci’s frustration at Trump’s inaccuracies is showing. Science magazine’s Jon Cohen asked the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about having to be the representative of “truth and facts” at the White House when Trump is saying things that aren’t true. “I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,” Fauci said. “Okay, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the first senator to test positive for the virus, is now under intense scrutiny for not isolating during the week he was waiting to get his test results. The Post reports he had lunch with other senators, was around staffers and journalists, and worked out in the Senate gym on Sunday. Hours later, his office announced he had tested positive.
Utah GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney both said they will self-quarantine because they interacted with Paul in the past few days. As it stands, Congress cannot work remotely, so Paul, Lee and Romney will not be able to vote on the stimulus bill, tightening Senate Republicans’ margins to get it passed. Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s husband has tested positive for covid-19 and is hospitalized in Virginia.
Defence Secretary Mark T. Esper said two
U.S. Army field hospitals will be deployed this week, likely to New York City
and Seattle. They’re expected to provide 248 beds each.
Spain’s death toll climbed more than 25 percent in a day, rising from 1,720 on Sunday to 2,182 on Monday. “The worst is yet to come,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Sunday. After Italy, Spain has been the hardest-hit country in Europe.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a stay-at-home order for the entire country, except for essential activities which include shopping for necessities, exercise, doctors appointments and getting to and from work. The death toll in the U.K. is over 350.
Olympic officials say they are considering postponing the 2020 Summer Games. Canada said it would not send its athletes to compete, making it the first country to refuse to participate. “This is not solely about athlete health – it is about public health,” the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement, noting athletes cannot train safely right now.
Health researchers are finding an “evil genius” in the novel coronavirus, one that hijacks cells and spreads its replicas everywhere before its host even has symptoms. In some, the illness is deadly. In others, it is mild enough that infected people will readily spread it to others — unaware that they are even sick.
By Angela Fritz (The Washington Post)