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Barr orders increase in home confinement as virus surges
Attorney General William Barr has ordered the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement
Lessons learned from Asia: Should we all be wearing masks?
As governments in the West wrestle with guidance on face masks, many living in Asia have been diligently wearing them for months since the start of the crisis. And there is evidence that widespread use has led to greater success in infection control. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
Sports franchises like to talk about family. Here’s an example of acting like one.
They're part-time employees at Capitals and Wizards games. They got taken care of anyway.
Cuomo denies he’ll ‘seize’ ventilators from upstate for NYC, says order promotes ‘sharing’
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bristled Friday at a reporter’s suggestion that his executive order to deploy the National Guard to round up unused ventilators and other medical gear to fight coronavirus amounted to a bid to “seize” the items.
Britain's Labour Party names Keir Starmer as new leader
Britain's main opposition Labour Party named Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions who opposed the country's exit from the European Union, as its leader on Saturday.
I have a silk mask to match my wedding dress
Rome has given me so much. I came here for a two-year stay from Montclair, New Jersey, for a master's degree. That was nearly seven years ago. I was bewitched by the Eternal City, and most of all by the man who is now my fiancé, Fabio.
Coronavirus live updates: Cloth masks in public recommended; US retailers limit store access; FEMA sends medical supplies
As the nation continues to grapple with the crisis, retailers are limiting how many shoppers can enter stores to encourage social distancing.       
No COVID-19 tests available for prisoners at center of NY outbreak, court docs show
"Please help me before I die," one inmate said via his attorney.
Letters to the Editor: Time for Obama and other ex-presidents to come to our rescue
Trump's leadership is inadequate in one of the worst crises ever. Perhaps typically quiet ex-presidents can put forth a plan for a national lockdown.
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Letters to the Editor: Going to church doesn't make you a good believer, especially during a pandemic
If spirituality is about the individual, then a few weeks for legally mandated isolation might actually be good for the soul.
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Column: Social distancing holdouts put us all at risk. What part of 'deadly pandemic' don't they get?
Why does social distancing in the coronavirus pandemic still meet resistance when we know it can flatten the curve, reduce deaths and save our lives and the lives of others?
Opinion: We're talking a lot about seniors and coronavirus. Here, they talk for themselves
Not surprisingly, our older letter writers have opinions when politicians suggest they should sacrifice their health for the economy.
Rep. Chip Roy: Coronavirus shutdowns and rising unemployment causing economic pain that must be considered
While government leaders have shut down much of our economy in response to the coronavirus, we should recognize that those efforts could cost lives in other ways.
Op-Ed: How Republicans are using the pandemic to suppress the vote
In November, Republican lawmakers could close polling places in Democratic areas and even prevent people from voting directly for the president.
Coronavirus pandemic generates new fraud strains: COVID-19 scams on computers, smartphones
Scammers arise during disasters and crises and it's no different during the ongoing pandemic. Be wary of COVID-19 scams on computers and smartphones.
Letters to the Editor: Pot vaping was ruining lungs before COVID-19, and now cannabis is 'essential'?
An ER doctor criticizes Gov. Newsom for deeming the marijuana business essential amid a pandemic that causes deadly pneumonia.
Too Much Oil, Not Enough Toilet Paper
Slate Money talks about small business loans, the toilet paper shortage, and Trump’s market-moving oil tweet.
Stars from Chrissy Teigen to Chance the Rapper Are Betting On Quibi to Change How You Watch Everything
Hollywood has tried and failed before to get in on the market for short-form digital entertainment. Quibi is the most ambitious attempt yet.
A funeral is thought to have sparked a covid-19 outbreak — and led to many more funerals
A southern Georgia county now has more coronavirus-related deaths than the Atlanta metro region of Fulton County.
Stretching the International Order to Its Breaking Point
At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty prevails. The greatest error that geopolitical analysts can make may be believing that the crisis will be over in three to four months, as the world’s leaders have been implying. As documented in The Atlantic and elsewhere, public-health experts make a compelling case that COVID-19 could be with us in one way or another until a vaccine comes on the market or herd immunity is achieved—either of which could take 12 to 18 months, unless we get lucky with a cure or an effective treatment before then. A long crisis, which is more likely than not, could stretch the international order to its breaking point. Even after a vaccine is available, life will not go back to normal. COVID-19 was not a black swan and will not be the last pandemic. A nervous world will be permanently changed.COVID-19 is the fourth major geopolitical shock in as many decades. In each of the previous three, analysts and leaders grossly underestimated the long-term impact on their society and on world politics.The end of the Cold War was a momentous event, but few saw the era of American hegemony and prosperity that would follow (the late Charles Krauthammer was a notable exception). In the 1992 presidential primary, one of the leading Democratic candidates, Paul Tsongas, had as his campaign slogan “The Cold War is over and Japan won.” That year, the U.S., suffering through a recession, saw Ross Perot make the strongest third-party bid of modern times on a platform of pessimism about the country’s trajectory.The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were widely seen as the effective end to the 20th century, but at the time many analysts argued that the long-term geopolitical impact would be limited. For instance, Michael Howard, the distinguished war historian at the University of Oxford, said that while the terrorist threat “will never entirely go away, I suspect that once we have hunted down the present lot of conspirators the world will return to business as usual.” Many others did forecast dramatic changes, of course, but few believed that the United States would be still fighting in the Middle East almost two decades later and that drones would revolutionize warfare.[Read: How the Pandemic Will End]American policy makers also underestimated the financial crisis of 2007–09, when they opted to let Lehman Brothers fail in September 2008 on the mistaken assumption that the decision would not trigger the collapse of other companies. European officials thought that the crisis had been made in the United States and would not affect global financial markets, and dismissed any concern that the euro zone may have its own vulnerabilities. The cooperation among G20 states, especially the United States and China, in responding to the crisis blinded many to the era of great-power competition that was about to unfold, as well as the nationalistic tendencies that would take hold in many governments. As the historian Adam Tooze has argued, in 2012, the populist wave had ebbed, but the biggest shocks—Brexit and Donald Trump’s election—lay in the future.Now the COVID-19 pandemic has severe public-health, economic, and geopolitical ramifications, and many of those outcomes depend on how long the world will be in this suspended state. If the crisis lasts for a few months, the economy might well bounce back quickly, as aggregate demand returns.However, in a long crisis, countries will emerge profoundly changed. No one knows how exactly, but educated guesses are possible. A collection of massive domestic crises will collide, as health systems collapse or come close to it and governments struggle with double-digit unemployment, a severe recession or depression, plummeting revenue, increased expenditure, and mounting debt. Intermittent shutdowns, returns to work followed by retreats, and the continued suppression of demand are likely. The recession will look more like an L or W shape than a V. Companies and governments will run out of cash. They may default on debts, which will have ripple effects for other companies and could destabilize financial institutions. Those countries that can afford to will be forced to turn to a stimulus package multiple times. Voters appear to be understanding of their leaders now, but the mood in six months or a year will be very different. As Warren Buffett once remarked of the markets, you see who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. A long crisis exposes which countries are truly competent. Which states can undertake the extensive, massive testing needed to have broad public-health surveillance and tailored isolation? Which will allow for the least restrictive economic measures? And which states can scale up industrial production to maintain resilient health-care systems and personnel all at the same time?[Anne Appelbaum: Creeping Authoritarianism Has Finally Prevailed]As a number of astute observers have noted, COVID-19 could end globalization as we know it, particularly if the pandemic is prolonged. Gérard Araud, formerly France’s ambassador to the United States, told me that when a crisis occurs, one should ask whether it breaks a trend or confirms it. “There is,” he said, “an assault on globalization” from multiple sources—the financial crisis, U.S.-China competition, climate-change activists pushing for people to buy local. COVID-19 piles on the pressure. Countries will be wary of outsourcing crucial medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to other countries. Supply chains more generally will be disrupted and will be hard to repair. Governments will play a much larger role in the economy and will use that role to rebuild a national economy instead of a global one—their priority will be domestic industry.Some of these steps to restrict globalization are not only likely; they are necessary. Democratic governments cannot and should not tolerate a situation in which they lack the capacity to produce face masks, respiratory machines, and vital medications. The public will demand, and is entitled to, levels of redundancy in our manufacturing system. The challenge after this crisis ends is not to resist calls for reducing globalization, and the associated vulnerability, but to understand how best to reshape that process.Meanwhile, those actors that have surveillance technologies may enforce quarantines on people who test positive for COVID-19 or other potential viruses as they emerge. For instance, leaders in Israel have empowered Shin Bet, the country’s internal security service, to use cellphone location data to track Israeli citizens during the outbreak. Others will surely follow, putting a new twist on vital questions about privacy, accountability, and safety.A long crisis will not discriminate and will damage all of the world’s power and regions, although some countries will suffer more than others.Much has been made of the opportunity that China has to supplant the United States as the leader of the international response to the pandemic, but COVID-19 is likely to be a strategic setback for China, particularly in its efforts to make inroads into Europe and other democracies. The Chinese Communist Party suppressed early warnings about the virus and an official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission reportedly ordered a genomics company studying it to destroy “all existing samples,” causing public-health officials to lose invaluable time that could have been used to contain COVID-19. There is widespread concern that Chinese pressure has compromised the World Health Organization’s response to COVID-19 at at a time when multilateral cooperation was desperately needed. China subsequently allowed diplomats to falsely claim that the U.S. Army developed COVID-19 as a bioweapon and used it against China. The CCP is now trying to limit the damage of its errors by providing assistance to other countries in the form of face masks, respirators, and other supplies. Many see this aid as an act of confidence, but it might be evidence that the regime feels vulnerable and fragile.Governments have welcomed China’s help, but they are under no illusion about the CCP’s responsibility. Ordinary people around the world, particularly in Europe, have suffered greatly from COVID-19—losing loved ones and their livelihood. They are unlikely to forgive or forget those who made mistakes that worsened their predicament, whether they are domestic or foreign. These matters will likely be litigated for years, with every action gone over with a fine-tooth comb. The damage to China’s international reputation may be the least of the CCP’s worries; the government’s legitimacy lies in its perceived effectiveness. China will also struggle to recover its high levels of economic growth while the world is in a deep recession. The country is reliant on global demand, and a protracted recession will demonstrate its interdependence with the rest of the world. If the crisis continues for 12 to 18 months, the virus will likely return to China, with all of the risks that poses for the regime.However, China may also take advantage of a long crisis, particularly in hard-hit countries in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, and parts of Southeast Asia where China’s footholds through the Belt and Road Initiative and its digital infrastructure will give it a head start when the time comes to rebuild after the crisis. Meanwhile, America’s industrial deficiencies and its failure to come up with a real alternative to BRI will handicap its capacity to help even if there were a wiser and more strategically minded president in the Oval Office.[Derek Thompson: The Economy Is Ruined. It Didn’t Have to Be This Way.]The Middle East will likely pay a high price. The virus has decimated parts of the Iranian elite and spread from there to ravage much of the region. The Iranian regime appears incredibly fragile, but if the government falls, no one knows what comes next, given the lack of any organized opposition within the country. My Brookings colleague Tamara CofmanWittes told me that Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon are also particularly poorly equipped to deal with what lies ahead. Two Egyptian generals died from COVID-19 almost two weeks ago, which suggests that the problem is much bigger than the government admits and has gotten into the army, one of the few institutions in Egypt that is capable of delivering services in a crisis. Revolution is unlikely—people will be sick, unable to organize, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has already systematically destroyed the opposition. Basic governing effectiveness in the whole region has been degraded over many years because of corruption and unresponsive dictators. After a long crisis, much of the Middle East will consist of zombie governments that are widely perceived as ineffective.The European Union is a potential loser, although not inevitably so. One European official, who spoke with me under the condition of anonymity in order to talk frankly, said the crisis will be “transformative.” “Both the society and the international system we live in will be determined by how we act throughout the crisis,” the official said. The pandemic will “bring out the best and worst in us—maybe both simultaneously.” Health care is not a core competency of the EU, so all of the responses have been at the national level and will likely continue that way. As a result, borders have been closed and EU foreign ministries are negotiating with one another over the rights of transit for EU citizens to travel home through other member states. Another official told me that no leaders, except for President Emmanuel Macron, have shown interest in a cooperative response, at least in the first couple of weeks. They don’t oppose cooperation on principle; they are just so preoccupied with their own domestic crisis that no bandwidth is left for anything else. But recent days have brought signs of greater coordination and cooperation among EU member states.The crunch for the EU will come on economics, which unlike health care is very much its business. The economic crisis of COVID-19 will be much worse than the euro crisis and will affect everyone—north and south, east and west. No European country can cope on its own, with the exception of Germany, which runs a surplus. The big question is whether Germany will agree to far-reaching reforms, such as common debt instruments (known as euro bonds) that the country has previously resisted. Italy, Spain, and other countries that suffered mightily in this pandemic and performed heroically will not respond well if the EU fails to move beyond the old orthodoxies of the euro crisis and doesn’t demonstrate the solidarity it prides itself on.That brings us to the United States. COVID-19 is a disaster for Americans. The United States now has more cases than any other country. President Trump is singularly ill-equipped to handle the pandemic. For weeks, he parroted Chinese talking points that the virus was under control, and he predicted a good ending for the United States. He did not use the time he had to increase crucial medical supplies or prepare for a surge in medical personnel. In a long crisis, many people will die needlessly and the financial cost will be in the many trillions of dollars. The world has lost whatever confidence remained in the ability of Trump’s America to take charge. Leaders have watched in horror as the administration focused the bulk of its diplomatic efforts on renaming the virus. If Trump is reelected—and his polling numbers suggest he has benefited politically from the pandemic so far—substantial international cooperation is unlikely after the crisis ends and the recovery begins. Each country will go its own way.The United States’ inaction has allowed the virus to spread inside its borders, and it has actively increased the risk to other countries. Sins of omission, however, are not generally as egregious as sins of commission, at least according to the rest of the world. Based on my conversations with officials from European and Asian allies, the United States has not figured much in other countries’ calculations. Europeans were vexed by Trump’s criticism of the EU, but didn’t care much about the travel ban. People had stopped traveling anyway, and European nations would soon close their own borders. Reports that Trump sought to purchase a German firm to monopolize a vaccine for the United States were more damaging, but the plan was thwarted by the German government. New reports, denied by the Trump administration and the company involved, that the United States is intercepting shipments of masks destined for Europe will raise similar fears. Generally, however, the United States is seen as a warning—an example, along with Brazil, of how a populist government is incapable of handling this crisis.However, if Americans hit the reset button in the November election, a Biden administration will have the opportunity to turn the page and help lead an international recovery effort. This reset is not an option in CCP-ruled China.As Evan Medeiros of Georgetown University recently pointed out, the only countries who have emerged from this crisis with their credibility intact so far are Asian democracies like South Korea and Taiwan. Germany is showing similar signs of competency, particularly in testing. They have offered a model for others to follow.The real risk is that a long crisis will eviscerate international cooperation—among Western allies and between America and China—and leave a more anarchic world in which all are against all. As Gérard Araud pointed out to me, in 2019 the WHO published a plan to respond to a pandemic. Not a single major country followed the guidance. All did what they thought was necessary to protect their interests. Major powers will likely have less capacity—in terms of both materials and time—to cooperate on the geopolitical shocks that will surely occur during this crisis. They are completely preoccupied with their domestic problems and will be hard-pressed to invest time in a problem where their national interests are not directly threatened. And then there is the personal element. One official reflected to me that leaders are frequently moved to action only when they meet one another in person. Phone calls are simply not the same. It’s too easy to hang up, prevaricate, and turn back to the domestic problems.The crisis no doubt reinforces power politics, particularly between the United States and China. But the pandemic also underscores the importance of cooperation with rivals on shared interests even as they compete ferociously in other spheres. During the Cold War, for instance, the United States and the Soviet Union worked together on the nonproliferation treaty and on arms control. Cooperation between rivals is not a simple matter and requires new strategies to create the conditions for a partnership to happen. Arms control was possible in the Cold War only because strategists understood the importance of second-strike survivability—the counterintuitive notion that your country was vulnerable to a first-strike nuclear attack if you could destroy all of your enemy’s weapons in one go (because it would give your enemy an incentive to strike first rather than to wait and retaliate after an attack). We have yet to invent similar concepts to advance cooperation on transnational issues, such as pandemics, with an authoritarian Chinese regime that has a system and worldview at odds with our own. For instance, is it better to allow such cooperation to be linked to other issues or ringfence it from everything else? How can you ensure sufficient levels of transparency, particularly when sensitive scientific matters are involved? That is a key task for the foreign-policy community.No historical lessons will guide the world this time. The last global pandemic—the Spanish influenza of 1918–19—is not generally regarded as a driver of domestic and international politics over the 1920s and ’30s, likely because the world was already broken by World War I and less integrated than it is now. Never before has a single event upended everyone’s lives simultaneously and so suddenly. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more the world will change.
Has Covid-19 been in humans for years?
Leading scientists tell CNN that it's possible the virus didn't just come from bats in the past months, but that it could made the leap to humans many months, perhaps even years ago before it then transferred among people to become as lethal as it has. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.
U.K. Labour Party Has a New Leader: Keir Starmer
Mr. Starmer will have to battle for visibility at a time when the coronavirus crisis is eclipsing all other news and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is commanding the headlines.
A woman flying to see her dying mother was the plane's only passenger
Sheryl Pardo was preoccupied with one fact as she boarded her flight. This would be the last time she saw her mother.
Prison Staff in Washington State Given 'Expired' Face Masks to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus—But Use is Voluntary
The masks are for "general use" and will not be mandatory, which has echoed broad guidance from by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 7,000, Over 30,000 New Cases Reported on Friday
At least 30,000 new cases of the novel virus infections have brought the total number of infections to 278,000.
The Directors of Netflix’s Crip Camp on What the Documentary Can Teach Us Today
The new movie was supposed to debut in theaters, but the filmmakers see silver linings in the timing of its release.
Olympic hopeful may file for unemployment after 2020 postponement
Like many Americans around the country, Gwen Berry is weighing her financial options.
Tristan Wirfs could be perfect fit for Giants in 2020 NFL Draft
This is where the rubber meets the road for the Giants in this draft. It is imperative they come out of this with at least one potential starter and, if you want to get serious here, they could use two newcomers with the potential to immediately move into the lineup. Help is needed, fairly urgently,...
South Dakota state lawmaker, 74, dies of coronavirus
A state lawmaker on Friday became the third person to die from the novel coronavirus in South Dakota, which is among a handful of states that have not issued stay-at-home orders.
India reports biggest single-day jump in new cases
Two pitches may have led to Noah Syndergaard’s elbow issues
You can be sure of one thing. No one will work harder to come back from Tommy John surgery than Noah Syndergaard. “This guy works like no one else,’’ former Mets manager and current adviser Terry Collins told The Post this week. “This kid worked his ass off to be better and asked all the...
‘Courageous, resilient’: Detroit police solider on, despite COVID-19 outbreak
Behind the NYPD, DPD has some of the highest quarantine numbers in the country.
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Andy Puzder: As coronavirus increases unemployment, federal aid helps small businesses survive pandemic
Unfortunately, we know unemployment will go higher before it goes down again. Roughly 10 million workers have filed unemployment claims over just the past two weeks, as businesses all over the country curtailed operations to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic,
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D.C.-area forecast: Turning warmer into early next week, plus a mix of clouds and sun this weekend
The offshore storm dominating our weather is finally moving on after today.
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Man's tiny picnic table for squirrels goes viral, prompts people in quarantine to build their own
Just because we’re all at home isolating, doesn’t mean nature is.
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How to keep hair healthy without the salon
It might be a while before salons reopen. Here's how to maintain your hair at home.
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A coronavirus travel nightmare: A blur of cancelled flights, border closures, and martial law
How one American's long-planned vacation turned into a blur of border closures, cancelled flights, martial law and diplomatic wrangling.        
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‘That Woman From Michigan’ Talks Trump
Donald Trump’s exchanges with Democratic politicians usually go something like this: He picks a petty fight, almost always lobbing a tweet with a low-grade schoolyard taunt. The politician he targeted makes some bland statement about not engaging, but slips in a few passive-aggressive comments to needle him back. Political reporters lap it up.That’s what’s been playing out between Trump and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer over the past week.Except this time is different, Whitmer says. This time, Trump’s routine is going to lead to Americans dying.While Trump is taking shots at her from the White House, Whitmer told me, “more people are going to get sick and more lives are going to be lost because we don’t have enough testing, because we don’t have enough [personal protective equipment], because there aren’t enough ventilators, because the national stockpile, I understand, is getting close to being depleted. And we’re not even close to meeting the needs of people that are already sick, and more and more are going to get sick.” This isn’t a normal political fight, she said. “There’s going to be a horrible cost.”Whitmer is trying to be diplomatic, even as she tries to negotiate for lifesaving equipment with a president who seems ready to let his personal vendettas guide his public-health response. She’s worried not just as the governor of a state that’s been shorted, but as the daughter of a man with COPD who’s living in Florida and who’s potentially put at more risk by the governor there, Ron DeSantis, who until earlier this week was taking more of a trust-his--gut approach to the pandemic. Whitmer said she’s dismayed by “the inconsistent messaging and the lackadaisical attitude at the national level, [which] really undermined the seriousness of the issue for a lot of people,” and by the “staggered inconsistent response we’ve seen nationally.”Trump is often influenced by raw, self-interested politics. He’s looking to win votes in Michigan in November, but right now he’s depriving Michiganders of the help they need, because of his feelings about their governor. How does she make sense of that?“I’m not sure how to answer the question,” Whitmer said.Our full interview can be heard on the latest episode of The Ticket.Subscribe to The Ticket: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher (How to Listen)What follows is an edited and condensed transcript of their conversation.Edward-Isaac Dovere: Do you remember the first you heard about the coronavirus?Gretchen Whitmer: You know, in January and February, [thinking] This is a global phenomenon that it's really just a matter of time. In February, my sister really started sounding the alarm. She was watching it very closely. Our dad is in Florida and we’ve been consistently, for a couple of months, trying to get him to come back to Michigan—frankly, because we’re so concerned about his ability to get the care he might need. He has COPD. And we really started working on him. We still have not been successful. And that’s why I’ve been watching what that governor’s not been doing, increasingly alarmed.Dovere: What may turn out to be the final “normal” rally of the campaign happened in Detroit on March 9, the night before the Michigan primary. It was a Joe Biden event, and you were there endorsing him. The next day, things started to shut down. Why did that rally go on?Whitmer: We were getting so much inconsistent messaging from the federal government and we hadn’t seen it occur in Michigan at that juncture. Now, the next day were the first two cases. And that’s when everything went to hyper-speed. But, you know, I’ve thought about that evening, because I’d told people, “We’ve got this virus. We’ve got to stop shaking hands.” We’re doing fist bumps, doing elbow bumps. You know, people were kind of teasing me about it, because they say, “Oh, I can shake your hand,” you know? I think that the inconsistent messaging and the lackadaisical attitude at the national level really undermined the seriousness of the issue for a lot of people. I think it still is.Dovere: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself the morning of that rally, would you have said to cancel it?Whitmer: I would say: Start buying every N95 mask I could get my hands on. I would say: Start shutting things down immediately. You know, despite all that, we’ve been more on the aggressive side and have moved faster than a lot of states. And each of those decisions has hurt. It weighs on you. You worry about people losing their jobs and not having money, and businesses that may not open again, and kids that you’re pulling out of school. And even at that juncture, there was conflicting advice even in the medical community.Dovere: In 2018, when you were running in your primary, single-payer health care was an issue. You were not for it. Your primary opponent, whom you beat by quite a lot, was for it. Has anything over the last couple weeks made you think differently about that question or other questions about health-care access from where you were before this outbreak began?Whitmer: I’ve always been for getting everyone covered. The debate in my primary, I thought, was not an honest one, because the state isn’t going to do this on our own. The ability for a governor who’s going in with a Republican legislature—I couldn’t tell people I can single-handedly do something that I know I couldn’t do. I just don’t think it’s intellectually honest. And that’s precisely why I took a more thoughtful approach to the same goal, which is getting more people covered.Dovere: It’s impossible to talk with you about what’s going on here without getting into what your relationship has been with President Trump. He doesn’t want to talk to you. If you were on a call with him right after this one, what would you say to him to try to break through?Whitmer: You know, it’s interesting. He did call me on Tuesday. And you know, I just reiterated: I don’t want to fight. We need to join together in the fight against COVID-19. We can’t afford to fight each other. We all have to be fighting this virus. And so I would say: Thank you for the 400 ventilators that FEMA sent. I’d say: I need about 5,000 more immediately. Every one of us has a job to do here. And the federal government, I think, really should be taking more of a national strategy. Having this patchwork of policies makes it more porous in terms of our ability to fight COVID-19 as a nation. We need to focus on bringing manufacturing back into the United States. We’re waiting on swabs from Italy and masks from China. Global trade is not all bad, but the fact of the matter is, we are at a disadvantage in terms of fighting COVID-19. And I would say we need to deploy the Defense Production Act in a meaningful, real way to meet the needs of Americans right now. These are the things I’ve said consistently on television. I’ve seen other governors say essentially the same thing and not have the same reaction. I’m not going to spend a lot of energy analyzing the difference there. But I will just say this: I’m doing my job and I’m doing the same job that governors across the country are doing. We are trying, in this untenable environment, to do as much as we can for the people we serve.Dovere: Are people going to die because of the government’s shortfalls?Whitmer: More people are going to get sick and more lives are going to be lost because we don’t have enough testing, because we don’t have enough PPE, because there aren’t enough ventilators, because the national stockpile, I understand, is getting close to being depleted. And we’re not even close to meeting the needs of people that are already sick, and more and more are going to get sick. And so I do think that there’s going to be a horrible cost because of all of these pieces.Dovere: Joe Biden has been talking with a lot of people about what’s going on. One of the things that puts you into the conversation is, of course, you get talked about as a potential running mate for him. He said he’s going to pick a woman. You’re from a swing state. Even aside from that, you’ve generated a lot of national political interest. If he called and asked you to do it, what would your answer be?Whitmer: Well, I’ll just say this: I am 15 months into my job as governor. I worked for two years to earn the opportunity to have this job. And no one could ever have anticipated that we would be here in this moment. I didn’t go out looking for the national spotlight. I know that the most important thing, where I’m spending all my energy right now, is trying to help my frontline health-care providers and trying to educate Michiganders so that we can slow the spread of COVID-19. I don’t like being attacked in national news. I didn’t go out of my way looking for all of this conversation. I just know that I need assistance and I need to use my voice at every opportunity to try to highlight what’s happening in Michigan so that I can help my nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists who are doing superhero work.Dovere: The president called you “that woman from Michigan.” When you did your Daily Show interview, you were wearing a T-shirt that had that written on it. So there’s some of this fight that you seem to have identified with.Whitmer: I have been called many things in my lifetime. And I know that if you can, try to keep it in perspective ... Someone sent me that shirt and I thought it kind of said, This is not something that was going to hold me back. I’m going to keep trying to forge every alliance I can, whether it’s with the administration or it’s with a Michigan business that can produce some of these needed things or it is someone who will reach in and contract with me to help me get this critical equipment in. We’re gonna keep perspective because that’s what’s most important. And that means we are not one another’s enemies. The enemy is COVID-19.
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The Coronavirus Killed the Policy Primary
What a rollout it was going to be. Joe Biden would stand next to former Representative Gabby Giffords at a big rally in Miami the Monday before the Florida primary. They’d rail against gun violence, criticize Bernie Sanders, and get a head start on taking it to Donald Trump in November. It was just what the gun-control movement needed: a big splashy event that would be all over local, state, and national news.The rally, originally scheduled for March 16, never happened.Instead, Giffords endorsed Biden in a video on Twitter. The thousands of retweets were nice. But they weren’t what the gun-control movement had been hoping for. Did you know the endorsement happened? If you did, did you care?Guns. Climate change. Immigration reform. Financial reform. Education reform. Criminal-justice reform. Spending proposals. Tax proposals. The Democratic presidential race was the thickest any race had ever been on policy. Every candidate had an advisory team; every advisory team had white papers and bullet points and ideas of what could, theoretically, happen once its candidate was in the White House and Congress was ready to play along.Thanks to the coronavirus, that’s all gone. Aside from health-care reform, the pandemic has almost completely overtaken the presidential campaign—and the health-care arguments are mired in the same dug-in pleas for and against Medicare for All that they were over the past year. The coronavirus crisis has rewritten the rules about the scope of the bills Congress can pass, sucked up trillions of dollars in government money, driven the economy into a recession and possibly a global depression, and made clear that its aftermath will define the next four years, no matter who wins in November.Advocates and activists for the issues Democrats were most concerned about before the virus had been expecting to be out in full force this spring. Instead, they’re sitting at home like everyone else, and they don’t know when their chance will come again, this year or beyond. “We need to understand that nobody has a crystal ball right now. There are not a lot of people who have a lot of confidence about the way things are going to shape up,” says Peter Ambler, the executive director of Giffords’s gun-safety organization. Squinting for a silver lining in the crisis, he told me that so many people staying at home has meant a drop-off in mass shootings, although the panic-buying of guns has spiked at the same time. It’s also meant that shelter in place is no longer a term used only during shootings. Maybe all the focus on public health will get people thinking differently about gun safety, perhaps the clearest example of American politics’ failure to produce policy that aligns with public opinion.“At a time when [Americans’] health and safety is at greater risk,” Ambler said, “I do think that gun safety’s going to continue to break through as a kitchen-table issue.”Just as social distancing was taking off three weeks ago, NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, and several other progressive groups announced a “women’s summit” scheduled for the Sunday before the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July. Now the convention has been moved back to August, and it’s not clear what form it will take. Bringing people together for an additional gathering the day before? Even the leaders of the groups organizing the summit know that’s going to be tough.[Read: What do progressives do now?]“We’re adapting and being even more flexible in our activities, but it’s not an option to throw in the towel on organizing, even—or especially—through this crisis,” says NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue. “The GOP always wins when fewer people participate, and beating Trump in November remains a top priority for millions of Americans.”Everyone being confined to their home almost certainly means that women in abusive relationships haven’t been able to leave. Nonemergency medical procedures being put off almost certainly means that women who might have sought an abortion can’t do so. (Ohio, Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi have classified abortion as a nonessential procedure, temporarily banning it entirely.) The economic wreckage that the coronavirus leaves behind will almost certainly land disproportionately on women.That, Hogue told me, means that groups like hers are looking ahead. NARAL is among the groups that have seen an uptick in online engagement, with so many people sitting on their couch with their computer. “Continuing to plan events that centralize women is an act of hope and also a pragmatic way to remind folks just what’s at stake. The energy, ideas, and work that goes into planning will be used to foster solutions if we end up having to cancel an in-person event,” Hogue said.Meanwhile, remember the family-separation policy? The migrants who were left in detention centers? They were at the center of the Democratic primary race for about a week in June, when all the candidates took a drive from the site of the first debate, in Miami, to look over a wall at the Homestead detention center. They haven’t gotten much media attention since then, even as advocates worry about the spread of the virus in cramped facilities that don’t prioritize showers, let alone hand-washing. The response to and aftermath of pandemic don’t leave much room for immigration reform. “We know it’s a big battle for us not to be forgotten, so we’ve got to be louder and bolder,” says Javier Valdes, the co–executive director of Make the Road New York, a large immigrants’ rights advocacy organization. Like others, he is reaching hard for optimism, arguing that maybe the crisis will make advocacy easier. “The one thing that this moment also highlights is the intersectionality of all our issues,” Valdes told me.At 6 a.m. the morning before we spoke, six Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents knocked on the door of a member of Valdes’s group, a Mexican national, in full protective gear and arrested him. Even for that, there won’t be protests. There won’t be press conferences. “Right now, the only thing we can do is call and email,” Valdes said. His fear is that this, too, won’t attract notice.Then there’s climate change, the issue that had become definitional in the Democratic race, vying with health care in polls about voters’ top concerns. The pandemic might seem like the best imaginable shock to the system to get people serious about climate change—the population of the entire world responding together to a threat measured by science and (hopefully) eventually defeated by science, for better or worse.But just ask Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the official most identified with fighting climate change, how much time he’s had to talk about the environment while nursing homes and hospitals are being overrun by COVID-19. “It’s worth noting that the people who told us that the coronavirus is a hoax, or not to be concerned with it, are the same people who have ignored the clear and present science on climate change,” Inslee’s former climate-policy adviser, Sam Ricketts, told me last week.[Read: ‘We are like sitting ducks’]Ricketts is now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and though he’s been working on potential policy responses to the pandemic—he stressed that investing in climate-change technology would be one patch for the hole being opened up in the economy—he’s not expecting the coronavirus to create a sudden push for environmental policy. From Barack Obama to Pete Buttigieg, a number of Democratic leaders have suggested that the pandemic might spark that kind of action. But Ricketts isn’t sure.“I don’t know how much people are going to draw a straight line from a virus that’s killing people around the world, to climate change,” he said.For others, though, the pandemic makes what once seemed unlikely look more possible. Take the Green New Deal, which Republicans and Democrats alike spent the past two years dismissing as unrealistic and unaffordable. Stephen O’Hanlon, the national field director for the youth-run Sunrise Movement, which has led the charge for the Green New Deal, points out that the plan was designed to take the country out of a recession by making a 1930s-style government investment in fighting climate change. Now that recession appears to be here.“What we’re seeing is that the next few months have the potential to be a once-in-a-century moment of political realignment in this country,” O’Hanlon told me on Wednesday afternoon. “The Trump administration is talking about bailing out oil and gas companies at the same time that working families are struggling and seeing their paychecks disappear…. It’s a real moment of reckoning for our country.”
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