Coronavirus Report

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees ‘strong likelihood’ of another relief package; Warner says some businesses ‘may not come back’ at The Hill’s Advancing America’s Economy summit


> 2.4M more Americans jobless, 38.6M unemployed since lockdown began

> Lay off the Lysol? CDC now says virus ‘does not spread easily’ via infected surfaces 

> Several GOP senators push for more stimulus payments 

> Michigan AG: Trump has ‘legal’ and ‘moral responsibility’ to wear mask in Ford plant 

> DC could begin phased reopening on May 29, if data continues to show improvements

> Sound familiar? 30 years ago today, Fauci took heat from AIDS protesters

> Mnuchin tells The Hill’s Bob Cusack he sees ‘strong likelihood’ of another COVID-19 relief package





U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin anchors The Hill’s Advancing America’s Economy summit

Mnuchin sees “strong likelihood” of needing another COVID-19 relief bill; adds Congress must act to make key PPP change. 





  Watch this space for the full program video following the conclusion of the summit and watch the full interview with Secretary Mnuchin here


Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Thursday, May 21.

Editor’s Note.


If you live in Wyoming or San Antonio, Texas, and you are going back to work as a gym attendant or grocery store clerk, a beautician or a lawyer, you are lucky. These places seem to have a surplus of tests for the antibodies if you were previously infected — and are welcoming the public to come in and be tested. But in most of the rest of the nation, testing is not where it needs to be. It shouldn’t require a doctor’s referral, and it shouldn’t require the manifestation of symptoms. We are all hopefully past the point of thinking that one must be coughing or sneezing to infect others with the coronavirus.


While progress is being made, we really are at a sort of standstill when it comes to opening the economy nationwide. Many states are proceeding with opening and doing so according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and their own health task force advisers on how to do phased reopenings of public places and business. Stay-at-home orders are shifting, as they have in Maryland, to “safer-at-home” guidance. 


We are all in a sort of wait and see period. Will infections spike with reopening? That’s already happening in some places — but not in all. The state of Georgia seems to be faring far better than many expected. We are all feeling our way forward on this. Today I’m interviewing quite a few folks that have perspectives on this knot between assuring public health and getting our economic health moving off life support. The program will be mostly finished by the time you read this note, but it will be available on The Hill’s website and posted on the Coronavirus Report on Friday. Among those I’ll be connecting with are Surgeon General Jerome Adams on what are the vital best practices we all must make mainstream. I’ll be talking to Topeka, Kan., Mayor Michelle De La Isla who has fewer cases than many cities. But we saw what one patient zero in Wuhan a few months ago was able to unleash. I’ll have some time with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on how to think about the safety of workers in the workplace, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on rebalancing the economy and his efforts to put in place paycheck protection guarantees for the next six months. There are going to be private sector CEOs from Mozilla, Siemens North America, Wells Fargo, Citizen, GoDaddy and others. And also the tireless chef Tom Colicchio who has been moving heaven and earth to support struggling restaurants and their workers.


I hope you’ll check in on some of these. No one has all of the answers. We are all experimenting, trying to figure out how to survive and live with the virus — until we can kill it or contain it. Time for all of us to pause, including myself, and learn what we can from smart folks thinking about how to move forward again.


– Steve Clemons

Your Coronavirus Report team includes Steve Clemons, editor-at-large of The Hill, and researcher Andrew Wargofchik. Follow us on Twitter at @SCClemons and @a_wargofchik. CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter.


ICYMI: catch up on this week’s programs


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On Thursday, The Hill hosted “A National Virtual Summit on Advancing America’s Economy,” a forum to discuss a responsible reopening of the U.S. economy anchored by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.   Watch this space for the full program video following the conclusion of the summit. 


On Wednesday, The Hill hosted “The Vir[Tech]tual World of Tomorrow.”    Watch the full program video here

We want to hear from you! Follow us @TheHillEvents and keep the conversation going using #TheHillVirtuallyLive


There are 5,047,377 reported cases of COVID-19 and 329,816 reported deaths across the globe as of the time of this newsletter. 


The U.S. is reporting 1,562,714 cases and 93,863 deaths. Congressional democratic leaders are asking President Trump to fly flags at half-staff once the country reaches 100,000 confirmed deaths, another grim milestone we are likely to surpass within the next few days. Russia is reporting 317,554 cases. Brazil 291,579. 252,234 in the U.K. Spain 233,037. Italy 228,006. France 181,700. Germany 178,748. Turkey 153,548. Iran 129,341. India 115,572. 104,020 reported cases in Peru. 84,063 in China (although that number has met with a great deal of skepticism). 81,617 cases in Canada. 65,077 in Saudi Arabia. 56,594 in Mexico. 38,651 in Qatar. 32,172 in Sweden. 30,694 in Switzerland. 24,315 in Ireland. 20,162 in Indonesia. 19,706 in Ukraine. 19,137 in South Africa. 11,122 in South Korea. 8,743 in Czechia. 1,908 in Cuba. 1,573 in Somalia. 


New York is reporting 356,458 cases. New Jersey 150,776. Illinois 100,418. Massachusetts 88,970. Pennsylvania reported 68,911. Michigan, where President Trump will visit a Ford plant Thursday, is reporting 53,009 cases. Texas 51,974. Maryland 43,531. Georgia 40,164. Virginia 34,143. Indiana 29,936. Ohio 29,436. Missouri 11,595. South Carolina 9,175. 8,539 in Kansas. 7,788 in Washington, D.C. 


The U.S. has recorded 12,647,791 COVID-19 test results and 294,312 have reported full recoveries from the coronavirus.


Several GOP senators press for more stimulus payments during coronavirus crisis. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has sought to hit pause on the government’s massive spending for coronavirus-related relief packages, but several of his Republican colleagues are pushing for additional stimulus measures during the economic crisis. GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) are all pushing for the Senate to stay in session and take more action to help offset the collapse of the nation’s economy. (Fox News


Pelosi, Schumer ask Trump to fly flags at half-staff when U.S. reaches 100,000 coronavirus deaths. The top Democrats in Congress are calling on President Trump to order that flags be flown at half-staff at all public buildings on the day the U.S. reaches 100,000 deaths caused by the novel coronavirus. In a letter sent to the president Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote that the tribute would serve as a “national expression of grief so needed by everyone.” (The Hill

Trump takes pandemic fight to Michigan. President Trump on Thursday is visiting 2020 battleground state Michigan as he seeks to contrast his handling of the pandemic with that of the state’s Democratic leaders. Trump’s visit to a Ford plant manufacturing ventilators in Ypsilanti will mark his third trip to a critical swing state in as many weeks. (The Hill)


Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) 

@SenJohnkennedy The #PaycheckProtectionProgram wasn’t made to funnel taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, but its affiliates asked for about $80M in PPP dollars—and reportedly got the money. How did this happen, and how can it be made right? We’re asking AG Barr to investigate.


Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) 

@SenJackyRosen Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by lack of health care, affordable housing, & employment for generations. #COVID19 is showing us how life-threatening these disparities can be. 


Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) 

@RepAndyBiggsAz .@realDonaldTrump has expressed a desire to restore our economic greatness and the positives that come w/ it — including better public health — by opening up our communities. We must forge ahead even as Fauci tries to brush away the optimism.


Why does the U.S have the most coronavirus cases in the world? President said Tuesday the fact that the United States has the most coronavirus cases in the world is a “badge of honor” because it shows how much testing the country is doing. While there are many factors at play when comparing how countries have fared in the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts say Trump’s explanation left out a key factor: The U.S. has so many cases because it was initially slow to respond to the outbreak and ramp up testing and other containment tools. (The Hill


D.C. could begin phased reopening as early as May 29, mayor says. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the district could begin a phased reopening May 29 if data continues to show improvements. “We are going to monitor throughout the weekend the trends that we see,” Bowser said. “And if those trends hold next week, by the end of next week, we will be able to communicate the start of our phased reopening.” (WTOP

Michigan barbers cut hair on Capitol lawn to protest coronavirus shutdown. A protest in Lansing, Mich., against stay-at-home orders focused on what has become a rallying cry for such demonstrations — haircuts. The Capitol lawn was turned into a barber shop. At least a dozen barbers and stylists, highlighting the damage to their shuttered businesses, set up card tables and generators to power the clippers, and people lined up. (NPR


Michigan AG: If Trump “fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facility inside our state.” Michigan will ask President Trump to stay out of “enclosed facilities” in the state if he refuses to wear a mask during his Thursday visit to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, says state Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Obviously here in Michigan we’ve been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19,” Nessel said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day,” noting that auto manufacturing facilities have only recently reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The Hill


Living through a pandemic when your access to water is difficult. The most basic ingredient for mankind’s survival is also a critical weapon against the novel coronavirus. Wash your hands with soap and water for 30 seconds, scientists say. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Stay hydrated and hygienic. But access to clean water is dramatically uneven across the world. About a third of Nigeria’s population — 60 million people — must leave home to find it, according to aid groups and government statistics. (Washington Post


‘We’re expendable’: Russian doctors face hostility, mistrust. There are no daily public displays of gratitude for Russian doctors and nurses during the coronavirus crisis like there are in the West. Instead of applause, they face mistrust, low pay and even open hostility. (Associated Press)  


Juncker: EU internal border closures “nonsense.” Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced his opposition to internal border closures across the EU, branding them as “nonsense” in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. (Politico


Lay off the Lysol? CDC says coronavirus primarily spreads through person-to-person contact and “does not spread easily on contaminated surfaces.” While touching infected surfaces has always been part of the messaging on how the virus spreads, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently shifted its stance online. The CDC now says that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person contact, and then lists touching infected surfaces under a section titled, “The virus does not spread easily in other ways.” 

  Read the full CDC report on the spread of the virus here.


2.4 million more Americans file new jobless claims. 2.4 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance last week as the U.S. suffers through the highest level of joblessness since the Great Depression, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. The new wave of applications brings the total number of initial unemployment claims since the week ending March 22 to 38.6 million. (The Hill

Home sales dropped nearly 18 percent in April, while decline in inventory pushed prices to a record high. The economic fallout from the coronavirus hit the housing market hard in April. Sales of existing homes fell 17.8 percent month-to-month, and were 17.2 percent lower than April 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the National Association of Realtors. That puts the annualized pace at 4.33 million units, the slowest sales pace since September 2011. (CNBC)


What Congress needs to include for the next economic relief legislation. Policymakers have rightly focused on public health needs and minimizing the economic blow of this crisis by sending Americans stimulus payments and starting the new Paycheck Protection Program. These need to be the priorities for the government. (Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Kathy Kraninger for The Hill


Hydroxychloroquine-gate and Trump’s war on medical science. Trump has turned the pandemic into a zero-sum game. If he wins his battle against medical science, the coronavirus will win its battle against us. (Gregory J. Wallance for The Hill) 

Three decades before coronavirus, Fauci took heat from AIDS protesters. “Act Up, Fight Back, Fight AIDS!” The angry chanting grew louder as hundreds of protesters wove through the usually placid campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., on May 21, 1990. For months, the AIDS Coalition Unleash Power (ACT UP), had been urging Anthony Fauci formally to include their members in the government’s development process for AIDS drugs. Fauci, now under attack by some Trump supporters for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, was in favor of the group’s participation. But he met increasing resistance from the scientific community, who were put off by ACT UP’s tactics. (Washington Post)


Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to donate $5 million to Andrew Yang’s foundation. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is donating $5 million to businessman and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s group Humanity Forward as a foundation to build a universal basic income (UBI). Rolling Stone reports that Dorsey plans to give $1 billion of his wealth through a fund called Start Small. The official announcement was reportedly made on Yang’s podcast, “Yang Speaks.” (The Hill


> Steve interviews Rep. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.) 

> Steve interviews former Maryland Lt. Gov. and ex-RNC Chairman MICHAEL STEELE 

> Steve interviews former U.S. Energy Secretary ERNEST MONIZ 

> Steve interviews Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) 

> Steve interviews Mylan CEO HEATHER BRESCH 

> Steve interviews Wilson Center President and CEO JANE HARMAN 

> Steve interviews Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Director TOM INGLESBY 

> Steve interviews CDC Director ROBERT REDFIELD 

> Steve interviews Mastercard CEO AJAY BANGA 

> Steve interviews Teva USA President and CEO BRENDAN O’GRADY 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here


SEND US YOUR OWN PICS – from your own walks or adventures – during this time of physical distancing but social connection. And SEND US YOUR STORIES of how teleworking is going, what you have learned from homeschooling, new ways to exercise, and special moments or standout heroism you want to share. What’s working for you? What’s comic in these dark days? 


Send to Our thoughts are with you, our readers, and we hope and trust that no matter the weight of burdens on you now — and it’s not a good story for everyone we know — that we all stand together, resilient and confident, on the other side of this. There will be another side.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter.


Tags Andrew Yang Anthony Fauci Bob Cusack Chuck Schumer Cory Gardner Donald Trump Ernest Moniz Jacky Rosen Joe Manchin John Kennedy Josh Hawley Lee Zeldin Mark Warner Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin Susan Collins

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