The Hill's 12:30 Report: Experts increasingly think outdoors is safer

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy | Another 3.2M file for unemployment | Evidence mounts that outside is safer | Trump’s valet tests positive for COVID | McConnell faces mounting pressure for boost in relief | Pelosi’s tough road getting caucus on board with next relief bill | Snow possible in D.C. this weekend | Toilet flush during Supreme Court virtual oral arguments | Dogs deliver quarantine beer



It’s looking like it’s safer to be outside:



Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan, “Health experts say people are significantly less likely to get the coronavirus while outside, a fact that could add momentum to calls to reopen beaches and parks closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.” https://bit.ly/2yDH2KR

The good news: “Experts are increasingly confident in evidence showing that the coronavirus spreads much more readily indoors than outdoors, a finding that could help guide policymakers seeking to figure out ways to end lockdowns that have shuttered much of the nation’s economy.”

Yes, but before getting too excited: “Being outside shouldn’t be seen as completely safe, health experts say. People should continue to avoid crowds and maintain six feet of distance from others to keep away from the virus.” 

What we knowhttps://bit.ly/2yDH2KR




It’s Thursday.  I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com  — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy:

Via Bloomberg’s Katherine Doherty, The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection as the coronavirus stunted the U.S. economy. https://bloom.bg/2YELqUF

What happens now: “Creditors will take control of the luxury department store chain, according to plans outlined in a Chapter 11 petition filed in Houston. The move gives the Dallas-based luxury retailer a break by letting it stay in business while management works out a recovery plan.”

Another week of bad unemployment numbers:

Another 3.2 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week as the coronavirus outbreak continues to stifle the economy. https://bit.ly/2L8bH5N

Meaning: Since mid-March, more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.


Does it feel like everyone is staring at you, McConnell? Because you’d probably be right

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says 'no concerns' after questions about health Overnight Health Care: Trump says he hopes Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare | FDA approves remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment | Dems threaten to subpoena HHS over allegations of political interference at CDC The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE (R-Ky.) is under mounting pressure from his own conference to boost aid to state and local governments to help with the coronavirus outbreak. https://bit.ly/3du21id

Republicans calling for more aid to states: Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name MORE (Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (Maine), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (La.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court MORE (Alaska), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanCoordinated federal leadership is needed for recovery of US travel and tourism The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats break fundraising records in Senate races The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden hit campaign trail in Florida MORE (Alaska) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)

For example: “The boldest push has come from Cassidy, who teamed up with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to propose a $500 billion fund that would ‘make sure state and local governments can maintain essential services.’ Sullivan and Kennedy are pushing more modest plans giving states greater flexibility to spend money already provided by the federal government to cover general revenue shortfalls.” 

How this could play outhttps://bit.ly/3du21id

Meanwhile, Pelosi is having troubles of her own:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump predicts GOP will win the House Hillicon Valley: Five takeaways on new election interference from Iran, Russia | Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump | Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs | On The Money: Pelosi cites progress, but says COVID-19 relief deal might be post-election | Eviction crisis sparked by pandemic disproportionately hits minorities | Weekly jobless claims fall to 787K MORE (D-Calif.) faces a tough road this month convincing GOP leaders to back yet another massive round of emergency coronavirus aid. The more immediate challenge, however, is getting her own caucus on board.” https://bit.ly/2SHROXe

The problem: “As the roughly $2 trillion House package known as CARES 2 comes together this week, [Democratic] leaders and committee heads are getting an earful from rank-and-file members of all stripes urging the addition of their own pet provisions — a long and growing wish list that includes everything from food stamps and rental subsidies to student loan debt relief and bailouts for local chambers of commerce.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,231,943

Deaths in the U.S.: 73,566

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y


Via CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Peter Morris, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE’s personal valets tested positive for COVID-19. “The valets are members of an elite military unit dedicated to the White House and often work very close to the President and first family. Trump was upset when he was informed Wednesday that the valet had tested positive, a source told CNN, and he was subsequently tested again by the White House physician.” https://cnn.it/2L7dY0S

Florida’s numbers are pretty surprising:

Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester in Orlando, Fla., “Florida has reported 37,439 positive coronavirus cases and 1,471 deaths, ranking it eighth in the U.S. for the number of confirmed cases despite being the nation’s third most populated state.” https://bit.ly/35CoGWQ

The surprising part: “The case and death numbers point to something many may find surprising: Florida has not become as much of a hot spot as other states such as New York, California and Michigan. The state has fewer cases per capita than other heavily impacted states, such as Louisiana. According to Johns Hopkins University, Florida has had a total of 176 cases per 100,000 people compared to Louisiana, which has had 644 per 100,000 people.” 

The situation in Floridahttps://bit.ly/35CoGWQ 

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/3dnWcTm


Are you kidding?:

Via The Capital Weather Gang, the Washington, D.C., area could get some snow this weekend. https://wapo.st/2SKsBLZ

“During the upcoming polar plunge, to follow yet another bout of rain, temperatures will sink 20 to 25 degrees below normal. If we manage to see snowflakes, it will be one of the latest instances in recorded history and only the 4th time in the month of May.” 

The full forecasthttps://wapo.st/2SKsBLZ


Getting traction — this is a weird, weird time: 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3cdJZk0 

Our judicial system is going down the drain:

Or as CNN Politics put it, “The flush heard around the country” https://bit.ly/2WbCC71

Yesterday during the Supreme Court’s oral arguments by teleconference, someone forgot to mute their line and flushed the toilet.

Listen to the flushhttps://bit.ly/35Gwmr5

^ Before we all blame Roman Martinez: “CLARIFICATION: Though he is pictured in this clip because he was talking at the time, the flushing sound was not from Roman Martinez.” (!)

I laughed:


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2YA74JI


The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

1:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes. The Senate’s full schedule todayhttps://bit.ly/3fp9LE1

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room.


11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) from FEMA to Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/3dqnjwY

11:30 a.m. EDT: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoTravel industry calls on Trump administration to prevent the need for quarantines by creating a testing plan State officials plead for more info on vaccine distribution plans Overnight Health Care: NIH chief: Trump has not met with task force in 'quite some time' | CDC reports 300,000 more deaths than expected this year | UK to start challenge trials for vaccine MORE (D) gave an update on his state’s coronavirus response. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3djnSbU

3:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence deliver remarks at the White House National Day of Prayer Service in the Rose Garden. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3cedRNd


Today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day.

The news we need:

Via Buzzfeed’s Ellie Hall, “These very good dogs help deliver quarantine beer and they're doing a great job.” Photos — they do not disappoint:  https://bit.ly/3fvzo5O

Very cool shots:

Here are aerial photos of Walt Disney World while it is empty. “This past weekend, I was able to fly through the Disney TFR Airspace (with permission) as low as 1,500 feet AGL and capture these shots.”  Photoshttps://bit.ly/3cdEWjj


And because you made it this far, here are some ADORABLE fluffy puppies: https://bit.ly/2SKNZAL