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.”

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 know



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  — 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.

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.

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 McConnellSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus 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.

Republicans calling for more aid to states: Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Coronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (Maine), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act MORE (La.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas MORE (Alaska), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Energy secretary accuses banks of 'redlining' oil and gas industry Postal Service to review package fee policy: report 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 out

Meanwhile, Pelosi is having troubles of her own:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO 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.”

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 numbers


Via CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Peter Morris, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' 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.”

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.”

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 Florida 



Are you kidding?:

Via The Capital Weather Gang, the Washington, D.C., area could get some snow this weekend.

“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 forecast


Getting traction — this is a weird, weird time: 


Our judicial system is going down the drain:

Or as CNN Politics put it, “The flush heard around the country”

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

Listen to the flush

^ 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:




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 today

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. Livestream

11:30 a.m. EDT: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus Cuomo: New York City on track to start reopening week of June 8 MORE (D) gave an update on his state’s coronavirus response. Livestream

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. Livestream


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:

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.”  Photos


And because you made it this far, here are some ADORABLE fluffy puppies: