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The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update

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THE INTERVIEW

DYBUL FEARS FOCUSING ON AMERICAN HEALTH NEEDS ALONE WILL LEAD TO DEADLY SECOND COVID-19 WAVE

 Former Ambassador Mark Dybul was U.S. global AIDS coordinator during the George W. Bush administration and led the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest international health initiative in history for a single disease; served as executive director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from January 2013 to May 2017; and is now a professor at Georgetown University in the Department of Medicine at the Medical Center and the co-director of the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact.

 

“America can’t turn its back on lesser developed nations. The virus is going there and will rage there during their winter, while the U.S. goes into its summer. Unless we slow the spread there – it will come back. Just like the Spanish flu of 1918-1919.”



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THE HILL'S CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL REPORT

Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Special Report. It’s Monday, April 6. The president’s Daily Coronavirus update press conferences are increasingly hold-our-breath sessions for new revelations on which areas of the nation are in for living hell in the near term and which have yet to be hit. As much as they are settings to discuss the science of pandemic spread and how to combat coronavirus, they are also launch pads for scientifically untested treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. The CDC is suggesting all Americans begin to wear some kind of mask when out and about among others, but the President has said he won’t wear one while sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. He said they are optional.  Some Americans will wear them and others won’t. The good news is that there is discussion of a potential ‘peak’ of disease spread in NYC and other parts of the country. The bad news is that Florida, which had wide open beaches during spring break, may not achieve peak until late May. Every person infected is a potential Patient Zero, and that is one of the key challenges combating this disease.

 

Your Special Report team today 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 Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit TheHill.com and SUBSCRIBE to our OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings. 

 

In coming weeks, we will share with you our new 3D journalism platform, The Hill Virtually Live, to take stock of what is happening around the nation – for instance, empathy and building resilience across generations, acts of heroism, the way learning and credentialing are being reinvented and how health delivery is going even more digital. Follow @TheHillEvents to stay up to date on our upcoming virtual programs.



DEFINING WEEK IN COVID-19 FIGHT

BREAKING NEWS. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus. (ITV)

 

SURGEON GENERAL SAYS THIS WEEK WILL BE OUR PEARL HARBOR, 9/11 MOMENT. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on the Sunday show circuit that this week is going to be the “hardest and the saddest” of “most American’s lives.” Adams went on to liken the upcoming week to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, suggesting that the pandemic’s death toll could be worse than the most infamous American tragedies of the past century. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE also offered a grim forecast this weekend warning that “there will be a lot of death” around the country. (The Hill)


BIG NEWS IN WISCONSIN. Wisconsin’s governor has suspended in-person voting in Tuesday’s primary election. Amid the threat of the coronavirus, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) released an executive order that postpones in-person voting and the receipt deadline for mail-in ballots to June 9. (Washington Post)



CORONAVIRUS CASES AT A GLANCE

THERE ARE 1,324,907 REPORTED COVID-19 CASES ACROSS THE GLOBE. AMERICAN CASES CONTINUE TO SOAR AND HAVE REACHED 347,003 REPORTED CASES WITH MORE THAN 10,000 DEATHS FROM THE VIRUS. (The Hill)

 

NEW YORK HAS SEEN 4,159 FATALITIES, NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF ALL U.S. DEATHS. The nation’s leading experts have collectively warned that this week will be the most difficult to date as both confirmed cases and deaths are both expected to rise dramatically. 

 

A sampling. New York is at 130,689 cases and New Jersey, home to a rapid rise over the weekend, is second with 37,505 cases. Michigan has 15,718 cases followed closely by California with 15,201 and Louisiana with 13,010 cases. Texas is at 7,316. Tennessee at 3,633. The District of Columbia at 1,097. Wyoming at 210. 


The ever-thin silver lining? Some 273,546 people have successfully recovered from COVID-19 across the globe, with 18,999 in America reporting a full recovery from the virus. (John Hopkins)



QUOTE OF THE DAY – THIS IS OUR CHERNOBYL MOMENT

@GeorgeTakei  Sorry. This isn’t our “Pearl Harbor” moment. That was a surprise, dastardly attack by an enemy nation. This is our “Chernobyl” moment: a preventable catastrophe that was denied, downplayed and mismanaged until tens of thousands were dead.



WASHINGTON WATCH

WHO BOWS TO CHINA, HARMING GLOBAL RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC. Last week Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) called for a congressional investigation into the World Health Organization’s “role in helping Communist China cover up information regarding the threat of the Coronavirus.” The trouble at WHO goes beyond its relationship with Beijing, but that’s a good place to start. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has also urged Congress to “investigate how WHO performed against the coronavirus and whether its judgements were corrupted by China’s political influence.” (Wall Street Journal)

 

FAUCI SAYS U.S. IS ‘STRUGGLING’ IN BATTLE WITH CORONAVIRUS. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight health care: AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is up to 90 percent effective It's time for COVID-19 disaster relief ... for mothers Fauci: US could see 'well over 300,000' COVID-19 deaths MORE who has emerged as one of the most trusted voices in the country as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, said yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that it is a “false statement” to say Washington has the pandemic under control. As the country braces for a painful week, Fauci added that the U.S. is “struggling to get [the virus] under control.” (The Hill)

 

SITUATION ROOM SPAT! Fauci, Navarro engaged in heated argument over unproven COVID-19 treatment. Anthony Fauci reportedly clashed with White House trade official Peter Navarro over the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and its use as a possible treatment for COVID-19. During a meeting Saturday first reported by Axios, Navarro sparred with Fauci over the difference between anecdotal information and scientific assessments. Navarro argued Sunday that as a “social scientist,” he is qualified to engage and disagree with Fauci. (The Hill)

 

BIDEN HINTS AT VIRTUAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE said Sunday that the Democratic National Convention may need to be held virtually. With the convention already being pushed to August, Biden told ABC’s “This Week” that his party’s convention is “necessary,” but added it may not be possible to bring thousands of people to one location safely amid the pandemic. President Trump and the Republican National Committee are moving forward with their Charlotte, N.C., convention in late August and have not spoken to the possibility of scrapping an in-person meeting and transitioning to a virtual forum. (The Hill

 

SCHUMER DOUBLES DOWN ON PUSH FOR CORONAVIRUS CZAR. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) has offered the White House candidates for a potential czar to oversee the production and disbursement of medical equipment. Schumer spoke with the president, vice president and new White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship House Democrats back slower timeline for changing Confederate base names MORE on Sunday night about his plea for a “coronavirus czar,” sources familiar with the matter confirmed to The HIll. Potential candidates for the position include Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Obama’s Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Sandy Winnefeld and Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, who ran the Defense Logistics Agency. (The Hill)

 
PELOSI, McCONNELL CLASH OVER NEXT RELIEF BILL. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVoters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE are publicly at odds over a potential fourth coronavirus stimulus package. The two leaders are sparring through the media on next steps to address the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The mixed messaging, which comes as lawmakers are out of town until at least April 20, underscores the looming challenge of keeping the congressional response to the coronavirus bipartisan. (The Hill)


UNDOCUMENTED AND UNPROTECTED. Undocumented workers are among those hit first — and worst — by the coronavirus shutdown. Many people in the country illegally are working in construction, restaurants and other service sectors, and they have already lost their jobs. Others, in industries such as agriculture and health care that have been declared essential, work in jobs that typically require close quarters or interacting with the public, putting them at higher risk of getting sick. Unlike many American workers, undocumented immigrants can’t count on the social safety net if they lose their jobs or get sick. (Washington Post)



LATEST FROM LAWMAKERS

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE (D-Hawaii)

@brianschatz I actually think the press is going to have to get a bit more disruptive. If Trump is going to lie and shout journalists down in order to dangerously misinform the public during a pandemic, they should consider interrupting and other impolite tactics to get to the truth.

 

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet GOP senator: No indication of widespread voting irregularities, window for Trump challenges is 'closing' Biden pledges to work with mayors MORE (D-Calif.)

@SenKamalaHarris Native American communities in rural areas are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus, and yet their needs are still not being prioritized. We need significant investments in tribal and native communities now more than ever.

 

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinRundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day House GOP celebrates unexpected gains Bipartisan bill would strengthen nation's infrastructure — reducing flood risk MORE (R-N.Y.)

@RepLeeZeldin Signed, sealed, delivered-Earlier today, 150,000 surgical masks were delivered to Suffolk County for our great hospital workers & other front line warriors. Tomorrow, 200,000 n95 masks will arrive to Suffolk after the announcement tonight by @realDonaldTrump! One team, one fight!

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRichmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Drastic cuts proposed to Medicare would hurt health care quality MORE (R-Calif.)

@GOPLeader China is opening up their wet markets again. Have enough people not already died? Has there not already been enough financial destruction around the world? The Chinese Communist Party’s coverup has cost far too many lives.

 

Rep. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddNorth Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid House Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Bipartisan bill introduced to require TSA to take temperature checks MORE (R-N.C.)

@RepTedBudd While we focus on keeping our country physically healthy, we have to keep an eye on our fiscal health as well.



AROUND THE NATION

GLIMMER OF HOPE IN NEW YORK. New York City is operating in a wartime capacity as the city’s health care system continues to be overrun by COVID-19 patients. A slight dip in new infections over the weekend may be a glimmer of hope that the virus is slowing its spread across New York. With 595 new coronavirus deaths reported Sunday, Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo calls a sheriff who won't enforce mask mandate a 'dictator' New York City to reopen field hospital as COVID-19 cases spike White House largely silent on health precautions for Thanksgiving MORE (D) said, despite slivers of “hopeful” news, “the coronavirus is truly vicious” and “it’s an effective killer.” Cuomo urged New Yorkers to “stay isolated and protected.” (NY Times)

 

TIGER KING? NOT SO MUCH. A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for the coronavirus, while several other animals are being monitored for similar symptoms. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, said the animals were likely infected by carriers of the disease who did not show symptoms. Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo becomes the first reported case of the virus in a tiger in the world. All cats being monitored are expected to make a full recovery and the zoo remains closed to the public. (The Hill)

 

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR DEFENDS LACK OF STAY-AT-HOME OF ORDER. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) defended his decision to hold off on a statewide stay-at-home order on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Hutchinson insisted that social distancing, business closures and other measures have proven successful in stemming the spread of the virus across his state, one of nine yet to be locked down. With the apex of the virus quickly approaching, Hutchinson conceded “we’ll do more as we need to.” (Washington Post)

 

GEORGIA BEACHES REOPEN AFTER GOVERNOR ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an executive order over the weekend that allows popular beaches in the state to reopen, overriding local shelter-in-place mandates from a number of cities. This questionable move by Kemp comes after the governor faced widespread criticism last week for saying he “just found out” that the virus could be spread from people who are not showing any symptoms. Georgia beaches will remain open, but the public will not be allowed to place chairs, tents or umbrellas on beaches until after April 13, when the statewide shelter-in-place order is set to be lifted. (The Hill)

 

MIAMI MAYOR BECOMES STATE’S FIRST COVID-19 PLASMA DONOR. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has become the first Floridian to donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma after making a full recovery from the virus. COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an experimental treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration and could hold the promise to effectively treat patients battling the virus. Saurez said he had “a moral responsibility” to donate, adding, “We have to fight until the end, until the last person is cured.” (WSVN Miami

 

NEBRASKA GOVERNOR UNDER FIRE TO TAKE ACTION. More than 40 Nebraska doctors are calling on Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), to implement stricter social distancing requirements that "force people to stay at home” amid the pandemic. The physicians warn that the virus has already begun to strain the capacity of the state’s health system and cautioned that a lack of testing could lead to a more powerful outbreak throughout the state. Ricketts is one of only a handful of governors who has refrained from issuing a statewide stay-at-home order. (The Hill)

 



WORLD VIEW

EXPERTS URGE CLOSURE OF CHINESE WET MARKETS. In Wuhan, China, massive “wet markets” that sell live and dead animals for human consumption — and where the virus is thought to have originated — have begun to reopen. Anthony Fauci said late last week that such markets should be shut down right away. Fauci added he “would like to see the rest of the world really lean with a lot of pressure” on China and other countries where wet markets are commonplace. (The Hill)

 

UNITED NATIONS MISSING IN ACTION DURING GLOBAL PANDEMIC FIGHT. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has called the coronavirus pandemic the most challenging crisis the organization has faced since its founding after World War II. As the virus continues its spread across the globe, the U.N. Security Council has remained largely quiet. The council’s inaction seems to be a reflection of a larger diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and China over the origin of the pandemic. (NY Times)

 

HOSPITALS ON WHEELS. India has closed its railways for the first time in 167 years. Now trains are being turned into hospitals. When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25, Indian Railways took the unprecedented move of suspending passenger trains across the country until April 14. It was the first time in 167 years that Asia's oldest rail network had been suspended. Now the railway network has decided to convert as many as 20,000 old train carriages into isolation wards for patients as the virus spreads. (CNN)


SPAIN CASES SURGE, COUNTRY NOW HOME TO SECOND MOST PATIENTS IN WORLD. Spain is among a growing list of countries that have been ravaged by the spread of coronavirus. There are 135,032 reported cases of the virus in Spain with more than 13,000 deaths. The 637 deaths in the past 24 hours is the country’s lowest death roll in two weeks, a sign that new infections appear to be slowing. Health Minister Santiago Illa argued today, “These figures confirm the downward trend and stabilization” of the virus. (Washington Post)


JAPAN DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this morning that he will declare a state of emergency across parts of the country. People will be asked to stay indoors, but no legal penalties will be imposed for noncompliance. Abe made clear that the stay-at-home order is voluntary and Japan will “not lock cities down as has been done overseas.” (Washington Post)

 

QUEEN ELIZABETH ADDRESSES U.K. AMID COVID-19 CRISIS. In a rare televised speech from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II addressed citizens of the U.K. on the coronavirus crisis that has her nation in lockdown. This marks just the fifth time in her 68 year reign that the Queen has addressed the nation. The Queen’s son, Prince Charles of Wales, is recovering from the virus and just after the speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was sent to the hospital after persistent COVID-19 symptoms. (The Hill)

 

SOUTH AFRICA’S PAST EXPERIENCE WITH INFECTIOUS DISEASES COULD PROVE VITAL. South Africa may have an advantage in battling the virus, honed during years battling HIV and tuberculosis. South African health officials are stressing lessons they have learned from similar infectious disease outbreaks: extensive testing, quickly quarantining people who test positive and tracking who those people came into contact with. The country currently has the capacity to conduct 5,000 tests per day as the virus spreads throughout more densely populated areas and threatens to overwhelm health systems. (Associated Press)



FOR THE KIDS. New Zealand labels Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy 'essential workers.' New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed for young residents that both the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are deemed "essential workers" amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, she did warn that perhaps the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy may be “quite busy at home with their family.” (The Hill)



BUSINESS

DOW GAINS 1,000 AS TRADERS SEEK SIGNS OF OPTIMISM. Stocks rose Monday morning as traders clung to small signs of optimism as the coronavirus tightens its grip on the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 1,000 points as the market opened, rising nearly 5 percent after a week of heavy losses. The S&P 500 rose 4.6 percent, and the Nasdaq composite rose 4.5 percent. Monday’s rally comes as Wall Street seeks a silver lining amid the rising U.S. death roll and a stark uptick in the nation’s unemployment claims. (The Hill)

 

XEROX PLANS TO MASS PRODUCE DISPOSABLE VENTILATORS. Xerox, best known for making copies, is set to announce Monday that it will be “rapidly scaling up” production of inexpensive, disposable ventilators that could serve as a critical stopgap for hospital-grade ventilators that are in short supply across the country. Xerox confirmed to NBC News that it has a deal with Vortran Medical, a small medical device manufacturer in California, to scale up production of the Go2Vent, a low-cost resuscitation device commonly used by first responders in emergencies and disasters. (NBC News)


DIMON PREDICTS A ‘MAJOR RECESSION’ IS ON ITS WAY. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon captured the mood around the country in his annual shareholder letter saying he expects a "bad recession.” In the most adverse scenario, he expects the gross domestic product could plunge at a 35 percent annual rate in the second quarter and that a downturn would last through the rest of the year. The unemployment rate would spike as high as 14 percent in the worst case scenario. The silver lining: Dimon thinks "this scenario is quite severe and, we hope, unlikely." An additional silver lining: JPMorgan Chase — the largest U.S. bank by assets — still plans to lend an additional $150 billion to its customers. (CNN)



BUBBLE BURSTING? MORTGAGE INDUSTRY RISKS COLLAPSING. Fears of a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis are ringing throughout the mortgage industry. The mortgage market is on the brink of another catastrophic collapse as thousands of borrowers suddenly pour into the government bailout without any proof of hardship. Mortgage industry leaders sent a plea for desperately needed cash to federal mortgage regulators as requests from borrowers for the Federal Mortgage Forbearance Program are flooding in at an alarming rate. (CNBC)

 

YELLEN SAYS FEDERAL RESERVE DOESN’T NEED TO BUY EQUITIES NOW. Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience The Memo: Trump election loss roils right On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE, former chair of the Federal Reserve, said she does not think the central bank is in a position where it needs to buy equities, but thinks Congress should consider allowing such a move. Normally, the Fed is only allowed to own government debt and agency debt with government backing. Yellen urged Congress to reconsider the powers of the Fed and provide more leeway for the central bank to take action to keep the U.S. economy afloat during the pandemic. (CNBC)

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. BP, Amoco offer 50 cents off per gallon of gas for first responders, medical workers. BP and Amoco have announced they will be offering first responders, doctors, nurses and other hospital staff a discount of 50 cents off per gallon at their locations throughout April in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The oil giant also said that am/pm stores, a convenience store brand owned by BP, will be offering emergency service workers and hospital staff that provide their “official ID in store” free coffee, fountain drinks or hot dogs, starting Monday. (The Hill)

 



SCIENCE

 

UPMC ANNOUNCES POTENTIAL VACCINE. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center announced late last week that they believe they’ve found a potential vaccine for the virus. When tested on mice, the vaccine produced enough antibodies to successfully counteract the virus. A positive development — but the debate surrounding fast tracking FDA approval for any COVID-19 vaccine is about to flare up. (WTAE Pittsburgh)

 

EXPERTS SAY THEY HAVE FOUND CORONAVIRUS ACHILLES’ HEEL.  A newly published study suggests researchers may have found what is being described as the “Achilles’ heel” of the coronavirus. The research highlights new findings that a specific portion of the virus could be targeted with vaccines after mapping human anitbody’s interaction with COVID-19. Targeting specific sites of the virus could aid with the structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics  — and protect against other coronaviruses that may emerge in the future. (Fox News)

 

CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC HAS A NATURAL ORIGIN. Researchers have confirmed that COVID-19 is the product of natural evolution and found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered. With the U.S. and China currently at odds over the origin of the virus, this new body of research appears to confirm that the virus was originally transmitted to humans via animal consumption in Wuhan. (ScienceDaily)

 

CUE MUSIC. Scientists have turned the structure of the coronavirus into music. Why, you ask? It seems setting the virus to music can help scientists find locations on the protein where antibodies or drugs might be able to bind, simply by searching for specific musical sequences that correspond to these sites. This, the researchers say, is faster and more intuitive than conventional methods used to study proteins. As for the instruments, they were entirely the researchers’ choice. In this case, a Japanese koto plays the main notes — soothing sounds that might bring some comfort in a time of trouble. Take a listen. (Science)



GENEROUS SPIRITS

BROOKLYN LANDLORD WAIVES APRIL RENT FOR THOUSANDS OF TENANTS. Michael Salerno, a Brooklyn landlord, told tenants in 18 of his buildings across the city not to worry about April rent payments as the city grapples with a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the financial well-being of millions of New Yorkers. Salerno told an NBC affiliate that he waived rent out of concern for the neighborhood’s health and told tenants, “Don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.” (The Hill


OUR HEROES. Walmart employees sing ‘Lean on Me' in an uplifting new commercial. Walmart has released an emotional ad featuring the voices of its workers around the U.S. to lift people's spirits. Walmart employees — from Pennsylvania to Alabama — were filmed singing a few lines from Bill Withers's 1972 classic "Lean on Me." The song choice is especially poignant since Withers died last week at the age of 81. (TODAY)

 

WE’RE CASTING A BANISHING CHARM ON BOREDOM!  J.K. Rowling has launched “Harry Potter at Home,” a digital hub with a cauldron full of treats to keep young children occupied while they are held captive at home during the coronavirus crisis. The site, offered free of charge, proclaims: “We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!” Rowling announced the launch in a tweet Wednesday. “Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic, so I’m delighted to launch harrypotterathome.com.” (Variety)

 

RECREATING GREAT ART WORKS FROM HOME. During this challenging time, the J. Paul Getty Museum has found a way to keep people engaged with their art — even though they can’t see it in person. They’ve challenged their social media followers to “recreate a work of art with objects (and people)” from the comfort of their own homes. And the internet did not disappoint. (MyModernMet)



IDEAS, CAUSES, PASSION

HISTORY’S LESSONS FOR DONALD TRUMP. History’s lesson is that presidents who suffer crises and either handle them well or can change the subject thrive. But those who either handle crises poorly or cannot change the subject never recover. What about Donald Trump? His approval rating during the coronavirus crisis has fallen by 8 points and has now slipped into negative territory, with 47 percent approving and 52 percent disapproving. Whatever the outcome, Trump’s presidency will be judged by his handling of this. (The Hill)

 

COVID-19: WE HAD THE WARNING BUT WE LACKED THE LEADERSHIP. While the coronavirus crisis will cost immeasurably more in lives and treasure than 9/11, the parallel between the two is eerie, and the difference is tragic. In both cases, the country had exquisite strategic warning and did nothing. The difference is that in the instance of COVID-19, there was also plenty of tactical warning — China announced cases at the end of December and identified the new virus a few days later. But still we did nothing. (The Hill and for an alternative view, read Andrew C. McCarthy)

 

AN ENERGY JOBS COALITION CAN HELP THE ECONOMY BOUNCE BACK. In normal times and in crisis, we are completely reliant on energy, water, transportation, communications and finance infrastructures to keep our economy running. Energy has a special place in this critical infrastructure mix. As the public and private sectors turn their attention to rebuilding our economy, we need to seed new industries that underpin our low-carbon future and build infrastructure aligned with that future. (The Hill)



YOUR LIFE, YOUR STORIES

 

 

Here is a pic from Steve Clemons’ daily walk in the eastern shore colonial town of Chestertown, Maryland. The tall ship is the schooner Sultana rebuilt from the plans of the constitutional era ship by the same name.

 

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 YourStories@TheHill.com. 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 – 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 Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit TheHill.com and SUBSCRIBE to our OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. 

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