Coronavirus Report

The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: David Miliband says world won’t be safe until poor nations get more aid; Cuomo rips WHO




> Global coronavirus deaths pass 100,000

> Trump downplays widespread testing before reopening economy 

> Surgeon general says most of U.S. won’t be ready to open by May 

> CDC director says U.S. coming to the coronavirus peak

> OPEC reaches historic deal, Mexico refuses to agree to terms

> Election officials struggle to balance voting process with public health crisis

> Cuomo joins in on WHO criticism: “Where were the warning signs?” 


To get the latest news from President Trump’s Friday coronavirus task force press conference, go to


Infections could spike if stay-at-home orders are lifted. New federal projections obtained by The New York Times indicate that lifting physical distancing restrictions after just 30 days will lead to a dramatic infection spike this summer and death tolls that would rival doing nothing. (New York Times

Risking your life to vote? The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is monitoring potential coronavirus infections that may have occurred among voters who cast ballots in elections held Tuesday. Because of the speed with which the virus spreads, cases contracted during voting won’t be known for weeks. (The Hill)


China still testing Wuhan residents as lockdown relaxes. Wuhan is reportedly still regularly testing residents for the virus despite efforts to reopen the economy after a two-month lockdown of the city. China’s central government coronavirus task force says the country needs to “actively create favorable conditions” to restore normalcy in the economy but warns there is still a risk of the pandemic rebounding. (The Hill)





Cuomo joins criticism of the World Health Organization. After the administration and congressional Republicans lambasted the World Health Organization over the agency’s handling of the pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday criticized WHO for not blowing the whistle sooner on the spread of COVID-19. (The Hill

Parties, public-gatherings played leading role in U.S. spread of virus. Across the country, large get-togethers — from New Orleans’s Mardi Gras celebration to a quinceañera in a small Nebraska town — are being credited for community spread of COVID-19. As President Trump told Americans that the virus would “go away” and before social distancing guidelines were enacted, revelers went on with life and, without knowing it, spread the virus to many of their peers. (Washington Post)


Navarro rang alarm bells internally, but told the public not to worry. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro publicly said Americans had “nothing to worry about” while he privately warned the White House that the coronavirus pandemic could cost trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of American lives. (CNN


David Miliband calls for global perspective on pandemic, says virus must be defeated worldwide before return to normal



Clemons asked David Miliband to give an overview of what’s happening to displaced persons and refugees in this time of COVID-19. Miliband responded: It’s completely understandable that people in America are focused on the crisis in their own communities. But if you think it’s tough to fight COVID in a country where there is a health system, where there are proper sanitary facilities, just imagine what it’s like in densely populated refugee camps. Imagine what it’s like for people fleeing the war inside Syria in the northwest of the country. Imagine what it’s like for the 1,000,000 Rohingya Muslims who are being chased out of Myanmar. Those are the places where we’re working on the imperatives that we know here — washing your hands, keeping distance, getting testing — but it’s many times more difficult, and it seems to me absolutely vital that we have a local perspective on this crisis in the US, but also a global perspective. Because the truth is none of us will be fully able to return to normal until we beat this disease worldwide. Not just locally.  


Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill’s Coronavirus Report. It’s Friday, April 10.

How did we get here? America is the richest nation in the world and has the largest single-nation economy. We think deeply about national security and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense. Our national schtick does not include, as Susan Glasser writes today in The New Yorker, hospital workers wearing large plastic garbage bags as protection from a virus. We are going to need to look back and ask what needs to be rewired in our society. Clearly our many hundreds of billions spent annually on national security were pointed at the wrong immediate enemy. In today’s report, we highlight an op-ed by former Singapore State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishore Mahbubani who channels Winston Churchill and posits what he would do in this crisis. Mahbubani writes he would maintain obsessive focus on the challenge and drop all other sideshows that are simply of less strategic consequence, like trade saber-rattling with China. And my interview today with former British Foreign Minister and International Rescue Committee President David Miliband highlights the more than 70 million displaced people and refugees in the world who have already suffered cruel treatment of the world and are at high risk for the coronavirus. 


I think it’s important to remember that if the world’s poor and marginalized populations see COVID-19 run rampant through their populations, it will return to ravage the so-called privileged parts of our society.


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 Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit 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.

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No one should hesitate to get tested or treated for COVID-19 because of concerns about costs. Health insurance providers have proactively eliminated patient cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment – no copay, no coinsurance required. Click here for a one-pager to learn how we’re protecting Americans. From expanding public health capacity, to ensuring access to testing, to taking action to mitigate the economic and societal impact, we know these are serious and significant times. Health insurance providers are taking decisive actions to help patients and curb the spread of COVID-19. See how health insurance providers are taking action.


The global confirmed cases of COVID-19 are now more than 1.6 million, but most experts say this is a significant undercount of cases given the short supply and lack of availability of testing. South Korea, which has done some of the highest per capita testing in the world, believes that there were 10 cases of coronavirus infection for every person tested. If that ratio were correct globally, then the real numbers of infected people are closer to 16 million globally. More than 100,000 people have died from COVID-19.


New York continues to lead the nation in cases and deaths with 161,807 infections registered and 7,844 deaths. New Jersey is second in the nation with 54,588 cases and 1,932 deaths. Michigan takes third with 21,504 cases and 1,076 deaths.

A sampling of other current mortality levels include Louisiana at 702, Illinois at 529, Massachusetts at 503, Washington at 457, Pennsylvania at 418, Maryland at 171, Arizona at 97, Mississippi at 82, Puerto Rico at 39, District of Columbia at 38, Iowa at 31, and West Virginia at 5.


We have heard this before, but federal deposits of stimulus checks expected to start within days. With more than 16 million Americans now jobless, many people await promised federal payments — a key part of the U.S. government’s $2.2 trillion economic relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (CBS News)


Trump downplays need for widespread testing before reopening economy. President Trump is shrugging off the need to significantly expand nationwide coronavirus testing capabilities in order to be able to restart the economy. “We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes. (The Hill


U.S. approaching coronavirus peak. “I think we’re coming to the peak … we can see the other side of the curve,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an appearance on CNN. Redfield credited the country’s “aggressive social distancing” techniques for lowering the expected mortality rate. Still, he urged that there is work to be done. (The Hill)


Big fights over mail-in voting. Election officials across the country are scrambling to ramp up mail-in voting and other alternatives to in-person voting. The rush to expand polling options could bring a new wave of court fights and legal experts warn the nightmare scenario will closely resemble the Supreme Court’s decision on Bush v. Gore. (The Hill)


 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

@RepAOC The Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) Nutrition Kitchens, in partnership with the Food Bank of NYC and the NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) are offering one week of free groceries to all New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs (NYC1).


Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)

@VernBuchanan Doreen from Longboat Key asked a great question during my telephone town hall this week: why doesn’t the government provide facemasks for all Americans? I’m going to ask the administration the same thing. They should.


Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.)

@RepBera @RealDonaldTrump There’s no time to wait. We need a national testing strategy. Congress stands ready to assist.




Immigrant doctors helping with the coronavirus still face challenges to work. Doctors and other health care workers who are not U.S. citizens are facing a second challenge as they fight the worst pandemic the nation has ever seen: Ensuring their paperwork will allow them to work in the United States. More than 3 million of the country’s 18 million health care workers and social workers are foreign born, according to a report by the Migration Policy Institute. (The Hill)


Tribal communities face economic ruin amid pandemic. In addition to failing infrastructure, lack of access to health care and a sizable percentage of the population at risk for the most severe COVID-19 complications, tribal communities are also facing bleak economic prospects. Tribal communities’ most consistent revenue generator — land-based casino gaming — has disappeared virtually overnight. (USA Today


New York shutters golf courses, boat launches. New York quietly added golf courses and launches of recreational vessels at marinas to its growing list of nonessential businesses. The move comes as more rural areas of the state are seeing spikes in cases as city-dwellers escape to their country homes — and, in many cases, bring the virus with him. (Democrat & Chronicle


Ohio’s Amish community stepping up. For centuries, the Amish community has been famously isolated from the hustle of the outside world, ‘social distancing’ from mainstream society, if you will — but, as the virus creeps ever closer, Ohio’s Amish are joining the fight. Sixty Amish home seamstresses mobilized to provide protective equipment to the Cleveland Clinic. (New York Times


New coronavirus vaccine being tested in Kansas City. A new vaccine for COVID-19 is being tested at The Center for Pharmaceutical Research. Two people were given the vaccine in Missouri and one at another testing facility in Philadelphia. Forty people will be administered the vaccine during its trial phase. (KY3)

Florida governor on fence about opening schools. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signaled that there was still a possibility that Florida schools could reopen in May after being closed since March due to the coronavirus outbreak. He said the state is looking at the evidence before they make a decision, adding that “for whatever reason [the virus] just doesn’t seem to threaten, you know, kids.” (The Hill)


Coronavirus a double emergency for conflict-ridden countries. A new report by the International Rescue Committee paints a dire picture for nations like South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. According to David Miliband, president and CEO of the IRC, the scale, severity and speed of the outbreak will be magnified in these fragile countries. South Sudan has four ventilators for the entire country; Northeast Syria has 11; Sierra Leone has 13; and in Venezuela, 90% of hospitals lack critical supplies. David Miliband is Steve Clemons’s guest interview today. Watch the interview linked above to learn what help is needed.


China recategorizes dogs and cats as pets — not livestock. A draft policy released by the Chinese Agriculture Ministry cited concerns over animal welfare and disease prevention as leading factors behind the policy reversal. (Fox News

Israeli spy agency working to acquire ventilators abroad. Israel has turned to the Mossad, its top spy agency, to acquire ventilators and other medical supplies from abroad as the country races to handle a coronavirus outbreak that threatens to overwhelm its hospitals. (Washington Post)





Lockdowns across Latin America send Venezuelan migrants back. Nearly 5 million Venezuelans have abandoned the collapsing socialist state in recent years, most of them to scrape out meager livings elsewhere in Latin America. But as countries from Argentina to Peru to Colombia shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of desperate Venezuelans, now jobless, hungry and living without a safety net, are heading home. (Washington Post)


Coronavirus vaccine could take way longer than a year. If the past is any indicator, the world won’t have a coronavirus vaccine for more than a year, probably longer. Experts are warning that “a year to 18 months would be absolutely unprecedented.” (National Geographic)

Potheads beware! Experts say it’s time to think twice about lighting up to curb your quarantine anxiety. Smoking marijuana, even occasionally, can increase your risk for more severe complications from COVID-19. (CNN)



Saudis, Russians reach historic oil deal but Mexico refuses to agree. A historic production cut agreement between OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, hit a roadblock after Mexico refused to agree to its share of the cuts after a marathon (virtual) meeting between the oil producing nations that lasted more than nine hours. A statement released by OPEC following the meeting outlined details of the cuts but noted the “the agreement is conditional on the consent of Mexico.” (CNBC


Depression? JPMorgan forecasts 40 percent decline in economy, 20 percent unemployment rate. JPMorgan Chase economists issued an even more dire forecast, now foreseeing a 40 percent decline in the nation’s gross domestic product for the second quarter and a surge in April’s unemployment rate to 20 percent with 25 million jobs lost. If the pandemic starts to fade by June — a big if — the group predicted 23 percent and 13 percent growth rates in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. (CNBC





Great battles require strategic discipline and Washington needs it in this crisis. Today, if Winston Churchill were leading America’s war against a pandemic, he would advise focusing on the main battlefront, COVID-19, rather than getting distracted by the ongoing geopolitical contest with China. Indeed, just as he dined with Joseph Stalin, Churchill would advise America to cooperate with China. Sadly, few voices in America are recommending such Churchillian wisdom. (Kishore Mahbubani for The Hill


The bad guys are not waiting on coronavirus to launch an attack. While every country, surely ours, is struggling to manage a monster pandemic, there is mischief everywhere. The United States today is ripe for an asymmetric attack, be it garden variety terrorism, like the attack in France last weekend, regional warfare or cyberthreats. (Jane Harman for The Hill)


10-year-old donating custom masks to health care workers. Zaria Hill and her mother, Latoya Carter, of Ohio are turning their sewing company into an all out effort to provide much needed face masks to local health care workers. The young entrepreneur has already donated hundreds of custom made masks. (Fox News

Rihanna and Jack Dorsey set up $4M grant to help victims of domestic violence amid coronavirus. Pop star Rihanna joined forces with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to set up a $4.2 million grant to help victims of domestic violence affected by coronavirus stay-at-home orders in Los Angeles. (The Hill)





That’s one way to social distance. Beth Johnson from Oregon shared a photo of a friend herding cattle. We are grateful to our farmers, ranchers and so many others who are playing an invaluable role in helping keep our grocery store shelves stocked. Thanks for sharing, Beth!


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 Special Report. To stay up-to-date on all things coronavirus, visit and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.


Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ami Bera Andrew Cuomo Donald Trump Peter Navarro Ron DeSantis Vern Buchanan

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