The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Senior Pa. banking official calls for another $2T package; Trump tips hat to govs

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Senior Pa. banking official calls for another $2T package; Trump tips hat to govs




> White House unveils plan for phased reopening

> Trump shifts testing accountability to state, local governments 

> Experimental drug shows promise, but not all experts are as hopeful

> China raises Wuhan death toll following international criticism 

> DMV cases double in one week

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE has unveiled ‘Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.’ The White House’s plan for getting the economy back up and running is a three-phased approach “based on the advice of public health experts.” Trump emphasized in Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing that the federal government will be involved to support states, but ultimately, the nation’s governors are going to “call their own shots.”


Read the full plan here.





About that peak? U.S. coronavirus deaths hit record one-day total. Thursday marked a new record for coronavirus deaths in the U.S., with 4,591 people dying from the virus in just 24 hours. New cases reported remained largely the same as the death toll soared. (The Hill)


Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of Banking Richard Vague says another $2 trillion package needed – massive unmet demand to keep small business alive




Watch the full interview here. 


Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Friday, April 17.

Editor’s Note. 


One of the big questions lurking in our future is whether the apparent vibrancy of the American economy with low unemployment and a high stock market before the coronavirus struck was real or jacked up. President Trump had achieved major tax-cutting legislation earlier in his term, but critics slammed the move because it was pumping too much into the financial system at a time when the economy was strong and that it would reduce the government’s reserves to shore up the economy in truly dark times. Before COVID-19, U.S. debt was surging far beyond levels predicted by the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. Now we are in truly dark times, and anticipated debt levels are larger than the entire economy — that’s a historic moment and a bad one. There are now more than 22 million unemployed workers and millions more who are partially employed. GDP growth has crashed and as corporate earnings reports for public firms have now begun to be revealed, with more in the coming weeks, we are seeing economic carnage.  

America can bounce back, at least somewhat, when demand takes off after some states relax stay-at-home orders and establish safe pathways back to work and economic vitality. But we have to ask whether we ate too much of our national seed corn in good economic times and didn’t do the kinds of things that would have helped protect both the economy and society in troubled times. The debt overhang of this stimulus today will be with America for generations to come. There is no choice now, but there was a choice when America was not under duress and wrecked its fiscal solvency anyway. My interview subject today, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of banking and a real expert on America’s past economic crises, Richard Vague, says that the federal government has ample room to take on the debt needed to keep the economy going through this crisis. The challenge, he said, is whether it can get its act together to really get the money flowing at a level needed now. He said there is massive unmet need to keep small businesses alive — and Congress doesn’t return to work until May. That’s something to think about.


– 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_wargofchikCLICK 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. 


On April 29, our new 3D journalism platform The Hill Virtually Live will host an online event – Safeguarding Seniors: Healthcare in a Health Crisis. We’ll be looking at how Medicare is stepping up to support seniors, what it will take to protect underserved communities and the role of telemedicine. REGISTER HERE and follow @TheHillEvents for program updates.



There are now 2,196,109 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. 149,024 people have died from the virus. 672,293 cases are confirmed in the U.S. – by far the most in the world and 33,898 people in America have died from COVID-19. Spain continues to have the next most cases with 184,948 cases. Italy has 168,941. 138,456 in Germany. 109,769 in the United Kingdom. China, after upping their original number of confirmed cases and deaths, is now reporting 83,760 cases. 


New York remains the global epicenter of the pandemic with its 223,699 confirmed cases. A New York City nursing home is struggling to contain a newly reported outbreak, with 29 of its residents dead from the virus. New Jersey has reported 75,317 cases. Massachusetts has surpassed Michigan and its 32,181 cases are third highest in the country. 28,157 cases in California. 25,733 in Illinois. 


Without a strategic leap in the level of testing, reopening the economy remains a tenuous process that could lead to a resurgence of cases nationwide. Only 3.4 million people – slightly north of one percent of Americans – have been tested. 


More than half a million people around the world have reported full recovery from COVID-19.


Trump guidelines for reopening economy let governors make final decision. The 18-page guidelines released by the White House for beginning to reopen the economy recommend that states see a downward trajectory in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases as well as flu-like symptoms before they move to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. The document explicitly states that the outlined steps are implementable statewide at the “discretion” of individual governors. (The Hill


Protesters gain Trump’s support? President Trump took to Twitter on Friday and appeared to back protesters, in three states with Democratic governors, who are gathering in opposition of extended stay-at-home orders.


Senate misses deadline, but talks on loans push forward. Senate negotiators haven’t given up on reaching a deal to add funds to a small-business lending program set up to help firms weather the coronavirus crisis, despite an impasse Thursday that coincided with the program running out of money. Signs remain that the two sides could still come together to act on desperately needed relief for Americans. (The Hill)


Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsSusan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP Democrats seize on Florida pandemic response ahead of general election MORE (D-Fla.)

@RepValDemings Hackers have repeatedly hijacked the computer systems of communities around the country. In the midst of this crisis, such attacks could be devastating. We wrote to congressional leadership asking for vital cybersecurity funding to safeguard our civic and emergency systems.

Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases The Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Tenn.) 

@MarshaBlackburn Even if your spring sports were cancelled, remember: Life is a bigger game than any sport. So, today, wholeheartedly get in the game.





Coronavirus cases double in DMV in just one week. The number of coronavirus cases in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia has doubled to 20,000 cases in a week, according to information reported by their health departments Thursday evening. The death toll in the two states and D.C. has reached 750 and has continued to increase each day with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) predicting the region will reach its peak sometime in May. (The Hill


Virginia hospital system bars workers from bringing their own medical equipment. Inova, a medical system that operates hospitals in Northern Virginia, is banning employees treating coronavirus patients from wearing their own personal protective equipment despite shortages in the hospital. Employees who work at Inova Fairfax Hospital said the policy isn’t enforced unilaterally and can cost them their job if they aren't compliant. (The Hill


Beaches, parks to reopen in Jacksonville, Fla., in “pathway back to normal life.” The mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., said the city's beaches and parks will reopen at 5 p.m. Friday, but with restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak continues across the state and country. The beaches and parks will be open for essential activities only and social distancing guidelines must be followed. (The Hill


Coronavirus crushes China’s economy, Wuhan death toll revised higher. China’s gross domestic product shrank by the biggest margin in history as the pandemic delivered a devastating blow to the world’s second-largest economy. The Chinese government has also raised the death toll for Wuhan by 50 percent in the face of widespread international criticism of previous data. (Washington Post


Poorer nations face bigger risk in easing virus restrictions. As some wealthier Western nations begin easing coronavirus restrictions, many developing countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, want to do it too, but they cannot afford the luxury of any missteps. Easing lockdowns could increase infections and quickly overwhelm hospitals with limited beds and breathing machines. Keeping restrictions in place risks social upheaval and more economic losses. (Associated Press

Cabinet shakeup in Brazil over coronavirus differences. Eager to reopen Latin America’s largest economy, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has fired Luiz Henrique Mandetta as minister of health, after the two officials sparred publicly over the need for social distancing to fight the region’s largest COVID-19 outbreak. (Washington Post)


Early results show promise for experimental COVID-19 drug. An experimental antiviral drug being used as part of a study to treat coronavirus patients in Chicago has shown to rapidly dissipate patients' fevers and respiratory symptoms, allowing most to be discharged in under a week. The promising drug Remdesivir is being studied around the country and experts say there is still much information to gather. (The Hill

Gottlieb: It’s not a slam dunk. Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former FDA Commissioner, isn’t overly enthused by Remdesivir testing results that led to a gain on Wall Street. Gottlieb is warning that the drug is “not a slam dunk by any means” and he doesn’t “think it’s a cure for the virus.” (Washington Post)


Stocks soar amid growing hope for virus treatment, plans to reopen country. Stock markets jumped Friday morning following reports of a potentially effective treatment for the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 550 points, or 2.3 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 52 points, or 1.8 percent. (CNBC


NY Fed president paints dire picture of economic recovery. New York Federal Reserve President John Williams on Friday said that the economy will likely not be back to full strength until at least December. Williams predicted that the construction sector may be able to bounce back more quickly but added in a CNBC interview, “I don’t see the economy getting back to full strength by the end of the year.” 

Millions still waiting for IRS relief checks. The IRS has started to issue coronavirus rebates to tens of millions of people, but faces challenges in getting the payments to everyone. Millions of people who haven't previously given the IRS their bank information, or who may not typically file tax returns, are still waiting for relief funds. (The Hill)


COVID-19 calls for Marshall Plan for health. The twin crises of the last century — the Great Depression and World War II — nudged us as a country to invest in our collective well-being. The New Deal, and its political successor, the Great Society, were ambitious efforts to place compassion and care for the many at the heart of federal decision making. We need a Marshall Plan for health, a commitment to rebuilding our world with the aim of improving on what came before. (Sandro Galea for The Hill


COVID-19: The leadership failure. The cavalier attitude of the U.S. president, who downplayed the pandemic threat early on, the bureaucratic public health failure from Beijing to Washington, and the rather slow response of the World Health Organization, which finally declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, have combined to cause a global medical and economic catastrophe of historic proportions. (Ariel Cohen for The Hill





Life saving deliveries! Chicago hospitals tending to COVID-19 patients are receiving shipments of ventilators that will help them save more lives. UPS, General Motors and Ventec Life Systems are collaborating to deliver these much needed supplies. Chicago’s Franciscan and Weiss Memorial hospitals are getting 10 ventilators per shipment. Tomorrow, 34 ventilators will be delivered to Gary, Ind., for distribution where they are most needed.

Footwear company donating shoes to health care workers. Data from a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that COVID-19 may travel on shoes and that the footwear of medical staff in particular could be carriers. Kizik, a Utah-based innovative footwear company, announced Friday it will immediately donate 1,000 pairs of hands-free shoes to health care workers in support of the fight against COVID-19. (Kizik)


> Steve interviews former AIDS czar MARK DYBUL

> Steve interviews former GSK Global Vaccines President LUC DEBRUYNE

> Steve interviews former Baltimore Health Commissioner LEANA WEN

> Steve interviews former Trump homeland security adviser TOM BOSSERT

> Steve interviews International Rescue Committee CEO DAVID MILIBAND

> Steve interviews Miami Mayor and coronavirus survivor FRANCIS X. SUAREZ 

> Steve interviews Rep. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-Mich.) 

> Steve interviews APHA Executive Director DR. GEORGES BENJAMIN 

> Steve interviews former Senate Majority Leader BILL FRIST


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 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.