The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says because of testing and tracing deficit, no city or state can safely reopen; Trump to sign executive order on immigration today

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says because of testing and tracing deficit, no city or state can safely reopen; Trump to sign executive order on immigration today




> Senate passes $484 billion relief bill, House expected to pass package Thursday 

> Trump to shut down immigration, deport infected migrants via executive order 

> CDC director says second wave of COVID-19, combined with flu, could be far worse 

> It’s Earth Day’s 50th anniversary 


Groundhog day? Somehow, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century, President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE has shifted attention back to his bedrock issue of immigration. The president is seizing on the pandemic to engineer an immigration ban he’s sought for years, framing it as a step to protect domestic jobs and public health with the U.S. economy continuing to tank. The move is red meat for his base and Democrats are quickly pushing back, accusing the president of shifting his focus to immigration in an effort to distract from his administration’s botched response to the coronavirus. Trump tweeted this morning that he will sign his executive order today to “prohibit immigration into our Country.” And just like that — as Americans continue to die and mass-scale testing remains a grim prospect — the White House is turning to banning immigration. 

CDC director warns of second, even more deadly, wave of coronavirus. In an interview with The Washington Post, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), warned that a second wave of the coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield said.


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tells Steve Clemons She Does Not Believe There is Any City or State in America That Has Adequate Testing and Contact Tracing to Safely Reopen Their Economy





Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Wednesday, April 22. Happy Earth Day!

Editor's note.  


So many stories are flowing in these times — there are heroes, and we see them every day, and there are villains. What a remarkable turn when we now know that some U.S. states have resorted to smuggling their personal protective equipment, particularly N95 masks and ventilators, so that they aren’t seized by federal authorities. When the federal government has been a Keystone Cops operation of messaging on everything from “this is a Democratic hoax” to “China did this” to “we’ve done more than enough testing,” to add federal seizures to the mix feels to many like rubbing hot sauce in an already aggravated wound. 

Other heroes are the scientists that we don’t get to know as well as Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test MORE and Deborah Birx but who will be vital to the story — those who figure out how to antagonize, deter, disrupt, dislodge and kill the coronavirus. I’ve talked to research scientists at large and small pharmaceutical enterprises, and at universities like Johns Hopkins, and government scientists. The rough consensus is that, because there is no apparent silver bullet in hand to take out this novel coronavirus, we have to try everything. Some drugs, including antivirals and vaccines developed for other viruses, will be in the mix. But the glaring lesson of the week is that despite White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s doctorate in the social sciences, his read of “anecdotal information” does not come close to what sound and true scientific method produces. And in this case, a National Institutes of Health panel found that there is zero therapeutic benefit to the application of hydroxychloroquine when mixed with azithromycin, which the president, Navarro, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCourt sets Smartmatic dismissal date on Giuliani, Bartiromo, others Ukraine sanctions two businessmen tied to Giuliani Mo Brooks accuses Swalwell attorney who served papers on his wife of trespassing MORE and others had been promoting.

And today, the price of oil surged after President Trump tweeted that the U.S. Navy should “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboats harassing ships in or around the Straits of Hormuz. That’s at least one way to get the price of oil higher.

Today, I interviewed one of the nation’s heroes, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan who stood strong through the wave of COVID-19 that rocked her city and region. She has thoughts on how we build trust with our citizens and workers and get back to being a healthy society.


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_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.




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. Watch this space as we announce registration details and program speakers. 

REGISTER HERE and follow @TheHillEvents for program updates.


There are 2,603,147 reported cases of COVID-19 across the globe. 830,789 cases in the U.S., now accounting for 45,638 of the world’s 180,784 deaths. With 25,085 deaths in Italy. 21,717 in Spain. 20,829 dead in France. Canada’s numbers are rising and our neighbors to the north are nearing 40,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. 20,471 in India. 17,837 in Peru. 12,772 in Saudi Arabia. Chile, which is now issuing “immunity passports” to those who have successfully recovered from the virus, has reported 11,296 cases. 10,141 in Singapore. 8,238 in the United Arab Emirates. 


A staggering 258,589 cases are confirmed in New York. 92,862 in New Jersey. 36,082 in Pennsylvania. 10,460 in Colorado. 12,444 in Indiana. South Carolina, which will begin slowly reopening businesses along with other southern states, has 4,608 cases. 


4,171,896 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the U.S. And more than 75,000 people in America have reported full recoveries from the virus. A question on the top of everyone’s mind is whether or not those 75,000 people are now immune to the virus? Or does reinfection pose a significant threat?




Trump shuts down immigration by executive order today. “I will be signing my Executive Order prohibiting immigration into our Country today,” President Trump tweeted this morning. “In the meantime, even without this order, our Southern Border, aided substantially by the 170 miles of new Border Wall & 27,000 Mexican soldiers, is very tight - including for human trafficking!” he added. (The Hill)


Give war a chance? Oil jumps after Trump orders Navy to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian gunboats. After two dark days for crude oil prices are rallying again Wednesday morning after President Trump triggered a small short-covering rally by tweeting that he has ordered the U.S. Navy to "shoot down and destroy" Iranian gunboats if they harass U.S. ships. Once again, Trump’s tweet managed to lift oil prices hinting at an escalation of conflict with Iran. (OilPrice.com)

Battle heats up for fourth coronavirus relief bill. The Senate’s passage of a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday is setting the stage for negotiations on an even bigger package that could rival the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress last month. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (D-N.Y.) are calling for “a big, strong and active” coronavirus relief package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl MORE (R-Ky.) is pressing pause, warning about the cascading U.S. debt. (The Hill)


Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMcGuire unveils Arizona Senate campaign On The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly welcome first grandchild MORE (R-Ariz.)

@SenMcSallyAZ Thanks to Harvard for my master’s degree. But @tedcruz and @Greta are right: give it ALL back. Use your $40 billion endowment to help struggling students.


Rep. Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsIn honor of Mother's Day, lawmakers should pass the Momnibus Act Officials discuss proposals for fixing deep disparities in education digital divide The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - At 50 days in charge, Democrats hail American Rescue Plan as major win MORE (D-N.C.)

@RepAdams Man-made climate change is an existential threat that puts our lives at risk, and those of all future generations. This #EarthDay, we should recommit to addressing the climate crisis with all deliberate speed.


Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Republican House campaign arm says it will begin soliciting cryptocurrency donations MORE (R-Minn.)

@RepTomEmmer Incredible to see Tina Peterson, a FedEx truck driver from @BlaineMN speaking at the @WhiteHouse. Truck drivers have been some of the silent heroes throughout this pandemic. I am grateful to them for keeping the nation supplied and the American economy moving.


Study shows 74 percent of Americans have been mostly or completely isolating. Adults who follow social distancing guidelines generate at least 90 percent fewer contacts per day than those who do not, according to new Gallup data.


Atlanta mayor pleads with residents to reject governor’s reopening of Georgia. Saying “Look at the Science,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is urging city residents to stay home even as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) plans to reopen the state at the end of the week. (The Hill)


Florida coordinating reopening with five southern states. Florida is a part of the coalition of southern states (including Georgia) that is coordinating to reopen their economies. This new coalition has formed as the states see increasing coronavirus cases and lack the testing capacity some public health experts say is needed to safely reopen. Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFormer Fla. Gov calls for an investigation into the state's 'outsized role' in the Jan. 6 riot The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Florida pardons residents fined or arrested for mask violations MORE (R) said Wednesday morning that the cohort of states “shared a lot of ideas” and think they will “be on the same page on some stuff.” (The Hill

Dentists want coronavirus testing kits before reopening. The American Dental Association wants the Department of Health and Human Services to supply testing kits to dentists so they can swab patients once the economy reopens. (The Hill)


China shrugs off Missouri lawsuit, calling it ‘very absurd.’ China is firing back against a lawsuit Missouri brought earlier this week over Beijing's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, last year and has killed more than 45,000 people across the United States. (The Hill


Russian medical workers say COVID-19 is ravaging their ranks, but hospital chiefs are silent. Russia’s hierarchy of fear — from the president down to head doctors in hospitals — appears to be stepping up its intimidation against anyone speaking out about shortages and infections in health care ranks as the COVID-19 pandemic expands across the country. (Washington Post

  Eight children test positive for coronavirus in Tokyo care facility. Eight infants and toddlers at a care center in Tokyo have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, raising concerns about a wider outbreak at care facilities in the country for neglected or abused children. (New York Times)


FDA commissioner: At-home coronavirus test as accurate as one done in doctor's office. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, on Wednesday said the agency’s newly authorized at-home coronavirus test is “very easy and safe to perform.” LabCorp, which operates one of the world’s largest clinical laboratory providers, will be making and receiving the tests. (The Hill)

Germany set to begin its first clinical vaccine trials. A German biotechnology company said Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine candidate it had developed with American pharmaceutical company Pfizer had been approved for clinical testing in Germany, raising hopes that a working coronavirus vaccine could become available soon. (New York Times)


Tyson Foods closes Iowa pork plant indefinitely after coronavirus outbreak. Tyson Foods is suspending operations at its pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, because too many workers have been absent due to the coronavirus pandemic. All 2,800 workers of the plant will be asked to come in for coronavirus testing, which will determine the timing of its reopening. (The Hill)

Lack of national testing apparatus spurs 3D printing of nasal swabs. A group of hospitals and companies are turning to 3D printers to ramp up production. Researchers at University of South Florida Health, a Tampa-based medical school, and Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider, teamed up to develop a 3D-printed swab they can make at hospitals. (CNBC)


COVID-19 lessons for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Let’s mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a commitment to bring the learning from the difficult COVID-19 experience to the climate change battle. While the threat may not seem as immediate or as stark, the debate over what must be done to avoid reaching a crisis point may seem eerily familiar. (Daniel Esty for The Hill)





In Melbourne, Australia, street artists created a mural to honor the health care workers on the front lines of the country’s fight against COVID-19. 

Brad Paisley crashes virtual happy hours with fans. The country music singer has been popping up on various Zoom hangouts to raise a glass to front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. (Fox News)


> 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 

> Steve interviews Pennsylvania acting Secretary of Banking and Securities RICHARD VAGUE 

> Steve interviews Rep. BRAD WENSTRUP (R-Ohio) 

> Steve interviews NATO Deputy Secretary General MIRCEA GENONA 

> Steve interviews Vanda Pharmaceuticals President and CEO MIHAEL POLYMEROPOULOS


Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.




Statement Masks? Suzanne Garwood shared a photo of her go-to face covering: a bandana featuring headshots of female political leaders. With the use of face coverings mandated in large swaths of the country, folks are finding new ways to protect themselves when in public – and maybe even add a political statement along the way. 


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 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 TheHill.com and SUBSCRIBE to our Overnight Healthcare newsletter for the latest developments from the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.