The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency; Dems crafting 'Rooseveltian' relief package

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency; Dems crafting 'Rooseveltian' relief package


> 3.2 million more Americans join jobless rolls, 33 million unemployed since mid-March 

> Schumer, Pelosi set to release ‘Rooseveltian’ relief package 

> Early New York cases seeded countrywide outbreak, researchers say 

> UN warns of global coronavirus ‘boomerang,’ urges wealthy nations to support relief for developing countries

> Sen. Alexander says nation needs ‘millions’ more tests to safely reopen 

> Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency, we have the technology to do high-quality contact tracing now and we must bolster our food chain or face a national security crisis 

It’s Thursday. And that means more sobering news about the state of the country’s workforce. Just under 3.2 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to data released by the Department of Labor. Although the number of new jobless claims is the lowest since the country went into lockdown, the picture remains bleak. More than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March and the April jobs report set to be released Friday is expected to shatter records for the largest single month decline in jobs and highest recorded unemployment rate in United States history. As the economy slowly begins to reopen, 77 percent of laid-off or furloughed workers remain confident that they will be rehired by their previous employer, according to a nationwide Washington Post-Ipsos poll. The unemployment numbers are unprecedented and certainty staggering. For context, only 7,759,771 in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19 – and let’s not forget that 73,573 in the U.S. are not just jobless, they are dead. 


Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency, we have the technology to do high-quality contact tracing now and we must bolster our food chain or face a national security crisis





Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Thursday, May 7.

Editor’s Note.


Chef José Andrés is loved by many because he brings an earthy, worldly, human charm to his food and restaurants as well to his causes like World Central Kitchen and feeding those in need after natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. We have a different kind of national disaster today in the era of COVID-19, and his network helped feed some of the first high-profile victims of this crisis — the passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess anchored off Yokohama, Japan. Celebrity restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa teamed up on that front-line effort as well. But to think that Andrés is just a sentimental man of heart who springs to action during crises misunderstands his success. Both during my interview today and in some off interview chatting, Andrés made clear he is a strategist willing to break bread with anyone — Republican, Democrat, whatever — to move the cause of saving America’s food chain, protecting restaurant and food workers, and feeding the needy and vulnerable. 


During my interview, he demurred on some of the political questions and would say “I’m just a chef,” but the truth is his acts have political weight and consequence — and he’s lining up folks like Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE (D-Calif.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill Revered civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis lies in state in the Capitol MORE (R-S.C.), and Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal MORE (R-Ill.) and Mike ThompsonCharles (Mike) Michael ThompsonHouse Democrats unveil green tax package The Hill's Coronavirus Report: BIO's Michelle McMurry-Heath says 400 projects started in 16 weeks in biotech firms to fight virus, pandemic unemployment total tops 43 million Gun control group rolls out House endorsements MORE (D-Calif.) on his FEED Act working to link the Federal Emergency Management Agency, restaurants and food preparers, to feeding those hungry and in need. And he’s talking to and working with others including Reps. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroCoronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding Lobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill Public health groups denounce new Trump move sidelining CDC MORE (D-Conn.), Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonPeterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district House approves statehood for DC in 232-180 vote House to pass sweeping police reform legislation MORE (D-Minn.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Texas Democrats plan 7-figure ad buy to turn state blue Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House MORE (R-Texas), and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick Republicans set sights on FBI chief as Russia probe investigations ramp up The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (R-S.C.). I asked him who the villains and heroes of the day are — and as tempting a target as the villains list might be to him, he said no — he’d only share the heroes. Andrés listed front-line medical workers, those serving meals in food kitchens, the UPS delivery person keeping packages moving, and others on the front end of trusted networks that are threatened today.


This was an important interview that makes clear Andrés’s frustration with politicians who aren’t acting with the urgency “of yesterday.” And he believes it’s crazy we haven’t achieved a tighter capability on contact tracing through our smartphones. This is a powerful conversation, worthy of your time. 


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





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There are 3,784,085 cases of COVID-19 in the world. 264,679 are dead from the virus. 


The U.S. is reporting 1,231,992 cases of the coronavirus and 73,573 deaths. Spain is reporting 220,325 cases. Italy 214,457. 202,359 cases in the U.K. 177,160 cases in Russia — where three doctors have fallen out of windows amid growing concerns over the lack of protective equipment for medical staff. Iran 103,135. China is reporting 83,974 cases. 64,733 in Canada. 54,817 in Peru. India 53,045. Saudi Arabia 33,731. 3,091 cases in Ghana. 2,992 in Thailand. 2,663 in Greece. 1,489 in New Zealand. 1,445 in Slovakia. 


New York is reporting 323,978 cases. New Jersey 131,890. Massachusetts 72,025. 60,616 in California. Pennsylvania 54,800. 38,002 reported cases in Florida. Texas 34,982. Maryland 29,374. Ohio 21,576. Virginia 21,572. 15,905 in Washington. 13,053 in North Carolina. 5,654 in the District of Columbia. 5,595 in Utah. 


7,759,771 COVID-19 tests have been recorded in the U.S. 1,255,685 have recovered from the virus around the world. 


Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks MORE under mounting GOP pressure to boost state aid. The Kentucky Republican last month said “this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” which his office later characterized as “stopping blue state bailouts” for states such as California, Illinois and New York. But his GOP colleagues are now joining calls for more federal aid to states, arguing their red states also face dire fiscal challenges caused by the deadly pandemic. (The Hill


Schumer, Pelosi set to unveil “Rooseveltian” relief package. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that he and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks MORE (D-Calif.) will soon unveil a coronavirus relief package that he described as “Rooseveltian” in its scope and size. “We need big, bold action," Schumer said in an MSNBC interview with Stephanie Ruhle, adding that he and Pelosi "are working very closely together on putting together a very strong plan, which you will hear shortly.” (The Hill


GOP health chairman says nation needs “millions” more tests to safely reopen. Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline MORE (R-Tenn.) said Thursday that the United States needs “millions more tests” to safely reopen the economy. The comments about the significant need to ramp up testing from a Republican chairman are in contrast with statements from President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE, who has repeatedly downplayed the need for more tests and said testing capacity is already strong. (The Hill


House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScott Fitzgerald wins Wisconsin GOP primary to replace Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner GOP leaders go into attack mode against Harris QAnon supporter in Georgia heads into tight GOP runoff MORE (R-La.)

@SteveScalise I'm determined to focus our work on 3 areas Dems continue to avoid: 1) Hold China accountable 2) Help ensure the success of America’s largest relief effort 3) Provide guidance on re-opening our economy Our goal: Get people healthy, secure, and back to work. I hope Dems join us.


Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar fends off primary challenge in Minnesota Centrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump to Democratic negotiators: 'They know my phone number' MORE (D-Mich.) 

@RepRashida Bottom line: As we continue to respond to the #COVID19 crisis, we must always put people—especially our frontline workers—first. The billionaires *do not* need our help, especially when they don’t seem interested in helping the rest of us.


Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Mass.) 

@SenMarkey #COVID19 has shown us that our work is far from done to ensure universal connectivity. We need to update the National Broadband Plan so we can continue to invest in our nation’s future by bringing the power and promise of broadband to us all.





Early N.Y. cases seeded U.S. outbreak, researchers say. New York City’s coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States, new research reveals, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country. The research indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before the city began putting social distancing rules in places. (New York Times


Florida emerges as bright spot in COVID-19 fight. Florida has reported 38,002 positive coronavirus cases and 1,539 deaths, ranking it eighth in the U.S. for the number of confirmed cases despite being the nation’s third most populated state. 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 Hill)


Maryland regulators fine nursing home with most virus deaths $10,00 a day. Maryland regulators are fining Sagepoint Senior Living, the nursing home that has reported the state’s highest coronavirus-related death toll in the state, for failure to use appropriate personal protective equipment, failing to separate residents with suspected or known COVID-19 cases and not obtaining lab results in a timely manner, according to a letter to the facility.


Two McDonald's workers shot by customer irate dining room closed over coronavirus. Two McDonald's employees in Oklahoma City were injured in a shooting after police say a woman became irate after they were told that the store's lobby was closed for dine-in customers. (The Hill)


U.N. official warns of global coronavirus “boomerang.” A top United Nations official warned Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic could "boomerang" and return to wealthier nations such as the U.S. and its European allies unless countries work together to contain the virus's spread. USA Today reported that the U.N.'s under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcock, told the newspaper that he will ask wealthier contributors to the international organization such as the U.S. to donate to a $6.7 billion effort to fight the spread of coronavirus in developing countries, particularly in Latin America. (The Hill)


  France unveils final plan on easing COVID-19 lockdown. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Thursday detailed his government’s plan for easing COVID-19 lockdown measures that go into effect on May 11, ending France’s nearly two-month confinement. But Philippe has warned the easing will be gradual and targeted to stem a resurgence of the viral outbreak.  (France 24)


Saudi Arabia forms police unit to enforce coronavirus curbs on social gatherings. Saudi Arabia has formed a police unit to monitor violations of rules banning gatherings of more than five people imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the state news agency SPA said Thursday. (Yahoo Finance)


Evidence mounts that outside is safer when it comes to COVID-19. Being outside shouldn’t be seen as completely safe, health experts say. People should continue to avoid crowds and maintain 6 feet of distance from others to keep away from the virus. But experts are increasingly confident in evidence showing that the coronavirus spreads much more readily indoors than outdoors. (The Hill

Details of a new anti-coronavirus neutralizing antibody. There’s a lot of work being done on antibodies for the coronavirus and on the protein domains they recognize. The particular protein that everyone believes is the natural target for such things is the famous “spike” because it’s well-exposed on the surface of the viral particle and is crucial for the virus to enter human cells. That’s had a huge amount of work directed toward it, much of which is informed by the work done on SARS and MERS. (Science Translational Medicine)


Neiman Marcus files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Neiman Marcus Group, the 113-year-old chain known for its high-end department stores, filed for bankruptcy Thursday, making it the second major retailer to do so during the coronavirus pandemic. (Washington Post


WeWork members demand deferment of fees during coronavirus. WeWork customers are uniting in a group action to demand the company not charge their membership fees during the coronavirus pandemic when state stay-at-home orders prevent them from using the work spaces. Customers in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and other cities hired a law firm to threaten to pursue arbitration in a letter Thursday. (The Hill)

Tin Ear-itis? Frontier drops planned fees for social distancing on flights after criticism. Frontier Airlines is dropping its proposed $39 to $89 fee to allow customers to purchase the middle seat on flights to socially distance on Wednesday after the airline received a flood of criticism. CEO Barry Biffle announced the airline was ditching its “More Room” proposal on Wednesday night in a letter to congressional members that was obtained by The Denver Post. Critics had condemned the program as a way for the airline to profit over anxieties in the coronavirus age. (The Hill)


What coronavirus reveals about securing encryption backdoors. Ultimately, our government’s efforts to secure encryption backdoors undermines U.S. credibility. We are certain to learn many lessons as a result of this pandemic — and the fundamental importance of encryption to protecting our digital society should be one of them. (Michael Hayden for The Hill)





New Banksy artwork appears at Southampton hospital. The largely monochrome painting, which is 1 square meter, was hung in collaboration with the hospital's managers in a foyer near the emergency department. It shows a young boy kneeling by a wastepaper basket dressed in overalls and a T-shirt. He has discarded his Spiderman and Batman model figures in favor of a new favorite action hero — an NHS nurse. (BBC News)


Lin-Manuel Miranda and chef José Andrés: A bromance that will save us all. When it comes to feeding a world in need, empathy is the key ingredient. And with these two cooking (on Skype) together, you know it's going to be good. Given all that’s going on in the world, a good old-fashioned bromance feels oddly reassuring — especially when it’s between two hermanos with heart: Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Broadway megastar behind Hamilton and In the Heights, and José Andrés, the acclaimed chef and leader of World Central Kitchen, which has produced millions of meals over the past several weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (InStyle)


> Steve interviews Sen. CHRISTOPHER COONS (D-Del.) 

> Steve interviews Edelman Public Relations CEO RICHARD EDELMAN

> Steve interviews Rep. DONNA SHALALA (D-Fla.) 

> Steve interviews Rep. TREY HOLLINGSWORTH (R-Ind.) 

> Steve interviews former Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT 

> Steve interviews Rep. ROSA DELAURO (D-Conn.)

> Steve interviews BIO President and CEO JIM GREENWOOD 

> Steve interviews former Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.


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 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.