The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Hurd says China engaged in global disinformation campaign; US unemployment highest since Great Depression

The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Hurd says China engaged in global disinformation campaign; US unemployment highest since Great Depression


> Unemployment soars to 14.7 percent, worst rate since Great Depression

> Trump administration reportedly scrapped CDC guidelines on reopening  

> Faulty lines of communication between Trump officials slowed critical drug distribution 

> Origin of California outbreak traced to nail salon, governor says 

> Turbulence ahead! Boeing CEO says it could take five years for airlines to see growth 

> ‘Plandemic’ conspiracy video removed from Facebook, YouTube 

> Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdPence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster Prince Harry joins Aspen Institute commission on misinformation Congress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent MORE says we need to advance economy, not just recover; and he claims China engaged in global disinformation campaign 

As expected, the April jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows grim statistics that will live in infamy for decades to come. The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April amid the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic as the steepest recorded surge in American unemployment nearly wiped out a decade of job gains. The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March as thousands of businesses closed and laid off or furloughed workers they could no longer afford to employ. The one-month rise in the unemployment rate between March and April is the largest ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (The Hill)


Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) says we need to advance our economy — not just recover. He points out that his district has a surplus of test kits as people are not showing up for tests and he accuses China of a global disinformation campaign on the origins of the novel coronavirus.





Watch the full interview here.


Welcome to The Hill's Coronavirus Report. It's Friday, May 8.

Editor’s Note.


Today I asked Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) when we are all going to stop talking about testing because we’ll eventually find it all around ourselves, ever present, all the time. He said the picture is uneven. The Texas Republican made the remarkable comment that, in his district, there is actually a surplus of testing kits as many are made there and not enough people are showing up to get tested. Maybe San Antonio can quickly set itself up as a coronavirus testing tourist destination as it remains ridiculously difficult — no matter what the White House says — to get tested in most places.  


Hurd also made another zinger comment that deserves highlighting here. He said we need to think less of “recovery” — of returning things to the way they were in November — and more about thinking of this as “advancement” of our economy and society. There are a lot of stress points in society such as people once again being left behind, systemic racism clear as day, children in school food programs not getting their two square meals a day, cyber predators exploiting the surge of newbies online and compounding the grief and stress many families are experiencing. Hurd said we need to shore up our infrastructure, modernize it, improve security and access — and make this the recovery plan, but call it “advancement.” I like this framing and think it’s right.


Finally, not only are there two bit criminals out there preying on those new to the cyber world, and taking advantage of people’s fears in the time of coronavirus, but nations are, too — and he specifically pointed to China whom he charged with engaging in a global disinformation campaign to accuse other nations, like the United States and Italy, of concocting this virus. He said China’s leadership is trying to distract from its own weaknesses and its own responsibilities in the early life of this pandemic. Hurd, a former CIA officer who is not seeking reelection, said we do need to collaborate globally and work with all nations, including China, in combating COVID-19. But that requires nations to be truthful and transparent. He said today China is working to sow doubts about the U.S. and this has to be challenged. 


– 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.





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There are 3,889,841 cases of the coronavirus around the world. 271,732 lives have been lost to the virus. 


The United States is reporting 1,263,052 cases and 76,032 COVID-19 deaths. Spain is reporting 221,447 cases. 217,185 in Italy. 212,626 in the U.K. 187,859 in Russia. France 174,918. Germany 169,430. Brazil 138,121. Turkey 133,721. 83,976 in China. Saudi Arabia is reporting 35,432 cases. 29,616 in Mexico. 3,526 in Nigeria. 3,178 in Hungary. 3,091 in Ghana. 3,000 in Thailand. 129 cases are being reported in Haiti. 


New York’s reported 327,469 cases are far higher than any nation in the world. New Jersey 133,991. Massachusetts 73,721. 62,630 cases in California. 56,901 in Pennsylvania. 45,745 in Michigan. 39,199 in Florida. 31,784 cases in Connecticut. 31,732 in Georgia. 23,149 in Indiana. 22,342 in Virginia. 18,371 in Colorado. 13,953 in North Carolina. 11,457 in Iowa. 6,359 in Kansas. 4,493 in New Mexico. 635 in Wyoming. 


8,105,513 test results are being reported in the U.S and 195,036 have reported full recoveries from COVID-19 in the states.





Guidelines drafted by CDC were rejected by Trump administration citing religious freedom, economic concerns: report. The Trump administration rejected guidelines proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to take public health precautions to safely reopen the economy, according to The New York Times. One Department of Health and Human Services official rejected any guidance on churches, claiming the measures would infringe on religious liberties. (The Hill)


Harris, Sanders, Markey propose $2,000 monthly payments amid coronavirus pandemic. A trio of senators is introducing legislation to provide $2,000 in monthly payments during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, from Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHouse Budget Committee 'not considering' firing CBO director Former North Carolina governor set to launch Senate bid How to manage migration intensified by climate change MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersAmazon workers have spoken — are progressives listening? What's really behind Joe Biden's far-left swing? It's time to declare a national climate emergency MORE (I-Vt.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle | Justices dismiss suit over Trump's blocking of critics on Twitter | Tim Cook hopes Parler will return to Apple Store Democrats press Facebook on plans for Instagram for kids Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve MORE (D-Mass.), would provide a $2,000 monthly payment to individuals who make up to $100,000 per year. (The Hill


Republicans not sold on new round of relief checks. The White House and Democrats are signaling support for doing at least one more round of checks. GOP senators, however, say they aren’t sold yet on the need for a second round, and several said they are strongly opposed to the idea. “Well people in hell want ice water, too,” said Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), asked about another round of checks. “I mean, everybody has an idea and a bill, usually to spend more money. It’s like a Labor Day mattress sale around here.” (The Hill


Trump officials’ communication breakdown slows COVID-19 drug distribution: report. Faulty lines of communication within the Trump administration hampered the distribution of remdesivir, a drug shown to be a potential treatment for COVID-19. Gilead Sciences, the company that produces remdesivir, gave large quantities of the drug to the federal government after the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked its authorization as an emergency treatment for areas where hospitals are experiencing large coronavirus patient counts. However, internal errors reportedly resulted in thousands of the doses going to “less impacted counties,” according to Axios. (The Hill


Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Senate Republicans voice opposition to Biden on Iran Biden infrastructure proposal prioritizes funds for emerging technologies MORE (R-Ind.)

@SenToddYoung Fiscally irresponsible states can’t be bailed out for reckless spending prior to the pandemic. Today, I joined @IndianaAFP for a discussion on ensuring we have a targeted approach to #coronavirus relief that doesn’t pass the burden to future generations.


Rep. Haley StevensHaley Maria StevensLawmakers say manufacturers are in better position to handle future pandemics Iowa Democrat quarantining after staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Democrats condemn 'lawlessness' amid Capitol chaos MORE (D-Mich.) 

@RepHaleyStevens I will keep fighting to get much-needed federal funding to Livonia, because it is absolutely unacceptable for a city with the second-most coronavirus deaths in Michigan to rank toward the bottom in CARES Act funds received.


Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawGOP Rep. Crenshaw to take leave due to eye surgery Koch network urges lawmakers to back 'personal option' health plan A nuclear frontier MORE (R-Texas)

@RepDanCrenshaw Speaker Pelosi & Dems will say the only solution is to keep you locked up & spend trillions of your taxpayer dollars on a partisan bill drafted in secret. In truth, the solution is to reopen society & get people back to work ASAP. Any politician saying otherwise is lying to you.


California Gov. Newsom: State identified nail salons as source of coronavirus community spread. California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia to spend 6M on wildfire prevention Former Trump campaign manager advising Jenner on potential California gubernatorial run Overnight Health Care: Biden says US still in 'life and death race' with virus | White House rules out involvement in 'vaccine passports' | Arkansas lawmakers override Hutchinson veto on transgender bill MORE (D) on Thursday said the state's first case of community spread in the coronavirus pandemic happened in a nail salon. “This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,” Newsom said at his news briefing. “I’m very worried about that.” The governor on Thursday announced that the Golden State would be entering into the second phase of its four-phase reopening plan. (The Hill


Seattle to bar traffic from 20 miles of streets so residents can exercise. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) announced Thursday that the city plans to permanently bar 20 miles of roads from car traffic to leave room for people to use bikes and walk. The measure is part of a larger initiative that began in April called Stay Healthy Streets, a temporary relief program providing more space for residents to leave their houses while practicing social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release. (The Hill

Facebook, YouTube remove viral “Plandemic” video that links face masks to getting sick. Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms have removed a viral documentary-style video titled "Plandemic" that promoted conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. The 26-minute video, which was framed as part of a longer documentary on the coronavirus pandemic, promoted several false claims, including that wearing a face mask makes it easier to get the virus and that shelter-in-place orders hurt the immune system. (The Hill)


Inside the dystopian, post-lockdown world of Wuhan. Wuhan’s answer has been to create a version of normal that would appear utterly alien to people in London, Milan or New York — at least for the moment. While daily routines have largely resumed, there remain significant restrictions on a huge range of activities, from funerals to hosting visitors at home. Bolstered by China’s powerful surveillance state, even the simplest interactions are mediated by a vast infrastructure of public and private monitoring intended to ensure that no infection goes undetected for more than a few hours. (Bloomberg

Indonesia eases travel bans earlier than planned. The country two weeks ago put in place bans on certain domestic travel with the intention to keep restrictions in place until the end of May. The government has lifted those restrictions for Indonesians who work in security, defense and health services; those who have emergency health reasons; and migrant workers returning home, Reuters reported. (CNBC)


Sorrento Therapeutics, Mount Sinai develop antibody cocktail. Biopharma company Sorrento Therapeutics and Mount Sinai Health System in New York City announced they have joined forces to develop an antibody cocktail called COVI-SHIELD they hope will shield against COVID-19 infection for up to two months.This therapy is designed to be resistant to future virus mutations since it uses three neutralizing antibodies to ward off the disease. (CNBC

After recovery from coronavirus, most people carry antibodies. A new study offers a glimmer of hope in the grim fight against the coronavirus: Nearly everyone who has had the disease — regardless of age, sex or severity of illness — makes antibodies to the virus. The study, posted online Tuesday but not yet reviewed by experts, also hints that anyone who has recovered from infection may safely return to work. (New York Times)


Boeing CEO says it could take five years for airlines to experience growth again. Boeing CEO David Calhoun said Friday it could take years for the aviation industry to return to normal traffic levels and resume growth, both of which have been decimated by the novel coronavirus pandemic. "If I survey all of our customers and I start here in the U.S., and of course we do ... most are trying to dial in a return of about 30 to 50 percent by the end of this year," Calhoun said. "A lot's going to depend on how the public responds to the safety of airline cabins, etc." (Fox Business


COVID-19 exposes much about us. COVID-19 has ripped away the veneer that masked American society. Many took refuge behind the glossy façade that all communities are well-served by today’s economy, health care infrastructure, educational system and social services. But the virus’s tempestuous, tragic wrath exposed the truth. No longer can anyone hide behind the patina that colored everything rosy. (Bradford Kane for The Hill


Aging in place: Many of us feel way older than we did just weeks ago. The novel coronavirus pandemic has exhausted us. Time feels heavy and draining. Tuesday was a week. April seemed an eternity. Grief, anxiety, tedium, loss of control, restriction of movement, none of them rejuvenating, are part of our regimen. (Karen Heller for The Washington Post





In an early celebration of Mother’s Day, meet the mom and daughter working together as nurses. A mother and daughter who are nurses in the same hospital are fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic together on the front lines. Cindy Pascalo, 60, has been a registered nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for 39 years. Her daughter, Jessica DeBrocke, was inspired to get into the medical field after watching her mom throughout her childhood. Pascalo says working alongside her daughter during this pandemic has been helping her get through this difficult time. (Good Morning America)


> 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 

> Steve interviews World Central Kitchen founder chef JOSE ANDRES 

Watch all Coronavirus Report interviews here.


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 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.