State Watch

16 things to know today about coronavirus outbreak

Welcome to The Hill’s daily roundup of coronavirus news.

President Trump is resisting calls to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order. His decision to stand back and let states deal with their own problems has created a patchwork of enforcement. Trump has stood by the decision despite criticism.

Trump on Wednesday also said he “absolutely” would speak to former Vice President Joe Biden about the coronavirus response, after the presumptive Democratic nominee offered to talk to the president and offer advice.

At the state level, Florida’s governor finally issued a stay-at-home order after weeks of refusing to do so despite the rising number of cases in the state. But Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) explicitly carved out exemptions for religious services, even though there is evidence that gatherings of people for religious services have started outbreaks.  

Also, Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 have helped to create a surge in demand for the drugs, which has now officially landed them on FDA’s shortage list. 


Here’s what you need to know today…

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay at home order, something he had previously resisted doing despite mounting pressure. Julia Manchester reports
  • Mississippi’s governor, who had also earlier resisted the move, also issued a stay-at-home order. Zack Burdyk reports
  • Georgia is expected to issue a shelter-in-place order. Rebecca Klar reports.
  • Earlier in the day, former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb warned that states like Florida and Texas, which still has not issued a stay at home order, could leave the United States with more deaths from the coronavirus if they don’t take tougher actions. More on Gottlieb’s comments here.
  • Connecticut said that a six-week old baby died from complications related to coronavirus, which the governor called “heartbreaking.” Rebecca Klar reports
  • And here is a list of the states that do not have stay-at-home orders from Cristina Marcos.


On the national level:

  • President Trump is resisting pressure to issue a stay at home order, saying the issue is better left to governors, leaving a patchwork. Brett Samuels reports.
  • Trump said he would “absolutely” take a call from former Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the coronavirus response after the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee offered to do so. More from Brett here.
  • Vice President Mike Pence told CNN in an interview that he disagrees that Trump has ever “belittled” the need to respond to coronavirus, and also said China could have been more transparent. Read more here.  
  • Ashish Jha, a top Harvard public health expert, said that death toll projections would be very different if the U.S. had taken earlier action on testing and lockdown orders. Justine Coleman has more.  
  • Two anti-malaria drugs touted by President Trump as a potential way to treat the novel coronavirus are now in shortage, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday. More from Nathaniel Weixel here.
  • The coronavirus outbreak is also creating a crisis for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with the disease proving particularly dangerous for seniors. Jessie Hellmann has more.


In Congress:

  • House Democratic leaders are pushing an ambitious jobs plan for the next stimulus package. Mike Lillis has the story here.
  • Lawmakers are urging the IRS to quickly get relief checks to senior citizens, pushing back on guidance that indicates seniors would first need to file tax returns. Naomi Jagoda has the latest on the stimulus checks.
  • House Democrats are drafting legislation that would set up an independent commission that would investigate why the country was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic. Edward Moreno has the story here.
  • As Congress began scrambling to confront the coronavirus pandemic,  Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her husband bought and sold about $1.4 million in stocks between mid-February and mid-March. More from Max Greenwood here.


And on a lighter note…

Curb your enthusiasm, don’t hurt old people

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) enlisted some celebrity help in the effort to convince people to stay home. 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Joe Biden Kelly Loeffler Mike Pence Ron DeSantis

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