On The Money: US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight | How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response | Tenants fear mass evictions

On The Money: US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight | How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response | Tenants fear mass evictions
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THE BIG DEAL — US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight: More than 100,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus, a staggering wave of death that has brought the world's largest economy to its knees as the federal government struggles even now to mount a concerted, nationwide response.

As of Wednesday evening, the U.S. had recorded 1,695,776 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 100,047 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The crisis shows few signs of easing. And as states begin loosening restrictions on businesses and social distancing requirements, many fear the country could be headed for a second wave of infections, even before the first has been fully contained. The Hill’s Reid Wilson explains why here.

  • The two months of lockdowns meant to buy time to build the necessary testing and tracing capacity to bring COVID-19 under control have passed with only modest improvements, epidemiologists and public health experts said, at the cost of millions of American jobs and trillions in lost economic activity. 
  • At the same time, the U.S. has made little progress toward stemming the spread of the virus. The country has averaged about 24,000 new cases a day over the first three weeks of May, down from an April peak of 29,000 cases per day.
  • In April, an average of 1,800 people died from the virus every day; so far this month, that has eased to 1,500 a day, a still shocking number that has made the United States the epicenter of a pandemic that other countries have brought to heel far faster.

"We're making progress too slowly, and we're making progress much more slowly than most of the rest of the developed world," said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who headed USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the Obama administration. "American exceptionalism is killing us. Our tendency to do things our own way and not learn from other countries is directly contributing to how poorly we're managing this."

LEADING THE DAY

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How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's deep ties with lawmakers are paying off as the central bank deploys trillions of dollars in financial support for the economy with the blessing of Congress.

With the coronavirus crisis, Powell has drawn from years of experience negotiating with lawmakers, nudging them toward his preferred policy outcomes while showing deference to their treasured oversight responsibilities.

  • Before the pandemic forced the country into lockdown, Powell was a frequent presence on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers far more frequently than his predecessors did.
  • Those close connections to lawmakers have not only helped Powell build a reservoir of political goodwill for the Fed, but may have also helped shape the bank and Congress’s response.

I explain how here.

As the crisis unfolded, Powell kept in frequent contact with Congress. He spent more than 3 hours on the phone with 12 different lawmakers the two days following the Fed’s March 15 rate cut, according to the most recent copy of Powell’s schedule.

Read more — Fed: Sharp economic decline in May leaves businesses 'pessimistic' about recovery

FTC warns college students of scams relating to coronavirus checks: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning college students about coronavirus-related phishing scams in which the scammers are pretending to have information about their direct payments from the IRS.

"Maybe you or your friends have gotten an email claiming to be from the 'Financial Department' of your university. The email tells you to click on a link to get a message about your COVID-19 economic stimulus check — and it needs to be opened through a portal link requiring your university login," Ari Lazarus, a consumer education specialist at the FTC said in a blog post on the agency's website. "Don’t do it." 

"It’s a phishing scam," Lazarus added. "If you click to 'log in,' you could be giving your user name, password, or other personal information to scammers, while possibly downloading malware onto your device."

What to do: The FTC said students who spot emails that look like they are phishing scams can report them to the Anti-Phishing Working Group — which includes internet service providers, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies — at reportphishing@apwg.org as well as to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

GOOD TO KNOW