The world passes two million confirmed cases, Donald Trump is a global embarrassment (again!), and much more news from a busy Tuesday!


* Washington state now has 11,055 confirmed cases, with 546 deaths. Local counties: King, 4,612 cases/303 deaths; Pierce, 963/23; Snohomish, 1,916/77. The number of new cases each day in our state has been steadily declining for several days now.

* New modeling shows that transmission in the three counties above has slowed almost to the 1:1 ratio – that is, on average an infected person only gives the virus to one other person. Early in the local spread of the disease, that ratio was almost 1:3 – meaning that social distancing measures are working. But it would be very, very easy for those numbers to backslide if restrictions are lifted early. Local health officials, in announcing the modeling, say they expect existing restrictions will need to remain in place for another month.

* In Everett, the first local drive-thru testing site is closing after the federal government ended funding for such sites last Friday. Lucky thing Snohomish County has hardly any cases. Well, actually…

* Western State Hospital in Lakewood, the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, is now up to six patients and 27 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.


* Remember the much-heralded Navy hospital ships sent to Los Angeles and New York? The L.A. one, the USS Mercy, now has only 20 patients on board, 18 days after arriving. For context, Los Angeles County alone has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases. Today, 116 medical staff were evacuated from the Mercy and placed in quarantine after seven staff members tested positive. Overall, the Mercy has at least 1,000 crew members – with over 50 staff for each patient. The Navy has no idea how their medical staff got infected; none of the Mercy’s patients have had COVID-19.

* Los Angeles County also announced plans to test residents randomly – an important step in understanding how prevalent the virus is, and thus how safe it is to “reopen” the economy anywhere. The US remains woefully short of testing capacity even for symptomatic patients and medical staff, let alone the sort of capacity for testing that would be needed to reopen anything anywhere.

* In New Jersey, the second-hardest-hit state after New York, labs are so backlogged and short on supplies that there is a two week backlog in test processing – and it’s getting worse, not better. But, as Trump reiterated today, that’s the governor’s problem, not his. Just like the ventilators.

* Donald Trump’s “Coronavirus Task Force” daily briefing didn’t feature any actual task force members today, or any actual medical information. There was only Trump, whose bizarre fixation with blaming the WHO for his own failures reached its logical conclusion as he announced he was withholding all new US funding for the organization – in the midst of the worst global pandemic in the WHO’s history. Perhaps he thinks other national leaders are like him and don’t like expert opinions or outside resources. But at the very times he claims the WHO was too trusting of China, which seems to be his main complaint, Trump himself was lavishing praise on China’s containment efforts and “transparency.” As usual, Trump seems blissfully unaware that video archives are a thing.

* Trump continued to press for the reopening of the economy, though he backed off yesterday’s claim that he could force governors to take such action. He did, however, claim that “at least 20 states are in excellent shape” and thus could reopen before the end of the month. That’s simply false. The state with the 30th most cases today is Kentucky, with 2,210 confirmed cases and a bad outbreak at a Louisville nursing home.

* Today the World Health Organization published a recommendation of six steps a country should have met before beginning to reopen its economy. Needless to say, the US, with the world’s worst outbreak, is not even close to meeting any of them.

* The Washington Post was the first to report today that people receiving actual checks rather than direct deposit for those stimulus payments will have the checks delayed by “several days” because the Narcissist-in-Chief insisted on having his name printed on each check. It will need to go in the memo field, since, of course, Trump’s not paying for it himself. Much like the “President Trump’s coronavirus Guidelines,” postcards mailed to every US household, this is essentially a reelection campaign expense being paid for by US taxpayers.

* The Treasury Department is also apparently letting creditors seize up to the full $1,200 payment to pay off debts. Otherwise, according to a Washington Post story tonight, most people receiving the money plan to spend it on food. Ruh-roh. But hey, Treasury reached a “deal” with airline industry executives to sink another $25 billion into bailing out that industry.

* A University of Missouri report is estimating that the pandemic will cost US farmers a *net* loss of $20 billion. That’s on top of losses from Trump’s China trade war, and THAT’s on top of record climate change-induced rainfall and flooding caused widespread crop damage last year.

* That pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota? It’s now up to over 500 confirmed cases. South Dakota remains one of the only states with no stay at home order.

* Meanwhile, a Tyson Foods beef plant in Louisa County, Iowa has 186 confirmed cases. Tyson magnanimously announced that employees at another plant, in Waterloo, wouldn’t be fired if they missed work. In Tama County, an outbreak centered on another beef plant has over 100 confirmed cases. Iowa also has no stay at home order.

* But not to worry. The Trump Administration announced that outside the health care industry, the feds will not require employers to keep track of workplace outbreaks. That’ll be up to states to figure out – a process that generally will take health officials longer to figure out, allowing worksites to remain open longer and the virus to spread further. As with almost every aspect of the Trump Administration’s response, this seems designed to maximize the pandemic.

* Another of those Republican-controlled states without stay at home orders is Nebraska – even though a major cluster in the Grand Island area is overwhelming the local hospital there, which has begun transferring patients to other hospitals. No worries! A suburban Omaha shopping mall proudly announced today that it will be the first – and hopefully only, but I’m not optimistic – mall in America to reopen its doors.

* A clinical trial for Trump’s favorite drug investment, hydroxychloroquine, was halted over the weekend due to serious cardiac complications.” Another one, in France, found the drug ineffective.” Ignorance kills.

* A group of Harvard University epidemiologists estimated today that off and on social distancing restrictions may be needed into 2022 to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

* A new study suggests that ordinary face masks or other facial coverings fail to filter the novel coronavirus in coughing patients.

* Remember that riot the other night at a prison in Lansing, Kansas? Kansas inmates are now suing the state to try to force better safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in that state’s prison system.

* Long-term care facilities remain vulnerable to large number of cases, and deaths. The death toll at a Richmond, Virginia nursing home is now up to 45, with only two nurses remaining to care for the residents still trapped there. Another death in Richmond was that of an evangelical preacher who defiantly kept holding services in defiance of the state’s stay at home order.

* Two major nursing home outbreaks are underway in Oklahoma. In Norman, near Oklahoma City, 72 people have been infected with COVID-19, with 10 deaths. In rural Grove, Oklahoma, near the Missouri border, 44 residents and 19 staff have tested positive so far. And 39 have been infected in yet another nursing home outbreak in Bartlesville, north of Tulsa.

* A nursing home in Wayne, West Virginia, near Huntington, now has 66 confirmed cases. West Virginia was the last state in the country to confirm a case of COVID-19.

* Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in suburban Philadelphia, has almost 2,400 confirmed cases, and over 60 percent of its deaths are from nursing homes. The jurisdiction is one of the few in the country to track long term care facility cases. The federal government? Don’t even ask.

* A Veterans Administration hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts, near Springfield, has recorded 44 COVID-19 deaths.

* In case Trump-loving rural areas somehow think they’re immune: All but the two tiniest of Georgia’s 159 counties now have confirmed cases.

* New York City changed how it was counting COVID-19 deaths today, adding to its numbers some 3,700 deaths of people who were symptomatic but could not be tested before they died. That leaped NYC’s death toll over 10,000. The change was not yet reflected in the overall numbers today for New York state (below), which passed 200,000 cases today.

* Top ten states for cases/deaths (Monday’s total cases/deaths in parentheses).

New York 203,020/10,842 (195,749/10,058)
New Jersey 68,824/2,805 (64,594/2,443)
Massachusetts 28,164/957 (26,793/756)
Michigan 27,001/1,768 (24,638/1,487)
California 25,537/783 (23,585/689)
Pennsylvania 25,465/691 (24,292/589)
Illinois 23,248/868 (22,025/798)
Florida 21,628/571 (20,601/470)
Louisiana 21,518/1,013 (21,016/844)
Texas 15,022/343 (14,041/300)


* The International Monetary Fund predicted today that the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic will be the worst since the Great Depression, with global productivity likely to drop by at least three percent.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 2,004,383, in 185 countries, with 126,761 deaths.

* Countries with over 10,000 cases; (Monday’s total cases/deaths in parentheses):

USA 609,516/26,057 (577,842/23,232)
Spain 174,060/18,255 (169,628/17,628)
Italy 162,488/21,067 (159,516/20,465)
France 143,303/15,729 (137,875/14,986)
Germany 132,210/3,495 (129,207/3,118)
UK 94,845/12,129 (89,569/11,347)
China 83,351/3,346 (83,213/3,345)
Iran 74,877/4,683 (73,303/4,585)
Turkey 65,111/1,403 (61,049/1,298)
Belgium 31,119/4.157 (30,589/3,903)
Netherlands 27,580/2,955 (26,710/2,833)
Canada 27,063/903 (25,551/767)
Switzerland 25,936/1,174 (25,688/1,138)
Brazil 25,684/1,662 (23,430/1,328)
Russia 21,102/170 (18,328/148)
Portugal 17,446/567 (16,934/535)
Austria 14,234/384 (14,041/368)
Israel 12,046/123 (11,586/116)
India 11,555/396 (10,453/358)
Ireland 11,479/406 (10,647/365)
Sweden 11,445/1,033 (10,948/919)
South Korea 10,591/225(10,537/217)
Peru 109,393/230 (<10,000) That's it for tonight. Much more tomorrow. WASH YOUR HANDS!!


It’s a glorious day. Funny how much clearer the skies are now… Washington reaches 500 dead, and New York reaches 10,000 dead; Boston quietly has the second-worst outbreak in the country; Trump claims “total authority” to do whatever he likes; six feet may not be nearly enough social distancing; and much, much more news, not ALL of which is alarming.

Fair warning: This is my longest update yet. A lot has been happening today.


* Washington state now has 10,411 confirmed cases, with 508 deaths. Local counties: King, 4,422 cases/292 deaths; Pierce, 898/20; Snohomish, 1,844/70

* Today the Democratic governors of California, Oregon, and Washington announced a “West Coast Pact” agreement that will have them moving jointly – and cautiously – to reopen their states’ economies. “Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions,” the governors’ joint statement says.

* Weeks too late, this morning Gov. Inslee announced the early release of 950 nonviolent offenders to help mitigate the spread of the virus in the state’s prison system. At least eight inmates and 14 Department of Corrections staff have contracted COVID-19 already. Inslee is responding to Friday’s Washington State Supreme Court order to take action on the issue, which carried a deadline of noon today.

* The University of Washington Medical Centers have begun COVID-19 testing for all patients admitted to their hospitals.

* Amazon announced that, on top of the 100,000 it had already said it was hiring, it would hire an additional 75,000 new employees to meet the unprecedented stay at home demand. “It turns out a pandemic is great for our business model,” said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “Who knew? Our labs are busy trying to create additional pathogens so that we can incorporate them into our future business models.”

* The company’s new TV ads, with the inscription “You Don’t Want To Die, Do You?” and the Amazon Prime logo, rolled out in select test markets Monday.

* OK, I made up that last item and the whole Bezos quote. Probably. But they really are hiring. And building a lab. But not for that.

* While the stay at home orders have been great for cleaning up Seattle’s smog-infused skies, and for giving stressed wildlife in the region’s closed national parks a break, it hasn’t been so good for weaning our culture off of plastic. Oregon has suspended its ban on plastic bags, as has the city of Bellingham. Numerous cities and states *have* banned the use of reusable cloth bags during the pandemic. And, of course, takeout orders are way up.


* Similar to the West Coast announcement, five East Coast governors, all Democrats – the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island – announced a cooperative agreement to work together on shared principles to reopen their respective states. Together, the eight states produce a bit more than half of the nation’s GDP.

* President Nero claimed on Twitter this morning that it was his call, not that of governors, that would determine when the nation would “reopen.” Did you get that? Governors get to deliver the bad news – the patchwork of state and local restrictions that have made this country’s pandemic exponentially worse. Then Santa Trump gets to deliver the good news! Sure. it might kill tens of thousands more people needlessly, but, whatevs, so long as it gets good ratings and helps him get reelected. There’s always someone else to blame. Right, Dr. Fauci?

* And then there was this afternoon’s even-more-batshyte-than-usual Trump campaign, er, press briefing, complete with a new campaign video highlighting Dear Leader’s success in creating, er, *containing* the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world – by far. Some choice quotes: “Everything we did was right.”; and, apparently responding to the joint governors’ agreements, “When somebody is President of the United States, your authority is total.”

* Of course, the Constitution doesn’t agree, but who will enforce it? William Barr’s Department of Justice won’t stop him. Nor will the Republican-controlled Senate, nor all the reactionary new federal judges they’ve rubber stamped for lifetime appointments. Will voters stop Trump in November? Only if President Total Authority allows an election – or allows more than one name on the ballot – or allows votes from counties that supported Clinton in 2016 to be counted.

* Today’s briefing featured a lot of contentious exchanges with reporters asking reasonable questions that weren’t fawning. I fear Trump’s first exercise of Total Authority will be trying to imprison reporters and shutting down media outlets whose coverage he doesn’t like. That was one of the first things Putin and Erdogan did in killing their countries’ democracies. THEN they moved to imprisoning political rivals. National emergencies are great for that sort of thing. Trump is a real and present danger.

* Experts as different as the head of the CDC and a board member of the Federal Reserve warned Monday that any kind of business rebound will be slow, uneven, and will depend as much on consumer confidence – and consumers having any money to spend – as on government orders and lifting social distancing restrictions. Simply put, if people are still worried about contracting a virus for which there is no effective vaccine or treatment, the economy will keep suffering. (Trump, screaming, to virus: “Respect my authoritaaayy!” Virus: “…” Trump IS Cartman.)

* The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that the FBI is investigating an international scam effort to sell to a California health workers’ union a supply of 39 million N95 masks that did not, in fact, exist. The feds only discovered the scam because they were investigating whether they could interrupt and seize the shipment under the Defense Production Act. This all begs the question, of course, of why a union – let alone a hospital or a city, county, or state – should have to bid on an open market for something the federal government should have been coordinating in the first place.

* Meanwhile, 3M – ordered belatedly to make more masks by the federal government – is suing a smaller New Jersey distributor for allegedly offering to sell, at a 500 percent markup, 3M’s N95 masks to New York City. So why exactly isn’t the Justice Department cracking down on this? Oh. Right. William Barr is still flying around the world trying to gin up a fantasy scandal involving Hunter Biden and/or James Comey.

* I’m trying to imagine World War Two, and MacArthur, Eisenhower, Pershing, and the other generals all bidding against each other – and the Brits, and the Germans and Japanese – for desperately needed tanks, that may or may not actually exist, at a 500 percent markup. So much for our wartime president. He’s sitting this one out with his bone spurs, too. Or, more likely, trying to cash in.

* President Nero raised a lot of eyebrows this weekend by retweeting someone calling for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert whose unhappy lot it has been to contradict some of Nero’s claims as being, in scientific terms, nonsense. This was inevitable; the two men have mutually incompatible goals. Fauci wants to save lives using the best available data. Trump wants to spin fantasies and to hold onto power by any sociopathic means necessary. Dr. Deborah Birx will be next. People tethered, however loosely, to reality don’t last long in TrumpWorld.

* The US Supreme Court announced that it will take the unprecedented step of holding oral arguments, now scheduled in May for some key cases, by teleconference.

* If the Supreme Court can do this, so can Congress!

* A fourth emergency aid bill is stalemated in Congress, over three weeks after lawmakers passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. Republicans want to limit the next bill to $250 billion for small businesses, to supplement the chaotic small business loan program authorized in CARES. Democrats are insisting that additional money is also needed for state and local jurisdictions, for cash-strapped hospitals, for food assistance and for more rapid testing – all needed in the pandemic.

* According to a House congresswoman, Trump Administration officials want to postpone 2020 Census field operations – the folks that come knock on doors – until at least June 1, and delay the rollout of the country’s census totals until October 31 of this year. The Census Bureau itself asked Congress today to delay its delivery of population data for reapportionment by four months, from the end of 2020 until April 30, 2021. State legislatures, charged with redistricting in many states, would get the data as late as July 31, 2021 – but they would still need to submit redistricting plans in time for 2022 congressional elections.

* Smithfield Foods, one of the largest pork processing companies in the country, closed its huge Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant over the weekend after 293 confirmed cases of COVID-19 exploded across its workforce – about half of South Dakota’s total number of cases.

* A Tyson’s Foods chicken plant in Camilla, Georgia, has had three deaths. Plants in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have also shut down after cases were confirmed. Industry experts have been warning for weeks that the food processing plants of the Midwest and South were disasters waiting to happen, with crowded, unsanitary conditions and impoverished workers. The Sioux Falls plant alone is responsible for almost five percent of our country’s pork.

* Migrant tomato pickers in Immokalee, in rural southwest Florida – workers deemed essential during Florida’s belated stay at home order – are demanding a field hospital and say that social distancing is impossible in their working and living conditions. Organizers warn that such encampments are a disaster waiting to happen in many of the country’s agricultural areas, and that outbreaks risk disrupting the nation’s food supply as well as spreading the pandemic.

* Florida IS doing something right. SNAP recipients in that state can now buy groceries online, something most states continue to prohibit.

* Tornadoes ripped across the South yesterday, killing at least 30. Coronavirus social distancing restrictions complicated both rescue efforts and community support. For example, in Mississippi, where 11 died, evacuees were not moved into one big shelter in a high school gym, but into separate local hotel rooms.

* Forecasters fear that this will be a more active than usual upcoming hurricane season, with abnormally warm Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean waters this Spring and unseasonably hot weather in Florida this month.

* California announced that upcoming local elections in May and June will be held entirely by mail.

* Southwestern tribal communities are continuing to get hit hard by the pandemic. In addition to the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Reservation in Arizona and the Zuni, Zia, and San Felipe Pueblos in New Mexico are dealing with outbreaks. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is responsible for federal help for reservations in a crisis like this, has been pretty much missing in action.

* Hospitals are reporting increasing shortages of essential drugs, including antivirals, sedatives for people on respirators, and other drugs made in Europe, China, and India. Many countries are now limiting exports so that they can serve their own hard-hit populations first. The US is doing this as well, but the FDA isn’t set up to be able to monitor the global supply chain.

* Hospitals are also anecdotally reporting, in different parts of the country, shipments of needed PPEs and other medical supplies being intercepted and seized by the federal government. FEMA isn’t saying, so we don’t know the extent of this problem – or why it’s happening.

* George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s “This Week” announced that he and his wife, actress and comedienne Ali Wentworth have both tested positive for COVID-19.

* The US Navy reported the first COVID-19 death of a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. 585 crew members had tested positive as of Sunday.

* New York exceeded 10,000 deaths and closed in on 200,000 cases – ten percent of all confirmed cases in the world. Even so, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was cautiously optimistic that, for his state, “the worst is over” – IF people continued to obey social distancing orders.

* Top ten states for cases/deaths (Sunday’s total cases in parentheses).

New York 195,749/10,058 (188,902)
New Jersey 64,594/2,443 (58,151)
Massachusetts 26,793/756 (22,860)
Michigan 24,638/1,487 (23,993)
Pennsylvania 24,292/589 (22,938)
California 23,585/689 (22,424)
Illinois 22,025/798 (19,180)
Louisiana 21,016/844 (20,595)
Florida 20,601/470 (19,347)
Texas 14,041/300 (13,509)


* A new study from Wuhan, China suggests that the novel coronavirus can spread up to 4 meters, or 13 feet in the air – more than double US social distancing requirements, and more than quadruple the current WHO recommendation. The virus can also be spread on the soles of people’s shoes. Really.

* Early on in the pandemic, the Icelandic government committed to an ambitious goal: testing all 364,000 of its residents. That project has been slowed by testing kit component shortages, but the country has still tested about ten percent of its population – more per capita than any other country in the world. And it’s reporting a disturbing finding: that at the time of testing, half of those who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.

* It’s not clear how many of those positive test cases went on to become symptomatic, but that’s a much higher rate, among a large and relatively homogeneous sample size, than other studies have found. The WHO, for example, estimates that about a quarter of positive test cases will be asymptomatic. And it has important implications for the ease with which the novel coronavirus spreads, the need to maintain social distancing, and the danger of trying to go back to “business as usual” too soon.

* A riot broke out in a prison in the remote northeastern Indonesian province of North Sulawesi last night. As with similar prison uprisings in Italy, the US, and elsewhere, the disturbance came after positive tests within the prison for COVID-19; at issue, invariably, are unsanitary conditions, poor social distancing, and lack of access to testing or good medical care.

* Silver lining: In the Central American Countries notorious for high murder rates – El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala – homicides are down sharply since the beginning of the pandemic. The same is true in Mexico and Colombia.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,912,923, in 185 countries, with 118,966 deaths. The total number of cases will likely pass two million tomorrow.

* Countries with over 10,000 cases; today I’m adding deaths for each country in the same format I’ve been using for WA counties: xx,xxx cases/xxx deaths. Facebook doesn’t seem to allow columns, so I don’t know a more readable way to do this; let me know in the comments if you know of one! (Sunday’s total cases in parentheses):

USA 577,842/23,232 (547,681) cases
Spain 169,628/17,628 (166,019)
Italy 159,516/20,465 (156,363)
France 137,875/14,986 (133,669)
Germany 129,207/3,118 (127,007)
UK 89,569/11,347 (85,199)
China 83,213/3,345 (83,134)
Iran 73,303/4,585 (71,686)
Turkey 61,049/1,298 (56,959)
Belgium 30,589/3,903 (29,647)
Netherlands 26,710/2,833 (25,746)
Switzerland 25,688/1,138 (25,407)
Canada 25,551/767 (24,290)
Brazil 23,430/1,328 (21,065)
Russia 18,328/148 (15,770)
Portugal 16,934/535 (16,565)
Austria 14,041/368 (13,945)
Sweden 10,948/919 (10,483)
Ireland 10,647/365 (9,655)
Israel 11,586/116 (11,145)
South Korea 10,537/217 (10,512)
India 10,453/358 (9,205)

Sorry for inserting so much opinion this time; I generally try to stick to the facts. But IMO it is an objective fact that one of the things at risk of dying in this pandemic is American democracy, flawed as it is. Now go wash your hands – or better yet, take a nice, hot shower – and then don’t mourn. Organize


Happy Easter! Washington state passes 10,000 cases, and approaches 500 deaths.

More later today – still catching up on yesterday’s news. There was a lot of it!


* Washington state now has 10,224 confirmed cases, with 491 deaths. Local counties: King, 4,241 cases/284 deaths; Pierce, 884/17; Snohomish, 1,798/68

* The Washington State Supreme Court ordered* Gov. Inslee to take “all necessary steps” to protect the state’s inmates from COVID-19. For weeks, Inslee has resisted calls to release early those inmates near the end of their sentences and who are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic.


* All 50 states now have federal emergency declarations – the first time in US history that’s happened.

* The US passed Italy yesterday and now has the most COVID-19 deaths (as well as the most cases) in the world.

* For the first time Saturday, Donald Trump skipped his usual press briefing. He probably didn’t want any questions about churches on Easter. Factcheckers across the land breathed a sigh of relief.

* Friday, after again pushing for the country to “reopen,” Trump was asked by a reporter what metrics he would use in making such a decision – which public health experts unanimously oppose. Trump pointed to his own head and said the only relevant metrics were “right here.”

* That, in a nutshell, is why the federal pandemic response has gone so terribly wrong.

* The White House Saturday denied the US Postal Service’s request for an $80 billion bailout. USPS estimates that with the impact of the pandemic, it will go broke by September without federal help.For decades, congressional Republicans have been trying to defund the post office and break its unions. Maybe this time they’ll succeed.

* A month after Donald Trump claimed, much to Google’s surprise, that the company was developing a web site for COVID-19, Saturday Google and Apple announced a joint project which would allow voluntary users to download an app that will show them whether they’ve been near someone diagnosed with COVID-19. China and South Korea have used similar, government-issued apps in contact tracing efforts as part of their response to those countries’ outbreaks.

* Saturday morning, Kansas’ Supreme Court upheld the governor’s ban on religious gatherings after she filed suit yesterday to overturn Republican legislators’ decision to exempt packed Easter services from that state’s stay at home order.

* The Republican governors of Florida and Texas are parroting President Trump’s calls to “reopen” the economy in their states. Both have among the nation’s top ten caseloads despite relatively little testings having been done. Texas has the second-lowest testing rate per capita in the country; Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, has only four testing sites. Both Texas and Indiana are suffering shortages of the swabs needed to administer tests. Manatee County, Florida, on the southern edge of Tampa Bay, announced that it was reopening public boat ramps.

* Texas abortion providers are appealing to the US Supreme Court a lower federal court ruling that upheld the state of Texas’ classification of abortion as “elective surgery,” and thus effectively banned during the pandemic. Alabama, Ohio, and Oklahoma – all Republican-controlled, of course – have enacted similar bans.

* For the past two days, I’ve been highlighting stories from prisons and nursing homes – the two types of facility perhaps most vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks. In both cases, more stories have emerged.

* NBC News tallies over 2,200 nursing homes, veterans’ homes or long-term care facilities, in 36 states, with confirmed COVID-19 cases among its residents and/or staff. Overall, the US has about 15,000 such facilities.

* A Southeast Portland nursing home is the source of 10 COVID-19 deaths, and nursing homes overall account for nearly half of Oregon’s deaths from COVID-19. A home in Alabama has 36 cases. Twenty-nine were infected, and five have died so far, at a home in Louisville, Kentucky.

* Three nursing homes in Elizabeth, New Jersey have, among them, 45 confirmed cases.

* A nursing home in Anderson. Indiana has 24 deaths.

* Another prison disturbance yesterday, this one at a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, one of the worst-hit facilities in the federal prison system. At the Otay Mesa detention center near California’s Mexican border, a private for-profit facility, inmates say they were pepper-sprayed for trying to make homemade masks – and were asked by CoreCivic, the company that owns the prison, to sign a waiver absolving the company of any responsibility should the inmates fall ill. CoreCivic dropped the waiver demand when it was made public. So far, 16 people have tested positive at Otay Mesa.

* Michigan’s main state prison, the Parnell prison in Jackson MI, now has 194 confirmed cases.

* Inmates at the Franklin County, Pennsylvania jail have begun a hunger strike to get better safety measures in place against the spread of the virus.

* The New York Times counts a total of 1,324 confirmed cases – that’s with almost no testing – and 32 deaths behind bars, as of Saturday, during the pandemic.

* More evidence that the pandemic is hitting non-white communities much, much harder than it is whites: In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, which is 28 percent black, 73 percent of all deaths have been black. Similar disparities have been recorded in Chicago, in Michigan, and in Louisiana.

* In New York City, 1/3 of all COVID-19 deaths have been of Latinx people. On on the Navajo Nation, the country’s most populous reservation, there are as many confirmed cases as there are in the entire neighboring state of New Mexico – which has 18 times its population.

* These figures are local and anecdotal precisely because the federal government isn’t tracking such data.

* The musician and producer Babyface announced that he had contracted COVID-19, but has now recovered.

* Top ten states (Friday’s totals in parentheses).

New York 188,902 (161,807)
New Jersey 58,151 not updated
Michigan 23,993 (21,504)
Pennsylvania 22,938 (18,633)
Massachusetts 22,860 (18,941)
California 22,424 (20,069)
Louisiana 20,595 (18,283)
Florida 19,347 (16,826)
Illinois 19,180 (16,422)
Texas 13,509 (11,483)


* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,835,373, in 185 countries, with 113,362 deaths. The total number of cvases will likely pass two million tomorrow.

* The World Health Organization says it will investigate a South Korean report that scores of recovered COVID-19 patients have fallen ill with the disease again. South Korean officials have said they doesn’t believe the patients were reinfected; rather, they believe the virus may have gone dormant for a period.

* As in the United States, leaders around the world are needing to navigate the tension between what’s best for the economy, and what’s best for public health. In Europe, a number of hard-hit countries believe they are at or near their peak. France saw a drop in ICU cases yesterday for the third day in a row. Italy will allow some businesses to reopen Tuesday. Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Norway are considering similar measures. Spain will allow some nonessential employees to return to work tomorrow.

* Meanwhile, Iran – which few experts believe is anywhere near its peak – is beginning a “phased reopening” of businesses on Monday. Globally, all eyes are on China, which was the first to ease social distancing restrictions, to see whether that country acted too soon.

* Other countries with, generally, still expanding outbreaks took additional measures Saturday. Israel halted all air traffic. India extended its lockdown an additional three weeks. Turkey imposed a two-day curfew in 31 of its provinces.

* France passed Germany for fourth place globally, and the United Kingdom passed both Iran and China and is now sixth, meaning that five of the six worst-hit countries in the world are in Europe. (The other, of course, is the US). Russia and India are adding cases at an alarming rate. Countries with over 9,000 cases (Friday’s total in parentheses):

USA 547,681 (473,093)
Spain 166,019 (157,022)
Italy 156,363 (143,626)
France 133,669 (118.790)
Germany 127,007 (119,401)
UK 85,199 (65,883)
China 83,134 (82,941)
Iran 71,686 (68,192)
Turkey 56,959 (42,282
)Belgium 29,647 (26,667)
Netherlands 25,746 (23,245)
Switzerland 25,407 (24,427)
Canada 24,290 (21,243)
Brazil 21,065 (18,176)
Portugal 16,565 (15,472)
Russia 15,770 (11,917)
Austria 13,945 (13,520)
Israel 11,145 (10,095)
South Korea 10,512 (10,450)
Sweden 10,483 (9,685)
Ireland 9,655 (6,574)
India 9,205 (<6,000) Go suck an egg. By yourself. And then WASH YOUR HANDS!

Help Keep These Updates Coming!

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blew my MO last night – well, some of it.

Regular readers of our COVID-19 updates may have noticed that I’ve been consistently getting stories before national media picks them up. Friday evening, Maddow did a long segment on the crisis facing nursing homes and similar facilities around the country, explaining that it’s not a national story, but it’s an ubiquitous local story. And ticked off a bunch of examples of local newspapers with stories.about nursing homes with huge clusters of COVID-19 stories, and deaths.

That list was a lot like the one I published late morning yesterday, and for a reason – that’s exactly where *I* got those stories. And other stories – the Kansas City Star had the story of the prison riot at Lansing KS. So I had it yesterday before any national media picked it up. And I do the same thing for English-language newspapers around the world, too,.

Thing is, Maddow has probably a dozen staff whose job it is to find those stories, Revel and I have what we find, plus our other secret weapon: you, the reader. Each day I have a few items that you found (or experienced) and PMed me with, (Thank you!!) This is our full time job now, seven days a week, and we’re putting out not just consistent, concise updates of COVID-19 news, but good quality information. That’s because we’ve both worked in media for a long time, and much of what journalism is, is knowing what questions to ask and where to find the answers. (I told Rev in January, “This will be the biggest story of our lives.” I was right.) The Internet is a marvel for getting answers when we’re all hunkered down at home – but you need to know what’s reliable, and you need to know where to look, and what’s important.

Maddow and her staff get paid handsomely by NBC/Universal. We rely on you, the reader, to make this media project happen. We love your tips, and we need your financial support as well. If you find the information I’m posting each day helpful, please consider donating. There’s a PayPal button at the bottom of the right hand column at, where the updates are all archived. And keep sending tips and links! We’re both disabled and this IS our job now. We’re in it with you for the duration. Thanks for helping make this project possible.

Today is a dialysis day for me, so I’ll be posting an update when I get back this evening.


Signs of hope in multiple states. And grim milestones: 1.5 million cases globally, 100,000 deaths, and COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the US.


* Washington state now has 9,646 confirmed cases, with 446 deaths. Local counties: King, 3,884 cases/257 deaths; Pierce, 808/16; Snohomish, 1,808/62

* Nearly 177,000 Washingtonians filed for unemployment last week. Overall, more than half a million people are officially out of work in Washington state.

* Seattle will close its major parks and beaches this weekend, in anticipation of more nice spring weather.

* The state announced that COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among residents or staff sat 153 different nursing homes or long-term care facilities in our state.

* Amazon announced yesterday that it is building its own lab for processing COVID-19 tests, and wants to be able to test all of its employees,

* Dock workers at the Port of Seattle’s largest cargo terminal, Terminal 18, walked off the job over SSA Marine’s failure to properly sanitize shared equipment. A supervisor at the site tested positive this week.

* Over 200 inmates threatened to set fires and demonstrated Wednesday night at the Monroe Correctional Complex over their safety concerns – overcrowding, lack of hygiene and medical care – in preventing the spread of the virus among prisoners there. Six inmates so far have tested positive. Prisoners and their families have been protesting the lack of safety at Monroe for weeks. Columbia Legal Services filed an emergency motion with the Washington State Supreme Court yesterday, asking the court to address the unsafe conditions at Monroe. CLS had previously sued try to force the early release of vulnerable inmates statewide. Almost 12 weeks after his state got the nation’s first COVID-19 case, Gov. Inslee says he’s “considering it.”
* The Capitol Hill Block Party joined the list of local festivals that have canceled their events this spring and summer.


* This week’s US unemployment numbers: Another 6.6 million, for over 16.8 million in the last three weeks – more than 10 percent of the US workforce.

* Thursday marked the first day that COVID-19 was the most common cause of death in the US – not heart disease or cancer. One person is dying from COVID-19 in the US every 47 seconds.

* The Trump press carnival continued Thursday, with Trump bragging that the US is testing 120,000 people per day. The estimated need across the US is for about a million tests per day. There was also more promotion of hydroxychloroquine – and it turns out that in settings where doctors are now prescribing the drug, the CDC is not tracking either the efficacy of the drug or its side effects.

* A weary nation woke up to the news Thursday morning that the Trump Administration was pulling its financial support for testing sites around the country, and collectively screamed, “WHAT THE ACTUAL FK?” By late afternoon, the feds clarified that they were merely giving states the *option* of taking the sites over; by last evening, they’d backed down entirely. Is anybody actually in charge up there?

* Two federal departments – the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services – estimate that if social distancing measures such as school closures and stay at home orders are lifted after 30 days, the US death toll will reach 300,000.

* Experts estimated yesterday that if New York City had implemented social distancing only a week earlier, it would have led to 50 to 80 percent fewer cases than the New York City metro area has now. Timing is everything.

* The number of ICU patients in New York dropped today, for the first time in weeks. 7,844 New Yorkers have already died from COVID-19 – and that is almost certainly an undercount, as more have died with COVID-19 symptoms but without ever being tested,

* Unfortunately, figures on Fox News (Tucker Carlson, Brit Hume) and Rush Limbaugh have begun speculating this week that the US death toll, especially in New York, is being inflated to make the president look bad. Words fail. For all the 9-11 conspiracy theories, I’m not aware of anyone on the fringe right , even among the Alex Jones types, who claimed that the death toll was inflated to make George W. Bush look bad.

* The number of ICU patients also dropped yesterday in California. And many of the earliest hard-hit states, including Washington, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Michigan, similarly reported encouraging signs that they have reached the peak number of cases.

* Nationwide, over 1300 confirmed cases are attributed to correctional facilities. At the notorious Riker’s Island facility in New York City – which mostly holds people awaiting trial – over 270 cases have occurred among inmates and staff. The only facility with more cases, Chicago’s Cook County Jail, was ordered Thursday by a federal judge to better protect the inmates, including by increasing access to soap and hand sanitizer and by testing everyone who shows symptoms.

* Wednesday night, it was Monroe, Washington. Last night, it was “hundreds” of inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas, doing pretty much the same things for the same reason: lack of protection against the virus. Eight inmates and seven staff have tested positive there so far.

* In Dallas County, Texas, inmates are suing to try to improve hygiene, social distancing, and medical care.

* Wednesday, I mentioned that Republican legislators in Kansas had exempted churches from the governor’s stay at home order, just in time for Easter Sunday. Yesterday, the governor sued to overturn that action, amidst a new report that four of the state’s 12 identified clusters of cases originated at church services. Packed. Sunday.

* Ammon Bundy, the far-right rancher who led standoffs against federal agents in Nevada and Oregon, is in Northern Idaho now, of course, and plans to host “hundreds” of people for Easter Sunday services – because religious freedom. Most churches across the country will hold services remotely.

* Two sources have been identified as launching Chicago’s COVID-19 epidemic: a funeral service, and a church,

* Nursing homes are emerging as a major problem across the country. In Hayward, California, a home has had 35 cases, with six deaths; there have been a staggering 39 deaths associated with one home in Richmond, Virginia. Twenty-five have died at a veterans’ home in Reserve, Louisiana, west of New Orleans. In Georgia, ten have died in a nursing home in Athens, and nine in rural Mitchell County, in the southwest part of the state.

* Michigan’s governor yesterday expanded that state’s stay at home order to include traveling between two homes. Many Michiganders from the densely populated south of the state maintain or rent cabins or summer homes in the more rural north – an area that so far has escaped the brunt of the pandemic.

* Like Kansas, Michigan also has as Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature, and Republicans in that hard-hit state are also trying – so far, unsuccessfully – to get the governor to “reopen the state.” Another example of state-level Trumpites taking their messaging, and their ignorance, directly from President Nero.

* Thursday evening, a federal judge overturned a state appeals court ruling and struck down Texas’ definition of abortion as a banned elective surgery, Ohio also included abortion on its list of elective surgeries, effectively banning it in that state as well.

* Miami-Dade County, Florida, followed Los Angeles’ lead earlier this week by requiring the wearing of face masks in grocery stores.

* 416 sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have now tested positive for COVID-19.

* Top ten states (Wednesday’s totals in parentheses). Connecticut has passed Washington, which is now 13th. New York state would now have the second-most cases in the world (after the US, of course); New Jersey would be ninth.

New York 161,807 (149,428)
New Jersey 51,027 (47,437)
Michigan 21,504 (18,970)
California 20,069 (17,775)
Massachusetts 18,941 (15,202)
Pennsylvania 18,633 (16,631)
Louisiana 18,283 (17,030)
Florida 16,826 (15,446)
Illinois 16,422 (13,553)
Massachusetts (15,202)
Texas 11,483


* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care after two nights.

* Yemen can’t catch a break. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia began a cease fire in Yemen’s five-year-long war. Today Yemen announced its first COVID-19 case – an ominous sign, given the decimation of that country’s economy and health care infrastructure by the war.

* The city of Tokyo declared a state of emergency, and closed a range of businesses including nightclubs and gyms.

* Another huge Asian city, Jakarta, Indonesia, went into a “partial lockdown,” banning religious, cultural, and social gatherings, and restricting that megalopolis’ ubiquitous motorbike taxis. The city has more than half of Indonesia’s cases, and Jakarta’s mayor has claimed that the official national death toll is vastly undercounted. About four times as many COVID-19 bodies have been buried in the city as are reflected in national figures.

* The number of people hospitalized in Moscow has more than doubled in the past week, as Russia has suddenly become a major global hotspot. Critics have claimed the Putin government has been undercounting its cases by misclassifying some of them as pneumonia.

* At least 50 crew members on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle have tested positive. The ship is returning to Toulon, France, its Mediterranean home base.

* A Roma encampment of 3,000 in central Greece has been put under quarantine after several residents tested positive. In several Asian countries, migrant workers have become a huge issue, as both victims and vectors of the virus.

* Poland’s far right government is using that country’s stay at home order to prevent mass protest while the parliament considers, next week, a total ban on abortion – no exceptions – and the criminalization of sex education.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,650,210, in 185 countries, with 100,386 deaths. The US has now passed Spain in number of fatalities, trailing only Italy, and the overall US caseload is now triple that of Spain, the second worst-hit country. India, Russia, and Pakistan are all seeing alarming increases in their numbers of confirmed cases

* Countries with over 6,000 cases (Wednesday’s total in parentheses):

USA 473,093 (432,132)
Spain 157,022 (148,220)
Italy 143,626 (139,422)
Germany 119,401 (113,296)
France 118,790 (112,950)
China 82,941 (82,867)
Iran 68,192 (64,586)
UK 65,883 (61,474)
Turkey 42,282 (38,226)
Belgium 26,667 (23,403)
Switzerland 24,427 (23,280)
Netherlands 23,245 (20,682)
Canada 21,243 (19,290)
Brazil 18,176 (16,188)
Portugal 15,472 (13,141)
Austria 13,520 (12,492)
Russia 11,917 (8,672)
South Korea 10,450 (10,423)
Israel 10,095 (9,404)
Sweden 9,685 (8,419)
India 7,062 (<6,000) Ireland 6,574 (6,074) Pakistan 6,495 (<6,000) Norway 6,244 (6,042) Australia 6,204 (6,019) Denmark 6,014 (<6,000) Enjoy the glorious weather! At a distance, of course. And then WASH YOUR HANDS!


Confirmed cases in the US approach half a million, and worldwide, 1.5 million – meaning the richest country in the world also has almost a third of its COVID-19 cases. And the fractured, state-by-state approach has made things much, much worse.


* Washington state now has 9,097 confirmed cases, with 421 deaths. Local counties: King, 3,668 cases/242 deaths; Pierce, 759/15; Snohomish, 1,651/62.

* That much-touted field hospital under CenturyLink Field? Gov. Inslee announced today that the facility, built in record time by the Army Corps of Engineers only last week, is being disassembled without ever seeing a patient, to be redeployed in another area where the need is greater. The Army Corps has also built field hospitals in the past week in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and other hard-hit cities. Inslee cautioned that the decision didn’t mean that the Seattle area was “out of the woods” – only that other parts of the country now have a greater need.

*Twenty-seven people have tested positive for COVID-19 in King County homeless shelters, according to King County Health.The Lazarus Center in North Beacon Hill, a shelter run by Catholic Community Services, has 12 confirmed cases; a temporary county overflow shelter at Boeing Field, also run by CCS, has another six.

* Kaiser Permanente’s hospital pharmacy at its Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, a western suburb of Portland, has been closed after seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19. In a hospital pharmacy? How does this happen?


* The Trump press briefings have continued to be a window into the president’s soul, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

* Cautious optimism: The new hospitalizations in New York today are less than one-third those of yesterday – 1,886 Tuesday to 586 today. Tuesday’s total was, in turn, down from the apparent peak this past weekend. Hopefully that’s because fewer people are getting seriously ill, rather than the hospital beds being too full for new admissions.

* While New York may be nearing its peak, the governor of New Jersey says his state’s peak is at least ten days away – and they are desperately short of ventilators. Cases among New Jersey medical staff have doubled in the last six days. More people have died in the New York City metro area than in the rest of the US combined.

* More racial disparities: COVID-19 is twice as deadly among blacks and Latinos in New York City as among whites. Yesterday, Trump completely dodged a question on the topic. The CDC is not tracking racial data during the pandemic.

* The federal Office of Civil Rights said today that Alabama’s guidelines for who should receive prioritized medical care were discriminatory. The guidelines list, among the criteria for withholding care, “profound mental retardation” and “moderate to severe dementia.” Age is also mentioned as weighing against elderly patients. The state has agreed to pull the guidelines from its materials on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* California sent additional ventilators today to Nevada, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Gov. Gavin Newsom said that of the 41,000 additional ventilators the state had obtained for the pandemic, only 1,000 of them came from the federal government.

* Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order for at least a week, the first of its kind in the country, requiring anyone entering an essential business to be wearing a face mask. Some European countries had already taken that step.

* Arkansas is one of the last states to resist stay-at home orders. Today its Republican governor issued an order preventing local jurisdictions from issuing more stringent restrictions. Kansas, home of infamous Westboro Baptist Church, went Arkansas one better: its Republican-controlled state legislature not only overturned the Democratic governor’s social distancing measures, but specifically exempted churches – just in time for packed churches on Easter! “G̶o̶d̶ ̶h̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ ̶f̶a̶g̶s̶!” “God hates viruses!”

* The government of Puerto Rico is now trying to get back a $19 million deposit it says it paid on a $38 million order for one million COVID-19 tests that weren’t FDA-approved and didn’t arrive on time. Puerto Rico has 513 confirmed cases – but on a crowded, impoverished island of three million, fewer than 5,000 people have been tested. But, you know, it’s a really big ocean. I’m sure paper towels would help.

* The Cook County Jail in Chicago, the largest one-site jail complex in the US, is now the largest known source of US infections. At least 353 cases can be linked to the jail, including 238 inmates and 115 staff members at the facility itself. The actual numbers are likely much higher due to a lack of testing. Ten days ago, the facility only had two confirmed cases. Advocates and family members have filed a lawsuit seeking the early release of older inmates and those whose medical conditions which make them vulnerable. Several other states have already released such prisoners.

* A Chicago Tribune article points out what is likely a problem in many other states beyond Illinois, and is likely affecting millions of people: SNAP (food stamp) recipients must pay for groceries in person – depending on the grocer, they might still be able to get groceries delivered, but the food can’t be paid for online. The SNAP programs are administered individually by states, with funding being steadily whittled down by the Trump Administration.

* Food banks are also being hit hard during the pandemic. Demand nationally is up about 60 percent, while donations that food banks rely on from grocery stores are down due to the high demand. Food banks are also often running short of volunteers.

* Top ten states (Monday’s totals in parentheses). Georgia and Texas have passed Washington, which is now 12th. New York state would now have the second-most cases in the world (after the US, of course); New Jersey would be ninth.

New York 149,428 (131,815)
New Jersey 47,437 (41,090)
Michigan 18,970 (17,221)
California 17,775 (16,310)
Louisiana 17,030 (14,867)
Pennsylvania 16,631 (13,127)
Florida 15,446 (13,629)
Massachusetts 15,202 (13,837)
Illinois 13,553 (12,262)
Georgia 9,901


* A day after Donald Trump inexplicably attacked the World Health Organization as “China-centric” and threatened to withhold US funding from the UN agency, the head of the WHO warned today against “politicizing” the pandemic: “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”

* The WHO criticized Trump in late January for his decision to block travel from China – a move Trump continues to take credit for, even though *at best* it only bought additional time for the US to prepare – time the Trump administration failed to use. At all.

* Trump’s threat to defund the WHO also ignored that his administration already eliminated US funding for the WHO’s office for epidemic response – for the last three years.

* Scientists in at least 45 different countries are now working on a COVID-19 vaccine.

* A Harvard University study of over 3,000 US counties found that even a slight increase in long-term exposure to air pollution – even controlling for factors like smoking and population density – can have up to a 15 percent increase in the likelihood of patients dying from COVID-19. The findings have implications far beyond major US cities; countries like India and China, for example, would expect to have higher mortality rates.

* Cal Tech seismologists say the quieting of the world’s cities has been so profound that seismometers are picking up the difference – from 20 to 40 percent quieter, depending on the location.

* After a marathon 16-hour teleconference meeting, the foreign ministers of 19 European Union countries failed to agree on an economic plan to help the many EU countries whose economies have been decimated by the pandemic.

* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care tonight and is “responding to treatment,” according to a British spokesman

* Up to 150 members of the Saudi royal family may also have contracted COVID-19, including a prince who is the governor of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia also announced a cease-fire to its brutal five-year-long, US-supported war in Yemen. Yemen is one of only a handful of remaining countries with no confirmed COVID-19 cases – but with widespread poverty and hunger and no real public health system remaining, it is one of the countries feared to be most vulnerable to the pandemic.

* The South Korean government says that at least 51 COVID-19 patients in Daegu, South Korea – the center of that country’s outbreak – have tested positive for the disease after they were thought to have recovered. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it believes that the patients were not reinfected, but rather, that the infection was re-activated after remaining dormant in the patients.

* Mexico announced today that it had lost nearly 350,000 jobs since mid-March due to the pandemic. Areas that rely on North American tourism were hit particularly hard.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,484,811, with 88,538 deaths in 184 countries.

* Countries with over 6,000 cases (Monday’s total in parentheses):

USA 432,132 (368,376)
Spain 148,220 (136,675)
Italy 139,422 (132,547)
Germany 113,296 (103,375)
France 112,950 (98,984)
China 82,867 (82,697)
Iran 64,586 (60,500)
UK 61,474 (52,279)
Turkey 38,226 (30,217)
Belgium 23,403 (20,914)
Switzerland 23,280 (21,657)
Netherlands 20,682 (18,926)
Canada 19,290 (16,667)
Brazil 16,188 (12,232)
Portugal 13,141 (11,730)
Austria 12,492 (12,297)
South Korea 10,423 (10,331)
Israel 9,404 (8,904)
Russia 8,672 (6,343)
Sweden 8,419 (7,206)
Ireland 6,074 (5,364)
Norway 6,042 (5,865
Australia 6,019 (5,846)



Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues cash in on the pandemic; Spain plans to enact a permanent universal basic income as part of its effort to recover from the pandemic; Wisconsinites risk their lives to vote; and much, much more. If it’s a day ending in “y,” there’s lots of pandemic news.

Tips are *always* welcome, in comment threads or by PMing me. This is old hat to regular readers, but every day I’m adding lots of new ones, so it’s worth repeating: I could not possibly do all this without the help of my managing editor and life partner, the invaluable Revel Smith. We are both permanently disabled and personally vulnerable to COVID-19, and our respective activist backgrounds in journalism, media, and public health (me) and communications and homeless advocacy (her) inform these daily reports. We’re also incurring a lot of extra expenses to help us avoid people during this pandemic ( 🙂 ), and your donations are making our relative personal safety possible. Thank you SO much to those who’ve already donated!

Each installment is cross-posted to , where there’s both a full archive from late February and a PayPal button at the bottom of the right-hand column.

There’s lots more today, but I need to go to dialysis, so there will likely be another update tonight, including the outcome, if known, of Wisconsin’s fked up election today.


* Governor Jay Inslee announced a new statewide fund, the WA Food Fund, to raise money for food banks and other food assistance programs during the pandemic and its economic impact. The fund will be managed by Philanthropy Northwest

* The Seattle nonprofit Fare Start has already provided about 80,000 meals to local people in quarantine. Support them!

* The state’s Department of Labor and Industries is offering a grace period for premium payments, along with payment plans for employers facing financial difficulties during the pandemic.


* Early reports indicate long waits in infection-spreading lines of people waiting to vote in today’s election in Wisconsin. When the resulting pandemic hits home in about three weeks, the Republican leaders who pushed hard for this public health disaster – because they thought it would be to their political advantage – should be prosecuted for as many counts of manslaughter each as is appropriate. And here’s to the true patriots of this grim situation, the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who are literally risking their health and perhaps their lives to vote. It should never, ever come to this again.

* It couldn’t last. Today I have to invoke the name of the President Nero.

* Last week, an umbrella group of inspectors general of various federal agencies named the acting Defense Department IG to lead an effort to monitor the $2 trillion federal emergency relief bill’s implementation. So today trump fired him. Trump also attached a signing statement to that bill rejecting its oversight. #MostTransparentScratchthatCorruptAdministrationEver

* This comes amidst increasing evidence that Trump is using the pandemic response to enrich himself and his friends. Turns out there’s another reason, beyond gut instinct, that Trump has been so adamant, against all medical advice, about promoting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID-19.

* On March 26, Job Creators Network – a Big Pharma front group founded and run by a major Trump donor, Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, who funneled $7 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, and who is putting even more money into his 2020 campaign – launched a petition, a series of Facebook ads, and a blast text message campaign calling on Trump to “cut the red tape” and immediately make hydroxychloroquine available to treat patients. On Sunday, March 29, the FDA gave emergency approval for the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treating COVID-19, an eyebrow-raising move Trump later took credit for pressuring the FDA to do.

* Job Creator Network’s hydroxychloroquine campaign has been run in partnership with Physicians for Reform, a nonprofit lobbying group which works with FreedomWorks to promote health care deregulation. FreedomWorks, a Koch brothers outfit, also gets big money from Big Pharma. It’s one big, incestuous family. Trump has bragged that the federal government has stockpiled 29 million doses of the drug, which there is now a shortage of for the malaria and lupus patients who actually need it. h/t Ellen Jablow

* Remember that insider stock trading scandal a week or so ago, involving the aftermath to an all-senators, closed door briefing on the coronovirus in late January, that five US senators were named in?

* Yesterday”s Atlanta Journal-Constitution analyzed the March stock trades of Georgia senator David Perdue – one of the senators named in the January scandal – and found “…112 transactions, including 76 stock purchases costing as much as $1.8 million and 34 sales worth up to $825,000. Compared with the 26-month period before the coronavirus swept across America, Perdue’s [March] portfolio activity increased nearly threefold.” Perdue, a CEO-turned-politician, sold shares in a casino company, bought shares in Netflix and in a chemical company that produces components used in addressing the pandemic. The Senate passed three different pandemic spending bills during that period. Perdue is facing a tough reelection fight this year.

* Another senator named in the January scandal, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler – whose husband heads the Securities and Exchange Commission, the body that regulates stock markets – didn’t look so good in March disclosure reports, either. She bought shares in a company that makes protective gowns for medical personnel, and sold over $18 million in stocks in the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange and other financial markets, just before last month’s market collapse. Loeffler also sold stock in major clothing just before widespread stay at home orders that shut those businesses down in much of the US and Europe. Loeffler, who was appointed last December to fill the seat vacated for health reasons by Sen. Johnny Isakson due to health issues, also faces an election this year to try to keep her seat. She’s apparently wasted no time trying to cash in on what may be a short-lived gig.

* And then there’s Donald Trump himself. The New York Times reports that Trump has “a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.” No details on the actual size of his investment, or whether it has, you know, increased a lot recently. So…how “small,” exactly, is “small” to a billionaire president who only thinks about himself and money, even during the greatest crisis the country has seen in generations? #MostCorruptPresidentEver.

* And Trump’s energy remains focused on his primary concern: his image. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham apparently reached her mandatory quota of lies and has been replaced by Kayleigh McEnany, who becomes Trump’s fourth press secretary, not including himself, in a bit over three years. Grisham goes back to her old job as Melania Trump’s chief of staff and communications director; she was apparently pushed out by the brand new Trump chief of staff, reactionary zealot Mark Meadows, who replaced the disgraced Mark Mulvaney last week as trump’s fifth chief of staff.

* McEnany was formerly the press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign. The only Kayleigh I’ve ever personally known – platonically, mind you – was a dominatrix. Hadn’t thought of her in years, but this administration does conjure odd memories…

* And Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly – who was widely criticized for removing the truly heroic captain of the infected aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt last week for trying to save his sailors – has resigned. Seppuku would be more appropriate – for Trump, even more so – but, baby steps…with this administration, any burst of public shame or accountability is a welcome surprise. It’s less surprising in the military, where personal integrity still means something.

* Meanwhile, the virus marches on, oblivious to the humans charged with stemming it and the humans, often the same humans, trying to profit from it.

* More racial disparities: About 70 percent of Louisiana’s COVID-19 deaths, largely in New Orleans, have been African-American. Nearly twice as many blacks as whites have tested positive in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County.

* A union representing some 13,000 carpenters in Massachusetts has called for a strike starting today to protest Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s refusal to shut down all construction across the state. (h/t Paul Cienfuegos)

* New York state reported 731 new deaths today, that state’s highest one-day death toll yet. New York’s hospitalization rate has fallen for several consecutive days, a hopeful sign amidst the awfulness – however, that rate could be influenced by hospitals simply having no beds available.


* As Spain’s brutal pandemic, which has eviscerated its economy, reaches what is hopefully its peak, Business Insider reports that the Spanish government is planning to introduce a plan for a permanent basic universal income. Levels would be differentiated based on family income, but details haven’t been finalized yet. One government minister called the plan “a permanent safety net for the most vulnerable.”

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care today as the country debated who should take his place if needed. Another senior Tory minister, Michael Gove, self-isolated after a member of his family tested positive.

* For a week, Turkey’s infection rate has become a source of increasing concern even as its authoritarian government downplayed the outbreak. Now, Turkey has ordered all residents to wear masks “when shopping or visiting crowded places” – there’s still no public social distancing order, although there is a new curfew for people over age 65. The government announced it will begin delivering masks to every family, free of charge. Apparently Turkey has enough masks to do that, unlike the US. Turkey already has more than 30,000 confirmed cases, including 1,300 medical workers, after limited testing. Opposition leaders, led by the mayor of hard-hit Istanbul, have been pressing for a nationwide lockdown.

* China reports its first day since January today with no deaths. Wuhan, the city where the pandemic began, lifted its months-long lockdown effective tonight.

* Europe continued to also see encouraging signs, particularly in those Western European countries that took early social distancing measures. Both Italy and Spain appear to have already peaked in their outbreaks, and other hard-hit countries, including France, Germany, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia, are showing similar indications.

Gotta run. More tonight, including all the numbers. GO WASH YOUR HANDS!!


An entire update, without one mention of Donald Trump!



* Washington state now has 8,384 confirmed cases, with 372 deaths. Local counties: King, 3,295 cases/220 deaths; Pierce, 590/12; Snohomish,1,522/55. Kitsap County recorded its first death today.

* Gov. Inslee announced today that in-person classes will be cancelled for Washington schools through the end of the school year. where possible, online learning will continue.

* Sixteen Seattle Fire Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

* An inmate at Monroe Correctional Complex is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state prison system. Several Department of Corrections employees and an inmate being treated off-site for an unrelated condition have previously tested positive.

* Sound Transit has halted almost all construction, including on the North Seattle light rail extension scheduled to open next year.

* Woodland Park Zoo has cancelled its outdoor summer concert series. The zoo itself has been closed since early March.

* The Showgirls adult club across from the main entrance to Pike Place Market announced it was closing until April 30. Something about being a non-essential business, I presume.

* A tax on big business to help fund the local pandemic response, proposed by Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales, was unanimously referred by the full council today to the Budget Committee for further consideration. CM Teresa Mosqueda chairs that committee.


* Boeing announced, finally, that it was closing its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, the last of its North American facilities to remain open. Until today, South Carolina had been one of a handful of Republican-controlled states that had yet to issue a stay at home order – even though a major outbreak has been brewing in Columbia, the state’s capitol and largest city. Today, South Carolina’s governor issued a stay at home order effective tomorrow tonight – sort of. His “Work or Home” order still permits working, visiting family, and outdoor recreation. Is hunting viruses with a long rifle in season?

* Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose belated stay at home order last week drew national ridicule when he claimed he was taking action because he’d JUST FOUND OUT that asymptomatic people could spread the disease, reopened Georgia’s beaches that had been closed by local jurisdiction. Because, you know, Florida’s beaches are closed, and tourists have gotta go somewhere, amiright? Besides which, the state’s biggest tourist draw of the year, the Masters golf tournament, has already been cancelled. So let’s heads to the beaches! Spring Break worked so well for Florida.

* But let’s not just pick on the South. Idaho’s recent stay at home order, prompted by an alarming spike in statewide cases and the county (around Sun Valley) with the highest per capita infection rate in the country, has is facing as backlash from so-called “patriots,” especially in the state’s northern panhandle east of Spokane. A county sheriff and several state lawmakers are calling for resistance to social distancing measures on constitutional grounds. Memo to Dimwits: THE VIRUS DOES NOT GIVE A FK ABOUT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL OBJECTIONS. Duh.

* Wisconsin is proceeding with tomorrow’s primary and local election, overruling the governor. And the Republican-friendly US Supreme Court, majority ruled, 5-4, to overturn a court-ordered extension of absentee voting. Wisconsin’s Republican leaders have been explicit in their desire to suppress tomorrow’s turnout, particularly to support the re-election of a Republican state supreme court justice. One person, one vote, except when it’s not.

* The number of new cases in New York state slowed today, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded a note of cautious optimism that his state’s outbreak may be peaking. New Jersey became the second state to pass 1,000 deaths; New York already has nearly 5,000.

* Echoing Washington’s announcement yesterday, California announced today it would return hundreds of ventilators to the national stockpile, to hopefully be distributed to states with a more acute need.

* For the first time since the very start of the US pandemic, Washington state will likely drop out of the top ten states for confirmed cases tomorrow, overtaken by Texas with a fast-growing outbreak in the Dallas area. Washington still ranks sixth in deaths, behind New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana, and California. Washington and California were among the first states to issue stay at home orders, and have seen hopeful signs in recent days that their outbreaks may be subsiding.

* Top ten states (Sunday’s totals in parentheses)

New York 131,815 (123,177)
New Jersey 41,090 (37,505)
Michigan 17,221 (15,718)
California 16,310 (14,055)
Louisiana 14,867 (13,010)
Massachusetts 13,837 (11,736)
Florida 13,629 (12,151)
Pennsylvania 13,127 (11,589)
Illinois 12,262 (10,360)
Washington 8,384 (7,986)


* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment yesterday “out of an abundance of caution.” You think they weren’t telling us something? Today Johnson was transferred to an intensive care unit as his condition worsens. According to the UK government, the ICU admission was a “precautionary” admission – that sounds familiar – in case Johnson needs to be put on a ventilator – that sounds, uh, ominous. Johnson remains conscious, but has named his Foreign Secretary to serve in his stead if/when he is incapacitated. This is a moment when politics don’t matter, and “thoughts and prayers” are actually appropriate.

* After an early outbreak, Japan had survived the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed – until now. A new wave of cases in Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis, has sparked a declaration of a state of emergency in Japan. The declaration covers seven prefectures, primarily in the Tokyo and Osaka regions, and covers nearly half of the country’s population.

* In another huge metropolis, Manila’s lockdown has been extended by two weeks.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,348,184, with 74,816 deaths in 184 countries. The United States passed 10,000 deaths today. While France approached 100,000 cases, it and much of Western Europe saw their confirmed new daily rates start to decline, with the notable exception of the UK.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Sunday’s total in parentheses):

USA 368,376 (337,620)
Spain 136,675 (131,646)
Italy 132,547 (126,948)
Germany 103,375 (100,123)
France 98,984 (93,780)
China 82,697 (82,602)
Iran 60,500 (58,226)
UK 52,279 (48,440)
Turkey 30,217 (27,069)
Switzerland 21,657 (21,100)
Belgium 20,814 (19,691)
Netherlands 18,926 (17,953)
Canada 16,667 (15,764)
Austria 12,297 (12,051)
Brazil 12,232 (11,254)
Portugal 11,730 (11,276)
South Korea 10,331 (10,237)
Israel 8,904 (8,430)
Sweden 7,206 (6,830)
Russia 6,343 (5,389)
Norway 5,865 (5,687)
Australia 5,846 (5,687)
Ireland 5,364 (<5,000) Six days until Easter. Bunny says staying home works, and WASH YOUR HANDS!


Lots of new research coming out, both hopeful and alarming. Two different studies indicate that COVID-19 patients can be contagious up to eight days *after* symptoms subside.


* Washington state now has 7,984 confirmed cases, with 338 deaths. Local counties: King, 3,158 cases/208 deaths; Pierce, 536/10; Snohomish,1,486/47. The city of Tacoma recorded its first death today.

* Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington will return 421 ventilators it had received from the federal government, to be distributed – hopefully – to states in greater need. This is an indication that public health officials believe that Washington is near its apex of cases. COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases here have flattened in recent days.

* Research from Bellevue’s Institute for Disease Modeling shows that each infected person infects 2.7 others without mitigation, but that after a month of social distancing, that average is down to 1.4 persons. Social distancing works.

* Contrary to yesterday’s announcement, today Boeing now says its Puget Sound plants will remain closed indefinitely.

* CRISTA Rehab & Nursing Center in Shoreline is the latest elder care center to become a locus of COVID-19 cases. Its nursing home wing has 26 residents and 16 staff members who have tested positive.

* Amazon announced that an employee at its Everett distribution center has tested positive.

* A new study shows that despite stay at home orders, as of a week ago Seattle area traffic was still about 55 percent of normal. Nationally, the rate was about 60 percent.


* Friday, the former captain of the virus-stricken aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt – who was relieved of his command Thursday, after a letter the captain sent to Navy superiors detailing the Navy’s failures in dealing with his ship’s outbreak was leaked to the media – left the ship to rousing applause from the sailors formerly under his command.

* Today, that captain, Capt. Brett Crozier, tested positive for COVID-19.

* Trump: “I thought it was terrible what he did [in sending the letter].” That should cement Capt. Crozier’s status as a folk hero. Hopefully he fully recovers along with the over 100 ill sailors on the ship. The Navy only moved to disembark the thousands of apparently healthy sailors still on that ship after Crozier’s letter became public. His action likely saved lives.

* Seventy percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Chicago – 61 of 86 -have been of African-Americans. Eighty-one percent of those dead had hypertension, diabetes, or both. In Illinois, the rate of hypertension among black residents is about 48 percent – a reflection of the racism, social inequity, and class issues that pervade access to the American health care system. In the pandemic, issues of poverty also play a key role in its spread – living in crowded homes, needing to rely on public transit, and having jobs that can’t be done from home, for example.

* In both Illinois and Michigan, African-Americans account for 14 percent of those states’ populations. In Illinois, they’re 38 percent of COVID-19 cases; in Michigan, 35 percent, and 40 percent of the deaths, primarily in Detroit. Neither the CDC nor the states where a number of other hard-hit urban areas are located – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Louisiana – appear to provide racial breakdowns of cases.

* If any cohort, i.e. a segment of the population, for any reason, has a statistically significant difference in infection or mortality rates – you want to know about it, and you want to investigate why. The lack of racial data, nationally and for so many states, means either that the respective health departments don’t want to know, or they don’t want the public to know. Either way, the lack of racial data on those sites is a political decision, not a public health one.

* Adding to the advance warnings the Trump Administration had, a new report says the military warned the administration in 2017 about the risk of a new coronavirus pandemic.

* In Saturday’s press briefing, Trump doubled down on the notion that the nation needs to go back to work, with or without a pandemic, because “you lose more people that way [with an economic shutdown].” Yes, if you rush people back to normal life, you WILL lose more people that way. Happy Palm Sunday. Those packed churches on Easter are a week away.

* Trump also bragged that the US had stockpiled 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, and he continued to promote it as a cure for COVID-19 (see the research item under “Global”) against the advice of medical experts. Trump acknowledged that he wasn’t a doctor – duh – but said he was touting it due to his “gut instinct.” When a reporter asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to answer a question about the drug’s effectiveness, Trump cut him off. Silver lining: at least Trump’s not promoting using leeches to bleed the virus out of patients.

* Trump nominated Brian Miller, a member of the White House Counsel’s office who helped defend Trump during impeachment proceedings, to become an inspector general overseeing the federal government’s pandemic response. Miller previously served for nine years as an inspector general at the General Services Administration under President Bush. Miller would need confirmation by the US Senate, which is in recess until at least late April.

* Dallas, Nashville, and Phoenix are the latest cities to report a major spike in confirmed cases.

* The Republican-controlled state legislature of Wisconsin is rejecting calls, including from the Democratic governor, to delay in-person voting in that state’s presidential primary, now scheduled for this coming Tuesday. The election will also decide thousands of state and local offices. Wisconsin voters have the option to vote by absentee ballot until a week from tomorrow, April 13, but a Republican-backed lawsuit is seeking to remove that option and require people to show up at the polls – even though residents are under a stay at home order. Nearly 60 percent of the state’s municipalities report a shortage of poll workers for Tuesday – meaning long lines and high infection rates if people actually turn out.

* Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested today that Democrats hold a “virtual convention,” rather than the in-person one now scheduled for mid-August in Milwaukee. For his part, President Trump has been adamant that the Republican convention, scheduled for a week later in Charlotte, proceed as planned.

* About a third of nurses and doctors at the Brooklyn Hospital Center are out sick. The hospital temporarily ran out of protective gowns, a blood pressure medication, and the sedative used for patients on ventilators. Shortages and illnesses among medical staff compound New York City’s struggles with a tsunami of COVID-19 patients.

* A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple local reports. Other lions and tigers at the zoo also appear ill.

* Top ten states (Saturday’s totals in parentheses)

New York 123,177 (103,169)
New Jersey 37,505 (29,895)
Michigan 15,718 (12,744)
California 14,055 (12,507)
Louisiana 13,010 (10,297)
Florida 12,151 (9,585)
Massachusetts 11,736 (10,402)
Pennsylvania 11,589 (8,570)
Illinois 10,360 (10,268)
Washington 7,986 (6,967)


* Lots of promising – and sometimes alarming – research is now being published.

* The Mayo Clinic reports that two studies of patients who had recovered from COVID-19 found that they may still be infectious even after symptoms have disappeared. One study looked at people who had mild infections and found that half of them continued to test positive for up to eight days after their symptoms disappeared. The other study found that the virus could still be detected in a patient’s mucous and feces even after they had tested negative on two consecutive throat swabs.

* A separate German study, published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that shedding of SARS-CoV-2 in the upper respiratory tract occurs most efficiently early on, when patients still have mild symptoms. They could detect the infectious form of the virus in the throat and lungs until day eight of symptoms, and viral RNA in mucus from the lungs after the symptoms were gone. They did not detect the virus in blood or urine, and did not find the infectious form in feces, despite high levels of viral RNA.

* A team of researchers at Stanford University may have found a way to use heat to disinfect N95 masks, allowing the masks to be reused up to 20 times as personal protective equipment. The masks are in dangerously short supply in hospitals across the country.

* Australian researchers say that an anti-parasitic drug, Ivermectin, has been found to kill COVID-19 in the lab within 48 hours.

* A study of the drug hydroxychloroquine, much touted by Donald Trump as a miracle cure for COVID-19, shows that it *may* be effective in treating the early stages of an infection and in mild cases. More study is needed.

* Another public health study looked at factors influencing individuals’ compliance with quarantine rules during infectious disease outbreaks. Adherence can vary from as little as zero per cent up to 92.8 per cent, according to a review of existing research. The factors that have the biggest effect of adherence are the knowledge people had about the disease and quarantine procedure, social norms, perceived benefits of quarantine and perceived risk of the disease, as well as practical issues such as running out of supplies or the financial consequences of being out of work. This is why the persistent downplaying of the outbreak by President Trump and various Republican governors has had such a disastrous impact.

* UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, was hospitalized as a “precautionary” measure today, ten days after testing positive for COVID-19. Johnson is the most prominent head of state in the world so far to have contracted the virus. His girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, disclosed that she is also symptomatic. Queen Elizabeth addressed the nation today, only the fourth time in her remarkable 66-year reign that she has done so.

* Spain reported another drop in its daily death rate, to 674 overnight. Spain’s daily death toll was over 1,000 per day much of the last week.

* Italy saw a dramatic reduction in the number of new cases today, with only 2,316 – about a third of its previous new daily cases this past week.

* Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, who trained as a physician but left his practice to pursue politics, announced that he will work one shift a week to help combat the pandemic.

* The global total of confirmed cases is 1,274,923, with 69,614 deaths in 183 countries. Today was the first day the global total of cases increased by more than 100,000. Germany became the fourth country to pass 100,000 cases. For the second day in a row, China reported less than 100 new cases.

* Countries with over 5,000 cases (Saturday’s total in parentheses):

USA 337,620 (301,915)
Spain 131,646 (124,736)
Italy 126,948 (124,632)
Germany 100,123 (95,637)
France 93,780 (90,842)
China 82,602 (82,543)
Iran 58,226 (55,243)
UK 48,440 (42,441)
Turkey 27,069 (23,934)
Switzerland 21,100 (20,505)
Belgium 19,691 (18,431)
Netherlands 17,953 (16,727)
Canada 15,764 (12,949)
Austria 12,051 (11,781)
Portugal 11,276 (10,524)
Brazil 11,254 (10,278)
South Korea 10,237 (10,156)
Israel 8,430 (7,851)
Sweden 6,830 (6,443)
Australia 5,687 (5,550)
Norway 5,687 (5,550)
Russia 5,389 (<5,000) Wash your hands, stay at home, and WASH YOUR HANDS AGAIN. We're all in this together.


The US passes 300,000 cases – and may be confronting an unemployment rate of over 30 percent.


* King County now has 2,787 confirmed cases. and 186 deaths.

* At least $500 million in federal aid is set to arrive for local transit agencies hit hard by the loss in fare revenue and state income during the pandemic.

* A lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court by a local nonprofit, WASHLITE -the Washington League for Increased Transparency and ethics – claims that Fox News violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by representing COVID-19 as a “hoax” in broadcasts during February and March. By doing so, the lawsuit claims, the network endangered viewers’ lives and contributed to a national public health emergency and “preventable mass death.”


* The Federal Reserve estimated after this week’s sobering unemployment numbers that job losses due to the pandemic could reach 47 million Americans.That would be an unemployment rate of 32 percent, equivalent to the worst months of the Great Depression.

* An estimated 40 percent of New York City’s renters will be unable to make rent for this month. New York City is not only the epicenter of the US pandemic, but also has the highest rents in the country.

* According to Democracy Now, “With the national stockpile of medical equipment nearly exhausted, Tennessee’s Department of Health has advised hospital workers to prepare to use swim goggles as eye protection; plastic bags as gloves; and tissues, gauze and diapers as masks.” Prepare for a run on swim goggles now, I guess…

* Philadelphia is quietly joining Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Miami and New Orleans as serious hotspots. Philly has 2,430 confirmed cases and 26 deaths. But almost uniquely among American cities, Philadelphia expects to have enough hospital beds available – enabled by early, aggressive action. Philadelphia was the epicenter of the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak in the US, with 20,000 deaths in that city alone during that outbreak. Lessons from that pandemic, as well as the city’s unusually large number of universities (and university hospitals), have helped in the city’s response this time around.

* The New York Times reports that FEMA – the agency tasked with leading the federal response to the pandemic -is facing a critical shortage of employees trained to respond to it. The number of staff available to run field operations has dropped from 44 to 19 as staff get assigned to different states where the outbreak has hit hardest .A hiring campaign has been suspended, and training centers have been closed. With additional states likely to face serious outbreaks, and with the traditio nal season for natural disasters – tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes – fast approaching, the shortage will likely compromise FEMA’s ability to respond quickly.

* Attorney General William Barr has directed the federal bureau of Prisons to prioritize the early release of prisoners to home confinement from three federal prisons where the worst of the sysdtem’s outbreaks have occurred, in Louisiana, Ohio, and Connecticut. Overall, 91 inmates and 50 staff members have tested positive. That’s likely a gross undercount, given the lack of testing that has been available, and the mortality rate has been high, given the lack of tests, an aging prison population and the generally poor medical treatment available. Five inmates have died in Oakdale, Louisiana, and two in Elkton, Ohio. All 122 federal prisons are in lockdown for two weeks to prevent the spread of the virus. Given that almost by definition9 staff members bring the virus into the overcrowded prisons, where social distancing is impossible, it’s likely that far more than the three prisons named by Barr are at risk of having the virus spread.

* Top ten states (Friday’s totals in parentheses)

New York 103,169 (102,985)
New Jersey 29,895 (29,895)
Michigan 12,744 (12,744)
California 12,507 (11,898)
Massachusetts 10,402 (10,402)
Louisiana 10,297 (10,297)
Florida 9,585 (7,773)
Illinois 10,268 (9,263)
Pennsylvania 8,570 (8,570)
Washington 6,967 (6,670)


* At least 17 doctors and nurses at an Egyptian cancer hospital in Cairo have tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak is just starting to accelerate in Egypt, the most populous country in the region; a major outbreak is already underway in neighboring Israel.

* While Brazil has had the most cases in South America, an outbreak in Guayaquil, Ecuador is cause for concern. The number of deaths in Guayaquil, a port city near the capitol of Quito, rose from 700 to 1,500 on Friday. The Ecuadoran government announced it was building a “special camp” for COVID-19 patients in Guayaquil, where amidst a strict curfew bodies have stayed in residences for days and overwhelmed police officers have been tasked with burying the dead.

* The remote British colony of Falkland Islands, hundreds of miles off the Argentinian coast of South America, recorded its first confirmed case yesterday.

* Britain announced that it would release almost all prisoners who were within two months of their release date. They will be electronically tagged to ensure compliance with the nation’s stay at home order. Inmates deemed “high-risk” – those convicted of violent or sexual crimes or terrorism charges – are not included in the order. Pregnant women who are “low risk” will also be freed. In the UK, 88 prisoners and 15 prison staff have tested positive. France had previously released 5,000 inmates this week; the nation of California has freed 3,500.

* Italy announced that some people would be allowed back to work – *if* a blood test shows that they have antibodies to COVID-19. Scientists are not yet sure whether having such antibodies confers immunity to the virus – and if so, for how long. Amidst encouraging signs that Italy is finally beginning to slow its pandemic, Spain – whose outbreak began in earnest about a week after Italy’s – passed it for the second-most confirmed cases in the world. Spain also saw signs of progress today – of a sort – as “only” 809 patients died overnight. That’s Spain’s lowest total in a week.

* A tale of two leaders: German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned to her office yesterday after 14 days in quarantine, a step she took after her doctor had tested positive. Meanwhile, President Nero, who has been personally exposed to multiple people, ignores the bCDC’s social distancing guidelines and refuses to wear a mask. Leadership includes leading by example.

* China held a national day of mourning today, amidst ongoing questions about whether the Chinese government has underreported the number of cases and deaths in that country. (China reported 32 new cases today, in a country of 1.4 billion.) Today’s annual holiday, the Tomb Sweeping Festival, is dedicated each year to honoring ancestors.

* The US passed 300,000 cases. With a big leap in confirmed cases today, France overtook China for fifth place globally. The global total of confirmed cases is 1,170,159, with 63,902 deaths. Countries with over 5,000 cases (Friday’s total in parentheses):

USA 301,915 (277,828)
Spain 124,736 (119,199)
Italy 124,632 (119,827)
Germany 92,150 (91,159)
France 90,842 (65,202)
China 82,543 (82,511)
Iran 55,243 53,183)
UK 42,441 (38,690
Turkey 23,934 (20,921)
Switzerland 20,278 (19,606)
Belgium 18,431 (16,770)
Netherlands 16,727 (15,821)
Canada 12,949 (12,439)
Austria (11,781 11,524)
Portugal 10,524 (9,034)
South Korea (10,156 10,062)
Brazil 9,391 (9,194)
Israel 7,851 (7,428)
Sweden 6,443 (6,731)
Australia 5,550 (5,330)
Norway 5,550 (5,370)

It’s Spring outside! Stretch, go for a walk, say hi to people from a distance. And keep washing those hands!