President Trump took a swipe at Dr. Anthony Fauci yesterday as he called for governors to work to reopen schools, telling reporters, "Our country’s got to get back and it’s got to get back as soon as possible. And I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed." In Senate testimony one day earlier, Fauci had urged caution, saying, "the idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far." He later clarified he wasn't saying students shouldn't return to school until there's a coronavirus vaccine. But some conservatives criticized his response, and Trump accused him yesterday of wanting, quote, "to play all sides of the equation," adding, "To me, it's not an acceptable answer." Trump also said the virus has, quote, "had very little impact on young people." However, there's concern about cases of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome in children that's thought to be linked to the virus.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers' stay-at-home order yesterday in a 4-3 decision that essentially reopens the state, allowing businesses to open their doors and lifting limits on the size of gatherings. The court said Evers' administration went beyond its authority when the health secretary extended the order for another month without consulting state lawmakers. However, local governments can still put their own restrictions in place. Evers, who's a Democrat, blasted the decision, saying, "Today, Republican legislators convinced four members of the state Supreme Court to throw the state into chaos. They have provided no plan. There’s no question among anybody that people are going to get sick."
President Trump and White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx have pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to change how they're counting deaths from the virus to lower the number, according toThe Daily Beast, which said Trump has privately been questioning if the count is inflated. Birx has pressured the CDC to stop including people who were presumed to have the virus but didn't have a confirmed test, as well as those who do have the virus but, quote, "may not have died as a direct result of it." Five officials at the CDC told the Daily Beast they're resisting the pressure, as experts largely believe coronavirus deaths are undercounted, not overcounted. As of last night, there have been more than 84,100 deaths in the U.S. from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University's count.
In other developments:
Top WHO Official Warns Coronavirus Might Not Go Away: Dr. Michael Ryan, a top official at the World Health Organization, warned yesterday that it's possible the coronavirus might stay with us. He told reporters, "This virus may never go away. I think it’s important to put this on the table. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities," like other once new diseases like HIV, which haven't disappeared, but for which we've developed effective treatments.
Fed Chair Warns of Prolonged Recession:Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned yesterday about the threat of a prolonged recession from the pandemic, and urged Congress and the White House to take more action. Powell said that more legislation that provides aid either through spending or tax policy would be costly, but, quote, "worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery." Powell also noted some of the damaging economic effects of the pandemic, saying that among people who'd been working in February, nearly 40 percent of households earning less than $40,000 a year lost a job in March.