Week In The News: The Political, Cultural And Economic Impact Of Coronavirus

Mar 27, 2020

Cases of coronavirus are skyrocketing across the U.S. We’ll talk about the public health crisis, and the politics and economics of the pandemic, in our week in review roundtable.


Paula Reid, CBS News correspondent covering the Justice Department, the White House and legal affairs. (@PaulaReidCBS)

Jonathan Cohn, Senior national correspondent covering healthcare, social welfare, and politics for Huffington Post. Author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price,” published in 2007. (@CitizenCohn)

Betsy Shepherd, reporter at NPR member station WWNO.

Susan Glasser, staff writer at The New Yorker, where she writes a weekly column on life in Trump’s Washington. (@sbg1)

From The Reading List

Huffington Post: “Why Governors Want Trump To Take Charge Of Medical Supplies ― And Why He Hasn’t” — “Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been trying desperately to acquire ventilators for his state’s hospitals, even getting on the phone with manufacturers personally. But in one recent conversation, Pritzker said, a CEO told him that Illinois might have to wait for the life-saving breathing machines ― not because the company wasn’t producing them, but because the company might sell the newly assembled units to a foreign customer first.

“As the governor tells the story, the CEO advised Pritzker to place a big order so Illinois would be ‘higher on the list of priority.’ ‘I’m competing with countries outside the United States to get things that we need,’ Pritzker said at a press conference on Monday.

“Pritzker, a Democrat, might have left out some context to the conversation and, even if he didn’t, he’s just one governor. But there’s plenty of reason to think his tale is emblematic of what’s going on all over the country, as state officials and health system administrators struggle to provide hospitals with the equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients.”

The New Yorker: “The Trials of a Never Trump Republican” — “For four years, Sarah Longwell has been hoping for Donald Trump’s downfall. But nothing has triggered it. Not the Mueller investigation into his dealings with Russia. Not his coverup of hush-money payments to a porn star, or the profiting from his office to benefit his personal businesses. Not even a Ukraine extortion scheme that resulted in just the third impeachment and trial of a President in history. He has proved immune to every scandal. Will the coronavirus pandemic be any different?

“I spoke to Longwell on March 13th, barely an hour after Trump declared a ‘national emergency’ to combat a once-in-a-century outbreak that he had spent the previous few weeks claiming to have completely under control. Pundits were already calling Trump’s botched initial handling of the crisis ‘the end of his Presidency.’ Longwell, a forty-year-old conservative Republican who has spent the Trump years in an increasingly isolated fight within her party to end his Presidency, was not yet convinced. ‘How many times have we seen that headline before?’ she asked.

“Longwell is a Never Trumper, one of the stubborn tribe of Republicans who have refused to accept the President as their leader. In 2016, virtually the entire Republican Party opposed Trump in the primaries, but since his Inauguration only a shrinking group has persisted in publicly taking him on.”

The New York Times: “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” — “Thousands of new coronavirus cases are being identified across the United States each day, including in large clusters in the New York City area, along the Gulf Coast and in the Pacific Northwest.”

STAT News: “When might experimental drugs to treat Covid-19 be ready? A forecast” — “There is a desperate need for new medicines to treat Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has shut down much of the world. A vaccine to prevent infection entirely would be even better.

“Drug companies and medical researchers are making heroic efforts to deliver new medicines. Several dozen are now in development, and you can see highlights of those efforts here. Studies so far are mostly small and lack real control groups, making it hard for researchers to be sure of their conclusions.

“Doctors on the front lines have been trying older medicines, such as the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, in the hopes that they will prove effective. Large studies of such medicines are already in process.”

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