6.6 million new unemployed, medical shortages continue, and a ‘second’ task force

• Trump Attorney General William Barr, who has been too busy to testify to Congress about any subject and remains a key figure in attempting to hide government documents and whistleblowers from congressional investigators, sat for a Fox News interview in which he echoed Trump’s language that “the cure” of social distancing may be “worse than the disease” of Americans dying, again hinting the Trump team would be pressuring states to lift stay-at-home orders in May regardless of the pandemic’s status.

• The Trump administration is (inexplicably) ending federal funding for coronavirus testing sites tomorrow, despite large-scale testing efforts being essential to a safe lifting of nationwide stay-at-home orders. Testing will now be left to the states … along with nearly every other response to the pandemic.

• Former Trump acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned after a tape leaked of his belittling and insulting address to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after firing their captain for sending a lengthy letter requesting urgent quarantine plans be made for his clue. We now know the government cost of Modly’s trip to Guam to give that career-ending speech: $243,000.

• Angered by CNN’s habit of cutting into daily “task force” briefings to fact-check statements made by Trump, the Vice President’s office told CNN that they would no longer provide the government’s medical experts for interviews until the network agreed to air the campaign rallies briefings in full. Dear Leader’s Butler’s office reversed themselves after CNN published a story revealing their demand.

Another 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week amid new business closures, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to at least 22.5 million. The national unemployment rate is now 14%, four points more than in the worst of the Great Recession. Around half of Hispanic Americans now say someone in their household has lost a job or received a pay cut.

Evidence of the economic collapse caused by the pandemic: Nearly a third of American renters did not pay their rent within the first five days of April, nearly double that of last year, while food banks are overwhelmed.

Democrats are rejecting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to ram through an additional $250 billion in pandemic small business loans without Democratic input, calling it “designed to fail” and “a political stunt.” Democrats have now released their own proposed legislation. A majority of Americans want another stimulus bill—but want it to be tailored to individuals and families.

• Polling now shows public confidence in Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is underwater again, after a brief respite in the first weeks of his now-daily “briefings.”

• In Kansas, the Republican-held legislature repealed Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s order limiting religious gatherings in the state to no more than 10 people. (There is no evidence to suggest the COVID-19 epidemic does not kill churchgoers, and ample evidence that it does.)

• The refusal of federal immigration officials to release detained refugees even in the face of overcrowding and pandemic can likely be explained by white nationalist Stephen Miller’s status as defacto Homeland Security head. Meanwhile, infections mount.

• An alarming, but preliminary, study from China raises fears that those who have recovered from COVID-19 can rebound or be re-infected with the virus. A Korean study is raising similar concerns.

• Half of the National Guard troops helping with pandemic response inside America do not have military health coverage.

Seven health care workers for the Department of Veterans Affairs have now died from COVID-19 infection. Over 1,100 VA staffers have tested positive.

• The pandemic is forecasted to cause global sales of electric vehicles to drop 43% this year.

• A large majority of Americans of both political parties want the option to vote by mail in the upcoming November elections.

• The NYPD has released video footage of a man who attacked an Asian American woman with an unknown chemical, causing severed burns, and is asking for public assistance in identifying him.

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