The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Daily 202: CDC case study of Chicago coronavirus outbreak shows why it is dangerous to go to church on Easter

with Mariana Alfaro

Reading the federal government’s new case study on the spread of the novel coronavirus in Chicago feels like watching the movie “Contagion,” as Gwyneth Paltrow’s character returns from Macao to Minnesota. It’s a real-life reminder that a single person can trigger a deadly chain reaction.

The story laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begins with a funeral in February. Patient Zero, a friend of the deceased who had recently traveled out of state and was experiencing mild respiratory symptoms, came to a dinner the night before the service. He shared a takeout meal from common serving dishes with two family members of the deceased at a house. 

Three days later, one of the dinner hosts started to show symptoms of the coronavirus. Two days after that, the other did too. A third member of the family, who hugged Patient Zero at the funeral, got sick. 

A few days after the funeral, Patient Zero – still only experiencing mild symptoms – went to a birthday party with nine other people. Seven of them soon fell ill. Two have died.

Three of the seven people who would get sick after the birthday party then went to church. Someone sitting within a row of them in the pews during the service, who was passed the offering plate, soon developed symptoms.

The first host of the dinner from the night before the funeral was hospitalized as their condition deteriorated. A ventilator would not be able to save this person, but a family member who came to visit the hospital soon developed a fever and cough.

All these infected people unwittingly transmitted the disease to other loved ones, fellow parishioners, home health workers and so forth. This happened before Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) banned gatherings of more than 50 people and, four days after that, issued a stay-at-home order.

This is how clusters form. Such seemingly innocuous person-to-person contact is the way places turn into hot spots. In New Orleans, it was Mardi Gras. In Italy, it was a soccer game. In France, it was a ski resort. 

This is why it is so risky for the citizens they are supposed to serve that seven Republican governors persist in their refusal to issue stay-at-home orders, even as the United States now has about 15,000 confirmed deaths, including at least 1,924 on Wednesday, and 432,000 confirmed cases. This is why it is reckless and irresponsible for those few pastors who are defying federal social distancing guidelines to hold in-person services during the Holy Week.

Six feet has never felt so far, but anyone can be an attack vector – a Trojan horse carrying this invisible enemy inside. Even those who have no symptoms. As much as every Christian wants to share the Good News that’s coming on Sunday, doing so in person this year could cause some very bad news.

Patient Zero “was apparently able to transmit infection to 10 other persons, despite having no household contacts and experiencing only mild symptoms for which medical care was not sought,” the report concludes. “These findings support CDC recommendations to avoid gatherings and reinforce the executive order from the governor of Illinois prohibiting all public and private gatherings of any number of persons occurring outside a single household.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was alarmed April 6 at the racial disparities for blacks versus whites in deaths and coronavirus cases across the city. (Video: Reuters)

Kansas Republicans voted yesterday to revoke Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s order limiting religious gatherings to 10 people. “House and Senate leaders — meeting as a body called the Legislative Coordinating Council — voted along party lines to throw out the directive,” the Wichita Eagle reports. “Their decision came as the number of reported COVID-19 cases in the state climbed to more than 1,000 and the death count ticked up to 38. Church gatherings have produced three case clusters across the state and health officials fear Easter gatherings could further spread the deadly coronavirus. … Kelly denounced the legislators’ decision at a late afternoon press conference, calling it ‘shockingly irresponsible’ and one likely to cost lives.”

Complaints about social distancing violations make up about 30 percent of calls to New York City’s non-emergency number. “There were swarms of food couriers and impatient customers with to-go orders outside Carbone, a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant,” Jada Yuan and Richard Morgan report. “A 15-person house party in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where a masked gunman shot the host to death. A Catholic wedding in Staten Island with 20 to 25 people in attendance, which was criticized by the Archdiocese of New York. … [Hasidic Jews] are defying police and city officials by conducting funerals attended by hundreds of mourners.”

Most of us hadn’t heard the term ‘flatten the curve’ before mid-March, and just a few weeks later, it’s already out of date. The new catchphrase in this coronavirus pandemic is ‘squash the curve.’ Or ‘quash.’ Or ‘crush.’ Pick your verb, the idea is the same: We should not end social distancing and reopen the economy until we know the infection rate is nearly zero,” Joel Achenbach explains. “One number everyone looks at is the reproduction number, or R0 (known as ‘R naught’), which is the number of new infections generated by each infected person. Estimates of the R0 for this new virus have generally been higher than two. Only when the number is driven below one will the pandemic begin to wane.”

Vatican insiders worry that Pope Francis is not taking social distancing seriously enough. He’s postponed his first overseas trip of the year, to Malta, and he's conducting the ceremonies leading up to Easter largely via live stream. But he’s also made clear that he has no interest in full-on papal social distancing, Chico Harlan, Stefano Pitrelli and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report: “He continues to hold in-person meetings, sometimes sitting almost knee-to-knee with guests. He eschews wearing a mask … He has tried to maintain a near-normal daily schedule even as the virus has reached closer — with one positive case discovered in late March in Santa Marta, the residence hall where Francis lives. Francis — 83 years old and missing part of a lung — has … groused in recent weeks about feeling ‘caged,’ and his sociable, off-the-cuff personal style runs counter to the best guidance about how to contain the virus.”

“Let’s hope he doesn’t catch it,” said one Vatican official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be publicly critical of the pope. “Can you imagine a conclave in a time of epidemic? It would look like a sci-fi Vatican novel.”

More on the domestic damage

Justin Shafa is a radiology resident in New York who now finds himself on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. (Video: The Washington Post)

The Labor Department said 6.6 million Americans applied last week for unemployment. 

“More than 17 million new jobless claims have been filed in the past four weeks,” Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam report. “The 17 million figure includes new reporting from the Labor Department that even more people filed for unemployment in the prior week, pushing the jobless claims up during the week ending March 28 to a record 6.9 million, up from 6.6 million. … Janet L. Yellen, one of the world’s top economists, said the U.S. unemployment rate has jumped to at least 12 or 13 percent already, the worst level of joblessness the nation has seen since the Great Depression. ‘It looks like the unemployment rate is headed to 15 percent,’ said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Bank, in a note to clients. ‘This isn’t a recession, it’s the Great Depression II.’ …

“Florida started handing out paper unemployment applications this week because the state’s jobless claims website kept failing. In New York, laid off workers are having to call hundreds of times to complete their applications. … Modern day ‘bread lines’ have started appearing in cities like Orlando, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Cleveland where thousands lined up for free food.”

At least 759 Americans under the age of 50 have perished.

A Post analysis of state data found at least nine victims under the age of 20. “The risk appears to rise with every decade of age," Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis and Sarah Kaplan report. “The Post found at least 45 deaths among people in their 20s, at least 190 deaths among people in their 30s, and at least 413 deaths among people in their 40s. Determining a precise number for each category is difficult because of the divergent ways states present age groups. But The Post found at least 102 other deaths that occurred among people younger than 50. The true number of deaths among young people is probably even higher. Not all states provide data on coronavirus deaths sorted by age group. … Even more young people are getting cases of serious disease that require hospital care to beat.” The CDC released an early demographic snapshot of the worst coronavirus cases, confirming heightened numbers for those with underlying conditions, men and African Americans.

Gen Z was already fed up with the status quo. The virus could reinforce their liberal politics. “As the pandemic and its economic havoc exacerbate disparities, some Gen Zers see grim validation of their support for the government-run programs and social-welfare policies less popular with their parents and grandparents,” Hannah Knowles reports. “Seventy percent of them believe the government should be doing more to solve problems, compared with 53 percent of Gen Xers and 49 percent of baby boomers, according to Pew.”

Medical workers who have volunteered to help New York are sitting idle. 

“Every day, he goes online and checks his messages again and again, and every day is the same: no response. George Weinhouse, a 67-year-old retired anesthesiologist, answered the call weeks ago for volunteers with medical experience to help New York weather the worst pandemic since 1918. … Even as the coronavirus crisis approaches its peak in New York, straining the medical system like no other previous disaster, he’s still waiting,” Kent Babb reports. “Weinhouse was among 89,456 medical volunteers ready to relieve exhausted front-line health providers. But just 7,000 have been assigned to a job, leaving about 92 percent yet to be deployed. … Hospitals are prioritizing certain specialties more than others, a state health department spokeswoman said … Government officials added that a state database created for the effort compiles and automatically vets volunteers and checks professional licenses, but individual hospitals or systems are responsible for requesting and assigning staff, along with training and determinations for shifts and potential compensation. But some volunteers said they’re willing to work for free and perform any task."

New York City is taking hundreds of body bags out of houses. Soon they could be added to the virus’s death count. New York City Fire Department data obtained by the Daily Beast shows first responders reported 2,192 “dead-on-arrival” calls over the past two weeks. On average, the department handled about 453 of those calls over the same period last year. 

Genomes show most New York coronavirus cases came from Europe. “New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia,” the New York Times reports. “‘The majority is clearly European,’ said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review. A separate team at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March. The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place.”

Flight attendants are growing fearful of flying.

Their union said more than 150 members have reported testing positive, another 300 suspect they have contracted the virus and at least two have died. (Lori Aratani)

  • The virus is unlikely to significantly diminish with warm weather, according to a National Academies of Sciences panel. (Andrew Freedman)
  • All 12 coronavirus fatalities in St. Louis have been African American. The city has more than 480 cases. (Post-Dispatch)
  • Hialeah, Florida’s most Hispanic city, will probably become a hot zone. That suspicion is based both on the growing number of confirmed cases and the city’s large senior population — a majority of whom live in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, public housing projects and rentals that are subsidized with Section 8 vouchers. (Daily Beast)
  • Instead of taking their case to the Supreme Court, abortion providers in Texas asked a district judge there for more limited relief from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order restricting the procedure during the pandemic. (Robert Barnes)
  • A New York woman was charged with manslaughter after she allegedly pushed an 86-year-old patient in an emergency room because she was too close for social distancing. (Teo Armus)
  • California counties are scrambling to find ventilators as Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) sends 500 state-owned ones to New York and other hot spots elsewhere. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hundreds of California fast-food workers will strike today to demand that McDonald’s and other chains give them protective equipment and sick leave. (Teo Armus)
  • A nursing home in Riverside, Calif., where dozens have tested positive, was forced to evacuate after a majority of its staff failed to show up to work for a second consecutive day. (Allyson Chiu)
  • Two black men say they were kicked out of Walmart for wearing protective masks. Others worry it will happen to them. As the nation is told to wear masks, black Americans must also weigh the risks of racial profiling. (Tracy Jan)
  • Unintended consequences: With America locked down, and the NCAA tournament canceled, we have a giant national surplus of chicken wings. (Jacob Bogage)
More than 10,600 cases were reported in the D.C. area.

“Maryland reported more than 20 deaths in a single day for just the second time,” Erin Cox, John Harden, Fenit Nirappil and Laura Vozzella report. “So far, 227 people had died in the [region], as hospitalizations for covid-19 continued to rise and experts said the area has yet to reach the peak of the pandemic. In just the D.C. metro region, the number of confirmed cases climbed 76 percent in 24 hours, from 494 to 869. The jarring spike was driven by Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, where the number of confirmed cases rose 179 percent to 507 patients diagnosed with the virus. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the statewide spike — a record — has dual explanations: rising infections plus ramped-up testing that identified patients whose samples were collected a week or more ago.”

  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) shut down golf courses and tennis courts and set new restrictions on food shopping, ordering that farmers and fish markets must shift to “grab and go” to operate. Grocery stores must both limit the number of shoppers inside and instruct them to cover their faces.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a two-week delay on the congressional primary election scheduled for early June and asked the Virginia General Assembly to postpone May’s special and municipal elections until November. Northam warned that the outbreak could cost the state government at least $2 billion over the next two years.
  • A southwest Virginia man sued Northam because he cannot attend church on Easter. Larry Hughes, identified in his lawsuit as “a professing Christian who has regularly attended religious services for many years,” is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order or to order the state not to enforce its measures on Easter Sunday.
  • Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University in Virginia, said arrest warrants have been issued for journalists from the NYT and ProPublica after the outlets published articles critical of his decision to reopen the university’s campus amid the pandemic.
  • The National Park Service finally closed Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
  • Officials also said it would take “at least three weeks” to update the District’s unemployment system to increase benefits and allow claims from gig workers and independent contractors now eligible under federal relief legislation.
  • Eight additional members of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department tested positive, bringing the total of infected emergency workers in the capital city to 46. The D.C. jail reported its highest one-day increase in positive virus cases Wednesday, adding nine more inmates to its tally of 37.

The federal response

President Trump on April 8 criticized the World Health Organization claiming it had "minimized the threat” of the novel coronavirus. (Video: Reuters)
Democrats and Trump are clashing over a measure to give more money to small businesses.

“The Trump administration’s demand for $250 billion in new funding for small businesses provoked a high-stakes standoff Wednesday as congressional Democrats rejected the no-strings-attached request and made an expensive counter-offer,” Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim report. “Senate Republicans and Democrats planned to bring competing measures to the floor [today], virtually ensuring that neither measure would pass. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said any package that included $250 billion in new small-business funding would need to include more than $250 billion in extra money for hospitals, state and local governments and food stamp recipients. … The White House wanted the Senate to vote on the measure Thursday and the House to pass it by Friday, but as of late Wednesday it was unclear how Congress would proceed. … Republicans, meanwhile, didn’t seem amenable to meeting Democrats’ demands.” 

  • Pelosi is urging the GOP to “come to the table” and continue these talks. “What they are proposing will not get unanimous consent in the House,” the speaker told Bob Costa.
  • Big banks that took taxpayer bailouts in 2008 are now turning their backs on small businesses, a Small Business Administration official alleged in a video of a teleconference leaked to Aaron Gregg and Renae Merle.
  • Sen. Kelly Loefler (R-Ga.) said she and her husband will liquidate their individual stock holdings amid accusations that she sought to profit from information she received at a closed-door coronavirus briefing in January. (Felicia Sonmez)
The president is preparing to unveil a second coronavirus task force.

This one is “aimed specifically at combating the economic ramifications of the virus and focused on reopening the nation’s economy,” Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb report. “The task force will be made up of a mix of private-sector and top administration officials, including chief of staff Mark Meadows — whose first official day on the job was last week — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow … Meadows is likely to lead the task force, though no official decision has been made … Kevin Hassett, Trump’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, may also join the group." 

  • Attorney General Bill Barr said some of the government-imposed lockdown measures are “draconian” and suggested that they should be eased next month. “I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed,” he told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham. (Matt Zapotosky)
  • The Navy is poised to send another aircraft carrier to sea, the USS Nimitz, even after a coronavirus scare among its crew. (Dan Lamothe)
  • Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly's trip to Guam, where he delivered the rant over the loudspeaker on the USS Theodore Roosevelt that would cost him his job, cost taxpayers at least $243,000. (Lamothe)
  • Veterans Affairs hospitals are facing serious shortages of protective gear, according to internal memos leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The U.S. government made a $490 million deal with GM for emergency ventilators. (Reed Albergotti and Faiz Siddiqui)
Trump’s resistance to independent oversight is drawing bipartisan scrutiny. 

“Trump’s dismissal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, has in particular troubled influential Senate Republicans who are pushing the president for a more detailed explanation of why Atkinson was suddenly booted from his position late last week,” Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger and Mike DeBonis report. “After firing Atkinson last week, Trump this week removed Glenn Fine, who had been the acting inspector general for the Pentagon and was to chair a federal panel overseeing the Trump administration’s management of the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package ... The president also was critical of Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services … Many Democrats worry that oversight of the coronavirus stimulus will become the latest instance where the legislative and executive branches become bogged down in warfare over their respective powers, with the judiciary failing to resolve those disputes in a timely manner.” 

  • “The coronavirus pandemic has crystallized several long-standing undercurrents of the president’s governing ethos: a refusal to accept criticism, a seemingly insatiable need for praise — and an abiding mistrust of independent entities and individuals,” Ashley Parker and Anne Gearan note.
  • A Quinnipiac University Poll finds that 55 percent of registered voters don’t think Trump has acted aggressively enough, with 31 percent giving him an F on the way he has communicated information about the virus. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received a 78 percent approval rating.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies started tracking the outbreak in China as early as November, CNN reports. The president’s daily brief began including intelligence about the contagion on Jan. 3.
  • Trump’s company, suffering from virus-related closures, paid rent to Palm Beach County for one of its Florida golf clubs after inquiring about possible relief. (Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O’Connell)
Coughing “attacks” may be prosecuted as terrorism.

“People are using the novel coronavirus itself as a threat by coughing on officers or one another, threatening to cough on those around them, or contaminating merchandise at stores,” Chelsea Janes reports. “In one instance, Gerrity’s grocery store in Hanover Township, Pa., was forced to throw out $35,000 worth of food when a woman allegedly coughed and spat on it on purpose and claimed to be infected with the virus. She was charged with making terroristic threats, among other things."

“I just got a shot of a coronavirus vaccine. I hope it works.”

Ian Haydon, a public information specialist at the University of Washington, wrote about his experience as one of 45 volunteers taking part in Phase 1 of a clinical trial testing a potential cure: “Instead of injecting me with protein derived from the virus, the researchers jabbed me with genetic material encoding such a protein. If my body absorbs this code and carries out its instructions, some of my cells will produce a single protein from the virus. That should prompt my immune system to create antibodies against the viral molecule. The idea is that those antibodies would protect against the real virus.”

Quote of the day

“Please do not politicize this virus,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in response to Trump’s threat to cut off U.S. funding because he says the entity is too pro-China. “If you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.” (CNBC)

The foreign fallout

People in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, tore down a coronavirus testing center under construction in their neighborhood April 6 out of fear it would expose them. (Video: Reuters)
Doctors and nurses face growing abuse and attacks in the developing world.

“It’s hard enough being a doctor in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But Sanjibani Panigrahi, a psychiatrist at a government hospital in western India, now finds her own neighbors turning against her,” Mary Beth Sheridan, Niha Masih and Regine Cabato report. “‘We are sure you have corona,’ one woman recently shrieked at her, she says, — part of a torrent of abuse from residents at her apartment complex. ‘We will not allow you in the building.’ In some cities, health-care workers are earning standing ovations for the long, life-risking hours they’re putting in to battle the coronavirus. But in others, they’re facing discrimination and even attacks. In Mexico, Colombia, India, the Philippines, Australia and other countries, people terrified by the highly infectious virus are lashing out at medical professionals — kicking them off buses, evicting them from apartments, even dousing them with water mixed with chlorine." 

More than 750,000 answered the U.K.’s call to help the NHS. 

That’s four times the size of the British armed forces, Karla Adam and Christine Spolar report. “Britain hasn’t seen such a surge in volunteers since World War II, when the country pulled together in a way still remembered with immense pride. Now — with more than 60,000 people here having tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and with the prime minister among those who have been hospitalized — organizers are figuring out how to deploy the army, while individuals and companies are engaged in informal volunteer activities throughout the British Isles. Michael Hayes, 55, is a taxi driver who joined the volunteer army and is awaiting his first official assignment. In the meantime, he spends about five hours a day driving NHS staff home, at no cost, from Newham University Hospital in East London, where his three children were born."

As borders harden, some countries are looking to hold on to their own food.

“A steady rise in countries limiting or banning food exports has triggered warnings from U.N. food agency leaders about possible disruptions to the global food supply as the world retrenches amid the covid-19 pandemic — potentially making critical staples such as wheat and rice more costly and harder to find,” Robyn Dixon, David Stern and Almaz Kumenov report. “For exporting countries, domestic reserves of grains and rice are generally good after years of relatively good harvests, according to the U.N.’s food and agriculture program. But reductions in exports could hit countries in Africa, the Philippines, the Persian Gulf and other regions that import much of their food.” 

  • Saudi Arabia announced a cease-fire in Yemen, citing the virus. (Kareem Fahim)
  • Turkish authorities said they will begin tracking the cellphone location of people infected with the virus to make sure they’re isolated. (Fahim)
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned that the E.U. could fall apart after European finance ministers failed again on Wednesday to agree upon an economic rescue plan for the bloc. (Siobhán O’Grady)
  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his country is approaching a decline in the crisis, with 683 deaths yesterday, down from 757 the day before. The country has 152,446 confirmed cases. (Rick Noack and Pamela Rolfe)
  • Japan set aside more than $2 billion in its economic recovery package to help firms shift production away from China after the pandemic disrupted supply chains and exposed an overreliance on its neighbor. (Simon Denyer)
As Wuhan’s lockdown ended, residents are leaving messages for the dead doctor who sounded the alarm.

“When the people of Wuhan and elsewhere across China have wanted to share lockdown anxieties, seek advice or simply vent, many have turned to one of the country’s most famous Wuhan hero: Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who died Feb. 7,” Gerry Shih reports. “In recent weeks, homebound Internet users have left hundreds of thousands of messages to ‘Brother Liang’ — or sometimes called ‘Old Li’ — as comments under Li’s final post from Feb. 1 on Weibo, the popular Chinese social media platform. In tones both casual and intensely personal, they have used Li a as kind of a silent confidant, therapist and muse.”

The general election is here

“Together we have transformed American consciousness,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on April 8 in a message in which he ended his 2020 presidential bid. (Video: The Washington Post)
Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign.

“Sanders waved goodbye at the camera Tuesday night as he concluded an online discussion about the coronavirus. ‘Thank you very much, and we will see you all soon,’ he said. That casual farewell did not reflect the candidate’s intense deliberations off camera. By Wednesday morning, he would jump on a conference call with his staff to share words far more blunt: His five-year campaign to win the White House was over,” Sean Sullivan, Matt Viser and David Weigel report. “In a later video address, he explained the conclusion he was not able to escape in the weeks he had spent grappling about his political future. ‘As I see the crisis gripping the nation,’ a slightly hoarse Sanders told supporters in a live stream from his home in Burlington, Vt., ‘I cannot in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.’ 

“By midday, he had spoken privately to Joe Biden … Sanders in his video pledged to support the former vice president, although he said he will remain on primary ballots in an effort to collect enough delegates to influence the party’s platform in negotiations this summer. In an interview on ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,’ Sanders praised Biden, but said he hoped to ‘move him in a more progressive direction.’ Asked by Colbert if he was presenting a ‘full-throated endorsement,’ Sanders replied that his team was in touch with Biden’s team to work on ‘how we can best go forward together.’” 

Trump's campaign greeted the end of the Democratic primary with conflicting messages. 

“Biden became the presumptive nominee, they argued, because he was the choice of his party’s embedded establishment that disrespected the populist movement behind [Sanders]. … But Biden also pulled it off, they said, because he embraced the far-left policies of the anti-establishment Sanders and is indistinguishable from the self-described socialist. ‘They’re both the same,’ tweeted Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale,” Michael Scherer and Toluse Olorunnipa report. “The comments from Trump and his campaign Wednesday underscored how they plan to begin the general election by running two distinct campaigns against the presumptive Democratic nominee. One is a competition for the ideological center of the country, run through the tony, tax-skeptical suburbs of key swing states that rejected the GOP in 2018. The second is a fight for the mostly working-class populism of the left, which has rejected the establishment politics of both national parties.”

Biden earned a slew of new endorsements. 

These include Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a former Democratic presidential contender, as well as Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived White House communications director, and the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans run by George Conway, the husband of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway. (Felicia Sonmez and Colby Itkowitz)

Social media speed read

People continue sharing tributes to the fallen:

Videos of the day

Trevor Noah looked at some of the reasons the virus is hurting blacks more than whites:

Seth Meyers took a moment to share a few positive stories from around the country:

And Sam Bee reviewed the administration's lackluster response to the crisis: