with Mariana Alfaro
The novel coronavirus is not just killing nonwhite Americans at vastly higher rates, it’s also eliminating far more of their jobs and disproportionately driving their small businesses toward bankruptcy.
An academic analysis published this week shows that the number of working African American business owners plummeted more than 40 percent when the economy screeched to a halt, cratering demand for beauty salons, day-care centers and transportation services. A previous study found that 6 in 10 black and Latino households don’t have enough savings to cover three months of expenses without income, compared to 3 in 10 white households. In Washington Post polling released early this month, 20 percent of Hispanic adults and 16 percent of blacks reported being laid off or furloughed since the virus hit, compared with 11 percent of whites.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, believes “America cannot turn a blind eye to these facts.” He told me that he often thinks about his parents, who immigrated here from Cuba without advanced educations. His dad was a bartender. His mom was a maid. “If you went back 35 years and this was them today, they would both have been out of work now for two months and they would have been in a desperate, desperate situation,” he said. “That's the sort of thing that we need to think about.”
Rubio fears a growing class divide between those who are able to work at home and those who are not. He’s nervous about the economic, social and political ramifications if minority communities get left behind in the recovery because they tend to be concentrated in service industries. To save capitalism for future generations, the potential 2024 presidential candidate is calling for a structural overhaul of the economy, including a national industrial policy that incentivizes the creation of manufacturing jobs and requires more products to be made in the United States.
“Where covid-19 becomes a real challenge for America, and ultimately for the world, is that it threatens to further widen some of the friction points that could drive greater societal conflict,” Rubio explained in a half-hour interview. “In essence, that’s people in society feeling like one group has weathered or even done better under this crisis than the others, and there is no movement in politics that's defending the interests of people like them. That leads people to look for an alternative. You’re going to see that become pronounced in many countries in Europe, as an example, but I think it will also be a major factor in the United States. Some of those trends were already in place, and this threatens to accelerate that.”
Since losing the GOP presidential nomination to Donald Trump four years ago, Rubio has been methodically fleshing out a retrofitted vision for what a kinder, gentler and more inclusive brand of post-Trump conservatism might look like. He has challenged the excesses of what he considers free-market fundamentalism, decrying stock buybacks, ripping business schools for teaching “shareholder primacy theory” as gospel and calling out CEOs for making bad deals with China that prioritize their short-term business interests over the long-term national interest. Rubio has argued for the embrace of Catholic social doctrine to save capitalism from the strain of democratic socialism championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
“If enough Americans are being left behind and being denied opportunities for a dignified life, you're going to have economic and, ultimately, societal and political problems in the country because people feel like the system that's in place does not treat people like them equally,” he said.
Rubio had planned to deliver an address earlier this year on how an embrace of what he has branded “common-good capitalism” could bring more “dignified work” to minority communities. His advance team had scouted out a venue at Florida A&M, a historically black university in Tallahassee that has some successful programs he could highlight. But the impeachment trial, the Democratic presidential primaries and then the coronavirus contagion shelved those plans. Rubio didn’t want to wait until crowds can gather again, so he penned an essay that was posted this morning on Medium. He’s also planning to hold hearings on the theme.
“When we talk about the people in America who have been displaced by economic decisions made over the last 20 or 30 years, the prototype that people use is stories about the white working-class voter, the voters featured in ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ and what some would call the prototypical Trump voter,” Rubio explained on Friday afternoon, a few hours after one of his daughters graduated (virtually) from high school. “That’s most certainly part of the story: The rural, white voter who has been left behind by globalization. But the piece that's been left out is the impact it’s had on the African American community and, to some extent, on other minority communities, like the Hispanic community.”
Rubio blames deindustrialization for pushing non-college-educated workers into the low-wage, but essential, service jobs that have made them more susceptible to coronavirus infections. He pointed to data that show the earnings gap between whites and blacks in the country was diminishing from the years after World War II until the early 1970s, but then it began to broaden again and has continued along a similar trend line.
“When you dig into the research, when you look at Baltimore, Chicago, Raleigh, and Detroit, you see that these were communities that had key industries that employed a lot of African Americans, but those industries collapsed or left, leaving them behind,” Rubio said. “People would argue that, in a macroeconomic sense, the jobs that were lost in those communities and industries were replaced by professional service roles. But, but, but: The national representation in those roles is disproportionate. So there’s a clear structural tie between the widening earnings gap and the loss of manufacturing jobs in these communities.”
Rubio, who turns 49 on Thursday, acknowledged that racial discrimination remains a barrier for African Americans. He said the enduring perniciousness of racism is an obstacle to the nation’s industrial revival and cited the killing of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, lamenting that no arrests were made until a leaked video prompted an outcry. “Yes, racial discrimination could very well be contributing to disparities,” Rubio said. “But even if you were to somehow eliminate racial discrimination, it would not eliminate many of these disparities because the causation of some of them is also these structural problems in our society. We've got to deal with both.”
The Florida senator cited a handful of initiatives he has supported from his perch on the Small Business committee, including in the Cares Act, that he believes will directly benefit minority-owned small businesses. He said he has been particularly focused on expanding access to credit, such as allowing community development financial institutions to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. He’s pushing to further expand minority access to capital in the next phase of stimulus legislation. Just before he called me, Rubio said, he had a conference call with African American business leaders from South Florida to learn more about their needs. Rubio said he also co-sponsored a bill with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) to establish a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, because more data is needed to improve existing programs focused on reducing racial inequities.
But Rubio emphasized that what’s needed is not really new spending or a thicker social safety net. “I’m not an anti-globalist in the traditional sense, okay? The argument I make is that there are a lot of positive aspects of globalization, but there are also negatives, and I think we focused too heavily on the positives and ignored the negatives – and how to mitigate them,” he said. “The traditional conservative response has largely been to say that, ‘if the economy is growing faster, everyone will prosper.’ And what I think has been lost in that is that, even if the economy is growing faster, the distribution of that prosperity is influenced by the structure of the economy.”
He declined to criticize President Trump’s approach to economic or racial issues, instead praising the administration for supporting vocational training, backing efforts to move more elements of the supply chain back to American soil and pursuing an overhaul to the sentencing laws to make it easier for nonviolent drug offenders to reenter the workforce. “I think they've got a real good story to tell,” Rubio said. “But this is going to be the work of more than one administration. These structural disparities that have created these racial disparities have been building for 35 years. And it's going to be a massive undertaking – and the work of multiple presidents and congresses – to sort of begin to address some of the public policies that will correct that.”
Rubio received a special waiver last week so that he can continue to chair the Small Business committee while serving as acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He got that gavel after Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) stepped aside while the FBI investigates stock trades that were made while he was getting briefings on the coronavirus crisis. Burr denies wrongdoing.
Looking at the 2020 election, Rubio predicted that candidates in both parties, up and down the ballot, will seek to position themselves as “tough” on China. “There's a lot of interest now in being 'tough on China,’ but this isn't just about being 'tough on China,’” he said. “I think what’s going to really be the big challenge is to make sure that our tactics are not just driven by what's the hardest and harshest thing to do, but rather by: What furthers a broader and clearer, widely shared, strategic vision for the future?”
Race in America
Four Minneapolis police officers were fired after the death of George Floyd.
A video of the black man's death showing a white officer kneeling on his neck as he pleaded with police – “I can’t breathe,” he said – quickly prompted street protests and an FBI investigation. On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Police Department fired the officer as well as three others who were at the scene, the Star Tribune reports. “‘Being black in America should not be a death sentence,’ said a visibly shaken Mayor Jacob Frey, who said the officer used an unauthorized move against Floyd. ‘For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.’ Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he had stayed up all night wrestling with his decision to fire the officers."
Protesters confronted police last night, and they responded with tear gas. “A large crowd marched to the city’s 3rd Precinct police headquarters, where some protesters clashed with police clad in riot gear,” Brittany Shammas, Timothy Bella, Katie Mettler and Dalton Bennett report. “With [coronavirus] cases on the rise, Minneapolis remains under a safer-at-home order, but city officials said Tuesday they would not try to stop protesters from gathering to speak out and express their anger at Floyd’s death. At the protest, many wore masks — many distributed by organizers who sought to keep the crowd safe — but there was little effort made to socially distance. ‘It’s scary to come down here in the middle of the pandemic, but how could I stay away? How could any of us stay away?’ said Anita Murray, who visited the scene with her 6-year-old daughter. Murray, who is a Mexican American, said she felt it was important to bring her daughter to the scene as a lesson about ‘unfairness in the world.’ ‘She’s little, but I hope she remembers this,’ she said."
Once again, bystander videos are policing the police. The original statement from the Minneapolis Police was short and sanitized, the New York Times reports. “An allegation of forgery. A suspect who ‘appeared to be under the influence,’ who ‘physically resisted officers’ and who appeared to be ‘suffering medical distress.’ The video that emerged hours later told a drastically different story. … This year alone, video recordings have altered the official narratives of numerous encounters, raising the question of what might have occurred had no cameras been around.”
The white dog owner who called the cops on the black bird watcher was terminated, and her rescue dog was taken away.
“The white woman who called police on a black man in Central Park during an encounter involving her unleashed dog has been fired from her job,” CNN reports. “‘We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company said on Twitter. Amy Cooper was walking her dog Monday morning while Christian Cooper (no relation) was bird-watching at a wooded area of Central Park called the Ramble. They both told CNN their dispute began because her dog was not on a leash, contrary to the Ramble's rules … Christian Cooper recorded video of part of their encounter and posted it on Facebook … In the video, he is largely silent while she frantically tells police he is threatening her and her dog. … ‘I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life.’ … Amy Cooper said she wanted to ‘publicly apologize to everyone.’ ‘I’m not a racist,’” she said.
- New York launched a $100,000 effort to combat anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus pandemic. The two-month, multilingual effort from the city’s Commission on Human Rights aims to educate the public and encourage victims to report discrimination. (Teo Armus)
Commentary from the opinion page on the latest racial flare-ups:
- The Editorial Board: “Another unarmed black man has died at the hands of police. When will it end?”
- Eliza Orlins: “I’m a public defender in Manhattan. The Central Park video is all too familiar.”
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.): “The federal government fiddles as covid-19 ravages Native Americans.”
- Sandro Galea, the dean of Boston University's School of Public Health: “The coronavirus pandemic will turn into a poverty pandemic unless we act now.”
The federal government's coronavirus response
The HHS inspector general is pursuing 14 investigations of Trump's response to the pandemic.
The chief watchdog for the Department of Health and Human Services, being replaced as part of Trump’s purge of inspectors general, told the House Oversight Committee that she and her colleagues are still pursuing 14 additional reviews of the administration’s response to the pandemic. “Christi Grimm, HHS’s principal deputy inspector general, spoke out for the first time since she was excoriated by the president for a report from her office that found ‘severe shortages’ earlier this spring of supplies to help hospitals cope,” Amy Goldstein reports. “Inquiries, she said, are exploring the operation of the Strategic National Stockpile of emergency supplies, the development and distribution of tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the process by which the Food and Drug Administration approved tests developed by outside laboratories. They also are delving into safety issues in nursing homes; … the role of the HHS agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid; and further work on hospitals’ preparedness.”
A career employee with the HHS inspector general’s office for more than two decades, Grimm said freedom from political intrusion is “a key safeguard for the programs we oversee.” Her pending replacement makes her one of five inspectors general the president has deposed since early April. The others watched over the intelligence community, as well as the departments of Defense, Transportation and State.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the White House has “failed” to meet the legal requirement of telling Congress the specific reasons for dismissing the inspectors general. ‘If the president has a good reason to remove an inspector general, just tell Congress what it is,” Grassley said. The Senate Finance Chairman also complained about Trump placing political appointees from agencies into the acting inspector general position. He said a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone did “not address this glaring conflict of interest.” (Seung Min Kim)
Taxpayers funded it and government scientists worked on it -- but Gilead can charge whatever it wants for remdesivir.
“To make progress, Gilead needed help from U.S. taxpayers. Lots of help. Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support,” Christopher Rowland reports. “Despite the heavy subsidies, federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug, potentially a blockbuster therapy worth billions of dollars. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price in coming weeks. Critics are urging the Trump administration to take a more aggressive approach. … Gilead has acknowledged the large role of government agencies in remdesivir’s development but said the original compound was discovered by Gilead researchers years earlier and therefore the government has no potential patent rights to the drug. … Because Gilead tackles viral targets, it has a long history of working closely with the CDC and NIH to develop drugs for infectious diseases that other companies have shunned, especially HIV and hepatitis C. But Gilead’s pricing and intellectual property practices also have a long history of public and congressional criticism for price gouging." Bottom line: America continues its descent into corporatocracy.
DOJ closed insider-trading investigations into three senators but continues to probe Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
“Prosecutors on Tuesday alerted defense attorneys for Republicans Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma as well as Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California that they are closing investigations into their trading,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The [FBI] began the investigations two months ago, as reports emerged that several members of Congress, their spouses or their investment advisers sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock after lawmakers attended closed-door briefings about the threat posed by the pandemic. … Mr. Burr, of North Carolina, had more direct involvement in his trades and has said he was relying on news reports coming out of Asia … to make his investment decisions. … [But] investigators have obtained evidence that shows Mr. Burr was talking to people with specific insight about the threats posed by Covid-19 whose thinking wasn’t available to the public … Since the information Mr. Burr might have allegedly used relates directly to legislative work and closed-door Senate briefings, his actions could fall under the constitutional protection, experts said, and could limit prosecutors’ ability to bring any case.”
- Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) purchased stock in Zoom, the teleconferencing company, and Moderna, a company developing a vaccine, while dumping shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises and Disney. As markets crashed around the globe in early March, the representative sold nearly 100 stocks over a two-day period. A spokesman said Roe does not personally manage his investments. (Tennessean)
- Stocks jumped as the New York Stock Exchange reopened its floor for traders. The Dow closed up 530 points, or 2.2 percent.
Trump mocked mask-wearing as “politically correct.” Joe Biden called him a “fool.”
“Joe Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather,” Trump said, referring to his challenger's Memorial Day wreath-laying. “And so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on.” During a news conference, the president told a reporter to remove his face mask while asking a question. The reporter offered to speak louder instead. “Oh ok, you want to be politically correct,” Trump said. On CNN, Biden accused Trump of “stoking deaths” and wearing a mask “projects leadership.” Biden told Dana Bash: "Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine.’” (Colby Itkowitz)
The virus’s death toll is heavily concentrated in Democratic congressional districts.
“Nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress,” according to a Pew analysis. “Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts.” At least 97,831 people have died in the United States as of this morning, according to our running tally.
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) asked Democratic leaders to hold off on voting for a bill that would renew a trio of expired surveillance tools following last-minute opposition from Trump. The FISA vote, which would renew tools used by FBI officials during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, was scheduled to come up today -- with proxy voting being allowed for the first time. (Politico)
- Trump wants all U.S. troops in Afghanistan home by Election Day. Pentagon officials are working on plans to make it happen, but they plan on proposing – and advocating for – a slower, and what they see as more responsible, schedule for withdrawal. (NYT)
Trump wants to know “within a week” whether North Carolina can hold the GOP convention.
“Trump ramped up his ultimatum to [Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper] and threatened to break the Republican National Committee’s contract with Charlotte as two Republican governors seized on Trump’s moves to offer their states as alternative venues,” Annie Linskey reports. Cooper “had told reporters earlier in the day that the health and safety of his citizens were paramount as North Carolina plans for the Aug. 24-27 event. ‘It’s okay for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be,’ Cooper said Tuesday afternoon at a news conference in which Trump’s demands came up repeatedly. … Some local North Carolina officials welcomed the idea of the moving the convention, which is already a polarizing event in the Democratic-led city of Charlotte. ‘If the president would like to find another location, I would say, ‘Bless his heart,’' said Dimple Tansen Ajmera, an at-large member of the Charlotte City Council.” Two Republican governors — Georgia’s Brian Kemp and Florida’s Ron DeSantis — said they would love to host the convention if Trump breaks the RNC's contract with Charlotte. DeSantis named Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville as potential new locations.
Quote of the day
“I don’t use insulin. Should I be? I never thought about it," Trump mused as he announced that his administration will try to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for seniors. (Seung Min Kim and Yasmeen Abutaleb)
The front lines
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression amid the crisis, the Census Bureau finds.
“When asked questions normally used to screen patients for mental health problems, 24 percent showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30 percent showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The findings suggest a huge jump from before the pandemic. For example, on one question about depressed mood, the percentage reporting such symptoms was double that found in a 2014 national survey," Alyssa Fowers and William Wan report. "New York, which had the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country, ranked 12th nationwide in terms of share of adults showing symptoms. Nearly half of Mississippians screened positive for anxiety or depression — a staggering number. By contrast, in Iowa, just over a quarter screened positive. …
“Rates of anxiety and depression were far higher among younger adults, women and the poor. The worse scores in young adults were especially notable, given that the virus has been more likely to kill the elderly or leave them critically ill. Those results reflect a deepening of existing trends: rising depression, stress and suicide among young adults. … Throughout the crisis, lower-income people have struggled more with unemployment, food scarcity and low-wage jobs that don’t allow them to work from home and that offer few financial and physical protections." Asked how often they worried uncontrollably in the past week, 60 percent of those making $150,000 or more said they didn’t struggle with it at all. But, among people making less than $25,000 a year, only 32 percent saying they didn’t struggle with uncontrollable worry and 23 percent said they worried uncontrollably nearly every day.
The World Health Organization warned of a second peak and cautioned against scaling back restrictions too quickly.
“But the pleas for caution collided with a shifting reality as spring gives way to summer,” Brady Dennis, Meagan Flynn and Rick Noack report. "In areas that no longer have enforceable executive orders, authorities insist there is little they can do to require people to practice social distancing. The mayor of Osage Beach, Mo., where packed pool parties took place [over the weekend], said he views it as essential that his town’s tourist-dependent businesses reopen, while police there said they couldn’t enforce restrictions. … Elsewhere, even where executive orders remain in place, some local authorities have refused to enforce them, and many residents have chosen to ignore them. Such was the case in Alamance County, N.C., where an estimated 4,000 spectators filled the stands for races at Ace Speedway. … Some parts of the country continue to wrestle with crippling caseloads, while others have barely been affected by the pandemic.”
Experts continue struggling with coronavirus unknowns.
“The experts shy away from predictions and instead offer ‘scenarios,'” Joel Achenbach reports. “The question of the true lethality of the virus remains the subject of controversy. When the CDC put out its guidance last week, it estimated that 0.2 to 1 percent of people who become infected and symptomatic will die. The agency offered a ‘current best estimate’ of 0.4 percent. The agency also gave a best estimate that 35 percent of people infected never develop symptoms. Those numbers when put together would produce an ‘infection fatality rate’ of 0.26, which is lower than many of the estimates produced by scientists and modelers to date.” Ilhem Messaoudi, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Irvine, emailed: “With a global pandemic such as this, the public wants the scientific leaders to speak with certainty, but that is not possible. Fear also drives people to think in binary terms such as you are for public health or for the economy; you are for masks or you are reckless.”
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) claimed that her husband was only joking when he reached out to a boat dock company and — dropping his wife's name — asked them if they could install his dock sooner so he could get his boat in the water – at a time when she was telling people they need to stay home. “My husband made a failed attempt at humor last week,” Whitmer said. No one thinks hypocrisy is funny. (Moriah Balingit)
- Alabama saw its largest single-day increase in new cases on Monday, blowing past 15,000 total cases. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) lifted a stay-at-home order on April 30, and public health experts are worried the public is not taking the virus as seriously because the restrictions were lifted. (Alabama Political Reporter)
- The Supreme Court won’t stop an Ohio order for federal prisoners to be moved or released because of the virus. The court left open the door for the Trump administration to try to curtail the order again “if circumstances warrant.” (Robert Barnes)
- As restrictions are eased, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said wearing a mask is “about loving your fellow human being” and discouraged fellow Ohians from letting masks become a political flashpoint. “You are not wearing it so much for yourself as you are wearing it for that person that you will come in contact with,” he told CNN.
- Catholic churches in Miami reopened to larger-than-expected crowds, the first day of in-person masses in two months. “If anyone disagrees about the necessity of wearing a face mask; I would ask that person to wear it anyway – out of respect for and charity toward their fellow parishioners,” said Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. (Miami Herald)
- Twenty percent of U.S. teachers said they’re not likely to return to their classrooms this fall if schools reopen, while 73 percent of parents said they believe that children will eventually make up for learning lost because of the pandemic, according to USA Today-Ipsos polls. (Valerie Strauss)
D.C. will probably reopen on Friday after the city changed key thresholds for reopening.
Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) is expected to announce the capital’s gradual reopening today, saying the city has met key thresholds to contain new infections, Fenit Nirappil and Julie Zauzmer report. “But the city has been moving the goal posts for measuring the trajectory of the virus. District officials have changed their approach to calculating the spread of the virus — no longer mentioning other reopening metrics they laid out last month, including a declining rate in people testing positive and a decrease in flu-like illnesses among residents who might not have been tested."
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Northern Virginia can also begin reopening on Friday. “Northam (D) made the announcement as Virginia reported a second straight day of spikes in new cases, driven by big numbers in the populous D.C. suburbs. He also announced a new policy requiring Virginians to wear face coverings when they enter public buildings or use public transit, tightening what had been simply a suggestion,” Gregory Schneider and Antonio Olivo report. “Northam said leaders of the capital region ‘want to be consistent,’ but noted that ‘each area obviously has their own challenges.’ … Virginia reported 28 deaths and 1,615 new infections on Tuesday, marking the second day in a row that the state posted record increases in new cases. A majority were in Northern Virginia."
Maryland’s Democrats gave high marks to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) pandemic response. “Gonzales Research & Media Services found that Hogan’s job approval rating among Democratic voters has increased since the outbreak, jumping from 66 percent in February to 82 percent now,” Ovetta Wiggins reports. “Meanwhile, his rating among fellow Republicans, according to the poll, has suffered slightly, dropping from 79 percent three months ago to 71 percent now — making Hogan, who has long been a favorite among Democrats in a largely blue state, more popular with Democrats than within his own party.”
The MLB players’ union is “extremely” disappointed by the league’s economic proposal.
Owners want players to accept drastic reductions in their salaries, beyond what they already agreed to. The league claims they need financial concessions from the players to make playing games without fans feasible economically. There won't be a season at all if the two sides cannot reach an agreement. (Dave Sheinin)
- The NHL ended its regular season and expanded the postseason to 24 teams, despite still not having firm dates for when the Stanley Cup playoffs would begin. (Samantha Pell)
- The Miami Dolphins plan on turning Hard Rock Stadium into a drive-in theater with enough room to hold 230 vehicles. (Jake Russell)
The foreign fallout
E.U. leaders proposed an $825 billion coronavirus rescue plan.
It would give Brussels major new tax and spending powers of the sort held by a federal state. “Proponents are calling it Europe’s ‘Hamiltonian moment,’ after the 1790 agreement, engineered by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, that transformed the United States from a loose confederation of former colonies to a true federation with a central government,” Michael Birnbaum and Loveday Morris report. “If approved, the E.U. plan could bind the bloc together at a moment when it seemed at risk of spinning apart under the pressure of the pandemic. If the plan fails — either to win support or to deliver benefits — euroskeptic politicians could be emboldened, both in rich nations, such as Germany, and struggling ones, such as Italy. The E.U. plan would allow the bloc to raise money centrally and then redistribute it — something it has never done before.”
India is ending the world’s largest lockdown.
“While the lockdown slowed the spread of the novel coronavirus, experts say, it did not succeed in flattening the curve. Instead, the number of fresh cases is rising. India ranks fourth in the world in the number of new cases a day: Only Russia, Brazil and the United States are adding more. India has more than 150,000 cases,” Joanna Slater and Niha Masih report. “Experts say loosening the restrictions means cases will increase at faster rates. That will intensify pressure on hospitals already under strain and will affect access to health care overall. India’s two largest cities — Mumbai and Delhi — are preparing for a surge in cases. In Mumbai, the nation’s hardest-hit city, beds in some coronavirus wards are already full and the local government asked another state to send doctors and nurses to help. In Delhi, authorities are turning yet another major government-run hospital into a center for coronavirus patients and just ordered all private hospitals to reserve 20 percent of their beds for such cases.”
- Americans are scrambling to leave Brazil ahead of Trump’s new coronavirus travel ban. U.S. citizens and green-card holders are exempt from the prohibition, but flights are getting harder to come by. (Marina Lopes)
- It’s not just Trump who says he's been taking hydroxychloroquine. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele claimed that he is, too. The controversial 38-year-old leader said he’s been taking the anti-malarial drug to ward off the contagion. “Most of the world’s leaders use it as a prophylaxis,” Bukele told Reuters. He did not name names.
- More than 3,000 migrants across Africa and 10,000 worldwide – the vast majority of them refugees – are waiting for their resettlement process to start again after being put on indefinite hold by the virus, according to the International Organization for Migration. (Max Bearak)
- Around 700 Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr with socially distant prayers at an Ikea parking lot in Germany. (IGMG Wetzlar Gençlik)
Hong Kong is moving past the pandemic, but an unsung hygiene army soldiers on.
“Street cleaners, hotel housekeepers, subway disinfecting crews — form a largely unheralded hygiene army helping to prevent the spread of the virus. Many of them elderly or migrants, they toil at considerable risk to their health, spending extended periods away from their families to minimize potential exposure. As anti-government unrest resumes here, many of these workers also bear the brunt of clearing debris, spent tear gas canisters and broken glass left behind by protesters and police. On Sunday, a cleaner collapsed after a group of people rushed into a bathroom where she was working; she was hospitalized in critical condition,” Shibani Mahtani and Tiffany Liang report. “In cities such as Hong Kong, these workers earn minimum wage and are often treated as part of an underclass. While their efforts have allowed residents to ease back to normal life after the pandemic, they have largely relied on social workers and charity groups for protective gear.”
- Hong Kong protesters are defying thousands of riot police who locked down parts of the city and barricaded the legislature. The arrests of more than 300 people reflect deepening dissent in the city. (Mahtani)
- South Korea reported 40 new cases of the virus, its highest daily caseload in nearly 50 days, as an infection cluster emerged at a facility run by the country’s largest e-commerce company. (Min Joo Kim)
Being stuck at home may be getting old, but at least you're not trapped in a haunted castle surrounded by wolves.
“A Bolivian orchestra group has been stranded for 73 days at the Rheinsberg Palace in Germany, which once housed royals and aristocracy and is located about an hour and a half outside Berlin,” the Cut reports. “Their concert tour collapsed as dates were canceled, and though the group tried to return home, they were unable to, due to border closures. Due to social-distancing restrictions, the performers have not been able to leave the palace grounds and surrounding woodland area, inhabited by 23 packs of wolves. So they ended up at the palace for reasons not adequately explained (one of the travelers, Carlos, remarks that their ‘bus broke down on the motorway’ at some point, but the timing isn’t clear).”
Social media speed read
Twitter, for the first time, labeled some of Trump’s tweets with a fact check. But the new system has some holes:
new twitter labels on trump tweets.— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) May 26, 2020
tweet has been up for hours w/significant traction; the language does not immediately indicate it is false; label is visible on tweet/rt but only on native twitter and not tweetdeck.
will be interesting to watch going forward. pic.twitter.com/OvDOZfKzWd
Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the election:
.@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
The president also lashed out against the Atlantic:
Great News: The boring but very nasty magazine, The Atlantic, is rapidly failing, going down the tubes, and has just been forced to announce it is laying off at least 20% of its staff in order to limp into the future. This is a tough time to be in the Fake News Business!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's press secretary and the wife of Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller, said she has recovered from the coronavirus and announced her pregnancy:
Back at work today after three NEGATIVE COVID tests. Thank you to all my amazing doctors and everyone who reached out with support. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband who took great care of his pregnant wife. #TransitionToGreatness— Katie Miller (@VPPressSec) May 26, 2020
And the Trump administration has, so far, built three new miles of border barriers in three years and four months:
If you're curious about the status of Trump's wall, here's the latest official update from the government to @priscialva.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 26, 2020
194 miles of border barrier have been constructed since January 2017, 3 miles of which have been erected in places where no barrier had existed. pic.twitter.com/iCuvlMRz8j
Videos of the day
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) used sign language to encourage residents to continue fighting this pandemic:
Kentucky @GovAndyBeshear uses sign language for:— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) May 26, 2020
"We're going to get through this. We're going to get through this together. Say it with me, because today maybe I need to say it just as much as you do. We're going to get through this. We're going to get through this together." pic.twitter.com/BMKAl12Oul
The folks behind “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” explained how they became the first late-night show to forgo a regular studio audience:
Jimmy Kimmel talked about Trump’s golf weekend: