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Apr 6, 2020

Analysis | The Daily 202: British, Canadian and U.S. leaders cite World War II to make very different points about coronavirus


By James Hohmann


With Mariana Alfaro

World War II was clearly top of mind for Queen Elizabeth II as she recorded a rare, and reassuring, televised address about the coronavirus contagion that has hospitalized her prime minister, infected her son and killed nearly 5,000 in the United Kingdom.
The 93-year-old recalled the first radio address she delivered as a 14-year-old princess during the Nazi blitz in 1940, also from Windsor Castle, when young people had been shipped off to the countryside for their safety.
“Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones,” the queen said. “But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.”
In the twilight of her reign, the beloved great-grandmother projected steely, if soft-spoken, resolve.
“We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return,” she concluded. “We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
“We will meet again” is an unmistakable reference to the most popular song in London during World War II. Vera Lynn’s beautiful anthem of resiliency and optimism captures the quintessential spirit that got Britons through their struggle against the forces of fascism.
Amazingly, Lynn is still alive. She’s 103. “We’ll meet again” surged overnight in the charts.
During this harrowing time in history, it’s natural for people of all ages to grasp for some analogy, whether it’s Sept. 11, 2001 or Dec. 7, 1941. The death toll in the United States from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was 9,653 – with 337,000 confirmed cases – as of this morning. That’s about three times larger than those other dates that will live in infamy. And experts agree this is an undercount.
“This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, 45, said Sunday on Fox News. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.”
A prominent Canadian politician also invoked World War II on Sunday – to criticize President Trump. Several premiers of Canadian provinces, the equivalent of governors, blasted the U.S. president on Sunday after he banned the export of N95 protective masks to our northern neighbor. The premier of Newfoundland, recalling how his province sheltered thousands of stranded American airline passengers after 9/11 when flights were diverted, questioned Trump’s humanity. Another conservative premier compared Trump holding back masks to someone feasting while allowing a member of their family to starve to death.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a prominent conservative, recalled lingering resentments from the isolationist movement that kept America on the sidelines of World War II even as Adolf Hitler’s rockets and bombers sacked London. “The United States sat out the first two or three years and actually initially refused to even provide supplies to Canada and the United Kingdom that was leading the fight at the time,” Kenney, 51, said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
For his part, Trump continues to view himself as a kind of post-historical figure. Trump often makes mistakes when referring to historical events, and exaggerates or minimizes their implications, to suit his preferred narrative. He continues to repeat during White House briefings that the influenza pandemic happened in 1917. It was 1918. President George W. Bush, who steeped himself in the history of that outbreak and pushed his administration to better prepare for a sequel, would not have made that error.
“We've never done anything like this,” Trump, 73, said on Sunday evening during his daily briefing. “There's never been anything like this.”
In fact, there has.
“We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully in the not-too-distant future we’ll be very proud of the job we all did,” the president added.
President Lyndon Johnson notoriously used this same formulation about “light at the end of the tunnel” to mislead the American people about the status of the war effort in Vietnam. He knew how bad the truth was on the ground, the Pentagon Papers and Oval Office tapes from the time have shown, but LBJ was adamant in his public comments that there were glimmers of hope.
“I will not say we have it under control,” said Tony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-diseases expert. “We are struggling to get it under control.”
Trump attacked Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) for saying earlier in the day that he had “given up” on the federal government helping the states. The president said he asked his aides to give him bullet points with things the administration has done for Illinois, such as sending 600 ventilators and helping build a field hospital in Chicago. “He’s not able to do what he’s supposed to be able to do as a governor,” Trump said of Pritzker. “He has not performed well.”
Trump, born a year after World War II ended, also continued hyping hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug with promising but unproven effects for patients with covid-19. He announced that the federal government had purchased, and stockpiled, 29 million doses of the drug. But the president stepped in to block Fauci from answering a reporter’s question whether he agrees with the president. Fauci has made clear that he does not.

Quote of the day

What do I know? I’m not a doctor,” Trump acknowledged as he continued to push unproven medical treatments from the White House briefing room.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday, 10 days after he learned of his positive test. Britain has 48,440 confirmed cases and 4,943 deaths from the contagion. A spokesman called it a “precautionary step” because the 55-year-old “continues to have persistent symptoms.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has also tested positive, complained on their Sunday morning shows that Britons were not following guidelines to stay inside and that this might prompt more restrictive measures. Police were photographed telling sunbathers and picnickers to go home.
The queen is in partial isolation with Prince Philip, her 98-year-old husband. Their son Prince Charles, first in line to the throne, tested positive last month but recovered after a week in quarantine at Birkhall, his royal estate in Scotland. “She was filmed by a lone cameraman, who kept six feet away and wore protective equipment. All other technical staff assisted from another room,” Bill Booth reports from London.
The queen delivers a Christmas address every year, but this is only the fifth time in her 68 years on the throne that she’s addressed the nation in a specially televised address like she did Sunday. The last one was on her diamond jubilee in 2012. The other times were when her mother died in 2002, when her ex-daughter-in-law Princess Diana died in 1997 and when ground operations began in Iraq in 1991.
In her four-minute speech, Queen Elizabeth said history will remember the nightly cheers for health-care workers from balconies as “an expression of our national spirit” and that rainbows being drawn by children will be the symbol of the kingdom’s endurance during this dark period.
“And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation,” she said. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past. It defines our present and our future.”
Welcome to The Daily 202, PowerPost’s essential briefing for decision makers.

The federal response

Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test. ‘We know that it is an underestimation,’ agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said,” Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard and Aaron Davis report. “A widespread lack of access to testing in the early weeks of the U.S. outbreak means people with respiratory illnesses died without being counted, epidemiologists say. Even now, some people who die at home or in overburdened nursing homes are not being tested, according to funeral directors, medical examiners and nursing home representatives. Postmortem testing by medical examiners varies widely across the country, and some officials say testing the dead is a misuse of scarce resources that could be used on the living. In addition, some people who have the virus test negative, experts say. As a result, public health officials and government leaders lack a complete view of the pandemic’s death toll as they assess its course and scramble to respond."
Confusion and stumbles are undermining the $2 trillion stimulus rollout.
“Small-business owners have reported delays in getting approved for loans without which they will close their doors, while others say they have been denied altogether by their lenders and do not understand why. The law’s provision to boost unemployment benefits has become tangled in dated and overwhelmed state bureaucracies, as an unprecedented avalanche of jobless Americans seeks aid,” Jeff Stein reports. “Officials at the Internal Revenue Service have warned that $1,200 relief checks may not reach many Americans until August or September if they haven’t already given their direct-deposit information to the government. Taxpayers in need of answers from the IRS amid a rapidly changing job market are encountering dysfunctional government websites and unresponsive call centers that have become understaffed as federal workers stay home. … More than a dozen senior positions in Treasury were unfilled heading into the crisis, creating a wide vacuum between the career staff and the highest levels of management. … That shortage risks delaying a massive effort in which speed is of the essence, at all levels of the economy.”
Rudy Giuliani is promoting unproven experimental treatments to Trump.
“In one-on-one phone calls with Trump, Giuliani said, he has been touting the use of an anti-malarial drug combination that has shown some early promise in treating covid-19 but whose effectiveness has not yet been proved,” Rosalind Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Jon Swaine report. “Giuliani’s comments have helped him regain a bit of the prominence he had during Trump’s impeachment — last week, he was back in the spotlight when Twitter briefly locked his account for promoting misinformation about covid-19. … Giuliani said he has spoken directly to Trump ‘three or four times’ about a potential coronavirus treatment [Giuliani] has solicited medical tips from a controversial Long Island family doctor with a following in the conservative media, as well as a former pharmacist who once pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort the actor Steven Seagal. … Giuliani said that he has not discussed the treatment with Fauci, but that Trump agrees with him. ‘I’m sure he thinks I am an ignoramus,’ he said of Fauci. …
“While some doctors in China and France have said they have used hydroxychloroquine on patients with covid-19 and seen improvements, [medical experts] said the studies have been small and contradictory. And the medicine does in rare cases have serious side effects, including lethal cardiac complications. Its interactions when used in combination with azithromycin, as Giuliani has promoted, are particularly not well understood Giuliani said that while he is hoping to turn his podcast into a moneymaking venture, he is not working for any of the companies involved with the treatments he has promoted. He said he last worked for medical companies a decade ago, when he represented Pfizer and Purdue.”
Television personality “Dr. Oz” also put the hydroxychloroquine bug in Trump's ear. The president saw Mehmet Oz, a Fox News regular, discuss the anti-malarial medicine, the Daily Beast reports. “Over these two weeks, the president had specifically made a point of telling aides that he was interested in what Oz had to say and that he wished to speak to the much-maligned television personality It is unclear if Trump has spoken on the phone with Oz lately, as he told aides that he wished to do so. … Top administration officials, including Trump’s administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, have privately spoken to Oz in recent days to discuss the virus and his views on the possible treatment, three sources said.”
Hydroxychloroquine sparked a clash in the Situation Room. “The White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday, pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against [Fauci]," Axios reports. FDA Commissioner Stephen “Hahn began a discussion of the malaria drug… Navarro got up. He brought over a stack of folders and dropped them on the table. People started passing them around. ‘And the first words out of his mouth are that the studies that he's seen, I believe they're mostly overseas, show “clear therapeutic efficacy,” ' said a source familiar with the conversation. … Fauci pushed back against Navarro, saying that there was only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against the coronavirus. … Fauci's mention of anecdotal evidence ‘just set Peter off,’ said one of the sources.”
The Henry Ford Hospital System in Michigan will test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication. Health-care workers and other first responders can opt in to an eight-week trial, where at least 3,000 subjects will receive a specific set of unidentifiable pills: a weekly dose of hydroxychloroquine, a daily dose of the anti-malarial, or a placebo. Participants will not know which treatment they are receiving and will be checked twice during the study for any symptoms of covid-19 to see if the drug had any side effects. The Henry Ford system said the supply of hydroxychloroquine being used in the trial was specially obtained for the study and will not impact the supply of medication elsewhere. (Teo Armus)  
The U.S. government wasted months before buying up needed equipment. 
“A review of federal purchasing contracts shows federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile," the Associated Press reports. “When an AP reporter attempted to ask Trump about the issue on Sunday, the president cut off the question.” In case you missed it, my colleagues had a must-read story on the Sunday front page about the denial and dysfunction that plagued the government's response during the 70 days it took from Trump being briefed the first time to when he finally took the crisis seriously.
The former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive.
Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly told David Ignatius that he removed Capt. Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt because he believed he was “panicking” under pressure — and he said he wanted to make the move himself before Trump ordered the captain’s dismissal. “I didn’t want to get into a decision where the president would feel that he had to intervene because the Navy couldn’t be decisive,” he said. Crozier, who walked alone down the gangplank of his giant ship to the cheers of his crew, is now infected with the virus.
Michael Atkinson said he, too, was fired for doing his job.
The inspector general removed by Trump late Friday night said “he believes he was fired for having properly handled a whistleblower complaint that became a centerpiece of the case for the president’s impeachment,” Ellen Nakashima reports. “‘It is hard not to think that the president’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general,’ [he said in a statement]. That Atkinson issued a statement at all is unusual — inspectors general usually stay silent when removed, but the circumstances leading to his firing are also highly unusual. Inspectors general are traditionally removed for ‘cause’ — usually involving misconduct. In Atkinson’s case, there was no apparent misconduct."

Dispatches from the front lines

Cory Deburghgraeve dresses in protective gear for an intubation at his hospital in Chicago. (Courtesy of Cory Deburghgraeve)
A Chicago anesthesiologist talks about what it's like to intubate a covid-19 patient.
“You’re basically right next to the nuclear reactor,” Cory Deburghgraeve told Eli Saslow. “I could be the last person some of these patients ever see, or the last voice they hear. A lot of people will never come off the ventilator. That’s the reality of this virus. I force myself to think about that for a few seconds each time I walk into the ICU to do an intubation. This is my entire job now. Airways. Coronavirus airways. I’m working 14 hours a night and six nights a week. When patients aren’t getting enough oxygen, I place a tube down their airway so we can put them on a vent. It buys their body time to fight the virus. It’s also probably the most dangerous procedure a doctor can do when it comes to personal exposure. I’m getting within a few inches of the patient’s face. I’m leaning in toward the mouth, placing my fingers on the gums, opening up the airway. All it takes is a cough. A gag. If anything goes badly, you can have a room full of virus. So, there’s a possibility I get sick. Maybe a probability. I don’t know. I have my own underlying condition when it comes to this virus, but I try not to dwell on that. … I’m 33 years old. I don’t have any kids at home. I don’t live with older relatives.”
  • Lisa Ewald, a Michigan E.R. nurse, died alone at home from the virus. She had been on the front lines at Henry Ford Hospital. A friend found her body a day after she was last heard from – four days before her 54th birthday. (Fox News)
  • Michele Acito, the director of nursing at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., the hardest-hit town in the state’s hardest-hit county, felt like she could hold up even as 12 doctors and the hospital’s CEO got sick and a colleague died. Then three of her family members were brought in. One died. “You compartmentalize,” the 57-year-old told the New York Times. “You go home. You shower it off. But when you have a family member here, you can’t scrub that off.”
  • The staff of the Mount Sinai network hospitals in New York will finally get tested after Kious Kelly, a nurse, died from the virus on March 24. (NBC News)
  • Italy has lost 80 doctors and 21 nurses to the virus, and more than 12,000 health-care workers have tested positive for it there. The stress and fear are taking a psychological toll. There have been suicides. (Sky News)
  • A nurse said, in an emotional video, that she quit her job because she would not tend to coronavirus patients without a face mask. (CBS News)
  • Grace Jun of the Parson School of Design created a pattern you can sew at home to make your own fabric mask. You can find the pattern here.
A new I.G. report confirms hospital shortages.
Hospitals across the country say they don’t have enough supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators and staff, according to a report released this morning by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Hospital administrators at 323 hospitals across 46 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, were called at random. Hospitals reported “severe shortages” of testing supplies. The challenges were exacerbated by nursing home and rehabilitation facilities that were requiring negative coronavirus tests before accepting residents who have been discharged from hospitals. (Read the full report here.)
Texas will screen drivers who enter the state from virus-stricken Louisiana.
The state announced it will enforce a mandatory, two-week quarantine on any one coming from the neighboring state. “Law enforcement officers will operate screening stations near the Texas-Louisiana state line, along interstate roads and highways. All drivers coming from Louisiana will be required to fill out a form with personal information, including a ‘designated quarantine location,’” Teo Armus reports. “The Texas Department of Public Safety said it would be conducting unannounced visits to quarantine sites to enforce the 14-day isolation period. Travelers are allowed to leave their homes or hotels only to seek medical attention or leave the state. Rhode Island had drawn some outrage when it announced similar targeted restrictions on all drivers with New York license plates. Late last month, the state extended the order to apply to all motorists entering. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had signed an executive order March 29 mandating a quarantine in his state on travelers coming from California, Washington state and four hard-hit metro areas, adding to a similar order placed on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”
  • The virus has now killed more people in the New Orleans metro area (161) than gun violence (120) did in 2019, the Times-Picayune notes.
  • In Chicago, the virus is killing black residents at disproportionately high rates. While the city’s population is 29 percent African American, they've accounted for 70 percent of virus-related fatalities. (WBEZ)
  • Just how contagious is this? A tiger at the Bronx Zoo became the first U.S. animal to test positive for the virus. Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger, was tested “out of an abundance of caution” after coming into contact with an infected staffer who was asymptomatic. (Daily News)
  • Riverside County in California ordered all residents to cover their faces in public, making it the largest jurisdiction to adopt such a measure. (Armus)
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) enraged local leaders by reopening all the state’s beaches. (Antonia Noori Farzan)
Here are a few of the latest people killed by the contagion:
  • Two workers at a Chicago-area Walmart became some of the first grocery employees to die from covid-19. The company didn’t provide the workers’ names or ages. (CNN)
  • An inmate at New York City’s Rikers Island became the first confirmed death of a prisoner with the disease in the city. The 53-year-old man had been transferred from the jail to Bellevue Hospital on March 26. (New York Post)
  • Tom Dempsey, the NFL kicker who set a field goal record that stood for more than four decades despite missing the toes on his right foot, died at 73. (Brett Martel)
  • David Behrbom, a New York City teacher whose family battled red tape to get him access to pioneering therapy, died of complications from the virus. The 47-year-old was expected to finally get donated plasma Sunday for convalescent plasma therapy. He had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on March 12 and fell sick from the virus during the last five days of chemotherapy. (New York Post)
  • Otis Knapp Lee, a beloved and retired Detroit restauranteur known for his corned-beef sandwiches, died at 72. (Free Press)
  • Wilson Maa, a passenger on the Coral Princess cruise ship docked in Miami, died at 71 after waiting four hours to be transferred off the boat to get to a hospital. (USA Today)
  • Patricia Bosworth, an actress and writer known for her biographical studies of self-destructive figures, died at 86. (Matt Schudel)
  • Richard Gould, a former fire commissioner who served in the Marine Corps, died at 81. To give his family a chance to say goodbye, the local fire department held a processional past his house. (NJ.com)
  • Silvia Meléndez, a 24-year-old who suffered from diabetes and previously had heart surgery, died. Her father, Marcos, said his biggest regret is not being able to say goodbye. (Univision)
  • Lee Fierro, an actress known for her role in “Jaws," died at 91. (Variety)
  • Has someone you know died of covid-19? Share your story with The Post.
The virus is creating conflict for churches at a time when people seek solace.
“For the religious, one of the crueler elements of the coronavirus and its potent contagiousness is that places where people go in times of fear, in search of solace in faith and in friends, are closed in many states to stop the spread of the disease. Churches, temples and other places of worship nationwide — where congregants sit close, take Communion, share hugs and handshakes and pecks on the cheek — have served as hothouses for the virus, with religious gatherings exacerbating outbreaks in New Rochelle, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Glenville, Ill.; and Sacramento, among others,” Scott Wilson, Michelle Boorstein, Arelis Hernandez and Lori Rozsa report. “Some houses of worship and gatherings of religious leaders have proved particularly dangerous in areas where the virus has been prevalent. Following the outbreak in Sacramento, Mayor Darrell Steinberg (D) made clear that disregard for the prohibition on church gatherings could prompt police intervention. Steinberg’s wife serves as cantor at the city’s largest synagogue, which now streams its services online. … Rural Minnesota has reported at least nine coronavirus cases traced to a church. And 43 fell ill, one fatally, after attending a March 15 service at the Life Church of Glenview, in Glenview, Ill., a Chicago suburb."
  • A Louisiana pastor who was arrested last week for holding services summoned his faithful again, despite a state ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. Hundreds of worshippers converged on Tony Spell's church, with many arriving in 26 buses sent to pick them up. (Reuters)
  • Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature blocked an effort by Gov. Tony Evers (D) to postpone Tuesday's primary election. Republicans argued that clerks will be able to take enough steps to keep voters safe. Wisconsin has at least 2,112 confirmed cases. Nine mayors asked the state’s health secretary to use her emergency powers to stop in-person voting. (Journal Sentinel)
The number of cases in the D.C. region soared past 7,000. 
“Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued an emergency order requiring nursing home staff to wear protective gear and segregate infected patients to halt the spread of the disease following outbreaks in the state’s long-term care facilities,” Ian Shapira, Rachel Chason, Fenit Nirappil and Hannah Natanson report. “Meanwhile, the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) ordered the Wharf Fish Market in Southwest Washington shut down Sunday after customers crowded its open-air marketplace Saturday, defying social-distancing orders. … As of Sunday morning, the District had 1,002 confirmed cases and 22 deaths; Maryland had 3,610 cases and 67 deaths; and Virginia had 2,640 cases and 52 deaths.” Bowser said D.C. probably would hit its largest number of hospitalizations in early summer. However, a projection from the University of Washington said the District could reach peak “hospital resource use” as soon as April 15, with as many as nine deaths per day starting April 13.
  • In Maryland’s Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, the site of the state’s largest outbreak, at least 99 residents and staff have tested positive and 10 residents have died. (Rachel Chason, Ovetta Wiggins and Rebecca Tan)
  • Virginia is also grappling with outbreaks in nursing homes. As of Friday, 17 residents at the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County had died of the disease. Five died in a 24-hour period.
  • The D.C. jail reported four more infections, bringing the total among inmates to 18, while four members of the D.C. Emergency Services Department tested positive, meaning that 32 firefighters, paramedics and EMTs in the city have fallen ill.

The foreign fallout


Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Catherine Calderwood speaks during a coronavirus briefing last week in Edinburgh. (Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned for violating her own guidance to stay home.
Catherine Calderwood acknowledged she visited her second home on two occasions during her country’s lockdown despite calling for people to limit nonessential movement and stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Photos of and her family at their second home in Earlsferry, more than an hour away from where the family normally resides in Edinburgh, were published in the Scottish Sun. Scottish police confirmed that officers visited her and issued a warning. (Siobhán O’Grady)
  • Japan’s Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency to empower prefectures to take restrictive measures. Nearly 3,700 people are infected in his country. (Japan Times)
  • The Spanish government is working on rolling out a universal basic income as soon as possible. The government’s broader ambition is that this becomes a “permanent instrument.” (Bloomberg News)
  • The virus could wipe out jobs for millions across Africa. (AP)
  • China reported 39 new cases, with more than 1,000 people under observation. Of the cases the communist government owned up to, 38 were in people who recently returned from abroad. South Korea reported fewer than 50 new infections for the first time since February. (O’Grady)
The virus is testing the limits of Russia’s surveillance state. 
“As soon as the digital code is created on a cellphone, the clock is ticking. It allows three hours to shop at the nearest grocery store or pharmacy or to visit a doctor. One hour is allotted to walk the dog. Taking out the trash should take no more than 30 minutes. Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region, about 250 miles northeast of Moscow, boosted its coronavirus-control measures Saturday by adding a system of downloadable QR codes in the latest attempt to use tracking technology to battle the pandemic,” Isabelle Khurshudyan reports. “But Moscow — which normally sets the tone for the rest of the country — backed off from deploying a similar system of time-specific QR codes. … Moscow’s about-face on the QR codes is more than a simple change of plans. Russia under President Vladimir Putin appears to be less willing to embrace the kind of sweeping state-run tracking favored by other authoritarian nations amid the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps mindful of provoking public anger."
Journalists around the world are threatened as countries restrict coverage.
“From Latin America to Russia, governments have tried to shape coverage so it avoids criticism or information that authorities deem harmful to public order,” Louisa Loveluck, Robyn Dixon and Adam Taylor report. “Questioning of official accounts has drawn fines, police investigations and the expulsion of foreign correspondents. In some countries, the virus has provided a pretext for governments to pass emergency legislation that is likely to curb freedoms long after the contagion has been extinguished. The consequences could amount to life or death, free-press advocates say.”

Social media speed read

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is sending ventilators to hot spots that need them more:
Every state in America is united in the fight to save the lives of our people. Though our mission is the same, our needs are different.
Today, Washington is returning 400 ventilators so states like New York and others can have them.#WeGotThisWA #StayHomeStayHealthy
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) April 5, 2020
The president continues to promote hydroxychloroquine, which is not a proven treatment for covid-19:
Well, there’s a chyron for you. pic.twitter.com/Uq4ViGi18y
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) April 6, 2020
A  former Obama staffer found a way to repurpose old eye masks:
Have been stress-sewing masks all weekend to help me cope... fortunately, my husband saved every eye mask from every international flight - he had 17 of them. Normally, this drives me crazy, but I have been repurposing the elastic, so now I’m grateful. pic.twitter.com/Qk6NEkM6HU
— Cecilia Muñoz (@cecmunoz) April 5, 2020
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is spending his time at home serenading his wife and pups:
One of the good things about Sherrod being home more: He’s back to playing the piano for me, although Walter and Franklin think he’s singing to them. Sherrod says if you make fun of his voice, you’re not being original. pic.twitter.com/LVOQorpOYc
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) April 5, 2020

Videos of the day

“The Daily Show” shared a damning compilation of pro-Trump commentators playing down the danger – and then insisting that they did not:

John Oliver took a look at One America News, the far-right news network embraced by Trump at his coronavirus briefings:

Joe Biden’s campaign released a video saying that the American spirit will overcome the outbreak:

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