Politico reports on discussions within the White House:

President Donald Trump is reluctant to declare an expansive emergency to combat the escalating coronavirus outbreak, fearful of stoking panic with such a dramatic step, according to three people familiar with the situation….Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu.

….Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is pushing for the designation but Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump tapped to lead the administration’s coronavirus response, doesn’t want Trump to act until Congress passes a stimulus package, according to two of the people.

There’s no deadline for a decision, but one of the people familiar with the talks said the task force will not give Trump its final verdict until Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, finishes his research and comes to a conclusion himself.

We are doomed. Trump doesn’t want to confess that he was wrong. Pence wants to use the pandemic as leverage for a tax cut. And the “final verdict” rests on the shoulders of Jared Kushner, who hasn’t proven himself competent at anything over the past three years, let alone matters of infectious disease control.

Speaking of which, here’s a chart from the Financial Times showing the spread of coronavirus in various countries. This is similar to the one I showed you this morning except that it displays the raw number of cases, not percentage of the population:

The important thing about the United States is neither the current number of cases nor the percentage of the population that’s infected. Those are both probably underestimated anyway due to lack of test kits. What’s important is the growth rate, and this is where the US stands alone. If we’re lucky, this is being overestimated as more test kits finally become available, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s more likely that cases are skyrocketing because we’ve had no national response from the Trump administration, which wants to continue pretending that coronavirus is “just like the seasonal flu.” This is better for Trump’s reelection chances, you see.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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