Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump’s cavalier attitude toward the coronavirus is already making the pandemic worse in his own backyard, and the failure to reach a deal on a new round of stimulus will likely make it worse all across the country, for months.

Why it matters: Heading into the winter months without a new round of stimulus in place will leave vulnerable workers without a financial safety net if they get sick — and because of that, experts say, it will likely make the pandemic itself worse.

The reasons are simple: If you can’t afford to miss work, and if there’s no temporary aid to make it feasible for you to miss work, then you’ll keep going to work — even if you’re infected. Those workers will infect others, and the virus will spread from there.

Driving the news: Trump tweeted yesterday that he has directed his administration to pause stimulus negotiations until after the election, saying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "not negotiating in good faith."

  • “No doubt about it, the failure to pass this will make it much harder to contain the virus in the fall, and that means we will see larger outbreaks, more people getting sick,” Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University school of public health, told Axios last month.

Washington’s failure to put together a new stimulus package will disproportionately hurt the low-wage, front-line workers, most of them Black or Hispanic, who have borne the brunt of this entire pandemic.

  • On a smaller scale, those workers are already suffering for another of political Washington’s mistakes: the growing outbreak emanating from the White House.

Where it stands: In addition to Trump and many of his senior advisers, the White House outbreak has sickened housekeepers, military aides and reporters. Secret Service agents have also been put at risk.

  • As with any outbreak, there’s a clear concern that it could keep spreading. One reporter has infected his spouse, and if West Wing staff were as careless in their personal lives as they were at work, any number of servers, store clerks, neighbors and friends may have been exposed.
  • D.C. had done a relatively good job keeping new cases under control, but now they’re at their highest level in months, threatening the city’s plans to reopen schools.

At the Capitol, which has no formal testing regimen, 123 front-line workers have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, Roll Call reports. There, too, the burden has fallen on people just doing their jobs, including a total of 46 Capitol Police officers.

The bottom line: Official Washington is making this worse.

  • In the immediate term, the Trump administration’s carelessness is now fueling a bigger outbreak, and over the next few months, the failure to provide some financial lifeline will likely force some working people into an impossible choice between their health and their livelihoods.

Go deeper

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Axios-Ipsos poll: Trump's sickness makes him harder to trust

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Large shares of women, seniors and independents now say they're less likely to trust President Trump for accurate information about COVID-19 since he caught it himself, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Week 28 of our national survey has most Americans rejecting ideas that Trump has floated around hydroxychloriquine as a virus treatment, how herd immunity works or any imminent availability of a vaccine.

The next wave of the coronavirus is gaining steam

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive is rising across the country, including in states that are also seeing a spike in cases.

Why it matters: High positivity rates indicate a worsening outbreak, and put together with the rise in cases and hospitalizations across the country, suggest that the U.S. is in bad shape.

12 hours ago - Health

University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place

Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

University of Michigan students must shelter-in-place for 14 days due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases on campus, the school's president Mark Schlissel wrote in a letter on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Schlissel said the order is meant to address small- and medium-sized social gatherings that have been identified as the primary cause of new cases on campus.