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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus is here and will complicate life for millions of Americans — but there are signs from Asia that it can get better if we're willing to take that pain now.

The big picture: Coronavirus is stifled by early and aggressive action — and no matter how well-intentioned, half-measures only seem to make things worse.

The magic formula from South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore:

  1. Social distancing on a massive scale, quarantining infected areas, canceling big events and closing schools and offices to slow down the spread.
  2. Intensive testing for all who want it, and surveillance and monitoring of the infected to try to limit outbreaks.
  3. Emergency efforts to ensure people don't avoid care over cost concerns, because everyone is at greater risk of infection if the uninsured and underinsured avoid treatment.

Between the lines: The U.S. response thus far has been a series of half-measures, with predicable results.

  1. Schools and companies have closed after cases pop up, rather than ahead of them. But the closings are beginning to accelerate.
  2. The entire country faces a massive testing shortage, lagging dramatically behind its peers.
  3. Governments have begun to use their muscle, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dispatching the National Guard to help shut down facilities in the area of the state's main outbreak. Multiple states are beginning to declare states of emergencies.

The bottom line: The U.S. is not doing enough to prevent this thing from getting worse, and every day it delays will make it that much harder.

  • President Trump seems focused on preventing a coronavirus recession, but no amount of monetary policy or stimulus will compensate for a public health response that's equal to this virus.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: The chart above has been corrected. It originally showed the total number of U.S. cases, rather than the new cases each day.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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