Apr 19, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🥞 Hello, Sunday. It's Orthodox Easter.

  • Smart Brevity™ count: 1,451 words ... 5½ minutes.

🇨🇳 Situational awareness ... President Trump suggests China could be "knowingly responsible" for the pandemic, when asked at yesterday's briefing if "there should be some consequences if, in the end, you know, China was responsible for all of this":

  • "Well, if they were knowingly responsible, certainly. If they did — if it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if it were knowingly responsible, yeah, then there should be consequences. You're talking about, you know, potentially lives like nobody has seen since 1917."
1 big thing: Parents' stress levels spike

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The new pressures on working parents to be full-time employees and full-time homeschool teachers while protecting their families from the pandemic are leading to exhaustion — with no end in sight, Kim Hart and Alison Snyder write.

  • Why it matters: Working parents make up roughly one-third of the U.S. workforce. The longer the stay-at-home orders continue, the greater the chance that these workers will be on the verge of emotional and cognitive burnout before they return to their offices.
  • At the end of March, 57% of mothers and 32% of fathers of kids under 18 reported worsening mental health, per a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

Early research in China found that quarantine can bring on insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, anger, emotional exhaustion and post-traumatic stress symptoms, per a review published in The Lancet.

  • And the mental health impact was higher in cases where parents were quarantined with children. One study found 28% of parents were experiencing "trauma-related mental health disorder."

Reality check: People with lower incomes and those whose jobs or paychecks have been cut due to the coronavirus outbreak are more likely to be experiencing high psychological distress, Pew found.

  • Mary Alvord, a psychologist in D.C., said: "There is a whole segment of society [whose d]ecisions are made for them. The core of resilience is feeling you have control over many aspects of your life. ... The more resources you have, the more control you have."

What to watch: This work-life upheaval will change the workplace when the pandemic eases.

  • The "new normal" will probably involve more worker autonomy, more trust of remote workers' productivity and more flexibility for parents to balance home and office demands.

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2. New worries about unreported child abuse
In Spokane, Wash., Adams Elementary School third-grade teacher Lisel Corneil (left) and fifth-grade teacher Allie Campbell used plastic cups to build a "We Miss You All-Stars" message to their students. Photo: Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review via AP

With schools closed and teachers unable to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect, child welfare agencies have lost some of their best eyes and ears, AP's Amy Beth Hanson writes.

  • April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Across the country, states are reporting fewer calls to child abuse hotlines — not because officials believe there are fewer cases, but because they're going unreported.
  • "That means many children are suffering in silence," said Darren DaRonco, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Agencies are asking others to fill in the reporting gaps:

  • "Everyone, whether you're a store clerk, a mailman, a neighbor or a relative, everyone has the responsibility of reporting child abuse," said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, whose state has seen calls drop by half in recent weeks.

⚡ Authorities suspect a similar reporting gap with domestic abuse in New York City, where reports are down even as they have risen statewide and around the world, the N.Y. Times' Ashley Southall writes:

  • "[L]aw enforcement officials and social workers say there are some signs strife is quietly escalating behind closed doors. Calls to some organizations that provide shelter to battered women ... have increased sharply."
3. 🇬🇧 While Britain slept: Boris skipped five virus briefings
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the government's National Health Service in remarks filmed last Sunday. Screenshot via AP

A 5,000-word exposé by The Sunday Times of London — "38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster" — finds that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, distracted by personal turmoil and his Brexit victory lap, skipped five early crisis briefings (Cobra meetings) on the virus.

  • Why it matters: "[S]cientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of lives."

"It was a big day for Johnson and there was a triumphal mood in Downing Street because the withdrawal treaty from the European Union was being signed ... It could have been the defining moment of his premiership — but that was before the world changed," The Sunday Times reports.

  • "It would not be until March 2 — five weeks later — that Johnson would attend a Cobra meeting about the coronavirus."
  • "But by then it was almost certainly too late."

What's next: "One day there will be an inquiry into the lack of preparations during those 'lost' five weeks from January 24."

4. Pics du jour
Photos: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

967 new Air Force officers toss their caps to celebrate graduation, as F-16 Thunderbirds fly over the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

  • The cadets graduated six weeks early, after more than a month on lockdown in dorms. Parents weren't invited.

The cadets were spaced eight feet apart for the commencement address by Vice President Pence:

5. Why #FloridaMorons trended on Twitter
The Jacksonville beach yesterday. Photo: Sam Thomas/Reuters

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that some beaches and parks could reopen, Jacksonville jumped at the chance:

  • Mayor Lenny Curry (R) announced the city’s beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for "exercise only" (walking and surfing).
  • "No chairs, coolers, sitting/groups congregating. Public safety workers will break up groups," the mayor tweeted. "Don’t ruin this for everyone."

"People mostly adhered to the rules against sunbathing, and police instructed those who set up chairs to move along," The Tampa Bay Times writes.

  • "But the photos and live video feeds of large swaths of people rapidly gained steam across the internet."
6. 🏈 College football could move to spring — and other audibles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards on what would've been Opening Day, March 26. Photo: Steve Helber/AP

Options for the return of sports include basketball and hockey playoffs in September, college football in the spring of 2021, and voting to determine champions in some soccer leagues, AP found:

  • College football: Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione says policymakers are looking at several models that include shortening the season or moving part or all of it to the spring.
  • Horse racing: Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled to Sept. 5.
  • MLB: Plans include bringing all 30 teams to Arizona and playing through December, scheduling doubleheaders with seven-inning games, and home run contests to settle games that would otherwise go into extra innings.
  • NASCAR: A tentative schedule given to teams shows the season resuming May 24 at the Coca-Cola 600, with midweek races and doubleheaders crammed in from June to August to complete the postponed events.
  • NBA: Medical experts have said there almost certainly won't be any basketball until at least June. The league is reportedly considering shortening some playoff series and playing them in arenas with no fans.
  • NFL: Contingency plans reportedly include playing a shortened season, or playing games in front of empty or half-full stadiums.
  • NHL: Plans include going directly to playoffs when play resumes, and possibly playing games at neutral sites. Teams have asked about arena availability through August.
  • PGA Tour: Plans on returning week of June 11 in Fort Worth, with tournament for no fans. Three of four majors have been rescheduled, starting with PGA in August.
  • Soccer: English Premier League has optimistic plan to restart June 8. FIFA is facing challenges to extend seasons because many player contracts expire June 30.
  • Tennis: With professional circuits on hold until at least July, Serena Williams' coach says he's starting an independent league to play matches in front of no fans starting May 16. Wimbledon has been canceled and French Open has been moved to Sept. 20.

Go deep: Sports leagues seek return to play but with no guarantees.

7. 25 years ago today
Photo: The Daily Oklahoman

On April 19, 1995, former Army soldier Timothy McVeigh parked a rented Ryder truck loaded with explosives outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City.

  • The blast at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people and injured more than 500 others in what remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on American soil. (Read AP's breaking story.)

From an AM reader who was serving in President Bill Clinton's White House on that day:

Within the first 96 hours, President Clinton did a press statement, a national radio address (which included a teach-in that he and First Lady Hillary Clinton held with school children to help settle the fears of children across the country), planted a dogwood tree on the South Lawn in memory of those who died, flew to Oklahoma City for the memorial service, delivered a eulogy, and spoke to Steve Kroft and Ed Bradley on "60 Minutes."

YouTube of the "60 Minutes" interview.

Photo: AP
8. 1 smile to go
Screenshots via Global Citizen

Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé and Oprah headlined "One World: Together At Home," a two-hour broadcast of music, comedy and stories celebrating those on the frontlines of the pandemic, Reuters reports.

  • Contributions, all filmed in their homes, also came from Elton John, J. Lo, Stevie Wonder, David Beckham, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Billie Eilish, Bill Gates and dozens of others.

Why it matters: It was the biggest celebrity gathering so far during the pandemic.

The Stones were revealed one by one, starting with "Mick Cam."
Mike Allen

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