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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
If the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. gets really bad — if it stretches on longer than we anticipated, if huge numbers of people get sick, if the disruptions to daily life become even more severe — early flaws in the testing process will bear a lot of the blame, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes.
Why it matters: Because we haven't been doing enough testing, we don’t actually know how many people in the U.S. have coronavirus. We know the official count is too low, and that the number of confirmed cases is likely to explode in the coming weeks as testing improves.
By the numbers: Independent researchers estimate that the U.S. has completed about 20,000 coronavirus tests as of Friday.
Widespread, accurate testing has been a key component of other countries’ success in bringing their outbreaks under control.
Between the lines: This makes other interventions, including individual "social distancing" and the cancellation of big events, even more important.
What’s next: Testing capacity in the U.S. is improving quickly. Nationwide, we now have the ability to test about 26,000 people per day, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted.
How we got here: The testing shortfall has been a multi-phase failure.
In the early days, testing was focused narrowly on people who had traveled to China. That was probably the best way to triage limited resources. But it was never going to be sufficient.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
A new reality sets in today for many working parents: double duty as a remote employee and a home-school supervisor, Axios' Kim Hart writes.
Working from home with kids in tow is a lot to juggle, no matter what. And social distancing will make it even harder to redirect kids' short attention spans long enough to write an email.
"We need to spend time with our own germs and only our own germs," Silvestro wrote in a blog post that's been making the rounds among D.C.-area parents.
Craft stores in the D.C. area were picked over this weekend as parents stocked up on time-filling activities like slime-making kits, paint sets and coloring books.
Reality check: Playdate bans and juggling kids while working remotely are problems of the privileged. White-collar professionals often have the leeway to work from home, even without a crisis to force it.
The White House National Security Council tweeted at 11:48 p.m.: "Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown."
"Governors and mayors closed restaurants, bars, and schools as the nation sank deeper into chaos, AP reports.
Senior Pastor Troy Dobbs speaks to an empty Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., with an estimated 3,500 worshipers tuning in online.
Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
Joe Biden was first to offer an elbow as he hustled onto the debate stage last night (above).
The biggest news was Biden’s explicit commitment to pick a woman as his VP.
It turns out that a debate with no live audience is more substantive and involves less yelling. And when it's just two candidates, it's more conversational.
Between the lines: Sanders, knowing he's unlikely to win the nomination, is trying to push Biden as far to the left as he will go, to get more attention for progressive policies.
🗳️ On deck: Biden holds a tele-town hall today with folks in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio (all voting tomorrow). Sanders is doing a digital rally at 7 p.m. ET.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The Federal Reserve, in conjunction with central banks around the world, took drastic action last night — the kind of action not seen since the global financial crisis — to try to prevent coronavirus from devastating the economy, Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon writes.
What they did: The Fed slashed interest rates to near zero, announced a $700 billion bond-buying program, and relaxed bank capital regulations to encourage further lending.
Why it matters: Thousands of businesses and millions of households are about to suffer extreme economic hardship. Employers and employees in the travel, entertainment, sports, hospitality, retail, and many other industries are going to see losses and layoffs for as long as the virus is raging.
The bottom line: The Fed is using every weapon in its arsenal to encourage banks to lend money freely at the lowest possible interest rates. If its actions work, it will prevent thousands of businesses, large and small, from failing.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once, someone wisely said.
But in once-in-a-lifetime moments when everything does seem to be happening at once, like what’s unfolding with the cascading coronavirus crisis, time is a ruthless prioritizer, Axios' Amy Harder writes in her "Harder Line" column.
The intrigue: Peter Atwater, a behavioral economist and an adjunct lecturer at William & Mary, has a framework, called the "Horizon Preference," for how we perceive the world based on our level of confidence. When confidence is high, we have a "us-everywhere-forever" mindset. When it’s low, it’s "me-here-now."
People around the world say they're more likely to believe their employers than government websites or traditional or social media when it comes to information about the coronavirus, Axios' Sara Fischer writes from a new Edelman Trust Barometer 10-country survey about the virus.
The opportunity for companies: In the U.S., more than half (54%) of those surveyed say they want daily updates from their employers.
Between the lines: Diminishing trust in traditional societal leaders, like the government and traditional media, has generally forced people to turn to their employers more often for trusted information.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump's exaggerated claims about a Google-developed website to triage coronavirus diagnosis and treatment nationwide is the latest instance of a longstanding presidential pattern of tech-related misrepresentations and hype, Axios tech editor Kyle Daly writes.
The bottom line: Tech companies have learned not to contradict the president, even when they know he is wrong, to stay on his good side.
Meat companies are making it easier for you to eat your vegetables by blending them into burgers, meatballs and sausages, AP's Dee-Ann Durbin writes.
Many options will be ready for summer grilling:
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