Mar 23, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 500 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: Not even the big Fed news could stop the market slide. The S&P 500 shed another 2.9%, erasing its gains since President Trump took office.

🚨Breaking: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become the latest world leader to order a nationwide lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

1 big thing: Understanding the backlash

Clockwise from top left: Cable-car tracks on California Street in San Francisco ... Times Square ... Windley Key, Florida ... Chicago. Photos: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images, Noam Galai/Getty Images, Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images, Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

Just a week after getting everyone on board with a coronavirus lockdown, President Trump is already teasing its end.

Between the lines: It's hard not to sympathize with folks who are asked to shoulder an unfair share of the burden when they aren't the ones calling the shots.

  • Millions of Americans are losing their jobs at the same time as their families face a once-in-a-century pandemic.
  • The lockdown is particularly devastating for service workers, blue-collar workers and small businesses, and Senate Democrats today blocked the Phase 3 stimulus bill for the second time in 24 hours. (They want more protections for workers and more strings attached.)
  • White-collar workers are obviously not immune from coronavirus hardships, but their jobs are the simplest to make remote.

The big picture: Until we get the pandemic under control, there's no way the economy is going back to normal, Axios' Felix Salmon told me on Slack.

  1. New York is a global epicenter for the virus, and its borders to other states are open.
  2. Surgeon General Jerome Adams today: "We don't want Dallas, or New Orleans, or Chicago to turn into the next New York."
  3. America's coronavirus testing has been a disaster from the start and some public health officials are de-emphasizing tests because of severe shortages.
  4. Quarantines don't just take two weeks: Not every city or state began sheltering in place at the same time, and judging by the number of folks who remain out and about, the spread has not been contained to our homes.
  5. Even if Trump wanted to call off the lockdown, states and cities largely acted in advance of his requests.

The bottom line: If you thought the reaction so far has been tough, this week could produce the worst unemployment claims data in American history.

  • And as Trump ally Lindsey Graham tweeted today: "Try running an economy with major hospitals overflowing, doctors and nurses forced to stop treating some because they can’t help all, and every moment ... played out in our living rooms, on TV, on social media, and shown all around the world."
Bonus: Postcards from the new world

Photos: Buda Mendes/Getty Images, Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Left: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Right: Drone's-eye view of Jerusalem.

2. Coronavirus updates
  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 372,563 — Total deaths: 16,381 — Total recoveries: 100,885.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 41,708 — Total deaths: 573 — Total recoveries: 178.
  3. Federal government latest: Senate Democrats block procedural vote on $1.8 trillion Phase 3 stimulus package for the second time in less than 24 hours.
  4. Public health latest: The World Health Organization said it took just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000 cases.
  5. States latest: New York positive cases surged by nearly 40% in 24 hours — More states issue stay-at-home order.
3. 1 helpful thing

Photo: Charles Krupa/AP

In this bleakest of times, Christmas lights in spring have become a thing, AP's Holly Ramer reports.

  • They're wrapped around a tree trunk in Colorado, fashioned into a heart in Alabama and hung high over Main Street in Farmington, New Hampshire. (above).

Julie Check turned on the white lights that trace the roofline of her home in Eastman, Wisconsin.

  • "We live out in the country, but I know you can see them from the highway," she said. "Anything I can do to make people happy right now, I'm going to try to do."
Mike Allen