Mar 30, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 427 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: Ford and GE Healthcare announced a plan to build 50,000 ventilators by early July to fight the coronavirus. Go deeper.

1 big thing: American lockdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you thought March felt like the longest month in American history, just wait for April and May, when people will be forced to witness spring from the indoors.

The big picture: 28 states are in or entering lockdown, with Maryland and Virginia joining those ranks today. So is D.C., as its mayor made official this afternoon. Those states include roughly 3/4 of the American people, the N.Y. Times notes.

  • "[R]esearchers and medical experts, they're saying that in two weeks' time, the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas could look like New York and the tri-state area," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said today.

Between the lines: Governors in states with beaches or other outdoor recreation have run into problems with keeping crowds at a minimum, Axios' Marisa Fernandez says.

  • The governors from Maryland and Virginia said crowds drawn out by nice weather over the weekend caused them to put the hammer down on mandatory stay-at-home orders.

Why it matters: The numbers that persuaded President Trump to extend the 15-day lockdown are premised under the assumption of a lockdown through May, professor Chris Murray told the WashPost today.

  • Anthony Fauci told CNN today that Trump decided to extend social distancing restrictions for another 30 days after viewing Murray's models projecting coronavirus deaths over the weekend, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.
  • Murray predicts an April 15 hospital peak, when his model says more than 2,000 Americans will die that day.
  • The model expects 82,000 deaths by early August.
  • That's the "if we do it right" scenario.

The bottom line: For most people, this isn't a crisis that can be fixed via direct action. Instead, we're huddling at home, waiting and watching to see how it plays out.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters

An image for the ages: The USNS Comfort hospital ship enters New York to help relieve the load on coronavirus-stricken hospitals.

2. Catch up quick
  1. Hungary's parliament gave Prime Minister Viktor Orbán almost unlimited power, for an indefinite period, to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Go deeper.
  2. Instacart claims a proposed worker strike had "absolutely no impact" on its operations. Go deeper.
  3. Macy's will furlough the majority of its 130,000 workers this week, as the company's stores remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  4. Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne has a warrant out for his arrest after he refused to cancel his packed services and obey coronavirus social distancing orders. Go deeper.
3. 1 smile to go: We need a national puzzle stockpile
Photo: Getty Images

"America Falls to Pieces Over Shortage of Jigsaw Puzzles," reports a Wall Street Journal A-hed by Michael M. Phillips (subscription):

  • "Demand rises as pandemic keeps millions at home, but getting them isn't easy."
  • Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt says: "Customers with time on their hands are looking for fatter books and more-complicated puzzles."

"Of the top 10 items that shoppers searched for on last Tuesday, nine were antivirus cleaning supplies or personal-hygiene products (read: toilet paper). No. 7 was 'puzzles for adults.'"

  • "More people were hunting desperately for jigsaw puzzles that day than Clorox wipes."