Good morning. It's still only Thursday, which is incredible. Happy Thursday.
Today's word count is 865, or a 3-minute read.
Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios; Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images
A poor response to the novel coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it's still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts, Axios' Sam Baker and Alayna Treene report.
Why it matters: There's only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if things get bad as the year goes on, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.
Case in point: Last night's coronavirus press conference was all over the map.
What we're hearing: Sources familiar with the decision tell Axios that the call to put Vice President Mike Pence in charge was made just yesterday.
"This is such a s--tshow. Thank goodness the markets are closed," a former HHS official who's close to the White House said during the briefing.
Colorado lawmakers are preparing to vote on the state's public option proposal, providing an example of what happens when politicians take on the health care industry, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: Democrats by and large want to do the same thing on a national scale, but promising more affordable coverage for everyone is a lot easier than actually passing legislation to make it happen.
Details: Colorado's public option would be run by private insurers, although it would more tightly limit insurers' profits and administrative costs. Insurers don't like the additional regulation.
The intrigue: A local affiliate of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future Action — the group opposing Medicare for All nationally — paid for a mailer that warned Coloradans that the proposal would raise costs and lead to hospital closures.
Go deeper: Blue states' watered-down health reforms
An Italian health worker. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images
Many U.S. hospitals have been stocking extra supplies and refreshing disaster preparation plans over the past month in the event the coronavirus became more prominent domestically, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that this infectious disease could spread more in the U.S., and hospitals have anticipated such scenarios.
Where it stands: The American Hospital Association told its members last week that they "should be prepared for the possible arrival of patients with COVID-19," directing them to use a CDC checklist for coronavirus patients and monitor protective equipment needs.
The spotlight that the coronavirus has shone on our reliance on China for American drugs and medical devices has already prompted lawmakers to act.
Driving the news: Sens. Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley both plan to introduce bills aimed at safeguarding the supply chain.
Details: Rubio's bill would require drugmakers to report to the Food and Drug Administration the volume of their drug's ingredients derived from each source, which would give the FDA a clearer picture of how reliant drugs are on Chinese products.
Hawley's legislation would require medical device manufacturers to report predicted shortages to the FDA, and would give the FDA additional authorities in the event of an expected shortage.
The bottom line: Old fears about our medical supplies' dependence on China have been given new urgency.
The nation's first supervised drug-use site is set to open in Philadelphia next week, after a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in favor of the nonprofit that plans to open it, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Yes, but: The Justice Department — which brought the lawsuit against the nonprofit — said it's appealing the decision.
Context: Advocates of such sites say that they help prevent deadly overdoses while potentially helping connect users with treatment.