Believing the worst is yet to come, some top advisers to President Trump are struggling to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for much of the nation to reopen.
State of play: The operating assumption among administration officials involved in the coronavirus planning is that the April 12 mark — 16 days away — will not, in fact, turn out to be the starting gun for businesses across America to reopen.
The Trump administration is developing a plan to label counties across the country as "high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk" areas for the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said in a letter to the nation's governors on Thursday.
Why it matters: Against the warnings of health experts, Trump is pushing for parts of the country to lift social distancing restrictions over the next few weeks and months, believing that the economic toll of an extended quarantine will be more damaging than the virus itself.
The Trump administration did not follow a National Security Council "playbook" detailing how the federal government should respond to global pandemics, Politico's Dan Diamond and Nahal Toosi report.
Why it matters: Based on recommendations from the document, the government should have started gathering personal protective equipment like masks and gloves at least two months ago in preparation for coronavirus.
After several days of intense negotiations and an 11th-hour standoff over a key provision, the Senate has released the final legislative text for its $2 trillion bill to combat the novel coronavirus.
Why it matters: The bill is the largest rescue package in modern history, and it offers thousands of dollars in direct aid to American families, billions in emergency loans to small businesses and industries hardest hit by COVID-19, and desperately needed resources to hospitals.
President Trump's proposal to get business around the country back open by Easter Sunday, April 12, will do more harm to the economy if the coronavirus outbreak has not been contained, economists say.
Why it matters: Such a plan would sow uncertainty in markets and among customers and business owners and make the recession longer and harsher.
ABC's Jonathan Karl writes in "Front Row at the Trump Show," out Tuesday, that during a meeting in 2017, President Trump interrupted a presentation by then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and demanded a war plan. "I will pass that order on to the Pentagon immediately, Mr. President," McMaster replied.
The big picture: Karl writes that one of the options Trump "had in mind was a naval blockade of Venezuela, which didn't make sense for a lot of reasons, including the fact that Venezuela is not an island."
Most Americans approve of President Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and his overall approval rating has risen from 44% to 49% during the crisis, according to a Gallup poll.
Background: Trump has received criticism in the media, as well as from officials in Washington, D.C., and around the country, for downplaying the threat of the virus and for not taking stronger action to make tests available and ramp up production of necessary medical supplies.
President Trump egged on by a growing number of advisers and business leaders, believes the economy will crater absent a strong signal, and wants to stagger the reopening of work nationwide, people who’ve spoken to him tell Axios.
Behind the scenes: Trump has been hearing from lots of people in the business community and conservative media telling him the economy can't survive this shutdown much longer. The sources say that "horrific," "truly scary" economic consequences were described to Trump.
In just four days, General Motors fast-tracked a plan to help a stretched medical device company build 200,000 badly needed ventilators to treat coronavirus patients.
Why it matters: It's not only a symbol of GM's significant industrial might 11 years after a government-brokered bankruptcy. It also shows how President Trump is squeezing American businesses to act.
In the coming months, the decisions world leaders make — and their ability to communicate them effectively — could determine whether millions live or die, and whether the global economy stays afloat.
What to watch: Nations are judging their leaders on a daily basis. They may ultimately be revered or reviled based on the decisions they make now. Some may emerge with new powers that last well beyond the outbreak.