Tuesday's top stories

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Fauci on Trump's Easter timeline: "That's really very flexible"

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a coronavirus briefing Tuesday that President Trump's target date of Easter to ease social distancing is "really very flexible."

Why it matters: Trump's suggestion earlier Tuesday that he would order parts of the economy to be restarted by April 12 has sparked concern among health experts, many of whom warn that it could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket and overwhelm the health system.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Travelers from New York should quarantine for 14 days, White House says

Deborah Birx and President Trump on March 24. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said on Tuesday it was "very critical" that individuals who have recently traveled from the New York metro area self-quarantine for 14 days to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: "We don't want that to be another seeding point to the rest of the country," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday.

Mar 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

60% of Americans approve of Trump's coronavirus response: poll

Photo: Ric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

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.

American manufacturing vs. the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America's new goalpost: Build tens of thousands of ventilators and assemble and reuse billions of face masks in the next few weeks to ward off some of the worst-case scenarios from the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: We need to give medical professionals, first responders and essential personnel (like grocery store staff) every possible tool to treat the ill and avoid getting sick.

Updated Mar 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stocks soar 9% as Congress nears coronavirus stimulus deal

Photo: Luiz Roberto Lima-ANB/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Stocks closed up more than 9% on Tuesday, marking yet another day of huge moves in the stock market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Congressional leaders signaled that they're close to striking a deal on a massive stimulus package that will soften the blow for businesses and consumers as the pandemic threatens an unprecedented halt in economic activity.

Biden to Trump: "Stop talking and start listening to the medical experts"

2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden harshly criticized President Trump's suggestion on Tuesday that social distancing restrictions should be lifted by Easter, saying on CNN that the president should "stop talking and start listening to the medical experts."

Why it matters: Trump has been warned by his close advisers that the economy can’t sustain a shutdown for much longer, and he's weighing lifting restrictions in certain zip codes after the expiration of the White House's "15 Days to Slow the Spread" initiative. Health experts warn that this could lead to a drastic increase in coronavirus cases.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Trump says he wants to "open" the country by Easter

President Trump said at a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he would "love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter, or April 12, despite warnings from public health officials that easing social distancing restrictions too soon could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Why it matters: Trump is becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of the economy, and he's begun to discuss options for reopening parts of the country that have been on lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Mar 24, 2020 - Science

The cosmic perspective on self-isolation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The perspective space provides is essential during these troubled times.

Why it matters: Astronauts live in isolation and look down on our planet with a view that can bring people out of their own experiences, especially during times of extreme and shocking change.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Twitter donating $1 million to journalism nonprofits amid coronavirus

Photo: NurPhoto/Contributor

Twitter said Tuesday that it's donating $1 million to the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women's Media Foundation ($500,000 each) to support newsrooms while covering the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Many newsrooms are struggling with how to balance covering the virus while ensuring the safety of their employees. Others are struggling to cover COVID-19 without the steady stream of ad revenue coming in during the pandemic.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Cuomo pleads with federal government to supply New York with ventilators

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government on Tuesday to supply ventilators, saying the state is in dire need of tens of thousands of machines to manage the coronavirus outbreak. The state expects to receive about 4,000 ventilators per Vice President Mike Pence.

Why it matters: New York state has become the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, with 25,665 cases, and Cuomo said time is running out to wait on domestic production of medical supplies.

Mar 24, 2020 - World

India announces nationwide lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a deserted street during Janta Curfew, Srinagar, India, March 22. Photo: Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that the entire country will be locked down for three weeks beginning at midnight in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: With 1.3 billion people, India is the second-most populated country in the world. India currently has 519 confirmed cases.

Updated Mar 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi: "Real optimism" for coronavirus stimulus deal "in the next few hours"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNBC's Jim Cramer Tuesday that there is "real optimism" that a coronavirus stimulus deal could come together "in the next few hours."

Driving the news: One "big change" in the negotiations that Pelosi highlighted was the fact that Senate Republicans and the Trump administration agreed to House Democrats' oversight language for the $500 billion fund designed to help impacted industries.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Mar 24, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Lawmakers reject renewables aid in latest round of coronavirus relief

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The renewable power sector would not get sought-after aid in the COVID-19 economic plans before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, a setback for the industry warning of steep job losses and scuttled projects.

Driving the news: House Democrats' $2.5 trillion proposal unveiled last night omits what industry groups and some lawmakers wanted: an extension of deadlines to use tax credits and the ability to quickly monetize them. The provisions are also absent from the Senate's GOP-drafted "phase three" proposal.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Ford to help GE, 3M make more coronavirus supplies

Ford worker assembles transparent face shield. Photo: Ford Motor

Ford Motor is bootstrapping ideas with GE Healthcare and 3M to help them dramatically increase their production of much-need medical supplies to fight the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Ford and other automakers specialize in cranking out cars in high volume, using global supply chains. That mass production expertise is critical as medical technology companies try to meet surging demand during the crisis.

Mar 24, 2020 - Sports

Tokyo Summer Olympics postponed until 2021

Photo: John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images.

The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that the Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The Olympics entail a massive amount of travel, congregating and physical contact — all things that are being discouraged in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Multiple athletes and teams had already called for the committee to postpone the Games, which were scheduled to begin July 24.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Mar 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

The Fed goes to war with coronavirus

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

While President Trump has waffled on coronavirus and the Senate and House of Representatives have bickered over how best to deploy a fiscal response, the Federal Reserve has unleashed an onslaught of monetary policy power.

What happened: Having fired the full arsenal it deployed during the 2007–2009 global financial crisis in a matter of weeks, the Fed has committed to trillions in buying. And, it now promises unlimited purchases of U.S. government debt and mortgage-backed securities as well as municipal and corporate bond buys.

Mar 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump eyes a back-to-work plan despite coronavirus

The White House Correspondents' Association reduced for the second time the number of briefing-room seats that can be occupied on Monday. Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

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.

Free content gives relief to parents juggling kids and work at home

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Media outlets and e-learning companies are opening up access to free kids' content, tools and resources to parents who are struggling to entertain their kids at home while also working remotely.

Why it matters: As schools and offices both shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak, parents are trying to figure out how to do two full-time jobs at once. Access to free content and educational programs can help reduce that burden.

Coronavirus inspires divergent messages and misinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Misinformation and mixed messages from leaders are compounding people's natural fear about the pandemic from the new coronavirus and diverting their attention from the steps scientists say are needed to quell the outbreak.

Why it matters: Even the best-case scenario is dire for Americans, and that's based on social distancing and other measures having the chance to take effect.

America's new favorite pastime

News consumption has skyrocketed in the U.S. over the past few weeks due to the coronavirus, according to TV ratings, web traffic, app downloads and social media interactions.

Why it matters: Without live sports and with Hollywood production put on pause, consumers are confined to the only type of new professional-grade content that's still being produced daily: news.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus' growing emotional toll

Data: Axios/Ipsos surveys of 1,092 U.S. adults, conducted March 13-16, and 998 adults, conducted March 20-23, 2020. Margin of error of ±3.2 and ±3.3 percentage points; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The response to the coronavirus outbreak is increasingly taxing Americans' mental and emotional health, according to the second installment of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

By the numbers: Last week, just 29% of the people we surveyed said their emotional well-being had gotten worse lately. This week, that's up to 43% — compared with a much more modest increase in the number of people who said their physical health has deteriorated.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Everything's worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey, margin of error of ±3.3 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Nine in 10 Americans are now concerned about the coronavirus, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index — with half worried about their jobs and their ability to pay the bills.

Why it matters: The second installment of our weekly survey shows sudden, massive changes to how we work, shop, socialize and care for ourselves and our families. The numbers also reflect an overwhelming sentiment that things are getting worse.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Trump's huge coronavirus gamble

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump is eager to ease off of stringent coronavirus mitigation steps “soon,” he said yesterday, but that would have a calamitous impact on Americans’ health — and it’s not clear how much it would help the economy, either.

Why it matters: For now, the only way to avoid large numbers of deaths is to keep people away from each other to stop the virus' spread. And as long as the coronavirus is spreading, it’s likely to hurt the economy.

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Health officials warn against Trump easing coronavirus restrictions

White House coronavirus response coordinator Debbie Brix, Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump during a task force meeting this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Health officials and two state governors are pushing back after President Trump's suggested Monday that physical distancing restrictions introduced to clamp down on the spread of the novel coronavirus will be lifted "fairly soon."

The big picture: Trump told a briefing, "If it were up to the doctors, they may say let's keep it shut down — let's shut down the entire world." The president added that the U.S. "wasn't built to be shut down."

Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus traces found on Diamond Princess 17 days after passengers left

Emergency workers exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, in February. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Traces of the novel coronavirus were found in the cabins on the Diamond Princess cruise ship up to 17 days after passengers left, a study published by the CDC Monday found.

Why it matters: Axios health care editor Sam Baker notes: "The virus lives a long time on hard surfaces, and that's another reason to be wary about quickly reopening businesses like bars, restaurants and gyms while the virus is still spreading quickly."

Trump says Fed chairman is doing a "good job" amid coronavirus crisis

Trump and Powell in 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump said Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has "really stepped up," offering rare praise during a press conference on Monday.

Why it matters: It marks a big shift in Trump's tone on Powell — who he's bashed for months — after a series of measures announced by the Fed in recent days to ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Mar 24, 2020 - World

Timeline: How Italy's coronavirus crisis became the world's deadliest

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. Note: The data was not updated on March 12

Italy recorded 602 deaths on Monday from the coronavirus — a staggering total that could nonetheless be some cause for hope because it's the second day of decline from Saturday's high of 793.

The big picture: Monday marks two weeks since Italy entered a nationwide lockdown, with officials warning at the time that we wouldn't get a sense of how effective the measures had been until right about now.