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Donald Trump turns the switch

May 3, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Despite the warnings of health experts, President Donald Trump was no longer trying to hedge his bets, opting to go all in on reopening America after the Covid-19 shutdown. Will the public follow his lead? And what will be the impact on health?

(CNN)Gone were the daily White House briefings with Vice President Mike Pence solemnly urging Americans to shelter at home to stop the spread of Covid-19 and governors to follow a slowly phased-in reopening plan.

The Senate was on its way back to Washington and the President left the confinement of the White House, headed to Camp David for the weekend and was making plans to travel around the country.

Despite the warnings of health experts, President Donald Trump was no longer trying to hedge his bets.

As Peter Bergen noted, the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner went on Fox News to declare that "the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus" is a "great success story," claim that "we have all the testing we need to start opening the country" and state his hope that "by July, the country's really rocking again. "

At the same time "more than 60,000 Americans lie dead -- more than the death toll of the Vietnam War -- and more than 1 million have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus with no end in sight," Bergen wrote.

Or will Americans, as polls suggest, be too wary to venture into public places until they are confident that their health can be protected from the virus that causes Covid-19?

Experts are in agreement that much more widespread testing is crucial to safely reopening the country, but the White House has opted to let the states take the responsibility for that.

"Incredibly, Trump is repeating his disastrous strategy from the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, when he acted as if the coronavirus was a political and PR problem that could be fixed with empty reassurances and propaganda, rather than a public health crisis demanding smart and forceful action," wrote Frida Ghitis.

"Parts of the country are starting to reopen, and it's a good thing," the editors of the National Review wrote.

Michael D'Antonio marveled at Pence's response to the mask question: "Since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you. "

A report in the Washington Post cited unnamed current and former officials who said President Trump received more than a dozen warnings about the coronavirus in January and February at a time when he publicly downplayed the threat to the US.

Trump has made clear his disdain for parts of the nation's intelligence community, wrote Samantha Vinograd.

And the number of deaths due to Covid-19 is notoriously hard to pin down, as a study from the Yale School of Public Health and the Washington Post made clear this week.

"The Yale findings indicate officials are vastly underestimating the toll of the pandemic," wrote John D.

This week the President, who had been reluctant to use the Defense Production Act at earlier stages of the pandemic, invoked it to order the processing plants to continue operating.

"Given that meat processing plants are Covid-19 hotspots, this order is the height of irresponsibility and cruelty," wrote Raul A.

The Trump administration has given credence to an unproven theory that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan and says it is investigating the matter.

-- or prominent supporters of Biden's Democratic primary opponents (such as Bernie Sanders' former campaign staffers), who spend more time saying we should honor Ms. Reade's relatively thin allegations than they do demanding investigations into more than a dozen women who have credibly accused Trump of sexual harassment or worse (Trump denies those allegations. )"

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, wrote that Obama's team thoroughly vetted Biden in 2008 when he was selected as the Democratic vice presidential candidate: "Through that entire process, the name Tara Reade never came up.

"If the cornerstone of Joe Biden's campaign is pledging to be the moral compass of our nation, he needs to be more transparent," she wrote.

"It might just be that the best thing that Biden can do right now is to lay low and let the president self-destruct — the more that Trump says about the crisis, the worse he looks. " Republicans are worried about poll numbers that show Trump considerably behind Biden and that suggest their control of the Senate is at risk.

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