Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
Trump's stunning abdication of leadership comes as pandemic worsens
President Donald Trump had predicted in almost every campaign rally that the media would stop talking about the coronavirus pandemic the day after the election. But as it turns out, no one is ignoring the worsening tragedy more than the President himself.

Instead of taking charge as the country plunges deeper into the worst domestic crisis since World War II, Trump has disappeared inside the White House, saying nothing on camera since he baselessly claimed a week ago that the election was being stolen from him by President-elect Joe Biden.

He's spending time with advisers, not strategizing on how to tame the out-of-control health emergency but seeking a path to win an election already declared lost. He's also found time to purge the top leadership of the Pentagon, and with few appointments on his public schedule appears to spend his days watching news coverage and tweeting misinformation about voter fraud.

In essence, Trump, his family and his advisers are spending all their energy desperately trying to save a job -- the presidency -- that he appears to have no intention of doing in any meaningful sense.

It's an especially staggering and surreal failure of leadership, given the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent economic turmoil, even for a President who downplayed and lied about the true nature of the pandemic and repeatedly predicted the virus would just go away.

Before the election, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had signaled the way ahead by claiming on CNN's "State of the Union" that the pandemic could not be controlled.

Now that the election is done, the Trump White House seems to care even less than it did before.

A disease that has killed more than 240,000 Americans cares little for the President's bruised feelings after a defeat he has yet to recognize. Even since the election, it has exploded. On Wednesday, the US recorded more than 140,500 new infections and lost more than 1,100 more lives. More patients than ever before -- nearly 65,000 -- are in hospitals with the disease and the rate of increase is alarming doctors, who fear health services will be swamped within weeks.

... Trump is not alone in his neglect. Vice President Mike Pence is the head of the White House coronavirus task force but has held no public briefings in weeks -- though he did huddle with the team this week. As a result, there are no directives from the West Wing on how Americans can mitigate the many thousands of deaths expected before Biden, who has made tackling the virus his priority, takes office.

... Dr. Seema Yasmin, a former CDC disease detective who's a CNN medical analyst, told CNN's John King on Wednesday that the current "unsustainable" carnage -- 1,400 American daily fatalities -- is equivalent to three or four planeloads of people crashing and dying every day.

... "The goal of mask-wearing is not to make your life less comfortable or take something away from you. It's to give something back to all of us: a normal life," Biden said on Monday. "The goal is to get back to normal as fast as possible, and masks are critical to doing that. It won't be forever," he said, trying, unlike Trump, to convince Americans that wearing a mask is not a political statement.

Zack Guzman (@zGuz), Anchor @YahooFinance / Twitter
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, one of Biden’s coronavirus advisors, Dr. Michael Osterholm, warned that a period of “Covid hell” awaits the US in the coming weeks. Osterholm suggested a 4-6 week nationwide lockdown and called for the government to pay everyone’s wages during that time. “If we did that, we could drive the numbers down, like they have done in Asia, like they did in New Zealand and Australia,” he said.

California’s Coronavirus Caseload: 1 Million and Counting
More than half of California’s nearly 40 million residents live in counties now under the most restrictive measures for businesses and public gatherings.

California residents have become accustomed to receiving cellphone alerts about earthquakes and approaching wildfires. But phones lit up across Los Angeles on Tuesday with a different emergency: Coronavirus cases were on the rise after months of remaining steady. The public safety alert, the first time a virus-related one had been sent to the city’s residents, urged those who had symptoms or suspected they had been exposed to head to a testing site.

California recorded its millionth known coronavirus case on Thursday, becoming the second state, after Texas, to reach the grim milestone.

Citing an alarming increase in cases, San Francisco this week banned indoor dining at restaurants and paused a plan to reopen schools. In Los Angeles, thousands of residents have flocked in recent weeks to the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, one of the largest testing sites in the nation. In Sacramento, the number of people hospitalized with the virus has doubled to 158 in the past two weeks. And in San Diego, where rising cases pushed the city to the most restrictive level of the state’s guidelines, indoor activities will be banned as of Saturday in churches, gyms, yoga studios and movie theaters.

... If California were a country it would have slightly fewer cases per person than France or Brazil but nearly three times the levels of Germany.

Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign adviser, has tested positive for the virus.
Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign adviser who has been working on efforts to bring lawsuits contesting the election outcome in several states, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, a person briefed on the diagnosis said Thursday.

He attended a crowded election night party at the White House that several other people who later tested positive also attended. The latest figure to join their ranks was Jeff Miller, a Republican strategist, according to a person with knowledge of the situation on Thursday.

Several hundred people gathered at the election night event in the East Room for several hours, many of them not wearing masks as they mingled and watched election returns.

... The other people who had previously tested positive after attending the election night event were: Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief of staff; Ben Carson, the housing secretary; David Bossie, an adviser to Mr. Trump who is leading the charge on the election-related lawsuits and other efforts; and Brian Jack, the White House political director.

Richard Walters, the chief of staff of the Republican National Committee, has also tested positive for the virus, according to a person with knowledge with the situation. He did not attend the election night event at the White House.