In other news, global coronavirus cases topped 500,000 today, doubling from last week's total.
Does this mean there will be 1 million cases by next Friday? The U.S. has now overtaken China in the number of cases according to the latest report from about 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, major retailers are starting to cancel their merchandise orders through up to June, giving us some idea that some of the largest corporate retailers don't expect things to be normal very soon.
Finally, ProPublica reports that federal prosecutors in Texas gathered evidence to criminally charge Wal-Mart for its role in the opioid epidemic, but Trump's appointees at the Justice Department killed it in 2018.
The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels.
They first went to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters to meet the acting administrator, Uttam Dhillon. There Rattan laid out the evidence. Opioids dispensed by Walmart pharmacies in Texas had killed customers who had overdosed. The pharmacists who dispensed those opioids had told the company they didn’t want to fill the prescriptions because they were coming from doctors who were running pill mills. They pleaded for help and guidance from Walmart’s corporate office.
Investigators had obtained records of similar cries for help from Walmart pharmacists all over the country: from Maine, North Carolina, Kansas and Washington, and other states. They reported hundreds of thousands of suspicious or inappropriate opioid prescriptions. One Walmart employee warned about a Florida doctor who had a “list of patients from Kentucky that have been visiting pharmacies in all of central Wisconsin recently.” That doctor had sent patients to Walmarts in more than 30 other states.
In response to these alarms, Walmart compliance officials did not take corporate-wide action to halt the flow of opioids. Instead, they repeatedly admonished pharmacists that they could not cut off any doctor entirely. They could only evaluate each prescription on an individual basis. And they went further. An opioid compliance manager told an executive in an email, gathered during the inquiry and viewed by ProPublica, that Walmart’s focus should be on “driving sales.”
There's a lot more to the story. None of it good.
Forgive the light posting today. I had a really rough night last night and I was a dehydrated zombie today. I think I'm going to take a mental health day tomorrow.