In other news, about 860,000 Americans filed new, initial claims for unemployment last week or about 1.5 million if you include gig-economy workers (+658,000) only covered by the federal government.
Meanwhile, coronavirus deaths increased by 17 percent last week while the number of new cases declined according to an internal memo from FEMA. I think we just stopped taking testing seriously.
Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly developed a plan to send 5 reusable masks to every American in April, but the White House canceled it because they didn't want to take the pandemic seriously.
The Postal Service prepared for the possibility it might be deputized in the effort, drawing up a news release touting that it was “uniquely suited” to help. The service specifically identified Orleans and Jefferson parishes in Louisiana as the first areas to receive face coverings, with deliveries shortly thereafter to King County, Wash.; Wayne County, Mich.; and New York, according to the newly unearthed document, which is labeled a draft.
Before the news release was sent, however, the White House nixed the plan, according to senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal deliberations. Instead, HHS created Project America Strong, a $675 million effort to distribute “reusable cotton face masks to critical infrastructure sectors, companies, healthcare facilities, and faith-based and community organizations across the country.” About 600 million of the 650 million masks ordered have been distributed, according to an HHS spokesperson, including 125 million set aside for schools.
“There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic,” one administration official said in response to the scrapped mask plan.
They knew. They even had additional plans in place to do something about it. But they did nothing because of political concerns.