☕ Cover Shot: President Donald J. Trump listens as Ambassador Debbie Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, addresses her remarks at a news conference where President Trump announced a national emergency to further combat the Coronavirus outbreak on Friday, March 13, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Paying it Forward: The coronavirus is keeping customers away from small restaurants. These establishments already operate on extremely small margins. One way to pay it forward may be buying a gift card from your favorite spot online. Think of it almost like a short term loan. When the fog clears, treat your family to an evening out with the gift card. From Rich Antoniello on Twitter.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Americans are concerned but not panicked about the coronavirus pandemic, though a majority thinks the worst is yet to come and many say the crisis has changed their day-to-day lives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. The government’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down even more to help slow spread of the coronavirus. Staying Positive: In the midst of the chaos at various airports and finger-pointing between the state and federal officials, there have actually been beacons of bipartisanship emerging around the country. The House is expected to pass a coronavirus bill by unanimous consent this week. President Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom—normally at odds with one another—have been acknowledging the work each one is doing. Why it matters: that’s what we need. Partisan infighting will only lead to more panic, and critical thinking is tough to perform under stress. Why exacerbate it with the blame game? Further Reading: Why outbreaks like the coronavirus spread exponentially and how to “flatten the curve”.
A Patchwork of Plans
States and cities across the country are implementing a patchwork of plans to combat the coronavirus. Ohio, Illinois, Washington, and New York City became some of the first states and municipalities to close all bars and restaurants. New York City’s public school system, the largest in the country, will also close in order to stem the spread of the outbreak. California’s governor requested that all people over 65 participate in home isolation. Zoom out: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday called for the cancellation of in-person events of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks to try to prevent the spread of the illness. Be smart: frankly, it seems like only a matter of time before the Federal Government implements a unified nationwide “shutdown” (as Dr. Fauci suggested above). This could include a domestic travel ban, for example. – The Hill / NY Post / POLITICO
Life Without Sports
From LinkedIn Editor, Andrew Murfett: “The extended absence of live, televised sports — long a source of solace and an antidote to the perniciousness of everyday life — has forced the nation to ‘reckon with society’s newfound fragility,’ The Ringer writes. Canceling play has also created ‘serious financial consequences’ for the $160 billion sports industry. Players, teams, leagues and companies, and the army of workers who staff stadiums and arenas are all preparing for a significant stoppage. Although some teams have insurance to partly cover lost revenues, an elongated hiatus’ impact will be felt long after play resumes.” – LI / The Ringer
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Italy Death Toll Jumps & A Grave Warning from Gingrich
The coronavirus continued its assault on Italy, the hardest-hit country outside of China, with officials on Sunday reporting the number of deaths rose to 1,809 — a 25 percent increase over the day before and the largest one-day uptick yet of any country. Newt Gingrich is living in the country and wrote an op-ed this weekend warning that “America Must Act Now and Act Big”. The 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives said that “Because the demand for respirators and intensive care has been beyond any previous planning, doctors have been forced into the kind of triage thinking developed for intense battlefield casualty situations. There are reports that emergency room doctors are allotting respirators to those with higher life expectancy due to the limited equipment in the hardest-hit areas of the province. If you are older or have other illnesses, you may simply not be eligible for treatment.” – Newsweek
Germany closes borders and restrictions multiply around the world
Meanwhile, Germany will close its borders with Austria, Denmark, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s interior minister said on Sunday. Spain and France announced drastic countrywide restrictions this weekend as well. The countries are the hardest hit after Italy. Austria banned gatherings of more than five people and imposed steep fines for those who disobeyed a far-reaching curfew. Ireland is closing its pubs for two weeks, including on St. Patrick’s Day, and barring gatherings of more than 100 people. The Netherlands announced a lockdown that will last until April 6. In Africa, Morocco suspended all international passenger flights to and from its airports and South Africa declared a national state of disaster, closing schools, shutting down ports and banning gatherings of more than 100 people. – NYT / US News and World Report
Netanyahu’s rival Gantz secures 61 majority to form government
The main rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—former Israeli military chief Benny Gantz—won support from Israel’s Arab coalition on Sunday to form a government. What this actually means: With recommendations from 61 members of the Knesset, President Reuven Rivlin is required by law to grant Gantz the mandate. Zoom out: Gantz could then appoint a speaker from his party and begin the slow push to prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government due to his corruption indictments. Right now, this is all being made even more complicated by the coronavirus outbreak, but it is an important political development to keep on the radar. – Al Jazeera / Axios
Fed Slashes Rates to Zero
After the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 registered their worst day since 1987 on Thursday, both benchmarks, along with the Nasdaq ended the week on a positive note. In fact, all three US indexes gained 9.3% on Friday with the Dow adding over 1,985 points. Across the board, it was the biggest one day gain since October 2008. Despite the optimistic upturn, the Dow lost 10% last week overall, registering its worst five-day stretch since the 2008 financial crisis. What’s being done? Well, the Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero on Sunday and said it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities in an aggressive bid to prevent market disruptions from aggravating what is likely to be a severe slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic. Zoom out: The move follows several actions by the Fed over the past two weeks in which it enacted a 50 basis point emergency rate cut and expanded the overnight credit offering, or repo, for the financial system up to $1.5 trillion. – WSJ / CNBC
The Masters, London Marathon and Boston Marathon have been postponed
For the first time in 124 years, the Boston Marathon has been rescheduled for September. Additionally, the Masters Golf Tournament 2020 has been postponed and the London Marathon was rescheduled for October. Good Sports News: Professional athletes are donating money to cover salaries of hourly workers at different arenas. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson, and Blake Griffin are just some of the NBA all stars jumping on board. Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is donating $100,000 to make sure all part-time staff who work at the BB&T Center get paid during the hiatus as well. – CNN / NBC
Apple to close US retail stores and all others outside China until March 27th
Apple is temporarily closing all of its retail stores “outside of Greater China” until March 27th. Why it matters: The nationwide closure is among the first from a major retailer in the United States, meaning other outlets could follow suit. For example: Starbucks has announced it may exercise that option as well. Big picture: Apple operates some of the most high-profile retail stores in the world and ranks first in the US for highest sales per square foot. – The Verge
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1802: U.S. Military Academy established
The United States Military Academy–the first military school in the United States–is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Located at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.