A version of this story appeared in CNN What Matters newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
It’s April 15. In any other reality, today would have been Tax Day. Instead, millions of Americans are waiting on stimulus checks from the IRS that may or may not be held up because the Treasury Department wants President Donald Trump’s name on it. More on that in a sec.
Also, you should still go ahead and file if you can, but the new tax day is July 15.
Hoping for May – Having learned absolutely nothing from his ridiculous plan for an Easter resurrection, Trump is now apparently eyeing early May to begin reopening the country. He says he will unveil new coronavirus guidelines this week. (Reminder: The current guidelines expire April 30.) Read the full report from CNN’s White House team.
And also read this story about how Trump’s business allies have been counseling him to listen to the science. In this context, that means making a grand American reopening contingent on mass testing of individuals and mapping of the coronavirus. It will be interesting to see how the new guidelines square with that advice.
Hoping for September – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is talking more realistically about a possible return to school for the nation’s children in the fall. Trump is talking May. Fauci is talking September. You do the math.
Hoping for 2021 – Some universities have already said students may not return to campus until 2021. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says his city may not allow large gatherings like concerts or public events until next year, either.
Social distancing into 2022 – Researchers at Harvard have said that, short of a vaccine, we may need to keep social distancing – or some version of it – in place through next year.
Where is the vaccine? – Manhattan project. Moonshot. Race for the double helix. Hopefully the search for the Covid-19 vaccine is the kind of mass scientific effort we will all one day read books about. Kizzmekia Corbett, the National Institute of Health’s lead scientist for coronavirus vaccine research, said on CNN Tuesday night that a vaccine could be ready next spring.
Recap: May. September. 2021. 2022 – Those are all very different ideas right there, but the truth is probably underneath them.
The return to some semblance of normalcy is going to depend very much on where you live, who is in charge there, and how Covid-19 is spreading.
What’s going on in your state? – CNN Wednesday published a look at the current status in all 50 US states and each governor is handling things differently. Part of the reason for that is that in this massive country, the virus will hit different places at different times. Read the full survey here.
Face masks are the new must-have – Suffice it to say the leadership on this will come from your mayor or governor or both. New York, for instance, is on the cusp of a rule requiring people to wear face masks in public.
What the world will look like until there is a treatment – California was the first US state to put in place a stay-at-home order – and it presumably helped them avoid a larger Covid-19 catastrophe. Gov. Gavin Newsom has talked about the six criteria he sees for lifting the stay at home order in his state:
Expand testing and track the infected;
Protect vulnerable people;
Meet the needs of medical caregivers;
Have drugs for treatment;
Have businesses and schools comply with social distancing;
Be able to reinstate a stay-at-home order.
Those things won’t all happen in a rush – Expanded testing has remained frustratingly elusive. The FDA is now looking at an emergency saliva test.
Antibody testing has suffered the setback of bad tests flooding the market and the FDA has had to retighten restrictions.
Newsom said check back in two weeks. That’s 14 White House briefings from now.
What’s the White House doing? – Each day brings a new mini-drama from the President and the White House. Today’s involves those $1,200 Covid-19 checks, which unlike previous tax rebates or stimulus efforts, will feature Trump’s name (He wants his name on everything, as we know). That’s galling, to say the least.