Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.
President lies, attacks media, accuses healthcare workers
Donald Trump has extended America’s national shutdown to at least the end of April, claiming his administration will have done a “very good job” if it keeps the US death toll from Covid-19 to fewer than 100,000. The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, warned on Sunday that the pandemic could claim twice that number of American lives, while the top Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, said many deaths will be an indirect result of the president’s denials and delays.
At a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Sunday, Trump uttered several fresh falsehoods, verbally abused reporters and appeared to accuse healthcare workers of stealing protective masks, without providing evidence to back up the claim. He had earlier posted a string of tweets boasting about the TV audience ratings for his daily coronavirus briefings.
Economic argument. Prominent conservatives, business groups and rightwing politicians are still urging Trump to restart the economy despite the worsening outbreak – including Glenn Beck, who told viewers: “I would rather die than kill the country.”
Ignore the bankers. Former labor secretary Robert Reich says such voices are callous and wrong: “The ‘trillions of dollars’ of economic losses don’t exist on any balance sheet that can be tallied against human lives.”
NY deaths top 1,000, but some states still won’t stay indoors
The coronavirus death toll in New York state alone is now more than 1,000, but some states are still lagging behind in adopting protective measures. Jude Joffe-Block reports from Arizona, where Republican governor Doug Ducey has so far refused to issue a shelter-in-place order despite hundreds of confirmed Covid-19 cases – and blocked localities from acting on their own.
Election cycle. At least 15 Democratic primaries have been delayed due to the coronavirus, essentially freezing the party’s presidential contest. Joan E Greve asks how the election might be conducted under a lengthy lockdown.
Stimulus check. People earning less than $75,000 will receive a one-time cash payment of $1,200 as part of the $2.2tn congressional coronavirus stimulus. But as the Guardian’s data blogger Mona Chalabi demonstrates, that money won’t last long.
World lockdowns tighten as China tries out global leadership
Spain is beginning its first day of an even more restrictive lockdown, with only essential workers allowed to leave their homes after the country suffered another 24 hours of record deaths. Twelve million people are on lockdown in Russia, while Japan and South Korea have tightened their borders to prevent imported cases of Covid-19. The UK’s health authorities have warned coronavirus restrictions could last six months, even as a key government scientific adviser suggested the country’s infection rate may be slowing “a little bit.”
Chinese leadership. Global cooperation over the response to the pandemic has been hindered by the Trump administration’s insistence on blaming China. America’s abdication has left the field open for Beijing to lead, writes Julian Borger.
India divided. The outbreak has magnified India’s massive inequality, with the possibility of starvation added to the fear of infection. Meanwhile, the country’s medics face ostracisation from their communities amid a crisis they are fighting on the frontline.
Indigenous fears. The indigenous communities of South America are blockading their remote communities for fear they could be decimated by the disease. The Guardian’s team report from across the continent.
In other news…
The family of singer-songwriter John Prine say he has been placed on a ventilator at a hospital in Nashville after suffering a sudden onset of Covid-19 symptoms. Celebrated musicians Alan Merrill and Joe Diffie are among those who have already died as a result of the coronavirus.
The US agriculture giant Monsanto knew for years that its plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely cause damage on many farms, according to internal documents seen by the Guardian.
Trump has said the US will refuse to fund security protection for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan after the couple reportedly moved to Mehgan’s home state of California.
An Australian astrophysicist has been hospitalised after getting four powerful neodymium magnets stuck up his nose while attempting to invent a device to prevent people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak.
Visit the world’s great landmarks while you’re stuck at home
The Pyramids of Giza, The Eiffel Tower, Angkor Wat … They’re all closed amid the global lockdown – and you wouldn’t be able to travel to them anyway. But you can still take a virtual tour. Antonia Wilson rounds up 10 wonders of the world to visit from home.
The horrifying power of The Plot Against America
The makers of The Wire have adapted Philip Roth’s 2004 speculative novel for television, an alternative history of the US in which the nation elects an antisemite president and sides with the Nazis in the second world war. It now seems uncomfortably prescient, writes Charles Bramesco.
Guardian long reads: 25 of the best to keep you occupied
If you’re looking for reading material to while away the hours at home – preferably material that has nothing to do with the coronavirus – David Wolf has selected 25 highlights from the Guardian’s long reads archive.
Is fake meat getting too much like the real thing?
The Impossible burger changed everything for vegetarians: a plant-based alternative that bled like real meat, thanks to a crafty concoction of beet juice and other ingredients. Herbivore Zoe Sayler says she’s starting to get creeped out by all this “not-quite-meat” business.
In the 1930s, sky-high unemployment coincided with a rise in both authoritarianism and progressivism. Barry Eichengreen says there is reason to hope the current crisis could pound the last nails into the coffin of the Thatcher-Reagan revolution.
It was not just high unemployment that led to the welfare state, the mixed economy, and more expansive government. In addition, it was the second world war and the realisation that national security, even national survival, required shared sacrifice, and that public support for those who sacrificed was a necessary and appropriate quid pro quo.
The US morning briefing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.