Mornings on the Mall
Friday, March 20, 2020
Hosts: Vince Coglianese and Mary Walter
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
Hans Von Spakovsky, Steve Schneider, Dr. Oz and Kevin Lewis joined WMAL on Friday!
5am – A/B/C LIVING IN THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: Are You Going Out? What Are You Seeing When You Go Out?
5am – D/E FEINSTEIN, BURR, LOEFFLER & OTHERS SELL BEFORE CRASH: Dianne Feinstein, 3 Senate colleagues sold off stocks before coronavirus crash: reports. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and three of her Senate colleagues sold off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, according to reports. The data is listed on a U.S. Senate website containing financial disclosures from Senate members. Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported. When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale. “All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.” Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.
6am – A Trump announces FDA making anti-malaria drug available ‘almost immediately’ to tackle coronavirus. President Trump announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making experimental drugs — including those used for treating malaria — available as part of the ongoing effort to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Trump announced at a White House press briefing that chloroquine, a drug designed for use in malaria, will be made available to test whether it helps patients recover from coronavirus. He said it was one of a number of antiviral therapies to limit the symptoms of the virus that the administration is trying to get to Americans as quickly as possible. “I have directed the FDA to eliminate rules and bureaucracy so work can proceed rapidly, quickly and fast,” Trump said. “We have to remove every barrier.” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn explained during the press conference it would be allowed under what’s known “compassionate use” — where doctors can request to use the experimental drug and get permission from the FDA to give to patients. Hahn also said he didn’t want to give “false hope” but said he was hopeful about the treatments. On chloroquine, Trump said it’s shown “very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.”
6am – B/C CALIFORNIA SHUTDOWN:
- California shuts down as Gov. Newsom announces statewide coronavirus ‘stay-at-home’ order. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening announced he’s enacting a “statewide order” for its nearly 40 million residents to “stay at home,” a wide-reaching measure for the most populous state in the country as the coronavirus spreads. The order took effect at midnight Friday. The order prohibits gatherings outside and requires nonessential businesses to close. The measure is intended to slow the spread of the virus. “We need to bend the curve in the state of California,” Newsom said during a news conference. “There’s a social contract here. People, I think, recognize the need to do more. They will adjust and adapt as they have.” Public events have been canceled and bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms and clubs will be closed. Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will stay open. Newsom’s office projected the virus will infect more than half of California’s within two months, according to a letter he sent to President Trump on Wednesday where he said the state has been disproportionately impacted.
- Gov. Newsom says 56% of Californians are expected to be infected with coronavirus “over an eight week period.” SACRAMENTO (KABC) — California health officials predict that about 56% of the state’s population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the novel coronavirus within the next eight weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a letter to President Donald Trump. The letter, dated March 18, echoes a phone conversation with Trump on Tuesday in which Newsom formally requested that the Navy’s USNS Mercy, the largest hospital ship in the world, be deployed to California. “The acquisition of the Mercy here off the coast of the state of California would provide additional 1,000 bed capacity, provides support for pharmacists and other diagnostic equipment,” said Newsom. “This resource will help decompress the health care delivery system to allow the Los Angeles region to ensure that it has the ability to address critical acute care needs, such as heart attacks and strokes or vehicle accidents, in addition to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases,” Newsom said.
6am – D Its Now Impossible To Legally Buy A Handgun In DC. (Daily Caller) Washington, D.C.’s only federally licensed gun dealer dealer Charles Sykes is no longer accepting firearms for transfers, meaning residents can’t legally buy new handguns in D.C., he told the Daily Caller Thursday. Sykes has been allowed to facilitate the transfer of handguns in Washington, D.C. since 2008, and he is the only person in the district allowed to do so. D.C. residents can’t buy handguns in the district, but could purchase a handgun in another state and have it shipped to Sykes. The licensed firearms dealer would receive the weapon and prepare paperwork for officials to approve. “I’m not accepting any firearms for transfers until further notice,” Sykes confirmed to the Daily Caller, adding that he does not sell guns.
6am – E 2020 NEWS:
- Biden is struggling to deliver his message during the coronavirus outbreak. “The former vice president is confined to his home,” and that’s preventing him from generating the momentum he’ll need to be successful in November. (Washington Examiner) – Having effectively wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden finds himself in a novel, if unenviable position as a presumptive nominee finding it difficult to attract media attention. Biden right about now should be earning mass coverage as he shifts from talking to a Democratic primary electorate to forming a general election message since he is the candidate who will challenge President Trump in November. But now, the former vice president is confined to his home, like many U.S. citizens, amid the coronavirus crisis. The 36-year Delaware senator is unable to hold large events with voters and confined to the sidelines as leaders grapple with how to manage economic turmoil and public health amid a global pandemic. Nearly all political coverage is focused on various stimulus bills proposed in Congress while the campaign trail is an afterthought. Because cable and network television studios have largely abandoned in-person interviews, Biden is now competing with a flood of medical experts and other officials giving updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
- Tulsi Gabbard suspends her presidential campaign. Gabbard announced that she is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race and threw her support behind former vice president Joe Biden.
6am – F ‘Keep them open’: OJ Simpson warns he’ll go ‘crazy’ if golf courses close. O.J. Simpson said he would go “crazy” if he can’t play golf because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 72-year-old former NFL star and actor, who was found not guilty of murdering his wife in one of the highest-profile court cases in American history, said the government would need to “open up some insane asylums” if quarantine measures continued in a tweet posted on Thursday that contained the text: “Keep them open. A lot of people need them.””I know if I can’t play golf for the next month, I’m [going to] go crazy,” Simpson said. Simpson pleaded not guilty to the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman and was acquitted in 1995. He was later found liable for the deaths in a 1997 civil case and later spent nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping before being released in 2017. Since joining the platform in July, Simpson has used Twitter to upload videos musing on topics ranging from news events to life advice. “I think, for some of the older guys, that golf is their only exercise, I think it’s going to hurt ’em if you start closing all the golf courses,” Simpson added.
7am – A INTERVIEW – HANS VON SPAKOVSKY – senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and former commissioner for the Federal Election Commission from 2006 to 2007
- Hans von Spakovsky: Can Trump use coronavirus to delay 2020 election? Fox News. With Congress, the Supreme Court, sports leagues, schools and many businesses and companies across America shutting down, only time will tell if we are being appropriately cautious or engaging in a hysterical overreaction to the coronavirus. But for those imaginative reporters who see a Russian lurking behind every tree and keep asking me if President Trump can use this pandemic as an excuse to delay the 2020 presidential election, the answer is “no.’ Under our Constitution, the executive branch has no authority whatsoever to delay, reschedule or otherwise change the federal election in November, much less any of the remaining state primaries. On the other hand, Congress and the states do have that authority.
- Mail-in ballots gain support in coronavirus crisis, but questions linger. (Washington Examiner) – Elected officials are clamoring for more people to be able to vote by mail as the novel coronavirus outbreak looms over the fall fight between President Trump and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. This week’s last-minute move by Ohio officials to shut down the state’s primary election in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 caused temporary confusion. But it also prompted calls for the widespread adoption of mail-in voting measures for the rest of the primary calendar — and the general election. Ohio joined Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana in pushing back their contests because of the coronavirus, followed later by Connecticut and Maryland announcing their own respective delays. Their independent decisions were based on a range of factors, including White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggestions to avoid large crowds and the fact that many poll workers are older, falling within the largest at-risk group for contracting the respiratory disease.
7am – B/C One America News Reporter Asks Trump If Saying ‘Chinese Food’ Is Racist. Chanel Rion of One America News Network asked President Donald Trump Thursday whether saying “Chinese food” is racist, and from there, the two moved on into trashing the media. During a press conference on the spread of the coronavirus — which Trump has been heavily criticized for calling the “Chinese virus” — Rion, who earlier this week cited a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was possibly created in a North Carolina lab, said, “Do you consider the term ‘Chinese food’ racist because it’s food that originates in China or it has Chinese roots?” “I don’t think it’s racist at all,” said Trump.
OLIVER DARCY: Someone left this note for the OAN personality at the White House: “Do you think your question was helpful in halting the spread of the coronavirus?”
7am – D INTERVIEW – STEVE SCHNEIDER – OWNER OF ATLANTIC GUNS in Silver Spring and Rockville, Maryland – discussed the rise of gun sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gun sales surge as coronavirus pandemic spreads. New York (CNN Business)Gun sellers across the United States are reporting major spikes in firearm and bullet purchases as the coronavirus spreads across the country. Pictures of long lines outside gun stores in California, Oklahoma and elsewhere have gone viral on social media. The ammunition website Ammo.com said it has recorded an unprecedented surge in bullet sales over the last three weeks. Administrators for the site, which ships ammunition to all but four states across the nation, released sales figures late Monday night showing a 77% increase in website visits between February 23 and March 15. Those visits led to a 222% increase in transactions over the same period when compared to the first three weeks in February. Revenue has increased 309%, according to the site, which said coronavirus fears are fueling the sales surge.
7am – E CORONAVIRUS HITTING YOUNG PEOPLE:
- DC COVID-19 UPDATE: In addition to an 8-year-old child, the new cases reported tonight in DC include five people in their 20s, seven in the 30s, five in the 40s, three in the 50s, one 71 year old, and one at 84 years old.
- White House ‘concerned’ about reports from Italy and France on young people ‘getting seriously ill.’ One of the top officials on the White House’coronavirus task force team warned that reports out of Italy and France suggest the virus is spreading among the younger population. Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters at a press briefing from the White House on Wednesday that the task force is “concerned” about the news from Europe, which counters the belief that the illness doesn’t greatly affect young people. “We are concerned about the early reports coming out of Italy and France,” said Birx. “There are concerning reports out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and getting very ill in the ICUs.”
- Young adults still make up large part of serious coronavirus cases. People under 44 make up 20% of hospitalized coronavirus patients: CDC. One in five coronavirus patients hospitalized in the US is under the age of 44, according to a new federal report — proving that even young Americans can face serious health outcomes if the virus is not contained. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Wednesday that showed that about 20% of the 508 patients known to have been hospitalized were between the ages of 20 and 44. The ratio jumps to nearly two in five — 38% — when the age bracket is increased to 54. In addition, nearly half of the 121 cases that were critical enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit were adults under 65, according to the report. People between the ages of 65 and 84 only accounted for a slightly higher percentage of those hospitalized — around 26% — and about 9% were over the age of 85.
- Lung scans for young coronavirus patients ‘nothing short of terrifying,’ doc says. A Belgian doctor working to battle the coronavirus says he’s treated several seriously ill young patients — and their lung scans were “nothing short of terrifying,” according to reports. Dr. Ignace Demeyer, who works at a hospital in Aalst, said an increasing number of people between the ages of 30 and 50 have presented with severe symptoms, despite having “blank medical records” that show no underlying conditions that would make them high-risk, the Brussels Times reported. “They just walk in, but they are terribly affected by the virus,” Demeyer told the Belgian broadcaster VRT.He said CT scans indicated they were suffering from severe lung damage “The images we took yesterday are nothing short of terrifying,” the doctor told the station.
- 34-year-old succumbs to the coronavirus after Disney World visit: Report. A 34-year-old California man reportedly died days after testing positive for the coronavirus and two weeks after visiting Disney World. Jeffrey Ghazarian died Thursday in a Pasadena, California, hospital. His death came two weeks after visiting Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida, according to TMZ, citing his family. Ghazarian was in Orlando for a conference on March 2 but stayed a few days extra to visit the theme parks with some friends. Soon after getting back, Ghazarian reportedly developed a cough on March 7 and later was diagnosed with pneumonia. On March 13, he tested positive for the coronavirus and the following day was taken to the hospital and put in the intensive care unit. He reportedly had a history of asthma and bronchitis as a child.
8am – A INTERVIEW – DR. MEHMET OZ — “DR OZ” – host of “The Dr. Oz Show”
- Dr. Oz: Americans aren’t panicked about coronavirus. Let’s make certain it stays that way
- Trump announces FDA making anti-malaria drug available ‘almost immediately’ to tackle coronavirus2`
8am – B/C RELIGION DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
- Bowie priest offering drive-thru confessions amid calls for social distancing. (WTOP) — Most churches around the D.C. region are closed due to bans on large group gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But one priest in Prince George’s County, Maryland, found a creative way to reach his flock despite calls for social distancing. Father Scott Holmer of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie is not even on social media, but he has gone viral. Holmer was inspired by stories about drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in South Korea, and he decided to offer the sacrament of penance in a similar way. “So, I was trying to think about what to do,” Holmer said. “Maybe if we had drive-thru confessions, that’ll do the trick.” Every day since Saturday, Holmer has spent at least an hour in the parking lot of the church. On Sunday mornings, he would be out longer, as that is when he would normally be saying mass.
- Easter and Passover canceled: Coronavirus pandemic upends ancient traditions (Washington Examiner) – Coronavirus shutdowns are forcing historically unprecedented changes to celebrations of Easter and Passover, with many religious institutions canceling or moving their services online. Easter, the most important feast in Christianity, falls on April 12 this year. In the Catholic Church, where the day is preceded by Holy Week, which includes a series of special masses and other services, several dioceses are already canceling the public celebration of those events. Catholic bishops in Ohio on Monday decided to cancel all public Easter masses in the state, a decision made in keeping with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s ban on all public gatherings of 100 or more people.
- Pope says his prayers ask the ‘Lord to stop the epidemic.’ Pope Francis says his prayers are now focused on asking for God’s help to end the coronavirus pandemic. “I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic: ‘Lord, stop it with your hand.’ That’s what I prayed for,” the 83-year-old pontiff told La Repubblica newspaper in an interview published Wednesday. Francis — who has been forced to livestream his prayers and services amid the contagion devastating Italy — also urged his followers to use “the pain of these days” to ditch “virtual” lives and gadgets for renewed intimacy with loved ones.
8am – D INTERVIEW – KEVIN LEWIS – Montgomery County Reporter for WJLA ABC 7
- Kevin Lewis @ABC7Kevin: STORY: “911, do you have symptoms of COVID-19?” Montgomery County’s 911 Center is now asking callers about their health condition. The fire department is now wearing surgical masks on all medical calls. Officers are now taking many reports by phone.
- Montgomery Co. Police fitting officers for N95 face masks, canceling traditional roll call. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — The Montgomery County Police Department and Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service have rolled out several new policies, some formal, others less so, all to protect the frontline defense from the COVID-19 pandemic.
8am – E McConnell stimulus plan would pay Americans $1,200 per person, $2,400 per couple. (Fox News) — Saying lawmakers “need to take bold and swift action as soon as possible,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday introduced legislation to provide as much as $1,200 per person and $2,400 per couple in the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak and skyrocketing jobless claims. The draft legislation, obtained by Fox News, would provide minimum payments of $600, and aid would be phased down at adjusted gross income thresholds of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple. Additionally, there would be $500 payments for each child. The rebate amount is slated to then be reduced by $5 for each $100 a taxpayer’s income exceeds the legislation’s threshold. The amount is therefore reduced to zero for single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers. The IRS would determine income based on taxpayers’ 2018 tax returns, or 2019 tax returns in cases where there is no 2018 return — a provision The Federalist’s Sean Davis called “idiotic,” given that many “jobs or businesses disappeared within the last month.” Qualifying income includes earned income, as well as Social Security retirement benefits and certain compensation and pension benefits paid to veterans