Coronavirus Deaths in U.S. Hit 2,000, Doubles in 2 Days, May See 200K+ Dead; Mortgage Market on Verge of Collapse Due to Fed’s Coronavirus Intervention

By The Hill. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. passed 2,000 Saturday, reflecting a death toll that has doubled in the span of two days.

On Thursday, the death toll in the U.S. reached 1,000, though it took nearly a month for the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country to reach that high. This means that another 1,000 people died in a two-day reporting period in the country.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. now stands at more than 120,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Though the U.S. has more confirmed cases of the virus than any other country, Italy has the most reported deaths from the virus at more than 10,000. China, where the virus originated, has more than 80,000 reported cases and more than 3,000 reported deaths from the virus. (Read more from “Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths in U.S. Hit 2,000, Doubling in Two Days” HERE)

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Fauci: U.S. Could Have 100K to 200K Deaths From Coronavirus

By Breitbart. Sunday, during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the coronavirus pandemic could cause “between 100,000 and 200,000” deaths in the United States.

Fauci said, “You know, Jake, to be honest with you, we don’t really have any firm idea. There are things called models. When someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the model is only as good or as accurate as your assumptions. Whenever the models come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario. Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I’ve never seen a model of the diseases that I’ve dealt with where the worst case came out. They always overshoot. So when you use numbers like a million, million and a half, 2 million, that almost certainly is off the chart. It’s not impossible, but very, very unlikely.” (Read more from “Fauci: U.S. Could Have 100K to 200K Deaths From Coronavirus” HERE)

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Mortgage Market on Verge of Collapse?

By Steve Liesman. The Mortgage Bankers Association in a dire letter to regulators Sunday warned that the U.S. housing market is “in danger of large-scale disruption,” due to efforts by the Federal Reserve that were intended to help rescue the mortgage market.

At issue are the Fed’s unprecedented $183 billion of purchases last week of mortgage-backed securities. The purchases were meant to drive down rates, and they did.

But together with the storm that gripped financial markets from the coronavirus, they also effectively blew up a widespread hedge that mortgage bankers use to protect themselves against rate increases. The hedge pays them if the prevailing rate in the market is higher than the rate than the mortgage rate they locked with the customer.

The system works well unless mortgage rates are highly volatile. It is generally considered to be a safe trade: the hedge simply protects the lender against higher rates until the mortgage closes. But compounding the problem, many customers couldn’t close on their loans because of quarantines, leaving the mortgage lenders with only the cost of the hedge and no off-setting loan. . .

Some of these mortgage bankers are now facing margin calls of tens of millions of dollars that could drive them out of business, according to Barry Habib, founder of MBS Highway, a leading industry advisor who was among the first to publicly sound the alarm bell last week. (Read more about how Coronavirus deaths are not the only worry HERE)

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Trump Surges to Statistical Tie With Slumping Joe Biden in Latest Presidential Poll

The latest presidential election polling has President Donald Trump in a statistical tie with former Vice President Joe Biden.

Among registered voters, Biden leads Trump 49% to 47% in the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, well within the statistical margin of error of 3.5 points. The 2% represents a significant upsurge from the poll’s February gap of 7% — Biden’s 52% to Trump’s 45% — and comes at a time of positive polling regarding the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Biden still enjoys a statistical lead over Trump, the so-called “enthusiasm gap” in the poll favors the incumbent president. Currently, 86% of registered voters already declared for Trump are enthusiastic about their support, compared with 74% of Biden supporters.

Trump saw a 14-point upsurge in support from white women without college degrees, a group that had been turning away from the president of late. In another bit of good news for the incumbent president, 15% of those currently supporting Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders say they will support Trump in November.

“More telling is the gap in the intensity of that enthusiasm, which can translate into who turns out to vote and who might not,” The Washington Post reported. “Among registered voters who support Trump, 55 percent say they are very enthusiastic about backing him while 32 percent say they are somewhat enthusiastic. Among Biden’s supporters, a far smaller 28 percent say they are very enthusiastic while 46 percent are somewhat enthusiastic.” (Read more from “Trump Surges to Statistical Tie With Slumping Joe Biden in Latest Presidential Poll” HERE)

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Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines Until April 30; Trump: Coronavirus-Fighting Supplies Have Landed at JFK

By Business Insider. President Donald Trump has extended social distancing guidelines to April 30 and said the coronavirus outbreak in the US is likely to peak in two weeks.

Trump delivered his remarks during a White House press briefing on Sunday night as US coronavirus cases surged to nearly 140,000.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” he said. “The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.”

Trump said his administration will finalize its social distancing guidelines on Tuesday.

Trump also touted a June 1 deadline as to when the country will be “well on our way to recovery.” (Read more from “Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines Until April 30” HERE)

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Trump: Coronavirus-Fighting Supplies Have Landed at JFK

By New York Post. President Trump announced Sunday that a huge cache of desperately-needed coronavirus-fighting supplies has landed in New York.

The first flight in the FEMA project dubbed “Project Airbridge” landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport with 2 million masks and gowns, more than 10 million gloves and 70,000 thermometers that will go to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with private companies on the initiative to “expedite the movement of critical supplies from other countries to the United States,” the president said.

FEMA has scheduled 19 additional flights, and hopes to have about 50, Trump said at the press conference — where he also announced that federal social-distancing guidelines would be extended to April 30. (Read more from “Trump: Coronavirus-Fighting Supplies Have Landed at JFK” HERE)

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Fox News Host Makes a Bold Prediction: Joe Biden ‘Will Not Be the Democratic Nominee’ in 2020

Tucker Carlson made a bold 2020 prediction on Friday: Joe Biden “will not be the Democratic nominee” to take on President Donald Trump in the November general election.

According to the Daily Caller, the Fox News host said on Charlie LeDuff’s podcast “No BS News Hour” that Democrats would connive to strip Biden of the nomination because he is in a state of “decline” and replace him with a stronger, younger candidate. . .

Although the former vice president holds a formidable lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary race, Carlson believes that in recent weeks, and especially as the country faces the coronavirus pandemic, Biden has proven himself to be in “mental decline” and incapable of carrying the party to victory in the fall.

He said, “I am utterly convinced, and would bet money, that Joe Biden will not be the Democratic nominee on election day. I just don’t believe that. I really don’t.” . . .

“I sincerely and totally believe that Joe Biden will not be the Democratic nominee on election day,” Carlson repeated. “I don’t believe that.” (Read more from “Fox News Host Makes a Bold Prediction: Joe Biden ‘Will Not Be the Democratic Nominee’ in 2020” HERE)

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U.S. Company Announces a Major Breakthrough in Coronavirus Testing; Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working

By The Blaze. The Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization to medical device giant Abbott Labs on Friday for a five-minute coronavirus test that could be arriving to the nation’s urgent care clinics as early as next week.

In a press release, Abbott Labs characterized the device as “the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).” The Illinois-based manufacturer also said it expects the equipment to deliver up to 50,000 tests per day and will be ramping up manufacturing in the coming weeks, according to USA Today.

“I am pleased that the FDA authorized Abbott’s point-of-care test yesterday. This is big news and will help get more of these tests out in the field rapidly,” FDA Commissioner Steve Hahn said in a statement. “We know how important it is to get point-of-care tests out in the field quickly. These tests that can give results quickly can be a game changer in diagnosing COVID-19.” . . .

The development was hailed as a “game changer” by former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb who said it is “very likely” there will be additional approvals for point-of-care diagnostics, “extending testing to doctor offices across the U.S.” (Read more from “U.S. Company Announces a Major Breakthrough in Coronavirus Testing” HERE)

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Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working

By The New York Times. The Seattle area, home of the first known coronavirus case in the United States and the place where the virus claimed 37 of its first 50 victims, is now seeing evidence that strict containment strategies, imposed in the earliest days of the outbreak, are beginning to pay off — at least for now.

Deaths are not rising as fast as they are in other states. Dramatic declines in street traffic show that people are staying home. Hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed. And preliminary statistical models provided to public officials in Washington State suggest that the spread of the virus has slowed in the Seattle area in recent days. . .

The researchers who are preparing the latest projections, led by the Institute for Disease Modeling, a private research group in Bellevue, Wash., have been watching a variety of data points since the onset of the outbreak. They include tens of thousands of coronavirus test results, deaths, and mobility information — including traffic patterns and the movements of anonymous Facebook users — to estimate the rate at which coronavirus patients are spreading the disease to others. (Read more from “Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working” HERE)

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Trump Admin Names Gun Makers, Retailers Essential Businesses Nationwide; But Exactly Why Are Liquor Stores Essential Businesses?

By Breitbart. President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security released updated guidelines naming gun manufacturers and retailers as essential on Saturday, which means they are to stay open and operational nationwide during a Chinese coronavirus shutdown. . .

The Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb commented on the DHS declaration, saying, “Every freedom loving American owes President Trump and his administration a very big thank you for protecting our Second Amendment Rights. This is another Trump promise made and promise kept.”

The DHS declaration comes just days after Governor Phil Murphy (D) laughed in the face of a man who expressed concern that the statewide shutdown in New Jersey had put an end to gun sales, thereby eliminating the ability to get a firearm for self-defense. (Read more from “Trump Admin Names Gun Makers, Retailers Essential Businesses Nationwide” HERE)

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Why Are Liquor Stores Essential Businesses?

By Psychology Today. With an increasing number of states issuing “stay at home” or “shelter in place” directives, businesses regarded as essential remain open. The lists of “essential businesses” have some variation across states and with the federal government, but there are large swaths of overlap.

Essential businesses or workers include those concerned with healthcare, telecommunications, information technology, defense, food and agriculture, transportation, energy, water and waste water, law enforcement, and public works. All of these types of work contribute to the common good. In every state with a “stay at home” directive, liquor stores are considered essential businesses. That’s quite interesting.

The most obvious explanation may be that liquor falls under the category of food and agriculture. This category includes groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retailers that sell human food, animal or pet food, and beverage products. Restaurants with carryout or delivery service fall into this category as well. Liquor stores obviously sell beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. They often also sell snack foods. Many states allow convenience stores to sell alcohol. Mystery solved.

There is more to the story, I suspect, than membership in the food and agriculture category. We might push the question further back to ask why alcoholic beverage products are included. The amount of money that excise alcohol taxes bring federal, state, and local governments is significant. The United States government levies taxes on alcohol in three categories of spirits (hard liquor), beer, and wine.

The unit of measurement is the gallon with the exception of beer, which is the barrel (31 gallons) The federal tax on a gallon of spirits is $13.50 and wine $1.07-3.40 depending on alcohol content. Beer is $18.00 per barrel. The federal government collects roughly $1 billion from alcohol taxes each month. States add their own taxes on top of the federal taxes. States’ taxes on alcohol vary tremendously; Washington state has the highest rate at $32.52 per gallon of spirits while Missouri has one of the lowest at $2.00 per gallon. Quite simply, there’s big money in alcohol sales. (Read more from “Why Are Liquor Stores Essential Businesses?” HERE)

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New Clinton Scandal Memos Confirm FBI Stalled a Month to Search Weiner’s Laptop

The FBI waited a month between the time it discovered Hillary Clinton emails on disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop and obtaining a search warrant – as Clinton and Donald Trump were entering the closing weeks of their tight 2016 White House race, according to newly obtained records by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The documents are communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who exchanged emails during the 2016 race that suggested they did not support Trump becoming president.

Weiner, at the time the emails were discovered, was married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The emails were purportedly from when Clinton was Secretary of State. The Justice Department was already investigating Clinton using a private server to send official State Department information.

“These new records show how Hillary Clinton was protected from investigation over the Weiner laptop by the FBI for a full month during the presidential campaign … No wonder the FBI is slow rolling the release of these documents,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. (Read more from “New Clinton Scandal Memos Confirm FBI Stalled a Month to Search Weiner’s Laptop” HERE)

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Bill De Blasio Cements His Disgraceful Legacy With Wuhan Virus Response

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has finally found something that he is worse at than running for president. The mayor has not only been flat-footed in dealing with the Wuhan virus that is ravaging Gotham, he has also been remarkably tone deaf. Perhaps nothing made this more patently clear than his decision to hit the gym on March 16th, just a day after closing all of the schools, bars and restaurants in the city.

While de Blasio’s arch nemesis Gov. Andrew Cuomo has garnered praise for his handling of the Chinese virus, the mayor has stumbled time after time. Even the closing of the schools was a debacle. Over the weekend prior to Monday, March 16, it was obvious not just that New York City would be hit with the virus, but that it would be hit hard. And yet, Hizzoner decided to wait until late Sunday to announce that schools would be closed the following day.

By refusing to make the obvious decision to close schools earlier, de Blasio threw the city’s parents into a confused rush to try to figure out childcare. What has truly been bizarre from the outset of this crisis is that anyone who took ninth grade biology understood that the most densely populated city in the country was always bound to be slammed by the virus. How de Blasio managed not to see this is frankly remarkable.

I’m sure I’m not the only New Yorker who wistfully rues that if only Anthony Weiner had cooled it with sexting teenagers we might have some competence in the mayor’s office. De Blasio’s blasé approach to the virus as it began infecting New York City looks even worse now that he is begging the federal government for help he barely seemed to think was needed just a week ago.

(Read more from “Bill De Blasio Cements His Disgraceful Legacy With Wuhan Virus Response” HERE)

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Trump Eyes Massive Expulsion of Suspected Chinese Spies

Trump administration officials have intensified discussions over whether to expel employees of Chinese media outlets suspected of being spies, in retaliation for China’s planned expulsion of American journalists from major outlets, The New York Times reported.

Since the virus began spreading across the United States, Washington and Beijing have waged a global information war over the outbreak, the report said.

President Trump and his aides are trying to pin responsibility on China, where Communist Party officials initially covered up the dangers of the virus as it was first discovered. Trump, though, has been criticized for vast failures in the American response, the report said.

Some American intelligence officials have pushed for years to expel employees of Chinese media organizations who they say mainly file intelligence reports, the report said.

The officials now see an opening to make a strong case after Beijing abruptly announced this month that it would expel almost all American citizens who report from mainland China for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. (Read more from “Trump Eyes Massive Expulsion of Suspected Chinese Spies” HERE)

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Trump Activates Armed Forces Reserves – up to 1,000,000 Individual Reservists (VIDEO)

By Daily Caller. President Donald Trump announced at Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing that he has granted the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security the “authority to activate the ready reserve components of the Armed Forces” to help battle the pandemic.

“This will allow us to mobilize medical, disaster, and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including retirees,” Trump told the reporters gathered in the White House Brady Briefing Room. “We have a lot of people, retirees, — great, great people — who have come back in who have offered to help the nation in this extraordinary time of need.”

The text of the executive order states that the reserves shall not be activated for more than 24 months or service, and the total active units shall not exceed 1,000,000. (Read more from “Trump Activates Armed Forces Reserves – up to 1,000,000 Individual Reservists (VIDEO)” HERE)

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Trump Thanks Rachel Maddow for Highlighting Efforts of Army Crops of Engineers

By Townhall. President Trump thanked Rachel Maddow on Friday for her interview with Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In a tweet, Trump gave rare thanks to the MSNBC host for highlighting the important work being carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.

General Semonite spoke about the Corps’ current work in assisting the federal government in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government is assisting state and local governments in preparing for the peak of coronavirus cases in their individual areas.

General Semonite said the Corps is helping to modify existing facilities — such as hotels, convention centers, college dorms, and sports arenas — to meet the needs of the medical community in treating patients with COVID-19. The general said the Corps is currently assessing 103 different places in 50 states and eight territories to meet the increased demand for hospital beds.

(Read more from “Trump Thanks Rachel Maddow for Highlighting Efforts of Army Crops of Engineers” HERE)

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