Where Things Stand: Preemptive Plans To Memorialize Our Dead

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold a press conference on President Trump's 2021 Budget Request on February 11, 2020 in Washingt... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold a press conference on President Trump's 2021 Budget Request on February 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
May 21, 2020 1:09 p.m.
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We shouldn’t have to plan how to mourn this much loss.

As John Hopkins University reported this week, more than 93,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the outbreak first struck the U.S. mere months ago. This morning Democratic leadership sent President Trump a letter, requesting that American flags be flown at half staff once the death toll in the U.S. reaches 100,000. The request was simple enough, but our dear leader has a history of raising stink over flag lowering. He resisted the gesture when late-Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) passed and did the same when a newsroom full of journalists were attacked and killed during a shooting in the summer of 2018.

Let’s hope for decency’s sake the symbolic move won’t dissolve into the petty this time. This death toll is dizzying. The American public shouldn’t have to brace itself and prepare for how to memorialize catastrophic loss once 7,000 more people — inevitably — die.

The flags at the joint fire and police station just outside my apartment have been flying at half staff for months, long before 100,000 was an acceptable death projection. Long before economic reopening held more weight than preventing loss.

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following today:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Kate Riga is following up on yesterday’s report on the Republican challenger to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) who publicly pledged her allegiance to the QAnon conspiracy after winning the Republican primary this week. She is now attempting to walk it back.

Tierney Sneed is reporting on a federal court ruling related to a census citizenship question lawsuit aimed at sanctioning the Trump administration.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Pompeo’s scandal keeps getting worse: Senior State Department, Pentagon and intelligence officials reportedly told Pompeo last year that there wasn’t sufficient justification to declare an emergency and skirt Congress to sell $8 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But Pompeo went ahead and did it anyway. We’ll keep an eye on this unfolding story.

Last night, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes she was “dumbfounded” by Trump’s temper tantrum over her decision to send out applications to Michigan voters to vote by mail. The official described his attacks and threat to pull funding from her state as a “reflection of what will be happening in our state in the months ahead, which is an effort to misinform and confuse voters about their rights in this state.” Things are bound to get messy today as Trump heads to the state to tour a Ford facility. We’ll keep you posted.

If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This

Josh Kovensky just published a piece on reports that COVID-19 may be having a negative impact on patients’ brains. Doctors are struggling to understand the correlation. “The nature of the relationship between COVID-19 and brain conditions is unclear,” Kovensky writes. “Even the existence of such a relationship is debated.”

Earlier reporting on health professionals’ struggle to understand COVID-19:

Coming Up

12:00 p.m. ET: Trump left the White House to travel to Detroit, Michigan.

2:00 p.m. ET: Trump is scheduled to arrive at the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He will be part of a listening session with African American leaders and then will get a tour of the facility at 3 p.m. ET.

3:20 p.m. ET: Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks and then will return to Washington.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Republican Candidate For U.S. Senate In Oregon Proclaims Allegiance To QAnon — Kate Riga

What We Are Reading

The New New York Will Be Better — Molly Jong-Fast

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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