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The Scramble

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Donald Trump asked journalist Tony Schwartz to ghostwrite his memoir, "The Art of the Deal," because Trump liked the unflattering story Schwartz wrote for New York magazine, about Trump's effort to evict rent-controlled tenants from his Manhattan apartment building. Schwartz agreed and has been atoning for that decision ever since. 

Tia Dulfour / The White House

President Trump was quick to downplay the pandemic upon his return from Walter Reed in a tweeted video encouraging people not to let the virus dominate or scare them. He said they would beat the virus, just as he's convinced himself that he's got his licked.

The president's attitude reflects a reality that denies the 209,000 (and counting) people who have already died from the virus and a stunning inability to admit weakness. Unfortunately, the nation has to pay for it.

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

At a news briefing last week, President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition. Now, we're all talking about it.

Yash Mori / Creative Commons

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday evening, breaking the hearts of generations of women -- and men -- who have benefited from her work guaranteeing our rights to equal treatment under the law.

That same evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. By Saturday, President Trump was claiming he had an "obligation" to replace her, "without delay." The loss is larger than either man could understand.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Black Americans are more likely to be infected from COVID-19, be incarcerated, live in poverty, and/or be killed by the police than white Americans. It took a pandemic and the killing of George Floyd to crystallize those facts.

Vlad Povorny / Creative Commons

Officials in the Trump Administration last week videotaped both a naturalization ceremony held at the White House and an HUD official's interview with four New York City tenants on housing conditions. They then  played selected parts from each video at the Republican National Convention without the knowledge of the participants. 

The CDC updated testing guidelines last week to say that people who have been exposed to the virus but who don’t have symptoms or underlying risk factors, don't necessarily need to be tested. After public health officials complained that asymptomatic carriers are more likely to spread the virus, we learned that the recommendations came from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.  

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday authorized the emergency use of convalescent blood to treat people hospitalized with Covid-19. Sunday's decision comes on the heels of a presidential tweet that may have put pressure on the FDA to authorize it prematurely. We talk about this and more news on Covid. 

Also this hour:  The Republican National Convention begins this week, a few days after former Vice-President Joe Biden accepted the nomination to represent Democrats in November's election. We talk about last week's convention, how this week's convention might play out, and other political news from the weekend.  

Cindy Shebley / Creative Commons

The FDA on Saturday authorized emergency use of a rapid and inexpensive saliva test that could increase testing capacity. It’s quick, less expensive, and doesn't need the chemical reagents that are in short supply.

Jernej Furman / Creative Commons

As of this weekend, the number of people in the U.S. infected with SARS-CoV-2 topped 5 million, just 16 days after passing the 4 million mark on July 23. This weekend's motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, portends that those numbers will continue to rise. 

Three potential vaccines against the virus have entered phase III clinical trials, in which safety and effectiveness is tested on thousands of healthy people. 

This stage can take months or years depending on how quickly researchers can detect a difference between the two groups, but some doctors believe that we'll have a vaccine sooner than later. Are we expecting too much from a vaccine? And, what about the expanding group of people afraid to trust any vaccine developed at "warp speed?" 

Is it time for another lockdown to get things under control until a vaccine is ready?

popo.uw23 / flickr creative commons

Sports! There are sports!

Baseball's back. At least for now. With almost all of the teams playing games. And only, ya know, two of them having big COVID outbreaks.

The NBA exists in a Disney World "bubble," and it hasn't had a single test come back positive yet.

The NHL is doing two different kinds of tournaments at once in two different "bubbles" in Canada.

The arenas and stadiums are empty and quiet, but for the cardboard cutout fans and the piped-in crowd sounds. And the whole thing may well be a bad idea anyway...

But there are sports! At least for now.

Colin Gillette, Bradford County, PA

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to rise in many parts of the U.S., with sharp rises in places like Florida, Nevada, Alabama, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Yet, President Trump continues to attribute the rise to more testing -- despite the rise in hospitalizations and deaths -- and he wants to reduce federal aid for more testing, tracing, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also this hour: The ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump by 15 points among registered voters, 55% to 40%. A majority of respondents are not happy with the president's handling of the coronavirus, among other things.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

The number of people being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is rising in 48 states. We're testing more, but the rate of positive tests, hospitalizations, and in some states, deaths, is also rising.

David / Creative Commons

There are just over 10 million cases of coronavirus globally and almost 500,000 deaths. U.S. deaths recently rose to 125,000.

Yet, the Trump Administration continues to downplay the seriousness of this pandemic. The White House Coronavirus Task Force met Friday for the first time in two months, with Vice-President Pence acknowledging the surge in several states but insisting, "We're in a much better place," than we were two months ago. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

A group of health officials gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss infectious disease learn that forty-seven people at an internment camp in Indonesia have died from acute hemorrhagic fever.

This is how Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, begins his new novel that in many ways, predicts the pandemic we're currently experiencing. He joins us to talk about it. 

Nik Anderson / Creative Commons

The U.S. is on track to reach 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week. Yet, most states began reopening last week using data that may be undercounting how many people are currently infected. 

Heather Hazzam / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut will reopen some businesses on May 20, as coronavirus-related hospitalizations continue to decrease.

This may be good news for business owners and unemployed workers, and for those looking for a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

It may be scary for people with greater risk for having severe illness from COVID-19 and front-line workers with greater exposure.

The bottom line is that we still don't fully understand this virus. And, not all of the 40 states set to reopen are prepared to scale up the testing, tracing, and isolating necessary to prevent a spike in the curve.

Magic Piano / Wikimedia Commons

We can observe how economic inequality in America plays out during this pandemic by watching who gets help and who gets ignored.

Two America's live side by side, often in the same community. Nowhere is it on display more than in Greenwich, Conn., where hedge fund managers in gilded mansions live across town from minimum wage workers in local service jobs.

The inequality on display today is the byproduct of decades of policy choices that benefit the wealthy.

Also this hour: We help you make sense of the sometimes conflicting news about COVID-19 with the host of the podcast This Week In Virology.

t-mizo / Creative Commons

It's hard to fathom the idea that more people have to die from COVID-19 before we come out on the other end of this pandemic. Is it time for political leaders of both parties to have an honest conversation about the moral trade-offs of this pandemic and how to balance them toward the public interest?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

One can't help but wonder if the President understands that getting through this pandemic will not be a quick sprint. 

On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced guidelines for states to begin reopening the economy, with a goal to begin by May 1. On Friday, the President personally encouraged protesters in Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, to "liberate" their states from onerous social-distancing guidelines imposed by their Democratic governors.  On Saturday, protesters from other states joined the fray. 

NIH Clinical Center

Health experts have released multiple plans that all call for some version of the same thing. We need to conduct widespread testing, trace contacts of the infected, and quarantine those contacts BEFORE we can ease social distancing measures. 

Jessicahtam / Creative Commons

The pandemic is making us reflect on what we value as people and a country. We don't yet know how much COVID-19 will change life as we knew it before the pandemic. We do know that it must change. We're learning to respect each other's space. The internet is becoming a kinder place. And we shouldn't accept political leaders who can't lead.

Cathy Baird / Creative Commons

William Wetmore Story sculpted The Angel of Grief for his wife's grave after her death in 1894. He wrote that it was the only way he could express his feelings of utter abandonment. It was his last work before his own death one year later.

We may not readily identify grief in the gamut of emotions we're feeling during this pandemic. We haven't lost the kind of love expressed through William Story's sculpture, but loss is very much at the center of our new reality. We are collectively grieving the loss of a world that has changed forever.

Giuseppe Milo / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration is pursuing policies they say are necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus -- even though Congress and the courts rejected these policies prior to the pandemic.

Last week, the president gave his administration the power to shut the southwestern border, implement a rule allowing federal workers to withhold their union dues, and deliver food boxes to rural areas after Congress complained about poor food quality. Most recently, he asked Congress to let judges indefinitely hold people without trial during an emergency.

How do we give President Trump the power to mobilize the resources of the federal government against coronavirus and protect against his abuse of that power?

Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons

Sanders won big in Nevada. Biden won big in South Carolina. Steyer and Buttigieg are out, Bloomberg is in, and Warren and Klobuchar are pulling up the rear.

There will be 1,357 delegates from 14 states up for grabs on Super Tuesday. We try to make sense of it.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

Bernie Sanders won a decisive victory in last week's Nevada caucuses after effectively tying with Pete Buttigieg in the less diverse states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Is he the candidate that can beat President Trump? Or the one who will lead the Democratic Party down the road to ruin? It depends on who you talk to. 

makelessnoise / Creative Commons

We like to open the phones and hear what's on your minds. We never know what you're going to say but we love that you call us to say it. 

We Take Your Calls

Dec 30, 2019
Marc Falardeau / Creative Commons

During this 'perineum' week in-between Christmas and the New Year, we decided to take your calls. 

We got such a great mix of callers on today's all-call show (including a wonderful goat farmer) that we kept taking your calls all the way through a fire drill at our studio! 

GUEST: 

David Howard / Creative Commons

Christianity Today, an evangelical Christian publication founded by Billy Graham in 1956, published an editorial Thursday by editor-in-chief Mark Galli, calling for President Trump to be removed from office. 

The White House

Voters in favor of Brexit handed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson an electoral victory on Thursday in a landslide not seen since Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1987. Conservatives won seats in British working-class districts that have been Labour strongholds for generations, giving Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party its biggest defeat since 1935. What can 2020 Democratic presidential candidates learn from this election? 

Blogtrepreneur / flickr creative commons

We had intended to run the debut episode of our new other show, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), in our hour today. But then the Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump. And so suddenly airing a show from last weekend seemed like a bad idea.

So instead, we take to the airwaves with you as our only guest. Call in and let Colin know what you're thinking: 888-720-WNPR (888-720-9677).

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