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January 1, We Regret to Inform You that April Has Been Canceled



This Day in History | 1999

The Matrix is released in theaters. The film, which earned more than $470 million dollars, stars Keanu Reeves as a computer hacker who learns that computers have created a fake world designed to enslave the humans while keeping them in the dark about their dire fate.

Good morning Middle Americans, 

We know it’s hard. We are right there with you, hunkered down in our houses, devoid of real human contact – outside of our nuclear families. This pandemic is turing out to be unlike anything anyone could have predicted. There certainly is a lot of blame going around. Democrats are basically accusing President Trump of having blood on his hands.  We know this is not true. Had democrats not been so hyper focused on trying to impeaching the president – perhaps they could have gotten his attention. 

We can’t just let the president off the hook either. Even though its 2020, the buck still stops at the president’s desk. There’s mounting evidence that he, and his predecessors ignored warnings about this kind of thing happening. It happened before, in 1918 – in an eerily similar fashion. But no one thought we’d be where were are today. No one that we elected to the highest seats of power, anyway. 

That’s why it’s so weird for me to hear so much partisan bickering at a time when clearly most of the country outside of Washington DC and New York City are rallying together.

Behind leaders they trust.  The president’s approval numbers continue to rise, and he also continues to get high marks from the nations top health experts. Governors like Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom have mostly put aside partisanship — in the name of working together with the Federal Government. Sure there’s been a few tiffs, but tensions are high. And that’s ok. 

What’s not ok – personal attacks against people like My Pillow founder Mike Lindell. Lindell’s company is ramping up production of face masks. But several members of the media attacked him for saying a prayer during a speech in the White House Rose Garden. 

Have you or anyone you know taken a COVID-19 test? If so – you are in a small group of people relatively speaking. One thing we can say for certainty – the testing process at the onset of this pandemic was a total failure. Now, there’s a huge backlog which makes a lot of the data we are using to track this disease, less valuable. 

We usually focus on middle America, because that’s where the heart and soul of the nation exists, but we do have a heart breaking story out of the UK today about a woman who died and her 16 family members, all are believed to have contracted COVID-19 at a funeral of loved one, who – also died from the coronavirus. 

Also today, if you have lost your job, or have had your wages and hours cut back, you are not alone. The Federal Reserve Bank out of Kansas city has some sobering predictions about the depths to which unemployment might sink.  Do you have confidence that the power that be, can keep things afloat?  

One sliver lining – gas prices are the cheepest they’ve been in a long time. Tarnishing that silver lining is the fact that there’s no where to go. Everything is closed. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon 

America’s Grimmest Month

(Axios) – President Trump asked Americans to continue social distancing until April 30, officials warned that tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans could die — and that’s the least depressing scenario.

April is going to be very hard. But public health officials are in agreement that hunkering down — in our own homes — and weathering one of the darkest months in American history is the only way to prevent millions of American deaths.

Because of early missteps by the Trump administration, the virus has already spread widely throughout the United States, undetected, and the number of cases in most major U.S. cities has skyrocketed.

We now must wait for the virus to run its course among those who are already sick, or have recently been exposed and fall ill in the next few days.

Even though the administration is urging adherence to its social distancing guidelines, many states still haven’t shut down nonessential businesses or issued shelter-in-place orders, meaning the virus is still likely spreading in these areas.

By the numbers: Estimates now being echoed by the Trump administration have found that the U.S. coronavirus outbreak will peak in two weeks.

Deborah Birx, who’s coordinating the White House coronavirus response, mentioned by name a model by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that predicts the demand for hospital beds and supplies — including ventilators — will far exceed supply on April 14.

Read more here

Big Media Mocks My Pillow’s Mike Lindell Despite Contribution to Virus Fight

(Fox News) – Several members of the media were quick to dismiss the presence of “My Pillow” founder Mike Lindell at the White House coronavirus press briefing despite his company’s ongoing contribution to combating the outbreak.

Lindell, who was among several business leaders who spoke at Monday’s presser, announced that his company is aiming to increase its production of cotton face masks from 10,000 to 50,000 per day.

He also said a prayer and encouraged the country to dedicate time to their families and religion.

“God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” the pro-Trump businessman said. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives, a nation had turned its back on God. I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word. Read our Bible and spend time with our families.”

“Trump just called the ‘My Pillow’ guy up to the podium in the Rose Garden. You cannot make this stuff up,” MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi reacted.

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski tweeted, “Is that the my pillow guy?? Do I need to turn the volume up. I was waiting for the doctors.”

“The ‘My Pillow Guy’ was at the Corona Virus briefing today? Boy oh boy, do we need SNL this Saturday. If this had been a SNL skit we would have thought it was fake, right? You can’t make this s— up. Who is going to play the ‘my pillow guy’?” Miami Herold reporter Julie K. Brown asked.

Find out more here

COVID-19 Testing Bottlenecks Create Excruciating Wait Times 

(LA Times) – Two weeks ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that help was on the way for people wanting to be tested for the coronavirus.

A commercial laboratory called Quest Diagnostics, he said, would process 1,200 tests a day at its facility in San Juan Capistrano and quickly ramp up production to 5,500 per day.

“We’re increasing our capacity on an hourly basis,” Newsom said.

Yet it wasn’t just Newsom and Californians counting on Quest’s Capistrano lab.

Hospitals, doctors and governments across the country were being encouraged by the company and federal officials to send COVID-19 tests to that single Southern California lab for processing.

The deluge of samples caused a bottleneck that delayed turnaround times for results at a critical time, when doctors were struggling to identify those who had been infected, including among their own staff, to contain the spread of the virus.

Learn more here

Woman Dies, Family of 17 Infected at Funeral of COVID-19 Victim

(Yahoo News UK) – A family who fear they became infected with coronavirus after attending the funeral of a COVID-19 victim have urged the public to take social distancing seriously after losing another relative to the disease.

Sheila Brooks, 86, died in February and her extended family attended her funeral a fortnight ago, before stringent movement restrictions were put in place in Britain.

Within days her niece Susan Nelson, 65, who had no underlying health conditions, became ill and died of suspected COVID-19.

Now 16 further family members suspect they have the virus – including Susan’s husband and the couple’s daughter.

Fed Estimate: 47 Million Unemployed, 32% Unemployment Rate

(CNBC) – Millions of Americans already have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and the worst of the damage is yet to come, according to a Federal Reserve estimate.

Economists at the Fed’s St. Louis district project total employment reductions of 47 million, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate, according to a recent analysis of how bad things could get.

The projections are even worse than St. Louis Fed President James Bullard’s much-publicized estimate of 30%. They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost to a government-induced economic freeze aimed at halting the coronavirus spread. 

Read more here

Gas is Cheap, but There’s Nowhere to Go

(ABC News) – U.S. gasoline prices have dropped to their lowest levels in four years, and they are almost sure to go lower as oil prices plunge.

But don’t expect a stampede to the pumps. Demand is weak because so many Americans are under shelter-in-place rules and businesses have been shuttered because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“For most Americans who are home practicing social distancing and not driving to work or taking their children to school, you are only filling up maybe once a week, maybe every couple of weeks,” said Jeanette Casselano, a spokeswoman for the AAA auto club. “You are not reaping the benefits.”

Prices have plenty of room to keep falling — maybe below $1.50, according to analysts.

Learn more here

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