For Trump, no 'flu' / The rent is due / No Fools for you

For Trump, no ‘flu.’ As recently as Friday, President Trump was comparing the coronavirus to the flu. But he now concedes that “it’s not the flu,” and that it could claim almost a quarter-million American lives.
New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen: “He switched claims. From we’re doing a fantastic job, the virus is like 15 people to we’re doing a fantastic job, if we did nothing it would be millions dead.”
 The virus took at least 865 lives nationwide yesterday—putting the national toll past 4,000, including another 26 in Illinois.
HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Date: The biggest lie of Trump’s life could be working.

 PolitiFact gives a “Pants on Fire!” rating to Trump’s blame of past administrations for a flawed COVID-19 test …
 … just the latest in a run of certified falsehoods from the commander-in-chief.
AP’s fact-check eviscerates the president’s Tuesday news briefing.
Congress is considering creating a 9/11-style commission to figure out what went wrong.
The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis: “Joe Biden Is Smart to Get the Hell Out of the Way.”

Lock down, Illinois. Gov. Pritzker has extended school closure and stay-at-home orders through April 30.
 Pritzker updates the state’s coronavirus response plans at 2:30, live on the web here. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)

Meanwhile, in other states …
A pastor facing charges for holding services despite a ban drew a packed crowd last night to a Louisiana church.
More than two dozen University of Texas spring breakers who ignored “social distancing” warnings have tested positive.
How an Idaho county became a COVID-19 hot spot.
Despite praise from Trump and Vice President Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the crisis has been, according to a lawsuit, woefully inadequate.
The next wave is on the way.

Science! Northwestern and University of Illinois hospitals are part of a global trial of the drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19.
Consumer Reports ranks common household products’ effectiveness against the virus.

Zoom gloom. A video call that included Chicago aldermen and state representatives was hijacked by someone streaming porn images …
 … a reminder that Zoom meetings aren’t really all that secure.

‘We’re a little afraid of Mayor Lori Lightfoot.’ The Tribune’s Dahleen Glanton explains why, “when she speaks, we listen.”
The mayor says she foresees no layoffs for city workers.
The mayor and the governor are launching an emergency fund to support the arts and artists.

The rent is due. On a day when tenants around the country are supposed to pay their rent, many will struggle to come up with the cash.
Two aldermen are calling on landlords to “commit to reducing or eliminating entirely the rents for tenants who have been financially devastated.”
The AP: What you need to do to get your government stimulus check.
Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for federal loans that can be converted to grants if the money’s used to keep paying workers.
It’s Census Day.

‘Infuriating.’ The Beachwood Reporter’s Steve Rhodes says neighbors are rightly livid over a North Side company with a long history of pollution’s failure to shut down during Chicago’s lockdown.
A Chicago company has been making face shields for health care workers but can’t find buyers.
 What a lot of people want right now—and can’t find—is just a plain old thermometer.
Congressmembers are getting desperate in the hunt for more medical supplies for their districts.

A ‘mask fiasco.’ The New York Times’ David Leonhardt says the government should have said it from the start: “Masks probably do provide some protection” from COVID-19.
But beware mask scams.
The Wall Street Journal: Why the Richest Country on Earth Can’t Get You a Face Mask.”

Chicago’s next top cop. Here are the three finalists for the job of Chicago police superintendent.
Chicago crime is down during the virus crisis.
Federal prisons are going on a 14-day lockdown to protect inmates.

‘Harry Potter at Home.’ Author J.K. Rowling has launched a hub of free content to keep kids engaged during the coronavirus lockdown: “We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!
The Potter movies’ star, Daniel Radcliffe, joined Stephen Colbert last night for a hilariously tech-troubled but authentic remote interview.
SiriusXM is making its Premiere Streaming plan—including Howard Stern’s show—free through May.

No Fools for you. In light of the pandemic, Google has called off its usual flock of April Fools jokes for the year …
 … and it’s not alone.
Neil Steinberg in the Sun-Times: “When this is over—assuming it ever ends—I don’t want to look back at myself yukking it up as the death toll mounts.”
Chicago Public Square is forgoing a jokey April 1 edition. But you can revisit previous installments here and here.
Chicago comedians are taking their acts online.

21st Century kills 22nd Century. The publisher of 14 suburban newspapers and websites, 22nd Century Media, is out of business—putting more than 40 people, including 20 journalists, out of work.
Gannett—one of the nation’s biggest newspaper chains—is imposing massive furloughs and pay cuts.
Poynter media writer Tom Jones says newspaper web sites websites should restore their paywalls on coronavirus coverage.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is under fire for accusing journalists of taking “glee” in the crisis.
The comics industry—which continued uninterrupted through crises including World War II and 9/11—is shutting down for the first time in its 80-year history.

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Thanks for inspiration this issue, Mike Henry. And thanks for proofreading, Pam Spiegel.

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