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Latest from Dan Potter

    LISTEN HERE It's a KRMG Morning News 8am In-Depth Hour on an Autumn Friday.  A day during which campuses across Green Country are awash in school colors. The football teams are wearing their jerseys to class, the cheerleaders are in their uniforms too and the entire school anticipates what's coming later.  It's a football Friday in Oklahoma. The second most holy day of the week between the beginning of September and early December. Tonight, tens of thousands of Oklahomans will watch their sons and grand-sons play a game that their dads and grandpas played.  Some will play with dreams of going on to play college ball and even in the NFL. Others will play knowing that this is just for now, just for fun. Either way, they will play hard, throwing their bodies and their heads into the game and onto their opponent and without a doubt, some of them will suffer concussions or even multiple concussions.  It used to be that you could chalk that up to being just part of the game. You got you 'bell rung'...you recovered...or, at least, you thought you did....and you got back in the game.  Now though, we know that those concussions, especially the repeated concussions suffered by many football players, take a horrible toll on the players' brains. They are prone to develop dark, dead splotches throughout the interior of their brains, and the resulting symptoms increase in severity until dementia sets in. It sets in way earlier in life than it ever should.  That condition has a name: CTE - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  That's the name given to the disease by the man who discovered it: Dr. Bennet Omalu...the Nigerian-American Neuropathologist who discovered CTE while performing an autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steelers Center Mike Webster in 2002.  That was 15 years ago. It's taken this long for Dr. Omalu's discovery to really sink in with players, their families and with organized football, both at the professional and scholastic level.
  • KRMG Morning News Host Dan Potter has perfected his barbecue ribs recipe. Plan to spend several hours cooking, but the results will be well worth it. Dan uses a Hasty-Bake, but you can use your favorite charcoal grill. Yes, charcoal. Ingredients Dry Rub, combine the following: 1 T. ground black pepper 2 t. cayenne pepper 2 T. chili powder 2 T. cumin 2 T. brown sugar 1 T. white sugar 1 T. ground oregano 4 T. paprika 2 T. salt 1 T. ground white pepper 3 T. celery salt 3 T. garlic powder Barbecued Ribs: 2 slabs of pork spare ribs Dry rub (see above) Your favorite BBQ sauce Heavy-duty aluminum foil large, brown paper grocery bag. (This is a key piece of equipment!) Instructions Trim an excess fat from the ribs. At least an hour before cooking, rub generous amounts of your dry rub onto each side of the ribs. You can leave the ribs at room temperature for an hour (plenty of time for the seasonings to mascerate)..any longer and you'll need to wrap them in plastic and refrigerate them. Start with a Hasty Bake grill that's free of any leftover ashes or coals. You'll need 40-50 charcoal briquettes. Push all of the coals to one side of the fire bed, Light the coals. While the grill is warming up, wrap two large handfuls of hickory chips in heavy duty aluminum foil. (You really don't need to soak the wood chips, but if it makes you feel better, go right ahead). Poke several holes in the top of the foil packet. Once the coals are ready, lay the foil-wrapped chips on top of the charcoal. Position the ribs on the grill, OPPOSITE the fire. Set the Hasty Bake fire bed in the “smoke” position and close the lid and side vents. After smoking the ribs for 30 minutes, open the side vents. By controlling air flow and adding coal from time-to-time, try to maintain a temperature around 200 degrees (F). Turn the ribs every half-hour for a total cooking time of about 4-6 hours. Signs of doneness include the meat starting to pull away from the bone. Grab a bone and twist it. If it almost turns in the meat...the ribs are done. Using your grill tongs, lift the slab of ribs. If they bend easily until they’re almost perpendicular to the grill, they’re done. KEY: IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKING THE RIBS OFF THE GRILL, COMPLETELY WRAP THEM IN HEAVY DUTY FOIL. PUT THE FOIL-WRAPPED RIBS IN THE BROWN PAPER SACK AND FOLD THE SACK TIGHTLY AROUND THE RIBS. ALLOW TO REST AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR AN HOUR OR MORE. Unwrap the ribs...swab 'em with the sauce of your choice and enjoy! Dan also makes his own barbecue sauce. Here’s the recipe. Ingredients 4 T. butter 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 t. paprika 1 T. ground black pepper 2 T. fresh lemon juice 1 t. dry mustard 1/2 t. Cayenne pepper sauce (Tabasco or your favorite) 1/2 t. salt 1/4 C. cider vinegar 1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce ½ C. brown sugar Instructions Heat butter in a medium sauce pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions soften. Stir in next 6 ingredients. Cook over medium heat to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly...about 15-minutes. Stir in brown sugar, taste and adjust salt/pepper and brown sugar to taste.
  • A man calls 911 early Thursday morning, when he hears his neighbor firing a gun.Deputies arrived at a home near West 7th and South Denver, and confronted Michael Pointer.  They spoke with him and then left the property.A short time later, the victim was on Facebook and received a threatening message from Pointer. 'Because TCSO IS A BUNCH OF COWARDS...YOU SHOULD mind your (cuss word) business.'Pointer then went on to dare the victim to call for help again.Deputies say the suspect went back outside and started firing his rifle again.The neighbor took Pointer up on his dare and called 911.This time, he was taken into custody. Pointer's grandmother told deputies he was staying at her place, and was upset with his spouse.
  • You've most likely heard people refer to Tulsa as the 'meth capital of the world.' This week we got a look at new numbers that prove it The CNN Money map published this week tracks the number of contaminated meth labs found in each county in the US from 2004 to last year. Tulsa County had 949 labs. That's more than any other county in the country. Now, the narcotics agents tell us that we have made progress. The number of labs they're finding is actually slowly dropping because of new laws making it hard to get pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients in crank. But, even as they say it's improving, they will tell you we won't beat this problem until Sudafed is restricted to prescription-only.
  • According to Reuters, US Airways has made a formal merger proposal to American Airlines parent AMR Corp and its creditors that could value the combined airline at around $8.5 billion. Reuters quotes two sources close to the negotiations. Details of the merger proposal emerged as American Airlines pilots voted to ratify a new union contract on Friday. The new labor contract, approved by nearly three-quarters of the AMR pilots who voted, gives the Allied Pilots' Association a 13.5 percent equity stake in AMR.  
  • When you vote on November 6th, you’ll find more than just the names of candidates on the ballot. There are also six amendments to the state constitution to consider. See the ballot language for all 6 state questions on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website. This week, KRMG is looking at what each of those ‘state questions’ proposes. Our guide is Heather Hope-Hernandez of the Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters.   We begin with two questions which both deal with capping or eliminating certain kinds of property tax. State Questions 758 and 766: Limitations on property taxes State Question 758 would limit how much property taxes can be raised in any given year. 'Right now,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'increases are limited to 5% of fair cash value in  any taxable year. (SQ 758) will cap the increase to 3% for some property.' Specifically, homestead-exempted property and agricultural land. Hope-Hernandez tells KRMG the League of Women Voters hasn‘t taken a position for or against SQ 758. 'What we are saying is that people need to understand that our property taxes generally go to support common education and that's something to think about when they go to the polls.' State Question 766 also deals with property taxes. It would ban taxes on so-called intangible property, things like patents, inventions, trade secrets, brand names and custom computer software. Read more about State Question 758 and State Question 766 on Ballotpedia.org. State Question 759: Banning Affirmative Action SQ 759 would ban Affirmative Action in state hiring, college scholarships and state business, meaning it would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts.  The League of Women Voters is strictly non-partisan on candidates and political parties, but Hope-Hernandez says they do take positions on some public policy issues and this is one of them. 'That is a state question the League of Women Voters is opposing,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'The League of Women Voters has a long history of non-discrimination and we feel that Affirmative Action is still an important part of our society to help level the playing field.' Of course, many feel that Affirmative Action is a form of discrimination. 'And,' counters Hope-Hernandez, 'we would disagree with that.' Read more about State Question 759 on Ballotpedia.org Read why the League of Women Voters has taken a position against SQ 759. Read why the American Civil Rights Institute supports SQ 759. State Question 762: Removing the Governor from the parole process for non-violent offenders SQ 762 would take the Governor’s office out of the process of deciding which non-violent state prison inmates get parole. The Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters has only taken a position on two of the state questions, this one included. 'The League of Women Voters supports passage of this one,' says Hope-Hernandez. 'By passing this, the State of Oklahoma will join all of the other states in the nation by removing the Governor and therefore politics, from the parole process.' This question has no organized opposition. Read more about State Question 762 on Ballotpedia.org Read the League of Women Voters position on SQ 762 State Question 764: Allows Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds Hope-Hernandez says the League of Women Voters has not taken a position on SQ 764. 'Proponents say that this is going to help increase the (board's) leveraging capacity by providing low-interest loans to local governments for water and sewer improvements. We're seeing that there are infrastructure issues all across the state and proponents are saying that this is going to help with those issues. 'Opponents are saying, bottomline, Oklahoma doesn't need to incur any additional debt.' The bonds issued by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board could not exceed $300 million. Read more about State Question 764 on Ballotpedia.org State Question 765: Public Welfare Department amendment 'It abolishes the Department of Human Services.' At least, as it currently exists. Hope-Hernandez says this amendment would move authority for the Human Services Department from the executive to the legislative branch. She says the legislature would then have to 'create a new entity to oversee state care of our neediest children and the aged. 'People who are for this say DHS is out of date and there have been scandals that show that it's not working. 'The opponents of this say that, despite these recent events, the system is not so broken as to require such drastic measures.' Read more about State Question 765 on Ballotpedia.org Additional resources: Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs: State ballot questions at a glance
  • The little ghosts and goblins won't be getting any tricks from Mother Nature this evening. News on 6 Meteorologist Travis Meyer says temperatures should be around 60 when the sun sets. Trav says the winds will be light and there's no chance of rain in the forecast. Temps will fall into the mid 50's by 10 o'clock. The unseasonably warm autumn weather will continue into the weekend with sunshine and daytime highs in the mid 70s. We have a slight chance for showers Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday will be cooler with a high of 66.
  • A young girl was home alone yesterday in Bryan County, Oklahoma when a stranger kicked in  the door of the house. This morning, the young girl is okay and the intruder is nursing a bullet wound. The 12-year-old first called her mom at work. Debra St. Clair told her daughter to get the family gun, go hide in a closet and call 911. The child did as she was told. 'What we understand right now, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door,' said the Bryan County Undersheriff Ken Golden. Deputies found the suspect at the end of the block, bleeding. 32-year-old Stacy Jones was treated at a hospital and is now in the Bryan County jail.
  • KRMG SCAM ALERT: If you're on Facebook a lot, you'll recognize this: A message from a friend warning that Facebook soon will no longer be free, unless you act now. Even Rick Brinkley with Tulsa's Better Business Bureau gets them from his friends. 'When I look at it, I know that they've clicked on something that has installed a virus that is now sending that to all of their friends.' Now, there's a new twist on this scam that's as old as Facebook. 'What is happening now,' says the BBB's Brinkley, 'is they're coming back with a second wave of  'join this organization, click here to sign-up to portest that you're not going to pay for Facebook and at that point it begins downloading viruses onto your computer.' He adds, that potentially is lifting private information off your computer. If you get one of these messages, the B-B-B says tell your friend and refer them to Facebook's common myths page. If you believe the message is spam, report it to Facebook. Here's the scam alert from the BBB: How the Scam Works: You spot a friend's post in your newsfeed saying that Facebook will start charging users a monthly fee. The latest version claims a new pricing structure will have different membership tiers, including a 'gold' level for $9.99 per month. However, the post says, you can avoid any fees by just sharing the message. Post it on your wall, and your 'icon will turn blue.' This color change will exempt you from the new charges. Of course, that won't happen, and neither will these new fees. The posts above are really more of an annoying hoax than an actual scam. The scam comes in when users, infuriated by the rumors, visit and/or join Facebook 'protest' groups. These pages have been known to contain viruses. Be extra careful of any links, Facebook applications or requests to download files/software on such pages. I've Found a Fake Facebook Post. What Should I Do?     Tell your friend! These posts circulate because users think they are doing their friends a favor by sharing them. Refer your friends to Facebook's common myths page for confirmation. If the message looks like spam, report it to Facebook. Check out Facebook Help Center's scam page for details.
  • The storms this weekend carry threats like large hail, damaging winds and even the potential for tornadoes. But, you are much more likely to be injured or killed by the threat that seems to get mentioned the least: lightning. On average, lightning kills 58 people a year in the U.S. and injures more than 300. 'Lightning just decided to find my umbrella.' It happened to Lynda Eubanks in 2004. She remembers a big blue flash. 'And, I remember, the hand that was holding my umbrella felt like it exploded. National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole McGavock says lightning can strike at least 10 miles ahead of a thunderstorm. McGavock says, 'No place outdoors is safe when there is lightning in the area.' So, if you can hear it, fear it. Eight years later, Lynda Eubanks still has lingering neurological effects. But, the most lasting effect is a respect for the power of lightning. 'You know, you just always have to be watching and you always have to be careful.' The National Severe Storms Laboratory offers these tips for surviving a lightning storm: While it is difficult to quantify lightning losses, it is estimated that $4-5 billion damage occurs each year. Likewise, the cost of lightning protection to safeguard critical equipment and facilities from lightning strikes during severe weather is enormous. According to the National Weather Service, during the past 30 years (1979-2008) lightning killed an average of 58 people each year. Documented injuries average about 300 per year, although undocumented injuries are likely to be much higher. Most casualties result from inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms, particularly when people are caught outdoors during recreation or organized sports. Being aware of - and following - proven lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Cloud-to-ground lightning can kill and injure people by direct or indirect means. It is not known if all people are killed who are directly struck by the flash itself. The lightning current can branch off to a person from a tree, fence, pole, or other tall object. In addition, flashes may conduct their current through the ground to a person after the flash strikes a nearby tree, antenna, or other tall object. The current also may travel through power or telephone lines to a person who is in contact with electric appliances, tools, electronics, or a corded telephone. Lightning can also travel through plumbing pipes and water to a person in contact either with a plumbing fixture or a person in water, including bathtubs, pools, and the running water of a shower. Damage to the human body: Lightning affects the many electrochemical systems in the body. People struck by lightning can suffer from nerve damage, memory loss, personality change, and emotional problems. There is a national support group for lightning and electric shock survivors. An example is some single nerve cells, such as those extending from the brain to the foot, can be as long as 6 feet or more. These types of cells are most prone to lightning damage due to the instantaneous potential difference across the length of the cell as lightning begins to enter the body. The intense heat of the lightning stroke can turn sweat instantly to steam and the tremendous pressure of the steam has been known to blow people's boots, shoes, and clothing off them. In places where metal is in contact with or close proximity to the body, such as jewelry or belt buckles, burn marks are found. Likewise, burn marks are found in places where the body had been sweaty, such as the feet, underarms, and chest. The best defense is plan ahead and avoid exposure to lightning when a thunderstorm occurs. Know where safe shelter is located and leave enough time to reach safe shelter before your danger level is high. Don't be an isolated tall object, and don't be connected to anything that may be an isolated tall object.
  • Dan Potter

    Dan Potter came to KRMG as news director and morning news anchor in 2008. 

    In 2012, Dan was named host of the KRMG Morning News. Three years later, in 2015, he won the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Best Medium Market Radio Personality in the U.S. In fact, Dan is the recipient of dozens of honors from several broadcast news organizations. Most recently, he was honored as the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Personality of the Year.

    The Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the Press Club of Dallas awarded him Best Newscast honors a total of 6 times. He was also elected to two consecutive terms as chairman of the Texas AP Broadcasters. 

    In Oklahoma, Dan has been honored with multiple awards from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, including two awards for Best Newscast. In 2013, the Tulsa Press Club awarded The KRMG Morning News top honors for Favorite News-Talk Morning Show while Dan was recognized for the Favorite Radio News-Talk Personality. Dan earned the national Edward R. Murrow Award for best large-market radio newscast from the Radio-Television News Directors Association in 2000. He was also part of the reporting team which won broadcast journalism’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, the DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, in 2003-2004.

    In his radio journalism career, Dan has witnessed history. He anchored continuous coverage of the 9-11 attacks, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Branch Davidian siege and the demise of the space shuttle Columbia over North Texas. He also reported live from the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001. He’s interviewed everyone from presidential candidates to Senators, from the First Lady to chefs and celebrities. 

    Away from the studio, Dan is celebrity in the world of competitive marching bands and world class drum corps as a stadium announcer and media personality for Drum Corps International and Bands of America. 

    Dan and his wife Martha live in midtown Tulsa with two spoiled dogs and lots of pictures of their 4 kids and one grandchild.

    Read More
  • After talking for days about relaxing federal calls for Americans to drastically restrict their social activities in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would be extending those guidelines through the end of April, after new estimates showed the threat of a huge number of deaths from the virus outbreak. 'The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,' the President told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden. 'Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.' 'We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread,' Mr. Trump said, urging Americans to help by limiting their social activities.  'The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,' the President added. The President said the decision was made after new modeling made available to the White House estimated the death totals from the Coronavirus could run over 1 million unless strong mitigation efforts were taken by Americans. At the White House, top federal experts endorsed the President's course change. 'We feel that the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect 'The decision to prolong - not prolong, but extend - this mitigation process until the end of April, I think was a wise and prudent decision,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci. White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Deborah Birx said the 'growing number of potential fatalities' shown by the models made clear the need for more action to hold down the spread of the virus. Birx told reporters it is 'not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days, so they have to know that we really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save hundreds of thousands of American lives.' “To every metro area out there, we have to do better,' Dr. Birx said at the Sunday briefing.
  • The mayors of OKlahoma's two largest cities have announced they will expand and more closely enforce “stay at home” measures for the general public as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum enacted a 'Shelter in Place' order on Saturday for all age groups in the city to last from March 28 to April 16.  The 'Safer at Home' order mirrors the executive order made by Governor Stitt on Tuesday.   Mayor Bynum's order was announced hours after 7 more COVID-19 deaths were reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
  • With some public friction over the federal Coronavirus response, President Donald Trump on Friday again singled out the Governor of Michigan and the Governor of Washington State for criticism, telling reporters that he had discouraged Vice President Mike Pence from calling either one to discuss the virus response. 'When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps (of Engineers), they're not appreciative to FEMA. It's not right,' President Trump said at a Friday White House briefing. 'All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative,' the President added. 'We've done a great job,' the President said. 'I think the media and governors should appreciate it.' The President's comments came as he continued to spar long distance with Gov. Jay Inslee (D) of Washington State, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) of Michigan. Inslee has already been a frequent target of the President - who referred to him in one briefing as a 'snake' - acknowledging that he has urged Vice President Pence not to call the Washington Democrat. 'I say Mike, don't call the Governor of Washington, you're wasting your time with him,' Mr. Trump said. 'Don't call the woman in Michigan.' In an interview Thursday night with Sean Hannity on Fox News, the President took aim at Whitmer, who has complained of troubles in getting medical supplies for hospitals to combat the virus outbreak. 'We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor, you know who I’m talking about from Michigan,' the President said. While Gov. Whitmer went on TV to respond to the President, Inslee used Mr. Trump's favored mode of social media. 'I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy,' Inslee tweeted. While Inslee avoided barbs from the White House on Friday night, Whitmer did not. “Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her ahead, she doesn’t have a clue,” the President tweeted. Michigan has become a flash point in recent days in the fight to stop the Coronavirus; 32 deaths were announced on Friday, almost as many as the two previous days combined. 28 deaths were announced on Friday in Washington State, raising the death toll there to 175 people, second most of any state.
  • It was a scary day on Friday for Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who sent a message on Twitter that his son Jim took a bad fall while playing with his brothers at the family's ranch and hit his head. “He was unconscious and his vitals were very weak.  They had to life-flight him to Tulsa,” Mullin said in a video clip that he posted to Twitter as he was on his way back to Tulsa from Washington D.C. Since he first got word about the accident from his wife, he says his son has improved and was due released soon, Mullin citing the need to free up beds at the hospital for the Covid-19 crisis. He also voiced his appreciation for the prayers that were sent to him by friends and supporters.
  • With the backing of the White House and leaders in both parties, the U.S. House on Friday approved an emergency economic rescue plan to help the economy deal with the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, as lawmakers on both sides put aside their differences on the details of the over $2 trillion package.  President Trump signed it into law several hours later. 'We need to support this bill now,' said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL). 'The coronavirus has been a nuclear bomb to our economy,' said Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH). 'We've never faced a public health crisis of this magnitude,' said Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). The main theater in the House Chamber during debate was not about who was for or against the bill, but whether Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) would follow through on his threat to force a recorded vote on the measure, amid questions about whether enough lawmakers were present for a quorum. Under the rules, Massie - who did not speak during the debate - needed the support of several dozen lawmakers to force a vote. But Massie did not get that backing, and the bill was approved on a voice vote, to the applause of lawmakers, who sat both on the House floor, and in the galleries above. In debate, lawmakers of both parties expressed concerns about how their local hospitals might not be able to deal with an outbreak of the virus. 'For those from rural districts like mine, our hospitals cannot handle the onslaught of patients,' said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). 'Hospitals in my district face a situation as dire as it has been in my 18 years in Congress.' Lawmakers who flew back to Washington for the debate said the impact on the airline industry was obvious. 'There were two members of Congress on the plane out of a total of four passengers,' said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who flew from St. Louis.  'You don't think that industry is on the brink of collapse - use it right now, and you will see,' Davis added. The House vote came as a third member of the House announced that he had tested positive, Rep. Joe Cunningham, a freshman Democrat from South Carolina. The package includes direct checks to Americans, billions in emergency aid for businesses big and small, money for state and local governments, and help for hospitals fighting the Coronavirus. “This is the biggest economic and health crisis the country has ever faced,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Washington Insider

  • After talking for days about relaxing federal calls for Americans to drastically restrict their social activities in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would be extending those guidelines through the end of April, after new estimates showed the threat of a huge number of deaths from the virus outbreak. 'The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,' the President told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden. 'Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.' 'We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread,' Mr. Trump said, urging Americans to help by limiting their social activities.  'The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,' the President added. The President said the decision was made after new modeling made available to the White House estimated the death totals from the Coronavirus could run over 1 million unless strong mitigation efforts were taken by Americans. At the White House, top federal experts endorsed the President's course change. 'We feel that the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect 'The decision to prolong - not prolong, but extend - this mitigation process until the end of April, I think was a wise and prudent decision,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci. White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Deborah Birx said the 'growing number of potential fatalities' shown by the models made clear the need for more action to hold down the spread of the virus. Birx told reporters it is 'not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days, so they have to know that we really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save hundreds of thousands of American lives.' “To every metro area out there, we have to do better,' Dr. Birx said at the Sunday briefing.
  • With some public friction over the federal Coronavirus response, President Donald Trump on Friday again singled out the Governor of Michigan and the Governor of Washington State for criticism, telling reporters that he had discouraged Vice President Mike Pence from calling either one to discuss the virus response. 'When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps (of Engineers), they're not appreciative to FEMA. It's not right,' President Trump said at a Friday White House briefing. 'All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative,' the President added. 'We've done a great job,' the President said. 'I think the media and governors should appreciate it.' The President's comments came as he continued to spar long distance with Gov. Jay Inslee (D) of Washington State, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) of Michigan. Inslee has already been a frequent target of the President - who referred to him in one briefing as a 'snake' - acknowledging that he has urged Vice President Pence not to call the Washington Democrat. 'I say Mike, don't call the Governor of Washington, you're wasting your time with him,' Mr. Trump said. 'Don't call the woman in Michigan.' In an interview Thursday night with Sean Hannity on Fox News, the President took aim at Whitmer, who has complained of troubles in getting medical supplies for hospitals to combat the virus outbreak. 'We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor, you know who I’m talking about from Michigan,' the President said. While Gov. Whitmer went on TV to respond to the President, Inslee used Mr. Trump's favored mode of social media. 'I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy,' Inslee tweeted. While Inslee avoided barbs from the White House on Friday night, Whitmer did not. “Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her ahead, she doesn’t have a clue,” the President tweeted. Michigan has become a flash point in recent days in the fight to stop the Coronavirus; 32 deaths were announced on Friday, almost as many as the two previous days combined. 28 deaths were announced on Friday in Washington State, raising the death toll there to 175 people, second most of any state.
  • With the backing of the White House and leaders in both parties, the U.S. House on Friday approved an emergency economic rescue plan to help the economy deal with the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, as lawmakers on both sides put aside their differences on the details of the over $2 trillion package.  President Trump signed it into law several hours later. 'We need to support this bill now,' said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL). 'The coronavirus has been a nuclear bomb to our economy,' said Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH). 'We've never faced a public health crisis of this magnitude,' said Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). The main theater in the House Chamber during debate was not about who was for or against the bill, but whether Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) would follow through on his threat to force a recorded vote on the measure, amid questions about whether enough lawmakers were present for a quorum. Under the rules, Massie - who did not speak during the debate - needed the support of several dozen lawmakers to force a vote. But Massie did not get that backing, and the bill was approved on a voice vote, to the applause of lawmakers, who sat both on the House floor, and in the galleries above. In debate, lawmakers of both parties expressed concerns about how their local hospitals might not be able to deal with an outbreak of the virus. 'For those from rural districts like mine, our hospitals cannot handle the onslaught of patients,' said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). 'Hospitals in my district face a situation as dire as it has been in my 18 years in Congress.' Lawmakers who flew back to Washington for the debate said the impact on the airline industry was obvious. 'There were two members of Congress on the plane out of a total of four passengers,' said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who flew from St. Louis.  'You don't think that industry is on the brink of collapse - use it right now, and you will see,' Davis added. The House vote came as a third member of the House announced that he had tested positive, Rep. Joe Cunningham, a freshman Democrat from South Carolina. The package includes direct checks to Americans, billions in emergency aid for businesses big and small, money for state and local governments, and help for hospitals fighting the Coronavirus. “This is the biggest economic and health crisis the country has ever faced,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
  • As Congress pushes ahead with a landmark economic stimulus plan to offset the negative impact of the Coronavirus, lawmakers not only put in provisions to funnel money to Americans and help businesses stay afloat, but also structured oversight for the billions in loans going to big businesses, and helped out a few specific players along the way. First, if you want to read through the text of the bill as approved by the Senate on Wednesday night, you can find the 880 page bill here. For those who want the short version, the table of contents for the bill gives you a good preview of what's to come. Now let's jump in and find a few interesting items in the bill. + 1. Restrictions aimed squarely at President Trump and his family. Section 4019 of the bill is titled, 'Conflicts of Interest,' and is intended to prohibit top government officials from benefiting in any way from the emergency aid being delivered in this bill. It lists the President, Vice President, member of Congress, top Executive Branch officials as people covered by this prohibition. But it goes further - adding, 'spouse, child, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law' as well. One GOP Senator pointed out the 'son-in-law' provision. 'I wonder who that could be targeted towards,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) in a mocking tone, referring to Jared Kushner, as Lankford said Democrats were wrong to pursue such provisions. 'A lot of this fight that we've had over the last three days is because they were demanding that there was no way the President, or any member of his family could get any benefit from this loan program at all,' Lankford said. Democrats won those provisions. + 2. Temporary tax break for makers of hand sanitizer. With various alcohol producers switching over some of their production in recent weeks to make hand sanitizer, this bill also provides a temporary exception to the excise tax on the alcohol used to make hand sanitizer products. To an outsider, it shouldn't be any big deal for a liquor producer to shift into production of hand sanitizer, but in reality - it can have pretty big tax implications in how the federal government deals with the process. For example, after a company makes over 100,000 gallons of alcohol, the tax goes from $2.70 per gallon to over $13 per gallon. This provision on page 212 would allow those hand sanitizer products to be made without being hit by those higher taxes. Here was the social media appeal from one company in Maryland. 3. Special oversight for economic recovery spending. As part of provisions providing public insight into what companies get what kind of aid from the federal government, this bill sets up a special Inspector General inside the Treasury Department dealing with the 'Pandemic Recovery.' The internal watchdog would be charged with 'audits and investigations of the making, purchase, management, and sale of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments made by the Secretary of the Treasury under any program established by the Secretary under this Act.' There is also a new 'Congressional Oversight Commission,' with members appointed by various parts of the government, to oversee the operations of this economic recovery effort - all to guide against favoritism, and any questionable financial awards - much like there was with the Obama stimulus in 2009. 4. Postal Service gets special loan help. Just like after the anthrax attacks following Nine Eleven, the U.S. Postal Service finds itself in a crunch with the Coronavirus. Not only are some employees getting sick, but mail volume is going down - and that's leading to an even bleaker financial outlook. The Coronavirus rescue bill does not give a blank check to the Postal Service, but instead allows it to borrow up to $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury. Page 607 of the bill specifically says the money can only be used to pay for operating expenses - and not any outstanding debt of the Postal Service. The bill also orders the Postal Service to prioritize the delivery of medical products related to the Coronavirus, and also gives the Postal Service the right to establish 'temporary delivery points' during the outbreak, in order to shield employees from the virus. 5. Miscellaneous Provisions. Any reporter who has gone through Congressional spending bills starts to get a little excited when you get to the section labeled 'Miscellaneous Provisions' - and this bill does not disappoint. Starting on page 609, there is a laundry list of extra money sent to various government agencies to deal with the Coronavirus. Some, like money for food safety won't raise any eyebrows. But others were quickly getting the thumbs down from some GOP lawmakers who actually read their way through the details of the bill. 6. There is no Congressional Pay Raise. Let me say it again. There is no pay raise for members of the House and Senate, no matter what you read on Twitter or Facebook. The troublemakers on Twitter didn't take long in spreading fake news about the details of this bill, accusing lawmakers of voting themselves a pay raise. Let me be very clear - that did *not* happen in this bill. There is no reference to the underlying federal code which governs the pay of lawmakers (section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 4501)).  Is there extra money for Congress in this bill? Yes, there is. The Senate gets $10 million, and the House gets $25 million. Where would that money go? It doesn't take too much imagination to come up with items like extra medical, safety, and security precautions for 435 members of the House. Expanded telework with laptops, servers, and more. Cleaning crews to deal with any outbreaks that might touch Congressional offices or the Capitol complex. And finally, even if lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise, they would not be allowed to get any extra money until the new Congress. That's not a law - that's in the Constitution.
  • The morning after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved an unprecedented $2 trillion economic rescue package to confront the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was already thinking ahead to the next Congressional move to spur economic growth. 'We have to do more,' the Speaker said at a U.S. Capitol news conference, as she told reporters about a phone conversation with Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. 'The Chairman of the Fed, Mr. Powell said to me, interest rates are low, think big,'  'There's no question that more money will be needed,' Pelosi added, as she indicated there would be support to funnel more money directly to Americans. 'I don't think we've seen the end of direct payments,' the Speaker said. Pelosi said the House would vote Friday to approve the $2 trillion economic package, most likely by a voice vote. 'We will have a victory tomorrow for America's workers. If somebody has a different point of view they can put that in the record,' the Speaker said.