Thursday's Mini-Report, 3.26.20

Today's edition of quick hits.
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By Steve Benen

Today's edition of quick hits:

* New Orleans "is on track to become a coronavirus epicenter.... Thursday afternoon, the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 2,300 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Statewide, 83 people have died, putting Louisiana's death toll among the highest in the country."

* NYC: "Overfilled waiting rooms packed with people who are contagious. Patients waiting six hours to be seen. Others on stretchers waiting 50 to 60 hours for a bed. Doctors desperately trying to get more ventilators. That is what it's like to be on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic at a public hospital in New York City, Dr. Rikki Lane, an emergency room doctor at the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, said."

* Skepticism is in order: "President Donald Trump told America's governors in a letter Thursday that his administration will soon set new social distancing guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic worsens."

* Getting the money out the door: "The IRS wants to issue as many stimulus payments electronically as it can, and a top congressional aide says that should begin in a matter of weeks. The agency will also issue paper checks to some people, though that will take longer because the Bureau of the Fiscal Service -- the government office that actually makes the payments -- can only process so many so quickly."

* USPS: "The $2 trillion congressional coronavirus assistance package would provide badly needed relief for millions of Americans and businesses but little for one organization already in desperate financial health. The U.S. Postal Service has been in money trouble for years. Now, covid-19, the disease the virus causes, is forcing the quasi-governmental agency into a fight for its life."

* The U.S. Army is "calling on retired medical personnel to help in its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 'The U.S. Army is reaching out to gauge the interest of our retired officers, noncommissioned officers and soldiers who would be willing to assist with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic response effort should their skills and expertise be required,' it said in a message sent to retirees."

* Good idea: "Like many anxious people around the world, Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry is seeking as much information as he can about the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Curry hosted an Instagram live question-and-answer with one of the world's leading coronavirus experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci."

See you tomorrow.