FOR YOUR RADAR … BERNIE SANDERS is holding a press conference at 1 p.m. in Burlington.
WAPO’S SEAN SULLIVAN (@WaPoSean): “NEWS: @BernieSanders expected to say at a presser Wed afternoon that he is staying in the race and looks forward to debating @JoeBiden, according to two people with direct knowledge of his plans.”
TWO BIG PIECES OF CORONAVIRUS NEWS …
— THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is favorably disposed toward declaring a national disaster under the Stafford Act, which would free up up to $40 billion in immediate aid. This could be done quite soon.
— WE HEAR FROM SENIOR REPUBLICAN SOURCES close to President DONALD TRUMP that the White House likes what it has heard so far about the bill HOUSE DEMOCRATS are putting together, and TRUMP would be inclined to sign it as long as it doesn’t include surprise provisions that the administration opposes. This is a preliminary assessment and, like everything, could change.
FYI: TRUMP has still not spoken to Speaker NANCY PELOSI.
THE W.H.O. IS OFFICIALLY calling the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
ANTHONY FAUCI this morning at a House Oversight hearing: “We will see more cases and things will get worse. … How much worse it will get will depend” on how aggressively U.S. officials move to mitigate the spread of the virus.
— REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-Md.) asked FAUCI if TRUMP was correct in saying there will be a vaccine within a few months. “No. I made myself clear in my statement,” he said. Fauci has consistently said it will take a year to 18 months for a vaccine to be ready for public use.
— FAUCI: “It is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
HEATHER CAYGLE at the STENY HOYER pen and pad (@heatherscope): “House Majority Leader Hoyer on stimulus package Dems to pass tomorrow: ‘We’ll have to worry about the costs at some point in time. This is an emergency, we need to get this done.’ Hoyer adds it’ll be ‘costly’ and in the billions but says they won’t know full score until after.” More from Kyle Cheney, Heather and Sarah Ferris
HAPPENING TODAY — “Azar previews ‘aggressive steps’ administration will recommend to fight coronavirus,” by Quint Forgey: “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that the federal government would issue new guidance to U.S. communities affected by the coronavirus regarding ‘aggressive steps’ to counter the burgeoning outbreak. …
“One administration official said the recommendations will instruct residents of communities in California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington to work from home, and will declare that schools should close under certain circumstances.” POLITICO
… BUT IN THE MEANTIME: “Local leaders take coronavirus fight into own hands absent federal direction,” by Jeremy White and Victoria Colliver in Sacramento: “In the heart of America’s technology industry and the epicenter of coronavirus’ rapid spread in California, the decision by Santa Clara County to ban large public gatherings under threat of legal penalties was the most dramatic instance yet of state or local authorities moving decisively to curb the burgeoning public health crisis.
“And it put on display a growing truth of the escalating public health emergency: From Northern California to New Rochelle, N.Y., state and local officials in mostly blue states have been largely taking matters in their own hands, with outcomes that have varied widely. They’re acting, some say, amid an absence of federal leadership. Republican-led states are acting as well.” POLITICO California
Good Wednesday afternoon.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Hallie Jackson, NBC News chief White House correspondent, and Frank Thorp, NBC News Capitol Hill producer and reporter, welcomed Monroe “Ro” Jackson Thorp a few weeks early on Monday. She came in at 5 lbs, 9 oz and 19 inches. Ro’s name comes from Hallie’s great-great-grandfather. Pic … “Today” show announcement
MORE CORONAVIRUS FALLOUT — “Coronavirus Spurs U.S. Efforts to End China’s Chokehold on Drugs,” by NYT’s Ana Swanson: “The effort includes a push by the White House trade adviser Peter Navarro to tighten ‘Buy American’ laws so federal agencies are required to purchase American-made pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
“The administration has been preparing an executive order, which could be released in the coming days, that would close loopholes allowing the government to purchase pharmaceuticals, face masks, ventilators and other medical products from foreign countries. … To help facilitate such production, the White House is also pushing for streamlined regulatory approvals for American-made products and more detailed labeling of the origin of products made offshore.” NYT
— WSJ: “Amazon Battles Counterfeit Masks, $400 Hand Sanitizer Amid Virus Panic,” by Alexandra Berzon and Daniela Hernandez: “As the coronavirus outbreak expanded across the globe, anxious shoppers turned to Amazon.com for face masks, hand sanitizer and other products promising to help protect against the virus.
“The problem: Many didn’t have federal certifications for the safety standards they were touting, some were counterfeit or deceptively labeled, and others were being sold at many times their usual prices. More than 100 safety masks and respirators on Amazon were counterfeit or had unverifiable protection and certification claims, a Wall Street Journal investigation found.” WSJ
WOW … MIAMI NEW TIMES’ ALEXI CARDONA got leaked emails from Norwegian Cruise Line showing managers instructing sales staff to lie about the coronavirus — like saying that the virus couldn’t survive in warm temperatures. Miami New Times
NEWS YOU CAN USE — “How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells,” by NYT’s Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer
MORE FROM MINI TUESDAY — NORTH DAKOTA has been called for Sanders. IDAHO went for Biden. The latest results
WHAT MICHIGAN MEANS … THE WORD FROM TIM ALBERTA: “Michigan Romp Shows Biden Could Rebuild Democrats’ ‘Blue Wall’ vs. Trump”: “Two things happened on Tuesday in Michigan. First, Democratic turnout exploded. Second, Biden performed far better with key demographic groups than Clinton did four years ago. If either one of those things happen in November, Trump will have a difficult time winning the state again. If both things happen, the president can kiss Michigan’s 16 electoral votes goodbye—and with them, more than likely, the electoral votes of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. There goes the White House.
“Far-fetched? Hardly. Beating Trump in November does not require an electoral juggernaut. … The question that has hung over this Democratic race is one of electability—the search for someone who could address those specific shortcomings, in those specific states, and defeat Trump. Biden still has plenty of detractors in the party. … But after Tuesday there can be no disputing his capacity for winning in November. Last night proved it beyond doubt: Joe Biden is no Hillary Clinton. And that may be enough to take down Trump.” POLITICO Magazine
HOLLY OTTERBEIN: “Women leaders demand female VP pick from Dem nominee”: “In a letter to the Democratic National Committee and the eventual winner of the primary, top officials at EMILY’s List, the American Federation of Teachers, Working Families Party and several other groups argued that mobilizing women is an essential component in defeating President Donald Trump.” POLITICO … The letter
THE BOSTON GLOBE’S VICTORIA MCGRANE (a POLITICO alum!): “Joe Kennedy says Democrats’ Senate campaign arm is blocking his effort to aid candidates”: “Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III wants to launch a joint fund-raising committee with several Democratic Senate candidates who are seeking to flip Republican-held seats, a crucial part of the party’s plan to wrest back control of the chamber.
“The only problem, the Kennedy team says: The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm doesn’t want his help. One of the Democratic party’s strongest fund-raisers, Kennedy planned to use the joint committee to raise money for an initial group of four Democratic challengers, including Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives who is running against GOP Senator Susan Collins.
“The Kennedy campaign made the offer to launch the fund to the four campaigns Tuesday morning. The candidates were receptive and everything appeared to be moving forward smoothly until the Kennedy team got a call from one of the other campaigns saying the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had told them they could not enter into an agreement with the Newton Democrat, according to a Kennedy campaign aide.”
DEPT. OF THE FUTURE — “Panel outlines massive federal cybersecurity overhaul,” by Tim Starks: “After nearly a year of work, approximately 30 meetings and 300 interviews, the commission made more than 75 recommendations, including the creation of a Senate-confirmed National Cyber Director, House and Senate Cybersecurity Committees, a special fund to respond to and recover from cyberattacks and the creation of a Bureau of Cyber Statistics. …
“The recommendations would need congressional approval to take effect and, in some cases, new funding and approval across numerous federal agencies. … Commission leaders plan to testify before multiple congressional committees in both chambers, both in open session and behind closed doors, and already [have] been working with the Hill to advance their proposals. The recommendations stop short of establishing one unified federal cyber agency.” POLITICO … The report
NUMBER DU JOUR … POLITICO EUROPE: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she expects that two-thirds of Germans — some 58 million people — will be infected with the new coronavirus, but urged people to ‘not overload’ the country’s health system.
“‘The coronavirus has arrived in Germany,’ Merkel said Wednesday at a joint press conference with the health minister and the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government’s agency for disease monitoring and control.
“‘We must assume that 60 to 70 percent of the population will become infected,’ the chancellor said, noting that the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions were particularly at risk.” POLITICO Europe
INTERESTING READ — “What 8,000 Prisoners Think About American Politics,” by Slate and the Marshall Project’s Nicole Lewis, Aviva Shen and Anna Flagg: “Slate partnered with the Marshall Project to conduct a first-of-its-kind political survey inside prisons and jails across the country. …
“A plurality of white respondents back President Donald Trump, undercutting claims that people in prison would overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. Long stretches in prison appear to be politicizing … Perspectives change inside prison. … Political views diverged by race.” Slate
MEDIAWATCH — Laura Helmuth will be editor-in-chief of Scientific American, the magazine’s ninth in almost 175 years. She is currently health and science editor at WaPo. Announcement
TRANSITIONS — Bill Gray is now director of comms at the R Street Institute. He previously was comms director for Issue One. … Amber Moon has joined Facebook’s policy comms team. She most recently was director of external comms at BAE Systems and is a Hill/DCCC alum. …
… Twitter is adding Monique Meche as VP of global public policy and philanthropy and Jessica Herrera-Flanigan as VP of the Americas. Meche previously was global head of public policy and government relations at Waymo. Herrera-Flanigan previously was EVP of government and corporate affairs at Univision.
IN MEMORIAM — LUCIE GIKOVICH has died at age 70 after a 14-month fight with pancreatic cancer. A partner at the Crane Group, she was a top lobbyist in Washington and Sacramento who also served in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s first administration and helped run the 1984 Olympics.