Now scientists discovered a strain of bacteria, the first of its kind, that can degrade the harmful compounds in polyurethane products — a positive step toward reducing the amount of plastic pollution in the environment.
The findings were published last week in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.
Plastic bags may smell like food to hungry sea turtles, a new study says

A group of German researchers identified the bacterium Pseudomonas putida in the soil of a site covered in plastic waste. It fed on polyurethane diol, which is usually applied to materials to protect them from corrosion.
“The bacteria can use these compounds as a sole source of carbon, nitrogen and energy,” said Hermann Heipieper, study author and senior scientist at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, in a statement to the journal. “This finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle (polyurethane) products.”

Polyurethane can pollute the environment

Polyurethane foam is widely used in building materials, mattresses, car parts, spandex clothing and shoes, among others.
It’s ubiquitous, but it’s very flammable, so it’s covered in potentially carcinogenic flame retardants that can disrupt the endocrine system, said Rolf Halden, a health engineering professor and director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. He was not involved with the study.
These plastic-chomping caterpillars can help fight pollution

These plastic-chomping caterpillars can help fight pollution

Polyurethane is a polymer, a large molecule that consists of multiple smaller molecules called monomers. Its complex structure is part of what plastics so difficult to break down — and so prevalent in landfills.
It’s a long-term environmental pollutant that serves as a “raft that shuttles other pollutant in our water, food and bodies,” Halden said.
And because microbes don’t care for it, it accumulates as plastic pollution in the environment and in the food chain, Halden said.
“Big plastics cannot enter into or be absorbed into tiny fmicroorganism, so bacteria typically do not degrade polyurethane, even if they are capable of metabolizing little bits and pieces of it,” he said.

A small but crucial step toward biodegradable trash

So what do these findings mean for the tons of plastic waste sitting in landfills?
It's not just the oceans: Microplastic pollution is all around us

It's not just the oceans: Microplastic pollution is all around us

“It’s always good news if we find ways of destroying plastics, and this bacterium is no exception,” Halden said.
But its impact on plastic pollution is likely minimal, at least for now. The bacterium can metabolize the “building blocks” of polyurethane, but it alone likely could not break down large polyurethane polymers.
The researchers said more research is needed before pursuing commercial biodegradation procedures, but it’s an important step toward tackling plastic pollution.

It’s no secret phones can get pretty dirty over time — in fact, they’ve been shown to harbor 10-times more bacteria than toilet seats. But fear not, as there are plenty of solutions out there for cleaning and taking care of your phone. From antimicrobial screen protectors to UV-C sanitation to screen cleaning kits, it’s not hard to find a method you like. And if you have the right materials at home, you don’t have to spend a dime.

In fact, we’re outlining these methods right here in a living guide. We’ll break it down into ways to clean your screen and your whole phone, and then wrap it up with preventative measures like washing your hands. If your hands are clean, you simply won’t transfer as much dirt and germs to your phone. And just as we list the dos of phone maintenance, we list the don’ts, too, so be sure to consider these tips before you start scrubbing.

Cleaning your screen

The phone’s screen is where smudges, fingerprints and oils can build up — along with bacteria. Apple, Samsung and Google all make suggestions about how to best clean your screen. The most ubiquitous tip to start is to power off your device (and ensure it’s not plugged in, even if it has an IPX rating). It doesn’t hurt to make sure there are no liquids nearby either.

When you’re ready to clean, you’ll want to start with a soft, lint-free cloth — abrasive ones like paper towels and washcloths can cause damage to your phone’s screen. When you’re targeting dust and smudges, usually a dry cloth will suffice. It’s okay to dampen a small portion of the cloth with water or a display-safe cleaner if you’re looking for a better clean. Just be sure to keep any liquids away from your phone’s ports. Never spray liquid directly onto your phone, as it could leak inside and cause damage. You should also try to avoid harsh household cleaners with ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. Notably, Apple now says it is okay to use Clorox wipes to clean the display. When you’re ready to scrub, be gentle as harsh scrubbing can also damage your screen.

If you don’t have a suitable cloth or cleaning solution around, there are plenty of kits available for just this purpose. One such kit is the Bryson Screen Cleaner Kit ($16.95; amazon.com). The kit comes with a 16-ounce bottle of screen cleaning fluid that’s safe to use on all kinds of displays. Additionally, you’ll receive a microfiber cloth that you can dampen with the fluid to get to work. For a more portable phone cleaning package, the Woosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is worth checking out ($15.99; amazon.com). Included are three microfiber cloths and two spray bottles (3.4oz and 0.3oz) of a cleaning solution tailor made for phones screens. This pocket-sized kit is easy to take with you so you can clean your screen on the fly.

And finally, there’s the iCloth Lens and Screen Cleaner wipes ($19.49, originally $23.49; amazon.com). This kit comes with 100 individually wrapped wipes that make quick work of smudges, dust, fingerprints and other everyday grime. The wipes are composed of a soft, aerospace-approved fabric, pre-moistened with a 75% purified water formula. Carry a handful wherever you go to keep your phone looking sparkly clean.

Cases and ports

Cases and phone protectors help keep your phone clean

Of course, your screen isn’t the only part of your phone that can get dirty. In the likely event that you use a phone case, Apple has tips on how to clean a variety of them. Regardless of type, though, you should always start by removing your iPhone from the case. Also, they advise never to use abrasive household cleaners.

When it comes to silicone cases, Apple suggests the use of a soft, lint-free cloth. Slightly dampen it and then gently wipe the outside and inside. If you have a leather case, it may undergo slight color change with age. Likewise, Apple warns that cleaning such a case may affect its color, too. They suggest the use of a clean cloth with warm water and a mild hand soap for leather cases. You can also use a dry cloth with a mild cleaner, or even cleaners made specifically for leather.

If you have a clear case, Apple advises you gently wipe the inside and outside with a soft, lint-free cloth without dampening it. And finally, for iPhone Smart Battery Cases, you can use a dampened soft, lint-free cloth to wipe the outside of the case. Just be sure the cloth is dry when cleaning the internal Lightning connector.

When you’re looking for a quick clean on the go rather than a sit-down session at home, you’ll want to check out Otterbox’s Mobile Device Care Kit ($7.95; otterbox.com). This kit comes in pink or black, and includes an arsenal of cleaning materials for your phone. You’ll receive nine alcohol towelettes, a microfiber cloth, three different port-cleaning brushes and a sticker to boot — all in a convenient carrying case that easily fits in a pocket or purse. You can read a little more about the kit and brushes here, but needless to say, there are few ports the brushes can’t handle. And after a wipe with a towelette, a scrubbing from the cloth and some port checkups, your phone should feel good as new.

Finally, if germs are your primary target, PhoneSoap has you covered. The company specializes in boxes in which you can put your phone that will blast bacteria and germs with UV-C light after you close the lid. This doesn’t harm your phone, and takes only five to ten minutes depending on the model. The PhoneSoap Pro, for example, takes just five minutes to eliminate 99.99% of the germs on your phone, like top-level bacteria. ($119.95; phonesoap.com). Keep in mind, though, PhoneSoap hasn’t been tested on the coronavirus (COVID-19). While Mia Lieberman, a clinical veterinarian at Harvard Medical School, found the PhoneSoap to be effective against bacteria, she noted that eliminating COVID-19 would likely require a much larger UV-C dose, based on the data scientists have on other coronaviruses such as SARS.

Also, the full line of PhoneSoap cleaners are currently backordered and won’t ship until mid-April at the earliest. You can read all about the PhoneSoap Pro and UV-C technology in our review.

Preventative care

Zagg screen protector

Sometimes, it’s best to stop a mess before it even happens. That’s where Zagg’s Glass Elite VisionGuard+ comes in. Not only is it scratch resistant, but this glass screen protector is infused with antimicrobial properties that kill 99.99% of bacteria on contact. This is powered by Kastus Intelligent Surface Technology, which disrupts the cell walls of bacteria after they come into contact with the surface. The process is fueled by ambient air moisture and light.

If that wasn’t enough, it also features Zagg’s ClearPrint technology, which resists the buildup of fingerprints by dispersing oils from your fingers evenly over its surface. Yet another bonus is the Eyesafe Layer that blocks high-energy visible blue light, which can contribute to digital eye strain. You can shop by device here, or check out some for popular devices below. Availability will vary — we’ll continue to update this article as needed.

  • Apple iPhone 11, iPhone XR (TK; zagg.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone Xs, iPhone X ($49.99; zagg.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone Xs Max ($49.99; zagg.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 ($49.99; zagg.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 XL ($49.99; zagg.com)

For Samsung devices, there’s the Ultra VisionGuard+, a super-thin film screen protector. While this film doesn’t feature the strength of tempered glass or ClearPrint tech, it still comes with antimicrobial technology and the Eyesafe Layer.

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 5G ($44.99; zagg.com)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G ($44.99; zagg.com)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G ($44.99; zagg.com)

If you’re looking to stop spills and dust, and protect your phone from scratches and drops while you’re at it, Otterbox’s Defender Series case is the way to go. One of the best ways this case keeps your phone clean are the port covers on the bottom. These can keep out dirt and grime that would otherwise clog up your ports. The multi-layered design keeps your phone safe from the dust and dirt too, fit with an inner hard shell and outer slipcover and holster.

Unfortunately, the Defender Series is screenless for the latest phone models, but Otterbox’s Amplify Glass Edge-2-Edge screen protectors can remedy that problem for iPhone users. The ultra-strong screen protector is scratch- and drop-resistant, making it a great compliment to the Defender Series case. Pixel 4 and 4 XL users can enjoy the regular Amplify Glass Screen Protector, which shares the properties of Edge-2-Edge, but does not span to the very corners of your phone. Of course, if your phone is bundled up in the Defender Series, the edges of your phone are already covered. You can shop for Defender Series cases by device here.

  • Apple iPhone 11 Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 5G Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+, S20+ 5G Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 XL Defender Series ($60.95; otterbox.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11, iPhone XR Amplify Glass Edge-2-Edge Screen Protector ($59.95; otterbox.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Amplify Glass Edge-2-Edge Screen Protector ($59.95; otterbox.com)
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Amplify Glass Edge-2-Edge Screen Protector ($59.95; otterbox.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 Amplify Glass Screen Protector ($49.95; otterbox.com)
  • Google Pixel 4 XL Amplify Glass Screen Protector ($49.95; otterbox.com)

Above all, a great remedy for keeping your phone and yourself clean is washing your hands. How many times have you taken out the trash or had a messy meal, and then whipped out your phone without thinking? We’re not suggesting you wash your hands every single time you text, but keeping those fingers clean can do wonders for buildup of fingerprints, grime and germs alike.

Be sure to check up on this guide from time to time as we update it. It’s always a good time to start cleaning up your phone making it shine like new.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

Dr. Jared Burks was on a break from working at the hospital — where he is on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic — when a tornado struck and destroyed his family’s home in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Saturday.
“We are all safe,” his wife, Alyssa Burks, wrote on Facebook. “Our house is gone. Jared was inside, but he survived by the grace of God. Zeke and I were at my mom’s house. Please pray for us as we begin to pick up the pieces.”
The Burks family home was destroyed in the tornado.

At least 22 people were injured when the tornado ripped through the city.
Alyssa Burks posted a photo of Jared with their one-year-old son, Zeke, on Facebook just days before the tornado destroyed their home. In the now-viral image, Jared Burks and Zeke knelt on opposite sides of a glass door, touching palms.
Jared Burks has been living apart from his wife and son for more than two weeks to protect them while he treats patients who have contracted the coronavirus.
“As soon as he saw his dad he just raced to the door,” Alyssa Burks told CNN affiliate KATV. “He got up on the glass because I think he wanted him to hold him, so it was sad, it was cute, but it was really heartbreaking because it’s hard.”
Evan Clower, Alyssa Burks’ best friend, created a GoFundMe on Saturday to help the family rebuild after the tornado. By Sunday evening, more than $50,000 had been raised, with people sharing hundreds of kind messages to the family.
“I donated because this wonderful family sacrificed for the sake of us all during this time, despite the loss of their home,” one donor wrote. “Build bigger and better! My prayers are with you every day!”
There are more confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States than any other country. Health care workers across the country are working around the clock to stop it from spreading, but are quickly running out of medical supplies.
Health officials say the best way to protect medical workers and help them counter the pandemic is to practice social distancing.
“The more we stay home, the less likely we are to spread it and the less likely they are to be affected by it as well,” Alyssa Burks said. “And we need them.”
Josef Neumann, 72, was injured in a machete attack in Monsey, New York, during a Hanukkah celebration, his daughter Nicky Kohen told CNN Sunday night.
He died of his injuries Sunday, Kohen said.
Neumann was one of five people assaulted in the attack on December 28 and was the most severely injured, his daughter said.
Rabbi who survived machete attack has a unifying message

Dozens of people were gathered at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s Monsey home to celebrate the holiday.
Rottenberg’s son had just lit a menorah when Grafton Thomas, 37, ran into the house with an 18-inch machete and yelled “No one is leaving,” before attacking those in the home, federal prosecutors said.
Thomas pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and was charged with a federal hate crime in January.
Michael Sussman, an attorney for Thomas told CNN that his client was hospitalized several times in 2019 and may have suffered a hallucination during the night of the attack.
Neumann sustained multiple stab wounds to his neck, arms and head, one of which penetrated his brain.
In February, he underwent surgery to have breathing and feeding tubes implanted.
Those who knew Neumann described him a compassionate man.
Yisroel Kraus, who was also a guest at the rabbi’s home the night of the attack, told CNN in January that he considered Neumann a mentor and “incredibly kind human being.”
“One of the most selfless people I know,” Kraus said. “Since I knew him, he was a very poor man. He never had a dime to his name and always goes around collecting money for other poor families. It was never about himself.”
Lonnie Franklin, known as the “Grim Sleeper,” was found unresponsive in his cell Saturday night, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
An autopsy is being performed to determine the 67-year-old’s cause of death, but there were no signs of trauma, the statement said.
He was a former city trash collector and also worked as a garage attendant at a LAPD station.
Police collected DNA from some of the crime scenes but were unable to find a match for several years.
Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was convicted of being the Los Angeles-area serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper.

That changed when investigators found a similar match to Franklin taken from the scene on a second attempt to cross reference a state databank of convicted felons’ DNA.
The match was his son.
Franklin was placed on 24-hour surveillance and a plan was made to obtain his DNA.
An undercover officer posed as a waiter and collected a pizza crust left behind by Franklin. The DNA on that crust came up as a match for the killer dubbed the “Grim Sleeper.”
He was arrested in July 2010. When police raided his South Los Angeles home, they discovered photos and videos of 180 women. Police have since accounted for the identities and whereabouts of most of them, but the circumstances surrounding about 30 of the women remain
He was found guilty on 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the deaths of nine women and one teenage girl between 1985 and 2007.
Franklin was sentenced to death on August 10, 2016 in Los Angeles County, the release said.
California reinstated capital punishment in 1978. Since then 82 inmates have died from natural causes, 27 have died by suicide and 13 have been executed in the state of California. Eight people — including Franklin — have died and are awaiting a cause of death while 14 have died from other causes, according to the release.
“I want to give a hand to my city that is living in this dramatic moment, and has a real need for doctors,” she said of her hometown Bergamo, one of Italy’s hardest-hit northern cities.
Bonini is one of thousands of Italian graduates taking up the government’s call for urgent help tackling the deadliest outbreak of the virus in the world.
The European country hit the grim milestone over the weekend of 10,000 deaths, accounting for roughly a third of the 30,000-plus deaths worldwide.
With hospitals under extraordinary strain, Italy has expedited the procedure for medical school graduates entering the workforce — cutting the hospital exam and increasing the number of doctors being recruited.
Italy's coronavirus death toll passes 10,000. Many are asking why the fatality rate is so high

For many graduates, it will be their first professional job in an industry facing its biggest crisis in a generation. It comes amid the deaths of 50 doctors, according to Italy’s national federation of doctors.
The abrupt changes to the procedures for fresh graduates entering the workforce, marks a major shakeup of Italy’s education system, said Dr. Alessandro Grimaldi, Director of Infectious Disease at S.S. Salvatore Hospital of L’Aquila.
Currently, students are required to do a residency, where they specialize in a certain area of medicine. But according to Grimaldi, there are between 3,000 and 4,000 fewer residency placements available than the number of students, meaning many travel abroad to work.
Grimaldi likened the money spent on educating Italian medical students who then work overseas, to: “giving a present of a Ferrari to countries abroad every year.”
These graduates “would have been such great resources — especially today,” he added.
So as the country enters its sixth week of lockdown, young Italian doctors are being catapulted to the health emergency’s forefront.
CNN spoke to some of them.

‘I’m scared to pass on this illness’

Chiara Bonini, 26, Bergamo
Bonini was studying for her final medical exams at the University of L’Aquila in central Italy, when the government put the call out for medical students to help out in the north.
She was all set to go to work in her hometown of Bergamo — until she contracted the virus, she believes from her boyfriend who is also a doctor.
Now fully recovered, Bonini is awaiting clearance to go out and work. Having already contracted coronavirus, Bonini says she feels less afraid about her new job.
“My immune system has already fought this,” she said. “So if I were to be infected again, my body would recognize it in some way.
“The only fear I have of getting it again, is if I pass it on,” Bonini added. “I’m scared to pass on this illness.”

‘Arrogant to think this was only a Chinese issue’

Samin Sedghi Zadeh, 29, Cremona
Zadeh has been working at a hospital in the hard-hit northern city of Cremona for the last two weeks. He left his comfortable job as a general practitioner in the private sector, after the government sought urgent help from medical professionals.
“A year ago when I graduated, I made a promise to make myself useful in the face of crisis,” he said. “Being closed-off in the comfort of an office is not helping this national emergency.”
Zadeh’s family is originally from Iran, where his 80-year-old grandmother is weathering the outbreak there alone.
He says Iran’s response to the emergency has been weaker than Italy’s, but countries in the West should also have been better prepared.
“We have all been very arrogant to think this was only a Chinese issue,” said Zadeh.
“We in the West didn’t think this was our issue,” he said, adding, “Instead we are about to be at full capacity in our field hospitals.”
Zadeh said that although Italy has one of the best health care systems in the world, he hopes it will also learn some lessons from the crisis.
“Sometimes when things go back to normal, memory is short,” he said. “As a young Italian, I hope there is more investment in the health care system for students.”

‘I invested my entire life to do this work’

Stefania Pini, 40, Cremona
Pini graduated from the University of Parma, also in northern Italy, last year. But she was forced to move to neighboring Switzerland for work, after failing to secure a residency in Italy.
Like many recent graduates, she jumped at the chance to help her country as it grapples with the pandemic.
The 40-year-old said she started her degree later in life and “took my time to do it well.” Medicine was her life’s calling, added Pini.
“I invested my entire life to do this work,” she said. “I didn’t get married, I lived to study.”
Pini is now working at a hospital in her hometown and in Cremona.
The position is temporary but she hopes in the future it might lead to full-time employment in her own country.
“I’m Italian and I would love to work in Italy,” she said.

Numbers that matter right now:

The rapidly rising death toll. The projections of additional potential deaths in the weeks ahead. The length of time until the expected peak. The death rate. The number of confirmed cases. The number of people who have Covid-19 symptoms, but haven’t been tested. The number of 911 calls in major metro areas like New York. The staffing levels at area hospitals. The number of available beds. The number of additional beds that may be needed. The current count of ventilators. The supplies of PPE. The capacity levels of local morgues. The unemployment rate. The length of time that social distancing measures will remain in effect. The modeled death toll if the restrictions are eased.

Numbers that don’t matter right now:

Television ratings.
That’s why it was so disgusting to see President Trump bragging about the ratings for the White House’s coronavirus task force briefings. Talking about ratings while people are dying and others are pleading for help? It is beneath any human being. I said on “CNN Newsroom” that members of Trump’s inner circle need to intervene and help him get out of his own way.
But I’m not holding my breath. Trump launched into an anti-CNN tirade during a Sunday afternoon presser, claiming that the network is “not trusted anymore” and that “people are not watching CNN anymore.”
Again let me say: TV ratings don’t matter right now. Viewership is up, across the board, but networks are wary of publicizing the numbers for the same reasons that they didn’t tout their record ratings after 9/11. I’m not going to get into all the specific metrics. But for purposes of fact-checking the president’s lie, the month of March has been CNN’s most-watched month since September 2005, when the Gulf Coast was recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
As an anchor and correspondent, I feel the pressure. I know that our ratings are well above average right now. People need reliable sources that aren’t minimizing OR overstating the threat. That’s what we have to keep doing. That’s something the president should encourage, not seek to destroy.

Ratings reality check

Brian Lowry writes: It seems ridiculous to have to point this out right now, but here goes: Trump has a long history of exaggerating or outright lying about TV ratings, dating back to his claims that “The Apprentice” was the No. 1 show on TV long after it wasn’t. And his series of tweets about viewership of his news conferences, quoting a NYT story that (certainly in terms of the headline) could have been a bit more sophisticated itself, overlook a series of disclaimers and qualifiers too long to mention…
→ Kevin Kruse tweeted: “If all you care about are your TV ratings, remember that President Nixon attracted an estimated 110 million viewers for his resignation speech.”

Haberman’s reporting

“I think the president is doing very little other than watching media coverage right now,” the NYT’s Maggie Haberman told me on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources.”
“He doesn’t have the rallies for the feedback. He’s just watching television and having meetings about this issue, and I think he’s more sensitive to negative coverage than he normally is… so what he’s doing is lashing out.”
→ The bottom line re: his recent spate of anti-media attacks: “He doesn’t want people to believe real time accounts that they are seeing…”

“Reliable Sources” highlights

— Doctors and nurses are alerting the public through social media, sometimes by smuggling videos out of hospital wards. Dr. Esther Choo said rules restricting press access at hospitals should be revisited so that the public has a view inside virus-stricken ERs. “Some of this information is important for public health,” she said…
— The New Yorker editor David Remnick said Trump’s “lies,” narcissism, and “lack of empathy” have “led to disaster. Has led to delay. And this will be — and I think history will prove this — this will be something that’s paid in human lives. And that’s an enormous tragedy…”
— With warehouse employee protests looming, I talked with Amazon’s top spokesman Jay Carney about how the company is addressing the pandemic…

Stephen King’s sharp critique of Trump’s mixed messaging

The “Reliable” team had been working on booking Stephen King for months… and I had planned to fly to Florida to interview him in person. Instead, we talked via his webcam on Sunday morning. “People are saying to me ‘we’re living in a Stephen King world,’ and all I can say is, boy, I wish we weren’t,” King said re: the horror novel nature of this moment.
>> King also said Trump’s handling of the pandemic is “almost impossible to comprehend.” Watch…

Trump lashes out at Alcindor, demands she “be nice”

Oliver Darcy writes: Amid a global pandemic killing thousands of Americans, Trump disparaged CNN, NYT, and PBS at his press conference on Sunday, while saving his praise for a fringe right-wing network that has a history of peddling conspiracy theories.
Trump lashed out at PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and said she should be friendlier toward him. Trump’s outburst came after Alcindor noted that Trump had previously told Sean Hannity he was not sure if states would actually need the total number of ventilators they have requested.
“Why don’t you act a little more positive?” Trump asked. He added, “Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.” Alcindor pushed back, noting she was effectively repeating what he had previously told Hannity, but Trump wasn’t having it. When Alcindor came to ask her second Q, Trump cut her off and the microphone was taken away from her…

Diamond gives back the mic

Darcy continues: When Trump called on him later in the press conference, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond instead handed Alcindor the mic so that she could ask her second question. Alcindor asked which health experts Trump had spoken to that had said more people could die from an economic recession than the virus. Trump didn’t directly answer.
After the press conference, Alcindor tweeted, “I’m not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward.”

“These are direct quotes, sir.”

Darcy adds: When Diamond got a chance to ask his question, he pressed Trump on last Friday comments about not phoning governors who are not “appreciative.” Trump accused Diamond of lying and taking him out of context, but Diamond pointed out that he was reading “direct quotes.” As Daniel Dale put it, “Reporters read Trump quote back to him, Trump denies and attacks.” Check out Dale’s fact-check here, titled “Trump falsely denies saying two things he said last week…”

Trump praises OANN

Darcy sends one more note: At the presser, Trump lavished praised on a personality from the far-right cable channel One America News. The attendee asked Trump for a response to networks that are wary of airing his lengthy press conferences in full. “Boy that’s a nice question,” Trump said. “Thank you very much.” When Trump called on her for a second time, she bizarrely asked the same question again… which is quite revealing, when you think about it…

FOR THE RECORD

— Applause for health care workers is nice, Jake Tapper said Sunday, but “politicians getting them the box of N95 masks, that would be even better. The fact that too many professionals don’t have them — that’s a national disgrace.” (Mediaite)
— ICYMI: Read the NYT’s reconstruct of America’s “lost month,” when “Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe…” (NYT)
— Manuel Roig-Franzia and Sarah Ellison report on the “history of the Trump war on media…” (WaPo)
Trump’s extension of social distancing guidelines until April 30 is a highly significant move that means American life will remain shut down for at least a month, and probably longer.
Despite cascading humanitarian and political impacts of that decision, the devastating toll of the virus left Trump little choice — even though some conservative backers have been urging him to ease lockdowns.
A President, who a month ago was predicting a miracle that would just make the virus go away, was presented with cataclysmic figures that 2.2 million Americans could die if he indulged his itch to start reopening the economy in the coming week.
“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” Trump, who last week repeatedly suggested that win was near, said Sunday, extending restrictions due to expire on Monday for another month at least.
Trump’s decision to listen to his advisers will relieve public health officials and emergency physicians countrywide and shows that he is, in extremis, willing to listen to science — in a way that would be a given for most presidents but has not been so for a commander-in-chief who has so often blurred truth.
Fact check: Trump falsely denies saying two things he said last week

The President appeared at a Sunday evening news briefing in which he rattled off multiple false statements, called corporate CEOs to the mic to praise his leadership and falsely and personally attacked journalists who asked him tough questions.
He also bizarrely appeared to accuse health workers of stealing surgical masks amid huge shortages brought on by terrible conditions in hospitals and accused states of “hoarding” ventilators. Trump also boasted about his own TV ratings.
His antics appeared especially questionable given the sobering apparent reality that tens of thousands of Americans will die in the coming weeks as the pandemic takes a terrible hold.
At a desperate moment in America’s modern history, Trump appears to continue to be focused intently on his own political image, claiming personal credit and remaining highly sensitive to any form of criticism.
Trump’s reversal appeared to be the latest occasion when his officials have brought flattery and the power of argument to bear to change his mind on leadership decisions that were apparently based on hunches and limited reasoning.
On Saturday for instance, he floated the idea of quarantining New York — without consulting local officials, only for his subordinates to convince him the idea was not possible.

Trump concedes death toll could be 100,000 or more

Trump predicted the death rate in the US — which doubled from Thursday to Sunday — could peak within two weeks but the nation could get “to the bottom of the hill” by June 1.
Even that figure seems characteristically optimistic. “We should be so lucky,” Rhode Island emergency physician Megan Ranney told CNN, pointing out that only even if social distancing were adopted nationwide now, two weeks was probably not sufficient for all of the most critical cases to emerge.
He had been desperate to start some county-by-county opening of the economy in the days to come. But the President’s decision — potentially a turning point in the nation’s fight against the pandemic — appears to have followed concerted lobbying by two top public health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
Trump predicted his decision would save hundreds of thousands of lives, in an apparent moving of the political goalposts to account for the fast worsening US pandemic.
“2.2 million people would have died if we didn’t do what we are doing,” the President said.
“If we can hold that number down … to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less … we all, all together have done a very good job,” Trump said.
The new April 30 date marks yet another reversal of position on the pandemic by the President, who last week made clear he did not pick the Easter date, April 12, based on data but because it was a “beautiful timeline.” Shrugging off his row back, Trump claimed Sunday that Easter had only been an “aspirational date.”
Almost no one, who closely followed the science, modeling and data — including governors, health experts and commentators thought Trump’s original timeline was smart.
Fauci explained Sunday that the US death toll, based on modeling, could reach 100,000 deaths or more, a comment first made on CNN.
US could see millions of coronavirus cases and 100,000 or more deaths, Fauci says

US could see millions of coronavirus cases and 100,000 or more deaths, Fauci says

“I think it’s entirely conceivable that if we do not mitigate to the extent we are trying to do is that you could reach that number,” Fauci said at the White House news conference.
He described Trump’s decision as a wise and prudent one.
Earlier on Sunday, Trump’s rationale for a county-by-county reopening of the economy was undercut by comments from his top official.
“I’m not against releasing the restrictions. I’m actually for it in an appropriate place. But I don’t recommend it unless we have the tools in place in real time,” Fauci said.
Birx also undermined the rationale for Trump’s plan to put in place new recommendations for social distancing after options were presented to him during the weekend.
“We all are deeply concerned and why we’ve been raising the alert in all metro areas and in all states,” Birx said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“No state, no metro area will be spared,” Birx said. “At this moment, we are asking every single governor and every single mayor to prepare like New York is preparing now.”

Pelosi claims Trump ‘fiddles’ while people die

The darkening mood over the pandemic did not convince Trump to moderate his extreme political rhetoric.
On Sunday, two journalists, Yamiche Alcindor of the PBS NewsHour and CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, read the President’s own controversial comments back to him — which he denied in real-time on television.
“We’re getting the word out. We’re getting the accurate word out,” Trump told reporters.
In another example of the President being corrected, he said last week on Fox News that he just didn’t believe calls for 30,000 new ventilators, apparently referring to warnings of a shortage of the life saving equipment from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Fauci effectively corrected Trump on Sunday.
“I tend to believe Governor Cuomo,” Fauci told CNN.
“One way or the other, he needs the ventilators that he needs. And, hopefully, we will get him the ventilators that he needs.”
Civil liberties in the time of coronavirus

Civil liberties in the time of coronavirus

The generational challenge of the coronavirus pandemic would have tested any administration. And any President would have racked up failures under such intense pressure.
But Trump’s incessantly confusing positions, claims of huge personal success and willingness to politicize are raising scrutiny of his own administration’s performance.
His litany of false statements and misleading statistics — for instance his claim the US had tested far more people than South Korea — even though on a per capita basis the US figure is far lower, also focus criticism on his handling of the situation.
The President again celebrating what he says is the low mortality rate in the US comes across as in poor taste when the death toll in the United States is soaring.
Trump is not the only senior political leader willing to inject explosive political language into the debate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday highlighted Trump’s initial handling of the epidemic in her own interview with CNN, which contained exceedingly strong language.
“The President, his denial at the beginning, was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment to where it — it continues, his delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly,” Pelosi told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“As the President fiddles, people are dying and we have to, we just have to take every precaution,” Pelosi said.
Now you can have both because Busch Beer is offering a three months’ supply of its beer to 500 people who adopt or foster a dog from Midwest Animal Rescue in Minnesota.
Animal shelters across the US are closing their doors to the public and canceling adoption events to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But nothing is stopping new abandoned animals from coming in, so shelters are trying to place as many animals in homes as quickly as possible.
To help this effort, Busch Beer has teamed up with Midwest Animal Rescue to launch the “Foster a Dog, Get Busch” offer.
Looking for companionship during your quarantine? This non-profit helps cover the cost to foster senior dogs

“During these uncertain and lonelier times, people need an escape: cue the cute puppy memes and photos,” a spokesperson for Busch told People magazine in a statement. “But as much as we need those cute puppy pics to help get us through social distancing, it’s actually them who need us.”
“Social distancing is better with a furry friend by your side and a cold beer in your hand,” the spokesperson added.
To enter, you must adopt or foster a dog through Midwest Animal Rescue. After completing the adoption or foster process, you will receive a confirmation email from the animal shelter, which you should then send to Busch through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by April 25.
If you are one of the first 500 people to enter, you will receive a $100 pre-paid debit card, which you can then use to buy your three months’ worth of beer.
So whether it’s for the dog or for the free beer, this is an offer that’s truly a win-win for everybody.
Prine, 73, was hospitalized on Thursday and intubated Saturday night and continues to receive care but “his situation is critical,” according to a family statement posted on his verified Twitter account.
“This is hard news for us to share. But so many of you have loved and supported John over the years, we wanted to let you know, and give you the chance to send on more of that love and support now. And know that we love you, and John loves you,” the statement said.
John Prine performs in Hollywood, California, on October 1, 2019.

The news prompted tributes and supportive posts on social media.
Bette Midler, who has covered Prine’s song, “Hello in There,” tweeted: “One of the loveliest people I was ever lucky enough to know. He is a genius and a huge soul. Pray for him.”
Musician Keb’ Mo’ dedicated an online performance of “I’m telling You Now” to Prine on Twitter.
“We are going through a time that reminds us not to take anything for granted. We tell people we love them. This one today goes out to @JohnPrineMusic as we pray for his healing,” he wrote.
Prine’s official website describes Prine’s trademark as an “ability to speak to the everyday experience of ordinary people with a simple honesty.”
The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter has had nearly 50-year career playing a blend of country and folk music.
Born in 1946, the Songwriters Hall of Fame says that Prine began his career in Chicago in the late 1960s after learning guitar aged 14.
Songs from his 1971 debut album were later covered by musicians including Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, John Denver and Norah Brown. In a 2009 interview, Bob Dylan listed Prine as one of his favorite songwriters.
In 1981, Prince and his manager founded Oh Boy Records in Nashville, Tennessee. According to the label, it is the second-oldest artist-owned independent record label in the US.
Prine has survived cancer twice. In the late 1990s, he had surgery to remove cancer from his neck. The operation removed a piece of his neck and changed the tone of his voice, deepening it and giving it a gravelly sound. In 2013, he underwent surgery to remove cancer in his left lung.