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CORONA WATCH--Front-line care workers have been called heroes throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Many of them don’t feel like it.

Instead, they feel besieged and traumatized not only by the suffering and death they’ve witnessed, but by a health care system they believe is showing it doesn’t value them, a disjointed and ineffective governmental response, and members of the public who deny the reality of all that suffering and death.

Tragedy is part of the job for medical providers, but the relentlessness of the coronavirus outbreak is more than most have ever seen, said Nina Wells, a nurse practitioner and the president of the Service Employees International Union Local 121RN in Pasadena, California.

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CORONA WATCH--Michael Caputo, the politically appointed assistant secretary of public affairs for the nation’s health department, has reportedly apologized to the health secretary and his staff after accusing government scientists fighting the coronavirus pandemic of having a “resistance unit” and plotting to undermine President Donald Trump.

Caputo’s apology to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday, as reported by several media outlets citing sources familiar with the situation, followed him spewing disturbing conspiracy theories in a live Facebook video on Sunday about the upcoming presidential election and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until Joe Biden is president,” he said, without providing any supporting evidence, according to copies of the video shared by various news outlets. 

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CORONA WATCH-A public health expert at George Washington University rebuked President Donald Trump's campaign after it argued that Trump had a right to host an estimated 25,000 people at an indoor campaign rally Sunday evening in Nevada because hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken part in racial justice protests in recent months. (Photo above: People cheer as U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for an indoor campaign rally at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 13, 2020. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

After receiving harsh criticism for holding its first indoor rally since June in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, the campaign responded by saying, "If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets...or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the president of the United States."

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CORONA WATCH--Donald Trump loves parades. In 2018, for no particular reason other than to gratify himself, he organized a military parade in his honor. But as plans for the parade developed, Trump insisted on excluding wounded veterans because “nobody wants to see” amputees, according to an explosive new piece in The Atlantic. In general, Jeffrey Goldberg writes, “Several observers told me that Trump is deeply anxious about dying or being disfigured, and this worry manifests itself as disgust for those who have suffered.” (Photo above: President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images).

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CORONAWATCH--Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many people — including my parents — said they’d rather die than end up in a nursing home. So when my mother suffered a brain aneurysm and became severely disabled at the age of 57, my father and I cared for her at home.

I had two young children and a full-time job, so I would help after work and on the weekends. But when my father also fell ill, we needed more help than I could give.

Like many families with few long-term care options, we were forced to turn to the nursing home system.

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CORONA WATCH--I’ve been interviewing experts and health care professionals almost every night on Instagram Live. A recent interviewee: Kelsey, a nurse at a major hospital in New York City. (We’re not sharing its name.) Kelsey just celebrated her first year working as a nurse. Now, she’s on the front-line of the coronavirus pandemic, working on her hospital’s infectious disease floor — now completely full of Covid-19 positive patients. Here, some of the most powerful things Kelsey told me during our interview.

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CORONA WATCH-As horrible as the COVID-19 crisis is, it has brought out the best in the American people — the selflessness of front-line nurses and doctors, for example, as well as the generous community spirit of local food businesses.

But it has also amplified one of the worst flaws in our society, namely the “me-first” greed of corporate chieftains.

Last year, we were told that a new, more democratic corporate ethic was emerging. The CEOs of 181 big-name giants signed a public pledge to run their corporations not solely to maximize shareholder profits, but also to benefit workers, communities, and other economic “stakeholders.”

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CORONA WATCH--Since the start of the pandemic, American billionaires have been cleaning up. As more than 50 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance, billionaires became $637 billion richer. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth has ballooned 59 percent. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’s, 39 percent. Walmart’s Walton family has added $25 billion. (Photo above: A demonstrator holds a "Tax the Rich" sign during a protest in New York on June 27, 2020. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Big drug company CEOs and their major investors are doing nicely, too.  Since the start of the pandemic, Big Pharma has raised prices on over 250 prescription drugs, 61 of which are being used to treat Covid-19.  

Apologists say this is the “free market” responding to supply and demand – the barons of Big Tech, online retailing, and Big Pharma merely providing what consumers desperately need during the pandemic.  

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CORONA WATCH--The Trump administration is apparently undertaking its latest effort to make 2020 more of a Kafkaesque nightmare than it already is.

Yes, we’ve got murder hornets and a swarm of flying ants that can be seen from space over in Ireland, but maybe the scariest plague of the year is the president.

Since the start of the pandemic, Trump’s only concern has been his poll numbers. He wants to go back to the reality we left behind in 2019: an open economy and no mass casualties from a novel virus.

We can’t do that, so he’s done his best to pretend: downplaying the pandemic, falsely claiming his administration has it under control, urging a quick economic reopening, and inaccurately claiming the economy is strong anyway.

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CORONA WATCH--The holy mantra of health professionals was coined about 2,500 years ago by the Greek physician Hippocrates: “Do no harm.”

Of course, that was before corporate healthcare took charge and asserted a new guiding ethic: “Jack up profits.”

Putting this in practice, America’s largest and richest hospital chains rushed to the front of the COVID-19 bailout line this spring to pull $15 billion from the government’s emergency fund. They pocketed the taxpayers’ money despite sitting on tens of billions of dollars of their own cash reserves.

But hold your nose, for it gets much stinkier.

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CORONA WATCH--In an exclusive interview that aired on NBC Nightly NewsLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Lester Holt that “it’s always a possibility” that he could reimpose a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of Covid-19. But adds, “if it doesn't soar up, I don't think we'll have to close further.”

Plus, he tells Holt “there's not a lot of regrets” in his handling of the coronavirus crisis in his city adding that Los Angeles was the “first to have masks. We were the first to have public testing for people without symptoms. The first to surge kind of an equity officer and focus on the African American community.”

More of the interview heard on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt  

Interview Highlights:

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CORONA WATCH--President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House on July 27, 2020

The U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic has harmed the country's standing in the world, with observers calling the policy choices of President Donald Trump to handle the disease "ridiculous" and "shocking" as the crisis exposes the deep flaws in the American system.

"People are stunned about the effect of incapable leadership," German Marshall Fund vice president Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff told the Washington Post

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