TRUMP ACKNOWLEDGES GRIM WEEKS AHEAD; UP TO 240K DEATHS: President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained (AP). Public health officials stressed Tuesday that the number could be less if people across the country bear down on keeping their distance from one another. “We really believe we can do a lot better than that,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. That would require all Americans to take seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease, she said. Added Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, “This is a number that we need to anticipate, but we don’t necessarily have to accept it as being inevitable.” Trump called it “a matter of life and death” for Americans to heed his administration’s guidelines and predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel” in a pandemic that in the United States has infected about 190,000 people and killed about 4,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said. “This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we’ve ever had in our country,” Trump added. “We’re going to lose thousands of people.” The jaw-dropping projections were laid out during a grim, two-hour White House briefing. Officials described a death toll that in a best-case scenario would likely be greater than the more than 53,000 American lives lost during World War I.

TRUMP'S 'SHOW' MEETS THE PANDEMIC: For a few moments in the Rose Garden, the coronavirus pandemic is a bucking bronco with President Donald Trump on its back. His arm swings an invisible rope. He seems to be hanging on for dear life (Woodward, AP). “Ride it like a cowboy,” he growls. “Just ride it. Ride that sucker right through.” This rodeo riff came during the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing, where science meets all things Trump. It’s where the teetotaling president serves a 5 o’clock cocktail of public-health policy, twisted facts, invented achievements, performance art, hectoring, cheerleading, erraticism, improvisation, self-praise, pet theories and a dash of eloquence. Shaken not stirred. Late in starting, finished when he feels like it. The self-styled “wartime president” is, at least, a showtime president. He’s enjoying the high ratings of his briefings and boasting they’re up there with “The Bachelor.” Meantime on the streets of the country, people are recoiling in the wake of each passing stranger’s exhalation. In jammed hospitals, patients are fighting for life. The death toll arcs upward. Still the show must go on. Trump is the animated star of his production. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the stoic straight man, a venerated infectious disease scientist whose facial expressions are closely watched as if he is one oddball Trump remark away from losing it. He doesn’t. But he’s very tired on four hours of sleep.

3.7% OF STATE WORKFORCE LOSES JOBS: Preliminary unemployment claims in Indiana skyrocketed last week to 120,331, a staggering increase of 6,709% as compared to the same week a year ago. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development's Hoosiers by the Numbers data site reported that a stunning 3.7% of Indiana workers lost their jobs in a single week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down restaurants, bars, and other nonessential businesses (Pete, NWI Times). In Lake County, unemployment claims soared last week by 4,119.7% as compared to the same week in 2019, to 6,414, according to Hoosiers by the Numbers. Porter County saw a 5,702.4% jump to 2,437 unemployment claims, while LaPorte County saw a 4,434.4% spike to 1,451 unemployment claims. More than one of 20 working Hoosiers statewide have now been furloughed or forced out of their jobs since the coronavirus public health crisis escalated in the United States.

HOLCOMB WARNS PEAK HASN'T ARRIVED:  Indiana might be in the preliminary stages of a coronavirus surge already, but Gov. Eric Holcomb warned Tuesday about the dangers of de-escalating public health measures too quickly (Downard, CNHI). “What we don’t want to do is be premature about just reflexively jumping back after we hit that peak (of infections) and come down. … You’ve seen around the world where it’ll (the infection rate will) slip back up again,” Holcomb said. “We’ll always be in this new normal. Things will be different going forward.” One of Holcomb’s latest executive orders extends the takeout requirement for restaurants until April 6. On Sunday, President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines until April 30. “It’ll depend on where our health care systems are at that time,” Kris Box, the state health commissioner, said. “We may need to give our hospital systems some time to recuperate.” Box warned of relaxing measures too soon and prompting another surge that could overwhelm hospitals as they try to replenish their personal protective equipment (PPE). “I really do think the surge is starting, but we are not at the peak of that surge in any way, shape or form,” Box said. “Other states and countries have seen little peaks come and go. … So we’ll have to be on the lookout for that as we go forward.”

IU RESEARCHING RAPID COVID-19 TESTS: Researchers in Indianapolis are working to develop new diagnostic tests to more quickly and accurately detect the viral strain that causes COVID-19. Scientists from the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI and the IU School of Medicine are working with Indiana University Health on the tests that could eventually lead to quicker diagnoses of health care workers and others on the front lines (Parker, Inside Indiana Business). Palm-held and benchtop designs have provided real-time detection of infections in samples. "The issue with current accepted approaches for COVID-19 tests is that, while effective at detection, they are slow, with results taking up to a day or longer. We are testing our benchtop sequencing approach, which can potentially be done in two to three hours or even less," said IU principal investigator Sarath Janga. Researchers say another advantage of this type of testing is they can be performed at the point of care, instead of needing to be sent to a lab to determine results.

ISP CHARGING FOR STAY-AT-HOME ORDER VIOLATIONS: It's been almost a week since Gov. Eric Holcomb put a "stay-at-home" order into effect, and Indiana State Police are enforcing it (WHAS-TV). Troopers say they aren't patrolling or pulling people over specifically for the "stay-at-home" order, but they have already charged people for violating it. "They're caught for another reason, and then they end up with an additional charge violating the 'stay-at-home' order," Indiana State Police PIO Carey Huls said. Indiana's "stay-at-home" order means essential trips only. "I think some people might want to consider what the word 'essential' means," Huls said. Huls said most people have been paying attention to the order but said "maybe not as much as we'd like to see." "Our ability to do this is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain," Huls said. "If it's not essential, stay at home. Just because something is listed as essential business doesn't mean that you need to make a trip there."

HISTORIC SOCIETY SEEKS HOOSIER PANDEMIC ACCOUNTS: No one knows when or how the coronavirus pandemic will end, or even what daily life will be like on the other side. But the Indiana Historical Society is confident future generations will want to learn about this unprecedented period, where nearly everything was shut down and Hoosiers were ordered to stay at home to protect themselves and others from a new, contagious virus (Carden, NWI Times). To that end, the Indianapolis institution that has chronicled Indiana life and history since 1830 is asking Hoosiers to share materials that tell the story of how they and their families are getting through the "new normal" in the age of COVID-19. In particular, the historical society is seeking writings, photos, drawings, paintings and short videos conveying the experience of living in Indiana at a time of tremendous uncertainty, economic hardships, and shuttered schools and universities. "Items in our collection let us hear the voices and see the people from our past who are living all the ranges of human experience and emotion," the museum said in its call for materials.

WALL STREET SUFFERS WORST QUARTER SINCE 2008: U.S. stocks closed out their worst quarter since the depths of the financial crisis, a stunning blow for the market that few investors could have anticipated at the start of the year (Wall Street Journal). Just months ago, money managers were optimistic that the global economy would stage a modest rebound. The U.S. and China had appeared to make progress on a trade agreement, and central banks around the world looked poised to keep interest rates steady for the foreseeable future. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. What to many investors initially appeared to be an issue that would primarily affect China quickly became a force that brought business to a virtual standstill around the world. The subsequent selling was indiscriminate. Investors scrambled to flee assets ranging from stocks to commodities to emerging market debt, betting the global economy was headed for a sharp downturn. The longest-ever bull market in U.S. history ended abruptly, with declines so sharp that rarely used mechanisms to halt trading across the entire market were activated by exchanges on multiple occasions.

TRUMP ROLLS BACK FUEL STANDARDS: The Trump administration rolled back ambitious Obama-era vehicle mileage standards Tuesday, raising the ceiling on damaging fossil fuel emissions for years to come and gutting one of the United States’ biggest efforts against climate change (NBC News). The Trump administration released a final rule Tuesday on mileage standards through 2026. The change — after two years of Trump threatening and fighting states and a faction of automakers that opposed the move — waters down a tough Obama mileage standard that would have encouraged automakers to ramp up production of electric vehicles and more fuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles. “We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a statement Tuesday marking the release.

STATE PARKS SEE SURGE: Indiana’s 25 state parks have seen a surge in attendance this past week as people flocked outdoors amid a pandemic that has forced Hoosiers to work from home and distance themselves from others (Lane, Bloomington Herald-Times). The Department of Natural Resources has suspended the $7 entrance fee at all state parks, adding to the crowds. McCormick’s Creek State Park Assistant Property Manager Rocky Brown noticed the recent crowds at the 1,900-acre park. “Oh my gosh, yes. When the sun came out the other day, we got hit with people,” he said. “Everybody should be able to get out and stretch their legs. Being outside is a pretty essential part of life.”

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: It took a couple of months for President Trump and Fox News to get a grip on the grim prospects we are facing. On Monday the awful statistics were acknowledged, with up to a quarter million deaths. Look for our comprehensive coverage in the weekly HPI edition Thursday, including our HPI Interview with Sen. Todd Young where we discuss what American society could look like once this pandemic passes. Look for it around 9 on Thursday. - Brian A. Howey

Campaigns

CLUB FOR GROWTH ENDORSES SPARTZ IN 5TH CD: Club for Growth PAC announced the endorsement of State Senator Victoria Spartz in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District (Howey Politics Indiana). “Growing up in Soviet Ukraine and witnessing the devastation of socialism has made Victoria Spartz a principled, free market conservative who understands the importance of a strong and free economy to Indiana families," said Club For Growth President David McIntosh. "Spartz has proven herself in business and in government as a state senator, and we are looking forward to supporting her campaign.” McIntosh, a former Indiana congressman and 2000 GOP gubernatorial nominee, lost the 5th CD primary to U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks.In 2016, President Trump and Vice President Pence defeated Hillary Clinton in this district 53% to 41%. In 2018, Club for Growth PACs won 85% races in the election while maintaining 8.9% overhead. “I am very honored to get the endorsement of The Club for Growth, one of the leading free-enterprise organizations in the nation,” Spartz said. “As a finance professional and business owner in the 5th District, I understand the importance of strong pro-growth and pro-market economic policies to benefit and create prosperity for all citizens in the 5th district, unleash the human ingenuity, and empower individuals to pursue their happiness in whichever way they choose. Our nation is going through some challenging times – not the first time and not the last time, but we will overcome these challenges and will come out stronger in the end!”

Presidential 2020

BIDEN CASTS DOUBT THAT DNC WILL HAPPEN: MSNBC's Brian Williams asked, "Can you really envision every prominent Democrat in this country from all 50 states inside a hot arena 104 days from now?" Joe Biden responded, "It's hard to envision that. Again, we should listen to the scientists. And you know, one of the reasons why the Democratic Convention was going to be held early was the Olympics were coming after the Republican Convention. There's more time now. I think we're going to -- again, we have -- we ought to be able to do, we were able to do in the middle of a Civil War all the way through to World War II, have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety. And we're able to do both. But the fact is it may have to be different. Now maybe, my guess is there's going to be a great deal more absentee balloting, we used to call it, but paper ballots, that have to be -- that people would choose to use rather than show up and have social distancing. But who knows? We'll have to listen to the scientists. But there's been no rationale for eliminating or delaying the election. It may be virtual."

POLL SHOWS TRUMP'S PANDEMIC BOUNCE FADING: More voters say the Trump administration isn’t doing enough to combat the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. The survey, conducted immediately before President Donald Trump announced a 30-day extension of his physical and social distancing guidelines “to slow the spread” of Covid-19, shows 47 percent of voters feel the administration isn’t doing enough in response to the outbreak, greater than the 40 percent who feel the administration is doing the right amount. Two weeks ago, 43 percent said the administration wasn’t doing enough in the days following the initial measures deployed to reduce the impacts of the virus, while 39 percent said it was doing the right amount. In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, Trump’s overall approval rating is unchanged from last week: 45 percent of voters approve of the job he is doing as president, and 52 percent disapprove.

TRUMP ALLIES FRET HIS FEUD WITH MICHIGAN GOV: President Donald Trump’s allies are trying to contain a politically risky election-year fight with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as he struggles to balance presidential politics with a global pandemic in one of the nation’s most important swing states (AP). Both sides have tried to de-escalate the feud this week, although Trump’s supporters in particular sought to downplay tensions that ratcheted up over the weekend when the Republican president unleashed a social media broadside against Whitmer, a Democrat who had been critical of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Trump has clashed with other Democratic governors as well, but he saved his most aggressive insults for the first-term female governor who is considered a leading vice presidential prospect for his opponent. “Everyone should be shedding the partisanship and coming together,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an interview when asked about Trump’s attacks, suggesting that some of his criticism had been mischaracterized. “I am rooting for Gov. Whitmer,” said McDaniel, who lives in Michigan. “I think she’s done good things. ... I just didn’t like her trying to lay every problem at the president’s feet.”

SANDERS SEES 'NARROW PATH' TO NOMINATION: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been coy as of late about the future of his presidential campaign, told "Late Night" host Seth Myers on Monday he believes “there is a path” for him to win the Democratic nomination (NBC News). Sanders currently trails former Vice President Joe Biden by 312 delegates according to NBC News' delegate tracker, and most of the Democratic primary races that occur in April have been pushed to later this Spring or Summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. But on Monday, Sanders touted his grassroots support which helped him earned first place finishes in a number of the early voting states, including delegate-rich California. "There is a path. It is admittedly a narrow path," Sanders said.



Congress

McCONNELL SAYS IMPEACHMENT DISTRACTED TRUMP FROM VIRUS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the impeachment of President Trump distracted the administration’s attention away from the coronavirus crisis, defending the president amid criticism of the delayed U.S. response to the pandemic (Washington Post). In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell blamed the Democratic-led impeachment effort, even though Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 5 — more than three weeks before the first coronavirus death in the United States. “It came up while we were, you know, tied down in the impeachment trial,” McConnell told Hewitt. “And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything, every day, was all about impeachment.”

YOUNG OP-ED HIGHLIGHTS CHINA'S TROUBLING BEHAVIOR: In an op-ed published by the Washington Examiner, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) outlines the Chinese Communist Party’s troubling behavior surrounding coronavirus and the need to respond by investing in America’s future (Howey Politics Indiana). China intends to use this moment of economic slowdown in the United States to pull ahead of us, especially in some key technology areas. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and chairman of the subcommittee that oversees foreign economic policy, Senator Young is calling for a National Innovation Strategy to prioritize federal investment in key technologies, just as we did when America led the Space Race and developed a vaccine for polio. “It is imperative that America not be outflanked. We should implement a National Innovation Strategy to meet the challenges of this moment. When life resumes as normal, this generation of Americans must not be content with merely recovering our losses. Instead, we must position ourselves to lead,” Young writes.

BUTLER PROF URGES VIRUS TO BE TREATED LIKE TERRORIST ATTACK: A Butler University professor is urging Congress to institute a Pandemic Risk Insurance Act to help cover some of the costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, a move he says that will get businesses up and running again (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). “Every business in America doesn't understand where they're going to get their money from,” said Zach Finn, director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance program at Butler. Finn and a group of colleagues say the PRIA that is similar to the Terrorism Risk and Insurance Act. TRIA was written and put into law following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and economic turmoil.

State

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDERS - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed two executive orders on Tuesday to aid in the fight against COVID-19 (Howey Politics Indiana). Executive order 20-14 extends the requirements for bars, nightclubs and restaurants to stay closed to dine-in patrons until April 6 at 11:59 p.m. They may continue to provide take-out and delivery services. The Governor expects bars, nightclubs and restaurants to comply with the directive for the safety of Hoosiers in their communities without the need to call for enforcement measures. However, the state and local boards of health and the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) have been directed by the Governor to take all available administrative and enforcement actions against establishments that continue to offer in-house dining services, in violation of the governor’s order. Executive order 20-15 eases government operations including permitting electronic notary services to remotely review and approve documents.

GOVERNOR: ADDITIONAL STEPS TAKEN - Additional steps taken by the state today include: The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will hold a virtual job fair for more than 1,000 construction and related positions at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 16. To register for the INDOT Virtual Job Fair, click here. All registrants will receive a link to the recording of the virtual job fair whether they are able to participate live or not. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education will offer free virtual FAFSA filing help for students and families from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.  Help will be available through the Commission’s Learn More Indiana social media platforms: Facebook (facebook.com/LearnMoreIN), Instagram (@LearnMoreIndiana) and Twitter (@LearnMoreIN)

GOVERNOR: INDY HOTEL FIRST VIRUS OVERFLOW SITE - The Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Airport Hotel in the 2500 block of South High Road is the first off-site location for COVID-19 patients and potential patients awaiting test results in Marion County (CBS4). Sources indicate the first handful of guests was checked into the hotel last Sunday. The plan to house Indianapolis homeless persons affected by the coronavirus was first announced last week by Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan during a statehouse briefing alongside Governor Eric Holcomb. Dr. Sullivan indicated the Indiana State Department of Health would take on the administration of the location while Eskenazi  Health would staff the site and the Indiana National Guard would provide security.

GOVERNOR: ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES LISTED - Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered Hoosiers to stay home to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state (WRTV). The executive order goes into effect Wednesday and will remain in effect through April 7. It may be reassessed and adjusted as necessary. The order requires all Hoosiers to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary that they leave or they work in an essential field. But what does a "stay-at-home" order actually mean? You can still get groceries, pick up lunch at your child's school and order food for carryout and delivery. You can also do your laundry and pickup your prescriptions — all things that are considered essential activities. All non-essential businesses will be closed during the order.

DWD: STATE BRACES FOR CLAIMS - Indiana is bracing for a rush in unemployment insurance claims amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many manufacturers are idled, including Indiana automakers and their suppliers. The retail sector has been tremendously impacted, and restaurants, bars and nightclubs are closed or reduced to carryout and/or delivery. Further, most Hoosiers remain under a state stay-at-home order (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). In Indiana, claims shot up to 61,535 from 2,596 the week before. “We have started to supplement and add staff, moving employees from the workforce development side to the unemployment side and using technology,” said Josh Richardson, chief of staff for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which is in charge of processing the state’s unemployment insurance claims as well as workforce development efforts.

DOE: $215M IN FED FUNDS COMING TO SCHOOLS - Financial help is on the way for Indiana public schools to educate students remotely during coronavirus closures. But State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick cautioned school leaders not to get too excited (Fittes, IBJ). Indiana will receive $215 million of the $13.5 billion that the federal government is handing out to states for schools, McCormick said. That rescue package may sound big, but it’s not a lot compared with the $9.6 billion the state spends each year on schools. During a webinar on Tuesday, McCormick said no one is going to “get rich” with the extra money. It can be used for things like buying technology to get remote learning off the ground, sanitizing school buildings, and starting summer learning programs. “The money goes quickly and it’s not as much as we might think it is,” said Indiana Chief Academic Officer Robin LeClaire.

DWD: NE INDIANA LOSES 12K JOBS -  Thousands of northeast Indiana workers have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to “eye-popping” figures released Tuesday (WANE-TV). According to Department of Workforce Development unemployment insurance reports released Tuesday, the total number of claims statewide more than doubled last week, going from 53,608 the previous week to 120,331 last week for a total of first-time claims 173,939 in the two-week period. Locally, Allen County had 9,950 initial claims last week, a 179.4% increase from the week before of 3,561. Noble County recorded 2,328 initial claims, up from 300 the week before. DeKalb County added 1,366 new claims, up from 382 the week before, and Huntington County registered 1,180 initial claims last week compared to 304 the week prior.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL SUGGESTS JOBLESS HOOSIERS CHECK INDIANA UNCLAIMED - Hoosiers needing extra cash during the COVID-19 pandemic can check Indiana's unclaimed property database to see if the state is holding money for them from forgotten bank accounts, stock dividends, insurance proceeds, product refunds, rental deposits or other sources (Carden, NWI Times). Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr., who oversees the state's unclaimed property program, said anyone in Indiana struggling financially following a coronavirus-related layoff or furlough may get some good news by doing an unclaimed property search. "While there isn't property available to everyone, a quick search on our website could potentially improve a difficult situation. It’s worth a look," Hill said.

EDUCATION: DANIELS ANNOUNCES SAFE CAMPUS TASK FORCE - On Tuesday, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced the establishment of a Safe Campus Task Force (WLFI-TV). "With the viral epidemic still at an early stage in the U.S., uncertainty confronts us on almost every question. But one thing we can say with confidence: next fall’s college environment and experience will be unlike any we have witnessed," Daniels said announcing the task force. "I have asked a broad-based team of the best minds and experienced leaders at Purdue, led by two of our senior academic figures, to propose every change they can conceive in our practices, procedures, physical facilities, or any of our operations that will limit the degree of illness, flu or otherwise, on our campus, and to manage it effectively when inevitably it does occur. The way we teach, learn, house, perform research, congregate, and do the work necessary to support those core activities are all open to reexamination and new, safer approaches."

AGRICULTURE: CORN PLANTING UP 16% - When Indiana farmers take to the fields later this spring, it appears they have plans to plant a lot more corn this year (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued Tuesday its 2020 Prospective Plantings report, an early-season estimate of how many acres of major crops will be planted across the U.S. this year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service, an agency of USDA, is projecting Indiana farmers intend to plant 5.8 million acres of corn in 2020, a 16% increase over last year’s 5 million acres. NASS is also estimating Hoosier farmers will plant 5.4 million acres of soybeans, unchanged from last year.

FARM BUREAU DONATES $5K TO FOOD BANK - The Indiana Farm Bureau has donated $5,000 to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to help provide food to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (Michigan City News-Dispatch). According to INFB, Gleaners is the largest food bank and hunger relief charity in the state, serving about a third of the estimated 1 million Hoosiers vulnerable to food insecurity. "Funds will go directly to helping Hoosiers in need at a time when food banks are seeing a significant increase in patronage due to unemployment and school closings related to COVID-19," according to Randy Kron, INFB president.

Nation

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE HALTS FOREIGN AID - Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand. The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok (Politico). Trump aides were alarmed when they learned of the exchange, and immediately put the shipment on hold while they ordered a review of U.S. aid procedures. Crossed wires would only confuse our allies, they worried, or worse—offend them. And Americans confronting a surging death toll and shortages of medical equipment back home would likely be outraged. Vice President Mike Pence soon realized another step was needed: After a phone call asking a foreign leader’s help with key supplies, he ordered his staff to make sure the review process wasn’t holding up coronavirus-related aid to countries that were assisting the United States.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP CALLS FOR $2T INFRASTRUCTURE BILL - President Trump on Tuesday called for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill to serve as “Phase 4” of the federal government’s coronavirus response efforts, just days after Congress approved a massive stimulus package worth even more than that (Fox News). “With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

WHITE HOUSE: MEADOWS BECOMES TRUMP CoS - Mark Meadows' resignation from Congress as a North Carolina congressman became official at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, leaving the House of Representatives with a total of 429 members as he turns to his new job as White House chief of staff (CBS News). His new gig is one of the toughest in Washington, and it was already by its nature difficult, before factoring in a president who's fond of acting as his own chief of staff and isn't well known for his attention to detail on policy. Add to that a global pandemic that's devastating American lives and jobs and making the chief-of-staff role even more intense.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP REJECTS REOPENING OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT - The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis (Politico). President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law's marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is "exploring other options."

WHITE HOUSE: FAUCI EXPECTS WAVES OF COVID-19 - Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who's become a fixture at White House coronavirus task force briefings, predicts there will be additional waves of COVID-19 infections throughout the fall (WRTV). "In fact, I would anticipate that that would actually happen because of the degree of transmissibility.," Fauci said Monday at a press briefing at the White House. Fauci went on to say that the country would be more prepared for additional outbreaks because the infrastructure to treat the virus would already be in place. "It will be a totally different ballgame of what happened when we first got hit with it in the beginning of this year, there'll be several things that it'll be different.," he said. "Our ability to go out and be able to test, identify, isolate and contact trace will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple of months ago." "What we're going through now is going to be more than just lesson learn," Fauci said. "It's going to be things that we have available to us that we did not have before."

WHITE HOUSE: RETAILERS OPEN ONLY 5 DRIVE THRU TESTING SITES - As he was facing intense criticism for a lack of adequate testing, President Donald Trump announced in the Rose Garden in mid-March that the federal government would partner with private companies to set up drive-thru coronavirus testing sites (CNN). He invited chief executives from Target, Walgreens, Walmart and CVS to the microphone and showered them with praise over the new effort. The President told attendees he envisioned consumers driving up, getting swabbed and having their samples sent off to the lab to be tested -- "without having to leave your car." But the President's celebrated announcement hasn't come close to being fulfilled. While these retailers have approximately 30,000 locations combined, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that there are only five locations from these major retailers that are currently offering drive-thru testing -- and none are open to the general public.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - The president will participate in a phone call with military families on the coronavirus response at 2:30 p.m. in the Oval Office. The coronavirus task force will hold a briefing at 5 p.m.

JUSTICE: WIDESPREAD FLAWS FOUND IN FBI SURVEILLANCE - A Justice Department audit of the FBI’s use of secret surveillance warrants has found widespread problems with the law enforcement agency’s process for ensuring that facts are backing up the claims made to judges when seeking a warrant (Politico). The finding of broader failings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program came in a review launched by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz after an earlier inquiry found numerous errors in applications to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. In a bid to assess whether the faults in the Page’s surveillance process were an aberration or a chronic problem, Horowitz’s audit team zeroed in on 29 applications for surveillance of U.S. citizens or green-card holders over a five-year period.

PENTAGON: 100 SAILORS HAVE VIRUS ON USS ROOSEVELT - The Navy is racing to find solutions to the deteriorating situation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as more than 100 sailors test positive for the coronavirus, the head of the service said Tuesday (Politico). During an appearance in CNN, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly responded to a letter written Sunday by Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's commanding officer, asking senior commanders for help as the ship goes through the painstaking process of testing all 5,000 crew members while it is sidelined in Guam. Most of the crew is still aboard the ship, where tight spaces make social distancing impossible. In the letter, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Crozier wrote that the “spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating” as the ship is docked in Guam.

MEDIA: FRANCESCA TURNS ON TRUMP - President Donald Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic has cost him the on-air support of one of his most outspoken hometown defenders (Politico). Mike Francesa, the longtime icon of New York sports talk radio, blasted the president on Monday with the type of tirade he typically reserves for the Knicks or Mets — accusing Trump of not funneling enough medical equipment to the current epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. “We’re watching one thing happen in our city on the 11 o’clock news every night. We’re watching people die, and now we know people who died. And we’re not seeing one or two people die now in our neighborhood. We’re seeing them die by the tens and twenties by the day,” Francesa said, charging that police, firefighters, health care workers and other first responders “don’t have the supplies they need” to combat the public health crisis.

MEDIA: CNN'S CUOMO TESTS POSITIVE - CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with Covid-19. He is feeling well, and will continue to anchor his 9 p.m. program "Cuomo Prime Time" from his home. "In these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus," Cuomo wrote in a message on Twitter. "I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fevers, chills and shortness of breath," he wrote. "I just hope I didn't give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!"

ILLINOIS: GOV. PRITZKER EXTENDS STAY AT HOME ORDER - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday extended his statewide stay-at-home order for three weeks as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus (AP). Pritzker set a new deadline of April 30 for keeping people inside except if necessary to go to a job deemed essential or take care of needs such as getting food or going to a health care provider. The new coronavirus had led to the deaths of at least 99 people in Illinois out of more than 5,994 infections. And the number continues to grow, Pritzker said.

SPORTS: NFL EXPANDS PLAYOFFS; CONFIDENT SEASON WILL BEGIN - The National Football League formally ratified its expanded playoff format that is set to take effect for the 2020 season, and league leaders said after a Tuesday conference call with team owners that they remain optimistic about having a full regular season that begins on time in September despite the novel coronavirus pandemic (IBJ). “Our planning, our expectation is fully directed at playing a full season, starting on schedule and having a full regular season and full set of playoffs, just as we did in 2019,” Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, said in a conference call with reporters. “That’s our expectation. Am I certain? I’m not certain I’ll be here tomorrow. But I’m planning on it.” The postseason will include a set of playoffs with 14 teams, up from 12. The owners officially approved that format during their hour-long conference call Tuesday.

Local

COLUMBUS: 4 HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES TEST POSITIVE - Four Columbus Regional Health employees, including one Columbus Regional Hospital physician, have tested positive for COVID-19 (Columbus Republic). CRH received confirmation of the positive tests between Friday and late Monday afternoon and has notified staff members and the families of patients who may have come in contact with the employees during the last two weeks they worked, said CRH spokeswoman Kelsey DeClue. DeClue wouldn’t say where the other three employees worked, but said none of the four individuals had symptoms while on the job.

COLUMBUS: COMMONS RESTAURANTS GET RENT RELIEF - Six restaurants in downtown Columbus will receive rent relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Webber, Columbus Republic). The Columbus Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously Tuesday not to charge the six businesses rent for April and May. “This will take a small amount of the burn off what is going to be a huge problem,” commission President Al Roszczyk said.

INDIANAPOLIS: 12 IMPD OFFICERS TEST POSITIVE - The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Marion County Sheriff's office have all had multiple employees test positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 (WRTV). IMPD Chief Communications Officer Aliya Wishner says officers are sent for testing after they are exposed to a possible case of COVID-19. "Thanks to both Eli Lilly & Co. and Public Safety Medical and Ascension, IMPD officers, IFD Firefighters, and first responders from our partner public safety agencies now have access to two free, drive-thru resources for COVID-19 testing," Wishner said. "This free testing allows us to help reduce exposure between first responders working in close proximity and the community members they interact with. The protocol is designed to keep our workforce healthy and able to serve." So far, 12 officers have tested positive for COVID-19. Those officers are self-quarantined at home and are being monitored for any additional symptoms, Wishner said. There have also been 26 officers who tested negative for the virus.

HIGHLAND: CRAFT SHOP CLOSED AS NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESS — Crafters looking for project supplies won't be able to shop in store at Michaels effective immediately. On Tuesday, the Lake County Health Department visited the craft store at 10323 Indianapolis Blvd., Highland, after receiving a complaint that it was still open, said Rob Guetzloff, environmental sanitarian with the health department (Freda, NWI Times). "Through the governor's orders, it is a nonessential business, and all nonessential businesses need to be closed," Guetzloff said.

MICHIGAN CITY: BUSINESS INPUT REQUESTED BY CITY - Michigan City leaders are working on a business recovery plan to help firms hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in widespread shutdowns, and need input from local business owners (NWI Times). "This is an unprecedented time in our history," Economic Development Corporation Michigan City Executive Director Clarence Hulse and Michigan City Chamber of Commerce President Katie Eaton wrote in a joint letter to Michigan City businesses. "The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the health of our loved ones, the businesses we rely on, the strength of the global economy, and the way we live our daily lives." The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City and the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce will try to help businesses who reach out to them.

LOGANSPORT: SCHOOLS FEEDING FAMILIES - School corporations across the country are looking for ways to still provide important meals to families while school moves to virtual learning. The staff at Logansport Community School Corporation is like a well-oiled machine as they work to get meals out to the community every week (WLFI-TV). "Teachers have been working very very hard, they miss their students," said LCSC Superintendent Michele Starkey. Staff and volunteers at LCSC have a lot on their plates. Cass County reported its first positive coronavirus case on Monday. LCSC teachers are using this week to prepare their virtual learning lessons, which will officially start on Monday April 6th.

CARMEL: INSURANCE FIRM CLOSES; 127 JOBS LOST - Carmel-based auto finance company Coastal Credit LLC plans to end operations and terminate all 127 of its employees by the middle of this year, the company said in a letter to the state (IBJ). In a notice to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development dated March 23, the company did not cite a reason for the closure of its corporate headquarters at 10333 N. Meridian St. The 33-year-old firm said it “made the difficult decision to permanently wind down operations.” Coastal Credit said it anticipated terminations to begin May 26 or within two weeks afterward. The company had already announced that it was closing its office through April 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it did not mention the pandemic as a factor in its permanent closure.

FISHERS: PURDUE POLY LAUNCHES HSE COLLABORATION - Eighth-grade students in Fishers will have an opportunity this fall to be the first cohort in a joint education venture between Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Purdue Polytechnic High School (Inside Indiana Business). The schools announced Tuesday the launching of the HSE Polytechnic Program, which will provide students with the tools and skills for a STEM-focused education. PPHS has already opened two campuses in Indianapolis and announced a third location in South Bend, but this will be the first time it collaborates with a school corporation. "While we may not want to own and operate schools, in every community across the state, we're really looking at partnerships in places like Fishers and others that say, 'look, you can take this model that works really, really well and apply it to any subset of students across the state,'" said Scott Bess, head of school at Purdue Polytechnic High School.

ALLEN COUNTY: VIRUS CASES SURGE - Allen County has six more cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and one death, county health officials reported Tuesday. That brings the number of county cases to 36 and deaths to two (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). County officials also released new, more specific data about cases for the first time. The data show 70 percent of confirmed Allen County cases require hospitalization. Slightly more patients -- 56.7% --are male. Sixty-nine percent are over age of 60, and 10% are over 80.

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: HALF VIRUS VICTIMS ARE YOUNG - Of the 52 people in St. Joseph County who have tested positive for the coronavirus, half are age 40 or younger (South Bend Tribune). That fact may help explain why only two people in the county were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon. “In general, the risk of death and serious complications is lower in the younger age group,” said the county’s deputy health officer, Dr. Mark Fox. “I’m not entirely sure what conclusions to draw from that, but it also may contribute to our having fewer hospitalized patients proportionally.” He added, though, especially with hundreds of tests still outstanding, “It all could change on a dime.” Neither of the hospitalized patients is on, or has needed, a ventilator, Fox said.

WHITE COUNTY: WIND FARM FUNDS FOR INDIANA BEACH INCENTIVE - The White County Commissioners are continuing to make steps towards bringing in a new buyer for Indiana Beach (WLFI-TV). The board held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. As we previously reported, the board wants to offer a $3 million incentive to a potential buyer for the amusement park. They passed a resolution on Tuesday creating a revolving fund, meaning money for the incentive will come from the Wind Farm Economic Development Fund. This resolution sets up the mechanism so that the incentive money can be provided once an agreement is made. The vote was unanimously in favor of the resolution. The commissioners said they are still in talks with potential buyers. They hope to reach an agreement with one in the near future.

JAY COUNTY: REMC OFFERS FREE WI-FI — An electric cooperative is giving back to the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Jay County REMC is offering a free Wi-Fi network for students working on e-learning (WANE-TV). “We are not an internet provider ourselves but we know that these challenges are faced by all,” President and CEO of Jay County REMC Neil Draper said. “All of our employees including. We are all apart of this community as well. Most of us live in the country and we know how difficult it can be. I have two young kids and we are doing e-learning and even at our house, we are having trouble. Both kids can’t be on at the same time. It’s difficult.”