Newsletter: Trump Or Pritzker: Who Reopens Illinois?

The president says he has “total authority” over when states lift stay-at-home orders. Pritzker says states should decide. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Cloud Gate, also know as the Bean, has been gated off
Cloud Gate, also know as the Bean, has been gated off to help promote social distancing and keep large groups of tourist from gathering. Many of Chicago’s top tourist destinations have been completely empty since Chicago’s leaders called for a shutdown to help curve the amount of new cases of the coronavirus on March 24. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Cloud Gate, also know as the Bean, has been gated off
Cloud Gate, also know as the Bean, has been gated off to help promote social distancing and keep large groups of tourist from gathering. Many of Chicago’s top tourist destinations have been completely empty since Chicago’s leaders called for a shutdown to help curve the amount of new cases of the coronavirus on March 24. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Newsletter: Trump Or Pritzker: Who Reopens Illinois?

The president says he has “total authority” over when states lift stay-at-home orders. Pritzker says states should decide. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Hi all! It’s Tuesday, and Hunter’s snarky humor will be back tomorrow. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. When will Illinois reopen — and who decides?

Deciding when life can start returning to normal may be one of the most consequential choices of Donald Trump’s presidency, and later today he’s expected to announce a new group of advisors to help him make those decisions.

But Trump maintains that he has “total authority” over when states lift stay-at-home orders. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is among the state leaders who disagree and insists that reopening is a decision for local governments. [NPR]

“The reality is that the president does not have the authority to tell the states what to do in this regard,” Pritzker told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “We put the executive orders in place. We're the ones who are responsible for the safety and health of the people of our states.” [NPR]

Here’s an explanation of why sharing power between federal and state governments is such a balancing act. [Reuters]

The debate to reopen comes as Illinois officials today reported 74 more people have died from COVID-19, bringing Illinois’ death toll to 868. Officials also announced 1,222 new known cases, pushing the total number of known infections to 23,247. [WBEZ]

Here’s a tool to look up how many COVID-19 cases are in your zip code. [WBEZ]

And a new analysis of Illinois spending data shows that state officials are paying hugely inflated prices for ventilators and other equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. [WBEZ]

2. America’s largest bank prepares for massive defaults

With profits falling by 69% during the first quarter of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, JPMorgan Chase officials said the bank is setting aside $8.2 billion to prepare for defaults — the largest amount since the end of the housing crisis in 2010.

Another of the nation’s largest banks, Wells Fargo, reported profits fell by 89% during the same period. [NPR]

And a second wave of layoffs has begun hitting workers who thought they were secure — like lawyers, government workers and health care workers not involved in fighting the pandemic. Economists estimate unemployment will continue to rise through June after reaching a 50-year low in February. [Wall Street Journal]

More than 2,100 major U.S. cities are anticipating budget shortfalls, including Chicago. [Washington Post]

Nationwide, there have been more than 572,000 known COVID-19 cases and more than 23,000 deaths. [John Hopkins]

3. Putin says Russia has no reason to brag about coronavirus response

Russia now has more than 18,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than double the total from just five days ago. President Vladimir Putin — who had said there was “no epidemic” when he sent masks and ventilators to Italy, Serbia and New York — is now admitting the country has a strained health care system and shortages in medical staff and protective equipment. [New York Times]

In the Dominican Republic, one of the worst-hit countries in the Caribbean, the presidential election has been delayed because of the coronavirus. [NPR]

And Pakistan has begun a program to help 12 million families who have lost income, but there are concerns illiteracy will keep people from applying. [NPR]

Worldwide, there have been 1.9 million known cases reported and more than 125,000 deaths. [Johns Hopkins]

4. What we know about “silent spreaders”

Are “silent spreaders” — people who are infected with COVID-19 but show mild or no symptoms — fueling the spread of the disease? Public health researchers believe it’s likely.

At one nursing home in Washington state, 56% of people who tested positive had no symptoms at the time of their test. And a study in Science suggests undiscovered cases may have accounted for up to 79% of transmission in pre-lockdown China.

Generally, “silent spreaders” fall into three catagories: asymptomatic (a person shows no symptoms at all); presymptomatic (a person hasn’t shown symptoms yet); and mildly symptomatic (a person feels slightly unwell, but still comes in contact with others). [NPR]

5. Barack Obama endorses Joe Biden for the presidency

The “political dance” between the former president and his former vice president came to an end Tuesday when Obama endorsed Joe Biden in a 12-minute video.

The endorsement comes a day after Bernie Sanders endorsed Biden — reportedly after several long conversations with Obama.

After refusing to show favoritism to his former running mate, Obama is now expected to take a more active role in Biden’s campaign, particularly in fundraising. [New York Times]

Here’s what else is happening

At least 19 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in an immigration detainee shelter in Chicago. [ProPublica]

Grubhub comes under fire for high fees, bad drivers — and some Chicago restaurants are dropping it. [Chicago Tribune]

PHOTOS: The botched demolition that blanketed Little Village in dust. [WBEZ]

Japan’s 1,000-year-old tree reminds us life continues after famine, disaster and, yes, pandemic. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Governments have been getting creative in enforcing lockdowns. In India, police made 10 foreign tourists who were flaunting restrictions with a beach day write the phrase “I did not follow the rules of lockdown. I am very sorry” 500 times.

I can’t help but get flashbacks to my high school Spanish teacher, who made me rewrite verbs 500 times for misspellings and missed accent marks. She also made us do squats and wash our face with water if we dozed off in class.

Even at 4’11” she was terrifying — but I now know all the irregular conjugations of “obedecer,” which maybe these tourists could benefit from. You can watch the video in the link. [NPR]

Tell me something good ...

A friend recently asked me on … um ... a phone call: What’s something that made you smile this week? And so I asked you the same question.

Rachel Ellsworth says:

“My daughter started walking! My husband and I were both able to witness it because of working from home.”

And Sara Thiel writes:

“On my Easter morning walk with my dog Pippin, one of my little neighbors — maybe four years old — got so excited for his Easter egg hunt that he ran out of the house completely naked!”

What’s made you smile this week? Feel free to email or tweet us, and we might share your responses here.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! We’ll see you tomorrow. If you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.