President Donald Trump gestures as he asks a question to Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
5 national stories of the week
Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from across the United States. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
Missteps at the nation’s top public agency, coronavirus becoming the 2020 election’s theme, people being forced to work from home, the struggling coal industry and criminal charges against the nation’s largest utility company make up this week’s five national stories.
President Donald Trump assured Americans in early March that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “perfect” and “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” More than two months after the first U.S. case was confirmed, many people still can’t get tested. In February, as the virus began taking root in the U.S. population, CDC data shows government labs processed 352 COVID-19 tests, averaging only a dozen per day.
Read More: Virus outbreak
The coronavirus pandemic and the nation’s crashing economy are scrambling the themes both major political parties thought would carry them to victory in the November elections. President Donald Trump has seized public attention with almost daily briefings about the government’s response to the pandemic. That’s left former Vice President Joe Biden and his party’s congressional candidates searching for ways to break into the news cycle.
Read more: Election 2020
Measures to contain the virus have brought work life and home into sudden and sharp collision. Untold numbers of Americans are shifting their day jobs from offices to living rooms, spare bedrooms, kitchens and basements. This massive, unplanned social experiment can strain productivity and domestic tranquility as toddlers scurry around untended and business meetings and classes shift to noisy group video chats that resemble a checkerboard of talking heads.
Read More: Pandemics
Despite President Donald Trump’s and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s best efforts to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to save the coal industry, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Fossil Plant burned its last load of coal last month. The plant’s closure — in a county that once mined more coal than any other in the nation — is emblematic of the industry’s decadeslong decline due to tougher environmental regulations.
Read more: Environment
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for death and destruction left behind after its electrical grid ignited a 2018 wildfire that destroyed three Northern California towns and drove the nation’s largest utility into bankruptcy. It marks the second time this decade that the company’s neglect has been deemed criminal with PG&E already serving a five-year criminal probation for falsifying records and other safety violations.
Read More: Wildfires