BURR'S BROTHER-IN-LAW ALSO DUMPED STOCKS IN FEBRUARY: Sen. Richard Burr was not the only member of his family to sell off a significant portion of his stock holdings in February, ahead of the market crash spurred by coronavirus fears. On the same day Burr sold, his brother-in-law also dumped tens of thousands of dollars worth of shares. The market fell by more than 30% in the subsequent month. Burr’s brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who has a post on the National Mediation Board, sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of shares in six companies — including several that have been hit particularly hard in the market swoon and economic downturn. A person who picked up Fauth’s phone on Wednesday hung up when asked if Fauth and Burr had discussed the sales in advance.
OUTER BANKS COMMUNITIES SET MAY 16 AS OFFICIAL REOPENING DAY: In a joint statement, officials in Currituck, Dare and Hyde counties said restrictions on entry for visitors will be lifted at noon on Saturday, May 16. The announcement comes a day after Gov. Roy Cooper announced the easing of his statewide stay-at-home order starting this Friday. “I wish it could have been earlier, but we had to take the steps that were necessary to protect everyone, including our visitors and our non-resident property owners,” said Bob Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Commissioners, in a video released with the joint statement. Entry for visitors includes the towns of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo; Hatteras Island; Roanoke Island; the Dare mainland; the Currituck County Outer Banks; and Ocracoke Island, the statement said. Officials in the three counties are also reminding potential visitors to observe restrictions such as social distancing because the pandemic is not over. Also, individuals are being encouraged to wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
ONLY HALF OF AMERICANS ARE MASKING UP DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: Around 51% of people are wearing face coverings in public, according to a survey conducted between April 10-20. The responses came about a week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear masks in public. That figure was a 40 percentage point increase from March, before the CDC made that recommendation, Linda Squiers, a health communication scientist at RTI, said in a webinar Wednesday. The survey, part of a large gathering of information that RTI is putting together on responses to the spread of COVID-19, included responses from nearly 2,300 people across the country. The survey was weighted to U.S. demographics, the researchers noted. If the country wants to maintain high rates of social distancing, she said, it will have to continue to remind people that doing so is protecting their mother, themselves or other vulnerable people in their city. “No one wants to put on a face mask to go out,” she added, “they are uncomfortable and make it difficult to breathe. Having messages that make people remember why they are doing it is really important.”
TRUMP CONTINUES TO ATTACK OBAMACARE DURING PANDEMIC: President Trump said Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid a pandemic. “We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law. “Obamacare, we run it really well. . . . But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.” While the president has said he will preserve some of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, including guaranteed coverage for preexisting medical conditions, he has not offered a plan to do so, and his administration’s legal position seeks to end all parts of the law, including those provisions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that “the President’s insistence on doubling down on his senseless and cruel argument in court to destroy the ACA and every last one of its benefits and protections is unconscionable, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.”
CAMPAIGNS ARE SCRAMBLING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO REPLACE TRADITIONAL DOOR-KNOCKING: For decades, showing up on a voter’s doorstep has been one of the most reliable ways to get people to the polls. Now political parties and candidates that put tens of millions of dollars into training and deploying door knockers are grappling with costly, consequential and imminent decisions about whether they should even invest in traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure that powers such operations. Campaigns face a dilemma, even as they put on a happy face about their seamless transitions to a forced all-digital reality: Don’t invest and risk falling behind on a field operation (if door knocking does become realistic). Or spend money now on offices, computers, clipboards that could sit idle in October, and waste time training traditional canvassers. “Campaigns don’t need a new ‘Plan B’ for field. They need a new ‘Plan A’ because door-to-door canvassing is not going to happen at scale in the 2020 election,” said Becky Bond, a Democratic strategist who worked on Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign and specializes in developing field programs that use technology. Or, as Ari Rabin-Havt, deputy campaign manager for Mr. Sanders’s 2020 campaign, put it, “Even if there are official pronouncements of the country opening back up again, are people going to open the door for strangers at their houses?”