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Essential questions remain about plans to reopen the economy

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: President Trump Meets With Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
President Donald Trump talks to reporters while meeting with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in the Oval Office at the White House as he continues to promote re-opening business during the coronavirus pandemic May 6, 2020.Doug Mills / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Let’s accept the premise offered by President Trump, Chris Christie and others: It’s worth sacrificing American lives to get the U.S. economy restarted.

But then what? What’s the plan for what comes next?

What do you do about the schools when the parents go back to work?

What about child-care centers?

How do you make university and colleges safe for students and instructors?

What are individual employers doing to make workplaces safe?

What about public transportation?

What about health insurance plans — with the president repeating his claim on Wednesday that he wants to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act? (More on that below.)

How do you protect older Americans who need to work to make ends meet, as well as families who have those with underlying health issues?

And above all else, how do you give Americans the confidence to attend a work conference, get on an airplane, buy a ticket to a sporting event, go to a place of worship, or take your family to a resort or theme park?

We know states, communities, schools and employers are all trying to tackle these tough questions.

But where is the federal government's plan?

Especially when we see a story like this one? “A set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day care centers and restaurants during the still-raging pandemic has been shelved by the Trump administration,” the AP writes.

If politicians want Americans to sacrifice their lives — to a virus that’s already claimed nearly 75,000 lives and counting — they need to answer those questions first.

And if Americans don’t get those answers, how are businesses going to get the customers they need to stay open before there’s a vaccine?

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

1,240,048: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 25,854 more than yesterday morning.)

74,843: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 3,432 more than yesterday morning).

7.76 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

50 percent or more: The potential undercount of the coronavirus death toll in America’s hardest hit areas, according to researchers at the Yale School of Public Health.

$500 billion: How much hospitals could lose in 100 days of the pandemic, according to former VA secretary David Shulkin.

500 percent: The increase in demand for Clorox disinfecting products since March.

Twice: How much more likely Hispanics are than white Americans to have lost their job during the pandemic, according to a new Washington Post-Ipsos poll.

Trump vows to “terminate” Obamacare

Speaking of the federal government not having a plan of what comes next, President Trump yesterday stood by his administration’s support for the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve run it very well,” Trump said yesterday at the White House. “It was a disaster under President Obama, and it’s very bad healthcare. What we want to do is terminate it and give great health care. And we’ll have great health care, including pre-existing conditions — 100 percent pre-existing conditions.”

But in the midst of a pandemic, how does Trump come up with an alternative on health care — including one protecting those with pre-existing conditions — when he was unable to do so when his party controlled all of Congress?

By the way, our March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Obamacare is as popular as it’s ever been.

“Forty-two percent of all registered voters believe the law is a good idea, compared to 35 percent who think it's a bad idea, while 23 percent don't have an opinion,” one of us wrote. “The difference between good idea and bad idea — plus-7 points — is as high as it has been since the NBC News/WSJ poll began tracking the legislation more than 10 years ago.”

Do Republicans really want to pick this fight? In this economy? In this election year?

Tweet of the Day

2020 Vision: Biden tries to find common ground with progressives

“Joe Biden's campaign is making inroads with key progressive groups in an effort to keep the former vice president's pledge and unite the factions of the Democratic Party. The campaign hopes that finding common ground on policy with these groups will strengthen their ability to defeat President Trump in November,” NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor writes.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

Going back to Kansas: For today’s ad watch, we go back to Kansas’ GOP Senate primary.

This race has it all — controversial 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, a feud between the candidates and the state party over who should drop out, and some tough ads by outside groups.

One new ad worth highlighting amid the coronavirus pandemic is a new one from the Club for Growth, which weaponizes what was once bipartisan support for the World Health Organization by attacking GOP Rep. Roger Marshall.

“Politicians like Roger Marshall missed the threat. In 2018, as the World Health Organization became China’s puppet, Marshall repeatedly voted to fund it,” the ad’s narrator said.

Over the years, the United States has repeatedly given voluntary contributions to The WHO to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, much of that coming from funding broadly approved by Congress. And while there have been some critics of the funding over the years, it’s been nothing like the war that’s developed over the funding in light of the coronavirus.

The Lid: Whom does the public believe?

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we examined what a new national poll might tell us about how the Tara Reade accusation has affected voters’ views of Joe Biden.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The official coronavirus death toll might be missing thousands.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been released from the hospital.

President Trump is tapping a top GOP donor to lead the USPS.

Uh, someone forgot to mute during a telephonic Supreme Court oral argument.

POLITICO checks in with female voters in Maine as Susan Collins faces down her toughest reelection race yet.