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Covid-19 from the West Wing: ‘History’s verdict will be unforgiving’

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Our DC bureau chief on covering a escalating public health crisis, an economic crisis – and a crisis of leadership

I’m heading to the White House in the middle of a global pandemic – not a phrase I ever imagined writing when I was a schoolboy in Britain thinking about a career in journalism. Downtown Washington resembles a deserted film set these days, most of its famed monuments and museums closed. At the White House gates a white tent has been set up; a medical worker zaps me with a device that takes my temperature and gives me the all clear.

After passing through security, I arrive at the West Wing briefing room, usually bustling like a railway station, but now sparsely populated by journalists, some wearing face masks.

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