TNM: April 6 - 10
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Let's break down what happened in the news this week. Here's a preview:
1. U.S. Coronavirus Curve Shows Signs of Flattening
2. Bernie Sanders Officially Exits Presidential Race
+ GetSmart (🧭Is Alaska the most western or eastern state?)
Unemployment Claims Skyrocketed again last week, as another 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment insurance claims, bringing the total to an astonishing 16.8 million in the last three weeks. The dire economic situation has reintensified the discussion about when and how to reopen the U.S. economy. There is talk of the Trump administration forming a second coronavirus task force which would be focused on how to systematically restart the economy while preventing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Small Businesses are having significant trouble securing grants and loans in a timely matter, according to business owners, state and federal officials. The promised grants and loans are part of the $2.2 trillion aid package passed by Congress two weeks ago. Business owners have reported long delays and a lack of clarity as to the grant and loan sums that are available. The Small Business Administration, which is responsible for distributing the funds, did not respond to repeated requests for comment from either the NYTimes or WSJ. The Federal Reserve announced a variety of new programs to direct and oversee the lending of some $2.3 trillion dollars to U.S. states, cities and midsize businesses facing liquidity crunches. A liquidity crunch occurs when an organization doesn’t have enough cash on hand to continue funding essential services (like payroll, for example) or making their debt payments. In a process known as backstopping, the Federal Reserve will offer to buy bonds from these actors, thereby giving them the needed cash to continue operating. UK PM Boris Johnson left the intensive care unit on Thursday after spending three days while being treated for Covid-19 after his symptoms had worsened. He will continue to rest in the hospital but remains in “extremely good spirits.” Cardinal George Pell, a high-profile Roman Catholic Cardinal in Australia, has been acquitted and released from prison after the highest court in Australia unanimously ruled he was wrongly convicted of sexually abusing two choir boys after mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in the 1990s. Cardinal Pell was in prison for 404 days before being acquitted.
U.S. Coronavirus Curve Shows Signs of Flattening
Number of Cases: +1,600,000, up from 1,033,000 last week.
Number of Deaths: +95,700, up from 55,000 last week.
Top 10 Countries By Number of Cases
Here is a map showing the locations and number of cases worldwide, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
What’s Happening in the U.S.? There are over 466,000 cases and 16,686 deaths in the U.S., up from 245,600 cases and 6,058 deaths a week ago. New York continues to be the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with roughly 34% of all cases and 42% of all deaths. New York alone has more confirmed cases than any other country in the world.
See a map of the number of cases in each state.
New York Curve Flattening While the number of deaths is still peaking in New York (at about 800 a day), the number of new cases has flattened, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, increasing by just 1% between Wednesday and Thursday. If the trends remain flat, New York is expected to have enough hospital beds and ventilators for everyone that needs them. Further, governors in New Jersey, Louisiana and California have expressed cautious optimism that their infection rates appear to be slowing. Frequently-Cited Coronavirus Model Revised Down Again The White House, as well as many states, has been relying heavily on a model published by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the University of Washington when forecasting the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to other models, the IHME model has been on the optimistic side. Even so, since last Thursday, the estimates have fallen from 93,531 to 81,766, to the latest estimate of 60,415 Americans who are expected to die by August 4. The peak number of deaths and hospital resource demands are expected to occur already on April 12th. While the number of hospital beds and ICUs that are expected to be needed has also fallen dramatically, the U.S. may still see shortages. White House doctors have warned people, however, not to relax social distancing guidelines prematurely, as much of the success that has been achieved to date is due to people following them. Reminder to U.S. Residents The federal social distancing measures are currently in effect until April 30. The official White House document, which prescribes among other things staying home when sick, practicing good hygiene, and working remotely if possible, can be found here. Further, last week the CDC recommended that Americans wear cloth face masks when going out in public, especially in highly-infected areas. A Look at Europe
Germany: Its number of new cases has been flattening.
Italy: The number of new cases and deaths are both declining.
Spain: The number of deaths has begun to fall, and the number of new cases is flattening.
UK: Large uptick in the number of new cases and deaths.
Countries experiencing a flattening of the curve are now discussing how to slowly reopen sectors of the economy, with some aiming for mid to late April as a start date. The European Union finance commission agreed this week on a $543 B relief package that will help Europe’s hardest-hit countries. A Look at Some Key Asian Countries
Japan: Large uptick in the number of new cases, leading to aggressive lockdown measures. Japan has the world’s oldest population, putting it in a vulnerable position.
Singapore: Large uptick in the number of cases.
India: Large uptick in the number of cases.
South Korea: Very few new cases.
China Removes Last of Quarantine Measures in Wuhan China removed the last of the quarantine measures in Wuhan (where the virus originated) after 11 weeks of being unable to leave the city. While China has reported very few news cases and deaths, there are reports that China severely under reported the number of infections and deaths at the beginning of the outbreak.
Bernie Sanders Officially Exits Presidential Race
Context The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, who created a political movement back in 2016 that grew even larger in 2020, had a choice to make: keep fighting until the convention in August, or concede the race to Joe Biden. It’s the second time in a row Sanders has exited the race to a more moderate candidate. Bernie’s Announcement In a Livestream announcement, Sanders said, "I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign." adding further that he couldn’t "in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour" Senator Sanders also reassured his supporters that his movement will have a significant influence on the Democratic platform in August, pushing for progressive policies like a $15 minimum wage and universal healthcare and that he will do everything in his power to help defeat Donald Trump. What to Watch Moving Forward The CoronaVirus Pandemic puts Biden in an odd place. He is not able to hold physical rallies or fundraising events, and attacking Trump in the middle of a crisis is a difficult strategy to manage. He will have to figure out a way of remaining in the public eye in the months ahead.
🧭 Alaska is surprisingly the most western and eastern state in the U.S. While the body of Alaska lies in the western hemisphere, its Aleutian Islands span across the 180-degree divide into the eastern hemisphere, bordering the Russian Federation.