• thenewsmemo

June 22-26

Good Morning, 

We've synthesized what you need to know this week. Here's a preview:

  • COVID Cases in the U.S. Make Resurgence

  • Trump Suspends Majority of Work Visas

  • Rioters Topple Statues Across the Country

+ GetSmart(🌊How deep is the ocean?)


Unemployment: 1.5 million unemployment claims were filed last week, matching the number filed the previous week. The total number of people collecting unemployment benefits was 19.5 million, down from roughly 20.5 million a week prior. Lawsuits in Seattle's CHOP zone: Several businesses and residents of the Seattle’s CHOP zone (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) have filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle, arguing it has "subjected businesses, employees and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers and an inability to use and access their properties." The Seattle Police Department had abandoned the area in prior weeks to protestors, only entering during life-or-death situations. Democrats Block Police Reform Bill: The bill, crafted by Republican Senator Tim Scott, was blocked in the Senate on Wednesday and not taken up for debate. Senate Democrats said it was a weak response and will be crafting their own reform bill in the coming days. Meanwhile, House Democrats passed their own police reform legislation on Thursday. It stands little chance of being passed in the senate, indicating more gridlock and compromise is likely due in the coming weeks. A Federal Court on Wednesday rejected the American Hospital Association’s lawsuit to block President Trump’s executive order that will require hospitals to reveal the secret rates they negotiate with insurance companies for medical services. Trump’s executive order, which is set to take effect in January 2021, could significantly alter the healthcare market because hospitals have tightly guarded their price negotiations for years, considering them trade secrets. The order in part intends to create more transparency for consumers, and increase competition in the healthcare market. FBI Investigates Nascar: Last week, Bubba Wallace, a black Nascar racer, found a rope resembling a noose hanging in his race car garage. The FBI, which launched an immediate investigation into the matter, has stated that Mr. Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The investigative team of 15 agents, which conducted numerous interviews and collected photographic evidence, concluded that the rope had been in the garage as early as October of 2019, months before any garage assignments had been made for drivers.  Race for 5G: The White House is discussing a private-public partnership with U.S. and European telecommunication firms to try and bolster its 5G capabilities. It comes amidst China's fast pace innovation in this area with their tech company, Huawei. (read full story)

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Covid-19: Cases in the U.S. Make Resurgence

In the United States There are over 2,422,310 cases and 124,416 deaths in the U.S., up from 2,191,200 cases and 118,435 deaths a week ago today. On Thursday, over 41,000 new cases were confirmed, the highest single-day count yet. A large portion of new cases are being driven by high infection rates in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. At a Thursday press conference, Dr. Robert Redford, director of the CDC, said that “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections.” That would put the actual number of Americans who have had the virus at more than 20 million. The estimates are based on antibody tests and blood samples taken across the country. Florida, California, Texas, Nevada, Georgia, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, and Louisiana are some of the states experiencing the strongest new spikes. More generally, states in the south, southwest, and southeast part of the country are being hit the worst. Here are maps and charts showing hotspots across the U.S., as well as in which states the number of new cases are increasing, decreasing or staying the same. Below are the weekly percentage changes in the number of new cases and deaths:

New York, Connecticut and New Jersey Mandate 14-Day Quarantines Three eastern states, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey announced that travelers coming from states (see states) with high rates of Covid-19 cases should undergo a 14-day period of self-quarantine. Stock Markets Waver Stock markets have been wobbly this week as investors try to discern if a second wave of cases will send the economy into more severe lockdowns once again. Overall, however, stock markets have recovered significantly from their lows on March 23rd, when concerns about Covid-19 were at their peak. Dr. Fauci, Health Officials Brief Congress A panel of health officials, including Dr. Fauci, briefed Congressional lawmakers on Tuesday about managing the ongoing pandemic. Fauci urged states and individuals to remain vigilant and to avoid congregating in large groups as a number of states experience upticks in cases.  Despite comments by President Trump to the contrary, Dr. Fauci said the U.S. is continuing to ramp up testing capacity as it looks towards managing the virus throughout the summer and fall months. The goal is to be able to conduct between 40-50 million tests per month by the fall. Currently, the U.S. conducts about 500,000 tests per day. Regarding a vaccine, Dr. Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year. “I believe it will be when and not if,” he said.

In the World

  • Number of Cases: +9,609,844, up from 8,507,721 a week ago. 

  • Number of Deaths: +489,318, up from 454,359 a week ago.

Here is the John Hopkins Center map showing the number of cases and deaths by country. 

The following countries are experiencing some of the greatest increases in cases:

  • Brazil

  • U.S.

  • India

  • Russia

  • South Africa

  • Mexico

  • Chile

  • Pakistan

Trump Suspends Majority of Work Visas

Context On April 21, as the coronavirus pandemic was sweeping the globe, President Trump signed an executive order freezing Green Cards for immigrants seeking to work and live in the U.S. The order was recently extended through the end of the year. The order largely exempted those seeking work visas (nonimmigrant), including high-skilled workers in the H-1B visa program.  What happened this week? Per executive order Tuesday, President Trump halted most work visas (statement) to the U.S., including those seeking a high-skilled H-1B visa. The order also applies to non-agricultural seasonal workers applying for H-2B visas, corporate executives seeking L visas, and interns, camp counselors, and au pairs applying for J visas. In total, the order is expected to affect some 525,000 workers.  The order is set to last until December 31, 2020, when it will come re-evaluated. Many businesses and universities strongly opposed the decision, and in the weeks leading up to the announcement, lobbied the Trump administration to reverse its course. Every year, leading companies such as Apple and Google, as well as leading research universities, apply for thousands of H-1B visas to recruit foreign talent. Likewise, businesses in the hospitality industry, for example, apply for many H-2B visas for foreigners to fill seasonal positions.

Rioters Topple Statues Across the Country

Context Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers on May 25, the U.S. has experienced weeks of peaceful protests, riots, and a national discussion over the state of racism in the country. One of the core demands of many of the Black Lives Matter protesters is the removal of statues that they deem represent America’s racist past. What happened this week? Protesters have vandalized and/or torn down hundreds of statues this week, ranging from the confederate general Albert Pike, former U.S. President George Washington, to the composer of the star-spangled banner, Francis Scott Key. The demonstrators say they are protesting systemic racism and see the removal of the statues as a step forward in the fight for greater justice. Others see it as an unproductive erasing of U.S. history. In some areas, such as New York City, local governments have decided to formally remove statues themselves. Which statues have been torn down? Below is a list of a few prominent statues that have been removed. You can see the full list of removed statues during the George Floyd protests here

  • Juniper Serra (video)

  • General Ulysses S. Grant (video)

  • George Washington (video)

  • Albert Pike (video)

  • Christopher Columbus (image)

Trump to Sign Executive Order Protecting Statues President Trump has warned that people tearing down statues could face “up to 10-years in prison” for participating in the vandalization and/or tearing down of public statues. The executive order is expected to be signed by the end of the week. 


🌊 The Ocean is 2.3 Miles Deep

There’s a reason only 5% of the ocean has been discovered by man. Well, maybe that’s because it is absolutely massive and deep. (video)

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