TNM: April 20 - 24
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26.4 Million Unemployed: Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the sum in the past five weeks to 26.4 million, well surpassing the total number of U.S. jobs gained over the past ten years. 26.4 million translates to about 1 in 6 working Americans who have recently lost a job. Antibodies in New York: Preliminary rounds of antibody testing in New York found that some 14% of the population in the state had antibodies present, suggesting they have already had exposure to the virus. The percentage in New York City was about 21%. If such rates hold true, the coronavirus death rate would be much lower than previously thought. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was keen to stress, however, that because the samples were small, conclusions should be drawn slowly. The ‘Invisible Enemy’: Recent autopsies have revealed that the first coronavirus death in the U.S. was February 6 in Santa Clara, CA, almost three weeks earlier than was previously thought. Oil Prices Tank: The most active U.S. crude oil futures took a 43% plunge on Wednesday, falling to $11.57 a barrel, the lowest level in over 21 years. Amid a near-global lockdown, the demand for oil, which is used to power much of the economy, has tanked. One U.S. oil futures contract actually fell below $0, meaning oil sellers were offering to pay buyers to take the oil off their hands. President Trump indicated Monday the U.S. will seek to purchase 75 million barrels of oil and store them at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.Have you noticed gas prices drop in your area? This is why. Amazon’s Advantage: According to the WSJ, Amazon has been using sales data from its third-party sellers in order to develop their own competing products, a practice at odds with both their company policy and what they told Congress in July of 2019. The WSJ interviewed 20 former Amazon employees who explained how the company has been using data such as vendor expenditures on marketing and shipping, along with profit margins, to inform their production and pricing of their own AmazonBasic products, such as this one. Amazon officials say they are launching an internal investigation. Nova Scotia Grieves: The deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history occurred on Sunday, leaving at least 22 dead. The suspect, a 50-year-old male, dressed himself in a real police uniform and went across rural Nova Scotia for 12 hours, setting fire to homes and shooting their inhabitants. The suspect was later shot and killed. Netflix on a Roll: As the great hibernation continues, Netflix added a record number of subscribers in the first quarter of 2020: 16 million to be exact (more than double the number forecasted). Netflix’s stock price has performed strongly as a result, rising around 15% since the beginning of March.
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CoronaVirus Briefing: The Essential Updates You Should Know this Week
How we got here
As the economic impact of the virus reaches historical levels, countries around the world are beginning to reopen. Germany initiated their phase 1 reopening last week, Italy’s is scheduled for May 4, and France's is set for May 11.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the White House released its “Opening Up America Again”guidelines last week, intended to help state governors navigate when and how to begin reopening. It comes as more Americans protest the extended lockdown measures.
Number of Cases: +2,721,354, up from 2,169,022 last week
Number of Deaths: +191,614, up from 146,000 last week.
Here is a map from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center showing the number of cases and deaths by country. What’s Happening in the U.S.? There are more than 869,172 cases and 49,963 deaths in the U.S., up from 662,000 cases and 29,000 deaths a week ago. While the number of cases and deaths continue to grow, the rate at which they have been growing has fallen steadily over the past three weeks:
Further, the virus’ impact has varied greatly across different states, hitting those in the northeast the hardest.
See a map of the number of cases in each state. You can find a guide to each state’s lockdown restrictions here. States Begin to Reopen Georgia, in particular, has taken the boldest steps in reopening society. Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia will now allow nail salons, in-person church services, restaurants and movie theatres to reopen starting Monday. Bars will remain closed. Gov. Kemp has drawn criticism from all sides on his decision to reopen earlier than most. Even President Trump, who has been anxious to reopen said, "I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right." The White House guidelines advise that states do not initiate phase 1 until they have seen a 14-day decline in the number of new cases, something Georgia has not seen. In a tweet on Thursday, Gov. Kemp defended his plan to reopen, saying, “Now, with favorable data and approval from state health officials, we are taking another measured step forward by opening shuttered businesses for limited operations. I know these hardworking Georgians will prioritize the safety of their employees and customers.” Some southern states, including South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas plan to begin reopening sections of society as early as today. Most states say they need to substantially increase their testing capacity before they begin to reopen. Supply of Ventilators, PPE is Strong Despite significant concerns at the end of March about the U.S.’ supply of ventilators and personal protective equipment, the White House says the supply will be adequate even in worst-case scenarios. As a result, the White House initiated an exchange program that will ensure excess ventilators are distributed to states most in need, as well as sending excess ventilators to countries in need around the world. New York Hospital Study Reveals Most Vulnerable According to a study of 5,700 patients admitted to New York City area hospitals between March 1 and April 4, all but 6% of patients had at least one underlying health condition, the most common being high blood pressure, followed by obesity and diabetes.
The mortality rate for those who were placed on ventilators was 88.1%, implying that once a patient requires a ventilator, their chance of survival is quite low.
No patients under 18 years old died.
Women had much lower mortality rates than men at every age group.
Trump Halts Most ‘Green Cards’ to U.S. For 60 Days
President Trump announced an executive order on Tuesday, aimed at temporarily suspending some immigration to the U.S. In the official announcement President Trump said that “by pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens.”
The executive order specifically applies to immigrants seeking permanent residence (‘Green Cards’) in the United States through employment or familial connections (spouses of U.S. citizens are exempted). However, the order does not apply to guest workers, including seasonal farm labor or skilled workers in the H-1B visa program. Some more details
The suspension will last for 60 days, at which point the Administration will reevaluate its appropriateness.
Exemptions will be granted for medical workers and other essential workers needed to fight the pandemic.
While the order is expected to affect thousands of people, most immigration to the U.S. has already come to a halt due to the pandemic.
Congress Passes Second Aid Package of $484B
Context The $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress three weeks ago included a $349 B loan fund for American small businesses. Amid a flood of requests, the fund was depleted last week, forcing hundreds of businesses to be waitlisted. What happened this week? Lawmakers headed back to Washington to pass more relief funding for American small businesses and hospitals wearing masks and gloves as precautionary measures against the coronavirus (image). In order to maintain social distancing precautions, the House vote took some 90 minutes to complete, as representatives were divided into small voting groups which took turns entering the chamber to cast their votes. The bill, which was passed by the Senate on Wednesday and the House on Thursday, totals $484B and includes money for two small business loan funds that have been completely depleted, as well as billions of dollars to support hospitals and increased testing capacity.
President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law at noon today (Friday). You can watch the live stream here.
What to Watch Moving Forward The quick depletion of funds from the first relief bill surprised some, and may be a sign that a consistent flow of relief dollars will be necessary as long as the shutdown continues.
GetSmart 🦃 Benjamin Franklin Wanted the National Bird to be a Turkey In a letter to his daughter on January 26, 1784, Benjamin Franklin was apparently displeased with the Eagle as the national bird but was pleased that the image looked similar to a Turkey: "I am on this account not displeased that the figure is not known as an Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the truth, the Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America…"