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TNM: April 27 - May 1, 2020

April 27 - May 1, 2020 The easiest way to stay informed

Preview of this weeks Memo:

- Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegation

-Thelatest on Coronavirus

-TheCoronavirus terminology guide

+ GetSmart(🏊 Does Minnesota actually have 10,000 lakes?)

Note About the Mugs:For whoever participated in the News Memo Mug contest, we will send an email to the three winners this week.

NewsBites U.S. Jobless Claims Keep Climbing: 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number to over 30 million in the last month and a half. The U.S. has not seen this high of an unemployment number since the Great Depression in the 1930s.  Amazon Sales Soar: Amazon reported its highest sales numbers from January through March ever recorded. The tech giant said on Thursday that sales rose 26% this year. Although, due to an increase in shipping costs, their profit margin dropped in comparison to last year by 29%. As Americans rely on Amazon to provide daily household goods during the lockdown, the company has hired more than 175,000 extra employees to help keep fulfillment centers on track.  Economic Recession: The U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 4.8% during the first quarter of 2020, the largest single-quarter contraction since the ‘08 financial crisis. The damage in the second quarter (April-June) is expected to dwarf the first quarter by comparison, with the U.S. Congressional Budget Office projecting as much as a 40% contraction. Where’s Kim?: The lack of recent public appearances from the ruler of North Korea, Kim Jon-un, have left many speculating about his whereabouts and his health. Historically, information about the health of the ruling family has been closely guarded. Chairman Kim has not been seen in public since April 11. The latest reports from South Korea and U.S. intelligence suggest he could be sheltering from the Covid-19 pandemic in Wonsan, an east coast resort town. Despite sharing a border with China, N. Korea continues to claim that it has not registered a single coronavirus case.

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Joe Biden Denies Sexual Assault Allegation


Tara Reade, a former aide in Mr. Biden’s Senatorial office, claimed that Mr. Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. She claims that Mr. Biden pushed her up against a wall, put his hand under her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers. Apart from the assault allegation, Reade also claims she had voiced concerns to superiors in Biden’s office about feeling uncomfortable with the way Biden looked at her and touched her (for this reason she claims she filed a complaint to the Senate human-resources office while working there).

  • Her complete allegation was made public on March 25 in a podcast interview

  • Reade is a Democrat, having cast her vote for Bernie Sanders in the California primary.

After the interview aired, Reade’s brother and a friend, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told Business Insider that Reade had told them about the alleged incident shortly after it happened.  Over the past year, seven other women, apart from Reade, have recounted stories of receiving unwanted kisses, hugs or touches from Mr. Biden. As these reports surfaced last year, Mr. Biden addressed them by saying that he had had benign intentions, and that moving forward he would be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”

  • Ms. Reade’s account is the only accusation that rises to the level of sexual assault.

Following the March 25 interview, the New York Times conducted an investigation into the accusations. Read the Times’ report here. What happened this week? On Monday, April 27, Business Insider published interviews with two women that add corroboration to Reade’s accusation. The interview with Lynda LaCasse represents the first in-depth, independent, and on the record corroboration of Reade’s claim.

  • Lynda LaCasse, a former apartment neighbor of Reade, said that Reade recounted the incident to her in 1995 or 1996. LaCasse said she remembers Reade was very emotional. "She was crying. She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report,” LaCasse said. 

While LaCasse said she still plans to support Joe Biden in the 2020 election, she added, “but still I have to come out and say this."

  • Lorraine Sanchez, who worked alongside Reade in a California Senator’s office, told Business Insider that she remembers Reade telling her that “she had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC, and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired." 

Sanchez said she could not remember if Reade had mentioned Biden by name, or what the alleged harassment had entailed. Former Staffers Defend Biden In the course of the investigation, Business Insider also interviewed various staffers who worked for Biden during the period of the alleged incident. One such was Marianne Baker, Biden’s executive assistant at the time. Baker said, “I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade's accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager." 1993 Larry King Call Also this week, the Intercept released the transcript of a call in 1993 to Larry King’s CNN talk show of a woman recounting that her daughter had encountered “problems” with a prominent U.S. Senator. Reade claims the talk show caller was her late mother. Biden Denies Allegation After a long period of silence, Joe Biden addressed the accusation in an interview Friday morning, saying, “No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened.’’ He also called on the National Archives to make public any complaint that may have been filed in connection to the incident. Biden addressed the accusation in greater length in a Medium post which you can see here. It came after increasing pressure on multiple fronts and from both sides of the political aisle to address Reade’s accusation, particularly after corroborating elements were published this week. While Kate Bedingfield, the Biden campaign communications director, had denied the accusation in early April after Reade’s March 25 podcast interview, Joe Biden had previously kept silent.

Covid-19: What You Should Know This Week

Effective Drug Against Coronavirus Found Results from a trial conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases show that the drug, remdesivir, has promising effects on patients infected with the coronavirus. In a press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key medical expert of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said, "The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover.” The trial tested 1,063 patients with coronavirus and found that patients with remdesivir recovered in 11 days instead of 15, and 8% died compared to 11% in the placebo control group. Experts say the drug is not a cure-all, but is a promising step.  Vaccine Research The Trump Administration has implemented a project called “Operation Warp Speed” to create, test, and distribute over 300 million coronavirus vaccines by January of 2021, which would be the fastest creation of a vaccine in history. The team, put together by President Trump, is working to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and the military to cut the vaccine process by as much as eight months.  On Thursday,  Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC’s Today Show that having a vaccine by January is “doable” and within the realm of possibility. According to the World Health Organization, over 70 coronavirus vaccines are in the process of being created and tested.  The Situation in the U.S. There are over 1,000,000 cases and 62,000 deaths in the U.S., up from 869,172 cases and 49,963 deaths a week ago. While the number of deaths and new cases has flattened as a whole across the U.S., certain states are experiencing increasing rates. Here is a chart showing where new cases are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. Still, more than 1,000 people have died every day since April 2.  States Reopening Georgia, Alabama and Texas are three states that have started to reopen sectors of society. According to the New York Times, roughly half of all states will be partially reopened in the next few days. See a map of states and their restrictions here. In an effort to get an insight from the ground, The News Memo reached out to The Cave @ Uptown barbershop in Charleston, GA, which recently reopened its doors. Personnel at The Cave said strict safety measures have been implemented to prevent infection, including temperature checks at the door, employees wearing masks and gloves, and excessive cleaning and sanitization. The measures are so rigorous that some other barbershops in the area have decided it’s not worth the hassle to reopen. Partly as a result of the reduced competition, The Cave said they have seen their appointments booked solid since reopening. Test Kits to Be Delivered to States The Trump administration announced plans to send each state enough testing kits to test at least 2% of their population. 2% of the population is considered the minimum amount of testing needed to begin reopening the economy though many experts say it is not enough. Global-View

  • Number of Cases: 3,274,747+, up from 2,721,354 last week. 

  • Number of Deaths: 233,792+, up from 191,614 last week

Here is a map from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center showing the number of cases and deaths by country. Country Spotlight* *Each week we are looking at one country in more depth to provide a point of comparison, and to understand how they are managing the crisis. Sweden Electing a markedly different approach compared to their European neighbors, Sweden has largely left their society and economy open, while encouraging those most at risk to stay home. Here’s a look at some preliminary figures:

Despitetheless restrictive measures,preliminary forecastsfrom Sweden’s central bank predict thattheeconomic effects for Sweden will likely be just as severe compared to its Scandanavian neighbors.

Pandemic Terminology

Considering the coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future, it’s good to have a grasp on the common terminology.

  • Phase 1, 2, 3…These refer to each country's plan to gradually reopen society. Typically phase 1 refers to total lockdown, followed by phase 2, which is an opening of certain sectors of society while maintaining strict regulations; such regulations may include capacity reductions in bars and restaurants, temperature checks before entering stores, and mandatory donning of masks and gloves. However, the important thing to remember is that while two countries may both call their new strategy "Phase 2," this can mean very different things.

  • Flattening the Curve: The purpose of flattening the curve is to avoid overwhelming healthcare systems by spreading the total number of cases out over a longer period of time. In the final analysis, it does not necessarily mean fewer people will be infected.

  • Contact Tracing: The purpose of contact tracing is to identify people who have recently been in close proximity with infected people, thereby alerting them that they are at higher risk. How it works is pretty cool. For example, imagine I allow contact tracing on my iPhone. My iPhone will now send a random numeric code (by Bluetooth) to each mobile phone with which I come into close proximity with. All of my sent codes will be stored and attached to my account. Now, let's say that I test positive for Covid-19. Immediately, all of the phones which have received one of my codes will receive an alert, notifying them that they have recently come in close proximity with an infected person, and are thus at greater risk.

  • Mortality Rate: total number of deaths / total number of cases The mortality rate has been difficult to calculate because the number in the denominator is missing most of the asymptomatic cases. We will likely not have a good idea of the true denominator until antibody tests are conducted across the country in random samples (like surveys), thereby giving us a good idea how many people have actually had it.

  • Infection Rate: the infection rate represents the number of people that an infected person infects. Thus, if I pass the virus to 3 people and you pass the virus to 2 people, the average infection rate between us would be 2.5.

  • Herd Immunity: Herd immunity is the notion that once a certain % of the population has contracted a certain virus, it becomes difficult for the virus to diffuse itself throughout the population. Immunity can either be achieved through vaccination or through natural immunity (i.e., by contracting the virus and recovering from it). While estimates vary, it is thought between 70-90% of a country’s population must be immune before herd immunity becomes effective.

🏊 Minnesota, "the land of 10,000 lakes", actually has 11,842 lakes. Most people don't realize their neighboring state actually has more than 15,000 lakes, topping Minnesota's charts.

Quarantine Reflections We are interested to hear what you are discovering during this quarantine period. If you want to send us your thoughts, send us an email to thenewsmemo@gmail.com "Being someone who gets energy by being around people, I am surprised how difficult it is to maintain energy levels. Although communicating through a screen helps, it's not the same as being in person.

In terms of work, I was surprised at how quickly and efficiently many companies were able to transition to working remotely. At U.S. Bank, 87% of employees were set up to work remotely in less than 2 weeks."

   - Gary H., Minneapolis


© The News Memo

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