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TNM: May 4 - 8

Good morning,

Let's break down what happened in the news this week. Here's a preview:

1. Supreme Court Hears Cases Online in Historic Day

2.Coronavirus: What You Should Know This Week

3. Trends: Opinions on America’s Changing Family Structure

+ GetSmart( Snails can sleep for a really really long time.)

NewsBites Breaking: According to the April jobs report released this morning, the U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% brought about by the loss of 20.5M jobs in April. The numbers show a level of economic devastation not seen since the Great Depression. 20.5M jobs lost in one month more than doubles the total job loss of 8.7M during the 2008-09 recession. (See April jobs report) Charged Murder in Georgia: A father and son, both white, have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot on February 23rd in southern Georgia. For more than two months following the shooting, no charges were brought. However, a graphic video capturing the incident surfaced on Twitter this week, sparking national outrage and leading the Georgia bureau of investigation to apprehend the two suspects on Thursday. (Read full story) General Flynn Case Dropped: In a dramatic reversal, the Department of Justice has dismissed its case against retired Army general Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s national security advisor. Gen. Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a 2017 interview, which became one of the most high profile charges stemming from the 2016 Mueller Russia Investigation. After learning new information about the investigation from internal FBI documents, the DOJ found that the interview was not “conducted with a legitimate investigative basis.” (Access the full DOJ brief). Attorney General Barr explained that the issue was not whether Flynn lied to the FBI or not, but whether the interview was justified in the first place. In an interview with CBS on Thursday, he said,  “People sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes.” (Full story from WSJ) 3.2 Million More File for Unemployment: 3.2M more Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to 33.5M over the last 7 weeks. The April jobs report shows the unemployment rate jumping to 14.7% amid the continued lockdown. It’s the highest unemployment since data tracking began in 1948. The Wuhan Resistance: Per a New York Times report, the Chinese government has been pressuring its citizens who are seeking to sue the government for its attempted coverup of the Covid-19 pandemic to keep quiet. Further, a number of volunteers who archived articles and reports documenting the situation in Wuhan at the beginning of the crisis, as well as the subsequent coverup efforts, have gone missing. Fraudulent Antibody Tests: After a recent period of fraudulent Covid-19 antibody tests, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced measures on Monday that will require companies to show that their antibody tests are accurate. The FDA said, “We unfortunately see unscrupulous actors marketing fraudulent test kits and using the pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of Americans’ anxiety.” Airbnb Suffers: The revolutionary home-sharing company plans to cut 25% of its workforce, equaling 1,900 jobs. Announcing the move in a memo, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said, “We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill.” Although Airbnb had planned to go public this year, a 50% drop in their revenue has thrown the process into uncertainty. (Read full story)

Supreme Court Hears Cases Online in Historic Day

Context The Supreme Court Building is “closed to the public until further notice” due to Covid-19 lockdown measures. Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are 65 years or older, with two of them over 80, putting the majority of the court at a major health risk during the pandemic. What happened this week? For the first time in U.S. history, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments remotely, live streaming the audio of the arguments online for the general public to hear. In total, the court held oral arguments for the following cases this week: 

  1. Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V. (audio, transcript)

  2. USAID v. Alliance For Open Society International, Inc. (audio, transcript)

  3. Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania (audio, transcript)

  4. Barr, Attorney Gen. v. American Assn. of Political Consultants, Inc. (audio, transcript)

The first day of tele-arguments went smoothly, devoid of any major technological glitches. Given the particularly vulnerable age and health composition of the Supreme Court, sessions will continue to be held remotely for the foreseeable future.

Coronavirus: What You Should Know This Week

The Situation in the U.S. There are over 1,256,972 cases and 75,670 deaths in the U.S., up from 1,000,000 cases and 62,000 deaths a week ago. Though the number of deaths and new cases has been on a downward trend across the U.S. in recent weeks, certain states are experiencing increasing rates, a trend that is expected to continue as lockdown restrictions are eased. Here is a chart showing in which states new cases are increasing, decreasing or staying the same.

Florida Reopens  Gov. Ron Desantis initiated Florida’s Phase I societal reopening on Monday (May 4), drawing cheers and criticism across the country. Excluding Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, the most populous counties in the state, Florida will allow the rest of the state to partially open back up.  What’s reopened

  • Restaurants are now allowed to provide outdoor seating as well as 25% of their indoor seat capacity.

  • Beaches reopened in some counties with social distancing guidelines.

  • Elective medical surgeries have resumed.

  • Churches, which were not forced to close during Florida’s lockdown, will remain open to the public.

What’s still closed

  • Barbershops and hair salons.

  • Movie theatres and large public venues.

  • Bars and gyms.

Despite dire forecasts and comparisons to New York at the beginning of the outbreak, Florida has managed thus far to avoid these scenarios. The state currently has 38,828 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 1,600 deaths. Travel from New York City Spread Most Cases Throughout U.S. New research from geneticists shows that travel from New York City, which for weeks was the pandemic epicenter in the U.S., was the primary way the virus spread throughout the U.S. For example, the research suggests that 70% of the cases in Texas, 100% in Louisiana and Iowa, and 72% in Minnesota originated from New York City. See the data for other states here. Medical Updates

Covid-19 Symptoms Are Wide-Ranging While respiratory difficulties and pneumonia are still the most common symptoms for serious cases, Covid-19 can also affect the brain, digestive system, vascular system (blood), and kidneys, leading some patients to experience strokes, a lack of taste and smell, heart-attack symptoms, inflammation in the gut, and muscle soreness. Some have even reported severe swelling and pain in their toes, leading to the term ‘Covid-toe.’ Such a wide range of symptoms is rarely seen in other viral infections, doctors say. A leading hypothesis for why patients experience such ranging symptoms is that Covid-19 can cause severe inflammation (especially in the lungs) as the body’s immune system tries to fend off the invading virus. Severe inflammation can then lead to increased blood clotting, which has been a common factor across many symptoms. Read more here. COVID Patients Produce Antibodies A new study published this week in Nature Medicine suggests that all patients who contract the novel coronavirus, regardless of age or health condition, produce antibodies in response to the infection. The question of antibody production is important because they typically protect patients from contracting the disease a second time. Global-View

  • Number of Cases: +3,864,696, up from 3,274,747 last week. 

  • Number of Deaths: +270,020, up from 233,792 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 highlighting a different country around the world to provide a point of comparison in how they are managing the crisis. Germany Germany has been praised for how they have handled the Covid-19 pandemic thus far. Although Germany’s number of confirmed cases is comparable to its European neighbors, it has suffered far fewer deaths.

When Germany first began identifying Covid-19 cases from Italy in February, hospital infrastructure and testing capacity was quickly built up. Then, aggressive testing campaigns and contact tracing, which helped Germany spot and isolate outbreaks sooner, allowed for lighter lockdown restrictions compared to other European nations. Further, because Germany is composed of 16 federal states, testing regiments and lockdown policies were largely decided locally, letting elected officials craft policies based on their unique situation. Starting already in mid-April, Germany was the first major European nation to begin easing lockdown restrictions. Since the initial easing, new cases have continued to decline, leading to Wednesday’s decision to let all businesses begin reopening, provided people wear masks and maintain proper social distancing.

Opinions on America’s Changing Family Structure

Context Family structure in the U.S. has been changing over the past decades. Some of the changes include more children living in single-parent households, more cohabitation, and legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. In an attempt to understand how Americans feel about the change, Pew Research conducted a survey in 2019 of 1,015 American adults by telephone.  What do the Survey Results Show? 45% of respondents said the change in family structures “makes no difference,” 30% said it is a good thing, and 16% said it is a bad thing. The same study, taken in 2010, had 32% of adults saying it made no difference, 13% less than in 2019.  Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say that changing family structure is a good thing (39% vs 20%), while Republicans were more likely to say it is a bad thing (25%) compared to Democrats (10%).

See question and results from the survey here

A Snail Can Sleep for 3 Years  Snails need moisture to survive. If the weather is no cooperating, a snail can hibernate for up to three years if need be. 


© The News Memo

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