UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. He said he will still lead the country’s response efforts while in self-isolation.
The number of unemployment claimslast week in the U.S. was 3.28 million, obliterating the previous high of weekly claims set in 1982 at 695,000. Economists are predicting that GDP in the U.S. will contract by double digits in the coming months.
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Coronavirus: U.S. Becomes World Leader in Confirmed Cases
Context: Countries Debate How to Contain Covid-19
Covid-19 has brought massive public health challenges, as well as economic ones. Thus, countries are trying to balance policy considerations of saving as many lives as possible, while at the same time trying to avoid irrecoverable economic recessions. Generally, there have been two approaches to defeating the virus.
1) Mass quarantines and economic shutdown to limit peoples’ movement. This is the most common strategy, implemented by China, and by Europe and the U.S. after some initial hesitation. More than ⅓ of the world’s population is currently under quarantine.
2) Aggressive testing, tracking, and isolation of those infected with the virus. South Korea, Singapore, and Sweden have elected for this strategy, keeping their economies relatively open, while the government aggressively tests scores of people and tracks those who’ve been in contact with infected persons. Meanwhile, there is still widespread adoption of masks and social distancing.
Number of Cases: +537,000 up from ~244,000 last week.
Number of Deaths: +24,000 up from ~10,000 last week.
The Situation in the United States
The U.S. surpassed Italy and China for the total number of confirmed cases as testing continues to be more widespread. In total, there are over 85,000 cases in the U.S. and more than 1,200 deaths, up from 10,500 and 150 a week ago.
New York alone has over 37,800 cases and has said that anyone who has recently left New York should self-quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana appear to be the next growing hotspots.
States With the Most Cases
See a visual map of the number of cases in each state.
Trump Begins Discussion of When to Reopen the Economy
In the president’s Monday evening briefing he addressed the pressing question of when the U.S.’ economy will begin to reopen. President Trump said the White House is looking at weeks, not months for reopening broad segments of the economy while maintaining social distancing and prevention measures.
Pressed by whether he will listen to medical experts, President Trump said he will listen to the advice of his advisors and medical experts, but added that “we’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.”
On Thursday, the Trump administration said it will soon categorize counties in the U.S. based on their risk levels, hypothetically allowing those with lower risk levels to resume economic activity before others. Such classifications will require more widespread testing. While testing in the U.S. has ramped up, it still lags behind that of many countries that have more effectively slowed the outbreak. Regardless of what President Trump decides, state governors will still be responsible for most of the quarantine and business restrictions in their states.
In Europe, after initially being slow to halt economic activity, most countries have adopted strict quarantines and closed most businesses, deciding to first deal with the medical problem of the virus and address the economic problems through massive spending later.
Hospitals in Hotspots Reaching the Brink
Hospital systems in outbreak areas such as New York City and Seattle are on the threshold of being overwhelmed if the rates of infection continue as such. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York indicated on Wednesday that the hospitalization rates in New York have been slowing, offering hope that the containment measures are having an effect. Further, two U.S. Navy ships are being established in Manhattan and Los Angeles to provide extra temporary hospital space.
Experimental Antiviral Treatment Begins
New York began conducting clinical trials of a trio of antiviral drugs used traditionally to treat malaria on Tuesday. President Trump and the FDA approved the drugs in record time. The drugs were not experimentally tested against the coronavirus, but a number of patients have reported anecdotal success.
Meanwhile, antibody tests, which would allow people to see if they have already had the coronavirus thereby building up immunity to it, are also being made available.
Spain, Italy Continue to Suffer
The number of deaths surpassed 8,215 in Italy and 4,365 in Spain. Both countries now have higher death counts than China, at 3,290. While the number of deaths continue to remain elevated in Italy, the curve of new cases has shown signs of flattening.
Medical experts contribute a number of factors to the high death count in Italy and Spain, including late responses and lack of testing, aging populations, and cultures with strong intergenerational familial ties.
Meanwhile, although Germany has over 40,000 confirmed cases, they have registered less than 300 deaths. Part of Germany’s success has been attributed to their incredible testing capacity
Here is a map showing the locations and number of cases worldwide.
China Temporarily Bars Foreign Entries
China announced on Thursday that it will temporarily bar entry to foreigners due to the "rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world,” slashing most international flights. While China has reported very few new domestic cases, it is working to stop the importation of new cases from abroad.
Virus’ Death Rate Remains Unknown
Estimates have been ranging from well below 1% to as high as 5%. The difficulty is that the death rate is based only on those who have actually been tested for Covid-19. However, many people who contract the virus never get tested because they show mild symptoms or are actually asymptomatic. Lack of adequate testing kits has also made it difficult to ensure the total number of cases is accurate.
Senate Reaches $2 Trillion Stimulus Package
The stimulus package is intended to relieve the economic strain put on Americans and businesses during this unusual halt in economic activity. Details of the bill are listed below.
When did it pass?
The bill passed 96-0 in the Senate late Wednesday night, with every Republican and Democrat voting yes. Although all senators voted yes, a few senators were not present: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who tested positive for the virus on Sunday, and Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney who are in self-quarantine after interacting with Rand Paul in recent days.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote and approve the stimulus package today (Friday) “with strong bipartisan support.”. President Trump has also indicated he will sign the relief bill into law, tweeting, “96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!”.
What’s in the bill?
The $2 trillion stimulus package is the largest spending bill in world history, let alone in U.S. history. Let’s break down what’s in it.
Direct checks to qualified individuals
Individuals who earn $75,000 or less would be eligible to receive a $1,200 check or direct deposit. Individuals who earn up to $99,000 would receive smaller-sized checks, reducing $5 dollars for every extra $100 they earn.
Married couples who earn up to an adjusted gross income of $150,000 would receive a $2,400 check along with a $500 tax credit for each kid under the age of 17. Married couples who earn up to $198,000 would receive a smaller check, changing on a sliding scale.
Student Loans Suspended
The Department of Education would suspend student loan payments without penalty until September 30.
The stimulus bill would give the unemployed $600/month on top of their current state benefits for the next four months.
$500 Billion in Business Loans
Some of the loan money would be directed to specific segments of the economy: $4 billion for cargo air carriers, $17 billion for businesses who work in national security, and $25 billion for passenger air carriers. The remaining $454 billion would be widely allocated to businesses and states who need loans.
Hospitals Get Relief
The stimulus bill would provide $117 billion in funding for U.S. hospitals.
Stock Markets React to Stimulus Hopes
The stock market realized three consecutive days of gains over news of the stimulus package, as well as President Trump’s optimism for reopening the economy sooner than expected. However, markets opened sharply lower this morning.
What to watch moving forward
If you fall in the categories listed above, watch for a check or instructions in the mail regarding how to receive direct relief.
Finally, take a step back to look at what just happened: the largest spending bill in the history of the world just passed 96-0 in the Senate and is expected to go into effect in the next two weeks. It will be fascinating to see whether the stimulus acts as intended in providing much needed economic relief for American citizens and businesses.
💰U.S. Presidents Receive a Salary of $400,000
Although presidents are free to take their salary, sometimes they donate it to a cause. President Trump donated his most recent paycheck to fight the opioid crisis, for example.
March 16 - 20, 2020 The easiest way to stay informed
Let's break down the news. Here's a preview of this week's memo:
1. World Quarantines 2. Joe Bidens Surge Continues 3. China Expels U.S. Reporters
Amazon: Amid exploding demand due to the Coronavirus, Amazon is seeking to hire 100,000 workers to keep pace. While in quarantine, more consumers are turning to Amazon to buy goods such as Clorox wipes and toilet paper, both of which are currently sold out. The company is also giving employees a $2 hourly pay raise until the end of April which includes warehouse workers, WholeFoods employees, and delivery workers all of whom make at least $15 an hour.
Volunteer Vaccine Tests: In London, more than 20,000 people opted in to get sick and test the Coronavirus vaccine in exchange for £3,500 ($4,480). Experiments are said to play a crucial role in determining a valid vaccine to fight the Coronavirus, of which there is no proven vaccine at this point. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the first citizen received an experimental vaccine shot on Monday in Washington state, administered by U.S. researchers. Regardless of how tests go, widespread use of such a vaccine is likely to be 12-18 months out in the U.S.
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World Quarantines as Covid-19 Pandemic Batters Europe, U.S.
The Current Situation
Number of Cases: +244,000, up from ~127,800 last week.
Number of Deaths: +10,000, up from ~4,700 last week.
U.S. Response Efforts
Cases have now been confirmed in all 50 states. The total number of cases is nearing 10,500 with some 150 deaths. The NYTimes is providing a great visual map of the number of cases in each state. While the U.S.’ testing capacity is still inadequate, production has finally picked up this week (spurred in large part by state and private labs), leading to a balloon in diagnosed cases. New York state has been the hardest hit with over 4,000 cases.
Medical Supply Shortages
Hospitals are facing severe shortages of medical equipment such as protective gowns, masks, respirators, gloves, and hospital beds. Although private production is ramping up (sometimes in creative ways) and the Pentagon said on Tuesday that it would release 5 million respirators, it is unclear when the shortages will be alleviated.
Addressing the scarcity of testing and medical equipment, White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday during a live stream call that the government should have worked sooner with “the private sector, the heavy-hitting companies that do this for a living who can give you high throughput testing in the tens of millions as opposed to something that's a little bit more constrained.”
In the most aggressive action to date in the U.S., the California governor imposed an Italianesque shutdown on Thursday, closing bars, restaurants, and retail stores, and telling its ~60 million residents to “stay at home” apart from essential errands.
Unemployment Claims Skyrocket
According to federal data, there were 281,000 unemployment insurance claims across the country last week, up from 211,000 the week before. A substantial increase in the unemployment rate (dire predictions say it could be as high as 20%) and a massive contraction in GDP is expected in the coming months.
Congress, Trump Pass $100 B Covid-19 Relief Package
The relief deal includes free Coronavirus testing, increased unemployment, and food stamp benefits, and requires small businesses to provide 2 weeks of paid sick leave.
Massive Stimulus Package Nears Completion
Apart from the relief package, Congress and the WH are furiously debating an additional Coronavirus stimulus package that could reach $1 trillion. The details of the plan are being debated, but is expected to include some version of the following:
Financial aid for hotels and airlines, primarily in the form of loans.
Financial aid for small businesses.
Direct cash payments to Americans. The amounts would vary based on family size and income but could top $1,200 for each individual, and $2,400 for married couples.
Food Supply is “Sufficient”
While many grocery store shelves have recently been empty, the problem is not a lack of food, but rather logistical challenges. Companies are having to adapt on the fly in order to transport food to grocery stores most in need. Despite these challenges, the CEO of Tyson Foods said on Thursday that America’s “food supply is sufficient,”
Stock Markets Have Volatile Week
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is down some 20% this month alone, and around 30% for the year. Markets opened higher this morning (Friday), but are posed for another volatile day.
Tax Deadline Extended to July 15
The deadline for filing individual U.S. tax returns was extended until July 15 this year.
Global Response Efforts
The virus has now reached at least 168 countries (out of 195 total countries). Here is a visual map showing the locations and number of cases worldwide. In rapid succession, countries have been closing their borders and ramping up response efforts.
Italy: Total Deaths Surpass China
The total number of deaths in Italy surpassed 3,400 on Thursday, compared to ~3,250 deaths thus far in China. The number of cases surpassed 41,000 in Italy.
E.U. Votes to Seal Borders For 30 Days
The measure essentially bans external travel into the E.U. for 30 days. France and Spain both implemented full quarantine measures this week (matching Italy’s policy), as the number of cases and deaths in the two countries have ballooned this week. After initially taking a less restrictive approach, the U.K. has also moved toward full quarantine measures.
Wuhan Records No New Cases
Meanwhile, in Wuhan, the pandemic’s origin, the number of registered new cases was 0 on Wednesday, and China as a whole had no new domestic cases (although they had 34 new cases from people re-entering the country).
Some Asian Countries Face 2nd Wave of Cases
South Korea and Singapore are facing a series of new imported cases. S. Korea and Singapore have adopted a markedly different approach than most nations, allowing the economy to stay open while aggressively testing, tracking and isolating infected individuals. Now, they face the challenge of monitoring people re-entering the country from abroad.
People Unite Amid Coronavirus Quarantines
Israelis cheer outside their balconies for the nurses and doctors who are saving peoples’ lives. (video)
After being married that same day, a couple from Crown Heights New York drove around the neighborhood and asked people to sing and dance from their homes, given they couldn’t attend the wedding and reception (video).
At 6:00 PM every day, Italians emerge on apartment rooftops and balconies to dance, sing, and play music as a show of national unity (video from David in Rome).
Two Italian men have invented a new style of ping pong outside their windows from their skyrise apartments (video).
In heroic efforts to alleviate the shortages of medical equipment, some carmakers are making ventilators, a bluejeans maker is churning out face masks, hotels have become makeshift quarantine centers and alcohol distilleries are making hand sanitizer.
Developments are happening all the time and affecting countless areas of life. If you want to stay updated throughout the week, see the WSJ’s comprehensive guide.
3 More Primary Wins Give Joe Biden Clear Path to Nomination
The Democratic race for the presidency has taken an unconventional route amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Campaign rallies have been canceled, the most recent debate had no audience, and their opponent President Trump is engaged in the greatest challenge of his presidency. A string of major victories on Super Tuesday and on March 10th has given Joe Biden a clear path to the nomination, barring a dramatic, unforeseen change.
Will Bernie Drop Out?
Bernie returned to his home state of Vermont on Tuesday to “reassess” his campaign. Democratic strategists are waiting to see if Bernie will seek to unite his voter base behind Biden.
Primary contests in Ohio, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, and Maryland have all been postponed. The next scheduled primaries are for April 4, although the status of those is very tenuous. One thing is certain, the run-up to the Democratic Convention in July will be increasingly complicated and sporadic due to Coronavirus quarantine measures.
China to Expel Americans Journalists Working For 3 Major U.S.
As part of a more aggressive campaign by President Xi Jinping and China’s Communist Party to crack down on free speech and the press, three Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters were expelled from China on February 19th in retaliation for what it deemed to be an offensive opinion column published in the WSJ. The column was titled “China is the real sick man in Asia,” a reference to the Coronavirus pandemic. It marked the first time in 20 years that China had expelled a credentialed foreign correspondent.
In response, President Trump at the beginning of March took action to reduce the number of reporters working for Chinese state-run media companies in the U.S. (Many of the companies are seen as propaganda outlets, according to the NYTimes.)
What happened This Week?
In an unprecedented crackdown, China announced on Tuesday it would expel American journalists working for the WSJ, the NYTimes and the Washington Post, affecting at least 13 correspondents. The order also restricts the journalists from working in the semiautonomous region of Hong Kong. Journalists working for these newspapers that are not U.S. citizens (for example, a Chinese local) are presumably not subject to the new regulation.
In its statement, China’s foreign ministry said, “What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the decision, saying he regretted China’s decision “to further foreclose the world’s ability to conduct the free press operations that, frankly, would be really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times where more information, more transparency, are what will save lives.”
The tightening restrictions come at a time when foreign journalists, especially those at the WSJ, have diligently covered sensitive stories in China, including the democracy protests in Hong Kong, the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent government efforts to conceal it, and criminal allegations into the cousin of President Xi Jinping.
🐿️ City In Washington Has a Bridge for Squirrels
Titled the “Nutty Narrows”, Longview County has bridges around the county that assist squirrels and other animals in crossing the street. (video)
March 9 - 13, 2020 The easiest way to stay informed
Let's break down the news. Here's a preview of this week's memo:
1. CoronaVirus Declared Global Pandemic 2. Joe Bidens Surges 3. Average Human Body Temperature is Lowering + GetSmart (🍒 Farmers use helicopters to dry their cherries?)
BREAKING: The U.S. stock market is expected to rebound this morning after yesterday’s massive drop, which was the worst sell-off day since the Black Monday crash in 1987. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are expected to recover 5% today after the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan pumped money into the financial system.
Oil Prices Fell Steeply on Monday as a result of a failed agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two largest oil producers in the world. Saudi Arabia proposed supply cuts in order to offset the low prices brought on by the coronavirus. Russia refused and Saudi Arabia reversed its strategy, offering discounts for oil purchases and threatening to flood the market. While low oil prices can be beneficial for consumers, they pose significant problems for governments and companies that rely on oil revenue to provide essential services.
President Vladimir Putingave his support for a constitutional amendment proposed on Tuesday that would allow him to continue as president until 2036. Currently, Putin is required by the constitution to step down in 2024, at the expiration of his second consecutive term. The proposal will go to a national vote on April 22. “Russia has had enough revolutions,” Mr. Putin said addressing the amendment. “The president is the guarantor of the constitution, and to say more simply, the guarantor of the security of our state, its internal stability and internal evolutionary development.”
Coronavirus Declared a Global Pandemic
Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week suggests that it takes on average 5 days for symptoms to appear after contracting Covid-19. In mild cases, patients usually develop a cold or fever, with pneumonia developing in more serious ones (roughly 80% of Covid-19 cases are mild, although this number depends largely on the age and underlying health of the patients). If one doesn’t manifest symptoms after the first 12 days, it is unlikely they will develop at all. However, the person may still be contagious. Thus, the recommended self-quarantine period is at least 14 days.
The best way to protect against the coronavirus is to cover your coughs and sneezes, frequently wash your hands, avoid touching your face with your hands, and maintain a meter or two of distance between you and others.
This Week’s Figures
Global Death Count: +4,700, up from 3,400 a week ago.
Number of Cases: +127,800, up from 100,000 a week ago.
World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on Wednesday, the highest designation of seriousness for a disease.
Main Question: Is the spread of the virus slowing?
No. From a week ago, the overall number of cases increased by over 27%, and the number of deaths by just over 38%. Further, the number of countries with confirmed cases increased from 90 a week ago to at least 116 now. Here is a graph showing the number and locations of cases worldwide.
The Situation in the U.S.
The number of cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,650 on Friday with at least 41 deaths, up from 233 cases and 12 deaths a week ago. To date, 46 states have confirmed cases, up from 18 states a week ago (map of states with number of cases).
Trump Imposes Travel Ban from Europe
In a live televised address, President Trump laid out the U.S.’ plan for confronting the coronavirus (watch the full 9 min address here). The biggest announcement was a quasi-blanket travel ban on people coming from Europe for the next 30 days. The ban exempts the UK and Ireland, as well as American citizens who have undergone the required testing. The restrictions will be subject to changing conditions on the ground.
President Trump also announced a number of financial measures, including potential payroll tax cuts and aid for small businesses, to lessen the economic impact of the virus.
Inadequate Test Kits Remain a Concern
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers this week that the U.S. is lagging behind in its testing capacity for the virus. Other countries including Canada and the U.K. have tested thousands of more people than the U.S.
Having sufficient testing is crucial to slowing the virus’ spread, as it allows officials to track who is infected and who they have come into contact with. The lack of sufficient testing is leading many to believe that thousands of cases are currently going undiagnosed in the U.S. Manufacturing defects among the initial kits, as well as the fact that at the outset the U.S. decided not to utilize a test method approved by the WHO, has contributed to the test kit shortage.
Congress, Trump Set to Approve Coronavirus Stimulus Deal
The stimulus package, which the House is set to vote on today (Fri.), is expected to include expanded unemployment benefits, free virus testing, 14 days of paid sick leave, and financial assistance for small businesses.
Stock Market Tumbles
The U.S. stock market entered a bear market this week, meaning it fell at least 20% since its previous high (which was just a few weeks ago). Thursday was the single worst day since the crash in 1987, with markets dropping 10% on Thur. alone. Today, stock markets were set to open higher (see NewsBite above).
Two separate times this week the stock market’s circuit breaker was triggered, automatically closing the market for 15 minutes to allow investors time to collect themselves. A circuit breaker is triggered when the market drops 7% within a day.
March Madness is Nixed, the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS Suspend Their Seasons
The national NCAA basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness, was officially canceled on Thursday. Meanwhile, the NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS all indefinitely suspended their seasons this week. The decisions came rapidly one after the other after a basketball player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus (watch the announcement here).
States Began Social Distancing Measures
At least 7 states have banned public gatherings of more than 250 people. Further, at least 6 states, Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky, and New Mexico, have already canceled all schools for at least 2 weeks.
Italy in Lockdown
The number of virus cases and deaths exploded in Italy this week. The total number of cases surpassed 15,000 with over 1,000 deaths, up from some 3,800 cases and 148 deaths a week ago.
In response to the crisis, the Italian government announced draconian restrictions on Monday for the entire country (~60 million people). The restrictions suspended all public gatherings and limited personal movement to necessary errands such as work, grocery or medical trips until April 3. In his remarks, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said, “We all have to renounce something for the good of Italy.”
On Thursday the measures increased further, requiring restaurants, bars, and retail shops to remain closed until March 25. They are the most severe movement restrictions put in place by a modern democracy.
David had the chance to capture a bit of the situation from the ground in Rome (video).
Rest of the Globe
Iran and South Korea remain hotspots for the virus. Meanwhile, several European nations have proactively suspended their school systems for weeks and begun to implement social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, the virus’s presence in China has shrunk dramatically, with only 8 new cases and 7 deaths in the last 24 hours. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan this week as a public signal that the outbreak has largely been stifled in China.
Leaders Catch Coronavirus
The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the virus early Friday morning. Meanwhile, officials from Brazil and Australia, some of whom met with President Trump, AG William Barr and Ivanka Trump last week, have tested positive as well.
When Will the Outbreak Stop?
At this point, the forecasts for an end date are largely speculative. Much depends on the effectiveness of travel restrictions and quarantines, and most importantly, the development of a vaccine (the U.S., as well as other nations, have dedicated billions of dollars to developing a vaccine in haste). The rationale behind strict quarantined and social distancing measures is that it slows the spread of the virus, buying researchers more time to develop a vaccine.
Finally, there is the hope that Covid-19 exhibits seasonality like the common cold and flu. In this case, the beginning of warm, summer weather would be a type of firewall in halting the spread.
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Joe Biden’s Surge Continues: Wins Michigan, Mississippi, Washington, Idaho
Give me some context
After over-performing on Super Tuesday due to a powerful coalescing of moderate Democrats, Joe Biden established himself as the frontrunner Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in 2020. His showing in the March 10th primaries this week further solidified his position. Some Democratic strategists, such as James Carvill, are urging Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race in order to consolidate the Democrats against Trump; however, Bernie Sanders says he has no intention of leaving the race.
On Tuesday, March 10, the former vice president Biden won 5 of the 6 states on the ballot, delivering a debilitating blow to Bernie Sanders’ chance of a comeback. Biden currently has 881 delegates to Sanders’ 725. In a speech following Tuesday's results, Sanders was adamant about staying in the race, while at the same time admitting he has work to do: “While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability.”
Joe Biden: 48.9%
Bernie Sanders: 42.5%
Joe Biden: 52.9%
Bernie Sanders: 36.4%
Joe Biden: 81.1%
Bernie Sanders: 14.8%
Joe Biden: 60.1%
Bernie Sanders: 34.6%
Bernie Sanders: 53.3%
Joe Biden: 39.8%
Washington (at 87% reporting)
Joe Biden: 36.9%
Bernie Sanders: 34.9%
What to watch moving forward
Joe Biden is expected to continue building momentum and his lead in the delegate count. 538, the election polling and prediction service, gives Joe Biden 99 in 100 odds of winning the Democratic nomination.
March 14, Northern Marianas
March 17, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio
Average Human Body Temperature May Be Lower Than 98.6
New research is suggesting that our human bodies have been changing over time, leading to a lower average body temperature. The conventional 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit may no longer be the best baseline for judging whether one is running a temperature.
The classic “98.6” resting body temperature is the result of research by the German physician Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich in 1869. However, multiple new studies, the latest being research from the University of Stanford which analyzed more than 600,000 patient temperatures over the last 157 years, suggest that the average human body temperature is closer to 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
A possible hypothesis for this change is provided by the Stanford paper’s senior author, Julie Parsonnet. She said that nowadays people are taller, fatter and live longer than they used to. Although we don’t know exactly why this has happened, all these factors are linked to body temperature. Further, while Dr. Wunderlich tried to capture the temperatures of healthy patients, Parsonnet points out that in 1869 the life expectancy was only 38 years old and diseases such as syphilis and gum disease were widespread. This could have led to more inflammation and higher temperatures during that period.
However, the argument remains nuanced. The accuracy and type of instruments - whether it be rectal, oral, auxiliary, or ear thermometers - have varied over the course of history, rendering the comparison of data between Parsonnet’s and Wunderlich’s studies a bit uncertain.
Regardless of the explanation for the change, the accumulating evidence may eventually push the medical community to officially adopt 97.5, or something close to it, as the new baseline when making diagnoses.
🚁 Farmers Hire Helicopters to Fly Over Their Cherry Crops to Dry Them
During heavy seasonal rain, cherry farmers in the U.S. Northwest hire helicopter pilots to fly over their orchards to dry the cherry crop. The downdraft from the helicopter’s wings serves as an effective fan that dries the water sitting on top of the cherries. Otherwise, the rainwater that sits on top of the cherries can seep inside and burst the ripening cherries. It is a risky but profitable business for the pilots. (video of the process).