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“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” -Dr. Suess
This Week at a Glance
Monday: The NYSE temporarily closes its trading floor
Friday: U.S. consumer-spending data for February is published
Coronavirus: Fact or Fiction (Part 2)
With the coronavirus outbreak dominating recent news coverage, it can be difficult to parse through and identify sources of misinformation. Never fear – we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions (or inaccurately made statements) to help you separate fact from fiction:
Can COVID-19 Survive On Inorganic Surfaces? YES– A recent study found the virus is detectable on:
Aerosols (through the air) for up to three hours.
Cardboard for up to 24 hours.
Plastic & Stainless Steel for up to two to three days.
Are Children At A Lower Risk For COVID-19? YES – Though the biological reasons are currently unknown, there is increasing evidence that children are infected at a lower rate than adults, and experience a much milder form of the sickness.
What Is The Mortality Rate Of COVID-19? IT DEPENDS– The global case fatality rate (CFR) – the number of reported deaths per reported cases – is 4.35%, while in the U.S. the number is 1.28%. However, this number represents the absolute high-end possibility, as many who contract the virus exhibit mild or no symptoms and go without testing.
Stay-In-Place Orders Will Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19 PERHAPS – Although social isolation is the best practical approach to slow the spread of the virus, a top CDC official has said it is likely that many Americans will be exposed to coronavirus in the coming months. However, it is important to note the practice of self-quarantining is essential in “flattening the curve,” which reduces the chance of a huge spike in hospitalizations that can overwhelm health care system capacities.
How Long Will These Stay-In-Place Orders Last? UNKNOWN– Top epidemiologists have universally agreed that stay-in-place orders are the best strategy in the short-term, but also acknowledge there are many factors – largely economic – that also play into the decision to lift the restrictions. Experts’ predictions on the length of government-encouraged quarantine range from three weeks to several months.
What Is The Testing Situation In The U.S.? 195,000 people so far have been tested in the U.S., according to Saturday’s White House briefing. Last week, the FDA approved limited usage of a test that returns results in 45 minutes.
With all the prevalent misinformation, we’d like to hold a regular series where we help our readers separate fact from fiction. Have any questions you’d like answered? Just reply to this email and we’ll add it to the list.
That’s A Wrap… But before you go further down the newsletter, here’s a few positive coronavirus-related stories to give you a brief respite from the doom and gloom:
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
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Global cases rose above 336,000 yesterday with more than 14,500 deaths. According to the NYT, the number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 32,700 with 416 confirmed deaths.
Senate Republicans’ ‘phase three’ stimulus package failed a procedural vote in the Senate on Sunday.
Eight states have issued temporary ‘stay in place’ directives for their residents – CA, CT, DE, IL, LA, NJ, NY, & OH.
Rand Paul (R-KY) became the first senator to test positive for the virus on Sunday.
Germany banned all public gatherings of more than two people on Sunday – Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after contact with an infected person.
President Trump announced he would activate the National Guard to assist New York, Washington, and California.
Canada said they will not send any of their Olympic athletes to Tokyo if the Summer Olympic Games are held this year.
Senators’ Stock Sale Under Fire
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) are facing criticism – and potential insider trading charges – after they sold large amounts of stock in February while receiving daily classified Senate meetings regarding the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. The STOCK Act of 2012 prevents members of Congress from using nonpublic information for financial gain.
The Federal Election Commission disclosed the latest election finance numbers over the weekend, showing that Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden spent less money in the month of February ($13 million) than six other presidential candidates. Former candidate Michael Bloomberg (whose campaign spent a whopping $467 million in February) has decided against forming a super PAC to spend unlimited funds on the race, opting instead to transfer $18 million to the DNC.
U.S. stock indexes fell more than 4% on Friday – futures for Monday were also down over 4%.
PepsiCo, Target, and Amazon are among the many companies offering enhanced worker pay and benefits, while 7-Eleven, Amazon, Walmart, and others have announced massive hiring increases.
Marriott Inc. – the world’s largest hotel chain – has furloughed about two-thirds of its 4,000 corporate employees.
Facebook will join Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Disney in downgrading the streaming quality on its platform in Europe.
According to the WSJ, Occidental Petroleum is nearing an agreement with activist investor Carl Icahn that would give him two board seats and input on a third. As part of the deal, Icahn would approve Occidental’s plan to bring back ex-CEO Stephen Chazen as chairman, and also give his blessing to retain Vicki Hollub as chief executive.
More: Icahn took issue with Occidental’s $38 billion acquisition of rival Anadarko Petroleum last August, and recently increased his stake to nearly 10% in order to effect change.
President Trump on Twitter Sunday gave the ‘go ahead’ for Ford, General Motors, and Tesla to begin production of ventilators and other medical supplies. The move comes after repeated pleas from New York state governor Andrew Cuomo, who on Saturday said his administration is “literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies.”
More: In this time of need, hospitals are turning to crowdsourcing and 3D printing companies to conceive of new, efficient, and cost-effective methods of production.
We’ll Make It, I Swear
With statewide orders to stay at home, residents of Chicago were looking for a fun activity they could all participate in while remaining a safe distance apart from each other.
Inhabitants of the Windy City took to social media (with the help of a local radio station) to coordinate a city-wide singalong to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” starting at 7 p.m. sharp – eliciting a personal message from Bon Jovi himself.
In order to brunt the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, health officials are advising all Americans to wash their hands frequently – an act that is often difficult for homeless people to accomplish.
Atlanta native Terence Lester – once homeless as a teen – can relate to their struggle. Now the executive director of nonprofit Love Beyond Walls, Terence is placing portable sinks with soap and water near the most populated homeless areas.
The Show Must Go On
With many hospitals running low on essential supplies such as gowns, gloves, and masks, the production crews of several medical TV shows have stepped up and donated their stocks to local health centers.
Earlier this week, medical drama Station 19donated about 300 coveted N95 masks to a local hospital, while other shows who have donated materials include The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Resident.
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🙋 I Volunteer As Tribute… a clinical research group in London has attracted more than 20,000 volunteers willing to be infected with a tamer version of COVID-19 for $4,480.
🪖 Change of Plans… U.S. officials this week will unveil a 10-year plan to transform the Marine Corps’ focus from the Middle East to instead prepare for conflict near China and its surrounding Pacific islands.
🎵 R.I.P. Kenny Rogers… the legendary country singer passed away Friday night from natural causes at the age of 81.
🦠 Mary Mary Quite Contrary…National Geographic explores the history of the infamous Typhoid Mary, and how a single ‘super-spreader’ can affect a virus’ impact.
Play-Doh was originally created for what purpose?
A) Caulking B) Sealing fruit C) Sculpting D) Cleaning wallpaper
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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