Good morning. With the recent lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, government officials have had to decide which businesses qualify as too essential to close. Along with grocery stores, hospitals, and restaurants, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern reassured the country’s younger residents that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were also classified as essential workers, and allowed to carry on with their normal duties.
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
– Carl Bard
What Are Americans Up To?
Nearly 300 million U.S. residents across the country are settling in for an indefinite period of quarantine, and habits are changing as a result. By and large, Americans are turning to stress-relieving pursuits during their extended time indoors.
A deeper dive…
Alcohol sales were up 55% countrywide for the week ending March 21, according to a Nielsen survey.
Marijuana dispensaries similarly saw an average sales increase of 52% to 130% for March as compared to January in legal states.
Streaming volume has shot up roughly 36% month-over-month, while binge-watching (watching 3+ episodes in a row) has increased 25%.
Gaming sites Twitch, Mixer, Discord, and Caffeine all posted their best revenue-generating month ever in March.
Come Together The increase in homebound Americans has also led to a sharp uptick in the number of online gatherings. According to a weekly Ipsos/Axios poll:
50% of people have had a video call with friends or family.
21% of people have attended at least one large online event, such as a birthday party, religious service, or book club.
12% of people have attended an online exercise class.
Health Is Wealth Many states have included an exception for personal exercise in their stay at home orders. However, a recent study with 160,000 U.S. participants found that activity levels were down 39% across the country over the first three weeks of March.
Data also showed that U.S. residents were sleeping 10% more on average in every state except Alaska and Hawaii (where the percentage was much higher).
Now, For The Good Stuff Don’t worry – it’s not all bad! Before you go further down the newsletter, here are a few positive coronavirus-related stories to give you a brief respite from the doom and gloom:
UAW worker celebrates Ford making 1M face shields in 13 days
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
Share Today’s Dose of Discussion
Global cases rose to nearly 1.35 million yesterday with almost 75,000 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 367,000 with 10,871 confirmed deaths.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday morning issued an executive order postponing the state’s primary (scheduled for today) until June 9, but the state Supreme Court overruled the order later in the day.
British PM Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care on Monday after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened – Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will deputize “when necessary.”
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a “work or home” order that requires citizens to stay at their workplace or home, with few exceptions.
California will loan 500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile. Washington and Oregon similarly pledged a combined 540 ventilators to the stockpile over the weekend.
France recorded 833 deaths on Monday (8,911 total), its highest daily increase since the outbreak began.
Australian Court Clears Cardinal Of Sex Abuse
The highest court in Australia acquitted Cardinal George Pell, the former finance chief of the Vatican, of child sex abuse charges in a unanimous decision. Cardinal Pell is the most senior Vatican official ever to stand trial on such charges, and was serving a six-year sentence after his conviction in Dec. 2018.
The U.S. designated a Russia-based white supremacist group as a terrorist organization yesterday, effectively freezing their U.S. assets and making it illegal for any American to engage with the group in any transaction. The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) is the first foreign white supremacist association to be given such a designation.
U.S. stock indexes rose more than 7% on Monday, with overnight futures trading slightly up.
Airbnb on Monday said it had raised $1 billion in debt and undisclosed equity from private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners.
President Trump on Monday said the U.S. government will buy nearly 167 million masks from 3M over the next three months.
The family of a Walmart employee who died from COVID-19-related complications has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company will produce 1 million face shields per week for U.S. medical workers.
Deal Or No Deal
Lawyers who negotiated a $13.5 billion settlement from PG&E for the victims of several wildfires have said they are now advising their clients not to take the deal. Under the terms of the settlement, the victims would receive half of their payout in PG&E stock – however, their attorneys are now concerned that payment will be less than projected due to the recent market downturn.
More: PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Jan. 2019, and has cleared several hurdles in the process thus far. The company has until June 30 to secure court approval to exit bankruptcy, which likely requires the support of the wildfire victims.
Grab A Quick Bite
Short-form video service startup Quibi officially launched yesterday in the form of an app available for iPhone or Android. Nearly 50 different shows (with episodes ten minutes or less) are available to watch on the app, which experienced technical difficulties at one point in the day.
The Drive For Success
With a majority of school locations across the country closed for the remainder of the year, administrators have been forced to come up with creative ways to recognize their students who have earned special accolades.
Enter Michelle Floering, the vice-principal at a Grand Traverse, MI high school. She recently surprised the newly-crowned valedictorian for the Class of 2020, Kaitlyn Watson, by taking a trip through the local drive-thru where she was working to share the good news (video).
U.S. taxpayers are eagerly awaiting their stimulus checks in the coming weeks, but the residents of Earlham, Indiana were treated to an early taste Thursday morning.
A mysterious benefactor coordinated with the city’s mayor to arrange for an envelope containing $50 gift cards to three local businesses to be placed in the mailbox of each of the town’s 549 households.
The CDC recently recommended all U.S. residents wear cloth face coverings while out in public – however, an unfortunate side effect of a conventional face mask is that it prevents people with hearing disabilities from effectively communicating, since they can no longer read lips.
Kentucky college student Ashley Lawrence quickly identified the potential issue and began sewing custom see-through face masks, which she has since shipped to dozens of individuals and hospitals across the country.
Attention All Tea Lovers:
Here at Cup & Leaf, we’re always on the hunt for new tea to sip and fresh knowledge to share.
We started Cup & Leaf to create an inviting space where experts and novices alike can enjoy our wide selection of tea, without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated. We write about tea on our blog, sell tea on our online store, and serve tea at our café in Austin.
Cup & Leaf is your one-stop-shop for all things tea, especially if you are:
Buying a gift for someone, but aren’t sure what to get them
Located in Austin and want to sip some tea, co-work with some cool people, and pet cute puppies at the café
Do any of these sound like you? If so, we’re excited for you to begin your tea journey with us.
And because you’re a smart and informed Donut reader, we’re offering you 15% off your first online purchase with us. Simply use the code DONUT at check out for 15% off your entire purchase. If you’re Austin, show this email to your tea-rista for 15% off your first cup of tea at the café!
🎬 How It’s Made: Ventilators … Tesla engineers give a behind the scenes look into how the EV company has repurposed car parts to build ventilators. (video)
⬆️ Bounce Back… a team of EU scientists is currently testing a new impact-absorbing pavement surface made from old rubber tires that could drastically reduce injuries among elderly adults prone to falls.
🖼️ Picture This… check out National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez’s archive of the oldest known human works of art across the globe.
🎤 Live Aid Part 2… on a call with the WHO on Monday, Lady Gaga announced a televised COVID-19 benefit concert on April 18 that will feature performances from Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney, among others.
Heart Of A Champion
Who is the only person to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl?
A) Bo Jackson B) Deion Sanders C) Drew Henson D) Vic Janowicz
(keep scrolling for the answer)
Get Your FREE Stuff
Step 1. Use the button below or copy your unique referral link
Fewer than 70 athletes are known to have played in both the MLB and NFL, but only “Prime Time” Sanders has competed in the championships of both leagues, winning two Super Bowls and appearing in one World Series.