Happy Thursday. Yesterday, we asked for examples of new skills or hobbies you’ve picked up during quarantine. And you didn’t disappoint. DONUT readers have been busy learning how to code, creating art, baking, cooking, skateboarding, and “spreading good vibes” (our personal favorite hobby). Learning something new? Just hit ‘reply’ and let us know.
“Some men see things as they are and say why – I dream things that never were and say why not.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Congress Confronts COVID-19
The U.S. government so far has passed three different stimulus packages in an attempt to soften the coronavirus’ impact on the economy.
The first bipartisan Congressional bill providing emergency coronavirus funding included $4 billion to expand virus testing across the country, and another $1 billion in loan subsidies for small businesses.
The nine-figure Phase 2 aid package appropriated money towards free testing for the uninsured, paid sick leave, increased funds for Medicaid and food security programs, and increased unemployment benefits.
A main feature of the Phase 3 bill is a one-time direct payment to taxpayers making less than $99k, with an additional add-on for each dependent. The law also allocates roughly $377 billion in the form of forgivable loans to small businesses unable to cover payroll during the pandemic, along with an additional $500 billion towards large businesses affected by the virus.
Not-So-Smooth Sailing The rollout of the latest $2T stimulus package has seen a few setbacks thus far:
Since launching last Friday, the small business loan program has experienced numerous technical issues due to the large volume of applicants. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday asked Congress for $250 billion more towards the program.
President Trump on Tuesdayremoved the inspector general appointed to oversee the implementation of the Phase 3 stimulus bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday called for an additional $500 billion to expand upon the programs created in the Phase 3 bill.
So… what are people saying?
Trump administration coronavirus aid tax cuts help rich Americans, not workers
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Global cases rose above 1.51 million yesterday with more than 88,400 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 430,000 with 14,753 confirmed deaths.
The WHO director-general on Wednesday warned against politicizing the virus after world leaders have criticized the WHO for initially being too trusting of Chinese data.
Italy saw a 26% day-to-day increase in the number of new reported cases, even as the country’s daily death total decreased by 10%.
New Yorkreported its highest daily increase in deaths, recording 1,169 in a 24-hour period ending Thursday evening.
British PM Boris Johnson’s condition is reportedly improving after two nights in the intensive care unit.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on Wednesday announced they will begin to seize exports of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks and surgical gloves. Later in the day, the Health Department confirmed that 90% of the U.S. PPE stockpile has been depleted.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday predicted the U.S. will begin to see a turnaround sometime next week.
Sen. Loeffler & Husband To Liquidate Stocks
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her husband, Jeff Sprecher (CEO of the NYSE), announced plans to liquidate their individual stock shares and options effective by the end of the week. Loeffler, who is the richest member of the Senate, recently came under fire after selling millions of dollars worth of stock following a classified Senate-wide coronavirus briefing.
More: For more details on the sale of stock by Loeffler and other senators in the lead up to the recent coronavirus-caused market downturn, check out our previous coverage.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the party’s de-facto candidate. Sanders said he will stay on the ballot in the remaining primary states to garner enough delegates to exert influence at the Democratic National Convention.
Federal officialsannounced that General Motors will manufacture 30,000 ventilators in return for $489.4 million, a deal invoked under the Defense Production Act.
Disney announced on Wednesday that its streaming service, Disney+, had passed the 50 million subscriber threshold – nearly twice the amount that the company disclosed in their Feb. 4 Q1 earnings report. Disney+ debuted in nearly a dozen countries across Europe over the past two weeks, and also launched in India last week.
A Stellar Acquisition
Personal finance company SoFi has agreed to buy fintech service provider Galileo for $1.2 billion. Galileo’s platform is currently used by other finance companies such as Robinhood and Chime for day-to-day operations, which, in theory, gives SoFi leverage in any potential future negotiations with its competitors.
Social distancing guidelines have postponed high school and college graduations across the country. So Jefferson County, Alabama Commissioner Sheila Tyson decided to host a ceremony of her own.
Sheila’s organization, Ignite! Alabama, is organizing a virtual graduation ceremony to be held on Zoom on April 26, featuring guest appearances from celebrities and a segment to honor local graduates.
With the entire country on lockdown, Vienna’s horse-drawn carriages – called ‘fiakers’ – have seen their customer base dry up, but a few have found a way to stay busy and give back to the community.
Three ‘fiaker’ drivers partnered with a local hotel to deliver nearly 300 meals per day to those especially at risk of serious complications from the virus.
Let’s Get It On
Sometimes an extended period of time alone together (like the recent quarantine) can inspire feelings of true love… just ask a pair of giant pandas in a Hong Kong zoo.
Although Le Le and Ying Ying have been living together since 2007, the two had never felt the urge to mate – despite repeated attempts by the zoo. Finally away from prying eyes, the mood struck this past Monday, and the pair consummated their relationship for the first time.
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🥬 Keeping It Fresh… a computer science student at Georgetown University has created a computer program that sends alerts when an Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods delivery slot opens up.
🤫 A Quiet Place… check out data from a global network of seismometers that shows how the coronavirus pandemic has quieted cities across the globe.
⛏️ Coal In The Hole… according to a study by London-based environmental think tank Carbon Tracker, nearly half the world’s coal plants will operate at a loss this year.
🎓 Automation Education… a data analytics group used data from a McKinsey analysis to create a list of the top workplace skills to learn to stave off automation (infographic).
Home, Sweet Home
What percentage of Americans have never left the United States?
A) 55% B) 25% C) 15% D) 40%
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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