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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
– William Jones
This Week at a Glance
Monday: New York’s Museum of Metropolitan Art celebrates its 150th birthday
Tuesday: IMF releases world economic outlook
Wednesday: Tax day (federal filing deadline extended to July 15), NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service launches
Thursday: Weekly U.S. jobless claims
Friday: China to report Q1 GDP, WNBA draft
Coronavirus: Fact or Fiction (Part 5)
With the coronavirus outbreak dominating recent news coverage, it can be difficult to parse through and identify sources of misinformation. So we’re back with Part Five of “Fact or Fiction,” where we compile a list of frequently asked questions – or inaccurately made statements – and set the record straight (here’s One, Two, Three, and Four):
When Will The U.S. Economy Return To Normal? Unknown– According to top health experts, the answer is both simple and complex. The simple part: when enough of the population (estimated at 60% to 80%) is resistant to COVID-19 that the spread of the disease is slowed to a halt. The complex part: reaching a significant enough immune population, which can happen in many different ways. Experts have theorized timelines of anywhere from 1 to 2 months (unlikely) up to 1 to 1.5 years, depending on a host of different circumstances.
People Can Be Infected With COVID-19 More Than Once Unknown– On Friday, South Korea reported 91 patients thought to have recovered from the virus had tested positive again. However, as we’ve previously covered, scientists have been skeptical to call these second positives “re-infections,” with the head of the Korean CDC saying in a briefing that the virus may have been “re-activated” in these patients. Experts have also said the cases could be false test results.
Am I Allowed To Go Outside For Exercise? Yes (in the U.S.)– While some places, such as Paris, have banned outdoor exercise during daytime hours, no U.S. state currently has any such restriction in place. For a more in-depth look at the restrictions in place across each individual state, check out this link.
COVID-19 Is A Man-Made Virus False – An analysis of the virus’ genome sequence found that coronavirus is not a mashup of known viruses, as would be expected if it was created in a lab. Rather, the analysis revealed that coronavirus has unusual features only recently identified in anteater-like creatures called pangolins, indicating that it was of natural origin and passed from animal to human.
Does 5G Technology Have Any Connection To COVID-19? No –Videos have surfaced of UK citizens setting fire to more than a dozen 5G phone towers in recent days due to claims that 5G technology can spread coronavirus. However, scientists have said the idea of a connection between coronavirus and 5G is biologically impossible.
COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Affecting Minorities Likely True– According to preliminary U.S. data, minorities appear to have a disproportionate amount of total coronavirus cases and deaths across many major U.S. cities and states. In New York, the coronavirus is killing African Americans and Hispanics at twice the rate of white people, while states like Louisiana and Michigan have seen similarly outsized minority death totals.
That’s A Wrap… But 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:
Good news amid coronavirus: Delta donates 200,000 pounds of food
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Global cases rose above 1.85 million yesterday with more than 114,000 deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. cases rose to more than 560,000 with 22,036 confirmed deaths.
British PM Boris Johnson was released from the hospital yesterday after spending the past week there (including 3 days in the ICU).
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday said the city’s public schools would be closed through September, though NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo later called de Blasio’s statement “an opinion” and said the final decision lay with him.
Over the weekend, the U.S. overtook Italy for the most deaths in the world (currently 22k to 19.9k), though per capita the U.S. ranks 12th.
The IRS on Saturday announced it had begun to send out stimulus checks to eligible taxpayers.
Joe Biden won Alaska’s exclusively by-mail primary on Saturday, garnering 11 delegates to Bernie Sanders’ four. Up next is Wyoming, where the deadline for mail-in ballots has been extended to April 17 (with in-person voting banned).
More: Sanders last week suspended his campaign, but said he will remain on ballots in order to gain enough delegates to influence the party’s platform at the upcoming DNC.
Four Indonesian volcanoes erupted in separate incidents on Friday. Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center has issued a level two alert status (out of a possible four) for all four areas.
More: One of the volcanos, named Anak Krakatau, was created from the largest eruption ever recorded, which leveled the island of Krakatoa in 1883.
U.S. stock index futures were down Sunday evening following the long holiday weekend.
Apple and Google are teaming up to offer smartphone users an opt-in service that notifies them if they’ve come into contact with an infected person, without sharing their location data with government authorities.
Disney World on Sunday said it will furlough 43,000 union workers at its theme park, and pledged to pay workers’ health coverage for up to 12 months while furloughed.
Starting Tuesday, JP Morgan will raise its mortgage borrowing standards, and require applicants to have a credit score of 700+ along with a down payment of 20%.
Amazon last week announced it is assembling equipment for the company’s first in-house testing lab that will exclusively service employees.
New satellite data from NASAshows a 30% year-over-year decline in air pollution in the northeastern U.S. over the month of March.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (former president of Y Combinator) announced a plan to crowdfund one billion masks for the broader U.S. population.
Made The Cut
OPEC+ and its allies on Sunday agreed to a historic 9.7 million barrel per day oil production cut after several days of back-and-forth discussion. Under the terms of the deal, which will begin May 1, Mexico will cut production by 100,000 barrels per day (down from an original 400,000).
More: OPEC+ appeared to have agreed on a combined 10 million barrel per day reduction last Friday, but Mexico objected to its share of cuts which postponed the deal until Sunday.
Putting Solar In Drive
Renewable energy has long been an attractive option for eco-conscious homeowners, but the lack of widespread availability and relatively high cost has kept many from using solar energy to power their houses.
Budapest-based startup Platio Solar has developed a residential solar-powered driveway that can produce enough power to cover the yearly energy consumption of an average household. The kicker? It’s created from recycled plastic bottles.
For Zoom The Bell Tolls
Dorothy Driskell, 85, and Alvin Lee, 90, are two widowers who met at a 2019 retreat in New York, immediately forming a connection. Now engaged, the couple had planned a grand spring wedding, but recent events forced them to improvise instead.
After Alvin’s family hosted his 90th birthday celebration on Zoom, the couple was inspired to do the same for their wedding, recently tying the knot in front of 20 friends and family members while their pastor performed his first ever ‘Zoom marriage.’
Making A Difference
Tennessee resident Layne McKeel was making his rounds at the local grocery store last week, looking to take advantage of its senior citizen discount hours. However, when he tried to checkout, Layne found he had missed the discount by minutes, and ended up short on cash.
Layne offered to put some stuff back, but Elizabeth Taylor, the 17-year-old cashier who rang him up, assured him that it was no problem, and paid the difference the man owed out of her own pocket.
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📸 Paint A Picture… check out 27 of the most powerful and moving photographs depicting cultures and societies across the globe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
🏎️ Need For Speed… an anonymous team of three drivers recently completed the fastest-ever “cannonball run” (a cross-country race from New York to California) in 26 hours and 38 minutes, which translates to an average speed of 106 m.p.h.
💼 I Will Survive… take a look at a breakdown of more than 200 small businesses who survived (and even thrived in) the economic turmoil caused by the 2008 recession.
🦓 Changing Stripes… a zebra at a Kenyan national park recently gave birth to a rare zebra-donkey hybrid, called a ‘zonkey.’ Bonus: In a prior Dose of Knowledge, we asked which celebrity from The Office owns a pet ‘zonkey.’
Which of the following animals can hold its breath the longest?
A) Sea Otter B) Dolphin C) Sloth D) Hippo
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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